Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
For all his imposing, intimidating physical stature, Idris Elba excels in exposing, in the most understated yet eloquent ways, the vulnerabilities that slip through the cracks in otherwise stoic veneers, not impossible to largely suppress but impossible to completely deny, his eyes always telling the tale even when not in the rare occasion they shed tears.
Inside Llewyn Davis
A fascinating warts-and-all character study of Llewyn as well as, perhaps most of all, a celebration of all his star-in-the-making portrayer can do.
What lingers strongly in the memory and heart is, as it should be, the sweet, celebratory sensation of song.
Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram-Leela (A Play of Bullets: Ram-Leela)
Larger-than-life movie in the best sense, a veritable feast for all senses from a truly singular cinematic voice that always demands attention and respect.
The most unexpected takeaway from Spike Lee's new version is the realization is that mere shock value is only part, actually a small one at that, of what made Park Chan-Wook's film so disturbing and powerful.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
As was the case with the first film, this sequel catches fire thanks to she who plays the "Girl on Fire": Jennifer Lawrence.
The Best Man Holiday
Writer-director Malcolm D. Lee does leave everything wide open for a third go-round, but if this proves to be the last visit with these nine, he and the cast have made a graceful, full-circle bookend to what will now be a lasting pair of films.
12 Years a Slave
Not the first (and most certainly will not be the last) film to tackle the subject of America's shameful history of slavery, but it often feels like the first real one.
The Pavement Psychologist
Whatever the piece may ultimately lack in substantive story, it definitely compensates in character, both in the literal sense of the solid work writer-director Idris Elba coaxes from the whole cast and in the already distinctive personality of his still-nascent filmmaking voice, which promises to only polish and sharpen right along with his skill on subsequent projects.
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