Archive for January, 2014

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The Wait

January 31, 2014

directed by M.Blash, 2013

the wait

Imbued with an overwhelming sense of self-importance and art-house allure, M.Blash’s The Wait is a pointless, towering cheat of a film. Keeping the viewer at arm’s length throughout, this stone-faced mediation on life, death, and the surreal registers as nothing more than an exercise that fails to compute in the slightest.

The film is set in Oregon with the characters looking as if they’ve walked straight out of a J. Crew magazine and into the film’s droning and dour atmosphere. The joke here is that it seems highly plausible that there’s more for them to do on the shiny pages of a magazine than in this film. Penned by M. Blash as well, The Wait concerns itself with sisters Angela (Jena Malone) and Emma (Chloë Sevigny), both of whom are left misguided and unsure of how to handle the emotional heft left behind after their mother’s death.

Read full review at Movie Mezzanine

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Gloria

January 23, 2014

directed by Sebastián Lelio, 2013

Gloria

While cinema is rife with stories of younger women seeking out love, Chilean director Sebastián Lelio’s Gloria forgoes the expected angst and instead revels in the quiet chaos of life as it follow the adventures of a lonely, fun-loving 58-year-old divorcée living in Chile. Anchored by a strong performance from Paulina García (for which she won the Silver Bear at last year’s Berlinale), Gloria admirably bypasses familiarity even if it ultimately never quite reaches next-level greatness.

Read full review at In Review Online

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2013 in film

January 18, 2014

The Bling Ring

While I don’t think 2013 rivaled the quality seen in 2012, it was a pretty fantastic year nonetheless. Not only did I acquire a few new writing gigs, not to mention a fantastic weekend TV critic job, but TIFF was once again the highlight of the year. In regards to how I compiled my list, any film that premiered in 2013 in any capacity made the cut. For extended thoughts on my 2013 list, check out the latest episode of Almost Arthouse. Before I get to my favorites from 2013, below is a reminder of what I adored in 2012.

1. Spring Breakers (Korine)
2. The Color Wheel (Ross-Perry)
3. Frances Ha (Baumbach)
4. The Master (Anderson)
5. The Unspeakable Act (Sallitt)
6. Moonrise Kingdom (Anderson)
7. Holy Motors (Carax)
8. Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami)
9. 4:44 Last Day on Earth (Ferrara)
10. Magic Mike (Soderbergh)
11. Post Tenebras Lux (Reygadas)
12. Viola (Piñeiro)
13. Leviathan (Castaing-Taylor/Paravel)
14. To the Wonder (Malick)
15. In Another Country (Sang-soo)
16. Girl Walk // All Day (Krupnick)
17. Paradise: Love (Seidl)
18. Zero Dark Thirty (Bigelow)
19. Tabu (Gomes)
20. Dredd (Travis)

The worst films of 2013 (in alphabetical order)
August: Osage County (Wells)
Blue Caprice (Moors)
Dallas Buyers Club (Vallée)
Delivery Man (Scott)
Gangster Squad (Fleischer)
A Good Day to Die Hard (Moore)
The Internship (Levy)
Killing Season (Johnson)
Lone Survivor (Berg)
Man of Steel (Snyder)
Pacific Rim (Del Toro)
The Purge (DeMonaco)
The Way, Way Back (Faxon)

Honorable mention
25. The Counselor (Scott)
24. Fast & Furious 6 (Lin)
23. This Is the End (Rogen/Goldberg)
22. Bullet to the Head (Hill)
21. The Conjuring (Wan)
20. This Is Martin Bonner (Hartigan)
19. The Strange Little Cat (Zürcher)
18. Her (Jonze)
17. I Used to Be Darker (Porterfield)
16. The White Reindeer (Clark)
15. Side Effects (Soderbergh)
14. At Berkeley (Wiseman)
13. Stranger by the Lake (Guiradie)
12. Manakamana (Spray/Velez)
11. Our Sunhi (Sang-soo)

And without further adieu, the best films of 2013 (click on highlighted titles for links to reviews):

Closed_Curtain
10. Closed Curtain (Panahi)

A_Touch_of_Sin
9. A Touch of Sin (Zhang-ke)

Before_Midnight
8. Before Midnight (Linklater)

drug war
7. Drug War (To)

 12_yas
6. 12 Years a Slave (McQueen)

Inside Llewyn Davis
5. Inside Llewyn Davis (Coen)

The_Wolf_of_Wall_Street
4. The Wolf of Wall Street (Scorsese)

Upstream_Color
3. Upstream Color (Carruth)

Bastards
2. Bastards (Denis)

under_the_skin
1. Under the Skin (Glazer)