Film & TV

Golden Globes Countdown: 2014 Was a Great Year for Film

Forrest Hartman

As we march into the new year and prepare ourselves for upcoming awards shows, it’s appropriate to reflect on the best movies of 2014. As usual, the year produced sure bets from well-known auteurs and a strong crop of art-house darlings, but we also had terrific pictures emerge from the much-derided cinematic mainstream. In fact, a number of blockbusters cracked my top 10 list.

‘Boyhood,’ ‘Get On Up’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Look beyond the production hype, the five Golden Globe nominations and the appearances on numerous top-10 film lists, and one finds an intimate relationship drama that follows a boy and girl from childhood to young adulthood. The primary focus is on Mason (Ellar Coltrane), but the movie also looks at the most important people in Mason’s life. They include his sister, Samantha (Lerelei Linklater, the director’s daughter); their mother, Olivia (Patricia Arquette); and his father, Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke). 

‘The Equalizer,’ ‘Tusk’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

There’s nothing inventive about director Antoine Fuqua’s big-screen adaptation of the 1980s TV drama “The Equalizer,” but it is plenty entertaining. Most of the credit goes to Denzel Washington, an actor who can take any role to unexpected heights. In “The Equalizer,” he plays Robert McCall, a former special-forces officer who has retired to a quiet life working at a retail store. 

A Certain Type of Girl: A Portrait of Fictional Female Villains

Megan Walsh

Villainous women have existed in fiction for as long as there's been fiction, though they often fall into types: mean girls, evil queens, harping wives, revenging mistresses. Often, they all share one quality: they are unsympathetic. This is not a sweeping statement across the board, of course, and characters intended to be unsympathetic can be read sympathetically by certain audiences. However, female characters of questionable morality are not always granted the automatic sympathy of a lot of their male counterparts. Men can be antiheroes; women often aren't allowed that luxury. 

‘Pride,’ ‘The Good Lie’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Canadian director Philippe Falardeau’s feature film about the Lost Boys of Sudan is a predictable yet thoroughly enjoyable tale about perseverance, love and humanity’s odd bilateral nature. The movie starts in Sudan where a number of youth are displaced after their parents are murdered during the second Sudanese civil war. Alone and desperate to survive, they begin a long and dangerous march to Kenya. 

‘Magic in the Moonlight,’ ‘This Is Where I Leave You’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Bateman, Fey, Fonda and Rose Byrne (in a supporting role) give the film energy and star power, and their lesser-known co-stars are just as solid. The primary failing of “This Is Where I Leave You” is the fact that there’s so much going on. While all families have drama, Levy’s film piles one unlikely scenario atop another until viewers are left with a teetering monster that strains all credibility. Viewers who can suspend disbelief and enjoy the craziness will have a good time, but those expecting subtlety will be disappointed.  

New Film Celebrates the Life of Altina, the Woman Behind the Harlequin Glasses

Sandra Bertrand

Altina, a film by Peter Sanders, is a documentary valentine to his artist grandmother.  It may not solve the riddle about the woman behind the cat’s eye frames she invented, but it’s a lively enough pastiche of the turbulent 20th century she inhabited.  Through newsreels, archival home videos and close-up glimpses from some of the people whose lives she touched, we can enjoy the journey.  

‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ ‘Calvary’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Although “Guardians” is a Marvel Comics property, it lacks the name recognition of staple heroes, like “Spider-Man,” “Iron Man” and “Captain America.” It also relegates its most marketable stars (Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel) to roles where their faces are hidden. Ultimately, the perceived marketing issues don’t matter because the movie – a wild mix of comedy and science-fiction – is a blast, and theatrical audiences figured that out right away. 

Is Internet Addiction Ruining Our Lives? New Documentary Makes a Strong Case

Gabriella Tutino

InRealLife is both a cautionary tale and a disturbing peek behind-the-curtain into the affected lives of Internet users. While it is a little bit hyped up on the negatives of the network, it’s also good to remember that the situations presented in the film can be extreme, and that there are those who can disconnect and use the Web in moderation. InRealLife is provocative and brings up good points about the perils of Internet addiction.

‘The Hundred-Foot Journey,’ ‘Planet of the Apes’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Director Matt Reeves takes over for “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” a sequel that maintains the themes of the original while placing a greater focus on action and spectacle. That type of shift has the potential to doom a franchise, but Reeves’ work is so good that he takes the series to new heights. “Dawn” is more exciting and action-packed than it’s predecessor, but it’s also exceedingly smart, and it features an Oscar-worthy, motion-capture performance by Andy Serkis. 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Film & TV