Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 TOP TEN & OTHERS

Based on a true story with strong performances from all the cast it is riveting. You might be able to avert your eyes from the horrific scenes of cruelty but you will not be able to block out the sounds of agony. It is agonizing to watch as the camera lingers for what seems forever and all you want is for it to end.

This true story of the immature, infantile King of Denmark and his young bride provides an insight into the romance and intrigue in the Danish court during the Age of Enlightenment. 

Loosely based on the FBI investigation this is one terrific movie. Perhaps a tad too long at 2 hours and 18 minutes it is fast-paced, riveting and wholly entertaining.


Based on actual events that took place in 2009, the film is riveting. The tension begins to build almost from the get-go and never really subsides until the end.caption

Based on the true story of Ron Woodroof’s fight against the system, it has its gritty side that may shock some people despite its R classification warning.
The story of a fearless princess wanting to find her sister, the one with magical power, is replete with musical numbers. In fact, the first half hour or so plays like a Broadway musical with the story being told in lyrical form. From that point the spoken word dominates and we get to see the loving relationship between sisters.

This one warrants seeing it in 3D to truly experience the sensation of being out in space. The images are nothing short of spectacular. But that is not the only thing going for it: the acting by Sandra Bullock is probably the best she has ever done. She is on screen probably 95% of the time and does a really superb job.
This overview of the historical struggle for civil rights in the United States is based on a true story of one man who saw it from a different perspective. There are several notable performances but Oprah is definitely the standout and may well wind up with an Oscar nomination.

Former United States Secretary of Labor Robert Reich presents the latest in documentaries about the widening economic gap in the USA. With state of art graphs he explores the role this plays in the deterioration of the nation’s economic health. 

Unlike most movies of this genre, this one is about young love and grown-up romance. The differences make for an interesting study in human psychology. That is but one of the unusual aspects of this movie: it shuns most of the clich├ęs associated with romantic comedies and so it comes across as more real and closer to the truth than the usual run-of-the-mill sort. How refreshing. 

Several things sets this one apart from the others:
  • It is shot in black and white
  • None of the cast are high profile well-known actors 
It is a terrific story about one someone wanting to see things through with dialogue and situations that are believable, characters that ring true and the interpersonal dynamics bang on.

Based on the true story of Philomena (pronounced phil-ah-me-nah) and the problems she had with the Catholic church. You have to smile at Philomena’s simplistic view of the world which is poles apart from that of Martin who is a socially awkward worldly sophisticate.

Getting a first-hand look at what transpired when production of the film version of the popular Mary Poppins novel first began is insightful. As expected, Emma Thompson is terrific with Tom Hanks and Colin Farrell putting in their usual splendid effort.

This fact based movie chronicles the decade long hunt for Osama bin Laden following the destruction of the World Trade Center twin towers in 2001. Unlike most Hollywood productions, this one is matter-of-fact without the usual over-the-top embellishment. Consequently some will find the true-to-life “enhanced interrogation techniques” (torture by any other name) of bin Laden’s nephew repugnant and will have to avert their eyes.

     BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS



Loud movies loaded with copious CGI will certainly appeal to those whose literary choice is a comic book. For the rest of us it is an assault: not just to our ears but to our intelligence as though we expect nothing more of a movie than a series of hand-to-hand combat scenes that quickly become tedious all to the strains of the overbearing thumping score.

Several times I was tempted to walk out because like a lot of discriminating viewers I am not comfortable viewing hours of debauchery depicted on screen. And I certainly do not like having to listen to dialogue you would expect from a member of the Hells Angles bike gang not from stockbrokers. It has been reported that the f-word is used 506 times in the film; frankly, it seems like twice that many.