- Loved: Redford’s amazing performance, the visual storytelling, the implicit critiques of masculinity and isolationism, the ironic ways in which the cancer of corporate indifference can reach out to try to kill anyone, even a man hiding from the world on a boat in the middle of the Indian Ocean!
- Didn’t love: I admired the ambition of trying to do it all wordless, but alas there were places where it didn’t work, and I got all lost trying to follow the plot (I still have no idea why suddenly he had to go outside in the storm!)
7: Blue Jasmine
- Loved: So many great performances—Blanchett, obviously, but also Baldwin, Hawkins, Clay, Cannavale, CK…everybody. And who knew that Allen actually knew how the economy worked?? The insights here into money and how it moves would have been great for any filmmaker, but for a guy who had made 44 movies without ever once portraying any economic exploitation, it’s a remarkable leap forward in empathy.
- Didn’t love: Just one small quibble: the twist (that Blanchett was the one who called the FBI) was so great, and had so much potential for juicing the story, that I wish we’d gotten it earlier. (And I wish someone in the present story had found it out, instead of just revealing it to us in the audience!)
6: Inside Llewyn Davis
- Loved: The script, the tone, the wickedly-funny deadpan humor, the wonderfully charismatic star-making performance by Oscar Isaac, the supporting cast (Goodman! Mulligan! Timberlake!), the art direction, the sumptuous cinematography (the best of the year, and that’s saying something!)…And I loved the heartbreaking portrayal of a man who’s a “prisoner of his resume”, who knows that he’s not good enough, but who’s spiritually and literally unable to do anything else. That describes a lot of our generation, and I’d never seen it portrayed before.
- Didn’t love: I would have liked a little more out of the ending. Just one more beat…I don’t know what.
Tomorrow, the proper list begins with Movie #5!