It's around 10:00 on Sunday night. I had the boys for the weekend, and we had a pretty great double-feature of Christmas-related films on Saturday night, then played a whole bunch of different games. Allen's “Minecraft” crazy at the moment, and there's something fun about losing a few hours with him, building things, letting him be the boss.
I had to drop them off early today, though, so I could make it to the 3:00 screening of Angelina Jolie's “Unbroken.” This is the last theatrical screening I'll be able to make before I have to vote next Sunday at the annual LAFCA meeting where we pick our awards for the year. This is only my second year in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and I take it seriously. I've got a small mountain of screeners I'm taking with me when I leave tomorrow afternoon for London.
I'm going for the “Hobbit” junket, and I took the boys to see the film on Saturday morning. My own reaction is embargoed, but I can tell you that both of the boys were very excited by the film and by the way it brought this trilogy together. I'm looking forward to watching “The Lord of The Rings” with the boys next year, and based on how much they loved this final “Hobbit,” I feel confident predicting that the “Rings” trilogy is going to melt some brains.
It was an interesting crowd that turned out for “Unbroken” this afternoon. Lots of Guild members, lots of press. When it's awards season and you go to the first screening of something, there's always a sort of electricity in the room ahead of time. I like that anticipation, and I like that industry crowds can still get excited like that about what they might be seeing. It was rainy and terrible out today, and it reminded me of the first “Hugo” screening I went to on a Sunday morning, when it was just pounding rain on the Paramount lot.
I'll have my own “Unbroken” review soon, but it's safe to say that the film feels like it is tailor-made for this time of year. I'll be writing up some of the other things I catch up on as well, like “The Imitation Game,” which I'll review tomorrow. I don't think I'll write a full review of “Get On Up,” but I did like Chadwick Boseman's physical performance quite a bit. I am flat out amazed that the same guy transformed himself into both Jackie Robinson and James Brown, and I think Marvel nailed it casting him as Black Panther. His work is rooted in how he changes every detail of himself from role to role, how he carries himself totally different as each character, and that seems like a great fit for playing a character as physically dynamic as Black Panther typically is.
I'm throwing on two more films before I sleep tonight. “The Overnighters” is a documentary that Drafthouse Films released, and I know nothing at all about it, and then I'm going to put on Philip Seymour Hoffman's final starring role, “A Most Wanted Man.” I'll be watching films like “Wild,” “Citizenfour,” “Mr. Turner,” “Two Days, One Night,” “We Are The Best,” “Still Alice,” “The Skeleton Twins,” “The Homesman,” “Love Is Strange,” and “I Am Ali,” at the very least. I also want to re-watch a few titles, like “Boyhood” and “Inherent Vice” and “Whiplash,” so that when I record my top ten list for 2014 on the 9th of this month, I feel like I've given everything I can a chance.
I probably won't get to see “Top Five” or “The Interview” before I make my list, but that's just the way it goes. Timing frequently forces us to make hard choices this time of year, and there's only so much I can do.
Long plane ride tomorrow, though, so I'll watch at least one thing then, and I'll be reading and writing while I'm in the air as well. I'll share the London trip with you here, as well as reactions to some of the movies I've mentioned above, and I've got other stuff I'm chipping away at right now. Two new “Film Nerd 2.0” columns, the return of some features we've tried before, and plenty of reviews for things still coming for this year.
If you guys had to pick just one more film coming out this year to see, which one would it be?