Movie Review: A Most Violent Year

A Most Violent Year

A timely, stylish, and thought-provoking film that attempts to be more than a Godfather retread.  It mostly succeeds.  The heating oil business is a lot like the mafia.  A Most Violent Year would like you to believe that, similar to the mafia, you have to be ruthless and corrupt to get ahead in legitimate business.  The film takes place in New York City, 1981.  A year that has gone on record as the most violent year in New York City.  There’s a feeling of nostalgia that permeates the film.  Not just it being a period film, but the story as well.  Business transactions are done in shadowy rooms, “business” is a dirty word, and there’s a meeting of the dons.  Like Michael Corleone, Abel Morales (Oscar Issac) is trying to grow his business legitimately, but is being thwarted by forces inside and outside his family. Read More…

Also, new reviews this week: Dumplings and This Is Where I Leave You.

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Movie Review: Get On Up

Get On Up (2014)

dir. Tate Taylor

This messy and occasionally inventive biopic stars Chadwick Boseman as “the godfather of soul” James Brown.  The film has strong supporting performances by Nelsan Ellis, Viola Davis, and Dan Aykroyd.  Although it attempts to do something new in the genre, it mostly sticks to rote generic beats.

full review

Getting by in LaLa Land: Film Noirs set in Los Angeles

creative commons

creative commons

As seen in the movies, its most famous export, Los Angeles is the place where dreams go to die.  In contrast to the tough but aspirational New York City, Los Angeles is deadly and cynical.  It’s a city where the picturesque exteriors and the schemers within them make it the perfect location for film noirs.  Inspired by Michael Mann’s intense Collateral, I look at the Top 5 L.A. Noirs.  The movies on this list feature conflicts between dreamers and schemers, desperate fame seekers, and smoggy skylines.

New Movies

The Babadook (2014)

dir. Jennifer Kent

I tried to ignore the hype.  The Babadook has been hailed as the scariest movie of the year, one of the scariest movies of all time, yada, yada, yada.  My take is that The Babadook, a story about a supernatural boogeyman that terrorizes a mother and her son, is the scariest movie of 2014.  It blurs the psychological and supernatural horror elements effectively.

full article

Midwinter Blahs

When it comes to movies, January sucks. The post-holiday hangover and lack of new major releases can make the winter feel endless. However, now is the perfect time to play catch-up with theatrical releases now streaming or on DVD. It’s also the perfect time to catch-up T.V. Hope you enjoy what’s Waiting In The Queue this month.