Joaquin Phoenix

The Top Ten Movies of 2014 (so far)

by Alan Rapp on July 4, 2014

in Top Tens & Lists

The Top Ten Movies of 2014 (so far)

We’ve hit the halfway point of the year and, as has become the custom, that means it’s time to look back on the best movies of the year so far. This year’s list includes three animated films, two sequels, the return of a beloved television character, a latest (and in one case the last) from few big name directors, and a pair of small indie films topping the list of what has been a pretty damn good first-half of the year at the movies.

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Her

by Alan Rapp on January 10, 2014

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Her
  • IMDB: link

HerSet in the near future, the latest from writer/director Spike Jonze is as much about an unusual love story as an examination of ever evolving technologies which increase the very real chance at something like this occurring. When we first meet Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) he’s a miserable human being. Still not over the impending divorce of his wife (Rooney Mara), and spending every day composing letters and cards for other peoples’ loved ones, Theodore is depressed and very much alone.

His life changes when he decides to purchase a new top-of-the-line operating system which offers him the chance to begin a relationship with a woman he will never meet. Designed to evolve and change like a human being, adapting to those she comes into contact with, Samantha (voiced by an unseen Scarlett Johansson) proves to be just the breath of fresh air Theodore needs. Although there’s no chance of any sort of physical relationship (other than an awkward attempt with a surrogate), Theodore falls completely for Samantha whose love rehabilitates him.

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From A to Z – The Top Ten Movies of 2012

by Alan Rapp on December 28, 2012

in Top Tens & Lists

2012 turned out to be a pretty darn good year at the movies. There were two films which I gave perfect scores to this year, one of which the majority of the country won’t be seeing until early next year. I’m breaking my own rule of including it on the list, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Between these two films, which naturally open and close the list (as it’s presented alphabetically), are eight other films rounding out the class of 2012.

Cutting down my list to ten means I need to speak for a moment on films that barely missed the cut. John Carter was the year’s most under-appreciated film, The Cabin in the Woods turned the horror genre on its ear, Ang Lee delivered an amazing journey with Life of Pi, Wreck-It Ralph was this year’s best animated feature, Safety Not Guaranteed was a terrific little sci-fi flick almost no one saw, and Moonrise Kingdom was director Wes Anderson‘s best film since The Royal Tenenbaums.

Enough with what didn’t make the list, let’s get down to discussing what did:

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  • Title: The Master
  • IMDB: link

the-master-posterIt’s only September, but it’s quite possible the latest film from writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson may be the best collection of acting seen in theaters this year. The Master, inspired (in part) by L. Ron Hubbard and the rise of Scientology, is a terrifically produced look into the life of a disturbed young man and his relationship with the leader of a cult.

The film is less concerned about the specific inner workings of a cult than what kind of life it’s leader might live and how he might react to those around him and those in need of his help.

When we meet Naval Officer Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) in the final days of WWII it’s obvious there’s something very wrong with the man whose violent and blunt interactions with everyone he meets fail to earn him friends. After the war, Freddie travels around the country in various jobs, including a department store photographer and field hand – both of which he’s forcibly removed from due to his poor judgement.

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