Wednesday, December 4 2013, 12:05 PM MST
Holiday Gift Guide: The Independents
Director Richard Linklater reteams with actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy for the third installment of the Before… franchise. The result is one of the smartest, most honest examination of love when the initial thrill of romance has faded and the mundane complications of life threaten to take over. Easily one of the best films of 2013.
Behind the Candelabra
HBO’s biopic on Liberace (played wonderfully by Michael Douglas) and his younger lover Scott Thorson (Matt Damon) was a critical and commercial success for the cable network.
Director Noah Baumbach teams with Greta Gerwig for this indie delight that finds Gerwig playing a displaced dancer forced to hit the road when her roommate decides it’s time to live with someone else.
This biographical drama about The New Yorker writer Hannah Ardent and her controversial response to the 1961 trial of ex-Nazi Adolf Eichmann is an engaging narrative with a fantastic lead performance by Barbara Sukowa.
This five-part BBC miniseries came stateside courtesy of HBO. Based on Ford Madox Ford’s novels this excellent series is set against the backdrop of World War I and follows Christopher Tietjens (Benedict Cumberbatch), a man torn between his manipulative wife (Rebecca Hall) and a young and spirited suffragette (Adelaide Clemens).
Somewhere along the way David Gordon Green strayed away from making wonderful indie dramas like George Washington and All the Real Girls in favor of lowbrow comedies like Pineapple Express and the absolutely terrible Your Highness. With Prince Avalanche, an odd little film about a pair of misfits (Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch) that spend their summer painting lines down the center of a rural highway that was recently damaged by fire, Green returns to form.
The Way Way Back
Nat Faxon and Jim Rash team up for their directorial debut with this delightful coming-of-age comedy about a14-year-old boy who finds himself while working at Water Wizz, a small local water park. It was one of my favorite films from Sundance 2013 and was happily received by critics and audiences alike when it finally made it into theaters in July.
The World’s End
The third film in the Three Flavors Cornetto trilogy (a loosely connected series from director Edgar Wright and actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost somewhat based on the flavors of the British ice cream cone dessert) takes on a science fiction vibe as a group of friends return to complete an epic pub run they started 20 years earlier only to find that their hometown has been overrun by corporate chains and aliens.
-Ryan Michael Painter