Thursday, February 19, 2015

Movies of 2014, Top Films (6, 5, and 4)

            I was going to do a top 5, with much more elaborate comparisons to good movies of last year, trying to contextualize my tastes and what-have-you... Then I found a 6th movie to put on the list, and I wanted to get these all out before the Oscars... So here is the first half of my top 6 list (6, 5, and 4), one of which is just a link to a much longer review I did months ago.  My best work?  Probably not.  But a quick read.

            I cannot imagine this movie making it onto many "best of" lists.  While it is very well produced, plotted, and has sequences that evoke the right levels of discomfort, it is riddled with clichés, the main character and his kid sidekick especially.  Seriously, does every ex-cop turned unlicensed private eye have to be a recovering alcoholic?  Can't they just be competent without being damaged?
            I really like crime as a genre of fiction and the nature of asking questions, gathering information, the tension of confronting dangerous situations, and the darkness of the consequences of failure.  This movie captures all of those aspects.  It is a good mystery with good characters, and there is a good resolution.
            Some minor complaints, I do not understand the accent that Liam is trying for.  He should have just been an Irish cop in the states, it would have been fine.  They also set the movie in 1999, with the Y2K bug serving as weird background dressing for what is going on.  I am not really complaining about the Y2K thing, but it is an odd choice that boarders on distracting.  I imagine this movie to couple well with my favorite movie of last year "Prisoners" for a gloomy weekend viewing.
Overall: 9/10
I really like the quote on this poster, "People are afraid of all the wrong things."  Weirdly profound.
            If you like "No Country for Old Men", "Winter's Bone", and maybe "Mud" this seems like the type of movie for you.  A homeless man whose parents were murdered when he was very young is told by the police that the man who did it is getting released.  Revenge is what follows.
            What sets this apart from others of this type is the vulnerability of the main character.  He is far from being the type of unstoppable badass that defines movies about revenge.  He frequently injures himself while fighting and he can't use a gun for shit.  But he makes up for it by being crafty, setting traps, being elusive, and being fully aware of how completely fucked he is.  There is a good scene in this movie, which is great when set in contrast to "No Country for Old Men".  In "No Country" the psycho hit man has a major leg wound, so he breaks into a pharmacy and treats himself like a badass.  In "Ruin" the main character tries and fails to treat a leg injury and only barely makes it to a hospital before passing out, then later has to escape the hospital while naked.
            This is a dark and violent movie which takes a very pity inspiring protagonist and puts him thru the wringer.  Very good movie.
Overall: 9/10
Fun fact: I did not initially want to watch this because I thought it was a low budget independent film about Jesus.
            I already wrote a substantive review of this.  Needless to say it is worth watching and will take you on a journey.  The sense of exploration tempered with hard science, soft science, and sentiment makes me wonder what "Star Trek" would have looked and felt like had Christopher Nolan and company had been in charge of the reboot with this kind of tone and guiding mindset rather than the generic (but fun) action movie vibe that Abrams used.

Overall: 9/10
They are going to release this in IMAX again, because it is awesome.
(Tomorrow I will continue with my 3 favorite movies of the year.)

If you like or hate this please take the time to comment, +1, share on Twitter or Facebook, and otherwise distribute my opinion to the world.  I would appreciate it.

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