FIVE FEATURE REVIEW #1
THE IMITATION GAME
An upfront Oscar contender and a TIFF Audience Award winner, THE IMITATION GAME has many things going for it. That's a truly good thing, for this is a truly exceptional film. Igniting emotional sparks is Benedict Cumberbatch, who portrays homosexual mathematician Alan Turing. Cumberbatch, as well as looking like a Best Actor frontrunner on paper, gives a breathtaking performance with little flaws. The adapted screenplay by Graham Moore has dialogue issues in the first half of the film, but otherwise it is a solid execution from novel to screen. The "Original Score" Oscar should go to "Birdman" or "Whiplash"(but neither are eligible to be nominated #snub), yet Desplat's score is the best available option. Just a beautiful score to listen to. The cinematography is alright, the lighting could have been better. The production design and costumes seem accurate, but I don't know about the true story outside of the film. Maybe not accurate, yet nevertheless convincing. Keira Knightley in this film, to be honest, is a little overrated. The performance she gives seems second-tier, expected, and predictable. I wanted to see more of the childhood and the making of the machine, but you cannot ask for much with such a fantastic film.
Story and Script: 17/20
OVERALL: 89/100 (A-) A great film with a worthy performance and a magnificent, year-best score, THE IMITATION GAME is one worth watching.
Amy Adams could earn some serious Oscar buzz for her role as Margaret Keane in the new Tim Burton biopic, BIG EYES. It's an unbelievable story that was successfully shrouded in secrecy, in which Margaret's husband Walter (Christoph Waltz) takes credit for her paintings. Adams beautifully portrays a character who in her own isolation isn't getting credit for her original artwork. The role isn't one of my favorites of the year, but after a Golden Globe nomination and praise nationwide, Adams could be a big contender come Academy Awards night. Waltz's frequent legitimate collaborations with Quentin Tarantino keep his career up, and this film may be an indicator that he should stick with bounty hunters, dentists, and Jew hunters. His performance in the film is somewhat comedic to an unintentional degree. Even in the dramatic scenes in the film, Waltz shows too much passion and anger to be believable in a biopic. Another great feature about this film is Danny Elfman's score. For a Burton collaborator, there are only certain films with need for a dramatic, intense score. Big Eyes not only shows Burton's maturity, but Elfman's as well. The film is dark and intense when needed and may be Burton's best of the 2000s. Big Eyes certainly proves that Burton is not only best when directing more serious films--but better when displaying emotion and depth in characters as well.
Story and Script- 16/20
OVERALL- 79/100 (C+) All things considered, Big Eyes is an enjoyable watch with interesting characters but sometimes unclear character motives. The overall effort is a C+. Let me know what you thought of Big Eyes and if you enjoyed it/didn't find it entertaining.
After seeing BIRDMAN a second time, I assessed it was even better and is still the best film of the year. This film is the film that you wish every film was. Stunning in every sense of the word, the performances are worthy of applause, the cinematography and music are fantastic, the screenplay is one of the best of year, and most of all, the film is truly a FUN film to watch. It's an experience. The sight and sound of this film make it unpredictable and realistic, and you feel you are in Manhattan with Riggan and the others. I have only one single flaw--that being it could've ended earlier. But it is not really a flaw, as I didn't want the film to end. The entire cast is great, and Andrea Riseborough is a new face to look for. Iñárritu once again delivers a masterful, brilliant piece of true cinematic art, and BIRDMAN, like I said before, is the best film of 2014. I will be seeing it a third time if I'm lucky.
Story and Script: 19/20
OVERALL: 96/100 (A) A timeless film with almost no flaws, Birdman is a ticket-worthy film, and Alejandro G. Iñárritu is a ticket-worthy man.
When I first noticed this film would be directed by Angelina Jolie, I was skeptical. After seeing UNBROKEN, I was right. Some directors should stay on screen, not off. The main drawback of Unbroken is that, at least for the first two hours, the film is magnificently dull. For gigantic events like winning an Olympic medal or a plane crash, the film doesn't show enough excitement or reality to each situation. The film tries to pass off as inspiring, but the last twenty minutes has a spark of that, and nothing else. The acting is not the best; each actor extremes their role, and tries a little too hard. The Coen Brothers' script is questionable, and makes the audience wonder what happened to the Joel and Ethan we've seen before. Even the music, composed by the great Alexandre Desplat (Last year's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "The Imitation Game") is off-par for the screen. The "visual effects", as you may call them, are average. The only real good thing about this film is Roger Deakins' cinematography. An industry legend, Deakins knows how to make a film look aesthetically pleasing. But even with the cinematography, there were scenes that were really uncomfortable to look at. Overall, Unbroken is actually an uncomfortable film to watch, and just like Louie Zamperini won a gold medal for running, you should receive a medal for successfully sitting through it.
Story and Script: 11/20
OVERALL: 53/100 (F)
Actually a failing grade! I'm a little shocked! Going into the film I thought it would be decent but I wasn't a fan of Unbroken at all!
Career-best performances, impressive cinematography, and a extremely dark tone bring the 2014 wrestling drama-thriller FOXCATCHER to life. It's a director like Bennett Miller who can take a very slow movie and make it one of the most disturbing, disgusting, yet jaw-dropping and amazing films of the year. Steve Carell and Channing Tatum give so much unpredictability to their roles, and Ruffalo adds tension and a very convincing personality to Dave Schultz. The cinematography, makeup, and production design all add stunning accuracy comparing to the real life story. The score was well done, but it didn't add anything to the film like I wished it could have. It may be Miller's best, toppling over Moneyball and Capote, films about crime and sports. With Foxcatcher, Miller blends the two subjects matters and many more to create his magnum opus, one that will thrill you and take you in until it spits you out with the closing credits.
Story and Script- 18/20
OVERALL- 91/100 (A-)
comments on the screen by nolan lampson.