Category Archives: 2014 Films

Reviews: The Mule (2014)

muleReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: Zero Motivation (2014)

zero_motivationReviews for this film from our members:

  • [New – 12/11/14] | Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema
  • [New – 12/4/14] | Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: Lavie’s made a film from an unique perspective, one which illustrates how discrimination works against the system, undermining it by breeding contempt. But while the film certainly has comedic aspects, it’s never as uproariously funny as it could (or should) be
  • [New – 1/15/15] | Aaron Pinkston @ Battleship Pretension
    • Excerpt: It is hardly the most essential film coming from this newly focused Israel-Palestine cinema, but is definitely one of the most entertaining and different voices to stand out.
  • [New – 1/29/15] | Sarah Ward @ artsHub
  • [New – 12/11/14] | Ron Wilkinson @ Monsters and Critics
    • Excerpt: Starting off as a great military/industrial complex send-up, the story flounders in the home stretch when it grasps at the serious and ends up in slapstick.

Reviews: Cake (2014)

cakeReviews for this film from our members:

  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: Aniston so completely dons the scarred skin, battered bones and deep depression of Claire, one forgets one is watching the former star of TV’s ‘Friends.’ With the Oscar-nominated Barraza in a strong supporting role, Aniston is the frosting this misshappen “Cake” needs.
  • M. Enois Duarte @ High-Def Digest.com
  • Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: It puts us at a disadvantage for comprehending Claire, and it puts Claire at a disadvantage for becoming a recipient of our sympathy.
  • Sarah Gopaul @ Digital Journal
    • Excerpt: ‘Cake’ contains a marvellous performance by Jennifer Aniston, but being the best part of a film can sometimes be a disservice.
  • Susan Granger @ www.susangranger.com
    • Excerpt: Pass up this flaky, underwhelming confection…
  • Mark Hobin @ Fast Film Reviews
    • Excerpt: What’s admirable about Cake is that it doesn’t feel the need to make its main character warm and fuzzy. She’s a prickly individual damaged by grief and her temperament reflects that.
  • Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic
    • Excerpt: Occasionally more drab than insightful, “Cake” takes its sweet time getting to the humanity of the damaged lead character, but Aniston’s against-type performance is the most satisfying piece of the film to be worth talking about.
  • Kristin Dreyer Kramer @ NightsAndWeekends.com
  • Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat
    • Excerpt: Has a brilliant lead performance from Jennifer Aniston, yet that performance is surrounded by tiresome clichés and contrivances torn straight out of the Independent Filmmaking 101 handbook.
  • Nell Minow @ The Movie Mom
  • Darren Mooney @ the m0vie blog
    • Excerpt: Let them eat…
  • Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer
    • Excerpt: Going from the darkest horse of the race to the number one snub isn’t an easy feat and Oscar/film history might be kinder to Aniston’s turn in Cake since she missed out with the Academy. Enjoy Aniston’s work in Cake as a strong performance in its own right and not simply as another box to tick off on the Oscar cheat sheet.
  • [New – 7/2/15] | Nuno Reis @ Antestreia [Portuguese]
    • Excerpt: É apenas por ser um filme feito para um público específico, como homenagem às vítimas da dor crónica, e portanto os tratar alternadamente ou como uns coitados ou como uns heróis, não se decidindo sobre qual perfil quer, e não sendo honesto sobre a normalidade que existe em pessoas que no fundo são como nós.
  • Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema
    • Excerpt: The screenplay here, written by Patrick Tobin is free of gimmicks and emotional trickery. He’s written a story that has a nice flow. It doesn’t feel gummed up, but is thin enough to let the characters breathe.
  • Frank Swietek @ One Guys Opinion
    • Excerpt: Many fine ingredients–not least the performances of Aniston and Barraza–have gone into making this ‘Cake,’ but it leaves one wishing that the end result had been more uncompromising.
  • Ron Wilkinson @ Monsters and Critics
    • Excerpt: Jennifer Aniston does something completely different in this potboiler of a psychodrama and succeeds marvelously.

Reviews: Last Days in Vietnam (2014)

Reviews for this film from our members:

  • [New – 10/9/14] | Joshua Brunsting @ The CriterionCast
  • [New – 9/11/14] | Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: Although Kennedy follows the standard documentary format of archival footage and stills edited with current day interviews, she has constructed her telling of the story so expertly that her work is both moving and riveting.
  • [New – 12/11/14] | Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: In the film, the morass of strategic confusion, political convenience, and stubborn personalities pushing an agenda is the prelude to a story of startling moral clarity.
  • [New – 9/11/14] | Ron Wilkinson @ MonstersandCritics.com
    • Excerpt: Emotion packed thriller of America’s Southeast Asia Dunkirk.
  • [New – 1/22/15] | Sarah Gopaul @ Digital Journal
    • Excerpt: ‘Last Days of Vietnam’ is a commanding Oscar-nominated documentary recounting the events just before the fall of Saigon, including evacuation efforts.

Reviews: The Green Prince (2014)

green_princegreen_princeReviews for this film from our members:

  • [New – 10/9/14] | Joshua Brunsting @ The CriterionCast
  • [New – 12/12/14] | David Upton @ So So Gay
    • Excerpt: Cinematically, Schirman’s filmmaking feels limited; the recreations are hampered by the awkward framing provoked by a need for distortion and vaguery, while the two men are framed in rather morbid black rectangles, their faces square and confrontational.
  • [New – 1/9/15] | Sarah Ward @ Concrete Playground
  • [New – 9/11/14] | Ron Wilkinson @ MonstersandCritics.com
    • Excerpt: A real life spy thriller proving the truth is stranger than fiction.
  • [New – 10/17/14] | Andrew Wyatt @ St. Louis Magazine
    • Excerpt: The film’s overall effect is undeniably pulpy, and even tacky at times, but Mosab’s haunted agitation and Yitzhak’s matter-of-fact affability keep the film grounded in the overwhelming risks that double agents face on a daily basis.

Reviews: Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (2014)

supermenschReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: Winter Sleep (2014)

winter_sleepReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: At the Devil's Door (2014)

at_the_devils_doorReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: At the Devil’s Door (2014)

at_the_devils_doorReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: A Most Violent Year (2014)

most_violent_yearReviews for this film from our members:

  • Marco Albanese @ Stanze di Cinema [Italian]
    • Excerpt: Il film di Chandor è un piccolo capolavoro, che guarda ai grandi classici del cinema degli anni ’70, costruendo la figura di un antieroe solitario, che lotta contro il suo destino e contro la sua stessa famiglia, non lontano dal Michael Corleone di Coppola.
  • José Arce @ LaButaca.net [Spanish]
    • Excerpt: Fabuloso thriller dramático que demuestra el extraordinario dominio del tono narrativo de J.C. Chandor. Tensa, sombría, la historia de un hombre que lucha por conseguir su sueño, que es el de todos, atrapa desde su arranque y no suelta al espectador hasta su conclusión.
  • Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire
    • Excerpt: Writer/director Chandor (‘All is Lost,’ ‘Margin Call’) convincingly recreates early-‘80s New York with this story of an immigrant (Isaac, great as always) and his wife (Chastain, ditto) finding themselves drawn into the increasingly dangerous and legally dubious world of… heating oil sales. It’s an odd hook, yes, but it makes for compelling viewing, with Chandor drawing richly shaded performances from his gifted cast and masterfully invoking the corridors-of-Gotham-power aesthetic of ‘80s Lumet.
  • Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema
  • Tim Brayton @ Antagony & Ecstasy
  • Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice
    • Excerpt: An immersive drama about a businessman who stays calm in the midst of a dreadful series of setbacks.
  • Bill Clark @ From The Balcony
    • Excerpt: A Most Violent Year is a compelling exercise in minimalist intensity, drawing power from characterization and well-paced plotting.
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: Isaac is great as a decent man trying to hold his ground on quicksand, but Chastain’s absolutely fierce.
  • Jim Dixon @ Examiner.com
    • Excerpt: J.C. Chandor has written a script that has aspects of crime melodrama, and there is a pervasive sense of constant fear that never lets up. Violence happens suddenly. But Chandor is a thoroughly modern director and his approach is subtler and more realistic; his view of morality more nuanced.
  • Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: The feeling that violence could erupt at any moment is real … and it lends an air of menace to the most mundane of discussions…
  • James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture
    • Excerpt: A Most Violent Year’ Tries To Hide A Tediously Wordy Story Behind A Bunch Of Gloss…And It Almost Works
  • Sarah Gopaul @ Digital Journal
    • Excerpt: ‘A Most Violent Year’ is a solid character drama in which its protagonist struggles to run a legitimate business while surrounded by criminal activity.
  • Susan Granger @ www.susangranger.com
    • Excerpt: Gritty, savvy and impeccably crafted, it evokes a turbulent time.
  • Mark Hobin @ Fast Film Reviews
    • Excerpt: Director J.C. Chandor weaves a deep tale of the American Dream that authentically portrays the time period as if it was genuinely filmed in 1981.
  • Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: Writer/director J.C. Chandor proves he was not a one-and-done flash in the plan, he was not a two-hit wonder, he is the real deal three-time quality film creator, this time with hands down one of 2014’s best films.
  • Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic
    • Excerpt: Richly scripted and methodically carried out, this character-based morality drama cements itself as the writer-director’s strongest piece of work, and while many will find a shortage of thrills they might be expecting, it calls up the mature restraint and sedate, slow-burn pacing of Sidney Lumet and Martin Scorsese back in their heydays. This is one of those “thrillers for grown-ups” in the best of ways.
  • Kristin Dreyer Kramer @ NightsAndWeekends.com
  • Marty Mapes @ Movie Habit
    • Excerpt: Good performances and convincing setting; but could have used a spark to light things up
  • [New – 4/16/15] | Alan Mattli @ Facing the Bitter Truth [German]
    • Excerpt: J. C. Chandor cannily channels Sidney Lumet and Leone’s ‘Once Upon a Time in America’. The result is a poignant exploration of the myth of the American Dream.
  • Brent McKnight @ The Last Thing I See
    • Excerpt: A Most Violent Year’ is a quintessentially American saga about trying to succeed while every external element wants to tear you down.
  • Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer
    • Excerpt: A Most Violent Year, more than any other film this year, truly feels like it’s about something…
  • Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys
  • Jamie S. Rich @ DVDTalk
    • Excerpt: Chandor is essentially making a “gangster trying to go legitimate” picture but he’s skipping right over the standard gangster part and takes us straight into the numbers game of cooked books and backroom handshakes. That’s his lone wrinkle on the material.
  • Jonathan Richards @ www.jonrichardsplace.com
    • Excerpt: This is a classic morality tale with no easy answers, but a lot of great questions.
  • Thomas Santilli @ Examiner.com
    • Excerpt: I couldn’t help but think that if this was the most violent year on record in New York City, surely there are more interesting things happening elsewhere.
  • Cole Smithey @ colesmithey.com
    • Excerpt: Writer-director JC Chandor’s first three films (“Margin Call,” “All is Lost,” and “A Most Violent Year”) reveal a masterful auteur building a singular filmmaking career that overshadows Hollywood’s relentless barrage of garbage.
  • Sarah Ward @ Concrete Playground
  • Ron Wilkinson @ Monsters and Critics
    • Excerpt: Not as violent as the title would imply, this is a sterling essay in inner strength.
  • Andrew Wyatt @ St. Louis Magazine
    • Excerpt: The film’s story is a sort of inverted Carlito’s Way or Tokyo Drifter. Rather than a gangster who wants to get out of the Life, Abel is a civilian who wants to stay out.