Beautifully peculiar and revelatory, Jim Jarmush's, Only Lovers Left Alive, is an extraordinary revelation to the craft of filmmaking, a true masterpiece of cinema. The twenty first century humans, appropriately named "Zombies", are vulgar swine that decay culture and art from their hypocrisy and madness, a bold yet accurate idea portrayed by the films main vampire Adam whom has lived through all times. Aging across dozens of cultures, Adam being the last remnant of a bygone era of art and candor is struggling with his appropriately named wife Eve, for they represent humanity's last remnant of artful creatures of passion, they are the Only Lovers Left Alive in a constantly changing world, holding the same values as times past. Jarmush's direction is absolutely extraordinary adding a much needed sense of complacency and assuagement to the films screenplay. A motif the director likes to stick with is that of a spinning record, not only containing metaphorical meaning of evolvement, but also fantastic shots of the films main duo, circling around them. The blocking, lighting, cinematography and production design are all fantastic. Adams home is where the production design shines for multiple centuries' own cultures reside in his home, yet are not humorous like a cartoon. The atmospheric score is the best atmospheric score in the last decade for the score enhances the film not just residing with the images but speaking to them, the score is magnificent. Nothing happens in the film in terms of story but that is what is so bold about the film, no traditional story is required to expose man's own hypocrisy and malevolence. Finally the acting in Only Lovers Left Alive is equally as good as the directing and score with all six main actors delivering mystifying erotic performances. Tilda Swinton is remarkable as Eve, effortlessly dissolving into her role thanks to her fantastic acting. By far in a way, the stand out of Only Lovers Left Alive is Tom Hiddleston's performance as Adam. Hiddleston is a revelation expertly driving home the films message of human hypocrisy with dejected apathy, thanks to his incredible performance. Beautifully peculiar and revelatory, Jim Jarmush's, Only Lovers Left Alive, is an extraordinary revelation to the craft of filmmaking and a true masterpiece of cinema.
Non-Stop finds action star Liam Neeson in fine form, adding yet another solid suspense action thriller to Neeson's resume. The most surprising aspect to Neeson's new film is that it is not stupid with a capital o, which may shock many viewers expecting Taken 3 or Battleship 2. Instead Non-Stop expertly delivers first rate thrills by keeping the audience constantly guessing and anxious throughout the entire endeavor. Director Jaume Collet-Serra does a remarkable job framing and executing his shots considering the special limitations of an aircraft, executing impressive action sequences involving knifes and several other men and most impressively and entire one on one fight between Neeson and another combatant in a bathroom stall. Aircraft bathrooms are already absurdly small yet to film a well-choreographed fight that is both suspenseful and thrilling, is a testament to great directing. The framing and blocking of the shots is for the most part standard but is in no stretch of the imagination bad. Overall, Serra's directing is solid. The score is subtle and atmospheric, vetoing thunderous intensity with surreptitious composure, while not particularly memorable the score is serviceable. The story of Non-Stop is a familiar one, combining many plots of other films into this plot which does hurt Non-Stops originality aspect. The first hour and a half of Non-Stop is excellent because of the great dialogue and suspense yet plummets as fast as the films plane when the last half hour of the film taints itself in absurd mediocrity. Finally, the acting is all quite standard with all of the passengers. The film has its stereotypes with the dumb young black man and testosterone fueled bald white man filled with rage. Surprisingly Oscar winning actress Lupita Nyong'o is in the film as a flight attendant yet is criminally underutilized, uttering less than ten lines in the entire film, which is a damn shame. Neeson and Moore are of course the stand outs thanks to their charming charisma and great acting chops. Overall, Non-Stop is an enjoyable ride accompanied with terrific suspense and Liam Neeson's reliable on screen charisma.
When the wind rises, all things soar then plummet after being assuaged, such is the genre of animation for with the brilliant vision of Hayao Miyazaki, his final film soars, creating a bittersweet somber ending to Miyazaki's own wind. The brilliance of Hayao Miyazaki comes from his ability to handle new a creative themes not yet explored in animation, unlike the more contemporary Disney and Dreamworks, Studio Gibli combines originality with the passion of great storytelling. The Wind Rises absolutely follows the acclaimed studios reputation for brilliant storytelling yet diverges in the fantasy aspect, instead setting the film in World War II stricken Japan. This new approach strengthens the films originality and only makes the themes of dreams that much more relatable to the audience. Miyazaki's direction is brilliant, for every shot feels stricken with purpose adding depth to themes of dreams with metaphorical imagery. The animation is no exception to studio Gibli's fantastic track record, "The Wind Rises", looks simply astonishing considering the film is not strictly set in a fantasy world like, "Spirited Away", and "My Neighbor Totoro", yet still fascinates thanks to the films well realized settings and flying sequences. The dream sequences featuring an ambitious Jiro are awe inspiring in their simplicity and beauty for they are both a metaphysical dream and dream Jiro wishes to achieve at the same time. The orchestrated pieces elicit magnificence from the pure emotion it oozes from the instruments; once again studio Gibli's fantastic track record is kept in track by crafting a truly wonderful soundtrack. The characters in the film are dreamful entities of wonder being trapped in the horrid times of oppression and economic depression, contradicting their own wonders and hopes with melancholy. All of the characters voice acting is surprisingly very well done by the English cast with Joseph Gordon-Levitt stealing the show as Jiro. The man is a true movie star and the fact that he was able to become completely lost in his character is fantastic. Miyazaki's latest film, "The Wind Rises," nominated for the animated feature Oscar, happens to take that concept of the subjectivity of beauty and address it in a way that's touching, troubling, and above all, totally unique.
New life has breathed into the conventional Disney archetype with their latest feature film, Frozen, which elicits laughter, smiles, even tears and is among one of Disney's best films to come out in a long while because of the creative new themes the film explores and charming, memorable songs. Chris Buck does a fantastic job directing for every shot in Frozen is gorgeous, especially the animation which is absolutely gorgeous with all of vivid colors and imaginative character designs on display. The screenplay is solid, specializing in great comedic banter between the charters of Olaf and Sven, along with poignant emotional dialogue between Elsa and her sister Anna. While the dialogue is well done the new theme of sibling adoration is a fresh and new theme that Frozen expertly explores, not basing the films story strictly on a conventional romance between a male and female are definitely where Frozen's strengths lay. While the new theme of sibling adoration is explored in spectacular fashion, tired familiar themes such as love being the ultimate cure for Anna's frozen heart are prevalent in Frozen. There is nothing wrong with this theme and love is always a prevalent topic, however, that particular theme appears in practically every Disney film. The score is perhaps the best part of the film for the orchestrated pieces are tremendously powerful and are able to express the emption of each scene effortlessly; the original orchestrated pieces are also very memorable. The songs in the film, also, are magnificent in their lyrics, cinematography and emotion, nearly every one of the songs will reside within the viewer's mind with special attention paid to "Let it go", and "For the first time in forever". Like the songs every character in the film is expertly characterized through tremendous voice acting and animation. Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, Sven, every character is fantastic; Disney has indeed added dozens of new contenders to their large library of fantastic characters to stay. Despite some familiar themes with Disney's previous works, Frozen is a charming, poignant tale accompanied by an incredible score, great animation, amiable characters, and a solid script, a vintage classic has been born.