DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: December 2013

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Best of 2013

As always I tend to worry most about what films I leave off this list. I remarked yesterday about the vast number of quality films to see right now in the theatres at the end of this year. In particular American Hustle which somehow just doesn't make this list. Same with Peter Berg's Lone Survivor which is terrific but hasn't been released yet theatrically. Sadly this stayed off the list. The Sundance films this year were terrific, with Upstream Color finding its way onto this list. I wish there were room for the absorbing Before Midnight, or Fruitvale Station or The Spectacular Now. Two films I questioned most were Stoker and The Place Beyond the Pines both released earlier in the Spring. Stoker may not hold up to future viewings as say, Before Midnight but it remains on this list for it's surprisingly gleeful impact it had me when I saw it in the cinema for the first time. And the best moments of The Place Beyond the Pines far outweighs its narrative failings.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

The Wolf of Wall Street

What a pleasure to see at age 70 Martin Scorsese, into the latter stage of his career, deliver one more sprawling crime picture, in this case a film which acts like a capper to a trilogy including Goodfellas and Casino, three pictures connected by the director's blistering cinematic pace, it's fascinating viewpoint into three segments of high stakes crime and corruption and it's sympathetic portrait of three contemptible characters. Once again Scorsese succeeds.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Inside Llewyn Davis

Like the unflashy 'Fargo' the greatness of 'Inside Llewyn Davis', the Coen Bros’ story of a struggling folk singer in the 60’s, sneaks up on you, only to realize long after the picture is over you've just watched a masterpiece which you need to watch again and again.

Thursday, 19 December 2013


While the idea of a lonely man developing a genuine relationship with a Siri-like talking Operating System, is the stuff of high concept science fiction, Spike Jonze’s trumps the intimate character study of a heartbroken lonely man looking for love in the most unlikely of places. Once again Jonze and turned in a film so unique, original and bold, and yet remarkably accessible and identifiable to almost anyone.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Fast and Furious 6

It’s impossible to watch Fast and Furious 6, now on Blu/DVD/Digital, without the tragedy of Paul Walker’s passing in mind. The experience of cinema is often enriched by the convergence of reality and drama. Such was the case of 'The Dark Knight' when seen through the lens of Heath Ledger’s performance. Here the spirit of Paul Walker shines through onto this cock-swaggering franchise, in particular this episode, highlighting the strange theme of family which unites all players at the end of this film.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Frances Ha

The choice of shooting black and white for this picture is key to its warm feelings of cinematic nostalgia and the seemingly effortless naturalism. There’s an instant timeless quality to Frances Ha, recalling the works of Woody Allen (Manhattan), Jim Jarmusch (Stranger Than Paradise), Francios Truffaut and other New Wavers. Perfectly in sync with Boambach’s freeform style is the grand presence of Greta Gerwig whose lively personality is the raison d’etre for this picture. And recalling Diane Keaton’s performance in Annie Hall, we should expect Greta Gerwig to have similar award accolades during award season.

Friday, 6 December 2013

The Hunt for Red October

In the era of the great Hollywood thrillers (the 90’s) this first Tom Clancy novel out of the gate is a superlative franchise vehicle. Clancy’s sprawling narrative is executed with precision with John McTiernan’s superb directorial flare, and remains one of the best Cold War era spy thrillers.

Pain and Gain

An obscene crime comedy of Michael Bay-sized proportions. This is as rude and crude as any film Bay has ever made, and while it didn't see the box office success of his other films, years from now when his career is said and done this could probably wind up being the definitive film of his douche aesthetic.