November 25, 2014

Movie Review: It's Movie Season

It's movie season, my favorite time of year. Filmmakers are rushing to get their movies out under the wire for Oscar consideration. So, of course, I've been very busy. So busy I haven't had time to write individual reviews of all the films I've seen. Just so you won't miss some of the year's best, here are shortened reviews.

The Theory of Everything ****1/2
Amazing performance from Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking. He will definitely get an Oscar nomination for this role where he transforms himself, not through makeup, but through his physicality. Beautifully acted by all. I don't know how much of it is accurate, but it's a fascinating story of love and determination and hope.

Rosewater ****1/2
Based on a true story of an Iranian journalist covering the elections in 2009. After doing a satiric segment on the Daily Show, Maziar Bahari is arrested, thrown in solitary confinement and tortured as a spy. Jon Stewart capably directs this film and Gael Garcia Bernal is superb as the journalist who finds humor in his arrest until it dawns on him they believe he is a threat.

Whiplash *****
The story of a passionate drummer with an obsession to get into his music conservatory's jazz orchestra, and the borderline abusive conductor who pushes his students to their limits, and beyond. Phenomenal performances from Miles Teller as Andrew, the student, and J.K. Simmons.
Perfect pacing, perfect character development, perfect film.

Birdman *****
Great to see Michael Keaton in a starring role as a former movie superhero trying to regain his fame through a Broadway debut. Edward Norton is riveting as the obnoxiously arrogant co-star. This film is great fun to watch, with all its tension, drama, humor and poignancy. Superb performances. Great storytelling.

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