Saturday, July 20, 2013

RECENTLY BEHELD: JULY 8-14, 2013

Hopefully you took some time away from the drama of current affairs to enjoy some of the offerings at your local theater last week. Fess up, who among you saw Grown Ups 2 (because clearly a lot of people did). Here's what I beheld...
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The Heat
(2013)



The plot of this buddy cop film will neither surprise or enlighten you, but every time Melissa McCarthy opens her foul mouth you will likely be shocked by what words come out. McCarthy and and the straight-laced Sandra Bullock play off each other memorably well resulting in a few unforgettable scenes and frequent hilarity in-between. The Heat is one of the funniest movies I've seen in 2013. This is director Paul Feig's follow-up to his wildly successful raunchy comedy Bridesmaids. 

★★★½
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(2013)



From the believable performances to the high fidelity of visual effects, Europa Report is an impressive sci-fi thriller worth your rapt attention. It's a faux-documentary built around what is essentially a found-footage voyage to the ice-covered moon of Jupiter. The construction is unnecessarily complicated, but the views on this ride make it all of worth.


★★★★
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(2013)


We go from one of the year's funniest films (The Heat) to one of the most heart-breaking yet heart-warming. The Crash Reel follows Olympic hopeful Kevin Pearce who rose during the 2000s as one of the best snowboarders in the world. After an accident on the slope landed in him in a coma his dreams and brain cells were shattered. It's the rise, fall and crawl of a soul craving for an extreme sport that seems to come with an expiration date. The film's full heart and purpose are seen in members of the Pearce family who try to hold back their son and brother. Documentarian Lucy Walker's previous films Waste Land and Blindsight are also must-sees for one and all.

★★★★
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(2013)


Set over a decade into humanity's efforts in the Kaiju War, we observe a final resistance to the monstrous alien threat in Pacific Rim. I like to think of this as an anime brought to life, through the fun-loving and create-feature eyes of one Guillermo del Toro. To risk sounding like a complete fanboy, this is simply one of the coolest movies I've ever seen on the big screen.


★★★★★
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(2012-13)


The Hunt is an unsettling character piece of a secondary school teacher (played without reservation by Mads Mikkleson) accused for sexually assaulting a child. Even though we know the truth - at least what the film leads us to believe on a surface level - the series of events seldom fails to demand our utmost attention and pleadings. It's a societal study of how one drop of gossip can infect an entire community, in this case a Danish village surrounded by forestland.

★★★★½
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(2013)



Take the topical and worldwide parameters of Soderbergh's Contangion and change the airborne pathogen to the popular-as-ever zombie apocalypse and you've got a case of World War Z. It's up to a former UN agent played by Brad Pitt to save the world, securing his family's safety in the process. This globe-trotting thriller is smart, scary and intense from almost beginning to end. World War Z is far better than was predicted, appeared and supposed to be making it one of the year's most pleasant surprises.

★★★★
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(2013)


Here is the second installment of a horror anthology centered around a lame excuse for characters to put in a series of WTF VHS tapes, each a short film of its own. This young series is among the more exciting projects in the found footage sub-genre, but also the most heartless and depraved. Everything here looks pretty terrible (such is to be expected when one aspires to VHS-level quality), but the concepts are often nothing short of genius. Gareth Evans (director of The Raid: Redemption) has brought an extreme tape to the table that must be seen to be believed. The others are inferior but probably worth a horror aficionado's time and consideration.

★★★½
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Seen any of these films? What did you see last week? Please feel free to share your thoughts or your own recently beheld in the comments below!

Here's last week's Recently Beheld.


Also, see what else I've seen this year in my Letterboxd diary.

1 comment:

Bryson and Tara said...

I will have to check out "Europa Report"...and possibly "World War Z"... Still thinking about it.