Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 29th 2014 Contents B7
Monday, December 29, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Michael Keaton, right,
has been hailed for his
role in Birdman.
7. The Immigrant---A number of films in 2014 weren't
shy about their Big American Themes. Bennett Miller's
Foxcatcher was the most mesmerising; JC Chandor's A
Most Violent Year the most atmospheric; and Clint
Eastwood's American Sniper the tautest. But James
Gray's period Ellis Island tale was the most majestic. The
film's powerful last shot is an absolute knock out.
8. Under the Skin---Equal parts beautiful and terrifying
in its alien mystery, Jonathan Glazer's extraterrestrial
shocker (with Scarlett Johansson as the other-worldly
being that touches down in, of all places, Glasgow) made
for a searing cinematic experience of sound and imagery.
9. Leviathan---There's a stout Russian muscularity to
Andrey Zvyagintsev's bleak, Job-like tale of corruption in a
coastal Russian town. A framed portrait of Vladimir Putin
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above the police chief looms large.
10. Starred Up---Four walls, a father and a son, plus a
whole lot of violent rage. The ingredients of this British
prison drama are simple, but its force is ferocious. In one
of the more remarkable father-son dramas you'll see (a
young punk gets locked up in the same facility as his
dad), Jack O'Connell (the star of Angelina Jolie's
Unbroken) dramatically arrives. But the movie's also a
reminder that there's no more riveting actor in movies
than Ben Mendelsohn, who plays the father.
Also just as good: Two Days, One Night, The Babadook,
Selma, Ernest & Celestine, Locke, Citizenfour, Stranger By
the Lake, Dear White People, Timbuktu, The Trip to Italy
AP National Writer Jocelyn Noveck's top film picks:
1. Boyhood---This movie just pulsates with the feeling
that it's something utterly unique --- something rare and
exciting. It's not just that director Richard Linklater
managed to shoot it over 12 years, creating an
astonishingly fluid view of a boy's life; It's how the film
makes us FEEL. By the end, we know Mason (the
sensitive Ellar Coltrane) so well, it feels wrong to leave
him. Shouldn't he be coming home with us?
2. Birdman---Absolutely bracing in its verve and
inventiveness, Alejandro G Inarritu's meditation on fame,
relevance and self-worth is a marvel. Michael Keaton is
raw and vulnerable as an aging actor trying to exorcise his
superhero past; Edward Norton is superb as a charismatic
jerk. The cherry on top: Emmanuel Lubezki's stunningly
seamless camera work.
3. Selma---Talk about a movie that comes just when the
country needs it. A beautifully restrained performance by
David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr anchors this
stirring account of events surrounding the famous march
from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery. Director Ava
DuVernay is equally adept at depicting intimate moments
--- like a testy Oval Office exchange between LBJ and
George Wallace---as she is conveying the sweep of a
4. Ida---Pawel Pawlikowski's film is pure, austere, and
powerful---exactly how one might describe its young star,
Agata Trzebuchowska, who plays an orphaned novice
about to take her vows when she learns she has an aunt,
her only living relative. Ida's subsequent journey, in which
she explores Poland's dark wartime past to discover both
who she is and who she wants to be, is mesmerising.
5. Mr Turner---Timothy Spall studied painting, drawing,
even Greek and Roman architecture---all to play the great
landscape painter JMW Turner. And it shows: The
wonderfully gruff Spall doesn't seem to act in this movie
as much as inhabit it, messily and fully. Mike Leigh's
gorgeously detailed biopic doesn't fall into typical
formula---and the visuals do Turner proud.
6. The Grand Budapest Hotel---Wes Anderson, we
surrender---to your whimsy and singular imagination. This
movie is a visual delight; it's also a madcap caper and, a
layer deeper, a more serious look at a dying way of life in
Europe. Mostly, it's a perfect vehicle for Ralph Fiennes, as
a wonderfully pompous concierge, to display his lesser-
known comic skills.
7. Whiplash---None of us would ever want to be in a
classroom with the abusively demanding jazz instructor
played by JK Simmons --- it's hard enough to be in the
movie theatre. But boy, Simmons grabs the role by the
throat, thrillingly. Miles Teller is excellent, too, as the
driven student who accepts this abuse, all to be a jazz
8. The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game---
Both are biopics that feel somewhat formulaic, but both
feature lead performances that must be seen.
Eddie Redmayne is remarkably effective as Stephen
Hawking, eventually using only his eyes and a crooked
smile to express what's inside a blazing mind. Benedict
Cumberbatch's nervous energy is perfect for the role of
Alan Turing, the mathematician who cracked the
Germans' Enigma code.
9. Foxcatcher---Grim and unrelenting but expertly
rendered, this real-life tale of the Olympic wrestling
Schultz brothers and benefactor John DuPont is worth
seeing both for the shocking story and the acting.
Steve Carell makes a striking physical transformation,
but it's his reedy voice that'll really creep you out. Mark
Ruffalo, the more nurturing brother, and Channing Tatum,
the more troubled, are just as compelling.
10. Still Alice and Get on Up---Two more films to
mention because of stellar central performances: As an
early-onset Alzheimer's patient, Julianne Moore is
sensitive, warm, heartbreaking---and deserves all the
awards buzz she's getting. In Get On Up, Chadwick
Boseman is truly galvanizing as James Brown---and
deserves way more buzz than he's getting.
Honorable mentions: Only Lovers Left Alive, Locke,
Interstellar, American Sniper, Into the Woods. (AP)
Boyhood, ranks high on the list
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