Tag Archives: The Rover

Best Movies of 2014

It has been quite a while since I posted anything on here. The last few months have been rather hectic. From school to work, I couldn’t find time to write reviews or continually post on this site. That doesn’t mean I didn’t see any movies since then. In fact I’ve seen most of the movies you could have seen, except the noticeably bad films released in the last few months.

A lot of movies that I really liked didn’t make my list and even with such a great summer with some impressive blockbuster, it was hard to keep some off my list.  The top three films where difficult because the could be interchangeable at any time.

There were some very welcome movies and also very disappointing movies that I was looking forward to. Making this list was rather difficult but I feel that it is a rather well constructed list.

10. Boyhood

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By the time I reached number 10, I realized that I didn’t include one of the best reviewed movies of the year. Everyone seems to be putting this at the top of their lists and I can’t deny that it is one of the best constructed movies of the year and a masterpiece, in my opinion. The story is timeless, the editing seamless, and the directing is top notch. The 12 years used to make this movie sets it apart from other movies of this caliber. Why is it at the bottom? When it comes to my list I put movies on it that I would rewatch in a heartbeat. After thinking about it, I haven’t really had the urge to watch Boyhood again. Now matter how impressive the movie may be, I never thought about watching it again.

9. The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Early on in the year, I believed that no movie could top this movie. To my surprise this year has been a fantastic year for film. This movie combines everything I love about Wes Anderson. The aesthetic of the film is amazing, while Monsieur Gustave H. is by far the most fascinating character in Anderson’s filmography. The changing aspect ratios was another amazing addition to the movie. This isn’t my favorite of his film but it is certainly one of his greatest achievements.

8. Gone Girl

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David Fincher is one of my favorite directors working today. He always brings something new to an aged formula. That is one of the reasons that make Gone Girl so unique. Instead of having the major twists saved for the end, the movie decides to reveal it at the end of the first act. It is an intriguing factor that I give both Gillian Flynn and David Fincher for pulling it off so well. What makes this movie even more fascinating is the commentary on both marriage and the media. Everything about this movie is nearly perfect. Rosamund Pick proves her acting chops and even Tyler Perry was able to surprise me, for the first time in his career. Even if I like other of Fincher’s films more, I do think this is a great addition to his impressive filmography.

7. Locke

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No other movie this has done more with less. So much goes on during the course of the runtime, that it is surprising that it was only 80 minutes long. Tom Hardy has impressed me lately. He is a powerhouse of an actor and he really shines as Ivan Locke. Throughout the movie more and more is revealed and it makes you question both his choices and reasons behind them. For a movie that takes place solely in one location, I couldn’t believe how much and how well they were able to pull it off.

6. Under the Skin

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I always thought that Scarlett Johansson was all looks and not really a good actor. I was proven wrong when I saw her in Under the Skin. The movies unique approach is impressive and the minimalistic style makes for a haunting and exhilarating experience. It asks questions that movies typically don’t ask. It asks what it is meant to be human but it doesn’t give you all the answers. The visuals are impressive and the score creates a chilling yet unique.

5. Filth

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I don’t know why I loved this movie so much, it was just so damn fun. James McAvoy is like you’ve never seen him before. He plays the vile and disgusting character so well. The movie isn’t so much about plot but more about how insane his characters become over time. Often times the movie is hilarious but also very sad and depressing. You never truly sympathize with him, you mostly fell bad for him. The ending is so damn perfect for the movie and completely ends the film in a satisfying manner.

4. Interstellar 

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Christopher Nolan is one of the best blockbuster directors working today. He is able to make the movies that he wants and is able to create some impressive films. His visual eye is incredible. He may have some problems with female characters but this is the first time that I feel he has created some worthwhile female characters. This movie isn’t about space travel as much as it is about love, loss, and fatherhood. There are so many perfect scenes of action but it is the little scenes that Nolan was able to impress me. This is by far his most emotional film to date. You feel the stakes at hand and really sympathize with each character, except for one. Interstellar impressed me both visually and emotionally.

3. Whiplash

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I wasn’t expecting much from this movie. I never really liked Miles Teller and a movie about a jazz drummer didn’t make me want to see it. Once I saw the trailer, that changed. The final product is so intense and awe inspiring that I loved it the minute I walked out. J.K. Simmons gives one of the best performances of the year, he is volatile and intense but somehow relatable. Even Miles Teller impressed me. The final ten minutes had me at the edge of my seat and is incredibly satisfying after all that happens in the movie.

2. Nightcrawler

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This was one movie that surprised the hell out of me. The movie created a character that is both psychotic and wise. He is a man who know what he wants and takes it, no matter what. Jake Gyllenhaal gives the performance of his life. The story is always surprising and you don’t know where it is going to go in the end. The commentary behind this movie is strong and very out there but it works so well. The directing is perfect and the cinematography is breathtaking. More than anything this is a character study and it showcases a character that is completely original and is also a work of genius.

1. Birman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

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The most surprising and delightful movie of the year goes to Birdman. Alejandro González Iñárritu created such a fascinating experience. He one of the best dramatic directors working today. He is able to get the best performances out of some of the most unexpected actors. Every actor in this movie are going the extra mile. Michael Keaton is revolutionary. He essentially playing a warped version of himself and he convinces everyone that he still does matter. What sets this movie apart from any other film this year is the fact that it is manipulated to look like one take. It is a technical revolution and is impressive in it’s cinematography. A lot had to go into this movie to achieve this feat and boy does it achieve it. There is also a lot of commentary involving the state of hollywood today, critics, and the will to matter. I loved this movie and think it is the best made movie this year.

Honorable Mentions

Edge of TomorrowAn original and fun blockbuster. Not your typical blockbuster but it breaks the model and makes something unique.

EnemyAn interesting and intelligent thriller that leaves you asking question long after it’s over.

Guardians of the GalaxyA very different Marvel movie and really shows that they can make an interesting movie out of unknown characters.

The RoverFueled by amazing performances and a simplistic story. This movie creates a landscape fully developed and tension that is equally fascinating and grim.

Blue RuinA movie that came out of nowhere and managed to create a fascinating and personal portrayal of revenge.

 

 

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Nightcrawler Trailer

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Here is another film that is set to make it’s debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. Jake Gyllenhaal isn’t a stranger of the festival as of late, both Prisoners and Enemy premiered there last year to praise for both of his performances and the vision of the director Denis Villeneuve. Nightcrawler seems to be banking on the very weird style and interesting storyline. I don’t expect this to be an award contender but it is certainly one of my most anticipated films of the year.

Lou Bloom, a driven young man who discovers the nocturnal world of L.A. crime journalism. Joining a group of freelance camera crews who film marketable mayhem, Lou makes his own place at the table, aided by Nina, a veteran of the blood-sport that is local TV news. Blurring the line between observer and perpetrator, Lou finds his calling in a murderous world reduced to transactions.

Directed by Dan Gilroy. Starring Jake GyllenhaalBill PaxtonRene RussoRiz AhmedEric Lange, and Jonny Coyne. Produced by Jake Gyllenhaal and Tony Gilroy and distributed by Open Roads Production.

Just how bad is this summer’s Hollywood box-office slump?

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Just from my experience the summer blockbusters this year have been slightly miserable. I haven’t them all but I saved myself from certain movies and took close looks at what I saw. Every big movie in May opened really high and dropped off like a rock. June had a few hits while a big box office failure by the name of How to Train Your Dragon 2 and that’s surprising to me. So far Edge of Tomorrow, X-Men: Days of Future Past and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes are my favorite blockbusters to come out but one isn’t doing well box office wise and the other only just started it’s run. Films are starting to become more expensive and lasting theaters for only a couple weeks. Now most movies make a lot of money opening weekend and then drop significantly. With budgets so high and marketing matching the budget, it take more money to make the studio profit. Movies like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 cost more than 250 million dollars and only making 700 million doesn’t work well in the end. The invest the studio are putting into these movies aren’t paying off as one would expect. Could this be the decline of the big budget movie or just a fluke? To me it might just be a fluke but I don’t know at this point.

The Rover Review, A Simplistic Tale of Complex Characters

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Directed by: David Michôd

Starring: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, and Scoot McNairy

Now I am not a huge fan of Australian Cinema. Walkabout is the first film I saw out of Australia and I can say I borderline hate that movie. It was tough, minimalistic, and left me dry. It didn’t really have a narrative only a story and The Rover is similar in style and substance. With Walkabout you have two characters trying to survive the wilderness of Australia after their father attempts to kill them. I feel that Australian cinema focuses more on the journey rather than the story. You run into characters that are interesting but a story that is really lacking. The Rover does suffer from this but not to the level that Walkabout does.

The Rover begins with a man, stricken with grief, stopping at the local watering hole. While he is minding his own business, three criminals come speeding down the same road only to crash their car only feet from his car. The three criminals steal Eric’s (Guy Pearce) car. What insures after this is a chase for the rest of the movie while Eric is hell-bent on revenge towards the criminals. At the next stop on the road, Eric picks up a gun and another traveller, Reynolds (Robert Pattinson) the dim-witted brother of Henry (Scoot McNairy) the main criminal. The two begin traveling together, only for the same reason, to locate Henry and Eric’s car.

The story is incredible simple and could have ended sooner than it did but that in way takes away from the movie. What you have instead is a movie solely focused on characters. Both Eric and Reynolds are given so much depth to their characters that it’s fascinating to watch them grow over the course of the movie. Pattinson gives his best performance to date as the simple-minded Reynolds. He brings a certain life to the character that it’s hard to see that he is the same actor that played Edward in Twilight. Guy Pearce is as ferocious as ever. When he is working with Australian directors I think he bring this quiet intensity that I haven’t seen much. Like his character in The Proposition, he is a quiet character that goes on with the task at hand and he brings layers to the character that aren’t necessarily written that way.

This is minimalism at it’s best. The takes are long, focusing on the characters rather than the action. You have a scene with Reynolds that takes place in a motel room. There is a knock on the door and after seeing the military earlier he believes that they are knocking on the door. He takes a shot, killing a girl instead. The military responds by opening fire into the room. All the while the camera focuses on Reynolds instead of the action unfolding. He sits there, fearing for his life, as bullets are flying past him. This all takes place to show how the character is reacting to the situation. This is a character study and the way that Michôd portrays it makes you feel sorry for the character by showing that this isn’t a side to him. On their journey the character begin to connect and in the end the final scene shows just how much they did connect.

The major problem for me is the score. I like the score but it was so powerful and intrusive that it did take away from the scenes at hand. It always felt out-of-place to me and didn’t add much to them. Outside of that I liked a lot about this movie and think that focusing on the characters instead of the plot so much was the wisest decision to make. Reynolds makes a comment half way through stating “It doesn’t always have to be about something” and I think this line explains the movie the best and it shows just how the movie is meant to be. It’s strictly about character and the scenes don’t always have to mean something in a big way just to showcase characters living in a dire situation.

I highly recommend this to film fans, like myself, more so that I would to someone looking for an entertaining movie. It is by far one of the best movies of the year.

Grade: A