Say whatever else you want to about 2014, here's one thing I know for sure. It had 365 days. And since new movies opened on screens across the USA on a great many of those days, I feel compelled to consider the year in films.
The JFF programming is vibrantly eclectic, with over 200 movies from 50 countries. While many are Israeli, others span varied genres, nations, themes and styles. I've experienced the thrill of discovery with two of the selections screened thus far.
I'd be hard-pressed to pick a favorite between Life Itself, Steve James' documentary about the late film critic Roger Ebert, and To Be Takei, by Jennifer Kroot, about the amazingly resilient career of actor George Takei.
It's kind of a weird way for a relationship to start. This great big Irishman falling for a wee small man made out of clay and his silent, long-suffering dog. But that's exactly how Brendan Gleeson wound up working on The Pirates! Band of Misfits.
Will Miller find WMD in Iraq? Will American reconstruction efforts in Baghdad go as planned in the face of growing insurgency? Of course not, but there are enough frenetic firefights to maintain a satisfying level of suspense.
Perrier's Bounty is delicious and propulsive, a film that rarely pauses to let the viewer catch his breath. It's an expert blend of thrills, laughs and jeopardy - like a strong Irish coffee with a jolt of pepper.