Joe (2014, dir. David Gordon Green) Joe was unfortunately overlooked when it was released last year and now would be a perfect time for you to catch up with this solid drama from director David Gordon Green. It's the best movie he's made in years and features a great performance by Nicolas Cage, a rarity these days. It's tense and very involving.
Kid Cannabis (2014, dir. John Stockwell) Goodfellas with weed. Okay, it isn’t even in the same ballpark as Goodfellas, but it wants to be. The movie follows Nate, a pudgy lower class kid from Idaho who gets the idea to start smuggling weed across the Canadian border. I can’t help thinking that given a bit more money and slightly better actors, this movie would be a lot better. Kid Cannabis has some issues where it takes weird jumps with the plot that makes me wonder if it was because of bad editing or because of a lack of budget. Jonathan Daniel Brown is fine in the movie, but I feel like it could have been a lot better with a stronger lead. There are a lot of movies out there about weed, and most of them are hit or miss. Fortunately I thought this one hit more than it missed.
Sunset Blvd. (1950, dir. Billy Wilder) Millions of people worldwide will be watching the 87th Academy Awards this weekend and discussing what should and should not have won (or been nominated in the first place). The Oscars have always been controversial and criticisms that Hollywood isn't what it used to be are not new. Consider Sunset Boulevard. a scathing (and darkly funny) critique of the film industry as it existed mid-century. In casting that closely imitated reality, Gloria Swanson stars as a former silent movie sensation whose career has declined in the years since sound was introduced into cinema. William Holden plays a screenwriter, and through him we see how murky and convoluted the business of movies had become. The great Billy Wilder co-wrote and directed the film, which was nominated for eleven Oscars and won three. Sunset Boulevard plays on multiple levels: first and foremost, it works as a film, with great acting, writing, and direction. But it also starts a conversation about whether anything has changed in the last 65 years, and is a great inclusion in any Oscar weekend marathon. It's definitely going to be a part of mine.
And The Oscar Goes To... (2014, dir. Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman) This is just the thing to get you in the mood for OSCAH! this Sunday night. This film, made with the support of the Academy, is actually pretty darn good, though it takes a few minutes to acclimate oneself to the odd structure the filmmakers have chosen. Wonderful clips and wonderful stories abound. My two favorites are Michael Moore's recounting of his memorable 2003 acceptance speech for Bowling for Columbine and Helen Mirren telling a wonderful tale about her trip back to England after she won for The Queen. Obviously, I could quibble about what has been left out, but with a subject that spans 86 years and thousands of films, it's understandable when some things don't make the final cut. The more times I watch this documentary, the more I like it.
The Overnighters (2014, dir. Jesse Moss) If you want a reminder of everything the Oscars got wrong this year, watch Jesse Moss's beautiful, moving, heartbreaking documentary The Overnighters, which is the best documentary of 2014 and wasn't even NOMINATED in the category (either was Life Itself, because no one knows anything). This is a great film that begins as something very universal and of the moment that slowly and surprisingly turns into something entirely different -- something very personal and sad. Ultimately, the Oscar nominations don't matter. It's just a night and a trophy. This is a great movie that will be around forever. Please watch it.
I watched the Overnighters two weeks ago and I'd say it's now one of my 10 favorite movies of 2014 and probably one of the best documentaries of the last 20 years. Because of the way it's filmed and the depth of the characters, it really feels so much like a regular fiction film, it's amazing.ReplyDelete
And the main subject of the film, the pastor who gives a home to the migrant workers, is such an interesting, rich, and complex character I was left wanting to know everything about his life. The fact that this wasn't nominated shows just how out of touch and irrelevant the Academy is.
Joe was a really solid film that no one talked about. And Tye Sheridan, what a track record! His first three films: The Tree of Life, Mud, Joe. I think all of them have some problems but talk about three respectable performances out of a pretty young actor.ReplyDelete
Yeah, I'm a fan of Tye Sheridan too. I'm wondering if he can only do one thing though. Know what I mean? Maybe he should play Peter Parker :-)Delete
Yeah, I dont really see him as a character actor, but i just took a look at imdb and he's in 11 films coming out in the next two years (including as Cyclops in the upcoming X-Men) so maybe we will see some range. Peter Parker would be interesting, but if they are trying to go younger and darker id prefer someone like Ezra Miller.Delete
I have a great idea for a drinking game for everyoneReplyDelete
Listen to the latest podcast and every time the Oscar's or nominations get mentioned you gotta take a drink, ;)
I swear I thought Patrick reviewed or mentioned "Digging Up The Marrow" on a podcast but I couldn't find it for the life of me. Just watched it earlier and wanted to share my thoughts. I really wanted to love this film as I had been waiting for a while to see what Adam Green was going to do next. I half-like the Hatchet films, I really like Frozen (I'm in the minority) and I really don't like Holliston - I quarter-liked "Marrow". Much of it feels like a huge advertisement; product placement for everything that Green has done or been a part of including feeling the need to show his wife's ass twice in the movie which I saw coming from a mile away the first time it happens. It's annoying and it's in your face for 3/4 of the film. Wise is fantastic as always although I got the feeling he didn't really care or know what was going on and was just showcasing more of his acting chops. There's a moment when Kane Hodder enters the film and destroys how well they have been faking the documentary, meaning, everyone was doing a great job acting up to that point and when he comes in he's awful and it shows and it sucks the realism that you were buying into right out of the movie. The quarter that I liked? Ray Wise, a specific sequence that is obviously the best part and only "scary" part of the film and the idea was pretty cool as well. All in all I was pretty disappointed. Oh well. Right after I watched "Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau" - it was fantastic!ReplyDelete
Great call with The Overnighters, Patrick - inexcusably this wasn't even in the Documentaries lineup on my Netflix - had to search for it specifically which I never would have done were it not for your rec. This is a truly great documentary - one of my new favourites and yeah, insane that it received no buzz, Oscar-related or not. It's emotionally, spiritually (in a religious or non-religious sense) and intellectually (really made me wrestle with my own hypocrisy when it comes to the forgiveness/rehabilitation of criminals; i.e. not in MY neighbourhood) compelling and really takes some unexpected turns - I can't recommend it highly enough myself - thanks Patrick!ReplyDelete
Just watched The Overnighters last night, and I found it incredibly engaging. It's difficult to reconcile some of the emotions this movie wrested from me. The pastor is such an interesting person, in many ways the embodiment of the kinds of ideals Christian people always preach, but rarely actually work toward. On the same hand, we learn that he's not entirely innocent, either, and that's disappointing. But, it also makes him human, just like the people he helps.Delete
Few movies have made me as mad as this one, too. Especially with the amount of backlash he gets from both the community and, on occasion, the people he helps. It must be extremely frustrating.