Posts Tagged ‘Benedict Cumberbatch’

Ezra’s Top Ten Favorite Movies Of 2013

Posted 01 Mar 2014 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Behind the Candelabra is a delightfully decadent look at the life of Liberace, brilliantly played by Michael Douglas in one of his very best performances. Every year, I struggle with the relatively arbitrary process of ranking movies, so this year I’ve decided to do something a little different. Instead of a traditional Top Ten list, I’m grouping two thematically connected films together for each place on the list, resulting in a hopefully more interesting Top 20 list. I’ve also included a more traditional Top Ten below that, for all you “too long, didn’t read” folks. One final note before we get to the list: it should tell you a lot about my credibility as a film critic that I liked Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa more than most of the Academy Award Best Picture nominees for 2013.

10. THE WICKER MAN: FINAL CUT / JURASSIC PARK 3-D – BEST RE-RELEASES. Obviously, this category doesn’t really count, as both of these films were originally released decades ago, but I can’t deny that each of them provided one of the most enjoyable experiences I had in a movie theater in 2013. This new cut of the original 1973 classic The Wicker Man adds some nuance and more musical numbers to an already great film. Most crucially, it opens with a scene of Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) praying in church, emphasizing his piousness from the very start, which enriches the events to follow. Jurassic Park, on the other hand, is quite simply my favorite movie (it has the most dinosaurs in it – I rest my case), and seeing it on a big screen again, in 3-D no less, made me fall in love with it all over again.  Read More

Starter For 10 – Revenge Of The Nerd

Posted 23 Jul 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Scott Martin

Starter for 10, UK / USA, 2006

Directed by Tom Vaughan

Starter for 10 is a British/American film directed by Tom Vaughan from a screenplay by David Nicholls, adapted from his own novel Starter for Ten. The oddest thing about a film like Starter for 10 is that it seems to be almost completely pointless until the last thirty minutes or so, and the most unfortunate thing about the project is that the first hour is almost completely alienating. This isn’t the type of film where the audience is required to root for anyone in particular, nor are we given much of a climax to look forward to. We follow a young college student in England in 1985 as he enters Bristol University and attempts to find his place and enter a quiz show club, in which one does their best to win championships on television. We follow him through bum friends, a failed and unrealistic attempt at a relationship, and a conventional attempt at knowing everything.

The good news is that James McAvoy is watchable enough to excuse most of that. The bad news is that even though McAvoy is a watchable actor, of some considerable skill, the film itself is hollow and flatter than paper. It’s peppered with calm and collected performances, but that and a bad screenplay don’t make a good movie. Make no mistake, Starter for 10 is enjoyable, albeit conventional and formulaic. However, it’s great performances from Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, and McAvoy himself that magically make the film worth watching more than once, even if you just want to catch all the reaction shots from Cumberbatch that you might have missed the first time; as with everything else in which he appears, he’s a complete joy. Read More