Here’s an interesting movie website, Paste Magazine, pastemagazine.com. It provides helpful “best of” lists, including the usual–best movies of 2014–but also the unusual–for example, the 25 best movies to watch on HBO, the best 50 movies (by genre) to watch on Netflix, new movies in theaters and streaming each month.
Paste’s critics sift their reviews through the careers and vision of the directors, resulting in interesting reviews and great writing. Here are two such reviews, great writing in red:
A Most Dangerous Year
Synopsis: it takes place during what is said to be “the most crime ridden” year of NYC’s history and is about The Morales’, an immigrant family that is trying to succeed in the fuel-delivery biz. The husband, played by Oscar Isaac, wants to keep it all on the up and up. But it can be hard to do when your wife (Jessica Chastain) cooks the books and your competition is as corrupt as fits the times.
Movie’s writer/director: J.C. Chandor
Review by Norm Shrager
Spoilers Skimmable? Yes, but skim you must.
Bottom Line: 6.9.
About Chandor: He’s on the “brink of cinematic mastery.”
“If potential were the dominant currency in Hollywood, J.C. Chandor would be the richest guy in the industry.”
What a great line!
It gets better:
“Like Chandor’s previous films, A Most Violent Year aspires to be a classic and often has the requisite elements. But it lacks the cohesion and maturation to live up to those aspirations. A Most Violent Year plays out more like an exercise in ambition.”
Chandor’s previous films: Margin Call and All is Lost
Shrager observes that Chandor is a good storyteller and he writes well to lead actor Oscar Isaac’s strengths, but Jessica Chastain overacts: “Chastain goes for Lady Macbeth by way of the Bronx, and the tone rarely works.”
Synopsis: Martin Luther King and the three-month freedom march from to Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, that culminated in the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, giving Blacks the right to vote.
Movie’s Writer/Director: Ava DuVernay
Skimmable? Sure is, but skim you must.
Bottom Line: 9.4
DuVernay has chosen her moment and done it due justice.
She respects her audience and trusts that “we are at least passingly familiar with the events and the era she recreates in her film.”
Not the usual big-movie-Oscar-bait biopic: Instead it “remains focused….and the results sing.”
Integral supporting cast: “That’s simply reality at play—King has become an avatar for the Civil Rights Movement, but he wasn’t the movement himself.”
Immediate Relevance: DuVernay reminds us that racism isn’t some vestigial leftover from a receding past….[It’s] a timely call for harmony in a year marked by racial unrest. (That the film should feel so relevant even today is frustrating.)
This site has some quality writers.