I meant to write this post two weeks ago when October was wrapping up to actually make it a monthly round-up but alas, the best laid plans…
Good news is, because of my fabulously busy lifestyle, the delay allowed me to cross two more films off my ever-growing list. These days, it’s so many movies and so little time. And since all the movies cause all the feelings, I decided to forego my usually fabulous Wednesday night of drinking wine and watching Netflix to unleash the following slew of emotions.
So starting from mid-September to now (which I guess actually makes this a two-monthly round-up…) a quick recap of my thoughts and predictions from this year’s best films.
And though it goes without saying, never pass up a chance to River Song.
I was lucky to catch this one at the San Diego Film Festival. I had just finished a shift and was actually debating calling it a night. I didn’t know anything about the movie other than it starred J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller, which was convincing enough honestly — I was just pretty tired. I cannot emphasize how glad I am that I stayed to watch. This movie blew me away. It was like a more modern, more hyper-intense, more gory, more everything version of Drumline. But like way better because the rush oh man the rush. Like as if you were watching the best sports movie out there. Who knew drumming could be so exhilarating? 10/10 would recommend.
The Imitation Game
The Imitation Game actually doesn’t come out in wide release for another few weeks but again, I was lucky to catch the screening at the San Diego Film Festival in September. It was one of my most anticipated movies and it absolutely delivered. Benedict Cumberbatch was in his element, refining the work he has been so carefully cultivating on Sherlock BBC, really taking on and delivering on the intensity and emotional nuances of Alan Turing. Really superb acting all around, especially from Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke, Turing’s friend and later wife. Realizing that Alan Turing was a real person, was once a living breathing genius, makes the movie all that much more remarkable — regardless of the dramatization. In fact, I spent most of the night after I got home reading up on his life and his theories, completely fascinated by this man and the life he led. With Benedict Cumberbatch a top Best Actor contender and the movie in the run for several other awards, this is one you won’t want to miss.
Not ashamed to say I went to see this as soon as it came out. By myself. On a Friday night. In downtown San Diego. Wearing sweatpants. Do not mess with me and movies. I’m as big a bookworm as I am a film snob (sometimes even more so) and I’d been keeping tabs on the making of this film for months. While I will always say the book is better than the movie, I thought the film did a phenomenal job in bringing such a complex story to life. The book is an exhilarating ride of twists and shocks and I simply could not put it down. I’m always amazed by the ability of filmmakers to bring psychological thriller stories to the big screen, with so much relying on the reader’s perception and the character’s inner monologues. And Gillian Flynn’s screenwriting credit is even more impressive when you consider how difficult it is to transition from novel-writing to screenplay, let alone adapting your own work. David Fincher is one of my favorite directors and the casting was spot-on and the acting was on point and I may be biased but I say — even if you haven’t read the book, go watch this movie. (But you should really read the book first).
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Probably one of the most serious contenders out of everything I’ve seen. My very first thought after walking out of the theater was I think I loved it… I felt like I had just gone on a dream-sequence roller-coaster. Still processing. It would be a few days and a couple shell-shocked texts with Jonny before we would come to the conclusion that yes, we really, really loved it. Despite its kind of hit-you-over-the-head critique on the industry and all the meta-commentary. But really, it’s hard not to love a comeback story. Even harder not to love a Michael Keaton comeback story. Even harder not to love a Michael Keaton superhero comeback story. Even harder not to love a dark, twisted, yet strangely uplifting, heartening, confusing yet brilliantly clear Michael Keaton superhero comeback story. Okay you get the idea. Give it up for another lock in the (very crowded) Best Actor race and a Best Picture contender. And if anyone was wondering why I called it a dream-sequence roller-coaster — the entire movie is shot to look like one continuous take. You try describing it as anything else. All in all, A+ camerawork, terrific acting, impressive and fascinating. Not too emotionally engaging in the traditional sense, but believe me. You’ll feel something.
This is literally all I could say this entire weekend after watching Interstellar in IMAX. Take my reaction with a grain of salt because I’ve wanted to be an astronaut since I was six but then I failed a science test in third grade and gave up on that dream real quick but I’m still a sucker for anything space and I mean anything space so you give me this SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE movie about a space mission and a wormhole and other galaxies and alternate dimensions and throw in Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain (DREAMCAST), Christopher Nolan at the wheel and Hans Watch-As-I-Destroy-Your-Emotions-With-My-Music Zimmer and oh my god I just realized this sentence is almost as long as the movie but I don’t even care because SPACE. SPACE GUYS. SPACE. I need to breathe. Which is something you won’t be doing when you watch this movie. Also watch it in IMAX. Or 70mm. Or both. But take an Advil. It’s a lot to handle. But beyond worth it. So so so beyond worth it.
Okay. I’m done.
So. I think this about sums up all the major ones so far. I did also see The Good Lie at the San Diego Film Festival, which I enjoyed, and Big Hero 6, which sadly I didn’t love as much as I thought I would. My criticisms though were more nit-picky than anything, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to do really well in the long run. If only because Disney…
Alright that’s all I got for now. Next on my list:
- St. Vincent
- The Theory of Everything
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
- A Most Violent Year
Bring it on (rest of) NOVEMBER.