This month started out with a bang. After craving for it for nearly a year after I became aware of it’s existence, Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha finally came to my neck of the woods in Nowhere, USA. It immediately became my favorite film of the year thanks to it’s bittersweet take on the unlikeliness of your dreams ever coming true, Greta Gerwig’s performance, and the gorgeous cinematography. As great as it is though, it’s reign as my favorite film of the year was not to last, as only a few weeks later, it was overtaken by the sweet, thrilling, sad, and hilarious The World’s End. The other theatrical release I saw was Woody Allen’s mesmerizing dark comedy Blue Jasmine, which features a performance by Cate Blanchett that will no doubt come to be known as one of the all time greats.
The rest of the month I spent catching up on some of the 2013 (and 2012) releases that I missed, including On the Road, 42, and Mud. I also watched a few “classic” films, including the worst Best Picture winner that I’ve seen so far.
On the TV front, I finished watching the amazing “Orange is the New Black.” The final moments of the last episode literally made my jaw drop. Can’t wait for the next season. Also, I binged the first season of “American Horror Story,” which was really good. The horror elements were genuinely unsettling, and some of the imagery still haunts my mind. Granted, it’s not perfect as the first episode is terrible due to Ryan Murphy’s over-the-top direction, and the second episode is not much better as the director tried to copy Murphy’s stile. Also, the “supernatural Fatal Attraction” sub-plot is poorly conceived.
In the end, despite the strong start, there were only a few true gems this month (I’d say the top 9). The rest ranged from “just good” to “outright terrible.”
So, as always here are my top 10 first-time viewings for the month of August, followed by honorable mentions, superlatives, etc.
- The World’s End (Edgar Wright, 2013)
- Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2013)
- Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen, 2013)
- Mud (Jeff Nichols, 2013)
- Laura (Otto Preminger, 1944)
- The Place Beyond the Pines (Derek Cianfrance, 2013)
- To the Wonder (Terrence Malick, 2013)
- On the Road (Walter Salles, 2012)
- These Amazing Shadows: The Movies That Make America (Paul Marino, Kurt Norton, 2011)
- Admission (Paul Weitz, 2013)
Honorable Mention: “Orange is the New Black” (episodes 8-13)
Best Re-watch: The Prince of Egypt
The Worst: West Side Story
Best Director: Edgar Wright, The World’s End
Best Actor: Simon Pegg, The World’s End
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine & Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha
Best Supporting Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Mud
Best Supporting Actress: Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine & Rita Moreno, West Side Story
Best Screenplay: The World’s End
Best Cinematography: Miami Vice
Best Costume Design: Blue Jasmine
Best Production Design: Trance
Best Music: Frances Ha
For a complete list of this month’s first-time viewings head to Letterboxd.
And this month I will sign out with a few more of my favorite things from this month’s batch including Cate Blanchett’s soon-to-be iconic white Chanel jacket: