Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End of 2013

My top films of the year - not that I've seen many…I’m actually completely out of touch.

I wonder – did I used to watch that many films? Because now, like this year, I just keep watching less and less. It’s just strange. So I need to point out that I haven’t seen most of the top films of the year, even including documentaries.

I base this list, not necessarily in preferable order, it depends on the days really – on emotion, of feeling like its special, complexity and simplicity, effort, matter. Mostly I just love them and I think they’re great and not a waste of time. As usual, many of the films are from 2012.

Favorite Films of the Year

Before Midnight
Like I thought as the film progressed, just how perfect it is and the perfect revolves around every aspect related to a film. The craft, the quality and accomplishment behind the storytelling of Before Midnight, it is as real as it can be. It’s extraordinary, it’s essential.

The Broken Circle Breakdown
It’s a beautiful film.
It is purely heart breaking.
Gorgeous, beautifully shot, strong performances and it tells us love isn’t strong enough to overcome tragedy, or just becomes tragedy itself really.

Frances Ha
This film’s simple and utterly felt honesty, authenticity, and realism amaze me.

Stories We Tell
It’s simply exceptional.

Child’s Pose
This film’s life authenticity and its successful portrait amaze me.
The director imitated life so accurately, the drama is so tremendously well written and acted, it’s pretty astonishing. I identified with the film so much and I think many people could.
I believe it wouldn’t be the same without the lead performance by Luminita Gheorghiu.

Our Children
This film is a powerful and terrifying portrait about humans.
Is it horrifying? No, just really hard. This film is hard to watch, hard to understand and hard to accept human beings. This is the film that hunts you for days. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I kept rewinding in my mind.
The film is about a young woman – she falls in love, she marries, she suddenly sees herself with four babies and huge, acute depression. This is the story of a young mother who kills her four children.
Belgium Émilie Dequenne shines.

Rust and Bone
Brilliant film. Perfect film. I wish I had the talent to write something like this one day.

I am not a Hipster
Again, a film amazes me when it rings honest and heartfelt. It is also pretty amazing these days when you see a film you have no idea what is it about, and genuinely surprises you for good reasons.

Life is series of good and bad timings. This is how I should start when it comes to describing this great entertaining film. It’s a tight, intelligent and rewarding piece of filmmaking.

This is one of the most entertaining gems for me this year. I had to watch it more than once at the theaters. It’s so thrilling and irresistible. Great story, great drama.

I praise this film for its uniqueness, passion, and beauty. It’s a look at the Second World War we don’t often see, and there are plenty of stories to know out there. It’s not an easy film and it’s not for everyone but it is absolutely worth it.

Documentary Mentions

Stories We Tell

Here's what I wrote about it.

Mea Maxima Culpa – Silence in the House of God

The Crash Reel
Exhilarating, poignant, heartfelt, honest and fascinating. And awesome.

“I don’t give a shit what people think. I know what’s real, I don’t care people don’t think feminism is important because I know it is […] and other people can think whatever they want, my problem is when people get in the way of feminism, when people get in the way of people w ho are sick getting better, because they don’t understand it and if they don’t wanna believe it and they don’t care about it, that’s totally fine, but they should have to stay out of my way.”
The Punk Singer
Kathleen Hanna is the star, it’s her life, and it’s her doc. And this punk feminist just makes you rebel, she really makes you want to be a feminist. It becomes heartwarming, intimate and honest.

Valentine Road
Weeping story of a fourteen year old student called Larry king, who was brutally murdered with a gun at close range by his classmate.
What makes this documentary so good and important it’s because it is utterly revealing. The director is able to expose the both sides of this event, and ultimately exposing the great wrongs and misshapes and brutally obnoxious human being’s acts and beliefs – their scary ignorance, misleading and dangerous values. It makes you think like nothing progressed at all in society.
It wasn’t a hate crime? I ask. Then what was it?
Many citizens wanted the teenage murderer to be released with a minimum punishment and I don’t understand how can’t they realize they are saying with all the words that it is ok to take a gun and kill your classmate, if he’s bothering you?
Watching this doc is sometimes like watching a horror film, there’s nothing like witnessing some people’s scary ignorance and retarded and misleading society standards.

Call Me Kuchu
Bravery, in and out of it brave.

Watching this doc about a worldwide beloved American band called 30 Second To Mars made me quite emotional. I think it was the fact that we’re all in this same road, of how no one is more than any other, how unfair the world is and that we will have to fight against it constantly. It is the usual ‘life is unfair’.
Jared Leto is the brain behind Artifact, there’s this slight creative cockiness, but it is understandably part of his artsy persona and his creative process. Like many of us, he feels things quite intensely and he wants to reach for something special and meaningful.
I remember when I started listening the band, around 2004, I don’t listen them anymore; I really like their first songs, like Echelon.

Indie Love
Upstream Color
For the uncommon experience. Not that I understood much.

Favorite Comedy
La Cage Dorée
This is one of the most authentic and realistic films from what represents – the history of Portuguese emigration in Europe, center Europe, France. But then I think it can be easily identifiable as about immigration in general.
I shouldn’t say accurate, but really, it brings out these essential characteristics of the Portuguese people through a particular family. This is the ultimate portrait of a Portuguese immigrant family in France and possibly the rest of Europe (and possibly other continents).
There’s also a special timeliness to it, as the film comes in a time of a great Portuguese immigration tendency, where families, young couples, young adults flee the country. But today is different, maybe even more complex and definitely filled with prejudice. Today some Portuguese don’t want to be the ‘Portuguese immigrant’, the humble, the poor, the hard worker, as the film represents and they won’t even use any flags in their cars…
It is safe to say this film touched millions of people, the immigrants, the families of the immigrants, the new generation of immigrants identify with it too, cry with it but they also laugh and laugh and laugh with it. It’s such a great film.

Underrated Film (or rather unappreciated)


Favorite Gay Film
This film is about a passage in a marriage and this is the ultimate sentence that got stuck, “So I belong to you and you don’t want me.” Isn’t this like a perfect resume of the word marriage? I don’t know, I was never married.
It’s so interesting because, because this lesbian film, if one could describe, couldn’t be more the opposite of the other one, you know, Blue is the Warmest Color. It’s curious how much they differ almost in everything, except for the major theme which is desire and female sexuality. One is this European film made by men (written direction), about a young woman discovering herself, the other is an independent American film written and directed by a woman about an established married wife, mother of two, in her forties looking for something new. From the style of the filmmaking, to the length of each one, one being merely ninety minutes, the other three hours, one being a classic three act tale and the other being driven mostly by its actresses.

Other Mentions:
Stranger by the Lake
Plenty of dick to go around. Also pretty interesting ride.
Sarah Prefers to Run
When I was watching this film I was thinking of Water Lilies. They’re quite different, but I love they minimalism, their seemingless layers. I can’t wait to watch the next films from director Chloé Robichaud.

Behind the Candelabra
Disliked this film loads.

Biggest Disappointments
Saving Mr. Banks
I think this film is a simple, unquestioning, absolutely superficial and ultimately unnecessary take on an actual event.
I wouldn’t say it’s a bad film, ok maybe I should. It’s this Saturday evening family film that sounds and looks so empty and even if it wasn’t based in a true story it would still be under appreciative and shallow take on its protagonist.
At the end of the day, there this story that doesn’t really add much and it just sounds fake.
“In reality, Travers was a feisty, stereotype-breaking bisexual — a single mom who adopted a baby in her 40s, studied Zen meditation in Kyoto, and was publishing erotica about her silky underwear 10 years before Walt had sketched his mouse. Now that’s a character worth slapping on-screen, instead of this stiff British stereotype determined to steal joy from future generations of children. With her longtime girlfriend and then-adult son erased, this frigid Travers seems like she may not even know how babies are made. Maybe Mary Poppins could sing her a song about it.”

This film’s take makes everything so tasteless, colorless; even these great actresses aren’t likable in any way. I didn’t like Love Crime at all, the French film Passion is based on, it's the same story with Passion.

Two Mothers
Waste of time.

The Most Depressing Film Experience of the Year
Blue is the Warmest Color
Irrefutably Blue.
I felt as disoriented as ever, didn't know anything about anything.I still probably don't know much.

The Most Disturbing Film of the Year
Beyond the Hills.
I had a huge headache afterwards.

Teary Film of the Year
Besides the obvious Broken Circle, The Butler – the film opened with the cotton fields and I was already tearing up.

Performances of the Year
The duos:
Veerle Baetens and Jonah Heldenbergh.
Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. 

Honorable Mention
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux – I’m not sure what was this, I don’t know if the word acting applies sometimes, it’s too restrict, the one thing I know is that it was heartbreaking, sometimes confusing and often too real. But of course, too real isn’t a thing, it’s just real. And Adèle wouldn't be the same without Léa and Léa without Adèle And one doesn't exist without the other.

Female Performances
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine.
Veerle Baetens, The Broken Circle Breakdown.
Frances Ha, in Greta Gerwig.
Émilie Dequenne, Our Children.
Luminita Gheorghiu, Child’s Pose.
Julie Delpy, Before Midnight.
Amy Seimetz, Upstream Color.
Rooney Mara, Side Effects.
Megan Mullally, The Kings of Summer.

Male Performances
Jake Gyllenhaal, Prisoners - In this great cast, he stood out, I fucking loved him in here. There’s something quite non dimensional about this character that actually makes it interesting. I thought it could have been played by a woman. It would be really cool actually.
Hugh Jackman, Prisoners – He kills it as well.
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master – Yes, this is past history, he has other films now, but he should have won the Oscar for this.
Jonah Heldenbergh - The Broken Circle Breakdown. What else can I say about this film?
Daniel Bruhl, Rush – Great.
Bobby Cannavale, Blue Jasmine – He’s great.
Jude Law, Side Effects
Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight.

Worst Performance of the Year
Vin Diesel in Fast and Furious - Actually embarrassing.

Best Hair
Brad Pitt, World War Z.
Jake Gyllenhaal, Prisoners.

Hot Entrances
Virginie Efira, 20 and d'écart. 

"Excuse moi."

Chris Hemsworth

Naked Choke
Rosario Dawson, Trance.

Favorite Out of Date Documentary
Edie & Thea – A Very Long Engagement.
What a treat – watching this deeply tender and endearing story, you just want to see them, Thea and Edie, cuddling and kissing, because it is never enough is it? I don’t think so.

Favorite Out of Date Film
Café de Flore
It was as entertaining as I can ask for in a film.  I have watched a few times since.

2013 - As I said, completely out of touch.

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