There were some amazing movies over the past year, and the awards season is just beginning. We don’t have the Academy Award nominations yet, but we do know some of the various local awards-givers like the International Press Academy have already offered what they think is the best of the year.
Click on the links of the movie titles for more information written about the movies by me over the past year. Take a look at other highlights in the cinema this past year. What did you think? Let us know in the COMMENTS are below.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
New Studio City resident Andrew Garfield took the helm of the action hero franchise as it got rebooted, and the second of “The Amazing Spider-Man” movies put him on the map. Although many fans were skeptical, it seems like “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is worth seeing, again. In this second installment, Peter Parker meets a new foe, he renews his friendship with his rich friend, and he still has his girlfriend.
“The Monuments Men” tells one of the untold true stories of WWII in the style of a 1950s noir heist movie—only this time, the robbers are the good guys. Longtime Studio City resident George Clooney directs this old-style heist film with a stellar cast as they show a bunch of non-soldier art historians, architects and curators trying to save the world’s masterpieces from the Nazis during the last days of Hitler’s regime.
8: The Mormon Proposition
Dustin Lance Black, the Academy Award-winning writer of “Milk” is also a Mormon, and gay, and he narrates the gripping and scary documentary “8: The Mormon Proposition” which is now available online. The just-released documentary shows some of the hypocrisy of the Mormon Church, which fought Prop 8 in California, and is now involved in fighting same-sex marriage in their own backyard in Utah. It’s as timely as ever.
It may not have been the Oscar contender as some people predicted, but “The Judge” was an entertaining film, and it was great to see Robert Downey Jr. with Robert Duvall on the screen together.
This is Where I Leave You
“This is Where I Leave You” has a shocking surprise involving Jane Fonda, and if someone hasn’t told you about it yet, you can click on the link and read about it. This is a massive cast, with a bunch of great actors, that could easily be a TV movie miniseries with all the plots and subplots involved.
A Walk Among the Tombstones
It’s worth taking ‘A Walk Among the Tombstones’ starring Liam Neeson. It’s rather surprising that the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn hasn’t been used in more movies, particularly creepy thriller movies like this one. The vast cemetery where this movie takes place has tall, odd and old tombstones. My Dad used to take us walking through there almost every Sunday, and at the little pond where pieces of a body is found was one of the places that we used to sit and watch the birds and talk.
Into the Woods
An incredible cast mixes it up ‘Into the Woods’ and that is already getting a good buzz among awards givers. There are two major reasons to see “Into the Woods” and when they’re together, they’ll give you one of the biggest laughs of the whole movie. They are the two princes who are brothers—Prince Charming played by Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen, who plays his blonde counterpart who becomes the prince wooing Rapunzel. The two impossibly-handsome Princes sing a duet that rival’s the ballad that Gaston sings about being macho and handsome in “Beauty and the Beast” and their swagger and singing along the river is completely priceless. Pine in his velvet pants and Magnussen in his leather pants talk about their problems and struggles and rip off their shirts in the process. It’s hysterical.
This gripping true story doesn’t misfire in ‘American Sniper,’ and if you don’t already know the story of this great American hero, you will want to read more about him after seeing the movie. It’s the story of Chris Kyle, the famed American Sniper from Texas, and Bradley Cooper plays him with Clint Eastwood at the helm.
Yeah, it’s funny, I hate to admit it. Getting to see The Interview was hard enough, but it’s worth it. Even if there wasn’t all the controversy about the release of ‘The Interview,” with James Franco and Seth Rogan, there would be plenty to talk about once the movie came out. The buddy-buddy film has a lot of homoerotic moments that are closer than the usual “bro-moments” that you’d see in the “Harold & Kumar” or “Hangover” films.
Everyone who has a mom or grandmother who grew up in the 1960s has seen these sad-eyed urchins on the wall. Most likely, they were postcards that were put in cheap frames, and the person who put them up said, “I just love the eyes.” Well, now the movie ‘Big Eyes’ tells the whole story in a fascinating way.
Hopefully, by now you have seen ‘Nebraska’ and you have seen how our neighbor, Sherman Oaks resident June Squibb, deserves her Oscar nomination nod for the wisecracking wife to Bruce Dern in the black-and-white film.