Aaron’s Top 5:
While watching writer/director Jon Favreau’s Chef in theaters, I looked over to my friend at one point and said, “This film is adorable.” That is the best way I can describe this film, as it really is a delight to watch. It may be R-rated, but if it is merely language that stops younger audiences from seeing a film about a father and son going on a road trip to sell sandwiches from a food truck, after a chef has a falling out with his restaurant’s owner, that is a shame. This film is such an enjoyable one to watch. Fitted with a great cast, soundtrack, and some great looking food, Chef is a nice return for Favreau to his indie roots, even if the themes tie in a bit too closely to his own career. Regardless, I see it as hard to not come away finding the film at the very least quite likable in its intentions.
This is a film that I could not get out of my head, after seeing it. I could attribute that to many of my favorite films of the year so far, but Jim Jarmusch has made a vampire film where the lead characters being vampires is one of the least interesting aspects of the film. Sure, that aspect provides momentum for the story and allows us to read into these characters. I love the style and mood of this film as a whole, let alone the great cast, headed by Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton, who make for an amazing couple. The hypnotic look and sound of this film only add to why I adore it so much, as this is another big win from Jarmusch, who has such a different take on what to touch on in his films.
Few movies have delivered the amount of joy that I took from The LEGO Movie and it only helps that on top of the fun and colorful aspects to this movie, there is a smart story with really cool ideas and themes. Phil Lord and Chris Miller have proven themselves a comedic force from both sides of the spectrum, with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 & 22 Jump Street, but The LEGO Movie is easily the best thing that they have done so far, as they combine a level of irreverence with a fantastic approach to turning these building blocks into something truly special, pushing the concept of this film far beyond just being an excuse to sell toys. The LEGO Movie is highly entertaining and earns great marks for being such a creative and unique spectacle.
A sci-fi/action thriller, headed by visionary director Bong Joon-Ho was certainly on track to be a movie that I would really enjoy, following his work on films like The Host and Mother, but Snowpiercer really blew me away. Its capability to deliver a unique experience brings easily to mind many sci-fi influences, but it is still a cinematic experience all its own. Make no mistake, this is a very weird film, but it combines its weirdness with strong performances, a great level of style, and a handle on the action. The action may not be as relentless and insane as The Raid 2: Berandal, but it certainly delivers upon the visceral experience that goes well with the story that is rife with commentary and motifs while still working as a very entertaining feature.
I recently saw the trailer for Richard Linklater’s Boyhood for the first time. After having already seen the film, I got an emotional reaction from it. Going on a nearly 3 hour journey with a family that spans 12 years of their lives (filmed with the same actors for 12 years) was the kind of experience that I was prepared to at least be intrigued by, but I was wowed by how affecting I found it to be. I think it comes from how Linklater manages to get low-key performances from his actors and does not rely on large-scale theatrics to propel the drama any further than it needs to go. Regardless, this is a film that was an experimental project of sorts and it paid off big time. It works as a period film that was filmed during its period, only to have this overarching narrative about growing up, evolving, changing, learning, and other facets that contribute to the life of being a child and turning into an adult.