A Lars List

Best Films of 2014

1  Birdman   Easily one of the most unique films in years. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s innovative concept brilliant – a love note to all artists. Keaton wins Oscar, as does the film. 2  Boyhood   Amazing accomplishment by a director who has stayed true to his storytelling sensibilities. Linklater wins Oscar. 3  Foxcatcher  Hypnotic, haunting, and heartbreaking. … Continue reading

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NOPE – Every so often I find myself going totally against the grain on a film garnering universal applause. Whiplash is my new The Departed. To make me sit through either of those two films again would be cruel and unusual punishment. So please don’t. At least, unlike Martin Scorsese’s obnoxious cash-grab The Departed (2006), Whiplash does not stand a snowball’s … Continue reading

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Boyhood one for the ages

INSPIRED – Kids are smart. And funny. And interesting. After watching director Richard Linklater’s ambitiously brilliant Boyhood last night, my youngest son (16) said “That was the ultimate ‘coming of age’ film.” Kids are smart. Independent filmmaker deluxe Linklater has always known this. All the way back to Dazed and Confused (1993), through his most commercial hit to date, School of … Continue reading

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Witherspoon tries, but Wild wanders off

NOPE – Somewhere in Cheryl Strayed’s biography is most likely a powerful movie. But Wild is not it. Blame it on Nick Hornby’s script, the casting, possibly the direction of Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club) and/or subsequent editing…but the emotional peaks and valleys of our heroin’s hike through the desert never really land the way they should. Always … Continue reading

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Painful lessons in Foxcatcher

YEP YEP – Foxcatcher creeps along…slowly…foreshadowing doom at every turn, fueled by a mesmerizing performance from usual funny man Steve Carell Director Bennett Miller has given us three exceptional films: Capote, Moneyball, and now Foxcatcher. All three based on true stories. We see early in the picture that not only does Olympic gold medal winning wrestler Mark Schultz live in … Continue reading

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Unbroken unable to hit full stride

YEP YEP – This is less about criticizing the film, Unbroken, than it is a commentary on just how captivating and memorable Laura Hillenbrand’s book, Unbroken, was to read. Most films fall short of matching the impact of their source material. Life of Pi aside, we have come to expect and endure disappointment. But Hillenbrand’s Unbroken is other level stuff. It’s a real life … Continue reading