Another year and another bunch of Saturday nights on the couch with a home cooked meal and a movie streaming from the intertubes via the Xbox 360. As usual, most were pretty good, but a few were exceptional. In no particular order, here are my favs:
American Sniper: I think this was the second movie I've seen with Bradly Cooper, the first being American Hustle. Wow, he's great, I'm hooked. Fantastic film based on a true story. Directed by Clint Eastwood. Highly recommended.
Boyhood: An unimaginable concept in movie-making: Take a script that covers 12 or so years and actually shoot the film over the course of 12 years. A really cool idea, and is so amazing to watch. See the actors actually age over the course of a decade. A young boy grows to age 18. A young mom reaches middle age. Interestingly, this technique begins to play tricks on you. Somewhere in the middle of the movie, you ask yourself: "Is that the same guy?". Yes, it is!
Hard Eight: Sometimes you root for a character actor to get their own starring role. With 200+ guest appearances, Philip Baker Hall finally gets his own movie. Of course you don't recognize the name, that's the deal with these guys. You only recognize their face.
He carries this Reno based gambling movie with incredible nuance. Cool velvet voice. Great performance.
This year we saw two movies starring Reese Witherspoon.
The Good Lie: You would never think that this would be a good part for her, but it's such an inspiring movie.
Wild: A perfect part for Reese Witherspoon. Follow her 1100 mile journey along the Pacific Crest Trail of California and Oregon while she comes to terms with the recent death of her mother. Not a true hiking movie actually, but great non the less.
Unbranded: A documentary about group of young cowboy-friends who ride wild & untrained mustangs from Mexico to the Canadian border. Trials, tribulations, fights, teamwork and an amazing journey of horses and riders. Fantastic photography.
Runnin' Down a Dream: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. This 4 hour documentary covers the entire span of the iconic All-American rocker. Not being a real Petty fan, I was skeptical.
But this was directed by the famous Peter Bogdanovich (What's Up, Doc?, The Last Picture Show, Mask ) and there isn't a dull moment at all. Tons of cool concert footage, behind the scenes antics - but also insightful discoveries such as how Petty changed the rules of the music industry favoring artists over record companies forever. Get ready to be reminded of how many tunes and decades Tom Petty has been delivering great rock tunes. Very enjoyable "rockumentary", but you'll never make it through in one sitting.
And here are the rest:
- Yosemite: The High Country
- Salt of the Earth
- Island of Lemurs: Madagascar
- The Fifth Element
- Yankee Doodle Dandy
- The Wrecking Crew
- Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
So, which of these have you seen? Which did you like? Any other recommendations? Leave your comment below. (Comment password is life is good)