Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Film Columbia 2013

I know, it’s been WAY too long since I’ve updated this thing. But as most of you know, it was a pretty rough year. Plus, I kind of got tired of doing reviews for a while. Anyway, I started a new job back in May so things are finally starting to look up. I’m also at a point now where I want to start reviewing movies again, especially with a lot of great movies coming out in the coming months (Thor, Hunger Games, etc.)
So I figured what better way to mark my return to the blogging world than to give you my review of this year’s Film Columbia. I had a blast this year, as I always do. I ended up seeing eleven movies in the span of 6 days. It was exhausting to say the least but it was totally worth it. As I say every year with this, because these movies haven’t been released theatrically yet I’m only going to give very brief summaries of what I thought and my rating. I’ll do my best to keep them spoiler free. Enjoy J

Judi Dench can do no wrong in my opinion. In this movie she plays an Irish woman searching for the son she was forced to give up for adoption fifty years ago. Very touching and at times funny as well. Could’ve been a bit longer and maybe developed some of the characters/side plots a bit more. But other than that I enjoyed the movie. Great way to kick off the festival. My Rating: 8/10.

This was such a charming, funny movie. Directed by Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendants) and shot in black and white, which I thought was a bit odd at first since it’s set in the present day but by the end I understood why he chose to do it that way. It’s the story of a father and son relationship. Bruce Dern plays the father. I think he could very well get an Oscar nomination for his performance. The actor who really surprised me was Will Forte. I had only ever seen him on SNL and wasn’t sure how he’d do in a role like this. But he did a great job. The movie did drag a little at times though. My Rating: 8/10

When I Walk:
This moving documentary is about filmmaker Jason DaSilva, who was diagnosed with MS at the age of 25. Very difficult to watch at times, but that just shows you how well made it is. I believe it’s going to be airing on PBS sometime in the next few months so be sure to check it out. My Rating: 8.5/10

How I Live Now:
A very odd film based on a book released in 2004. It stars Soairse Ronan as a teen from NYC who is sent to England for the summer to stay with relatives. While there, a nuclear bomb goes off. It’s one of those post-apocalyptic survival movies. It wasn’t bad or anything. It’s just been done many times before and way better. Still worth a watch if you’re into these types of movies. My Rating: 6.5/10

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom:
Probably one of my favorite movies at the festival. It’s about the incredible life of former South Africa president Nelson Mandela. Idris Elba was fantastic in the role. The movie was two and a half hours long but it didn’t feel like it. It kept me engaged the whole time. Beautiful cinematography and musical score (other one to add to my iPod). My Rating: 10/10

Like Father, Like Son:
A very touching Japanese film about two families who discover that their six year old sons were switched at birth. The actors did a great job. I really hope they don’t do an American remake like I heard they might. So unnecessary. My Rating: 9/10

Inside Llewyn Davis:
Another movie from the Cohen brothers. While I liked some of their previous work, I have to say I wasn’t really crazy about this one. I mean I liked the music and thought John Goodman was good in the small role he had. But other than that I just couldn’t get into it. My Rating: 6/10

The Invisible Woman:
A beautifully shot movie directed by Ralph Fiennes (who also plays the role of Charles Dickens). It’s about Dickens and his long affair with actress Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones) whom he met when she was just seventeen. The pacing seemed very slow at times, but I liked this movie overall. Plus I’m a big Ralph Fiennes fan and enjoy almost anything he’s in. My Rating: 8.5/10

Dallas Buyers Club:
This was the Saturday night sneak movie and unlike this year, I was not disappointed. It takes place in the 80’s during the AIDS epidemic and tells the true story of Texas electrician Ron Woodroof, played unbelievably by Matthew McConaughey. He lost about fifty pounds in order to play an AIDS patient. Anyway, Ron gets diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and given only thirty days to live. He refuses to accept this and searches for alternative treatments, eventually smuggling in medication in from other countries and helping other people with the disease get the drugs they need. Very moving to watch (even funny at times) and I especially found myself cheering during the scenes where Ron was taking on the doctors or the FDA. Jared Leto plays a transgender woman named Rayon whom he encounters along the way. I was blown away by his very realistic performance. His character is the heart of the movie. They might as well just give him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar now. The movie opens this Friday and I highly recommended everyone go see it. My Rating: 10/10

The Book Thief:
Based on the popular book. It takes place in Germany during World War II and tells the story of young Liesel (Sophie Meminger) who’s adopted by a couple (Geoffrey Rush & Emily Watson). She finds comfort in stealing books and sharing the stories with others. They eventually take a young Jewish man into their home, keeping him hidden in the basement. Strong performances by all. My biggest complaint is that the ending felt really rushed. My Rating: 7.5/10

August: Osage County:
What a wonderful movie to close the festival. An all-star cast including Meryl Streep (who will probably get another Oscar nomination for her role), Julia Roberts, Sam Shepard, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, and many more. They play a strong willed, dysfunctional family, led by Meryl Streep’s character Violet, who comes together during a crisis. Based on a play of the same name. Very sweet and moving at the same time. I think a lot of people can relate to it. A perfect blend of comedy and drama. My Rating: 9/10

And there you have it J I’m looking forward next year’s festival. In the meantime, I’m going to start doing my regular reviews again hopefully this week. I’ll try not and disappear again.