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10 More Movies You Should Watch
The Wolf of Wall Street
Leonardo DiCaprio was another victim of the Academy's discrimination against actors in non socially significant roles. I exaggerate, but what a loaded category for best actor in 2013, Bale, DiCaprio, and McConaughey, seemingly could have shared the award as they all turned in career best performances. Leo was amazing as Wall Street criminal Jordan Belfort, aside Jonah Hill in this based on a true story master piece. The 1980's were a decade of wealth and excess like never before, and Jordan Belfort was the poster boy. Catch Leo high on Quaaludes, knee deep in hookers and models, and throwing around cash like it was confetti. The story behind the film is actually a bit sad as many people were swindled out of their life savings in stock scams by Belfort's boiler room type firm. Hill also nominated and bested for his role, was absolutely brilliant as Leo's partner in crime. The movie was a little long, three hours in total, but when you have that much story to tell I say its worth every minute. Matthew McConaughey, not to be lost in the fray also had a small but dynamic role leaving the viewer with a chest bumping humming theme to grind to if you can imagine it. Excess, excess, and more sex, and more drugs, and money, and yachts, and booze combined with great acting and a real life script to follow puts this movie on any short list of must see movies.
Nominated for several Oscars in 2013, American Hustle was definitely one of the year's best films. The cast could not have been better featuring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Amy Adams all nominated for an Academy Award. The story was creative and original with Bradley Cooper as an FBI agent using Bale and Adams to try and catch big time gangster, who else, Robert DeNiro. Lawrence and Adams square off as wife and mistress for the attentions of Bale the career hustler. Set in the late 1970's, American Hustle cashed in on set and costume design to really set the scene for the movie. The movie boasts a great script that makes the most of the fabulous cast and story. This is one you may want to watch a second time just to catch all of the subtle details that lead up to the twists and turns in the final couple of minutes. Bale really stood out in this role and it was nice to see him in a great acting role after suffering through his voice changing antics in the otherwise enjoyable Dark Knight series. Jeremy Renner played a crooked mayor on the take in the film, and his performance was grossly under rated. Renner has not really stood out in many films other than The Hurt Locker, but this performance was fantastic as he absolutely seemed to graduate into an acting role if you will, from his normal repertoire of cheesy action flicks. Overall American Hustle was destined to succeed, and despite not winning any of the ten Academy Awards it was nominated for, it should be high on your list. Unfortunately when a fun film is up against movies that deal with controversial social issues such as slavery and AIDS, it doesn't stand a chance with the Academy who predictably gave the awards to 12 Years A Slave and Dallas Buyer's Club. Not to worry this flick is an absolute gem and should become a classic.
Dallas Buyer's Club
Ok let's talk about the fantastic film that took home a ton of awards including the elusive best actor as Matthew McConaughey was absolutely brilliant and deserving for his role as AIDs patient Ron Woodruff. Jared Leto matched McConaughey's acting with an Oscar of his own for his supporting role. This biographical film follows the struggles of AIDs patients waiting on FDA approval for drugs that may or may not even help their situation. Meanwhile Woodruff was not about to wait and die in the process as he found other treatments in Mexico and Japan and brought the drugs back to Dallas to share with other patients while making a profit. The story follows Woodruff as he battled the FDA in a fight for his life and the lives of so many others who had the same disease but were actually very different from himself. At the time AIDS was largely confined to the homosexual community so Woodruff was a bit of a pioneer as a straight man with the disease in a time that was not very tolerant of such a lifestyle. Woodruff took on the government, ignorance, and a life crippling disease all the while holding on to a sense of pride that only McConaughey could pull off. McConaughey lost a ton of weight to take on a wasted away appearance and is almost unrecognizable in the film until you hear that voice. Dallas Buyer's Club took home three Academy Awards in the end and combined with its real life social significance should be a film that everyone should see.
Sticking with the theme of 2013 Academy Award nominated films, Gravity with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney is next on our list. The filming alone as we watch these astronauts floating in outer space will leave you gripping your seat for the entire movie. Bullock does an excellent job despite flying solo through much of the film which is not easy task. Gravity took home seven Academy Awards including best director, and best cinematography. The viewer can't help but to find themselves rubbing their feet on the ground, which you will never appreciate more than after watching this thriller. Bullock's performance earned her a nomination for best actress but she too fell victim to the socially provoking 12 Years a Slave. Gravity is not to be overlooked in a slew of amazing movies that was 2013 however. This is a great movie to get sucked into with out having an intricate plot to follow. The amazing aspect of the film is just how much story and action is brought to life with only two actors in front of a green screen. Make sure to catch this movie as soon as possible and you will not regret it.
The Hurt Locker
The Hurt Locker is probably the best modern war movie of the last ten years. Jeremy Renner starred in this award winning film that took home best picture, director, and original screenplay in 2009. The screenplay was written by Mark Boal a former journalist stationed in Iraq in 2004. The plot pits a three man explosives removal team in war torn Iraq, and from start to finish has the viewer on the edge of their seat. The film exposes American soldiers attitudes to war and service. Renner's character displays an apathy towards death with his maverick approach to bomb diffusion and life in general. Renner finds himself facing the reality between normal life in America and a soldier in the high intensity routine of war in Iraq. The movie's intensity is based on the fact that you know the bomb can go off but you don't when or if it actually will. The movie is raw and in your face with tough subject matter and uncomfortable in-fighting with the cast. Comparable to Jarhead but much more intense The Hurt Locker can easily qualify as one of the best war movies ever made.
Everyone has their own marker of what success is and the path is equally unique to the man. No where does this ring more true than in the story of Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Rush chronicles the journeys of two drivers who were rivals on the track, but off it could not have been more different. The true story is from the 70's as Hunt is the care free lady killer who drives by the seat of his pants, while Lauda is the methodical champion who works tirelessly on and off the track. Lauda won multiple F1 championships during their run and Hunt only won once in a season where Lauda was badly injured. The movie is perfectly casted as both drivers are portrayed very well by Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl respectively. This story of fierce competition and rivalry is a true story that shouldn't be missed.
Jobs is biographic look at the life of Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs. Aston Kutcher plays the enigmatic Jobs as he goes from entrepreneurial stoner who started Apple Computer in his parents basement to the work obsessed estranged founder of Apple. The movie is an excellent story of an American icon and really does not paint Jobs in the brightest of lights throughout. The movie covers more of Jobs' dismissal at Apple and his return as CEO rather than his insane success with the iPod and iPhone. The film shows Jobs freaking out at Bill Gates when Microsoft released its version of software that he thought was exclusive to Apple. Kutcher is very compelling and in my opinion thrives when not scripted into cheap jokes and cheesy romantic comedy. Anyone interested in computers will really enjoy the films recanting of the history behind the personal computer. Jobs was single minded in his vision and despite his blinders with regard to personal life and friends his success is unparalleled.
No Country For Old Men
The Coen brother's strike again with this western themed thriller starring Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem. Bardem is the cold calculating hit man who kills without a second thought, while Jones plays the long time Sherriff out to protect a man who found 2 million dollars in drug money and is now being hunted down. Bardem is unbelievable in his role and gives the viewer chills as he tracks down the money killing anyone in his path by any means necessary. Themes of circumstance and chance prevail much in he same light as other Coen brothers classic Fargo. No Country is best watched twice with some time in between viewings as I feel you will pick up on the story much better the second time through, but the nature of the film will leave you a little leery of watching it again. This movie took home four academy awards including best picture and best director.
This controversial documentary has gained a lot of steam especially with the Animal rights groups recently. The film reviews the history of Sea World and in particular its treatment of the Orcas they keep in captivity. Former trainers provide their insights into some of the tragedies that have occurred at Sea World in regards to other trainers being killed or nearly killed by the whales. The question at hand is whether or not Sea World is treating these animals with the proper regard to the safety of the trainers and the best possible life for an Orca. The pools may not be large enough and when captured in the wild as babies many whale families have been ripped apart. Controversy has stemmed from the film because Sea World has struck back saying that the accounts are from disgruntled former employees looking for revenge against the company. Sea World also maintains that the knowledge they have given people about whales has led to the their protection throughout the world as an endangered species. In any case the documentary sheds a light on the world behind the shows at Sea World and perhaps an in depth look at the life of an Orca in captivity. Definitely an interesting watch that will leave you questioning the humanity behind places like Sea World or zoos in general.
We're The Millers
This 2013 comedy will lighten up the mood a bit after all of these serious intense award winners. Disguised as an average white American family, four misfits must bring back a large shipment of marijuana from Mexico in their RV. The hijinks begin immediately as this group must keep up the appearance of a normal family when in fact they are anything but. Jason Sudeikis is the low level drug dealer who gets the group together, Jennifer Aniston is an aging stripper, Emma Roberts plays a run away living on the streets, and Will Poulter is the innocent kid trying to fit in. Poulter is the newcomer to big time Hollywood film and his performance was exceptional. This fun flick may appeal more to the MTV crowd as it took home the networks award for best kiss, but the acting is superb and the laughs are great. Aniston and Sudeikis play off of one another very well and there is no way you are going to want to miss this comedy.