Looking ahead to the rest of 2013

1 06 2013

With the year half over and Cannes behind us, here are the 10 films I’m most excited to see during the 2nd half of 2013.  Something I should address up front is that Man of Steel, the most anticipated film for many, is absent here. Though I don’t quite have superhero movie fatigue yet, I’ve just never been a fan of Zack Snyder, and so I’m skeptical of anything he’s behind.  This is his follow up to Sucker Punch, after all.

10) Only God Forgives

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Having loved 2011’s Drive, I can’t help but be excited for Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling’s follow-up.  While Drive was universally praised, Refn seems to be going back to his more divisive ways this time, even drawing comparisons to Valhalla Rising in that it’s visceral, violent, beautiful, but all with a bare bones script.

9) This is the End

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This could be the best “midnight movie” of the year.  This fits right into Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s wheelhouse, and with a great ensemble and an emphasis on improv, it has the potential to be a blast.

8) The Past

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Like Drive, Asghar Fahadi’s  A Separation was one of my favorites of 2011.  His new film is getting very strong reviews and he’s becoming one of the most exciting new writer/directors.

7) Blue is the Warmest Color

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This just won the palme d’Or at Cannes, and so it automatically gets a spot here.  Other than the story centering around a young French lesbian couple, I know nothing of this film or its director.  However, Cannes has a history of picking amazing films for its top honor, and so I can’t wait to see this.

6) Anchorman: The Legend Continues

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Long in the works, and I really just can’t wait to see Will Ferrell back in this role.  Should be a lot of fun.

5) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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After seeing An Unexpected Journey, I’m no longer worried about The Hobbit being split into 3 films.  I didn’t feel it had any pacing issues, it set up a sequel well, and it felt wonderful to return to Middle Earth.  I’m sure Peter Jackson will work his magic once again.

4) Nymphomaniac

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Ever since Antichrist I feel there’s been a misconception among some that Lars Von Trier is a one-trick-pony only seeking shock value.  Though Nymphomaniac doesn’t look to change that view at all, I don’t think it could be further from the truth.  He’s always made wonderfully innovative films, from pioneering Dogme 95 to writing and directing Dogville, which Tarantino called “One of the best scripts ever written,” and that it “Would’ve won the Pulitzer had it been brought to the stage.”  He’s also been unpredictable, ranging from shock and horror to office comedy.  Nymphomaniac will at the very least be one of the most talked about movies of the year.

3) Twelve Years a Slave

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Steve McQueen might be the most exciting new director.  This is his 3rd film after Hunger and Shame.  This time he tackles slavery in NYC in the 1800’s, and he has maybe the best cast of the year led by Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender.

2) The Wolf of Wall Street

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The 5th collaboration between Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, and with reportedly one of the wildest scripts around.  There are even rumors of an NC-17 rating, though I doubt a major studio would let a film such as this get that financial kiss of death. Regardless, Scorsese is an all time great, and I can’t wait to see him take on controversial and energetic material again.

1) Before Midnight

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Not usually one for romance, the first two films, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset (which brilliantly plays out in real time), are two exceptions.  If Before Midnight reaches the same heights, this series will, in my opinion, be one of the all time best.  The three films were all made 9 years apart, with the actors aging naturally along with the characters. The two stars, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, also had a big influence on the scripts of each film, so not only have the characters aged naturally, but they’ve matured naturally as well.  Before Midnight opens wide on June 14th, and so far it’s been getting nothing but rave reviews.  It looks to be a great end to a trilogy 18 years in the making.

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Top 10 of 2011

23 08 2012

It’s late, but it took a long time to see everything on my list from last year.  After all, we’re not critics who get invited to screenings or have deadlines, so we took our sweet ass time.  2011 was an amazing year for movies, and there are quite a few that I loved but just couldn’t fit on the list.  Take a look and we encourage you to post your own top 10 in the comments.

10) Take Shelter

9) Shame

8) Midnight in Paris

7) Drive

6) HP and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2

5) Hugo

4) Melancholia

3) A Separation

2) 13 Assassins

1) The Skin I Live In

 

Almodovar’s probably one of very few who could make something so simultaneously bizarre, disturbing and thought-provoking.  I’ve loved Almodovar’s films for a long time, but with this I think he topped himself.  The Skin I Live In is a perfect mix of Almodovar with equal parts Hitchcock and Cronenberg.  It’s fantastic and my favorite film from an outstanding year.





“Centurion” trailer

1 03 2010

Well I was completely on board for this until I saw the trailer.  It’s by the director of The Descent (one of my favorite horror films from the last decade) and stars Michael Fassbender (Hunger; Fish Tank), one of my new favorite actors.  Lots of talent, but after watching the trailer I’m honestly not looking forward to this one anymore.  Have a look:





Fish Tank

29 12 2009

Andrea Arnold’s sophomore film is a British indie drama about Mia, a volatile young girl aspiring to be a dancer while living with her dysfunctional family in a rundown neighborhood.  When Mia’s mother brings home a new boyfriend, an odd series of events occur, prompting everything to change for Mia and her family.  It’s somewhat similar plot-wise to An Education, only much more authentic and in a lower class setting.  And much better.

Katie Jarvis, in her first performance ever, is absolutely brilliant as Mia and if there was any justice would be a shoe-in at the Oscars.  Michael Fassbender, who starred in last year’s Hunger and had a role in Inglourious Basterds, plays the new boyfriend and is also terrific (he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite actors).

Despite being such a small film with a shoe-string budget, natural lighting, and an unknown lead actress, Fish Tank is one of the most arresting and poignant films in recent memory.  It uses everything it has so effectively.  I’ll certainly never see Bobby Womack’s song “California Dreamin” in the same way.

As far as I know Fish Tank does not yet have a U.S. release date, and when it is released chances are it won’t be at your local theatre so you’ll probably have to go out of your way to check it out.  But please do, it deserves more exposure.

RATING:  9.5/10 (my #2 of 2009)