Browsing all articles from December, 2013.

The Ten Best Movies of 2013 (and the rest)

The Ten Best Movies of 2013 (and the rest) 

     It’s a good problem to have when your first cut of the top ten movies of the year comes in at about thirty.  In 2013, the field was so dense and competition so intense, with one seemingly terrific film after another opening well throughout the second half of the year, that finding the ten […]

Continue reading...

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty 

* * 1/2 There’s a good movie somewhere in Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, but he hasn’t quite delivered it.  Based on James Thurber’s 1939 New Yorker short story and subsequent 1947 screen adaptation starring Danny Kaye, Stiller has taken a screenplay stuck in decades of Hollywood development and fashioned a glossy, […]

Continue reading...

The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street 

  * * * * Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio are at the top of their respective games with The Wolf of Wall Street, the crown jewel of American film in 2013.  At 71, Scorsese returns to glorious form with a wild ride of a movie, an unrepentant and amoral morality play—if there is such […]

Continue reading...

American Hustle

American Hustle 

* * * * A sensationally entertaining actors’ show—exactly what we expect from director David O. Russell—is the engine behind American Hustle, a smart piece of movie enjoyment so much fun to watch that it stands with Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street as a pair of bold, authoritatively directed con-men pictures delivered with […]

Continue reading...

Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis 

  * * * * The beating heart of an artist in a tailspin fuels the Coen Brothers lovely little period picture, Inside Llewyn Davis, a beautifully rendered portrait of a struggling folk guitarist, played in a star-making performance by Oscar Isaac, circa 1961 Greenwich Village. In a season full of movies about survival, Inside […]

Continue reading...

Inside Llewyn Davis’ Breakout Star Oscar Isaac on Heart of an Artist on the Skids

Inside Llewyn Davis’ Breakout Star Oscar Isaac on Heart of an Artist on the Skids 

     Not unlike his title character in Inside Llewyn Davis, the Coen Brothers’ ode to a down-on-his-luck folk guitarist in 1961 Greenwich Village struggling to make a go of it, actor Oscar Isaac has spent years doing solid supporting work in movies, looking for his big break. He got it. In his first lead role, […]

Continue reading...

12 Years a Slave Leads 2013 Chicago Film Critics Awards Nominations

12 Years a Slave Leads 2013 Chicago Film Critics Awards Nominations 

“12 Years A Slave,” Steve McQueen’s harrowing adaptation of the memoir of a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War era Deep South, clearly made an impact among members of the Chicago Film Critics Association. The highly acclaimed drama led all contenders for the group’s annual awards with […]

Continue reading...

Saving Mr. Banks

Saving Mr. Banks 

  * * * 1/2 Emma Thompson gives a performance for the ages in Saving Mr. Banks, the new picture chronicling Walt Disney’s pursuit of humorless Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, who in 1961 traveled from London to Hollywood to entertain signing away the film rights to her deeply personal story. On the surface, director […]

Continue reading...