Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lester's Top Films - 2013

Lester’s Films 2013

1. “American Hustle”
2. “Gravity”         
3. “Mud”  
4 “12 Years A Slave”        
5. “The Hunt”  
6. “Nebraska”
7. “The Place Beyond The Pines”
8. “Philomena”
9. “All Is Lost"
10. “Captain Phillips”
11. The Dallas Buyers Club
12. Blue is the Warmest Color
13. Lee Daniels The Butler - Drama.
14. Saving Mr. Banks
15. Star Trek – Into Darkness  
16. The Spectacular Now
17. Shadow Dancer
18. The Past
19. The Counselor
20. Enough Said
21. Short Term 12 
22. Frozen
23. In A World
24. Fruitvale Station
25. Blackfish 
26. NO
27. The Wolf of Wall Street
28. Lone Survivor
29. Out of the Furnace
30. Prisoners
31. World War Z
32. Blue Jasmine
33. The Book Thief
34. Elysium
35. The East  
36. 42 
37. The Heat
38. Side Effect
39. Warm Bodies
40. Her
41. Murph: The Protector
42. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
43. The Best Man Holiday
44. Rush
45. Don Jon ulianne Moore
46. August: Osage County
47. 2 Guns
48. This Is The End
49. Spring Breakers
50. Riddick
51. Stoker
52. Inside Llewyn Davis
53. Disconnect   
54. The Bling Ring  
55. Kon -Tiki
56. Anchorman 2 – The Legend Continues  
57. The Way, Way Back
58. Much A Do About Nothing 
59. Thor: The Dark World  
60. Mandela – Long Walk Towards Freedom
61. The Fifth Estate
62. The Iceman  
63. Lovelace
64. Snitch  
65. Jack The Giant Slayer
66. What Maisie Knew
67. Frances Ha  
68. Stand Up Guys
69. Oblivion   
70. Quartet  
71. The Sapphires
72. The Gangster Squad
73. Iron Man 3
74. The Secret Life of  Walter Mitty  
75. Escape Plan
76. Closed Circuit
77. Man of Steel
78. The Great Gatsby
79. Pain and Gain
80. The Company You Keep
81. Fast and Furious 6
82. Olympus Has Fallen
83. Dead Man Down  
84. The Last Stand
85. The Hangover III
86. The Worlds End
87. Now You See Me
88. The Reluctant Fundamentalist
89. Emperor
90. Trance
91. Oz the Great and Powerful
92. The Internship
93. The Last Days on Mars  
94. The Lone Ranger
95. Oldboy  


Friday, January 10, 2014

Lone Survivor - Review

Lone Survivor - Review

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster and Eric Bana “Lone Survivor” is an amazing, brutal and extremely realistic true accounting of the firefight of 4 brave Navy Seals in Afghanistan on their ill-fated mission to kill a Taliban Warlord. 

The Direction by Peter Berg gives the viewers an almost minute by minute intimate, horrifying and visually exhausting experience of what they endured being isolated in rugged and desolate terrain, being out gunned and out manned, but nevertheless the value of their premium training to survive by fighting their aggressors with superior effectiveness in spite of their numerical disadvantages and low odds.

Without going into details of what happened given that this is true story, for me what was sorely missing in this film was there was not enough back story as to who these brave men were besides some deliberately pushed in idle conversations about a pending wedding, some male bonding hazing and some discussion about horses. Another 30 minutes by Director Berg to thrash out some personal details as to how a collection of strangers can come together as brothers under the banner as members of the United States Military would have given this story and these men the greater weight to their sacrifices in life and in death. This same structural issue for me also applies to some of the personal back stories of certain key Afghanistan tribal men (both good and bad).  I believe this too would of overall helped round out this film execution as well.

Still, for me Lone Survivor jumps off the screen with raw unrelenting action for virtually all of its 121 minute running time with a purpose of telling and showing its audience what heroism, valor and bravery really looks like and in that regard the film accomplished its mission very, very well.

3 - 1/2 stars

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Top Potential Films For 2014

57 For 2014That’s the total number of films I researched that I think will be from generally entertaining to all the way at being dramatic and thought provoking for 2014.

Upon reading their various plots and seeing a few advance trailers, I believe this is a pretty solid list of films that have the potential to do well and or being on several short lists as the best films for 2014. 

Those you see highlighted in “BLUE” I have a high threshold of interest.

The 10 highlighted in Red are on my must see list for 2014.

1.    "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" (Jan. 17)
2.    "The Monuments Men" (Feb. 7) - George Clooney's erstwhile Oscar contender was moved to 2014 to avoid the crunch of year-end 2013 releases. (It still looks great despite the date change.) Matt Damon, Bill Murray and Cate Blanchett all co-star.
3.    "RoboCop" (Feb. 14)
4.    "Non-Stop" (Feb. 28) -Liam Neeson in a suspense thriller played out at 40,000 feet in the air during a transatlantic flight from New York City to London.
5.    "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (March 7) - Wes Anderson's new film includes the usual coterie of Anderson regulars (Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Harvey Keitel, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson) and newcomers like Saoirse Ronan and Ralph Fiennes. "What happened, my dear Zero, is I beat the living shit out of a sniveling little runt called Pinky Bandinski." Where do we check in?
6.    "300: Rise of an Empire" (March 7) - This. Is. Sparta. Again.
7.    "Veronica Mars" (March 14)
8.    "Bad Words" (March 14) - Jason Bateman directs subversive comedy as Guy Trilby, a 40-year-old who finds a loophole in the rules of The Golden Quill national spelling bee and decides to cause trouble by hijacking the competition.
9.    "Grace of Monaco" (March 14)
10.  "Divergent" (March 21)
11.  "Muppets Most Wanted" (March 21)
12.  "Stretch" (March 21)
13.  "Nymphomaniac Part 1" (March 21) - is the story of a girl named Joe a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who is discovered badly beaten in an alley by an older bachelor, Seligman who takes her into his home. Stars Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Connie Nielsen and Udo Kier.
14.  "Noah" (March 28) - Biblical epic about Noah, of Noah's Ark fame.
15.  "Breathe In" (March 28)
16.  "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (April 4)
17.  "Dom Hemingway" (April 4)
18.  "Under The Skin" TBD
19.  "Draft Day" (April 11)
20.  "Sabotage" (April 11)
21.  "St. Vincent De Van Nuys" (April 11)
22.  "Transcendence" (April 18)
23.  "Only Lovers Left Alive" (April 11)
24.  "The Other Woman" (April 25)
25.  "Locke" (April 25)
26.  "Chef" (May 9)
27.  "Godzilla" (May 16)
28.  "Million Dollar Arm" (May 16)
29.  "Maleficent" (May 30) - Angelina Jolie plays the evil queen in this new take on Disney's "Sleeping Beauty."
30.  "A Million Ways To Die In The West" (May 30)
31.  "Edge of Tomorrow" (June 6)
32.  "The Fault in Our Stars" (June 6)
33.  "Jersey Boys" (June 20) - Clint Eastwood directs this adaptation of the hit Broadway musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
34.  "Tammy" (July 2)
35.  "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" (July 11)
36.  "Jupiter Ascending" (July 18)
37.  "Hercules" (July 25)
38.  "Get On Up" (Aug. 1) - Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson in "42," stars as Soul Singer James Brown in Tate Taylor's ("The Help") new film.
39.  "Sex Tape" (Aug. 1)
40.  “Lucy" (Aug. 8) - The plot summary for Luc Besson's "Lucy," as written by THR: "a woman is forced to become a drug mule, but the drug instead goes into her system, transforming her into an ass-kicking machine. She can absorb knowledge instantaneously, is able to move objects with her mind and can't feel pain and other discomforts." Scarlett Johansson plays Lucy.
41.  "Sin City: A Dame To Kill For" (Aug. 22)
42.  "Jane Got A Gun" (Aug. 29)
43.  "The Equalizer" (Sept. 26) - Denzel Washington reunites with "Training Day" director Antoine Fuqua for "The Equalizer," a reboot of the popular '80s television series.
44.  "This Is Where I Leave You" (Sept. 12)
45.  "Gone Girl" (Oct. 3) - David Fincher's follow-up to "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" is another novel adaptation: "Gone Girl," Gillian Flynn's mystery thriller. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike star, with Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry in supporting roles.
46.  "Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" (Oct. 10)
47.  "The Judge" (Oct. 10) - Free from Iron Man for the moment, Robert Downey Jr. stars as a man who returns to his hometown for his mother's funeral and then finds out that his estranged father has been arrested for murder. Robert Duvall, Billy Bob Thornton, Melissa Leo and Leighton Meester co-star.
48.  "Interstellar" (Nov. 7) - Christopher Nolan's first film since "The Dark Knight Rises" is a sci-fi epic starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway and many others. The trailer elicits goosebumps with the smallest of details. Imagine what the finished film might do.
49.  "Untitled Brad Pitt WWII Movie" (Nov. 14) - Formerly titled "Fury," this film stars Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal, Michael Pena and a tank and the invasion of Iraq
50.  "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" (Nov. 21)
51.  "Exodus" (Dec. 12) - Not to be outdone by Darren Aronfosky's "Noah," here's Ridley Scott's "Exodus," with Christian Bale as Moses.
52.  "Annie" (Dec. 19) -
53.  "Into The Woods" (Dec. 25) - Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt and more star in this adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's hit musical.
54.  "Unbroken" (Dec. 25) - Angelina Jolie directs this true account of Olympian Louis Zamperini, who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II.
55.  "Magic In The Moonlight" (TBD) - Woody Allen's annual film stars Colin Firth, Emma Stone and Emma Stone's cute hat.
56.  "Foxcatcher" (TBD) - Bennett Miller's presumed 2013 Oscar contender became a presumed 2014 Oscar contender when Sony Pictures Classics moved the film off its original December release date. Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo all star.
57.  "Inherent Vice" (TBD - Paul Thomas Anderson adapts Thomas Pynchon's 2009 novel about a stoner detective. Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Jena Malone, Maya Rudolph and many more all-stars.