Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Perflix of the Day

August: Osage County (2013) is fun to watch for all of the raw acting talent on display.  Meryl Streep - wow.  She continues to amaze me with her versatility and range.  Her performance here is nothing short of spectacular.  I had to remind myself several times that she was acting, so effortless and flawless she is as the prescription drug-crazed matriarch.  The film also stars Julia Roberts in one of her better performances in my opinion - I think she gets better with age (and experience).  Did you know she turned down the leading lady role in Shakespeare In Love?  - Probably Gwyneth's best role ever?  Funny how things turn out.  Streep and Roberts both received Oscar and Golden Globe nods.  I thought the other standout performances were from Margo Martindale and Chris Cooper as a (mostly) humorous married couple.   And then there's Juliette Lewis - she's about my age so I grew up watching her and was in love with her as a teen watching Cape Fear.  So to me she's always fun to watch, and still beautiful.

Her (2013) written and directed by Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) and starring Joaquin Phoenix (love him) and the voice of Scarlett Johansson (love her) with Amy Adams (love her) is a very intriguing film and one you should watch.  This film explored a new idea that I'd never heard mention of in the context of discussions on what artificial intelligence might look like.  We're all familiar with themes of AI wanting to kill off humans a la Terminator, 2001: A Space Oddyssey, etc.  I get that AI would no more want to serve humans for no benefit any more than I would - that's called slavery.  But why bother hatching big, impossible plans to kill off humans (your creator no less) that might involve risk to your own existence when you can just...leave?  To me this was something so obvious and hiding in plain sight that I think I said "wow" out loud.  I felt sort of stupid after harboring some latent dread (since Terminator I suppose) of the coming of AI and the "singularity" that is supposedly right around the corner.  Anywho...the film is fun to watch as Joaquin Phoenix is great as always.  Amy Adams plays sort of a wallflower so you don't get much out of her in this one but she is solid.  Scarlett Johansson's voice will turn you on.  She sounds like the girl next door...who smokes.  See it when you can.

I'm adding Frozen to Perflix!  I never get tired of watching it with my kids and now that I've seen it probably 10 times over the last year (though never without interruption) I think I've finally seen all of it.... It is just plain fun to watch and is enjoyable for all ages.  The songs are catchy and make you want to learn the words and sing along (believe it or not, they do Frozen sing-alongs here at small theaters in Portland).  Tangled is still my favorite animated film of all time but Frozen is a close second.  Try to watch it without kids around and I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I have.

So here are my Perflix - the only perfect movies ever made (according to me, with the caveat that I have not seen a lot of old classics yet...there's just not enough time in a day and I don't get paid to do this) and the ones you should have in your collection:
  1. Alien
  2. Top Gun
  3. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  4. The Road
  5. Warm Bodies
  6. The Shining
  7. School of Rock
  8. Say Anything
  9. High Fidelity
  10. Fight Club
  11. Risky Business
  12. Star Wars
  13. Brokeback Mountain
  14. Animal House
  15. Jerry McGuire
  16. Silver Linings Playbook
  17. Dallas Buyers Club
  18. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  19. No Country for Old Men
  20. Tangled
  21. Children of Men
  22. War Games
  23. 28 Days Later
  24. The Graduate
  25. From Dusk Till Dawn
  26. Lost in Translation
  27. The King's Speech
  28. Planet Earth
  29. Snowpiercer
  30. Frozen

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