By: Harrison Giza
This year was so good for film that I’m not even going to bore you with a long-winded opening paragraph.
Let’s get to the movies you need to see before Michael Bay takes them away from us.
Without a doubt the most thrilling piece of film I have witnessed in over a decade, Whiplash does more than bang the drum slowly. It tackles, punches, throttles, and fucks every sense of satisfactory tempo life tries to slime our way. The performances, and I mean each and every person in this picture, deserve recognition beyond the simple “good job.”
Independent pictures are dominating, forcing the industry to rely on borrowing from their rehashed piles of studio schlock. Whiplash is a true American gem, at a level shared by Midnight Cowboy and My Dinner With Andre alike. The only difference? A rawer energy and a brain thrice as fast… and the fact that it blinds the audience and forces them to ache and bleed for the characters on the screen.
Yeah, I cried too.
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Yeah, I cried even harder this time.
Birdman is too individually original for words to describe, and for me to give any real opinion on the movie would be an Expected Review of Ignorance. Michael Keaton is hot fire, well-worthy of the amount of praise he has received this year. My man Norton is beyond brilliant as well, giving Naomi Watts and Emma Watson wide pockets of chemistry to explore, stage, and develop throughout the film. Important note: Zach Galifianakis lights up the screen every chance thrown his way.
It was my first favorite film of the year (I saw Whiplash the day after, but both are #1) and I will admit that it is well worth the extraordinary hype surrounding it. Some have hated it, but I don’t think they are the type of crowd that know how much effort went into this film. It is sinisterly good, the kind of film that isn’t afraid to break the molds of cinema. Go see it and form your own thoughts as quickly as you can.
Also, there is a running theme of testicle jokes. If that isn’t Oscar-worthy, I don’t know what is.
Chris Rock was one of the first comedy outlets in my Caucasian life. In fact, I owe a lot to him for what he has created over the years. So when I heard of this film, I got excited. Not to mention his Vulture interview was sublime to read, getting me even more hyped.
It is the best comedy I have seen this year, blaring with depth and an original feel that redefines the image Chris Rock has maintained for over two decades. The film itself made me like “Niggas In Paris,” a song that I literally despised prior to the last five minutes of this film.
With Top Five, the 90’s comedy hero evolved to sacred Woody Allen status, highlighted by a balanced diet of jokes and relationship truths. Don’t forget Rosario Dawson. Without her, we wouldn’t have the first Afro-Cuban Annie Hall ever brought into existence.
This movie deserves whatever awards, fans, and millennial hearts it wins over. Why? Well, for one thing, watching Boyhood is like waiting three hours for the perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies. You even get a tall glass of milk by the end.
Richard Linklater has given his most impressive film to date, dabbling in every area his critics and cult-addled groupies (me included) have praised him for since day one.
This one is certainly not to be missed.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Fresh, warm, and spiced with everything that has made him such a Tumblr darling, this flick is everything right with Wes Anderson. Visually, it is his highest point of saturation, but by the time the film is over, I was left with a black-and-white wave of sadness. I didn’t want to leave this world, not because of the amount of imagination and creativity that was gracefully-baked into it, but because of how far this man has come as a director.
Bottle Rocket, the first film Anderson made, showcases his love for human foolishness and tells the story of two rebelling misfits barely sliding by in the world in which they inhabit. The Grand Budapest Hotel takes that same concept of friendship, but explores the entire quirk, delicacy, and impending darkness of the period, with Fiennes hemming each piece of the multicolored puzzle.
It should be noted that I cried… which is strange for a sociopathic Woody Allen fan like me to do in the wonderful world of Wes. After all, Mr. Anderson is often hit with the label of never being able to show his actors emote.
Here, he doesn’t just succeed. He excels.
Donnie Darko is nothing now that Jake Gyllenhaal has been echoing in the wells of Robert De Niro. I didn’t expect a lot from this movie, but what I got was more than enough. It opens doors and closes them forever, emphasizing the dire importance of being successful in modern American media.
Here, Gyllenhaal isn’t human. He’s an animal of minimalistic force, focusing on the importance of minute detail in each and every minute of run time given. I’ve heard people complain about the score, saying it is unnecessarily cheesy and completely out of place, but those are the same people that get annoyed with the way American Psycho ends.
Each aspect of this film is precise, so when something sounds bad, it is absolutely intended to play out that way. Just like Gyllenhaal’s performance, the film is wired to make you notice the imperfections of striving toward human goals in an age of “hot off the press” American media swill.
I didn’t read the book. I watched the movie. I loved the movie and continue to do so.
What do you want me to say here? David Fincher has given us his greatest film since The Social Network, working in media mystery, marital illusion, and the fine line between sincere love and unstoppable hatred. If you’re dating or married, I highly suggest watching this. It makes for perfect post-movie chatter, violent cuddling included.
For more of my nonsensical writing, check out Punchland.com for the usual music reviews and the latest in independent music.
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Thank you for taking the time to read