Thursday, March 13, 2014

Classic Album Tweets: Purple Rain

Once a month I'll take to Twitter and tweet about an older album that's widely popular with American audiences as I'm listening to it. For February I did The College Dropout and in March I took on Prince's Purple Rain.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Best Movies of 2013

As usual, here is my list of the best films of 2013. I try to do this sometime before the Oscars since a lot of limited releases don't make their way to Chicago well after the New Year, so I just that extra time to get caught up so that I can provide as comprehensive a view of a year. Without further ado, here are the movies that stuck with me the most in 2013.

1. 12 Years A Slave

The cultural significance of this movie will probably cement its place in the canon for years to come based on its unflinching portrayal of slavery, which was unmatched in its brutality. Importance and quality do not always go hand in hand, so as much as I would like to state that this is a great film because it gave an unfathomable reality to those only familiar with the relatively sanitized versions of the era delivered by Hollywood, it worked much deeper on an emotional level. There have been few cinematic experiences like 12 Years A Slave, the true story of freeman Solomon Northup who was kidnapped and sold into captivity. The brutality of the film was a necessary truth that could not concern itself with what's palatable for audiences and every heartwrenching moment served as a reminder of America's dark history. Steve McQueen, whose previous films Hunger and Shame also didn't hold anything back, has once again proven adept at being an expert observer of a gritty world that holds little hope. His films resonate with you long after the credits have finished rolling, all without any significant flash and grounded in unforgiving realism. The trio of excellent, anguished performances from Chiwitel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong'o and Michael Fassbender provided as close to a breathing historical document of the period as we've ever gotten and transcended it into art, conveying the torment and pain of past generations that no viewer will ever forget.