'The Wind Rises'. I'm left feeling like I'm mourning something… More'The Wind Rises'. I'm left feeling like I'm mourning something beautiful. The animation is uniquely magical, with its painted backgrounds, sense of motion and emotion. The sound design is to be noted. Miyazaki's words are pure poetry at times. The romance, up there with the best this year.
"Hikoki-Gumo", the song that plays over the end credits, couldn't be any more perfect, sealing the melancholy of the prior 20 minutes right in.
Minor pacing issues keep it from being flawless.
'The Selfish Giant'. The sucker punch of that first beautiful frame to… More'The Selfish Giant'. The sucker punch of that first beautiful frame to the relentless bleakness that follows is cruel. Miserable, masterful.
Outstanding, gritty performances from first-timers, and a director whose future I will follow eagerly, given the worlds she seems to want to delve into.
'Tim's Vermeer'. One man's curiosity and capacity for obsession… More'Tim's Vermeer'. One man's curiosity and capacity for obsession detailed in a painstakingly entertaining way. Who says art and technology are at opposite ends of the spectrum?
Seeing the months it took, I really what drove Vermeer, or what drove anyone of that era to create paintings like they did?
'Like Father, Like Son'. The ramifications of an impossibly complex… More'Like Father, Like Son'. The ramifications of an impossibly complex situation explored delicately. Many beautiful, heartbreaking moments.
The ensemble's acting as well as the way it's lit and shot deserve all the praise they can get too.
'Stranger by the Lake'. Might have enjoyed it if the ratio of suspense… More'Stranger by the Lake'. Might have enjoyed it if the ratio of suspense to male genitalia was reversed.
I appreciated the stillness in the direction, the long takes, the cruising sub-culture, the action taking place in only one location, the repetition, the symbolism and juxtaposition of the detached, carnal acts with nature.
Was so much hardcore sex required to make a point? The high-point is that long take of the drowning. Everything before that piked curiosity. Afterwards, it lost me until that tense final scene.
'The LEGO Movie'. Clever animation and world-building with laughs… More'The LEGO Movie'. Clever animation and world-building with laughs aplenty! A nice third act pushes it beyond a simple comedy. Can we get a Supes and Green Lantern spin-off please?
'Labor Day'. After a preposterous first half, not helped by timeframe… More'Labor Day'. After a preposterous first half, not helped by timeframe or dialogue, the second gets better as it goes. Winslet is great.
'12 O'Clock Boys'. Tragic as both a character study and broader social… More'12 O'Clock Boys'. Tragic as both a character study and broader social commentary on what people live for in their day-to-day struggles. Dangerous escapism as seen by outsiders looking for the temporary kind is darkly ironic.
Lotfy Nathan found someone special in Pug. Bright, ambitious, destined for doom. Nature nor nurture have been particularly good to him as a young boy, and it doesn't look like that cycle is stopping anytime soon for him and others in Baltimore. What's been eating away at me ever since I walked out of the theater is how much Nathan's decision to document Pug's quest drove him even further. Would he have done everything he did if a camera wasn't on him? The ending seemed particularly exploitative.
You see the pursuit of power, fame and notoriety, driven all the more by social media. The film ending where it does, I'm afraid of what effects this will have on the next generation of Baltimore's 12 O'Clock Boys.