My October ’13 in Review

A solid month comprised solely of my ongoing attempt to catch up with earlier 2013 releases, October yielded a few laudable titles while the rest unceremoniously fell by the wayside. As always, feel free to comment, compare and enjoy!

We Are What We Are 2We Are What We Are (Jim Mickle, 2013)

Mimicking the odd but effective lyrical qualities 2010’s Stake Land employed to elevate it above typical genre fare, We Are What We Are once again subverts expectations in its recreation of the tale told by its foreign language inspiration. Infusing an otherwise sordid affair with appealing emotionality and a frequently mood-influencing aesthetic, Mickle’s vision unfortunately falls victim to an unavoidable foray into latter-act self-parody, however it doesn’t do much to wholly detract from the film’s appeal. Full review here.

The Counselor 2The Counselor (Ridley Scott, 2013)

Disliked on the basis of the script’s verbal pretension, I happened to thoroughly The Counselor as an unflinching look at the horrors coinciding with its title character’s shady business venture. Full review here.

I Used to Be Darker 2I Used to Be Darker (Matthew Porterfield, 2013)

An appealingly low-key account of the subjectively familiar, Matthew Porterfield’s assured creative singularity does wonders for his latest effort. Simultaneously addressing key individuals’ respective existential woes, a lovely musical adherence benchmarked by original numbers from stars Ned Oldham and Kim Taylor further elevate I Used to Be Darker above the emotional falsity of the norm. Full review here.

Ain't Them Bodies SaintsAin’t Them Bodies Saints (David Lowery, 2013)

Light on substantial narrative but heavy on striking imagery, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is at once a satisfying romantic fable and modest triumph. Focusing on an imprisoned man’s undying desire to reunite with his wife and unborn child, the film does a fine enough job in covering all its bases as a by-the-numbers exercise, benefiting primarily from its aforementioned aesthetic and strong central performances.

Captain Phillips 2Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass, 2013)

A relentlessly compelling slice of cinema, Captain Phillips revels in its obvious merits as it aptly recreates the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates. Powerfully presented and all-affecting as such, Greengrass illustrates the urgency at the film’s core with an unparalleled sense of poise and vigor. Further aided by a characteristic turn from Hanks, Captain Phillips is an example of accessible, big-budget filmmaking at its most effective and refined. Full review here.

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Other first-time viewings (in alphabetical order):

+1 (Iliadis, ’13)
Breathe In (Doremus, ’13)
Carrie (Peirce, ’13)
Concussion (Passon, ’13)
Don Jon (Gordon-Levitt, ’13)
The Heat (Feig, ’13)
Lilya 4-Ever (Moodysson, ’02)
Simon Killer (Campos, ’13)

Total number of films watched (including re-watches): 13


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