When I started this blog 363 days ago, my first post was my top ten movies of 2013. We’re at the end of another year, and I have seen more movies than ever before (according to my letterboxd summary I’ve watched over 1,000 hours of film – yikes!), so it’s about time for another roundup of the state of cinema.
Just two months ago I remarked on the ubiquity of World War II-as-setting in cinema. That was in my review of Fury, starring Brad Pitt. Well, now Brad’s wife Angelina Jolie is getting in on the action with her latest directorial effort: Unbroken, about the life of Olympic athlete and prisoner of war Louie Zamperini. Jolie is probably known more for her acting career than her directing, but she hopes to change that with Unbroken, a film that has been screaming “awards bait” at the top of its lungs since the first trailer dropped a while back.
The good news after a failure of a festival day (one movie on a Saturday? – I’m still ashamed) is that it can’t get much worse. Unless you just throw the day completely – which I had no intentions of doing – you’re guaranteed to be a little productive. And that’s what Day Four of AFI Fest ended up being for me. I didn’t set any records, but I got in three really well-made films that take different perspectives on the human struggle to survive.
I did not know, when I drove to the Sundance theater after work, that I was about to see one of my favorite movies of the year. Starred Up has been on my radar for months, since it came out to great reviews in the UK in March. And the best news? Playing at the Sundance means I can see it for five dollars on a Tuesday. Turns out such frugality was not necessary, because Starred Up would have been worth the full price of admission.