Tag Archives: Scarlett Johansson

Andrew’s Top Ten Films, Favorite Performances, And Other Bests of 2013

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Although in the past couple of years it’s taken me a few more weeks to see every film I’ve needed to from the year prior, 2013 was such an excellent year that I simply couldn’t wait for every film to come to me. And so I made my annual journeys up to Boston to see many of the films I was anticipating, even with the knowledge that they would be released where I live just a week or two later. What can I say? I’m an addict, and with my addiction comes the yearly, painstaking process of chopping my favorite films list down to ten. Doing so after a year that was particularly strong like 2013, especially in terms of independent film, has honestly never been more difficult. For 2013, a top twenty may have been more reflective, but I have to fit in and thus, only ten will do.

In addition to compiling my top ten, I’ve also singled out my favorite performances of the year, while also calling attention to those directors, writers, cinematographers and editors who I personally feel did the best work of the year. I’ve also decided to single out those movie scenes and shots that left an indelible mark on me when I left the theater. Also, while nine of the films in my top ten will not be ranked in any particular order, I will single out my favorite film of the year.

With 2014 now upon us and many new big-screen experiences to look forward to in the coming months, it’s always important to reflect on the year that has just past. Here’s hoping the year in film that was 2013 will stand the test of time as a great example of the eclectic tastes of the various members of both the Hollywood and independent film communities. Away we go.

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Andrew’s Journey Through TIFF 2013: Episode III

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The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the first stops on the journey through film awards season. This year, Andrew was fortunate enough to be in attendance and is now recapping the films and events he attended while at TIFF.

TIFF Day 6

With bright and early screenings now a thing of the past for my festival experience, I had the great pleasure of sleeping in on this day. I dreamed of what might occur if I was to meet my idol who just so happened to be the star of the next film on my docket.

David Gordon Green’s Joe

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Nicolas Cage. What else needs to be said? Some love him and some hate him, but the haters always seem to forget that not only does he have an Academy Award bearing his name, but when on he remains one of the most talented actors in the biz. Now I get it, his recent string of endless sub-par action films leaves a lot to be desired, but every once in awhile he chooses a role that truly lets his artistry shine. Thankfully, Joe just so happens to be the latest. Playing the titular ex-con with an underlying mean streak, Cage gives a nuanced and (for the most part) subdued performance. Youngster Tye Sheridan is every bit his equal as Gary, a kid new in town who is looking for work and who Joe takes under his wing. Gary’s father (Gary Poulter) is abusive and is constantly taking money from Gary to fuel his rampant alcoholism. Under the helm of David Gordon Green, who has already released one great film this year in Prince Avalanche, the film is visually stunning with his signature brand of cinematography. While the film loses its focus at times and certainly has its fair share of disturbing moments, Green and his actors make sure to ground the film in a dark reality that seems true to life in this small Texas town. Whether you love him or you hate him it’s hard to argue that this isn’t another great Cage performance, and while us fans would certainly love for him to keep choosing these interesting off the beaten path roles, somebody’s gotta pay those taxes. Long live The Cage.

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Andrew’s Journey Through TIFF 2013: Episode II

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The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the first stops on the journey through film awards season. This year, Andrew was fortunate enough to be in attendance and is now recapping the films and events he attended while at TIFF.

TIFF Day 4

Following the insanely energetic experience of Midnight Madness the night prior, it’s safe to say that I would have benefited greatly from a solid night’s sleep. It wasn’t meant to be however, as the next morning I had a film scheduled for 9AM. Four hours of sleep later I woke up and around 7:30 walked to the Metro station, not even aware that it was Sunday. The station was closed of course and so I did what any intelligent person would do: take the six mile journey on foot. Now that may not sound all that impressive, but when you’re only going on a few hours of sleep and your feet are already blistered up from waiting in endless lines the day prior, it is. I sped walk the whole way and made it in about an hour to the TIFF Bell Lightbox, perhaps the finest movie theatre I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a patron of. I plopped down in the first row, exhausted.

Jason Reitman’s Labor Day

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My 9am film that day just so happened to be Jason Reitman’s Labor Day, a total change of pace from the kind of films Reitman’s made thus far in his still young career. Centered on a depressed single mom (Kate Winslet) and her son (Gattlin Griffith) whose worlds are upset upon the arrival of a wounded convict (Josh Brolin) who recently escaped from a local prison, it’s a definitively more low-key drama than Reitman’s norm. Labor Day is a work of extreme confidence without much in the way of Reitman’s usual comedic tinge and although he’s already proven adept at drama, it’s still quite a shock to the system at first. All three of the leads give fine, quiet performances that deliver a sense of intimacy not felt in most awards-player dramas.  One negative note however, is that Labor Day is yet another film featuring Tobey Maguire voice-over. Now I am not a hater of voice-over in general, but here it doesn’t seem to serve the story of the film in a particularly compelling way. Overall, I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about the film due to my severe lack of sleep, but it’s definitely an interesting drama that I very much look forward to viewing again upon it’s official theatrical release.

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The List: Andrew’s Most Anticipated Films of Awards Season

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It’s that time of the year. The time when summer blockbusters fade into the distance, when some of the biggest festivals in the world gear up for their wide array of film premieres and of course, when I become nearly crippled by my intense cinephile excitement. The awards season is upon us!

The Academy Awards may still be six months away but September is that time of the year when it all begins again. Nearly every week brings with it the premiere of an under-the-radar critically acclaimed indie or an Oscar contender that wanted to get a jump on the competition. Thus begins my weekly drives up to Boston due to my inability to wait for the films to come to me.

This year however, is even more special for me. For the first time in my life, I will make the journey up to Canada to experience the Toronto International Film Festival. I will have the chance to view some of my most anticipated films of the season months ahead of time and it’s safe to say that I can’t wait for these next two weeks to fly by.

With all this being said, I’ve decided to compile a list of my most anticipated films of the coming awards season.  This year brings films from some of my absolute favorite filmmakers and here’s hoping they are not overlooked (as they often are) by the Academy come early next year.

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