In a future where a failed global-warming experiment kills off most life on the planet, a class system evolves aboard the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe via a perpetual-motion engine.
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The Deeper Meaning of Snowpiercer (2013) – Jay Dyer
By: Jay DyerSnowpiercer stands out as a recent example of a trend fans of film are witnessing more of: philosophically-focused science fiction and fantasy. While it could be argued that many science fiction classics deal with some philosophical themes, the trend has become far more common than in previous decades. In the last several years, […]
New on Blu-Ray/DVD: Snowpiercer, Sex Tape and The Purge Anarchy
This week, remedy Snowpiercer, abortion Sex Tape and The Purge: Anarchy all arrive on Blu-Ray and DVD.
Best of the Bunch: Snowpiercer stars Chris Evans (Captain America) and Oscar winners Octavia Spencer and Tilda Swinton. Unfortunately, it didn’t get the release it...
Holiday Box Office: Tammy, Earth to Echo, Begin Again, Deliver Us From Evil, Ida, Snowpiercer
Blog Posts Movie Reviews
Ida“: Leave it to the extremely anti-Semitic Poles to turn the Holocaust tragedy into a way to portray Jews as evil, slutty, and Communist murderers. That’s what this boring Polish-made movie does.
In Polish, with English subtitles, it’s the story of Ida, a young woman who was raised in a convent and is training to become a nun in the early 1960s. She learns she has an aunt and that she and the aunt are Jews. She also learns that her family perished in the Holocaust. But those are tiny details compared to the fact that her Jewish aunt is a Communist judge, Comrade Wanda, who sentenced many non-Communists and freedom-seekers to execution. Oh, and did I mention that she’s an alcoholic and a slut? But, don’t worry, she realizes that she’s a bad person and jumps out a window.
Soon, her niece is dropping the nun habit and getting into bed with men she just met, too. Then, she realizes that being a Communist slutty Jewess ain’t the life for her. So it’s back to the nunnery for the calm, decent life of a Polish Catholic. Yep, those Jooooos suck!
My relatives cooked in the ovens for this? Apparently.
There are real-life stories of Polish Jewish kids raised as Catholics to survive the Holocaust such as that of Miriam Ferber of the Detroit area. Ferber, raised by Polish Catholics, was finally told by her adoptive parents that she was a Jew. She became a practicing Jew, created and raised a thriving Jewish family, and today, her kids (with whom I went to school) own and run HoMedics (which brings you all of the great massage stuff you see as gifts for Christmas). Her story would have made a great movie.
Instead, we get this trash. Before seeing this, I never imagined an 82-minute movie could seem like 820.
FOUR MARXES PLUS FOUR OBAMAS PLUS FOUR BIN LADENS
List, List, O List: a Premature 2014 Movie Rundown
Any attempt on my part to assess the year in film is bound to be inadequate, because there are just too many films I know I ought to see that I haven’t seen yet. Moreover, that list of “oughts” has already been shaped by the reactions of other critics; it’s already too late for the joy of discovery that I felt, say, attending a screening of “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night” back in January, before everyone had heralded Ana Lily Amirpour’s Persian vampire noir western as the hot new thing. And anyway, films are largely incomparable across genres. Which was a “better” film, “Boyhood” or “The LEGO Movie?” It’s kind of a silly question – they aren’t trying to do anything remotely comparable.
Nonetheless: posts must be blogged. So: let’s start with the critical consensus. The nice folks at Metacritic have compiled a meta-list, combining the views of 137 different critics on what they think are the top ten films of the year, for a meta-list of 20 films. Herewith:
1. “Boyhood.” My feelings about the film tracked very closely with Eve Tushnet’s. I admire the experiment, and I was drawn in deeply during the first hour. But in the last hour I found myself far more interested in the parents than in the titular boy, which to me feels like the film didn’t achieve all that it set out to do.
2. “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” I am a great admirer of Richard Linklater’s work, which is why I was surprised that I didn’t respond to “Boyhood” with raptures. Wes Anderson I am much more ambivalent about. But “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was for me a sheer delight from end to end, and may even have become my favorite Anderson film, because for once I felt his fussiness was fully justified by the film’s subject and setting. Leon Hadar’s thoughts on the film are also very worth reading.
3. “Under the Skin.” I posted my reactions to this creepy Scarlett Johansson sci-fi flick here. Its highly original vision has definitely stuck with me. Rent it.
4. “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance.” I posted my thoughts on “Birdman” here. I think it’s a tour-de-force.
5. “Selma.” A film I have not yet seen, and plan to, though I fear I won’t like it. I don’t tend to like pious movies, regardless of the object of piety, and I fear this will be one.
6. “Whiplash.” I wrote up my thoughts on Damien Chazelle’s film here, and then followed up with additional thoughts here, but I continue to chew on it. “Whiplash” is very worth seeing, but it irritated me, and I wonder whether that reaction says more about me than it does about the film.
7. “Ida.” Near the top of my list of films I need to see.
8. “Gone Girl.” Amazingly, I still haven’t seen this film. I begin to suspect I’m avoiding it, and I’m not entirely sure why.
8. “Inherent Vice.” I’m only falling more in love with P.T. Anderson with time, and am very eager to see his latest.
10. “Nightcrawler.” I find myself away from the pack on this one. Jake Gyllenhaal’s Louis Bloom seemed like he had dropped to earth from Mars in the first frame. What, I wondered, did he do the day before the film began? The month before that? The year before that? I found no really plausible answer to these sorts of questions. Nor did I buy this young man’s sudden transformation from bizarre recluse to a ruthlessly effective manipulator of other people. The film presents itself as a dark satire – I kept thinking it was trying to be a noir-esque, indie-scale “Network” – but I never felt like the satire connected with anything terribly specific.
11. “Mr. Turner.” Another one near the top of my list of films to see. Mike Leigh is a wonderful filmmaker, and I specifically adored his last foray into biopic.
12. “Force Majeure.” I haven’t seen it yet, but hope to do so.
13. “Goodbye to Language.” Haven’t seen it yet, clearly need to – it’s actually somewhat relevant to a script I’ve written.
14. “The Immigrant.” Jeepers, I haven’t seen this one yet either – and this one wasn’t even on my list of want-to-sees. From the description, the film sounds like an Isaac Bashevis Singer novel, which makes me want to see it to see if that’s how it plays on-screen.
14. “Foxcatcher.” I wrote up my thoughts here – definitely an intriguing film, worth seeing for three notable performances.
16. “Only Lovers Left Alive.” I described “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night” as a “Jarmusch-esque” vampire flick without having seen Jim Jarmusch’s own vampire flick. I suppose I have to find out which is more Jarmusch-esque: the actual Jarmusch or the homage? In any event, Eve Tushnet’s always-worthwhile thoughts can be found here.
17. “Two Days, One Night.” I am extremely eager to see this film, largely because I read Eve Tushnet’s review.
17. “The LEGO Movie.” My thoughts on this interlocking brick system of a movie can be found here. A much, much better film than it needed to be.
17. “Snowpiercer.” This extremely stylish and idiosyncratic action-flick-cum-allegory of global inequality was far darker than I had expected. Indeed, inasmuch as it has a clear politics, those politics are almost pure anarchist rage. Far from presenting a brief for revolution, the film paints a deeply bleak and pessimistic picture of the choices before humanity in an age of scarcity driven by ecological impoverishment.
20. “Citizenfour.” Another film I need to see, but that I expect not to be enraptured by as so many have been.
So I’ve only seen 9 out of 20 of the films that comprise the aggregated “critics’ picks” list. Not a particularly impressive showing – though I expect to improve upon it substantially over the next month or so.
Meanwhile, what’s missing from this meta-list in terms of my personal faves of the year? And what else am I eager to see that I haven’t gotten to yet?
Not necessarily films that I would put on any kind of “Top 10” list, but all worth renting, are: “Frank,” “Listen Up Philip,” (reviewed here), and “The One I Love.” All extremely well-written films, and all films that would work just fine on a small screen. Films about prickly, difficult male artists (a theme of the year), and about the cold war between the sexes. And two doses of Elizabeth Moss to boot.
What am I eager to see? Apart from those mentioned above, I’d add “Wild,” “The Babadook,” “The Overnighters,” “Big Eyes,” “Leviathan,” and “A Most Violent Year,” plus (from stuff I missed from earlier in the year) “Gloria,” “Calvary,” “The Dog,” “The Blue Room,” and “Jodorowsky’s Dune.”
Everyone knows me by now as the resident movie expert, so it will come as a
surprise to many of you to learn that just four years ago I was a total
film philistine. Were it not for the devious Mr. Alan, Sophomore Honors
English and Creative Writing teacher, who forcibly transferred me into his
second-semester film class to work on a short screenplay I had written for
a final, Tim's love affair with cinema would have remained unconsummated to
In my second week at Georgetown, after the dust from New Student
Orientation and the start of classes had settled, I decided to start taking
advantage of our library's vast DVD reserves to start catching up on all
the movies Mr. Alan and others had been insisting I see. I simultaneously
started keeping a journal of every film I watched from that day out, and
before long I was in the grips of mankind's primal cataloguing urge,
searching out films both near and far, old and new to fill my lazy hours.
My Georgetown education happened in a number of places, the classroom being
only one of them. In honor of the 300 or so films I devoured throughout my
collegiate years, I've picked out 50 pivotal films that will forever define
my time here. Some of these movies are good, others atrocious; quality is
not the primary criterion for selection so much as capacity for creating
fond memories. I deliberately limited myself to movies I watched during the
academic calendar year, so while vacation hits like Margaret, Mysteries of
Lisbon, Rosetta, and Laurence Anyways (to name a few) made their own
indelible marks on my impressionable psyche, this is not the space to speak
of those. Part of what makes a moviegoing experience memorable for me is
the company I share it with; as you'll see with most of these selections,
it's the people you freak out with while leaving the theater who make the
Skip Rotten Tomatoes, they’re biased SJWs too afraid to criticize things like the Ghost Busters reboot. Avoid giving them ad revenue by using the minimalist alternative, Cinesift, for a quick aggregate:
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