Tag Archives: interstellar

MY FAVORITE FILMS OF 2014

30 Dec

For your viewing pleasure: my favorite films of 2014. I only counted films that had a theatrical or VOD release this year, so some stuff I saw at festivals (like Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter & Infinitely Polar Bear) and late Oscar films (like Foxcatcher & Inherent Vice) will be saved for next year.  Enjoy!

EDIT – unfortunately, Vimeo took down my video, so here is a direct link to view it from my Google Drive (thanks Google!)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9ugyZi0NsQmZGwwVkt0bmVMREk/view?usp=sharing

I want to hear your thoughts. Anything you think I missed?

Best Film Scores of 2014

22 Dec

Sorry, I have been inactive as of late. As tradition, I have been editing a year’s worth of film viewing into my annual “Best of” video series. Today, I’m happy to present my top 10 film scores of the year which you can check out below (headphones highly suggested!).

2014 film scores from Tyler Belk on Vimeo.

I also plan to have my Top 10 Documentaries video out tomorrow, so stay tuned ūüôā

Interstellar (2014)

8 Nov

Interstellar marks acclaimed director Christopher Nolan‘s¬†9th feature film, and the first after his hotly anticipated conclusion to the Dark Knight trilogy in 2012. Over the course of his career, Nolan has made a reputation for delivering intellectually puzzling blockbuster pictures and Interstellar might be his brainiest and most puzzling film yet.

The film stars Matthew McConaughey¬†as Coop, a rural¬†corn farmer and father of two children.¬†Corn is one of the few crops that can be grown because sometime in the near future, a global dust storm wipes out nearly all forms of agriculture.¬†Coop is an incredibly scientific man, quick to disregard his daughters complaints of a paranormal¬†presence because it offers no scientific explanation. A strange series of events – some in connection with this “ghost” and others pure happenstance – enables Coop and his daughter Murphy to stumble across an¬†opportunity for space exploration as a last result attempt to save the human race from extinction.

If that description sounds a bit loaded, thats because it is. And we haven’t even finished the first act yet. Things quickly go from a family drama to a graduate metaphysics theory¬†to Gravity-esc space survival¬†to alternate¬†dimension weirdness to time loops and then back to a family drama again. Nolan tries cramming in all sorts of ideas and concepts into a hefty 169 min runtime. Quantum physics, gravity pulls, beings from another galaxy, time anomalies, human evolution, singularities – it’s enough to make your head spin. Thankfully we have Anne Hathaway‘s character Amelia (in a similar fashion to Ellen Page‘s character from Inception) providing exposition to guide us through the this tangled mess of wormholes, black holes and plot holes.

The main problem with Interstellar is that Nolan assumes his audience is smart enough to grasp complex concepts about the nature of time and space, but somehow stupid enough not see bad writing when it stares us in the face.

The script is pretty much passable, and at sometimes, just outright bad. Same goes for many of the film’s performances. Nolan has never been a great dramatic director, but he gets the job done here with the help of an ensemble cast including Casey Affleck, Jessica Chastain, Wes Bentley, Michael Caine, Topher Grace, Ellen Burstyn and an actor I won’t mention for sake of surprise.

However, the flaws of Interstellar are relatively minor compared to its epic aspirations or its technical brilliance. Beautifully shot in 70mm, Interstellar looks amazing, and is sure to deliver on terms of sheer spectacle. There is some jaw-dropping scenes of space/time travel and the score by Hans Zimmer and incredible sound design make viewing the film a pleasurable and visceral journey.

While the film certainly is too ambitious for it’s own good, I would rather see a film take gargantuan risks and (slightly) fail than I would see a film play it safe. Especially when it comes to the epic budget and scope of a canvas that Nolan was given to work with here.

What it really comes down to is¬†this: Christopher Nolan’s dreams are as big as those portrayed in Inception, and seeing his vision unfold in such a grand manner is a delight.

Rating 7/10

Similar to: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Prometheus (2012), Gravity (2013) 

Top 10 Anticipated films of 2014

5 Jan

Well hats off to a new year. In the midst of all this awards season talk (you can catch my top 15 list of 2013 here) I’d like to present the films I’m most looking forward to seeing this next year. If available, I’ve provided the trailers and release dates. Make sure to let me know what films you are looking forward to seeing and if there are any I missed.

10 – Knight of Cups

This one is still a bit of a mystery as director Terrence Malick hasn’t officially said anything about Knight of Cups (or much else about his other projects). What we do know is that is stars Christian Bale, Imogen Poots, Joel Kinnaman, Cate Blanchet, Natalie Portman, Jason Clarke, Wes Bentley, and Antonio Banderas (wow!!). If the cast isn’t enough to get you excited, rumor is that Malick has a few additional films planned (though these are most likely to be pushed back to 2015 and beyond).¬† No release date yet.

9 – Foxcatcher

Director Bennett Miller made waves a while back with his Oscar-winning film Capote and 2011’s Moneyball. Next year he returns with a film based on Olympic Wrestling Champion Mark Schultz. Originally intended for 2013 (there was even a trailer released last fall), the film was pushed back due to editing issues and concern the awards season would be too crowded. Channing Tatum and Steve Carell (supposedly playing against type) star alongside Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, and Tara Subkoff.¬† Foxcatcher is rumored to be released in the spring, but could be pushed back to fall.

8 – Boyhood

This mysterious project from Richard Linklater supposedly has been in production for the last 12 years, chronicling the life of Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette’s son. As a huge fan of his Before trilogy, I can’t wait to see what frequent collaborators Linklater and Hawke have in store. No release date yet.

7- Transcendence

Wally Pfister, who is mostly known for his cinematography work with Christopher Nolan, makes his directorial debut next year with a mind-bending sci-fi about artificial intelligence. This looks like it has all the right ingredients to be the next Minority Report, and I’m excited to see Johnny Depp actually using his talent. Depp stars alongside Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara, Paul Bettany and Rebecca Hall. In theaters April 14.

6 – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Boasting an amazing all-star lineup of Saoirse Ronan, Ralph Fiennes, Lea Seydoux, Jude Law, Edwards Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, F. Murray Abraham, and Harvey Keitel (!!!), the film from Wes Anderson promises mystery, laughs, drama, superb music and Helvetica font. In theaters March 7.

5 – Enemy

After filming the Oscar-nominated Incendies, and last years incredible Prisoners, Denis Villeneuve is making a name for himself and this year he agian reunited with Jake Gyllenhaal in Enemy. The thriller is supposedly about a man who goes after his look-alike after seeing him in a movie. I’m intrigued. In theaters March 14.

4 – Gone Girl

One of my favorite directors, David Fincher, gives us a film about a man whose wife mysteriously disappears while on honeymoon, starring Ben Affleck. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, Gone Girl could become this year’s Girl With The Dragon Tatoo. In theaters October 8.

3 – Noah

Yes, you are familiar with the biblical story, but director Darren Aronofsky is sure to put a new spin on the tale. Staring Russel Crowe, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins, and supposedly boasting some of the best digital effects ever to be done by Industrial Light and Magic, Noah arrives March 28.

2 – Interstellar

Christopher Nolan is back in action with a story about wormholes, space travel, and corn shortages. Yup. Staring Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Topher Grace, and Ellen Burstyn, the film is out November 7.

1 – Inherent Vice

My most anticipated film of 2014 brings back Joaquin Phoenix and Paul Thomas Anderson into a thriller/comedy/crime story about a detective investigating the disappearance of an ex-lover.  Jena Malone, Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, and Maya Rudolph star. No release date yet.