One of my favorite actors And that's just not "favorite" meaning "one of the ones that I like" --- I mean truly one of the handful of working actors that I consider to be among the best. He was one of the few that him being in a film was enough to make me want to see it.

Gutted for PSH Did not realize he was struggling so much with drug and alcohol addiction...

First film in my Michael Mann marathon (to be followed by Manhunter then The Last of the Mohicans, Heat and finally The Insider):

Thief (1981)

Thief at times functions almost like a documentary in terms of its authenticity in capturing the ins and outs of a heist. It drills down to the details such as testing the voltage of wires to know what to tap and running an extinguisher under a burning bar to make sure nothing catches fire. These are the kinds of intricacies that other heist films would gloss over and in its place the viewer would find the entire process condensed into a quick, snappy montage.

At the same time Thief is also a compelling story of a tragic hero who's determined to live his life and follow his plans on his terms. At the heart of it is James Caan infusing his innate tough-guy bravado into the main character so naturally in what is one of his finest performances.
Thankfully after the gunfight in this film he gets to walk away as the victor instead of being riddled with bullets.

My only significant problem with the film is the progressive electronic score by Tangerine Dream. The music seems more apt for a tech-noir or cyberpunk or sci-fi film like Blade Runner or The Terminator. That said the score wouldn't be such a big issue if it wasn't so loud and present. In almost every big scene there it was. A huge wall of sound created by what seemed like a hundred roaring synthesizers. The atmosphere it created for Thief just seemed odd which was unfortunate because the film works great visually.

Right from the 10-minute opening scene the cinematography and lighting gives the film a sense of thrill and danger. It sets the stage for the rest of the story in such an efficient way that most other films are rarely able to do. Two thieves go about their business during a dark and rainy night. Each move they make is carefully followed. It's precise, detailed and intricately planned. In fact it's the perfect metaphor for the film as that's where the strength of the film ultimately lies. It's such a meticulously made film in that every shot every edit every scene and line of dialogue seems like it's all been painstakingly plotted on a detailed map by Michael Mann.

maybe michael cera is going to be cast as the riddler... idk.
All Is Lost - Surprisingly very watchable despite it having only one actor and barely any dialogue. Robert Redford is not a great actor though. He's serviceable at best in most scenes, but that scene around 70-minutes into the film when he finally shows an emotional outburt of despair is cringeworthy. Overall, a fascinating piece of work. It piques my interest about the ins and outs of sailing. It's gorgeous to look at and relaxing to listen to during the daytime scenes when the weather is calm, but is riveting to watch during the man-vs-nature sequences where our man is fighting for his life.

The Spectacular Now - Miles Teller reminds me of a young John Cusack: That boyish look and charm, the calm and cool manner, the loose and relaxed way he delivers his lines. Though one thing that Teller has over Cusack is that he can turn it up so effectively when the scene calls for proper drama. And through that, the film succeeds in hitting all the right notes. It's not exactly a spectacular coming-of-age story, but a lot it feels authentic and comes from a place of genuine truth.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - It's feels really odd when you have two films featuring the same actress: American Hustle & Catching Fire - one a critical success with a chance at winning Best Picture and the other a mainstream commercial blockbuster - and it's the latter that reminds you that Jennifer Lawrence is a talented and versatile actress with incredible potential. I'll leave that at that. As for the other aspects of this sequel, it improves on almost every way from the original: The narrative becomes more compelling as plot thickens and the stakes get higher. The shooting style is less chaotic, yet you get a better sense of the danger all of the tributes are in. And the production design + visual effects make it obvious that more money was thrown towards the budget this time around.
Upstream Color - Well, that was definitely something. I can't say that I enjoyed it or was entertained by it. A more appropriate description of the experience is probably that I was fascinated by what was going on and with how Carruth put together the music and the visuals to tell a narrative that I definitely didn't even fully understand.

A major factor for the appreciation of the film is also that Amy Seimetz is a very mesmerizing on-screen presence. She's so beautiful and has a soft, graceful quality that reminds me so much of Juliette Binoche (especially in Three Colors: Blue).
Quote by seventh_angel
Also II, only at 23 years old I'm realizing how terrible I think John Cusack is as an actor.

His work in Being John Malkovich and High Fidelity are quite good, though.
Quote by seventh_angel
My second favorite movie of the year, losing only to Before Midnight. Amazing movie. Not as perfect as A Separation because... well, that movie was nearly flawless, but amazing nonetheless.

Yup, "A Separation" is just such a special film that it would be almost unreasonable to expect Farhadi to equal or top that level of filmmaking. I wouldn't rank "The Past" as highly as you, but I'd think it's around my of 2013. Coincidentally, "Before Midnight" is also my #1 of the year

EDIT: Who do you think was best in the cast? It was a strong esemble overall but I think Bérénice Bejo was best in show. The young actors who played Luci and Fouad were also amazing imo. Although I felt like Samir was perpetually downcast and Ahmad was always so calm and reasonable to say that Tahar Rahim & Ali Mosaffa gave exceptional performances... but they were both good/serviceable for what was required of them.

Although in Mosaffa's case, perhaps the film needed someone "straight" to balance out the hysteria surrounding him. Whereas with "A Separation", there was no outsider for the audience to latch onto. (Not saying this is a good or bad thing, just pointing out the difference.)
Le passé (The Past) - Asghar Farhadi is such a master storyteller and a keen, perceptive observer of human relationships. As with his previous film, "A Separation", Farhadi is able to again bring rich and complex characters to life onscreen through and equally rich and complex narrative. There is that part towards the end where the film turns a bit into a mystery/thriller, which felt like a not-so-smooth shift in tone from the melodrama of its first 90 minutes, but it's a very minor criticism to what is otherwise a great movie.

Performances by Bejo, the teen who played Luci and the boy who played Fouad were all exceptionally great. Those in the roles of Ahmad and Samir were also good, albeit in a relatively muted, nuanced manner.
Quote by seventh_angel
I watched The Hunt with a friend of mine and we both thought it was way too over-the-top, but most people seem to really like that movie so yeah, good for the movie

Like how over the top? You mean in the way how
the community were clearly idiots by overreacting like irresponsible adults and stupidly thinking that children never lie, throwing rocks at Lucas' house, killing his dog, denying him service at the supermarket and beating him up all even though the police did not find him guilty?
Over the past two days:

August: Osage County - Surprisingly good given that I've heard a lot of criticism against it for supposed overacting and the love-or-hate-it performance that Meryl Streep gives. I thought that Streep did a great job and the ensemble cast is one of the best - if not the best - of 2013, if only for Roberts, Cooper, Martindale, Cumberbatch, Nicholson & Shepard. Slightly underrated film imo.

Jagten (The Hunt) - This was ****ing brilliant. I don't think I've ever felt so much anger towards what was happening on the film in a very long time.
nadal's hand right now.

of course he loses the tie-break.

another nadal-feder match, same old story... -_-
All the talk about Nic Cage in the previous pages is making me want to do a Cage month ahead of my already-planned Denzel month.


Cage or Denzel? Cage or Denzel? Cage or Denzel?

Quote by Baby Joel
Woah EITS did the score? D:

I want to watch it so much more now

Yeah Peter Berg seems to really like EITS. They also did the score for one of his earlier films, Friday Night Lights. Knowing that they also did the music for Lone Survivor makes me want to bump up that film a few places up my to-view list. I'm a big post-rock and EITS fan.
Quote by jaybsp
It's funny how he thinks his talent lies in writing. I really wanna see him direct someone else's script.

Okay now I want to see Quentin Tarantino direct a film written by Paul Thomas Anderson.
Quote by chev311e
Magic Mike?

McConaughey is easily the best thing about Magic Mike.

From 2011, the only thing I haven't seen with McConaughey in it is The Paperboy, but even in that film, I heard that he's great. All the other films he's done since 2011 - The Lincoln Lawyer, Bernie, Killer Joe... especially Mud & Dallas Buyers Club - are all the better with him in them.

If you haven't seen any of those films, I'm pretty sure that viewing all of them will reveal a totally different side of McConaughey that you wouldn't have thought he had before.

And yeah, of course, he's amazing in True Detective.
I felt Captain Phillips was not as good as it was made out to be and Secret Life of Walter Mitty was not as bad as it was made out to be.

Captain Phillips
Quote by seventh_angel
Yeah, and I liked that final scene; one of my favorite things in the movie. I just think that, although I understand how the movie focuses on the extravagance instead on the actual development of the story ( which is almost always left in the background ), it didn't quite work for me, making almost every character one-dimensional or borderline cliché.

I think we're both agreeing on both our takes man

I was reading this post by lolmnt above and the writer of the piece says and expands on all the right things about WOWS that I was just touching on earlier:

there's been much comparison made lately between american hustle and the wolf of wall street. this is for good reason. the scorsese film has come under immense fire from those who either a) did not like its penchant for nudity, drugs and general depravity or b) did not like it because they felt it glorifies its main character. but what these people are missing is the essential understanding that the film is not advocating jordan belfort in the slightest. it actually thinks he's ridiculous and horrible (martin scorsese practically feels like he's poking his head out after each scene and saying "can you believe these assholes?"). the "problem" with wolf, is that it has the gall to recognize our society's complicity with this behavior and all the ways we help in propitiating these monsters and con artists by giving them a pass or maybe even worshiping them. it's not that the film doesn't punish belfort. it's that we don't. we let our heroes ride the subway while belfort laughs all the way to the bank. scorsese is just showering us with the cosmic ridiculousness of all this. and we don't like that. we like our movies to punish bad guys because we don't do it in real life. we want the indulgence. we want the unrepentant con artists to pay, dammit!... well, except when our movies tell us to like them. because american hustle is a movie that worships the con artist. and unsurprisingly, people love it. but that's the thing about movies and society: people like to be indulged, not punished.

which is what makes Scorsese's approach of "not making a statement" and just showing the whole straightforward ridiculousness of Belfort's lifestyle quite brilliant considering the material that he was given.
Quote by chev311e
I never really thought much of McConaughy as an actor need to see his last two movies.
is that the one starring fassbender?
Quote by seventh_angel
I think the movie focus on its style of exaggeration and grandeur, while mixing it with the euphoria of DiCaprio's character, and that's the only innovative thing in the movie. It feels like the movie's self-aware of that thing, so it keeps on focusing on it. The story of the movie's nothing new, and there's nothing much to say because it's a simple rise and fall thing. In the beginning, there's more development, because you have to have some explanation and you have to set the basis of the movie. Everything from there on is just focused on that style that the movie has set.

It's the main thing that deserves praise, followed by the acting and the editing, that fitted the mood of the movie. Everything else in the movie is simply unoriginal, mainly because there's nothing new you can bring to that type of story. But since the style works and it's cool, everyone's losing their shit over The Wolf Of Wall Street, and I sincerely think it's not that great.

Yeah I think that's more or less in line with what Scorsese wanted the movie to be, he says he made a deliberate choice not to "make a statement" like how many films tend to be. Maybe that's why the movie feels like it has no substance, which is because it's not really structured to build up towards anything, but instead to just show the story in a relatively straightforward narrative, and I can see how people can see that as a positive or a negative. He focused on the story and shot it in a style that mirrors the excessive, debaucherous and nihilistic lifestyle of Belfort and his cohorts, then left the audience to talk about it afterwards.

A lot of films show its characters doing all the wrong things, then at the end they're either punished or someone comes on and makes a big speech about how it's all wrong, so people go home and forget about it after a short time because the characters in the film are effectively "off the hook." Scorsese and Winter wanted to provoke people more into thinking about the film by not commenting on anything at the end and letting people talk about it themselves...and that's what's been happening on the internet more right now for WOWS than any other film of 2013.
When you talk about style and gimmick, what do you mean?
Quote by ThrashUnleashed
yeah, it's a little odd. it has to be about 'how a non-american, non-mainstream film changed my perspective on what cinema can be'

"non-mainstream" is such an odd criteria to add to a "non-american" film.

idk... based on what I've watched recently, I'm guessing, like, from South Korea... Lee Chang-dong's "Oasis" would qualify, but not Park Chan-wook's "Oldboy"?

EDIT: Actually, nevermind, "non-mainstream" is throwing me for a loop
Quote by WhiskeyFace
BAFTA won't go to Hustle because 12YAS and Gravity have more of a connection to Britain.
Quote by lolmnt
And it's AMERICAN Hustle
Quote by BelowTheSun
American Hustle also isn't awards-good.

Yeah, but you never know...

The Fighter and SLP got 3 nominations each for David O. Russell at their respective BAFTAs, but American Hustle got 10, which includes all of the major categories. If that doesn't show BAFTA support for that film, I don't know what does.

In any case, the consensus guess right now is that DGA will give Best Director to Cuaron and BAFTA will go with 12YAS.

Oscar Best Picture is still up in the air.
Oh wow... the award which almost everyone thought would be the one most reliable predictor of who would win the Oscar Best Picture ends up in a tie.

The Producers Guild of America awards best film to: Gravity & 12 Years a Slave

(words just cannot express how happy I am for David O. Russell right now! )


So yeah, wow, this is first legit 3-film race I've ever seen heading to Oscar night.

Golden Globes = 12YAS & Hustle
PGA = 12YAS & Gravity
SAG = Hustle

Considering the DGA is heavily favored to go to Cuaron for Gravity and the BAFTA is up in the air, Best Picture is impossible to predict right now.
actually I meant to say one of the best new shows in years, implying that the pilot was amazing.

Excellent show, one of the best new shows in years. It's from HBO, which has rarely let me down. It's gotten raves across the board, it has a nice southern Twin Peaksy atmosphere, it sort of reminds one of films like Zodiac and Memories of Murder, features what looks like a career-best performance from Matthew McConaughey.

Everything about it seems wonderful. The pilot episode has me hooked.

Anyone else?
the definition of oscar bait, like, changes each year :p
Quote by WhiskeyFace
Yup. I don't like him in person either. He's a slimy dweeb.
Quote by steve_muse
Bale got it for getting fat. Bet the other couldn't get fat, pussies


Quote by ManInTheBox14
I just can't believe that anyone in the universe thought that Christian Bale in American Hustle was better than Oscar Isaac in ILD (or Joaquin Phoenix in Her or Michael B. Jordan in Fruitvale Station, for that matter).

As overrated as I think American Hustle is, I also feel that Bale was the best thing in it, so I really don't mind him getting nominated. As far as the Oscars go, the AMPAS clearly loved Hustle. It got nominated in all seven major categories and got three more on top of that, so... meh.
I really don't see how it did stuff spectacularly well (which I understand as so much better than slavery movies that came before it)... it just felt... plainly solid, I guess.
Quote by Cadj
Just watched 12 Years A Slave.

I think it's time for me & Steve McQueen to go our separate ways as that's me 0/3 for him now. He's just someone whose films I will never go beyond appreciating for existing.

I feel the same way about 12YAS. I mean, I want it to win BP at the Oscars because at least it's a film that I respect and like more than American Hustle, but I don't get the high praise being given to this film, tbh.

I think it's good considering its emotional weight, the high quality of the acting, how it's beautifully shot and that it's able to maintain an engaging narrative throughout... but I failed to see anything refreshing, special or brilliant about it, which is the level of acclaim that I feel it's been getting from the majority of movie lovers.

I'd be interested to hear what exactly makes the film standout as different, refreshing or special to those that feel it's as brilliant as most people say.
Quote by robbo546hall
Inside Llewyn Davis and Her were both really good. I loved the soundtracks in both. I think Karen O has a decent shot at the Oscar for her song in Her.

Oscar Isaac was subtly brilliant I thought. There was something about his character which seemed so endearing even though he was kind of a dick sometimes. I'm surprised he didn't get more award noms although I guess his performance wasn't really over the top and dramatic.

Yeah The Moon Song was pretty great... but nothing is beating Let It Go from Frozen for that Oscar

idk about Inside Llewyn Davis... I thought Oscar Isaac was really good, I loved the music and I thought that the cinematography in the film was the best I've seen from 2013 (other than maybe Prisoners) --- but the narrative felt so meandering that I couldn't say I really appreciated it Then again, I've heard it said more than once that ILD is a film that lends itself strongly to multiple viewings and that it opens up more as you watch it again. Maybe I'll try it again soon to see if that's true.

I think Oscar Isaac wasn't recognized for his performance because it's just been such a competitive year for actors. There are easily around a dozen strong performances that one could make a case for this year.
Quote by slash_GNR666
30 minutes in Prisoners and feeling sick to the bottom of my stomach.

...i know right?

Quote by slash_GNR666
Dallas Buyers Club

McConaughey & Leto = Beautiful

i know right?!
I also felt that The Wolf of Wall Street earned its running time, but I can totally see how other people might not feel the same way. I felt it was engaging and well paced throughout. Can't really remember feeling like it dragged anywhere.
^ huh, interesting. I'd like to rewatch Blue Jasmine again and see whether or not Blanchett's character and Sally Hawkins' character converse not about a man.

Also, Short Term 12... those times when Jayden and Grace are talking to each other seem to be about a man as well in one way or another.
Quote by seventh_angel
Not according to IMDB

Maybe they got it wrong ?

Yeah, I'm pretty sure IMDB just got that wrong. Everyone else is reporting Gravity for that category