Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mini-Reviews: Ain't Them Bodies Saints, Enough Said & The Fifth Estate (2013)

Ain't Them Bodies Saints

Directed by David Lowery
Produced by Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Amy Kaufman and Cassian Elwes
Written by David Lowery
Starring Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Ben Foster, Nate Parker, Rami Malek and Keith Carradine


An outlaw (Affleck) makes his way back to his wife (Mara) and young daughter in Texas.

David Lowery's feature echoes the work of Terrence Malick, while creating a beautiful film that has its own merits. Apart from the lush cinematography, the performances are strong across the board. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara make a terrific pair as the fugitive couple, and Ben Foster and Keith Carradine offer subtle but memorable supporting performances. The film is a resonating drama, which hopefully indicates a bright future for its young director.

Oscar Potential: Best Cinematography

Enough Said

Directed by Nicole Holofcener
Produced by Stefanie Azpiazu and Anthony Bregman
Written by Nicole Holofcener
Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette and Ben Falcone


A masseuse (Louis-Dreyfus) learns that her new boyfriend (Gandolfini) is her patient's (Collette) ex-husband.

I'm not that familiar with Holofcener's work, but I really enjoyed her latest film. It's full of charm, which comes from her quirky screenplay and the great work from the cast. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini deliver fine performances, particularly Gandolfini as a lovable teddy bear. Though the other actors do a good job, the belated Gandolfini is the heart of the film, and his performance is a true gem.

Oscar Potential: Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay

The Fifth Estate

Directed by Bill Condon
Produced by Steve Golin and Michael Sugar
Written by Josh Singer (screenplay); Daniel Domscheit-Berg, David Leigh and Luke Harding (books)
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Alicia Vikander, Stanley Tucci and Laura Linney


Julian Assange (Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Berg (Brühl) expose corruption through WikiLeaks, drawing international fame and controversy.

Bill Condon's slick drama is a disappointment, despite a grounded performance from Daniel Brühl and the phenomenal work from Benedict Cumberbatch. Honestly, Cumberbatch's permanence is tainted by the underwhelming film. It feels too by-the-numbers, and it doesn't allow much insight into Assange the man. Still, Cumberbatch is flawless, and he's more than enough of a reason to see this film.

Oscar Potential: Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing (All unlikely though.)


  1. I'm still looking forward to Ain't Them Bodies Saints. I almost feel bad for Cumberbatch and Bruhl after reading all these 5th Estate reviews. It sounds like the rest of the film really let them down

    1. Yeah, Cumberbatch and Bruhl are the best part of the film. Hope you like Ain't Them Bodies Saints.

  2. So glad you saw, and liked, Enough Said and Ain't Them Bodies Saints. I really think Gandolfini is in at this point. How can you see that movie and NOT remember him!

    1. Dug 'em. :) I just don't think enough of the Academy will watch the film. He's probably got more of a shot than Bruhl, but I'll worry about that in my next predictions update.

  3. I saw The Fifth Estate last week but just haven't got a chance to review it. I think I'd agree w/ you on the rating. It's not a perfect film and it drags in parts but I like Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Brühl impressed me once again w/ his performance, 2 weeks in a row as I just saw RUSH a week before that.

    1. I like Bruhl in both films as well, but I think Cumberbatch is Oscar-worthy. He might've had a shot if the film were better.

  4. Fifth estate looks pretty forgettable, but it has so many talented people in it I'll probably catch it on DVD. Can't wait to see Ain't Them Bodies Saints.

    1. Can't wait to hear what you think of Ain't Them Bodies Saints. I'd watch The Fifth Estate again, but only for Cumberbatch's performance.