A well-written, nostalgic feeling look on high school through the eyes of a freshman (Logan Lerman) battling depression after his best friend commits suicide, and how he finds a new group of friends that show him their problems too, including an attractive girl (Emma Watson) who seems to only date jerks. While definitely cliched in aspects, this movie has an aura of positivity about it despite all the internal sadness that ultimately makes it a winner. Sure, you could probably call some things coming, but the performances all-around, from Lerman, to the phenomenal Watson, as well as Ezra Miller as a gay student, all do a great job capturing the highs and lows of that stage in life. The revealing twist near its conclusion is shocking but extremely well-handled. A solid movie that should make the three leads stars for the future.
An emotional drama concerning a whale trainer (Marion Cotillard) who loses her legs after a horrific accident, and how a bouncer (Matthias Schoenaerts) she meets at a nightclub previously to that forms a special bond with her rather randomly. While it is perhaps a little overlong and the direction feels a tad too manipulative at times, the tour de force performance by one of the best actresses in the world in Cotillard (nabbing a well-deserved Oscar nomination), anchors this somber story. Schoenaerts plays a tough character to pull for up until around the very end, where all that he seems to take for granted in life hits him in one perfect storm of emotion. A different, offbeat "love" story that more examines the "sex buddy" scenario that is common in society rather than the traditional evolution of a romantic relationship you see in these kinds of films. You do not know exactly where it is all going, even if you can call some minor steps along the way, and the last ten minutes of the film, while definitely pushing it, really ties the story together quite neatly and poetically.
A riveting, intense look at parenting and providing for one's family concerning a motorcycle stunt rider (Ryan Gosling) and how he turns to robbing banks to provide for his one-year old son, the cop (Bradley Cooper) who becomes entangled in tracking him down while struggling with police corruption in his facility, and how the two's paths cross in multiple ways. Yet another gem of a film from Derek Cianfrance ("Blue Valentine"), a movie that leaves you with a lot to chew on and talk about, all while providing ample character development and shocking twists and turns in the story. The way it hooks and connects multiple characters is really impressive, all while maintaining a sense of realism despite all the madness. Perhaps the finest hour for Gosling, who is dynamite, and the cast all-around is just excellent (especially little-known actor Ben Mendelsohn as Gosling's wingman in crime). But most importantly, it is a movie that has a lot of good lessons to teach about good people making bad decisions that ultimately end up costing them more than what they could possibly fathom. A masterpiece.
An intense, gritty depiction of a family whose life is dominated by crime and drugs, and how the youngest of the bunch (James Frecheville) is unfortunately faced with turning his uncles in after they commit a violent crime in retaliation to a corrupt police force. A cold-blooded Aussie thriller that features some powerful acting, especially Jacki Weaver as the matriarch of the bunch, and Ben Mendelsohn as one of the brothers who possesses a psychotic streak. It is a film that contains a lot of interesting twists and subtlety, as well as some pretty violent actions that successfully catch the viewer off guard. A simply riveting film that remains arresting throughout, with one of the more shocking endings I can recall.
An entertaining, hilarious mash-up of summer camp movies with horny teenage camp counselors and how their last day of summer camp goes. I don't understand how this movie has such a low rating on RT (31%!), because the cast definitely understands what is going on and has a ball with it. Sure, it kind of feels like an extended sketch but the humor is spot-on for the most part. The cliches and stereotypes are examined and torn apart with skill, and the movie is well paced for the most part. Nothing outstanding, but definitely solid entertainment.