10. Prisoners: A great script only turns into an amazing movie when the directing, acting, editing, set and sound are executed with equivalent greatness. “Prisoners” has that greatness in most areas making it near flawless and one of the best crime thrillers in years. Large Popcorn.
9. Lone Survivor: Lone Survivor is a depiction of war about as real as the real thing. I would expect nothing else considering it was written and directed by the lead character in the story, the man who actually survived this experience. It is a heart-wrenching watch, even for the viewer sitting safely in their own home and made me realize how great I have it and also how grateful I am for the people who have chosen to make days like this part of their lives. It follows a team of Navy Seals into a mission that goes all wrong and then shows in depth the battle that they all fought to survive. It ends in true fashion with the fantastic story of a local community’s story that I never knew existed and one I hope the world can learn from. Large Popcorn.
8. Inside Llewen Davis: Inside Llewyn Davis is yet another Cohen Brothers masterpiece. There is a tremendous look to the film placing you in the drabby 60’s Greenwich Village New York neighborhood where many struggling folk artists made their home. It is complete with such subtlety impressive shots, cinematography and directorial choices. And it is clearly incredible writing, that although spans the time of a week, several states and the lives of many characters, literally from the first scene to the last goes nowhere, but still remaining incredibly intriguing and engaging throughout. Large Popcorn.
7. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: A Ben Stiller Film (directed by and starting) that comes with a PG rating and released on Christmas Day 2013 but one that far exceeds the expected Night at the Museum family friendly feel. Walter Mitty is an adventurous and heartwarming tale about a man who is in search of his true self. The directing shines and is incredibly stylistic. It battles Wes Anderson films for creativity, beauty and boldness. Large Popcorn with Butter.
6. 12 Years a Slave: I don’t believe there has ever been a movie made which depicts the horrors of slavery more so than 12 years a slave. Using an autobiography by the hero Solomon Northup as the base for the endurance test of a movie, both for the characters in the film and the audience, McQueen sets up scenes that make you feel trapped and helpless, yet to only the smallest of fractions of what the characters on screen are feeling. It is a horror movie in the most accurate description. It is the most powerful film of the year. Large Popcorn with Butter.
5. Blue Jasmine: Watching a woman break down emotionally minute by minute, scene by scene is not necessarily an enjoyable movie watching experience. Fortunately for us, Cate Blanchett’s character, Jasmine, written by Woody Allen is so incredible in the unfortunate circumstances she has brought upon herself the whole movie excels way beyond everything Woody Allen has done in the past decade, Midnight in Paris excluded. His off beat writing is present and tremendously walks the tight rope between comedy and drama. Along with a fantastic supporting cast including Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard, Sally Hawkins, and Andrew Dice Clay, this movie is nothing but fantastic. Large Popcorn with Butter.
4. Philomena: co-written by one of its stars Steve Coogen (A popcorn movie review favorite) along with Jeff Pope is based on an award winning article and book by Martin Sixsmith. The story focuses on an elderly Irish woman who decides she would like to track down her son that she was forced to give away by the Catholic Church when she was just a teenager. Starting off as what Martin describes a “Human Interest Story” quickly becomes transcontinental mystery with tremendous characters, subtle but laugh out loud comedy and undertones of negativity against the archaic and frigid catholic systems. Large Popcorn with Butter.
3. American Hustle: A movie with as much sexiness as it does star power keeps the intensity high throughout the whole movie as we follow a conman and woman who get mixed up with the FBI. It is a mental cat and mouse game throughout. Large Popcorn with Butter.
2. Nebraska: There is not much more you can do to market a movie as niche, slow and boring. Notably, filmed in black and white (not visually pleasing by most standards), having a cover poster with just the silhouette of an old grizzly Bruce Dern, and a title of “Nebraska”, quite possibly the most boring state in the union. I mean, what could a movie about Nebraska possibly be minus corn, or the cornhuskers? This movie must have turned away mass audiences in droves. Despite all of this, I was still eager to watch Nebraska, and you should still see it too. Alexander Payne’s exceptionally real life take on a family from Montana who are struggling with growing old, regrets, kids, parents, relationships, all taking place in the deluded hope of an aging man trying to track down a lottery prize. Large Popcorn with Butter.
1. The Wolf of Wall Street: The Wolf of Wall Street showcases some of the worst people that walk around the world with us. They are over indulgers, cheats, thieves, liars and abusers. The movie does not hold any punches or judge them for who they are but rather just lays it out there, sometimes hilariously, and sometimes gloomily. I suspect that people will take the movie in completely different ways, when I watched it I felt a intense desire to laugh which I succumbed to constantly but also felt an underlying guilt and nervousness. Not that much, I just enjoyed it as a movie, but at times you know you shouldn’t be laughing. Scorsese and Leo really made a great piece of art with this one. A comedic/dramatic masterpiece! Large Popcorn with Butter.