12 Years a Slave is Steve McQueen's pure, dramatic true story of Solomon Northup's
pre-Civil War kidnapping and enslavement.
Her is Spike Jonze's beautiful near-future sci-fi fantasy of love, being,
technology, humanity and the hope of connection.
The Wind Rises [Kaze tachinu] is an incredibly beautiful Hayao Miyazaki
masterpiece of love, dreams, engineering and war.
Blue Jasmine is a funny, scary Woody Allen drama with a truly stunning,
perfectly pitched Cate Blanchett lead performance.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) is a mad Scorsese vision of stock crime
and epic excess, starring a spot-on Leonardo DiCaprio.
American Hustle is a strong David O. Russell comeback with great roles and actors,
perfect music and a universal story of sleaze.
Saving Mr. Banks is a dramatic comedy of the making of Walt Disney's Mary Poppins
with author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) biography.
The Great Beauty [La grande bellezza] stars Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella
to argue modernity equals surreality.
Gravity is an impressive and suspenseful space disaster adventure with
lacking character development but good acting.
Tim's Vermeer is a Penn & Teller work of art about art and inventions
and reinventions of art starring Tim Jenison.
Inside Llewyn Davis is Oscar Isaac great in bleak, droll to smug loser folk singer
Coen Brothers movie with great and awful music.
Lone Survivor is a simple, bloody war story based on a real Afghanistan
operation which ended tragically save for one.
Dallas Buyers Club is Jean-Marc Vallée's emotional exploration of the dawn of the
AIDS crisis with great Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto.
Frozen is a lovely, musical, magical 3-D Disney digital fairy tale based on
Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen."
RoboCop (2014) is Johnny Got His Gun meets Serpico and Dredd (2012)
in a smart, fun update of the sci-fi classic.
Philomena is the story of a mother's hope and search for her long-lost child
across time, with unexpected turns and humor.
Non-Stop is another non-stop Liam Neeson action thriller, this one a
suspenseful, entertaining plane hijacking mystery.
The LEGO Movie is a fun and funny kids LEGO adventure parents won't
hate, full of pop culture references and sly details.
The Nut Job is a fairly clever animated animals movie for kids, with simple
visual style, classic cartoon humor, farting.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is stronger than the first without
Wizard of Oz whiskers, killer kids or skint squirls.
Endless Love (2014) is a well-acted movie with a romantic tone, not too
related to its literary or previous movie version.
Pompeii (2014) is an okay Ancient Roman love/gladiator/disaster pic with
good fighting and some—not all—decent effects.
The Monuments Men is a worthwhile though underplayed story of rescuing art
in World War II, with strange Alexandre Desplat score.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman: Imagine "I'm Just a Bill" from "Schoolhouse Rock"
stretched to 90 minutes. A game try but failed.
Is August: Osage County bad acting camp for movie stars or the feel-bad
movie of the year? You could find out yourself.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit gets one star just because Chris Pine
as Ryan is just so gosh-darn earnest and stoic.
Nebraska is a mean, stupid, depressing, frustrating story of dumb old Midwesterners,
with very good acting and cinematography. NO STARS
12 Years a Slave (see above).
Gravity (see above).
The Grandmaster (U.S. cut) is oddly edited (more than usual Wong Kar-wai)
with grand kung fu fight/learn scenes.
Thor: The Dark World is an unflagging comic book action extravaganza of
Thor pretty-goodness with the spirit of the first.
Spike Lee's Oldboy is an awkward going-through-the-motions remake
of Park Chan-wook's 2003 Korean movie of the same name.
Nebraska (see above). NO STARS
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