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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Best films of the year


    1- Film4
    2- Wind Dancer Productions
    3- Andrew Lauren Productions (ALP)
    4- Annapurna Pictures
    5- IM Global
    6- Warner Bros.

    The school year has come and gone, and most of us now find ourselves in the thick of finals. If you happen to be out of the movie loop and are looking for a study break (or five), here are some films you should check out.

    ‘Her’ (Jan. 10) — A love story that is truly for the 21st century. Every bit as deserving of its nomination for Best Picture as its win for Best Original Screenplay at this year’s Academy Awards, “Her” is the love story of a man and his operating system. Director and screenwriter Spike Jonze constructed a Los Angeles that feels futuristic but not outlandish. It feels like we could be living in the society he presented on screen in the next 30 or 40 years. Joaquin Phoenix is phenomenal as Theodore Twombly, largely having no other actor physically on screen with him, but rather having to act with the disembodied voice of Samantha, his operating system girlfriend. Scarlett Johansson delivers evocative voice work, transforming Samantha into an actual presence in the film.

    ‘The LEGO Movie’ (Feb. 7) — If you were to tell me before seeing this movie that I would thoroughly enjoy it and that it would be one of the most entertaining films I’ve seen all year, I would also have figured that you had beachfront property in Flagstaff, Ariz. The old adage “fun for all ages” has never been truer in the case of “The LEGO Movie.” There is humor delivered by an all-star voice cast with Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson and Elizabeth Banks, for the young, the old and everyone in between. This is a movie not afraid to break the fourth wall and not take itself too seriously.

    ‘The Wind Rises’ (Feb. 21) — Though famed director Hayao Miyazaki (the man behind “Spirited Away” and “My Neighbor Totoro”) claimed that this would be his last film at the director’s helm, he’s made that statement before, and gone back on it each and every time. However Miyazaki chooses to go about his career, there’s no denying that “The Wind Rises” would be a fitting swan song. Substituting the more fantastical elements of Miyazaki’s previous classics for a narrative grounded more in realism. The film chronicles the heavily fictionalized life of Jiro Horikoshi, the Japanese engineer who would design the infamous Zero plane of World War II. With a volatile Japan as much a character as a backdrop, “The Wind Rises” is the bittersweet tale of a man whose well-intentioned dreams were engulfed in the flames of war.

    ‘The Spectacular Now’ (August 2013) — Those of you graduating are probably experiencing some of the same unsure thoughts and feelings as high school seniors Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) and Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley). Your senior year is the year when you are still in school, traipsing the halls as you go to class, seeing everything through a haze of nostalgia as you simultaneously look to what’s ahead. The unlikely couple of underachieving Keely and unassuming Finecky tackle their personal demons. They face an uncertain future with one another against the backdrop of a pastoral senior year, somewhere unbeknownst to us in the Midwest. One of the most honest films about youth.

    ‘Locke’ (Opens May 16 at The Loft) — Squeezing in as the last film reviewed for the semester, “Locke” has an interesting narrative conceit. The entire film, sans the first 30 thirty seconds, takes place in a car. Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is driving away from his home, in the middle of the night, on a motorway in London. Why he is doing this, and the consequences of his actions, are revealed all through a series of phone conversations that Locke fields from his car. Both Hardy’s singular performance and director/ screenwriter Steven Knight’s script carry this film dialogue-heavy film, turning it into the most enthralling character study of the year.

    Honorable Mentions:
    -“The Great Beauty”
    -“The Raid 2”
    -“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

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