Tuesday, January 14, 2014

RECENTLY BEHELD: JANUARY 6-9, 2014

How was your weekend? See anything good? Did you catch the Golden Globes? (Here’s the complete winners list and choice commentary from yours truly.) Here's what I beheld all last week...


(2013)



David O. Russell’s follow-up to 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook is not just his strongest film to date, it’s proof that he has risen and can hold his own against the American greats he’s being compared to (namely Scorsese and Tarantino). It’s an ensemble force that entirely cares about its characters, including career bests from Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner. Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence, who play an unlikely married couple, are fabulous too.

Curator’s Note: Currently in theaters

★★★★★

* * *


(2013)



This biopic premiered at last year’s Sundance and made very little waves from there on out. Maybe it’s because, despite being about Deep Throat’s Linda Lovelace and her short-lived career in the porn industry, it’s a rather tame and neutered telling of her highly speculated story. The film is almost a perfectly divided rise and fall story, Seyfried and Sarsgaard are re-calibrated throughout. It feels like this too was made in the ‘70s and I mean no offense by that, it channels the era well and was certainly aiming for such. In a way it feels like the direct-to-DVD sequel to Boogie Nights.

Curator’s Note: Currently streaming on Netflix

★★½

* * *


(2013)



Ralph Fiennes’ sophomore directorial effort tells of Charles Dicken’s secret mistress. She’s played by Felicity Jones, Dickens is played by Fiennes himself (who directs himself accordingly). We’ve seen many actors-turned-directors who are able to inspire their cast to great performances. Here’s another. Furthermore, this is a pristine period piece that creates the world these real-life (and really complicated) figures inhabited.

Curator’s Note: Currently in select theaters

★★★★½


* * *


(1984)



Adapted from the graphic novel of Hayao Miyazaki’s own fabrication, Nausicaä is also the animator’s second stab at feature-length filmmaking. Understanding one another (especially different tribes and factions) before we can unify and understand nature is a clear theme herein, one that would be returned to again and again. It’s as sweeping as Star Wars and along from Princess Mononoke and last year’s The Wind Rises remains as one of the more mature films in Miyazaki’s filmography.

★★★★★


* * *


(1986)



Castle in the Sky has the honor of being the first film under the Studio Ghibli name and it shot its standard high for all to see. The hand-drawn animated style on display here set both a pattern and precedent. An adventurous story is always at the forefront of this film which pushes its two young protagonists ever forward and often in peril. It’s magical motion picture making.

★★★★★


* * *

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!



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

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