Once Upon a Time in America (Sergio Leone) **** - This is one of those film that I classify under Why The Hell Haven't I Seen This In Full Yet? The length is pretty intimidating but once the film starts to unfold, it really hooks you in and the 3.5 hours almost just flies by. This is the final work from Sergio Leone and it's evident that this is the work of true master of the medium. Everything here is perfect or near-perfect: The performances, the cinematography, the design, not to mention Ennio Morricone's goosebump-inducing score. It's a stunning piece of work which stands among the best gangster epics out there.
Gravity (Alfonso Cuaron) **** -
The film is a visually astonishing thrill ride. But it's one with
emotional heft and genuine artistry. I have grown to become jaded with
all the CGI special effects these days. Seldom does it wow me. This one
actually managed to wow me from the first frame down to the last. I
don't remember the last time I went, "OMG. How did they do that?" in an
FX-laded film but this one, after seeing, made me felt like that once
again. All the while, it really felt like they actually went to space!
The 13 minute continuous opening shot and those amazing sequences where
the camera goes from a wide shot to a character POV shot is very
impressive indeed. I saw this on IMAX 3D, something I very seldom do
because the IMAX theaters are twice as expensive and way out of my way
and I generally think 3D is a scam but this is one of the very few
exceptions. Truly a work of a master filmmaker.