Noah C.'s Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Guardians of the Galaxy

It is nearly impossible to think of any other cinematic universe as grand and unique as Marvel; they simply are the masters of their craft. Six years ago Marvel studios took a ginormous risk in creating a film about the lesser known Iron Man, admittedly even I had my doubts wither this strange character would be adapted to the silver screen with success. Yet when the film finally arrived everyone, critics and audiences alike was truly amazed; Marvel had proved itself then and there soon being able to create an entire cinematic universe of strange unknown characters like Captain America , a boy scout who wears red white and blue spandex and Thor, a god who dresses like a male stripper. Fox and Sony took the most well-known Marvel characters and left Marvel studios with the bottom of the barrel marvel characters; six years later the studio has made an entire empire out the seemingly strangest Marvel characters thanks to one thing, their ability to gamble and reek major benefits from those chances thanks to a skillful understanding of the characters and an undeniable sense of adventure to their pictures. However, Captain America, Thor and Iron Man were considerably more main stream than Marvels next ambitious project; which is not only set in space but also stars a walking talking raccoon and essentially an Ent from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, a talking tree. Guardians of the Galaxy was the name of the newest film they would produce and I along with millions of Marvel fans were left scratching their heads in utter confusion. I could somewhat see how Thor could be adapted successfully but this?! Suspecting the film to bomb miserably I went into this midnight release quite skeptical as to what would be in store for me; pardon my French but holy shit this movie was fucking insane! Easily one of the best times I have ever had in the movie theater for Guardians of the Galaxy is my favorite Marvel studios film of all-time. An extremely bold statement yet it holds true for me considering how big of a risk this movie was to make; director James Gunn certainly knew this and decided to create a tone of unflinching self-awareness where the films primary tone adopted a good old fashion 80's comedic style where jokes are constantly being spewed by every character. My favorite part of the film was this brilliant tone which was such a departure from most Marvel films, nearly all the jokes land perfectly and every Guardian has their own stand out scene. Out of all five Guardians my favorites definitely were a three way tie between Groot, Rocket and Peter Quill I simply cannot decide, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper and Chris Pratt are just spectacular. This film just brings out the child in me which is the best compliment I can give to this superhero film. Worst part is easily the lackluster villain in Ronan and a somewhat muddled second act but all of that is insignificant compared to the pure brilliance of the rest of the film. Marvel studios, their risk takers metaphorically their the idiots dumb enough to bet all in on the poker table of credibility and success wither that takes bravery or stupidity, it don't matter because their bet certainly paid off for that is why I love Marvel so much; Guardians of the Galaxy marks a new age for Marvel where not even the sky is the limit only bravery.


Rarely can a film ever have the opportunity to boast, that it is a cinematic mile stone for move making; a cinematic marvel of creativity and directing. You can practically count every film that has changed cinema forever on ten fingers simply because of the rarity of the occurrence. Fritz Lang's, Metropolis changed the way movies approached art direction with its radically bold and creative utopian setting. Orson Welles's Citizen Kane wildly altered how a films directing can speak just as much as storytelling; Francis Ford Coppolla's , The Godfather mastered compelling drama and finally Quentin Tarintino's Pulp Fiction showed that linearity in storytelling is not a requirement and in fact nonlinearity can strengthen a films narrative. I acknowledge there are many more films a have omitted from this legendary achievement list, however, these films are just the ones that automatically come to mind when viewing cinemas history as a cohesive whole. For me personally it has been nearly 20 years since a truly revolutionary cinematic achievement has been released that was entirely unique and in fact changed the craft by introducing something incredibly daring and new. However, on July 25th 2014 at Cinema 21, in the city of Portland Oregon, I Noah Clark witnessed cinematic history right before my very eyes. That film is Dwayne the Rock Johnson's Hercules which changed cinematic history forever with its compelling characters and masterful storytelling, just kidding. The film I am of course referring to in Richard Linklater's Boyhood which chronicled the life a young boy from infancy all the way to college, hence the title Boyhood. Sounds like pretty standard stuff yet the brilliant catch is the film took 12 years to make, maintaining the same cast throughout all of those years. What initially sparked my interest was of course the premise but when the reviews came in I was shocked; 99% from Rotten Tomatoes, 9/10 from IMDb and a score of 100 from Metacritic, these kinds of reviews were simply unheard of. When finishing the film myself and hundreds of other moviegoers gave a standing ovation to the brilliance we had witnessed, for Boyhood is an excellent film and certainly one of the best of the year. To me the aspect of Boyhood that resonated the most with me was Mason's childhood which consisted of Dragon Ball Z, Gameboy, going to my mom's during the week and Dads on the weekends and doing poorly in school. It was extraordinary to see Ellar Coltrane view the world as innocently as children usually do and gradually grow to change his perception and ask philosophical questions that one might ask about life. The entire cast is fantastic with Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and Ellar Coltrane deserving serious Oscar consideration for their commitment and wonderful honesty that lie in their performances are what add to the authenticity of this film. On a technical stand point Linklater did a stellar job on maintain the same visual resolution throughout the years. The best part of this film is the masterpiece of a script for Linklater's original script is masterful in its realism. My only problem is quite trivial yet significant for me personally and that is my inability to relate to Mason as he grew up past age 14 which is a large chunk of the film which made it hard to be sucked into the film. Linkater's Boyhood is a near masterpiece of cinema that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

The Prestige
The Prestige(2006)

The entire world has advanced of the past several years with new inventions and new ideas constantly evolving our society as a result. When it comes to filmmaking, time has both changed the craft of movie making with new techniques on how to make a movie yet the age old tradition of framing shots and telling stories for film has always stayed constant throughout history. Usually when you ask a person who their favorite directors are they will most likely say someone like Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, etc.; point being classic filmmakers have become legendary while current filmmakers obviously have not heralded the same kind of cultural admiration. With that in mind, I can say with an utmost confidence that the best current filmmaker of the 21st century is the magnificent Christopher Nolan. What can I say; the man is an absolute genius when it comes to how to make a movie. The key to Nolan's success as an artist is his understanding that to make groundbreaking original films he has to first give into the studio and make a film for the masses, in return granting him the ability to make his own films. In 2005 Nolan made the critically acclaimed Batman Begins for Warner Brothers, his studio film. Begins was monumental success that instantly placed Nolan atop the mount Olympus of cinema. After having given the studio their blockbuster Nolan was given the freedom to make any movie he felt would fulfill his artistic vision; for in 2006 Christopher Nolan released The Prestige as his follow up to Batman Begins, reteaming with collaborators Christian Bale and Michael Caine. Having seen the entire Dark Knight trilogy, Memento and Inception I instantly wanted to find more films by Nolan and happened to stumble upon The Prestige while shopping for Blu-Ray's. I was aware of the premise at the time, two rival magicians competing with one another, but that was it. The whole magician idea just oozed with originality and when I finished watching this film an immediate satisfaction enveloped me, for The Prestige is a very good film, yet quite sadly not a masterpiece. Initially the way the film would skip between the past and present was somewhat frustrating because unlike, say True Detective, it was difficult to determine what was past and what was present; however, when I finished the film all became clear. The entire time I watched the film I was aware a twist may be incorporated somehow in the end, that would make everything clear, yet when the twist came I was sadly underwhelmed. With the bad out of the way I can now discussed what I liked about the film, first and foremost being the tight script. I was always interested in the both characters admiration to steal each other's tricks to achieve the best allusion of all; very compelling stuff. Nolan's visuals are of course eye candy and the performances delivered from the cast are of course top notch as well. Overall, the good far out way the bad for this film. There is a reason Christopher Nolan has received such acclaim for his work, simply because he Is a genius. He mixes together brilliantly original concepts with most importantly, a great script, to form a cinematic marvel. In my opinion, The Prestige, is one of Nolan's less impressive films simply because it is not quite as thought provoking as his other work, yet this film is still an achievement in its own right.

The Congress
The Congress(2014)

Art-house pictures are some of the trickiest films to pull off correctly due to their abstract nature. They can either succeed at the allegorical message they are trying to convey or fail miserably at bringing forth any kind of meaning. Fourth dimensionally, I interpret the art-house genre as a giant puzzle of imagery and sounds that when correctly assembled together can lead to a truly transformative viewing experience that can change the way an individual interprets the world around him as well as himself. This year alone Johnathan Glazer's, Under the Skin and Denis Villeneuve's Enemy have been two pictures within that genre that gave me enough pieces to successfully interpret their films and absolutely adore them; I enjoyed Under the Skin to such an extent that it ranks as my favorite movie of the entire year of 2014. However those successful examples are an extremely rare occasion for a large majority of art-house films often come off as pretentious because the film makers give you only one piece to a hundred piece puzzle expecting you to solve their films hidden allegorical messages; fuck all these metaphors what I'm trying to say is that sometimes directors make films that are confusing, just for the sake of being confusing, which they believe translates to art. Foolishly I ignored my own advice about art-house flicks and set my expectations for greatness for Ari Folman's The Congress which looked extremely interesting to me. A world where actresses an actors are digitally captured on computers for studios to place within any film they wanted was perhaps the most original concept for a movie I've ever heard of, mostly because of how meta that idea really is. One immediate issue I found with the film is that Robin Wright plays Robin Wright; simple enough, except Paul Giamati, Jon Hamm, Harvey Keitel and Danny Huston all play characters, not themselves, let the confusion commence. After a rocky first 40 minutes I was expecting the film to explore how specific studios exploited individuals that lacked control and was quite excited to see how the film would explore that idea yet the director took a giant shit on that idea when Robin quite confusingly enters an animated acid trip world and from there on out any attempt at piecing together a cohesive story can go out the window, for this movie is simply about nothing. It is a goddamn mess that never contains one simple thing, focus. Robin is always shifting from location to location with seemingly no explanation and every character she meets is extremely forgettable and dull. One moment her hands turn into giant wings and literally 30 seconds later a plane crashes and Robin has graphic plant sex with another forgettable piece of shit animator. You might be thinking, oh Noah, you see the plants represent life and, shut up with that shit subtlety is what this film lacks, it is the textbook definition of artsy vomit. My only two positives for this film are the admittedly amazing premise (that never goes anywhere) and the pretty animation on display; other than that this film is pure trash. Not only is this film bad, but much worse than bad it is just extremely disappointing. A fantastically great movie is hidden among the mediocrity of this film. With more focus and less narcissism from the director this could be a great film, unfortunately as is, this stands as the absolute worst film I have seen in 2014


In my opinion the biggest difference between a good movie and a great one is unpredictability and originality both of which individually are great, yet when mixed together into one cinematic viewing experience truly transcend a films quality for me. When you see as many movies as I have you tend pick up on an unhealthy amount of clichés that make a film predictable and boring and when a film is unoriginal such as any film starring Bruce Willis nowadays, my enjoyment of that film nosedives into disappointment. Allegorical pieces of film that try to make statements about our society as a whole are nearly a genre in itself for so many films deal with this issue; Neill Blomkamp's most recent science fiction which came out last year, Elysium, was one such example of a film of this genre that contained an original idea that was tainted with painfully obvious predictability. Not even a year after Elysium another science fiction film about societal class has been released in the form of Snowpiercer. When I first witnessed the marketing campaign for this film I thought it was an interesting idea, a post-apocalyptic world that was accidently frozen after trying to stop global warming; quite an interesting concept yet I was terribly cautious about how the final product would turn out because of the dozens upon dozens of films that had a great initial set up, only to shit all over it, like most famously The Purge. But to my surprise the film was extremely well received by practically everyone so I decided to give it I shot despite my admitted apathy going into this film. After finishing the film I immediately wanted to make a formal apology to director Joon-ho Bong (try saying that ten times fast) for this film is flat out awesome. It is unpredictable and a brilliantly developed allegory about society as a whole and the natural balance of the world. Different classes were quite literal placed in different levels of the train with the wealthiest in the front and the poorest in the back. It was exciting to see what each new sector of the train would bring as our main protagonist pushes onward. The reason this film is unpredictable is that anyone can die, in 99% of movies when a character played by a famous actor has a gun to their head they miraculously escape, not in this film; anyone is expendable which I very much appreciated. The final outcome of the film I was able to predict but there was a nice twist in the end that led to a bittersweet finale. While the entire cast is great it is Chris Evans who steals the show; he is the best I have ever seen him for his performances taciturn quality is what ultimately leads to his greatness. Another stand out of this film is Bong extremely skillful direction, creating a living breathing world in the confines of very small individual sets. My only negative is some of the really dull supporting characters that are entirely forgettable. In a summer filled with explosive blockbusters, it is refreshing to see a blockbuster more subtle and more thought provoking than expected. The best kind of film is one that raises questions and promotes discussion which I believe this film definitely achieves. Upon reflecting on 2014's best films of not only the summer but of the entire year Joon-ho Bong's Snowpiercer will definitely stand among the best of the year

The Raid 2
The Raid 2(2014)

There will always be a special place in my heart for the 70's kung fu films which contained bad English dubbing and cheesy storylines yet never refused to attack audience's senses with bombastic action sequences that required skill and expert timing to pull off. Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan revolutionized the genre with their own physical commitment to their martial arts; with Chan breaking almost every bone in his body, just to perfectly enhance the pictures quality. Now In the current era of film one of the prime examples of "cool" fight scenes is fights such as Neo against agent Smith. While visually impressive, obviously almost the entire fight was achieved with computer generated effects and wires which instantly diminishes the admiration I can give to that film for the effort simply is not there. However, in 2011 director Gareth Evans brought to movie audiences everywhere a small independent film, made with just $1.1 million, The Raid: Redemption. While the miniscule budget certainly affected the look of the film it in no way hindered the actual action itself, which required more thought and creativity from the entire film crew. Iko Uwais absolutely nailed all of his matial arts fights and overall did a stellar job. My only problem with that film was the monotony of some of the fights due to all of them taking place in the same location and the uninvolved story that was compacted with dozens of clichés. Three years later Evans is back with The Raid 2: Berendal which absolutely annihilates the first film in every single way for not only is The Raid 2 one of the best films of 2014 but it has now taken the top spot for my favorite action film of all time edging out Terminator 2: Judgment Day. It's almost as if Gareth Evans read my review for his previous film and corrected every fault in the film that detracted me from the experience. Evans fixed my first problem being the lousy story, by actually creating a very compelling undercover cop, rival family, godfather type narrative that finds our main hero Rama stuck right in the middle of. Every fight felt integral to the plot this time around and had real suspense rather than just extending the run time like the previous film. Monotony also dies with this new film for Rama is constantly moving from different locations; to a prison to a karaoke club to a highway to a Bejo's hide out, there is an insane amount of locational and chorographical variety. I cannot find a single thing wrong with this picture which usually never happens to me and in fact this film being 2hr 30min long was indeed too short for this movie; I actually wish the film was 3hr 30min long, I just didn't want this movie to end! Instead of reflecting on the films negatives I will state my favorite fight scene in the film, that being when Rama is facing four of Uco's men inside a very small car with dynamic chorography, Evans you are truly a master director to pull that off with such style. The Raid 2: Berendal is one of the best action films ever made for it combines masterful fight scenes with a great story which is a formula hard to pull off in the action genre. Iko Uwais is our generations new Bruce Lee and Gareth Evans is our generations John Woo for this film is simply a perfect movie.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Throughout my 16 years of film watching, particular film series always capture my imagination the most due to their epic scope and exciting cinematic universes. As cliché as it may seem Star Wars is indeed a series of films that are truly more than just films, they are seeds for unlocking deeply rooted imaginations; I was never the same after I had not watched, yet rather experienced Star Wars. While I have seen dozens of films apart of dozens of different series my all-time favorite has and always will be the brilliant Planet of the Apes saga. When sitting down with my mom and dad experiencing the original 1968 classic at the age of five, even my ridiculous mind thought the initial conception of walking talking apes sounded ridiculous; wither or not that concept is or is not ridiculous is a completely subjective question. I for one was never bothered by this idea because it represents humanity's inverse evolution when it destroys itself with war and hatred, thus making monkeys and not humans the dominate being on planet earth, I feel it's just brilliant. However, with the exception of Escape from the Planet of the Apes each of the subsequent sequels were lackluster due to their lack of imagination and uninteresting plot lines; the less said about Tim Burton's turd stain reboot the better. In the year 2011 the franchise was yet again rebooted with a large amount of success both critically and financially with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which contained a compelling storyline and most importantly a great script. Now 3 years later in the summer of 2014 the sequel to Rise was released to near universal acclaim with many calling it one of the best in the series. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a solid summer blockbuster with plenty of dazzling action sequences to impress even the most conservative film goer. First I will begin with the positives of this film for there are quite a lot. Undoubtedly the best part of the film is just observing this colony of apes on screen for it is incredibly well executed with mostly mute mammals conveying a variety of emotions through just sine language. Andy Serkis, who plays Ceasar, again does a stellar job with his motion capture work by delivering realistic ape movements and just an all-around good performance; to quote Roddy McDowall in Conquest, "Long live the king!". The story itself contains one or two great twists yet surprisingly is of a much smaller scale which is a brave and bold move. Finally the soundtrack decided to incorporate the old Planet of the Apes score into this soundtrack which I absolutely adored. Unfortunately the negatives of this film diminish the quality of this film quite a bit for me first in foremost the dialogue between the human characters, and the human characters themselves being entirely to cliché and stupid, I would have preferred the film dealing entirely with the apes. My last major gripe is the first half of the film being quite frankly dull whenever the apes are not on screen. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is definitely a very good picture that does a solid job progressing the narrative of this new series with success. I'd be lying if I said I was not excited for the next film, yet if they are unable to improve the staleness of their human characters than forget about it.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Essentially there are two kinds of films in this world, the small budgeted story driven films and blockbuster; while this may seem oversimplified it is simply the truth. From a critical perspective only a hand full of blockbusters have stood the test of time, and have gained the propensity to stand amongst legendary films like the Godfather. Several examples include Jaws, Jurassic Park, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, which are all not only entertaining, but emotionally engaging as well. Every one of those films had smart scripts, great stories and most importantly heart stopping excitement. Both film critics and audiences alike adore these kinds of films that are both wickedly entertaining and though provoking. Nowadays most blockbusters are highly forgettable and frowned upon by nearly every viewer because of their bad scripts, bad characters, bad storylines, bad everything. However, there is no other blockbuster franchise that rolls more eyes and regurgitates more vomit than Michael Bay's, Transformers franchise. Personally I felt the first film was great; it was exciting and contained a good story, despite some shaky dialogue. Revenge of the Fallen, was certainly entertaining yet contained even more sophomoric humor such as one transformer having wrecking balls for testicles; Dark of the Moon, while containing a stronger initial plot line, was simply too melancholy and monotonous for its own good. Now three years after the franchises previous installment, Michael bay has more or less breathed new life into the franchise with a brand new cast of characters and new transformers designs and characters. Let's get this out of the way right now; this movie is dumb as hell, the dialogue is laugh inducing, "These alien guns kick ass!", and yet again a McGuffin propels the dull story along. Despite the films inherent stupidity this movie is still supremely entertaining for I cannot deny the guilty pleasure aspect of robots fighting and bad one liners satisfying my inner child. Everyone is hating on this film because of its admittedly long 165 minute run time and stupid nature but that really is what transformers is all about, for god sakes they're robots that transform into vehicles and fight each other, what more do you want. The horrific dialogue and script do not bother me as much as everyone else because for me it simply adds to the charm of these films. You have your Godfathers and you have your Transformers it's as simple as that. Michael Bay as always nails the action of the robots fighting yet chugs at story and characters its same old Michael Bay. Mark Wahlberg is infinitely better than Shia LaBeouf for the mans on screen charisma is badass as always and I find Cade Yeager to be a more unique and badass individual, hell he actually battles Lockdown one on one, what a badass mother fucker! Besides Stanley Tucci and TJ Miller the rest of the cast well, sucks, with generic Michael Bay model #546 Nicola Peltz negatively stereotyping females in film, yet even she adds to the charm of Transformers: Age of Extinction. The newest entry of the Transformers franchise is the very definition of a guilty pleasure film, it contains a dreadfully screenplay and storyline yet is entertaining as hell when it comes to the films action and special effects. While it may not be the most though provoking film of the summer it is undoubtedly one of the most fun and entertaining thrill rides of 2014.

The Godfather, Part II

It is practically common knowledge among film nerds that a large majority of sequels to critically acclaimed films result in mediocrity for nearly every sequel is usually far inferior to the original. The reason sequels usually are not as good as the originals is because filmmakers often don't know what worked about the original and end of either retreading the same exact plot of the first film or making a huge tone shift from the original. One example of a sequel that does retread the first film exactly is Back to the Future Part II which quite literally shows the exact same footage as the first film just with different perspectives. While there are many awful sequels like Superman IV the Quest for Peace and Star Wars Episode I the Phantom Menace, there are several amazing sequels like Star Wars Episode V the Empire Strikes Back and The Dark Knight. Every great sequel explores the depth of their characters even more with new and unique stories rather than retreading old ideas and perhaps the greatest sequel of all time is Francis Ford Coppola's follow up to his masterpiece, The Godfather, with The Godfather Part II. I was given the privilege of witnessing both Part I and Part II in theaters with a 6 hour and 30 minute Godfather marathon; while certainly long seeing both back to back perfectly displays the uprising and downfall of Don Vito Corleone's son Michael who I personally view as not only the main character but also the most complex and memorable. The Godfather Part II parallels two separate characters' lives, Vito and son Michael Corleone which besides creating a more unique narrative also serves to further contrast the moral state of both men. Coppola could have easily just focused on Michael's story yet he understood the importance of Michael's own moral suicide, so to further express that aspect of the character the director chose to show the early life of Vito Corleone as a more morally respectable man. The characters of this universe are incredibly well realized while always feeling like real people for it is the characters that make The Godfather series such a memorable addition to the gangster genre. Of course the man behind the camera is the person responsible for creating such a fantastic film and that is writer, producer and director Francis Ford Coppola who is practically a god among film fanatics. He is a true artist of presentation for every single frame of this film humongous 3 hour and 20 minute running time is meticulously crafted aided exponentially by the beautiful soundtrack that easily is on my top five favorite soundtracks of all time. The presentation of Part II and Part I for that matter is the true definition of masterful. My one piece of criticism for this entry in the series is simply that Michael's general plot line is somewhat convolutedly told with not a whole lot of explanation to certain characters and or events, I felt the first film was much stronger in terms of general plot. While The Godfather is indeed a better film, that goes without saying considering the original is a masterpiece of cinema; however the fact that The Godfather Part II is almost as good as the original is an incredible feet because it means that this film is an amazing film. The Godfather Part I-II both culminate into a historic achievement in American film making that is nearly flawless.

The Fighter
The Fighter(2010)

Many consider the sports genre to be the most conventional and generic, including myself; yet when a capable director is given the ability to transcend their given genre into several sub genres with layers and depth, that is when the sports genre truly soars and can create fantastically memorable films. One sub-genre of sports that I consider to have the best library of films is boxing, because of not only the brutal intensity of the sport itself, but the lives of the boxers themselves outside of the ring being incredibly interesting. With Martin Scorsese's, Raging Bull, we saw a man who could not contain his own primal animal persona outside of the ring; and with Clint Eastwood's, Million Dollar Baby, we saw a former boxing coach unable to develop close connections with other people because of his fear of losing them. Of course there are many more films that I didn't mention like Rocky and Cinderella Man but those two are what I consider to be the most profoundly moving. Six years after Eastwood's film, Director David O. Russell tried his hand at creating his own unique outing in the boxing genre with, The Fighter. Yes, a somewhat generic title yet when examined with more scrutiny the title perfectly encapsulates what the main character, Mickey Ward, must do not only inside the ring but outside of the ring; to endure through his family's insanity and help his older brother Dickey, who is a crack addict. Mark Wahlberg, who plays Mickey Ward, fought for years to get this film made so he could tell this story and it shows for Wahlberg is on the top of his game in this film, nailing Ward's mannerisms perfectly and gaining-losing weight accordingly, matching Wards current emotional state. While Wahlberg's commitment to his role is prevalent, it is Christian Bale who plays Dickey Ward, who truly gives it his all both physically and mentally; earing an academy award for best supporting actor in the process for his incredible commitment to the role. Bale dropped a considerable amount of weight and had certain intensity in his face because of the crack, which never assuages. I believed this man was a lunatic, which is the highest compliment I could give to Bale for he was just spectacular in this role. Actresses Melisa Leo and Amy Adams were also great as well as convincing as both Wards mother and girlfriend respectively. Unsurprisingly one of the best aspects of the film is the direction of magnificently talented David O. Russell. Almost every director has the fights recorded inside the ring; however Russell films all of his fights pay per view style with the resolution dropping and the framing of each shot like a commercial boxing match which was a unique and fresh take on filming a boxing fight. Stallone similarly did the same style as Russell with his film Rocky Balboa which benefited the realism of that film as well. Even outside of the ring Russell manages to have has blocking and lighting not only perfectly represent Boston but also his characters; overall, stellar directing from David O. Russell. My only issue with the film is the somewhat slow pacing of the 2nd act which brought down my enjoyment a bit. Overall, not only is The Fighter a great boxing film but it is also just a great film in general that despite its conventional and predictable ending transcends its genre by adding real depth to a somewhat typical story, which is what great film making is all about.

The Fault In Our Stars

The 21st century has produced many thought provoking and brilliantly made films like, There Will Be Blood, Under the Skin, Her and The Departed; all of which served a primary purpose of invigorating audiences imaginations and eliciting discussion from their thought provoking concepts and executions. However, for every movie celebrating artistry of filmmaking there are five more films that were adapted from popular young adult novels, made purely to generate easy millions due to the pre-established fan base and demographics. The two genres that are most commonly produced nowadays are the comic book genre and young adult novel genre, both of which have overstayed their welcome for years. My main issue with these films is that the niche romance plot of 90% of them is completely vomit inducing because of the tired clichés and conventions of the unoriginal source material. Only a handful of films such as Harry Potter and The Hunger Games have managed to impress me thanks to their impressive mythology's and lack of clichés; as well as being able to tell interesting and fun stories. That is not the case for the newest young adult novel adapted to the big screen, The Fault in Our Stars, which boasts about being unconventional and daringly original; An Abercrombie and Fitch looking model with cancer falls in love with another Abercrombie and Fitch looking model with cancer. "Cancer" is simply a McGuffin for author John Green to cover the fact that his novel is just as generic as any other "love story". Films like Her and Blue Valentine are two films that truly defy the conventions of typical romance stories thanks to one incredibly important aspect, realism. Both films display the melancholy life itself brings, financial problems trust issues, yet this film does none of that. The two star crossed lovers nearly instantly fall in love with no issue what so ever. Our male protagonist Gus, stares at our Hazel for several minutes straight, in the real world women would think this man is some kind of perverted sex offender yet in the wonderful land of The Fault in Our Stars, this is completely normal. While easy on the eyes I never felt these two had any chemistry because of how hastily constructed the film was; both of whom are pretentious, more so Gus, they feel that just because they use fancy words they are somehow special or unique, guess what, assuage, taciturn, prerogative, anyone can use fancy words. The fact the film elicited such hatred from me is truly mind-blowing. The two best parts of the film are undoubtedly John Greens unique and corky writing and the wonderfully charming performance of Shailene Woodley as Hazel Grace Lancaster. While I don't love Green's story I love his many unique metaphors delivered through Hazel that are surprisingly truthful in their honesty and creativity. Woodley elicited many warm smiles from myself in her charm as well. Undoubtedly the worst part of the film is Ansel Elgort who was completely miscast as Gus. His performance was completely one note and unconvincingly delivered the sophisticated writing of Green, for he just came off as annoying. John Green's, The Fault in Our Stars, is probably a good novel yet its adaptation to the silver screen was just horribly disappointing and quite frankly bad. Millions of teenage women love this film and novel as well my ages demographic, I'm quite sorry but my demographic lies else where.


Ever since the early 1900's, the primary purpose movies serve to the general public has been and still is, to purely entertain. Escapism is what many of us crave to leave or current status in society or our lives entirely. During the dust bowl, film was most crucial to the American public because of the melancholy their lives produced. Nearly eighty years later, what were once generic two dimensional stories of good guy vs bad guy, has now evolved into true works of art that can profoundly impact the way an audience member perceives their very existence. While the so called, "Mainstream", moviegoers still gravitate towards the same kind of unchallenging intellectually, escapism films of the early 1900's, a very small minority of film enthusiasts including myself seek different kinds of films to fulfill are film "high", so to speak. Nothing pleases me more than a film that requires me to take a second look to truly understand the meaning of a film. Last year, Only God Forgives, was the film that I felt best fulfilled my requirements for good cinema in its many underlying metaphors. The film really did not have a story, yet rather played events out to illustrate ideas. This year in 2014, director Denis Villeneuve who directed my fifth favorite film of 2013, Prisoners, comes back to release Enemy; an often frustrating film that consistently displays seemingly random imagery of women with spiders for heads, women turning into spiders and giant spiders traversing over Toronto Canada. Weird shit, I know, yet when given multiple viewings and hours upon hours of analysis that brilliance of Enemy can be discovered thus making a seemingly good psychological thriller into a masterpiece. Let me get this clear straight off the bat, this is not a film I would recommend for casual viewing this a pure and simple a text book psychological thriller with art house aspects spread throughout the film. Villeneuve has stated in nearly every interview of the film that Enemy is an exploration of Adam Bell-Anthony Claire's subconscious, played by Jake Gyllenhaal; is that plot point illustrated well? Despite the obvious giant spiders roaming around, it is somewhat difficult to determine when Adam is either in his mind or reality which is in my opinion a good aspect of the film. The Direction from Denis Villeneuve is stellar and easily takes the cake for being the best aspect of this film. The lighting and blocking of every single scene is gorgeously crafted and is simply marvelous to behold. The eerie score surely elicited fear and paranoia from myself; the overall presentation of Enemy is purely stellar. Thankfully the script for this film contains no obvious clichés and often challenges the audience to assemble the puzzle of this film and respects them enough not to spell out the entire film for them. Overall a good script that is both clever yet also frustrating at times. Finally the main performance delivered from Jake Gyllenhaal further solidifies his mastery of acting and his movie star quality; he is not just a pretty face, but an artist as well. Denis Villeneuve's, Enemy can either be loved or hated by audiences due to the films inherent oxymoronic nature. I myself have a deep respect for this film. Not necessarily because it exists but what it represents for the film medium. Enemy proves that a film can be both good cinema and fascinating art.

22 Jump Street

It seemed like a risky idea at first, rebooting a popular television show called 21 Jump Street with Johnny Depp for a new audience. Many laughed at the idea some rolled their eyes and a small minority of individuals, including myself questioned, "What's 21 Jump Street". While many fans and critics were skeptical of the overall quality this film would deliver all those doubts were soon cast aside when the film was released on March 16th 2012. I vividly remember myself desperately gasping for oxygen throughout the majority of the experience, for I used it all up from laughing uncontrollably; truly there is no experience quite like it. Phil Lord and Chris Miller's direction was stylish and edgy as well as the chemistry shared between actors Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum being unparalleled. 21 acknowledged the clichéism of the plot and gleefully acknowledged them, which added an extra layer of sophistication to an otherwise generic plot line. Ever since the lights went up on March 16th I've consistently viewed the film several times, every couple of months, which is an extreme rarity for a comedy. Now 2 years later the cleverly titled sequel, 22 Jump Street has arrived, and oh boy does it deliver in spades for not only is this film better than the original yet also the best comedy of 2014 thus far, dethroning the previous victor Neighbors. The brilliance of this sequel lies yet again in its ability to acknowledge the tiredness of sequels and the lack of creativity in basically doing the same film twice. The film explores almost the exact same plot points at almost the exact same times; before Jonah Hill was popular now Channing Tatum is popular. Yet due to the clever, self-referential nature of the film and its ability to explore new plot lines; the story in this film easily outshines the original in nearly every facet. While it is difficult to determine how much of Hill and Tatum's dialogue exchanges were either scripted or improvised, one things for sure, those two know how to make an audience laugh their asses off. Their delivery of the films dialogue and jokes is incredibly funny due to their inherent ability for skillfully expressing themselves when delivering the hysterical dialogue. One major problem that comedies have a difficult time overcoming is not giving up all of the best comedic moments in the film within the trailer thus spoiling perhaps the best parts of the film in the trailer; and unfortunately 22 does spoil a whole lot of great bits in its trailer. Had I not known that Hill was going to place a grenade down his shorts only to have Tatum yank on his penis to try and find that grenade, I would have truly died laughing in the theater. While the trailer did spoil many great bits, the film simply had too many funny moments to compact into one trailer so in that regard the film was saved from being entirely spoiled within the marketing campaign. Sequels to popular films can only go one of two ways it can either be better than the original or in many cases much worse than the original. However, thanks to the brilliance of Lord and Miller they not only met the high standard of their predecessor but surpassed it; thanks to a hilariously self-referential script, great laughs and fantastic comedic chemistry between Hill and Tatum, 22 Jump Street easily takes the cake for being the best comedy of 2014.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

The western genre unfortunately is a vanishing art form whose abundance in the 1950's and 1960's, has now been replaced by the new oversaturation of superhero hero films. Truly is there is one genre that will be synonymous with the early 2000's, it will indeed be the comic book genre. Many genres were able to survive the turn of the century including drama, comedy, action adventure, hell even the traditional musical has been reborn, yet the once prevailing western is nearly extinct now; why is that? Some may argue their inherent cheesiness is the culprit, others point to low box office returns for the genre; whatever the reason, there are simply not many nowadays. That sad truth is all the more grueling when recollecting on 1969's, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid which is a classic example of a traditional adventure that is lacking in many so called adventure films of the current era. The two main protagonists are both badass and lovably endearing, both qualities audiences tend to gravitate towards and generally love. I myself found both characters unapologetically nonchalant and admirable in how they refuse to conform into societies set roles for them which a bold decision in both men's parts. Undeniably both outlaws are prime examples of what it means to be an outlaw as well as a westerner. That in mind adapting these two to the silver screen appeared to be a daunting task to any filmmaker, yet in the more than capable hands of director George Ray Hill this is a complete non-issue. Hill took a humongous risk in editing a significant amount of his film with comedic montages such as the famous bike ride with Etta and Butch, while B.J.Thomas's, Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head plays in the background; among several other chase sequences with "hokey music playing in the background'. Yet the risk paid off, in my opinion, due to inherent flamboyancy of the two characters themselves, Butch more so. Because Butch and Sundance rob trains there is bound to be dynamite involved and oh boy does Hill know how to direct, not only explosions with style, but nearly every scene in the film. The Dull dreariness of the western front is instead, replaced with stylish jump cuts, unconventional editing and most importantly originality. Without the obligatory colt revolvers, cowboy hats and cacti, one would never presume this would be the visual style of a western. Overall the incredible risk of Hill's directing made the film better as a result superb directing. A hasty screenplay results in a constant pace and interesting turns in the story, a great screenplay as well. Finally the duo of Paul Newman and Robert Redford are quite simply spectacular, definitely one of the best buddy pairings of all time. Both play off of both the characters and the actor's strengths and weaknesses for both bring something incredibly different to the pairing, Redford nonchalant badassery and Newman irresistible Sauvé. Wither it be there performances or generally charisma both actors are excellent. Every time I see films like The Good the Bad and the Ugly or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid I am consistently reminded of the brilliance of the western genre. Upon great scrutiny I have come to the realization that the reason genre is dead is that very few directors contain the skill to pull off a great western, a quality that certainly holds true for Hill's, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow

Within the history of film, the science fiction genre has often been dismissed by audiences and scrutinized the most by critics because of some of their inherent absurdity. These films combine majesty with science to create new or alternate futures, pasts etc; that can obtain the propensity to become truly thought provoking such as Stanley Kubrick's, 2001 A Space Odyssey. Kubrick defied the genre conventions of traditional science fiction by crafting a film that was both engaging and totally original; the ideal science fiction experience. However, the boldness of this genre is only captured sparingly by a handful of filmmakers whom are able to manipulate relevant societal concerns with daring new takes on fresh ideas. Unfortunately, every one great science fiction film is greeted with half a dozen mediocre ones, which are simply an exploit for special effects, trying to plagiarize successful previous formulas such as Star Wars, to make large sums of money; and that is exactly what the marketing for Tom Cruise's new science fiction film, Edge of Tomorrow, initial appeared to be. Generic posters and trailers did not help peak my interest in this film because of the seemingly dry plot and tone. My oh my was I horribly wrong, for Doug Liman's, Edge of Tomorrow, is a wickedly smart science fiction film filled with dazzling special effects, rambunctious wit and above all else an original idea. Every single viewer who has either seen or heard of Bill Murray's, Groundhog Day will automatically know the rudimentary premise behind this film, a man is forced to relive the same day over and over again with seemingly no end I sight. Of course this films twist is a welcome change, instead of using this gimmick as simply a gimmick; it is used as a primary McGuffin for the story. The brilliance of this film lies in its ability to manipulate old ideas to bring forth unique storytelling. Liman, whom had previously directed, The Bourne Identity and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, displays his full range as both a visual storyteller and action director, for nearly every action scene is filmed well. The use of shaky cam is prevalent in many of the films action sequences, while appropriate fitting the setting of a chaotic war, it is honestly distracting at times for the best directed sequences in the film are when Cage is consistently getting killed and reappearing in the exact situation seconds later; surprisingly comedic editorial touches make this film a solid directorial effort from Liman. Both the best and worst aspects of this film lie in the screenplay, which is complemented with original storytelling yet butchered because of stereotypical plot points, (all the aliens dying yet again Phantom Menace style) and forgettable side characters; overall a good script with enormous locked potential. Predictably, Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt are stellar in their roles for both are always completely convincing and never seem to be apathetic in their performances; Cruise and Blunt both enhance the experience of viewing this film and the film itself with their charming on screen chemistry. What many, myself included, thought was going to be Oblivion 2, aka another generic and stupid science fiction film starring Tom Cruise; turned out to be so much more. Thought provoking is word I use sparingly with this genre yet this film achieves that praise. Edge of Tomorrow is a wickedly smart movie with excellent wit and storytelling, brought down only by basic science fiction conventions.

The Raid: Redemption

Classic kung fu action films of the 1970's were a brilliant mix of expertly crafted choreography and intense action. It is since become a lost art form due to the complications of filming such intense one on one combat between actors. While these satirical kung fu films had exhilarating fight, they largely lacked an emotional core or even a decent story not ridden with clichés. Fortunately there are still action directors today who are up to the excruciating challenge of constructing these incredibly difficult to shoot kung fu films. Director Gareth Evans truly understands how to construct several minute long fight sequences between actors that are not only visually appealing but also undeniably compelling to watch. Often many kung fu films of old as well as some more recent films, have filmed there action scenes in one take, which is, as you can imagine, one of the most difficult things a director can shoot. Evans rarely keeps the camera on his actors for more than ten seconds due to the constant pace of the film which is always continuous; he instead opts for dangerously close framing of his scenes with his actors, as they relentlessly cover each other with bruises and cuts. Undoubtedly the stand out sequence of the film is the fight in which Rama, played by Iko Uwais, is backed up in a corner and must face down four men with machetes. Because the film never abandons all of its realism, the fight is truly an on the edge of your seat, nerve racking experience for its nearly five minute run time. This fight perfectly shows off the skill of the actors, the majesty of the choreography and the expertise of Evans blocking, lighting, framing and overall direction. Obviously because The Raid: Redemption is a foreign language film, there are two mass produced versions of the film, the English Dubbed version and the English subtitled version. Like many foreign language films that were dubbed in English, the dubbing for The Raid: Redemption is simply awful because of the overacted voice work that in no way matches the characters themselves or correctly syncing with the actors lips; the experience of viewing this film will be far better if it is viewed as it was originally intended. Surprisingly the film also comes with two different soundtracks, the original score and the American Lincoln Park produced soundtrack; again the original soundtrack is far superior because it fits the atmosphere and tone much better compared to Lincoln Parks upbeat techno remix which simply sounds out of place. Finally, this leaves the screenplay written by director Gareth Edwards... First the good, I appreciate how Edwards directly takes us into the action with no delay, leaving previous engagements with Rama up to interpretation; starting the film this quickly also helps enomorusly with the pacing. However, when the actual plot starts to form the clichés starting popping up from left and right, "I have to get back to my wife because she is having a baby", "Brother I have to get you out of this lifestyle", etc. really eye rolling stuff; overall a lackluster script with excellent pacing. The Raid: Redemption is an excellent showcase of brilliant stunt work and choreography, yet a miserable attempt at story telling; overall a good film. Hopefully the sequel, The Raid 2 Berandal, is far superior to The Raid: Redemption.

Julius Caesar

William Shakespeare, a man millions of people who love literature often refer to as a the primary example of literary genius. Whenever any play writer constructs a play and has actors star in that individuals play, it will always be compared to the genius of Shakespeare. However, the name Shakespeare strikes fear into the hearts of 90% of High School students and those forced to study his plays in depth; why is that? Is it the complex storylines, the multiple characters; no. The number one reason millions of High School students cannot stand the man is because of his old English vocabulary and dialogue. Shakespeare's old English style of writing and vocabulary is what makes reading his plays distressing for many young people, simply because it is incredibly difficult to understand at times. While I personally don't feel Shakespeare is the best of the best, I can certainly acknowledge the brilliance of his historic tragedies. While there are dozens of Shakespearian tragedies one could pick as the best, easily my personal favorite is the masterpiece, "Julius Caesar". Nearly every element of the play perfectly fits with one another and the tragedy itself is truly painful every time Antony sways the public against the justly noble Brutus. Surprisingly, the play Julius Caesar has been adapted to the silver screen an astounding four times, a true testament to the quality of the play. While there are four films available to view, there is only one that stands as the absolute best adaptation and that is the 1953 Julius Caesar directed by Joseph Mankiewicz and starring James Mason as Marcus Brutus, John Gielgud as Cais Cassius and of course the great Marlon Brando as Marc Antony. What is it about this particular film that makes it stand above the rest, simply everything for Mankiewicz Julius Caesar is a nearly flawless film that perfectly captures the tone and setting of the play. Mankiewicz expertly balances the intimate character moments with the larger than life moments starring literally hundreds of extras. He makes sure to show off the bombastic sets with skillfully blocking and lighting his scenes; accompanying his shots with the films incredible score. Nothing feels cheap in this film, wither it be the sets or costumes, everything is dealt with the utmost scrutiny. Overall, skillfully majestic direction by Mankiewicz effortlessly allows this adaptation of Julius Caesar to have marvelous direction. Easily the best part of this Julius Caesar is of course the story, the tragedy itself, but the second best aspect of this film is the astonishing performances delivered from the main trio of Mason, Gielgud and Brando. Cais Cassius, Marcus Brutus and Marc Antony are all incredibly complex characters and are some of the most difficult for actors to convincingly portray, yet thanks to the expertise of the cast, this is of course no issue. Mason expertly portrays tragic valor, Gielgud venomous jealousy. Marlon Brando is simply epic in this film for not only does he have a commanding stage presence but also brilliantly delivers all of the plays famous soliloquy's and monologues; overall astounding performances from the main trio. It is a tricky thing, naming one film as the best Shakespeare adaptation of a William Shakespeare play but Joseph Mankiewicz Julius Caesar does just that thanks to Brilliant direction, amazing sets and props as well as wondrous performances from the main trio of actors, truly a marvel of filmmaking.

Tora! Tora! Tora!

Pearl Harbor, a truly tragic event between two nations that pushed the United States into World War II, not out of fear but out of a respect for their own country. With this almost fictional, fantastical event in history, there are sure to be dozens upon dozens of Hollywood adaptations of the event. These include "The Final Countdown", and of course the simply titled, "Pearl Harbor", from director Michael Bay which suffered a great deal due to a unnecessarily corny romance and poorly written dialogue from screenplay writer Randall Wallace. This Pearl Harbor film was clearly just trying to jump on the titanic band wagon, being interested in telling an "emotional" love triangle first and a historically accurate telling of the event second. However, all of these previous films about this event were after 1970 and in that year both America and Japan set aside their difference to work together in making perhaps one of the most historically accurate war films of all time, "Tora Tora Tora". The focus on the exact details occurring at specific times on each side is truly remarkable and for true history buffs this is certainly the film they should watch. Yet because the film is historically accurate it often suffers from dreadfully slow pacing that while compelling, is admittedly hard to get through at two and a half hours. Director Richard Fleischer understood the facts of Pearl Harbor, what happened at what time and why. He is incredibly good at directing dialogue exchanges between Americans and Kinji Fukasaku also is excellent at directing exchanges between Japanese actors. However, where both men truly excel, is in the final thirty minutes of the film when the Japanese are bombing the harbor which is expertly filmed with dynamic angles. Obviously because there was no CGI technology all of the filming of the planes had to be shot organically which is all the more impressive considering the dangerous stunts that had to be committed in the filming progress. Spectacular explosions, amazing fighter stunts and daring framing all encapsulate true epic filmmaking in the ladder half of the film. The score is largely mute which of course fits the realistic tone of film so the score is neither good nor is it bad it is simply nonexistent. Larrey Forrester's screenplay is both one of the best and worst aspects of the film. How meticulously crafted it is, is of course an achievement of historic proportions, yet to be quite frank suffers in the dialogue aspect of the script between characters. When one accuses a film of being "boring" because nothing happens I always point to films like The Social Network which has absolutely incredible dialogue that easily carried the film. Tora Tora Tora simply does not, which greatly attributes to the films seemingly slow pacing; overall the screenplay is the personification of an oxymoron for it is neither excellent nor horrible. The acting is very similar neither memorable nor bad, it is the same as the screenplay a personified oxymoron. There have been many films about Pearl Harbor, some good, many bad most notably Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor who's overly cliché love story ruins the historical value of the film. "Tora Tora Tora" is the exact opposite compared to Michael Bay's, it suffers in the emotional department but excels in the historic value. Unfortunately there has not yet been the definitive Pearl Harbor film yet, but this film comes awful close to achieving that.

Million Dollar Baby

Tenacity is an inspirational quality found in an individual, refusing to back down when everyone else disapproves and or refuses to believe in you, is one of the most admirable qualities a person can have. However, because of obligatory Hollywood clichés, tenacity usually makes one's eyes role because of the oversaturation of films that deal with that specific quality people. Nearly every protagonist endures through their struggles and eventually is rewarded with success, getting the girl, ect. Yet that unfortunately is exactly why tenacity is viewed as a preachy cliché, because filmmakers show, that it is guaranteed, that a happily ever after ending will be treated with never giving up. Sadly that is not how the world works which is indeed powerful yet honest for Clint Eastwood's, "Million Dollar Baby", bravely transcends its surface clichés of a woman refusing to give into her determined role In society, by instead reminding us that achieving our goals is ultimately all that is worth living for, our purpose in life; and that after fighting our way into this world we can only fight our way out by accomplishing our dreams. The thematic richness of this film is honestly staggering considering its conventional concept of a boxer training to become the best, for the film is largely about taking chances and embracing our own character. All of this is due to the brilliance of director, producer and actor Clint Eastwood. Because Eastwood was responsible for committing a powerful performance and beautiful direction, one of those aspects of the film would be weaker than the other which is 100% not the case for his direction is always wondrous. Despite the feminine quality of the word, Eastwood's framing and cinematography were utterly beautiful with the darkness of the surroundings always being purged by a beam of light from the window, which not only succeeds thematically but also visually. Ask any boxing director and they will always tell you that successfully blocking a boxing match between two actors is always incredibly difficult due to the inability for the actors to actually hit one another, yet no scene in the film is exposed in this area either because of the skill of Clint Eastwood's direction or Hillary Swank's skill; overall immaculate direction from Eastwood. Paul Haggis's screenplay is also powerful in delivering strong dialogue exchanges between characters but also wondrous thematic touches throughout the film. The only weak area of the script is within the pacing which does drag occasionally, yet never enough to damage the film significantly; overall a very well done screenplay from Haggis. Undoubtedly the best aspect of Million Dollar Baby is the amazing trio of actors that honest to god truly becomes their characters in the film. Clint Eastwood is troubled elderly boxing trainer whom grows tremendously throughout the film, Hillary Swank an aspiring young boxer filled with tenacious spunk and Morgan Freeman is a retired boxer who still is unwilling to leave Frankie's side. All of the actors exchange beautifully with one another and are certainly the best parts of the film. Common phrases accompanied with this film are beautiful, thematically rich and tenacious; Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby is all of those and so much more for the film is beautifully rich in heartbreaking performances, brilliant direction, immaculate writing and is certainly one of the best films of the past decade certainly deserving its four Academy Awards of Best Picture, Director, Actress and Supporting Actor.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

For the past several decades, the film medium has been used to tell dozens upon dozens of superhero stories; unfortunately many of those films fail to deliver any sort of interesting story, in favor of mindless action. Studios felt the only thing audiences cared about in these films were the action and felt the comic book movie genre was incapable of delivering emotional poignancy through its characters. Marvel studio's universe of The Avengers, is certainly one of the prime examples of a studio who knows its characters and as a result has excelled in creating entertaining blockbusters, yet never truly captured its audience emotionally. For fourteen years Marvel's rival studio, 20th Century Fox, has made seven X-Men films focusing generally on the same core cast of characters, Wolverine, Magneto, Xavier, ect; and because of our deep emotional connection with this cast, witnessing their ultimate fate is both heart breaking inspirationally heartwarming. When Andy's toys in Toy Story 3 held hands together as they were accepting their deaths, I truly never thought I would ever experience anything so heart breaking in my entire life due to my deep connection with these characters, which were essentially my childhood. However, thanks to the brilliance of Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days of Future Past, I was able to experience the rare occurrence of being heartbroken, as my childhood idols were murdered and reborn in front of my very eyes; and it is for that reason that X-Men: Days of Future Past is not only the best X-Men film of all time, but also the best superhero film of all time. Singer's absence from the previous four films was exceedingly prevalent as the films preceded one another, for no director, not even Matthew Vaughn, truly understood these characters enough to masterfully execute their encounters and shared screen time. Bryan Singer easily had a larger responsibility to his cast, than Joss Whedon in The Avengers, because of the several dozen established X-Men characters all sharing screen time with one another, Singer, wither it be in the past or the future, successfully directs all of his actors. Every action sequence, especially in the future, are unbelievably well done not only filming well directed action but also continuing to maintain the films constant poignancy within the action for every fight matters, everything matters in this film; overall stellar direction from Singer. John Bryne's screenplay is easily the best aspect of the film because not only does he manage to not screw up the time travel plot, but he also captures true man tear poignancy with the fate of each X-Men, overall an incredible screenplay which easily is the best of the series. Finally, every single cast member truly knocks it out of the park in this film, for there is no weak link in the cast, no not even Halle Berry. A few highlights of the cast which deliver the best performances in the film include Hugh Jackman, Jame McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Patrick Stewart, all of whom are stellar. X-Men: Days of Future Past is simply the most poignant comic book experience I have ever viewed. Having grown up with these characters and films seeing them killed off as they desperately tried to protect one another was hard to watch, yet empowering to realize a film yet alone a comic book film could elicit so many emotions from the audience; the film is simply perfect and is easily the best comic book film of all time.


Nearly sixteen years ago America tried its hand at westernizing the king of the monsters for American audiences with director Roland Emmerch's, "Godzilla" 1998. Needless to say the film failed miserably as a respectful tribute to one of the most famous movie icons of all time, yet thanks to its undeniable popcorn action flick nature the film managed to somewhat stay afloat from horrid scrutiny. Until 2014 the only ones capable of making a truly stunning Gojira was indeed Toho studios which never failed to fully represent the character, yet when the film rights were given to Legendary pictures many of the monsters fans became deeply worried, however, in the hands of capable director Gareth Edwards Godzilla has managed to not only be properly introduced to western audiences but also stay true to the character; yet due to a very monotonous and cliché human sub plot, what could have been a fantastic Godzilla film turns into a simply good film which honestly is disappointing to not only film lovers but the patiently waiting Godzilla fans as well. Ford Brody played by Aaron Taylor Johnson of course wants to know where his family is and blah blah blah. The whole "where's my family" plot has been done to death and it is simply too cliché for its own good. Undoubtedly the best aspect of this new Godzilla film is the incredible, absolutely stunning direction from Gareth Edwards which always remains constant in pacing and inventive in the monster encounters with the blocking and framing of each individual fight. Usually Godzilla is filmed from hundreds of feet in the air from the monsters perspective, Edwards acknowledged this and decided to film the monsters from the humans perspective hundreds of feet below the monsters where the grandness of the set pieces is perfectly captured, for the audience is put in the ground level with the other human characters when the monsters come. Also, having the fights mostly be viewed on news channels adds to the realism of events. One big problem with the direction though is the frustration of the film always cutting away before the monsters fight one another, overall great direction. Besides the halo jump sequences eerie opera style score, the films soundtrack is your run of the mill action soundtrack; nothing special here. Undeniably the absolute worst aspect of this new Godzilla film is Frank Darabont's screenplay which manages to deliver a solid enough story yet absolutely horrible dialogue between characters, not to mention the "where's my family" subplot with Ford and Elle Brody. Thankfully a mediocre screenplay is somewhat cured with solid performances from the all star cast. Bryan Cranston of course steels the very few scenes he is in, expertly portraying overwhelming sorrow just within his eyes. Ken Watanabe and Salley Hawkins are also very good as the films scientists. Despite the criticism surrounding Aaron Taylor Johnson as the lead, he was charismatic enough to be likable and of course echoed some of his Kick Ass performance in this film, overall a great cast. Unfortunately Gareth Edwards, Godzilla, still doesn't solidify Godzilla as the true king of the monsters due to a dreadful script yet it does solidify Godzilla as being a badass motherfucker thanks to fantastic acting and directing; Godzilla, while not the action film to beat for the summer of 2014, is still a fun ride worth experiencing.


Suffocation is often viewed as a horridly frightening experience, the lack of oxygen makes a person unable to breath; usually one can experience this while holding their breath or when submerged underwater, however, the absolute best time to experience suffocation is when laughing uncontrollably for an extended period of time. For this is exactly what Nicholas Stoller's, "Neighbors", is able to accomplish effortlessly thanks to a wickedly comical screenplay and an equally talented ensemble cast. The comedic genre is the hardest to master due to the principle of comedy being consequently subjective in nature to the viewer. One audience member may find poop jokes funny and another may find irony funny, yet Neighbors masterfully juggles multiple subgenre's of comedy. Slapstick, irony, and grotesque potty humor, the film truly has it all at a mile a minute pace with each gag coming at the audience with an unexpected rapidity. The team of, "This is the End", undoubtedly leaves their trademark potty mouth humor on the film but also undeniable heart which is rarely found in comedy films. The combined mixture of uplifting heart and hysterical wit are what make "Neighbors" a Citizen Kane of its own genre. Director Nicholas Stoller brings style visually to the films presentation with magazine idealisms in the neighborhood before the frat house comes and chaotic madness when the Zac Efron and the gang come to the neighborhood. The fraternity's parties are surprisingly expertly filmed with brisk neon and music adding to Stoller's inventive lighting and blocking. Within the parties a sense of chemical madness ensues when the degenerative college students ensue their lunacy on the neighborhood. Stoller perfectly captures the realisms of life and the satire of the party life with his competent direction. The score is not brilliant by any means yet it doesn't have to be; the purpose of the music in the movie is to pump the audience up within the parties and to capture the particular tone of each scene within the music which the score is able to successfully accomplish despite the memorability of the soundtrack being questionable. One of the best aspects of the film is the wickedly smart screenplay from Andrew Cohen, which is never too serious in its tone nor in the story. Many scripts begin to lose steam near the ladder half of the film however because of Cohen's brilliance in comedy the film never loses any gravitas. While the screenplay is one of the best aspects of the film the undeniable best part of neighbors is of course the charmingly hysterical cast. Seth Rogen has never been better for usually he is a solid secondary character yet in this film he is extraordinary lead with years of comedic practice Rogen has mastered the art of comedy. Surprisingly the usually taciturn Rose Byrne is also great, equally standing among the comedic genius of Rogen. Finally the entire fraternity consisting of Zac Efron, Dave Franco and Mclovin are all fantastic, with Efron stealing the movie in many scenes. For the genre of comedy Neighbors is a perfect film expertly balancing comedy and heart thanks to its brilliant screenplay and charismatic cast and will be the comedy to beat for the summer of 2014.


Are we truly safe, can our entire population be wiped out within the measure of several weeks? These are the bold questions Steven Soderbergh's, "Contagion", ask its audience, while the subject matter of a single virus slowly but surely taking out an entire population has the potential to be supremely compelling, sadly the monotony of the films melancholic pace brings down what could have possibly been a fantastic film. The film begins with a stoic Kubrick esc tone with single images of our earth towns residing in the frame of the film. Quickly the gravity of the situation is brought forth with the death of one of the most prominent cast members of the film, ensuring that no one is immune to this disease. Immediately dozens upon dozens of deaths occur throughout the globe with seemingly no solution to the problem of these fatalities. One advantage Contagion has over similar films such as invasion of the body snatchers is that its realism is the main focus of the feature with a global perspective on the MEV-1 virus. Wither it be America, China or Mexico the global perspective of the film definitely influences the films originality. Without a doubt the best aspect of the film is the absolutely stunning direction of director Steven Soderbergh which oozes with style and sophistication within every frame thanks to brilliant lighting, blocking and framing. The lighting of the film is very reminiscent of David Fincher's cinematography in such films as, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", "Fight Club" and "The Social Network" which works very well with the hopeless tone and atmosphere of the film; Tones of grey and black emancipate the frame with elegant radiance. Overall Soderbergh's direction is undoubtedly the best aspect of the film. Unfortunately the rest of the film does suffer to a degree. The soundtrack is mainly an atmospheric one that only serves to influence the tone of each individual scene; however, it is highly unmemorable with many of the pieces simply blending together in their sleep inducing pitch. Scott Burns screenplay is very much split in terms of quality, on one hand he handles the big picture aspect of the script very well with the global outlook of the film being effortlessly handled as well as the dialogue between characters being realistic yet compelling. However, the one aspect that brings Contagion down faster than a fat kid on a treadmill is indeed that the film is boring. Boring yet compelling, is that an oxymoron? Well Contagion is both of those. Finally the all star cast all deliver incredibly great performances as expected. Matt Damon is the central piece of the films emotional core, for he effortlessly delivers empathy and sadness. Jude Law is the paranoia of the films tone; for he effortlessly delivers bold narcissism with a cocky demeanor. Marion Cotillard, Lawrence Fishburne and Kate Winslet all scientists represent the voice of reason that still maintain their mortality among the outbreak. Contagion is an oxymoron for it is both compelling and supremely boring and quite honestly painful to get through at times; yet thanks to brilliant direction and competent performances Contagion is still worth at most one viewing.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Often ridiculously entertaining, yet never amazing, Marc Webb's, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2", still doesn't solidify the quality of this new trilogy of Spiderman films due to the over bloated narrative and check list scene structure, all of which make the film immensely disappointing compared to Sam Rami's 2004 master piece Spiderman 2. The entire reason for rebooting Spiderman was not out of a passion to create more interesting stories in the this universe, rather that Sony would keep the rights to the character which definitely still shows onscreen. To reach an even bigger box office hall the distributors felt a need to spoil 75% of the film within the marketing, leaving little to be discovered for the audience in theaters which is infuriating that Sony would allow its marketing campaign to reveal so much about the film just to get more people in the theater. Luckily, unlike Spiderman 3, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 handles the challenge of balancing multiple villains nearly flawlessly, for not every villain is revealed at the same time, Electro in the beginning and Green Goblin and Rhino in the end of the film. The one truly "Amazing", aspect of the film is the beautifully filmed action sequences which capture the intensity and fun of every sequence with the web crawler. Marc Webb's direction is yet again stellar, virtually never opting for boring shot reverse shot melancholy, but exciting new ways to block and light each frame. Much of the action is shot in slow motion which may concern some whom are sick of 300 style clichés, yet Webb makes it work by completely pausing the action and having the camera circle the surrounding area for the audience to absorb the facet of the particular action sequence. Having the action pause completely seems incredibly risky on paper yet it works remarkably well in motion, overall superb directing. Surprisingly the score from Hanz Zimmer is neither memorable nor catchy it is just there which is a huge disappointment considering the man's stellar work in The Dark Knight, Inception and Man of Steel. One good main theme does not excuse the lackluster unexciting rest of the score, overall a disappointing score. Undoubtedly the worst aspect of the film is the screenplay by Alex Kurtzman, which is honestly a mess in areas due to poor story progression and a bloated narrative. Each individual scene feels almost entirely disconnected from the subsequent scene with glaring tone shifts throughout the film because of these the check list nature of having each scene required in the film without the earned ability of earning that emotion. With lackluster dialogue and story progression the screenplay is itself lackluster. Finally, the one truly bright spot of the film is the acting from the cast which is very good. Returning members Garfield, Stone and Fields are as charming as ever yet it is newcomer Dane Dehan who steels every scene he is in with his insane charisma, overall great acting. Marc Webb's, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2 takes two steps forward and back from the original making the film great thanks to terrific direction and acting yet bad because of the awful script and score, the film is not amazing but adequate.

The Railway Man

Besides David Lean's, "Bridge on the River Kwai", no other film has been able to powerfully tell a human story about British forces being taken over by the imperial Japanese forces. There have been dozens upon dozens of films about the struggles of Jews, Germans and Americans during World War two yet the struggles of the British were just glossed over. However, with Jonathan Teplitzky's, "The Railway Man", The struggles of British prisoners of war are front and center, creating a welcome change in the subject matter of a World War two film. The true story between British engineer Eric Lomax and Japanese soldier Nagase is indeed one of cinematic proportions, with the overall story spanning several decades. Indeed because this story is truthful, the poignancy of the end result is undoubtedly powerful, yet it is the lack of time spent on each moment that elicts apathy from the audience, for we are never able to absorb what is happening; instead nearly glancing upon highlights of a forty year battle within the confinements of a one hour and fifty six minute running time. Without a doubt, one of the best aspects of the film is the incredible direction of Jonathan Teplitzky. The framing of his shots ooze with beauty, echoing the murky color pallets of David Fincher in the present day and bright color pallets of David Lean in the past. In the past, Lomax still resides his own ethics and is unchanged, evident not only from Jeremy Irvine's performance but also the optimistic controlled framing of Teplitzky's direction. Cut to present day and the murky melancholy of Lomax's reality seeps into the frame as shots are often faded out and gloomy, as a result of Lomax's depression. Every aspect of Jonathan Teplitzky's direction is flawless, elevating the presentation of the film to true prestige quality. The score is appropriately epic in the past as war seeps into the very consciences of the film, while in the present melancholy violin pieces play as a result, overall a solid score. Undoubtabley the biggest issue with The Railway Man is the screenplay written by Frank Corell Boyce, for it never allows the audience to truly absorb what is happening on screen with the films fast pace. Boyce's dialogue is great, yet his pacing really hurts the films story, for if the film was turned into a miniseries the audience would be allowed to be truly enthralled with the story. Finally, the films performances are what truly elevate this film to absolute greatness. Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skarsgard are both superb in their delivery and emotions, as well as the rest of the cast being solid. However, it is the performances of both Colin Firth and Jeremy Irvine that are truly remarkable. Irvine expertly portrays innocence and courage while Firth expertly depicts melancholy and sorrow; both Irvine and Firth are remarkable in the film. The Railway Man is a film that could have been fantastic if it were translated not to the film medium but to a miniseries for viewers could have grown more attached to the events. Besides the unfortunate running time the film is still an expertly directed and acted film that is worth checking out.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

The era of the 1960's brought forth a change of ethics with the civil rights movement for African Americans, Homosexuals etc. Yet an issue that was hardly glanced upon was the cultural wars between sanity and insanity, that is displayed brilliantly through Milos Forman's, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", which is darkly comical, extraordinarily well written and just an incredibly pleasurable viewing experience. In 1976 the film took home several Oscar's including, best picture, best directing, best actor, best actress and best adapted screenplay, all of these accolades culminated into the overall best film of that year. Upon reaching new decades and even new millennia, Forman's masterpiece always remained predominant in film history, hardly a small task to accomplish yet there was just something about the film that critics and audiences alike just couldn't forget. Was it the acting, writing, directing, story, score or cinematography? The answer, all of the above, for Milos Forman's, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", is the rare culmination of every aspect that makes a film great, actually come together into a nearly flawless package. First and for most Forman's visual style never tumultuously overpowers the frame with meaningless imagery instead opting for intense close shots of his characters that are able to brilliantly capture the tone of the scene and the emotional state of the characters in the frame with a subtle shift in framing or musical queues opting tonal shifts. Maintaining a setting that is as monotonous as a white mental hospital may seem like a visual challenge to be able to keep interesting without cluttering the frame, which Forman accomplishes with ease; because of fantastic framing blocking and lighting Milos Forman's direction is impeccably solid for the subject matter of the film. Only several tracks within the film truly stick with you, that being the ending theme and beginning theme, yet other than those two pieces the score is simple too taciturn to leaving any lasting impact on the viewer, however, the score is not what makes drama so much as it makes a blockbuster due to the emphasis on presentation. Easily the best part of the film is the brilliantly adapted screenplay written by Bo Goldman and Lawrence Hauben, which is a large contribution the films heart and soul. Along with the actors improvisation the screenplay delivers hysterically funny moments in one scene and emotionally poignant moments in other scenes; overall a fantastic script. Finally the performances of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest are what make the film truly unforgettable. Every single character has a personality quark that makes them distinguishable from each other and not to mention memorable. Yet it is the academy award winning performances of Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher that are unforgettably profound on their lasting impact on the audience as well as the wonderful charisma the two actors bring; overall fantastic acting. A recurring phrase with this film is "unforgettable "which perfectly personifies the experience of viewing it for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a fantastically unforgettable film.

Under the Skin

Profound transformation will occur to anyone who musters up the audacity to take part in Johnathan Glazer's, "Under the Skin", for the film is the true personification of a masterpiece on the big screen and is certainly one of the best pieces of art ever recorded in film history; Under the Skin is a masterpiece of cinema. Layers upon Layers of profoundly moving imagery emancipate every frame of the film, whether it is the black void of Laura's chamber or the flashing beams of light struck from creation and death, Under the Skin ensures a frightening and disturbing experience for its audience. The root of the films mastery begins from the best opening sequence ever put on film with the creation of Laura herself; only eerie and disturbing sounds as well as dark holes of light fill the frame for the first five minutes, however, true wonder and optimism is thrusted out of viewers as they witness creation through sounds and imagery rather than from explanation. The experience of being born is nothing any one man can truly replicate for the world is alien, filled with strange noises and imagery, yet Glazer perfectly incapacitates that feeling with his opening sequence. Under the Skin has the best direction to come out of a film for the past decade for Glazers ability as a director pulls fear and optimism for his audience merely from his visuals. The two radically different emotions of fear and optimism are delicate ones that nearly every film could only dream of even touching yet Glazer's mastery grips both. Kubrick like images of blackness covered with holes of light and long shots without any dialogue are emulated with supremacy. Glazer's framing blocking and lighting are nothing short of spectacular yet it is his sequences of black voids and quietness that refuse to leave viewers conscience, quite simply a masterpiece of direction. Surprisingly one of the best parts of the film is the series of eerie noises that cover the films presentation for the film doesn't truly have a soundtrack but rather a series of sounds that emancipate the principal of being in foreign world. What makes the films "sounds" so moving is their frightening depiction of fear and their poignant depiction of love, the combined efforts of Johnathan Glazer's direction and Mike Levi's score makes Under the Skin a masterpiece of presentation. Walter Campbell's screenplay is atypical in that very little dialogue is showcased but rather an emphasis on what it means to be a human being and the transformations an alien might experience in doing so. The story is not what is important in the screenplay but rather the big picture philosophical connotation behind the film, a very ambitious screenplay that only falters in the dialogue due to the fact that the Scottish accents are so thick when delivering the dialogue. Finally, the performance of Scarlett Johansson is utterly mind-blowing, with very few words she elicits wonder and fear brilliantly; she was required to carry the film and flawlessly achieves the daunting task. This decade has seen many groundbreaking films yet none are as revolutionary as Johnathan Glazer's masterpiece "Under the Skin". The film has the ability to change how viewers perceive life for this film is a masterpiece of cinema and will come down in film history as one of the best films of all time.


Thematically rich and darkly tender, David Gordon Green's, "Joe", is an emotionally compelling drama that elicits true emotion from its audience thanks to utterly beautiful direction and powerful performances from the remarkable cast. An incredibly impressive opening monologue delivered by young actor Tye Sheridan immediately initiates an authentic realism that persists throughout the film, as the lives of both Joe Ransom and Gary Jones are intertwined into one depressing reality. A reality that requires the strong to stand tall and the weak to be guarded over the strong, this theme is echoed remarkably well by Gary's first job of poisoning trees in the beginning of the film and then granting rebirth by growing them. Joe's realism is almost depressing at times as we as a society reflect on our own disgust; yet at the same time the films realism grants optimism in our ability to stand by our fellow man and transcend our own morals for the greater good, thematically, a wondrous piece of art. Green is nothing short of marvelous in his elegance and truthfulness displayed in his direction. Every shot taken place within the forest is nearly dreamlike in its mysticism and splendor, for the visuals captured by Green engage even the most apathetic audience member by trapping them in the utter beauty of his direction. The entire atmosphere of the south, the dialect of the people and the setting itself is personified perfectly through David Gordon Green's incredible blocking, lighting and framing. Great presentation would not be considered amazing were it not for a rich soundtrack which the film absolutely delivers. Deep emotional moments are personified brilliantly through each piece and generally the score for Joe is meant to add to the atmosphere and tone of the film, which of course the film flawlessly achieves. With the combined efforts of expert direction and sound Joe manages to achieve a flawless presentation. Joe's flawless presentation is accompanied equally brilliantly by Larry Browns, grippingly daring script. Dialogue is expertly crafted because of the denial of clichéd archetypes only truthful realism is prevalent in Browns script for he was well aware of the tone of the film. The only minor drawback from the script is the story telling which is just shy of stellar yet is not great. Other than a simply good story, he understood Joe perfectly and in doing so crafted a flawlessly brilliant screenplay. Finally, perhaps the best aspect of the film is indeed the powerful performances delivered by Tye Sheridan, Nicholas Cage and Gary Poulter all of whom were absolutely stellar in every sense of the word. Sheridan personified troubled youth, Cage fortified restraint and Poulter dangerous insanity, all of whom became their characters. David Gordon Green's, "Joe" represents many things, the guilt of our nation, fantastic writing, great direction, but above all of its wondrous achievements Joe represents the quality that has been lacking in twenty first century cinema; and it is bolstering to know that films of this caliber are still being made.

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

Undeniably ambitious to fault, Ben Stiller's, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, is a mostly effective film brought down by an uneven tone and pacing. When implementing humor into a sentimental story of a man trying to instill confidence in him, it must not be awkward or simply unfunny but effective towards the characters and theme which unfortunately the film miserably accomplishes. Usually trailers and marketing is not brought up in these reviews, however, for this film it was marketed as poignantly emotional story, primarily marketed as a drama yet in actuality the film is predominantly a comedy which honestly does not work for this material, its simply inappropriate. In one scene a character may be experiencing an emotional revelation and in another awkward comedy may take place with our protagonist singing along, the film is simply uneven, getting rid of the bad comedy and largely focusing on the poignancy of Walter's own struggles would insure a less uneven tone prevalent in the film. One true bright spot to, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, is indeed Ben Stiller's impressive direction which elicits beauty and grace from his landscape shots. The setting consistently changes from dull office corridors, to streets, to boats, to helicopters, to mountains, ect. Which brings an ability for a director to bring a wildly original style to each location which stiller pulls of marvelously thanks to his great blocking and lighting of his shots. Most impressive of his shots are always when Stiller is by himself in a rural location in Greenland and Iceland; the sweeping grandness of his framing is utter beauty personified and certainly the best part of the film even though a nature documentary is comparable to the best part of this film. Steve Conrad's screenplay is neither humorous nor poignant adding to the films uneven tone. Conrad simply is not skilled enough as a writer to balance two radically two radically different tones with success; preferably maintain an emotionally compelling tone would work better with this film to make it more affective. The story itself is solid enough with a solid pay off in the end, overall the sloppy screenplay is easily the worst part of this film. Appropriately the score is ambitious and hopeful which accompanies the films poignancy perfectly yet fails to contribute any real purpose to the film humor; while not particularly memorable there are several tracks that are impressive so an overall solid score. Finally, the cast of the film perfectly personifies the uneven tone of the entire film for the great Sean Penn's scenes and overall ambiance is well respected and almost mystically profound, comedic actor Adam Scott is stereotypically dickish in his role and contains as much depth as an empty swimming pool however, both Ben Stiller and Sean Penn deliver great performances. Unfortunately, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is undeniable disappointment that is brought down tremendously by an incredibly inconsistent tone.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Marvel Phase 2 has so far left audiences divided with previous quality seeming to dissipate with every new entry to their film library. Iron Man 3 was corrupted by studio executives and Thor: The Dark World ruined with a horrible villain, however to enormous surprise the once C rate character Captain America has found himself in an A rate film, transcending the Captains previous inadequacies to a true hero for Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the best phase 2 Marvel film to date and certainly one of the best films Marvel has to offer. The strength of the Captain's newest film lies in the fascinating exploration of bold ideas such as honor, loyalty and trust, seemingly cliché ideas that are elevated to important themes of the film. Audience members have always trusted Shield as a form of tenacious justice, Shield is like our own police force, we feel obligated to have trust and loyalty to them, yet that trust is betrayed when behind the scenes injustice corrupts our own safety. Sure intergalactic wars and aliens are all fine and good but they are not real issues simply because they don't exist, the possibility of our own government trading freedom for fear is more compelling because it is a real issue for audiences in turn granting a more compelling narrative. Joe and Anthony Russo's direction is for the most part solid thanks to well filmed action and credible blocking of their shots. Occasionally, shakey cam is prevalent in some of the action sequences yet are stylistically beneficial to the scene itself adding to the chaotic tone of that particular scene. However, the rest of the action is filmed very stylistically with a large amount of intensity, especially a scene involving Nick Fury and the Winter Soldier which is tense action packed and emotionally visceral, overall a visually compelling film. The score is thunderously heroic with many memorable tracks accompanying the impressive action sequences. Unfortunately the worst aspect of the film is the how the story is told, it is very convoluted at times and honestly hard to follow in scenes, yet the dialogue is expertly crafted by the screenplay writers, the story itself is good yet how it is told could use a lot of work. Positively the best part of Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the inspiringly gallant Chris Evans as Steve Rogers; the man has an undeniable charisma to him that makes him incredibly likable and inspirational. Scarlett Johansson is central to this films story requiring a great deal more emoting from the actress which of course she pulls off in spades for Black Widow is the most compelling in this film. Finally, legendary new comer Robert Redford is appropriately menacing in his role adding a much needed legitimacy to the film. Overall, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a vastly superior entry in the Marvel cinematic universe thanks to a compelling story, thrilling action and an undeniably remarkable cast.


The incredibly daunting task of bringing to life one of the most critical events in genesis is certainly no small task, however thanks to the brilliant vision of Darren Aronofsky and the incredible performances from the cast the greatness of the story of Noah's ark is not only fulfilled but surpassed. A large amount of controversy surrounding the film resides with the film not completely following the bible but rather being "inspired" from the bible, which may upset hardcore bible enthusiasts greatly. Aronofsky understood what parts of the tale would transcend the most into film by excluding minute details, however, not only does he remove some details but includes some of his own into the story. Without spoiling what new details were included, let's just say they all improve the films own philosophical ideas and makes the picture more cinematic. Aronofsky's tone and pace is very stoic and deliberately somber rather than opting for over the top action and hasty pacing which is certainly a welcome change in 21st century cinema. The absolute best part of Noah is the vision of the magnificent director Darren Aronofsky. When a film is set in the past much less the beginning of time, it is crucial that a director manage to match the visual style of that time period in both location and dialogue, which he pulls off in spades. In lesser hands this film could have been an absolute atrocity in terms of the visual style, thankfully the skill and craft of Aronofsky transcends this issue. The live action shots feel almost indie styled in their simplicity while the CGI shots work only to enhance the live action shots which is how the method is intended. Excellent blocking, lighting and framing culminate into a visually stunning film and a masterfully directed one. The score is appropriately very epic in its orchestration, thunderous booms and muted shrills emancipate the very sound of Noah, only adding the incredible visual experience of the film. No one knows how exactly communication sounded all those thousands of years ago, however, screen writer Ari Handel admirably takes a shot at it and for the most part succeeds. Bold simplicity resides in the dialogue yet with especially Logan Lerman and Emma Watson modern speech patterns and tone seep into the dialogue. Overall, serviceable dialogue yet masterful storytelling. Finally the acting in the film is somewhat of a mixed bag. Veterans Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins and Ray Winstone are predictably fantastic and always stay smelted into their characters yet young actors Logan Lerman and Emma Watson are only serviceable which is very disappointing, good acting from the cast overall. Noah is a true 21st century biblical epic that is brought to life brilliantly through the vision of Darren Aronofsky and manages to make the story of Noah's ark more cinematic and emotionally compelling.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Tumultuously hilarious, Adam McKay's Anchorman 2 The Legend Continues is a massive improvement over the first film in every category, certainly eliciting more laughs from the audience and more memorable moments residing within the audiences consciousness. An incredible feet for a comedy is to not only be funny but to do so on a consistent bases. Easily ninety percent of comedic films never manage to have a creative team behind them that can consistently deliver first rate comedy at a mile a minute. However, thanks to the brilliant screenplay from director Adam Mckay and actor Will Ferrell as well as the amazing improvisation from the cast, the hilarity never seems to assuage. The fact that the sequel to the acclaimed comedy is even good also is a cause for impress, for the film smartly critiques the modern American news by devoting all concentration on what the people want to hear rather than what they need to hear. Despite the necessity of a comedic film lying mainly to the casts ability to indulge in hilarity, director Adam McKay expertly matches the visual style of the 1980's with his fast editing and inventive lighting. The age of the 1980's is skillfully retained on the big screen as images of tacky suits and wild hair styles embody the very soul of Anchorman 2. Despite adequate directing being serviceable in a comedy McKay turns possible adequacy into mastery of comedic visuals and style. Surprisingly the score to the film is relatively subtle, opting for most of the energy of the scenes to come from the actors, however, when music is active in the film classic gems from the 1970's-1980's seep into the sound of Ferrell's humor and McKay's shots. Overall, an adequate soundtrack that opts for sedulity rather than rambunctious indulgence. The screenplay is an interesting predicament for all of the jokes work incredibly well but the tired three act structure of the traditional comedy still resides within the script. There is of course nothing terribly wrong with the structure it is just a tad bit predictable and limits multiple viewings from the tiredness of the construction. Despite a weak story the jokes more than make up for it, comedy is what audiences come to see for in these kinds of films and the script certainly delivers in that account. Finally the golden gem that truly makes Anchorman 2 something very special is the astoundingly funny cast. The best part of the film is Will Ferrell's brilliant comedic timing and charisma as well as his ability to completely dissolve into his character. The rest of the cast is nearly as good as Ferrell hilariously delivering scripted moments and surely improved moments as well. Anchorman 2 is a better film than the original thanks to better writing directing and acting from the cast and will go down in comedic film history as one of the best sequels of all time.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Visually stunning in every sense of the word, The Grand Budapest Hotel is triumph of production design, directing and originality, brought to life from the brilliance of director writer Wes Anderson. All of Anderson's films are abstract in the way they are presented, echoing an era of bygone filmmaking when obscurity was the norm. Nostalgia oozes off of every frame of Anderson's work, reminiscent of famous 30's films that told their stories through hand crafted production design and imaginative camera work. His newest film is certainly no exception, fully embracing the director's unmistakable and wholly unique style of filmmaking. Unlike most films the absolute best part of The Grand Budapest Hotel is the director's vision. Wes Anderson always makes sure to hook his audience with every frame and keep them wanting more even if the story may be lack luster. Many of the sets for the wide angled shots are clearly miniature buildings and trees which is of course a delight to witness a director whom doesn't rely on computer generated effects for his wide shots. Anderson's editing is the best of the current age of filmmaking for how it is unmistakably noticeable and serves to supplement a visual style rather than cut to a subsequent shot. What Wes Anderson has created with his newest film is nothing short of a visual marvel to the craft of filmmaking. The filmmaker's quirky visual style is carried over to every other facet of the film, including the score which helps to aid the director's visual style. Upbeat and exciting are the only two words to describe the music in the film for that is what the soundtrack is. Anderson's skills as a visual filmmaker are only matched by his absolute mastery of the written word for the script is astounding. All of the characters are absurdly entertaining as incredibly witty dialogue escapes their mouths at a mile a minute pace, the formality of the 30's setting is captured brilliantly through Anderson's dialogue. The way the story is told is very well done yet the story itself is nothing to ride home about, it has been told many times one way or another. It is understood that a fantastic story is not needed in a film like this however it would be nice to be emotionally enthralled with the film as well as visually. Finally the cast is the personification of mastery of the craft of acting with literally dozens upon dozens of well-known stars residing in the film. Every actor does a fantastic job in the film however it is Adrien Brody, Edward Norton and Ralph Fiennes who perfectly encapsulate the ideals of insanity, order and suave respectively; all three of those actors are out of control in terms of their performances. Visually stunning in every sense of the word, The Grand Budapest Hotel is triumph of production design, directing and originality, brought to life from the brilliance of director writer Wes Anderson.

Risky Business

Never before has teenage eagerness and melancholy been personified as perfectly as it has been in Paul Brickman's wildly original, hilariously intriguing Risky Business. The true rite of passage between childhood and adult hood occurs in the phase when a high school student is pursuing college, a future, a situation where the films lead character Joel Goodson finds himself in. Maintaining order is the name of the game for Joel to insure his own future success, until one of Joel's friends puts the special idea in his head to just say, "What the fuck", every once in a while. It is a seemingly simple phrase that holds freedom and opportunity with it, while simultaneously destroying order. The message of letting go your inhibitions to live your life the way you want to is an important one for all young men and women looking to pass through their own rite. The fact that a Tom Cruise 80's film is more than the sum of its part is an impressive accomplishment, certainly elevating the quality of the film. Brickman brings an unmistakable style in his directing style, with impressive editing, blocking and lighting to accompany each of his scenes. For what is essentially a teenage self-discovery film, great directing is not a necessity that is required to be filled, yet Brickman acknowledges the importance of making a film visually compelling, certainly tallying the quality of the film. Risky Business being an 80's movie guarantees one thing, a fantastic soundtrack, which of course the film hits out of the park. Cruises famous undergarments dancing scene is perfectly personified thanks to, "Old Time Rock and Roll", among many other eccentric songs, overall a fantastic soundtrack. One of the best parts of the film is undoubtedly the great screenplay by director Paul Brickman. The dialogue between characters is absurdly entertaining to witness perfectly emancipating how teenagers really converse. The films story is well structured, containing perfect pacing thanks to the admirable running time and overall great writing from Brickman. Finally, the acting is through the roof because of the actor's wonderful charisma. The best part of the film is the astonishingly awesome Tom Cruise who brings it all, great comedic timing, charisma and dramatic acting. The other actors are endearingly charming yet don't carry the same gravitas as Cruise. Risky Business is the definitive 80's movie, while it may not contain an artsy filmmaking required for it to become a staple in film history, What the fuck, the films is still a truly awesome experience that will always hold a special place in this man's heart.

A Few Good Men

Rarely can a court room drama elicit the same amount of tension and audacious tenacity as a regular drama, however, Rob Reiner's, A Few Good Men, effortlessly pulls off effective tension and an amazing story thanks to the incredible cast, direction and screenplay. Having the film center on a court case involving the murder of a young marine immediately pulls the audience into the morality of each individual character, for this case means something different to everyone involved. Some are apathetic towards Santiago's death, such as Col. Jessup and Lt. Kendrick, while some of the ,"few good men", like the attorney Kaffe, truly believe in true justice and that compromises shouldn't be made to ensure the lives of humanity. Being thematically rich is an aspect of the film that screenplay writer, Aaron Sorkin, nails out of the ball park. Reiner is well known for his intimate style, focusing his framework exclusively on one or two characters, a trait which the legendary director carries over to this film. The utter power and emotion from A Few Good Men is largely due to Reiner's smart, thoughtful blocking, lighting, and framing of his shots, overall, a great job from director Rob Reiner. Perhaps the best aspect of the film is in fact the absolutely incredible script from legendary screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. A large part of what makes a film compelling is a good script with likable characters and memorable dialogue, not only is this films script good, but it is damn good. There are dozens upon dozens of memorable lines, soliloquys and monologues delivered from Sorkin's dialogue, Sorkin, as always, did an exceptional job in the screenwriting department. A lesser category in this film happens to be the score which is in no ways bad, but fails to keep up with the films incredible pedigree. Finally, the acting in the film is nothing short of astonishing, everyone is at the top of their game and truly commit to their performances. Cruise is believable as a lawyer, yet still carries the man's famous on screen charisma, combined with incredible lines; cruise is unstoppable in his role. Undoubtedly, the best part of the film is the incredible Jack Nicholson, whom even with a small amount of screen time, leaves an ominous presence throughout the film that never fades. Nicholson is a true bastard as Col. Jessup in film, however, is not considered evil, just a man with a different sense of morality. The only bad parts of this film is the somewhat convoluted plot and relatively slow pacing. Rob Reiner's, A Few Good Men, effortlessly pulls off effective tension and an amazing story thanks to the incredible cast, direction and screenplay, truly a film for the ages.

Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime)

Acclaimed animation director Hayao Miyazaki, Princess Mononoke is an incredible adventure tale brought to life with gorgeous animation and music, adding yet again another masterpiece to Miyazaki's impressive library of films. Never before has the continuing issue of industrialism vs mysticism been captured with such elegance and poignancy as it has been in this film, essentially the ultimate message of man's uncanny ability to evolve to the point of utter destruction is delivered flawlessly through this film. Instead of having dominion over nature we must coexist, unfortunately this is only a fantasy that will never be realized, an unfortunate truth but powerful all the same. Pure elegance is the only word powerful enough to describe Miyazaki's mastery over the art form of animation, for yet again pure beauty and majesty oozes from every frame of the film. His direction is the personification of perfection thanks to brilliant shots and equally majestic animation to aid Miyazaki's striking vision for the film. Studio Gibli's staple animation and score is no exception to Princess Mononoke as their brilliance is put to full effect. The animation is the best any animated studio has to offer, thanks to gorgeous landscaping shots and character design. A poignant and elegant score also resides with the presentation of the film, echoing soft majestic piano pieces and thunderous orchestrated pieces all throughout the film. Perfect presentation would mean absolutely nothing without a poignant screenplay and amiable characters which the film yet again pulls off in spades. The story is entirely original, creating an immediate sense of urgency within the first few minutes, drawing the viewer in immediately, an adventure of truly epic proportions takes place subsequently. The dialogue itself is serviceable creating some very memorable lines in the process such as, "I'm going to show you how to kill a god". Overall, the screenplay is excellent. Finally, the characters in the film are all fantastic thanks to their wonderful voice acting and likable personality's. Prince Ashitaka is a noble hero with the goal of uniting nature and humans, he is among one of the best protagonists ever put on an animated film. It is Princess San and her wolfs that stand as the best characters in the film due to the fact that they are unlike any character ever seen on the big screen, with powering onscreen persona's and voice acting. Hayao Miyazaki's, Princess Mononoke, is a majestically beautiful film accompanied by magnificent animation, directing and characters, the film is utterly magnificent.

Out of the Furnace

Gritty and raw accompanied by a fantastic cast, Scott Cooper's Out of the Furnace, is a fantastic character study of the modern American reality of broken dreams and the rigid lifestyle that is accompanied by that broken dream. Rodney Baze along with many other characters in the film is suffering by his current economic state and is willing to risk tooth and nail to pay of his debts to survive. Cooper's social commentary of the true modern American reality is a bold yet brutally truthful depiction of our current state as a country; only aiding his revenge tail is this biting social commentary. Cooper's direction is perfection personified with his ability to emancipate the tone and the state of mind of his characters through his excellent framing and lighting. The film is visually compelling, with Cooper's wonderful direction of his actors only aiding the presentation of the film. Every character in the film feels authentic, delivering down to earth dialogue that does not feel like it was written by a screen writer down at their nearest Starbucks. The incredibly difficult task of making a film feel authentic is absolutely no issue for Cooper thanks to his excellent skills of directing. The soundtrack is appropriately somber given the context of the film which makes the films score only strengthen the presentation of the film. Great screen writing is a hard skill to come by in film due to the fact that most filmmakers are only concerned with creating compelling shots, being apathetic to nearly every other aspect of the filmmaking process. Thankfully Scott Cooper considered the importance of a great screenplay and made sure that every aspect of the script feel authentic and real, creating strong dialogue to support the star studded cast. Perhaps the best aspect of Out of the Furnace is the absolutely breath taking performances given by the cast with each performance aiding the authenticity and realism of Coopers vision. The weakest link is unsurprisingly Zoe Saldana whom doesn't feel truly real as character, unlike the rest of the cast. Undoubtedly the best performances in the film belong to Casey Affleck, Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson whom are heartbreaking, courageous and terrifying respectively, all of which are brutally authentic in the film. Scott Cooper's Out of the Furnace, is a brutally authentic revenge story aided with incredible performances, great directing and a virtuous screenplay.

28 Days
28 Days(2000)

The sensitive and critical subject matter of substance abuse is handled very poorly in Betty Thomas's 28 Days, sugarcoating the severity of drug abuse with preachy complacency. A filmmaker's responsibility in a film such as this is to put the audience in the main characters point of view which Thomas miserably handles by never having the audience understand the severity of substance abuse. Darren Aronofsky expertly got under the skin of his audience by using his disturbing direction to elicit uncomfortably from the audience, which Thomas never even considers. Not only is the directing of Thomas inadequate, it is downright bad due to TV style static shots characterizing many of the shot in the film. The score, what score? The score is more forgettable than Jason Bourne suffering a bullet wound to the head. The ability to predict every other line the characters are going to say is a very good sign of a bad script which 28 Days has as well. With horrid direction, score and screenplay it is up to the acting to save this train wreck. Surprisingly all of the performances delivered in the film are not bad, but manage to actually be average, how such incredible actors such as Sandra Bullock, Vigo Mortenson and Steve Buscemi ended up in this mess is beyond contemplation. Unsurprisingly Bullock elevates this train wreck from terrible to merely bad because of the actress's likability and on screen charisma. However, it is Alan Tudyk who steals every scene he is in due to very well delivery of his comedic moments as well as his terrific charisma. Overall, Betty Thomas's 28 Days is a colossal misstep in telling an emotionally disturbing look at the severity of substance abuse, instead opting for crowd pleasing complacent peachiness, which needless to say, ruins a possibly good film.

Only Lovers Left Alive

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.

The Wind Rises

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.

The Blind Side

John Lee Hancock's, The Blind Side, is an inspirational and poignant true story that emancipates the ideas of loneliness and racism with great success from the great director and cast of the film. The true story of Michael Oher seems to be a stereotypical tale of a lost soul wondering aimlessly due to poor parenting, however thanks to Quinton Aaron's consoling performance for he carries most of the film. Hancock's direction is for the most part very average with standard blocking and cinematography but poor direction does not fault this genre of film too much. The Blind Side is not an art film; it is a factual inspirational story. There is just nothing note worthy about his direction in anyway which unfortunately is disappointing. While the directing may be somewhat bland the script is solid, with many heart warming and humorous moments dispersed through out the film. With a solid script and poor direction it is up to the acting to save the film. Fortunately the acting is also solid but not great, there are many stereotypical characters with absolutely zero depth such as Leigh Ann's friends and the hurt village gang, which are laughably one-dimensional. Two actors whom gave the best performances in the film were undoubtedly Sandra Bullock's Oscar winning performance as Leigh Ann Tuohy and Quinton Aaron's role as Michael Oher. While Bullocks performance definitely was not Oscar worthy, her characters tenacious attitude and comforting persona was realized perfectly through Sandra Bullock. The character of Leigh Ann just isn't that interesting despite some humorous remarks, she is essentially a soccer mom with an attitude. Aaron expertly portrayed melancholy as the mans face expressed so much by saying so little which is always a demanding task. Big Mike is the most interesting character in the film because he has real depth unlike nearly every other character in the entire film that is largely one-dimensional. The depth and melancholy that Aaron delivers in his performance is the best part of the film. The Blind Side is a solid sports film about the themes of loneliness' and racism accompanied by an average script, average directing, and average acting, the film is average in every way.

Stranger by the Lake

Daring and bold with enough adult drama to keep it interesting, Alain Guiraudie's Stranger by the Lake is a master class of originality and cinematic supremacy. Setting the film exclusively in one location with absolutely no score to accompany it seems like a risky and daunting task, which it is, however Guiraudie transcends this issue with breathtaking shots of the surrounding land scape, impressive cinematography and fantastic long takes that allow the actors, to well, act. The director had a vision for this film, to tell a daring murder story with messages of self-worth and judgment at the center of the story which come through in spades thanks to the directors brilliant vision of what to produce on the silver screen. Guiraudie's screenplay is equally as good as his directing and cinematography skills for without a musical composition to engage the audience, it is up to great dialogue and storytelling to carry a film, which once again the director pulls off nearly flawlessly. Each of the characters feels like predators of lust and desire among the dangerous world of the "lake", thanks to their great performances and particularly great dialogue. While every actor Guiraudie chose was excellent in their respective role it is Pierre Deladonchamps performance of Franck and Patrick d'Assumcao's enactment of Henri that stand as the best characters and performances of the entire film. Deladonchamps is a compelling leading man that feels real in which we genuinely care for the man as he desperately tries to figure his way around Michael's desire for himself. Henri is the most likable character in the film because of d'Assumcao's warm-heartedness towards Franck, which makes Henri's fate all the more tragic in the end. The only flaw of the film is the repetitiveness of the Franck's routine for, while the lake is beautiful, it is the only location in the film, which as you can imagine, becomes pretty stale after one hundred minutes. Stranger by the Lake is a daring, sexy piece of cinematic glory which soars thanks to excellent directing acting and cinematography, meanwhile plummets at the same time due to a weak story.

The LEGO Movie

2014's first home run! The Lego Movie seemingly appears to be another overly silly kid movie only meant to sell Lego's products; this observation is completely false for the film manages to brilliantly mesh hilarity, fantastically memorable characters, and even a excellent story, all of which culminate into a nearly flawless film which make The Lego Movie easily able to stand among such classics as Toy Story with flawless simplicity. Having the story of the film based around a prophecy of "the one" of course seems ridiculously stupid and the film completely acknowledges this fact with Lord Business responding to the prophesy with the phrase, "Did you just make that up?!" because the film is so well aware of it self means that the filmmakers are truly smart individuals with a natural tenacity for comedic gold. The animation on display is flawlessly elegant and gorgeous with nearly object in this Lego world being made out of, you guessed it, Legos! Surprisingly practically every character is not annoying but rather charming and humorous creating a well-earned laugh every several seconds. The jokes themselves are honestly one of the best aspects of the film, for they are charmingly self-aware and expertly well timed. However, the best part of the film that makes it an early classic among animation films is the twist that the entirely Lego world is simply Will Ferrell's play set in real life whom represents the refusal to change and requiring conventions to remain special. Ferrell's son adds life to the play set which is why a character such as batman interacts with Gandalf, the whole film is simply about a child trying to confront his father about change and how everyone can be special which is a charmingly hear warming message for a kids film. The Lego Movie is an early minted classic, a masterpiece of fiction that is an absolute joy to experience!


Bully elicits melancholy indigence as well as hope thanks to the excellent direction from Lee Hirsh and a powerfully compelling group of victims each struggling with a different aspect of the bullying cycle. The documentary is at it's best when each of the bully victims can release their true feelings, leaving a truly emotional taste in the mouth. The fact that a documentary can even elicit such emotions from the audience is a true feet of incredible film making. The shots captured are beautifully simplistic for they capture each victims feelings incredibly well. The only negative aspect of the film is its sometimes overly sentimental and melodramatic preachy message, the message of the film is hammered on the audience as if we were idiots, perhaps focusing exclusively on the victims would serve as a more powerful message than cramming it into the audiences head through seminars and what not. While flawed due to over sentimentality and melodrama, Bully is hard hitting documentary displaying both the best and worst of humanity.

Short Term 12

Rarely does a film come along that can celebrate life in such a way that fully acknowledges the white and black aspects of life, and turns melancholic grey into something inconceivably blissful, Short Term 12 is that film. Setting the film in a foster care facility was the perfect setting to emancipate this idea for almost every child is filled with blackness which caretaker Brie Larson must help assuage with white security, whilst also dealing with melancholy. Director Destin Cretton beautifully realizes this idea through his long takes and beautiful lighting. Beauty oozes through every frame of Short Term 12 making the film a pleasurable viewing experience. However, it is Cretton's actors that steal the show with the most realistic performances to come out of a motion picture in a great while. Needless to say ever actor is on the top of their game, with special attention paid to Kaitlyn Dever's portrayal as troubled teen Jayden, and Brie Larson's depiction of foster caretaker Grace. Dever brilliantly maintains a relatively low key performance avoiding over the top antics for subtlety, which she delivers intensely through her melancholic expression. Larson's performance as Grace similarly assuages pain through her low key performance for her and Jayden both experienced abuse by their fathers, however, Larson personifies comfort and love through her comforting performance as Grace, certainly delivering one of the best female performances of the year. Perhaps the best aspect of Short Term 12 is the compelling and emotionally moving screenplay by director Destin Cretton. The dialogue is never filled with fluff instead; Cretton always treats every scene in the film as important and urgent. Especially a scene between the characters Grace and Jayden when Jayden tells of a story between a squid and a shark to describe Jayden's abuse between her and her father. Short Term 12 is a brilliant piece of art that is near flawless in every aspect, truly an emotionally compelling masterpiece of cinema.

A Clockwork Orange

Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange is a wildly bizarre yet beautiful film about the victims and swine of the modern age, certainly earning its reputation as a classic. Kubrick's signature style is in full effect for the film, his long shots, blocking and brilliant cinematography make viewing A Clockwork Orange very delightful and is certainly one of the best aspects of the film being Kubrick's directing and cinematography. The acting in the film is equally brilliant with each actor bringing the top of their game to Kubrick's production. All the characters, even seemingly minor characters, serve a purpose in this horrifying modern age. However, it is Malcom McDowell's performance as crazed sociopath turned "cured" citizen that vividly imprints itself on the film. McDowll went through absolute hell with Kubrick in his performance sometimes doing over one hundred takes to get a scene just right, as well as being drowned for forty seconds with no cut in between scenes, but the performance is all the more powerful because of the true commitment McDowell had to the role of Alex. The commentary of the film as well as the novel is as relevant as it is horrifying, for most films and novels center on an apocalyptic desolate setting. The modern age of A Clockwork Orange is its own kind of apocalypse, filled with sex violence and hypocrisy. The only fault with Kubrick's near masterpiece is the incredibly difficult to understand accents of the British actors. They all speak incredibly fast, slurring their words together, which makes some key dialogue simply glossed over due to confusion. A Clockwork Orange is a near masterpiece of a film, accompanied with a brilliant performance from Malcolm McDowell and excellent direction from the prodigious Stanley Kubrick.

Ender's Game
Ender's Game(2013)

Ender's Game is a wildly original, fantastic science fiction film, filled with memorable characters, dazzling special effects, and truly thought provoking messages and themes on genocide and choice. The source material, similar to Ang Lee's Life of Pi, was supposedly impossible to emulate on the big screen. However, with the imaginative and stylized direction of Gavin Hood, all claims surrounding the translation of the novel can now be confirmed as mistaken. Hood delivers absolutely incredible sequences of action and sci-fi, with special attention paid to the final fight and just about every battle room fight. Hood's actors are equally impressive, Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, Ben Kinglsy and Hailee Steinfeld all hit home runs with their performances, but it is our main protagonist Asa Butterfield that absolutely knocks it out of the park. Butterfield expertly pulls on Ender's compassion, hate, hubris, bravery, gallant among other emotions. Ender is clearly a complex character and Butterfield never becomes the annoying child actor stereotype, instead becoming Ender Wiggin, nailing his role. Honest shock is brought forth in the final minutes of the film with very thought provoking and melancholic twists in the final chapter. This twist sets in motion an entire saga that is sure to change Ender forever. The one fault with the film is the stereotypical jerk children who obviously hate Ender in the beginning but end up being loyal to him in the end, which is only more prevalent when compared to the brilliant originality of the rest of the film. Ender's Game is a brilliantly executed film with excellent performance's and an imaginative vision.

The Counselor

Ridley Scott and Cormac McCarthy's, The Counselor, is a colossal disappointment considering the quality in front of and behind the camera, and is the true personification of the phrase, "You can't polish a turd.", indicative of the film itself. Ridely Scott's direction is as always, nicely shot, edited, framed and is certainly easy on the eyes. Scott is definitely a competent film maker capable of true greatness, evident in films such as Gladiator and Alien. The ensemble cast of Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruiz, and Cameron Diaz, all do generally a good job with the material they were given, with special attention payed to Fassbender and Diaz. Fassbender flawlessly pulls of the dire melancholy of the situation he has found himself in, and Diaz totally nails her seductive trifle persona effortlessly. However, good acting and directing can only take a film so far when the script is absolute garbage. McCarthy may be a wonderful novelist who is capable of creating profound lines, but when given the task of telling a story through dialogue McCarthy chugs. The dialogue makes absolutely no sense almost all the time and characters and plot points quite literally come out of nowhere, with no proper introduction and closure. Some lines in the film are quite good, especially Diaz's finally monologue about survival in an ever changing world, however each conversation before that brilliant monologue has almost nothing to do with the plot. Random scenes of pointless dialogue are spewed every few minutes and are needless to say pretty awful in terms of pacing. The Counselor is a competently directed and acting filmed murdered by the worst, most perplexing script in the past decade.

All Is Lost
All Is Lost(2013)

J.C Chandor's, All Is Lost, is a triumph, a true cinematic achievement to the craft of film making and to the survival genre as a whole. All Is Lost avoids traditional archetypes and cliches of the genre by never letting the man's outside world seep into him; it is just Redford and the sea. For days the man's tenacity is pushed to the absolute limit as his vessel is constantly being distraught by chaos, whilst under chaos he never panics nor does he rage, a sort of collective contempt resides inside the man as he must overcome nature's challenges. Very much a far cry from usual survival conventions where our protagonists freak out and let fear and anger seep in. Besides Redford's brilliant opening soliloquy and brief instances of small talk not a single line of dialogue is spoken throughout the film. For any other actor this task would be nearly impossible, however, Robert Redford is committed to his craft in such a way that through just through his facial emotions and body, he can bring forth a mountain of information in a single frame. Chandor's direction is tremendously brilliant, creating a visual engaging poignant feeling in every single shot. Each shot is a statement, which is the absolute best kind of direction. Alex Eberts golden globe award winning score is, like Redford and Chandor, elegantly brilliant, assuaging away pain and sorrow with a low and soothing score. The only minor misstep with All Is Lost is predictably the pacing which sometimes drags on ever so slightly, however the combined efforts of Redford, Chandor and Ebert make All Is Lost a visual masterpiece, a rhythmic masterpiece, a performance masterpiece, and a simply fantastic survival story.

Spirited Away

Hayao Miyazaki's, Spirited Away, is a magnificent masterpiece which is as elegant as it is extravagant. Mayazaki understands the purpose of film and literature, to transport yourself into another world, inhabiting that world, and living the reality of the directors vision. The animation of Spirited Away is absolutely gorgeous, imaginative settings and characters inhabit this spirit world, and are magnificent for the eyes to behold. Perhaps the best aspect of the film, the score is astounding in every facet, the orchestrated pieces are accompanied brilliantly by the more subtle piano and violin pieces. Spirited Away's visual style is magnificent, truly a triumph to behold. The films story takes the familiar, Alice in Wonderland, idea and totally turns it on its head by creatively telling the story with more dramatic twists, heightening the film to masterpiece quality. Even the American voice acting cast does an adequate job, with special attention given to Daveigh Chase as Chihiro and Jason Marsden as Haku both of whom do a fantastic job. Every aspect of Spirited Away is masterfully well executed creating a living and breathing work of spectacular art in, Spirited Away,

The Sixth Sense

Often considered M Night Shyamalan's best film to date, The Sixth Sense is a wildly original ghost story with an incredible performance from Haley Osment, whom despite being a child manages to rise above usual bad child acting, and deliver a truly incredible performance. Bruce Willis hits all the right emotional notes and delivers one of his better performances to date. The way the story was told is the best part of the film, requiring multiple viewings to catch all of the nuances in the film, and of course the twist is fantastic. The Sixth Sense is a wildly original ghost story, and certainly finds Shyamalan at his absolute best.

The Happening

Often considered M Night Shyamalan's worst film to date, The Happening is a hilariously awful thriller filled with terrible dialogue, terrible acting, terrible directing, and terrible effects. The Happening is truly awful in every way.

Blood Diamond

Blood Diamond is a film filled to the brim with very informative social commentary, and for the most part great performances, however, is ultimately just an ok film thanks to the poor storytelling, dull script, and Michael Bay like action sequences where its main duo are nearly invincible in a barrage of bullets. Hounsou, as Soloman easily delivers the best performance in the film, bringing the intensity needed for this dire father. DiCaprio is also quite good, completely dissolving into his role and becoming Danny Archer. However, the plot is very convoluted with plot points seemingly coming out of no where, often leading to confusion from the audience. The script is average at best, delivering cliched dialogue that does not merit the delivery of such actors as DiCaprio, and Hounsou. However, Blood Diamonds worst offence is the action. The film deals with the intensely serious issue of murder, annexation, and child labor, but the film kills all of that realism by having explosions the size of skyscrapers going off next to our heroes every five minutes, with out a scratch on them. They main duos humanity is lost as well as their venerability, which needless to say does not mix well with serious human problems Blood Diamond brings forth. Finally Edward Zwicks direction is quite stylish shooting the action with frantic intensity, and the sweeping landscape shots with a majestic beauty. Blood Diamond is an ok film brought up to the level of average only because of the great performances and important commentary.

Lone Survivor

Brutally intimate, and viscerally powerful, Lone Survivor stands as one of the best current war films to date, never succumbing to invincible character syndrome instead keeping all of its characters incredibly vulnerable and human. Peter Berg's direction is quite standard in dialogue scenes yet incredibly intimate when its four main soldiers are trapped in horrific combat, never suppressing the distraught each of the characters are feeling. War is hell, while the phrase is often used, it is never truly realized in the film medium. When chaos strikes, hell resides along side these four men, they are frantically trying to survive, taking dozens upon dozens of bullets in the process. These soldiers are always in danger, always losing, and never safe. The onslaught assaults the audience repeatedly for what seems like hours, thanks to Peter Bergs incredible direction and the equally incredible performances of Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, and Emile Hirsch. Every single actor expresses fanatical fear perfectly and are what primarily makes Lone Survivor so powerful, these are not the stereotypical bad ass super soldiers portrayed in most war films, these are heroic human beings. A somewhat rocky start is easily overlooked by the incredible acting, directing, intimacy, brutality, and dire hopelessness which transcend the phrase war is hell into the personification of Peter Berg's Lone Survivor.


Her is not only the best film of 2013 but the most poignant and heartfelt love story ever adapted to the silver screen, Her is the best romance film of all time. The brilliance of Her comes from its brilliant originality and wonderful performances given by the films two main actors. Phoenix's portrayal of Theodore works on every level, bringing the emotional depth and joy of a man struggling to cope with feelings of self doubt, Pheonix delivers a true tour de force performance that is certainly worth an oscar. However, it is the voice of the sweet and comforting Scarlett Johansson that stands as the best performance in the film. Like Samantha her self Scarlett Johansson's performance is more real than most actresses who can express emotion through their body, she is what makes the film work. Spike Jonze's direction and script also elevate the film past romantic conventions and transform Her into a thought provoking piece of brilliant fiction. The originality of Her along with the brilliant writing, directing, acting, hell everything about Her is the personification of compassion and is a true masterpiece of cinema!

August: Osage County

Tracy Letts brilliant play is adapted equally as brilliantly by director John Wells and is brought to life by the best ensemble cast 2013 has seen since Alexander Paynes Nebraska. Tracey Letts perfectly captures the Essence of his tony award wining play through his tumultuously dramatic and hilarious script. The deeply emotional scenes are strangely one in the same with the darkly comedic moments which works in part by John Wells smart direction and Tracy Letts fanatical script. The cinematography of the film is certainly fantastic, with shots of Oklahoma sky's complimenting the darker moments in the film. Without a doubt, the absolute best aspect of the film is the acting! This cast is incredible, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Sam Shepard, Meryl Streep! Every actor brings a true and memorable performance, with special attention given to Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep. Roberts is terrifying in some scenes and is heart warming in others, while Streep is a cynical bitch and is extremely unlikable but becomes Violet Weston which is the highest compliment an actor can receive. August Osage County is brought to life brilliantly by John Wells, Tracey Letts, and the impeccably brilliant cast!

Enough Said
Enough Said(2013)

Despite the surface of Enough Said's initial archetype, the film manages to rise above the romantic comedy cliches and archetypes with the help of an impeccably adult script, as well as two utterly charming and emotionally tangible main actors. Holofcener's direction is subdued, avoiding flashy camera shots and blocking and instead keeping the camera tight on every actor, avoiding gravitas for true intimacy between the audience and the characters. James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfusare both brilliant in the film, creating one of the most tangible and genuine on screen relationships all year. Gandolfini's performance is the personification of warmth and comfort, for the man was and always will be a gentle giant. However, it is Dreyfus that steels the movie, well earning her Golden Globe nomination for best actress. She is willing to compromise traditional female quality's to remain as genuine and as lovable as the script demands. Enough Said, while not terribly original, manages to rise above its romantic comedy archetypes by delivering top notch performances and a utterly charming script, Enough Said is utterly charming in every way!

Anchorman - The Legend Of Ron Burgundy

Perhaps Will Ferrell's most famous role to date, Anchorman is a solid news satire filled with excellent commentary of news competition, as well as many laugh out loud moments. Ferrell is accompanied by a hilarious ensemble cast including Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Seth Rogen and Vince Vaughn, all of whom absolutely nail their supporting roles. However, for every joke that does work, there is another waiting just around the corner that fails miserably. Along with some dumb jokes Anchorman's predictability is what holds it back from becoming one of Will Ferrell's best comedy's to date.


While quite entertaining at times with the films clever references of Star Wars and Star Trek, the film mostly chugs due to a poor script, awful characterization, and William Shatner.

Monsters University

The original Monsters Inc. is a classic piece of animated cinema, which has been loved by millions for years. While there was absolutely no way Monsters University could be as good as the original, surprisingly the prequel film is quite good considering the high standards set by Its predecessor. The quality of the CG animation is simply astounding and is a complete eye orgasm. Almost every old character returns with slightly varied personas but equally as memorable. But the biggest surprise are the new characters which contain a contagious amount of heart and memorability. Monsters University is a solid prequel plagued by predictability and stereotypical college archetypes, however still manages to surprise with a contagious amount of heart .

500 Days of Summer

While very generic and predictable at times, 500 days of summer is a charming upbeat romantic comedy, filled with wonderful performances, direction, and music to accompany Marc Webb's picture. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is as always fantastic in his role, playing the hopeful and taciturn "boy" of the film. Zooey Deschanell, while still good, seems to be playing the same character she always has, she is like the female Michael Cera. Marc Webbs direction is without a doubt the highlight of this other wise tedious film. Style over substance seems to be somewhat of a running theme in this film, and while there is plenty of obvious symbolize to find, the moral lessons Tom experiences throughout his 500 days with Summer are what make the film stick out from the pack along with Webb's excellent direction.

47 Ronin
47 Ronin(2013)

47 Ronin is predictable, nausea inducing, tedious, monotonous, and is just a chore to get through. The costume design and visual effects are quite impressive and the action is filmed with some style, however, the rest of the film chugs due to poor performances, and an incredibly predictable dull script.

The Wolf of Wall Street

The modern Wolf of Wall Street gangsters of the 21st century are as ruthless and flamboyant (if not more) than the 20th century gangsters of Goodfellas, that is why Scorsese was the absolute perfect man to direct this three hour long irreverent piece of cinematic glory. Jordan Belfort's memoir is realized perfectly through the as always excellent Martin Scorsese. Scorsese's blocking, lighting, cinematography, and direction perfectly speak to each individuals situation as well as their own emotions. When Belfort and pals are jumped up on ludes, or in dire hopelessness, Scorsese's direction will accompany the characters with prerogative style. Terrence Winter's script adapted from Belfort's memoir does an excellent job of trimming the fat, and delivering the meat of Belfort's own rambunctious tale. Scorsese's cast is equally exceptional with special attention given to DiCaprio, Hill and McConaughey, all of which enhance Winters script and Scorsese's direction. Dicaprio and Hill are wild and flamboyant while McConaughey is suave and nonchalant. The Wolf's only fault is in its fluctuating tone and sometimes overly flamboyant sexual behavior. At nearly three hours in length, The Wolf of Wall Street is a thrill ride of sex, drugs, money, and morals and will go down in history as one of Scorsese's best contemporary films.


Elf finds Will Ferrell at his absolute best, giving one of his most memorable and hilarious performances of his entire carrier. The story is wildly original and Jon Favraeu directing certainly brings flair to the film, absolutely a Christmas classic and certainly one of the best Christmas films to come out in the last decade.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

While the film is incredibly predictable at times and often turns to lowbrow humor, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is a solid comedy with some memorable set pieces and decent acting. All of which make this film memorable and a Christmas classic.

Inside Llewyn Davis

What the Coen brothers have created with Inside Llewyn Davis is a melancholic look at under appreciated art trying to find a place in a constantly changing world. Llewyn Davis is the best directed film of the entire year with incredible shots, blocking, lighting, and editing captured brilliantly by the Coen's. The films atmosphere is capture perfectly through the melancholic grey that emancipates the film, however the color grey also represents the complicated nature of the world in which Llewyn Davis lives, the simplicity of black and white photography is replaced with incredulous grey. Oscar Isaac as Llewyn Davis truly knocks it out of the park delivering a tour deforce performance that perfectly personifies the tragic melancholy that fills Davis. The rest of the supporting cast, Mulligan, Timberlake, Goodman, ect. Are all great in their roles delivering the famous Coen dialogue with style and passion. While the acting and the directing all ready make Llewyn Davis a great film, the score elevates the film to absolute perfection. All of Oscar Isaac's songs are incredibly somber and filled with content and melancholic lyrics that try to assuage the pain away that Davis and the audience feel in their lives. Inside Llewyn Davis is the best directed, acted, and scored film of the year, and will go down as not only one of the best films of 2013 but of all time.

American Hustle

David O. Russell, now that is a true filmmaker, creating some of the best motion pictures to come out of Hollywood today. American Hustle is an ecstatic hilarious film, filled with unbridled energy and masterful direction from David O. Russell. Russell absolutely nails the 70's style of the film, using inventive lightning and blocking to tell a bizarre story. American Hustle has the second best ensemble cast of the year, topped only a small bit by Alexander Pains Nebraska. Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Bradley Cooper all deliver top notch ecstatic performances, once again dissolving into their roles. However, Jennifer Lawrence brings a sort of gravatas that no other actress working today can deliver. Lawrence chews the scenery, she steals, hell she robbs the entire movie by how good she is in the film. She makes every scene she is in, the best scenes in the entire film. A somewhat convoluted plot involving money laundering, is the small price to pay for a true masterpiece of cinema and certainly one of the best films of the year.

Saving Mr. Banks

Saving Mr. Banks is one of the most heartfelt films of the year and certainly one of the best! The strongest aspect of Banks is by far in a way, the powerful performances each of the actors brings to the silver screen. Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson dissolve into their roles and more specifically Thompson is completely unrecognizable because of her incredible performance. However, the best performance to come out of Saving Mr. Banks is without a doubt Colin Farrell. Farrell hits all the right notes as Mr. Banks himself, he is wondrous and exciting as well as tragic and melancholic. While the acting is fantastic the script and story are simply good, with some very memorable lines helping some of the more dull aspects of the screenplay. How the story is told could use a little work though, the past sections should perfectly coenside with the present sequences rather than confuse the audience with their purpose. Overall, Saving Mr. Banks is a very solid, if flawed, picture that is elevated to Oscar worthiness due to the fantastic performances the awe inspiring cast delivers.


Despite the films three hour length, Troy manages to entertain all throughout those three hours. Sure, The Illiad from which the film is based, has been hollywoodfied to the extreme but not to the point absurdity. Thanks to Wolfgang Peterson's excellent direction, the action sequences are simply astounding! Thousands of real actors are filmed simultaneously while each pulls of there own impressive stunt, Brad Pitt and Eric Bana are especially great in their actions scenes. All of the actors are sufficient in the film and provide solid performances, especially Brian Cox and Eric Bana who disapear into their roles. With the exception of some corny lines the dialogue in Troy is surprisingly quite good with several incredible lines delivered by Brad Pitt as Achilles. Troy is a fantastic action film with great acting, music, and action sequences, and should be watched by any who enjoy entertaining themselves with a great film!

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The sequel to the average "Unexpected Journey" of the Hobbit trilogy is a much more exciting and riveting chapter in The Hobbit saga. The film immediately transcends into warp drive as the audience is thrusted into the dwarves quest to reclaim their homeland. The films opening in Mirkwood is fantastic very much paralleling Frodo's fight and flight with Shelob, the fantastic opening is followed by an equally visceral Barrel chase sequence, keeping the pacing relativly fast. However, the pacing plummets faster than a fat kid on a tred mill when the company reaches Laketown. Most of the material in Laketown was crammed in to lengthen the running time, which kept me wanting to check my watch. Even when Bilbo and the Dwarves encounter Smaug the dragon the pacing is awful. While some of the pacing in Erobor might be questionable Bilbo's encounter with Smaug is not just the highlight of this film, but a highlight of the Hobbit trilogy in general. All the actors, visual effects, set design, ect. are of course fantastic. Although pacing persists as a major issue for this series, the major cliffhanger ending of The Desolation of Smaug kept me hungry for some more Hobbits!


While not terrible, Unknown lacks any true identity that separates it from the pack. While Liam Neeson is certainly good, even he is not enough to save this crap fest.


Alexander Payne has done it again! Payne has directed one of the absolute best films of 2013 and of the entire decade with Nebraska. The cinematography of the film is absolutely superb with the help of the black and white color pallet and lighting. Payne's actual direction with each one of his actors is incredibly well done, feeling as if the actors themselves are real people is what Payne excels at, which is the highest honor i can give. The story is self is wildly original and superbly told through Payne's masterful direction and Bob Nelson's smart script. Every actor in the film is on the top of their game, delivering hilarity and melancholic moments when the script calls for it. Two actors in particular June Squibb and especially Bruce Dern are remarkable. Squibb's comedic moments are delivered similarly how to George C Scott would which of course is a compliment and Bruce Dern's aging melancholy is delivered perfectly through his performance! The score for the film actually accompanies the film very well as Woody and his son travel across the country side. Alexander Payne's Nebraska is one of the best films of the year!


Philomena is the most charming and heartfelt film of 2013. The comedic elements of the film work incredibly well with Steve Coogan and Judi Dench's British wit. Steve Coogan delivered his comedic moments masterfully, keeping it subdued yet hilarious. His dramatic moments were equally as we'll delivered. Judi Dench became philomena, she was absolutely astounding in every aspect of her performance. Dench will certainly get nominations across the board for her charming and heart felt performance. Philomena is one of the best films of the year.

21 Jump Street

Suffocation will occur during the first half of the film for the laughs come at you swiftly, one after another making it ridiculously hard to breath in the process! However, you will quickly breath fine after that first half for the quality quickly drops after that first half unfortunately. Jonah Hill and Chaning Tatum are perfectly casted and are what make this high school comedy work so well, for their on screen presence and chemistry makes these two feel as if they have been friends for years. 21 Jump Street is definitely worth a watch if you are into suffocating from lack of air by laughter!


One of the best adapted Stephen King novels to film, filled with terrific suspense and horror. Kathy Bates is legendary in the film from how psychotic and melevelent she is, while still somewhat lovable as Annie. The film works because of the horrific intimacy Kathy Bates shares with the injured James Caan, a great suspense horror film.

Boogie Nights

What do you get when PornHub, Goodfellas, and Quentin Tarintino have raging sex, "Boogie Nights". Paul Thomas Anderson is often regarded as one of the greatest film makers of our time from films such as "There Will be Blood" and "The Master". However, without a doubt Boogie Nights is the best film Paul Thomas Anderson has made to date! The characters and score are edgy and sexy, and most importantly the story is very well done in how it is told. Mark Wahlberg has never been better, embracing the cockiness (pun intended) of his Marky Mark persona, as well as the more serious and dramatic Mark Wahlberg. Boogie Nights is a well earned classic from one of the greatest film makers of our time, Paul Thomas Anderson.


A surprisingly solid Disney film post hand drawn animation. While predictable, the film still manages to remain entertaining and poignant .

The Big Lebowski

Often considered as the Coen brothers masterpiece, "The Big Lebowski" is a terrifically entertaining comedy, with some of the greatest performances ever committed to film. "The Dude", played by Jeff Bridges, is the ultimate stoner, wannabe, loser, but dammit is he awesome! John Goodman's character, "Walter", is truly one of the best characters ever put on film, because of his over the top hilarity that is brought forth from some of the smallest conflicts. While the characters are fantastic, the story surrounding them is only good, which is somewhat disappointing considering the mastery of every other aspect. Definitely one of the Coen's better films in their humongous library of cult classics.

Gone Baby Gone

"Gone Baby Gone" brings to the table some excellent performances, including Ed Harris and Casey Affleck, however a somewhat lackluster story with a been there done that feel to it. The twists do not pack the emotional punch the film wishes it would give due to convoluted story telling and weak character development. In the end Ben Affleck's directorial debut is certainly a good film, just not a fantastic one compared to his future films such as "The Town", and "Argo".

Blue Is The Warmest Color

Adèle Exarchopoulos performances was mystifying in the way she was completely lost in her character because of her incredible performance. Léa Seydoux, while still excellent, pales in comparison to the pure emotion and love Adèle brings to her character. The on screen chemistry shared between the two actresses is chemistry Anakin and Padmè wish they could bring to the big screen! Honestly, the controversy surrounding the film shouldn't discourage any lover of film or a good love story, from living Adèle's reality. An excellent film that should not be missed!

Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Truly Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, and certainly the best film he has ever made! George C. Scott perfectly personifies America's own patriotism and paranoia during the cold war era, as these world leaders desperate try to prevent doomsday. Terry Southern's script is witty, contradictory and funny as hell, "Gentlemen! you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!" The film has and will continue to go down in history as one the greatest film's of all time!

Children of Men

Uneven pacing brings down an other wise perfect film. Cauron's desolate science fiction film is an incredible cinematic achievement. The chaos of this melancholic future is captured perfectly by Alfonso Cauron's incredible directing and world building, Children of Men is a nearly perfect film on every level, and should be required viewing for any aspiring director.

The Time Machine

H.G Wells classic tale is brought to life quite well by director George Pal. Much of the social commentary is still present while the deeper meaning behind the misuse of control is somewhat lost. In the end Wells novel is highly superior to the films adaptation.


Incredibly inspirational in its message, Milk is an emotionally poignant film that is supported by a strong supporting cast and Sean Penn's tumultuous performance.


Highly forgettable action flick.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

What an incredible step up from the first film! The film is truly astounding in nearly every aspect! From the acting to directing to the story it self, nearly every aspect is flawless and is easily comparable to "The Empire Strikes Back" with all hope seeming to be lost. However, like the title suggests a spark has been lit and the revolution has just begun!

The Descent
The Descent(2006)

While the first 30 minutes chugs due to weak character development as well as annoying characters, the rest of the film soars with the help of the films unflinching atmosphere, masterful set design, and fanatical scares!

Requiem for a Dream

The masterful directing of Darren Aronofsky and the heartbreaking performance of Ellen Burstyn make Requiem for a Dream worth a watch.

Kill Your Darlings

A well-acted film set in the revolutionary time period of the beat poets. While some elements of the film are lacking, the film still manages to tell an engaging murder story that delves into the minds of the fantastical characters the story presents.

Dallas Buyers Club

A film that showcases the tenacity of those willing to make sacrifices to save the lives of millions


a fantastic science fiction film

Blue Valentine

i usually can not fucking stand romantic films, but Blue Valentine was one of the best examinations of true love i have ever had the pleasure of watching.

The Passion of the Christ

the whole film Christ is being tortured which made me sick to my stomach. well i guess the film got me, however, i would have preferred a story on christs life from birth till death. And not just his death


MUCH better than Zero Dark Thirty

Django Unchained

Without a doubt my favorite film of 2012, and i cannot wait to see what Tarantino does next!

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

i don't get how episode I and II could be SO average but this be very good... but star wars episode III is without a doubt the best prequel and is my 3rd favorite star wars film

King Kong
King Kong(2005)

truly one of the greats


a tad bit mellow dramatic in parts (including the title) but otherwise a fantastic film.

Spider-Man 3
Spider-Man 3(2007)

could have been better but i am happy with what i got

Stand by Me
Stand by Me(1986)

definitely one of my favorite films of all time

End of Watch
End of Watch(2012)

one of the years best films


everything i would ever need in a pixar film!

Super 8
Super 8(2011)

not nearly as powerful as films such as "Stand by me" and "The Goonies"