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  • The Gambler 2014

    ★★½ Watched 08 Dec, 2014

    John Goodman saved this from being a complete mess for me.

  • Virunga 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 09 Dec, 2014

    This powerfully provocative documentary from Netflix is about a national park in the Congo that is threatened by rebel fighting and a British corporation looking to exploit the region for oil is at times difficult to watch. The film focuses on a small group of park rangers working in a refuge for gorillas whose parents are killed by poachers. Be warned, there is some graphic footage of the violence in the region and the aftermath of poachers who have killed elephants and gorillas inside the national park.

  • Selma 2014

    ★★★★★ Watched 08 Dec, 2014

    A proper review to follow upon release, but I was blown away by this. Ava DuVernay's direction is spot-on and it never takes a misstep. David Oyelowo's performance is the stuff of legends and Bradford Young proves yet again that he's one of the greatest working DPs. Even the smallest roles are expertly cast and the film has a strength that is worthy of its subject. A remarkable achievement in storytelling.

  • The Imitation Game 2014

    ★★★ Watched 03 Dec, 2014

    I liked THE IMITATION GAME more than Ben did, but I'm not sure that's a rousing endorsement. Cumberbatch gives a fine performance that is probably going to earn him a lot of nominations, but much like THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, it just feels like Oscar-bait for the entire running time.

  • Merchants of Doubt 2014

    ★★½ Watched 05 Dec, 2014

    I liked the framing device of using a magician's tricks to illustrate how topics like global warming are heavily politicized without regard to actual facts and data, but this movie is preaching to the choir 150% with no chance of changing anybody's mind or really doing much aside from connecting the dots. Let's just say that I'm not surprised that this did not make the Academy shortlist.

  • Mr. Turner 2014

    ★★★ Watched 06 Dec, 2014

    I have a love/hate relationship with Mike Leigh and this one is leaning more towards hate. Sure, it's technically masterful and Bill Pope's cinematography is stunning. I can't even hate on Timothy Spall, he's quite good here in the lead role. In the end, I spent the last act trying to not nod off.

  • Still Alice 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 02 Dec, 2014

    Cannot stop ugly crying. Let's just give Julianne Moore all the awards. She elevates this story to another stratosphere.

  • Inherent Vice 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 29 Nov, 2014

    Joaquin Phoenix is an absolute delight as Doc. Having never read the book, I found this to be incredibly bizarre, but lots of fun. I laughed out loud frequently, even when I struggled to keep up with the plot.

  • Interstellar 2014

    ★★★★ Rewatched 29 Nov, 2014

    I enjoyed a second viewing far more than the first. Seeing it projected in standard 70mm with a consistent aspect ratio was a far more pleasurable experience. The issues I have with the final two reels are still there, but lessened the second time around.

  • The Overnighters 2014

    ★★★ Watched 29 Nov, 2014

    This documentary leaves us with far more questions than answers and, quite honestly, the "twist" revelation at the end bothered me a lot. It certainly doesn't negate what came before it, but it's problematic all the same.

  • White Bird in a Blizzard 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 22 Nov, 2014

    I suppose I'm an Araki apologist, but I just loved the overall mood of this. Shailene Woodley turns in another outstanding performance (although even I was surprised that she got naked in multiple scenes). Using 'Scope for only the second time in his career, the film is carefully composed and art directed within an inch of its life for the 1988/1991 timeframe depicted. Typical for Araki, the soundtrack is littered with magnificent, mostly 4AD, artists (I squealed when Woodley walked into frame wearing a This Mortal Coil t-shirt).

  • Ida 2013

    ★★★★½ Watched 22 Nov, 2014

    This quiet Polish drama about a nun who goes off to visit her lone surviving family member before taking her vows features stunning black and white cinematography in Academy ratio. Agata Trzebuchowska's performance is one of the best I've seen all year.