Sunday
Jan112015

2014 Movies With Mitch Awards- Best Director, Acting Performances, and Other Random Awards

If I had it my way these would be the Oscar nominations and winners.  Unfortunately I feel like I should apologize for my Best Actress Category, not being able to see Julianne Moore who is considered the probable front runner in "Still Alice" and Jennifer Aniston picking up steam in "Cake", but regardless all of my choices are worthy of high praise.  Besides those omissions, I feel very good to give you my picks for the best of the best in 2014.

 

Best Director

Richard Linklater- Boyhood

Runners-Up: 

Ava DuVernay- Selma

Alejandro González Iñárritu- Birdman

Paul Thomas Anderson- Inherent Vice

Wes Anderson- The Grand Budapest Hotel

 

Best Actress

Rosamund Pike- Gone Girl

Runners-Up:

Essie Davis- Mr. Babadook

Reese Witherspoon- Wild

Tessa Thompson- Dear White People

Felicity Jones- The Theory of Everything

 

Best Actor

 

Michael Keaton- Birdman

Runners-Up:

David Oyelowo- Selma

Bennedict Cumberbatch- The Imitation Game

Jake Gyllenhaal- Nightcrawler

Joaquin Phoenix- Inherent Vice

 

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette- Boyhood

Runners-Up:

Emma Stone- Birdman

Keira Knightley- The Imitation Game

Tilda Swinton- Snowpiercer

Connie Coon- Gone Girl

 

Best Supporting Actor

 

J.K. Simmons- Whiplash

Runners-Up:

Edward Norton- Birdman

Mark Ruffalo- Foxcatcher

Josh Brolin- Inherent Vice

Shia Labeouf- Fury

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Inherent Vice

Runner-Up: Gone Girl

 

Best Original Screenplay

Birdman

Runner-Up: Boyhood

 

Best Animated Film

The Lego Movie

 

Sunday
Jan112015

Mitch's Top 10 Best Films of 2014

I reviewed 102 films that were released in 2014.  Now you know that I'm not joking around.  It's time for the most egotistical statement a movie reviewer can make.  (On my soapbox) "These are the best films of the year." At the end of every year every film critic from high end publications to the low rung level (like I) we puff out our chests and demand you take notice about what we claim is fact when of course how very far from the truth that is.  I am just as guilty, I get all excited about makig my Top 10 list and I fret nervously over it all year. These are my top ten films of the year.

 

10. The Lego Movie


Dynamic animation, a story furiously averaging a laugh a minute, and with a great message to boot; “The Lego Movie” wildly soars for both the kiddies and the paying adults.

9. Foxcatcher


Bennett Miller’s direction is always in control and molds incredible performances out of his powerhouse trio.

8. Snowpiercer


..bizarrely refreshing, action packed, much deeper than it should be, and the rarest commodity of all- original.

7. The Babadook


Australian filmmaker Jennifer Kent’s directorial debut “The Babadook” is easily thebest horror film of 2014.  A fantastic performance by Essie Davis that shows the monstorous challenges of parenthood.  

6. Gone Girl


A chilling expose on modern marriage with the nastiest of insights and/or a deliciously trashy murder mystery whodunit, I say all the above as I was thoroughly transfixed.

5. Inherent Vice


I never feared that PTA was on the wrong track after “The Master”, I feared I was.  “Inherent Vice” has put me back on track...

4. Selma


Truly palpable. Ava DuVernay‘s  grasp on to the importance of the situation, the movement, the history, and most importantly the hard fought righting of the heart breaking wrongs is keenly felt.

3. Whiplash


The ending to “Whiplash” must be my favorite of the year; a gut punch twist followed up an incredible climax that needs no words to describe.  J.K. Simmons gives the performance of his career and Miles Teller proves his stardom is only going up.  

2. Birdman


There are so many levels here and Iñárritu makes you sprint along with him but never makes you feel like you can’t keep up. “Birdman” is an exhilarating experience, one to be savored.  Oh, and Michael Keaton absolutely kills it.

DRUM ROLL PLEASE...

1. Boyhood


Richard Linklater delivers something so much more than just an impressive feat in experimental filmmaking, the “Dazed and Confused” and “Bernie” director achieves what so many other storytellers have painstakingly sought after and never come close to accomplishing.

Life.

 

 

Sunday
Jan112015

Mitch's Top 10 Worst Films of 2014

I've seen so so many films this year.  102 to be exact in 2014 and I've had to sit through some tough ones. Some real garbage one might say, but then again for the most part I pick and choose what two films I'm gonna watch per week.  So if I have the choice to see The Imitation Game over Kirk Cameron Saves Christmas, I'm gonna watch me some sweet, sweet Cumberbatch.  Therefore, I have missed some of the worst of the worst, but out of the films I have seen this last year, these are my top 10 worst films of 2014.

 

10. Sex Tape


Sex Tape” follows the same humorless fate as “Bad Teacher” except Diaz doesn’t get the same props as before.  Also, Jack Black gives the worst cameo of 2014.

9. Monuments Men


The all star cast is wasted on characters who are criminally underdeveloped and therefore frustratingly ineffective by a director who can’t figure out if his film should be a rousing throwback film to the yesteryear of cinema or a heartbreaking look at the horrific consequences of the Holocaust.

8. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For


Snooze inducing to the point that I’m beginning to believe that famed indie director Robert Rodriguez is one of our more over hyped directors today.

7. Transformers: Age of Extinction


Explosions, explosions, slo-mo explosions, followed by a smidge of exposition, followed by explosions, explosion, slo-mo explosions with a wisecrack or two. If this is your bag than Michael Bay will never face extinction.

6. As Above, So Below 

 

The Dowdle Brothers, John and Drew waste there decent horror premise by taking camera lessons from a broken washing machine... 

5. The Nut Job


The Nut Job” is dreary, dull, and dumb - it sets all the forward progress of recent top notch animated fare back five years.

4. Transcendence 

 

Winner for the most instantly forgettable film of 2014 is “Transcendence”.  No one picks up an easy paycheck quite like Johnny Depp these days.  Hated it.  

3. That Awkward Moment


Who wants to watch a film that takes an hour and a half for the male leads to learn to not rotate women like a shirt on their closet rack and then somehow still be rewarded with a relationship in the closing minutes. Not me.

2. The Legend of Hercules


You don’t get to the Oscar hopefuls in December without first making the walk of shames through January. I embrace this time and droll films like “The Legend of Hercules” are a right of passage.

1. Deliver Us From Evil


“Deliver Us from Evil”, delivers some pretty spectacularly bad screenwriting that makes for more than a few moments of unintentional laughter.  Worse off, this is another film that way overstays its welcome with its obese running time, so much so that you might need a Priest to exorcise you from the demon of boredom.  "Deliver Us from Evil" is the worst film of 2014.

 

Saturday
Jan102015

Mitch's Top Films From 2014 (Ranked #20-11)

I reviewed 102 films that were released in 2014.  Now you know that I'm not joking around.  It's time for the most egotistical statement a movie reviewer can make.  (On my soapbox) "These are the best films of the year." At the end of every year every film critic from high end publications to the low rung level (like I) we puff out our chests and demand you take notice about what we claim is fact when of course how very far from the truth that is.  I am just as guilty, I get all excited about makig my Top 10 list and I fret nervously over it all year. But before we get to the top 10, lets take a moment to celebrate my favorite films ranked 20-11.

 

 

20. Force Majuere

 

Swedish director Ruben Östlund ratchets a gut twisting uncomfortableness with the precision of a surgeon.

19. Let's Be Cops


Every year there's one film out there that's get bashed by the critics but I walked out thinking just the opposite. It's usually dumb comedies and Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr.'s "Lets Be Cops" is just that.  Loved it.

18. Top Five


Chris Rock shows a massive leap forward as a storyteller that is finally able to tap into a comic’s racially charged humor with a breakneck pace of steady winner jokes and a very surprisingly effective romantic spin.

17. Guardians of the Galaxy


..a ‘give ‘em hell’ free spirit that sucks you in for one hell of a supercool adventure.  Marvel proves they know best.

16. John Wick


People keep asking me if Keanu Reeves is back, yeah I’m thinking he’s back!  Reeves is the man in this simple but very sweet shoot 'em revenge flick.  

15. Blue Ruin


Blue Ruin” is the atmospheric revenge thriller that actually thrills by focusing on the ineptitude of the untrained killer. 

14. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes


..intelligently flourishes in just about every department making for a surprise triumph.

13. The Edge of Tomorrow


I could go on my usual “Tom Cruise is so talented and just might be my favorite actor” rant, but I won’t, just know he brings his usual incredible fine tuned intensity, charm, and humor to make this film a really fun time at the movies.

12. The Grand Budapest Hotel


..a mad-capper tale that keeps Anderson as one of the most inventive and consistently spectacular American directors today. 

11. The Imitation Game


Cumberbatch’s stammered and shaky speech patterns attributed to the socially cumbersome Turing are truly effective. 

 

JUST MISSED THE CUT: Dear White People, Captain America: Winter Soldier, The Fault in Our Stars, Fury, Wild, The One I Love

Sunday
Jan122014

Mitch's Top 10 Films of 2013

Did you know that my Top 10 Film list of 2013 is different from all the other critics because it's factually right?!! O.k. maybe not so much, but I do watch a lot of films a year (97 in 2013), and making a Top 10 list is a fun way to archive my cinematic tastes and let you know what films impacted me the most.  

Without further ado, here are my 10 very favorite films of 2013.

10. Nebraska

Bruce Dern shows every thought and memory clearly through Woody’s eyes and vocal grunts.  

9. The Spectacular Now

The Spectacular Now” is not just another high school film, in fact, it might just bethe most honest high school film I’ve ever seen.

8. Captain Phillips

Director Paul Greengrass superb direction, along with Tom Hanks’ best performance in well over 10 years has “Captain Phillips” one of those truly ‘edge of your seat’ dramatic viewing experiences of the year.

7. The Conjuring

I love a good horror film, and James Wan’s The Conjuring just may be a great one.  I was truly scared for the full 112 minute showing time, and they weren’t cheap scares.

6. This Is The End

This is the End is almost like this generation’s Ghostbusters; except instead of catching ghosts it’s the Biblical apocalypse being unleashed, and instead of PG rated dialogue, it’s hard R. with many, many penis jokes.

5. 12 Years a Slave

The triumphs cannot equal the horrors, the hurt, the death, the loss of freedom, and that is the story that McQueen so devastatingly tells us.

4. Gravity

Alfonso Cuaron and his crew accomplish one of the highest achievements that cinema allows:  the ability to take us somewhere that you and I can’t possibly go and have us emotionally invest as if we are there.

3. The Act of Killing 

A truly outlandish and extraordinary film of the darkest proportions that documents life long after unspeakable sins.

2. American Hustle

American Hustle” is the equivalent of cinematic crack cocaine- Russell, along with his absurdly talented cast are able to figuratively bottle up insanity and make it the most exhilarating film of the year. 

DRUM ROLL PLEASE...

 

1. Her

This is a film I could watch 100 times, and I plan to before it’s all over. Spike Jonze has crafted a miraculous film that puts his high-concept spin on age old story of falling in love, staying in love, and then falling out of love.  "Her" is an amazing film that not all will dig but I pray will at least see.

Click here for Top 2013 Films #20-11