We’re up against it. (Movie count:48) New entries in red. Worst is first as usual. (I’m ending the movie count with what I included up to the Oscar ceremony. Everything in blue is what I’m including from 2014 after that time.)
Sabotage – The hatred I have for this film. Why oh why oh why does it exist? This fucking movie is so fucking ridiculous and fucking gory for no reason like the director was having a psychotic break of some kind. Just not an Arnold movie. No way. And you know the rest of the cast, a good cast, only did this movie because they wanted to be in a movie with Arnold before he goes. Such a waste and a shame. I wish it was on none of their filmographies. People who enjoy this kind of expletive for expletive sake unnecessarily violent film are the bottom-dwellers. No doubt. Stay away if you have a brain at all.
Neighbors - In what universe does Rose Byrne marry Seth Rogen? Anyway, they’re assholes with a baby. And then supposedly bigger assholes, frat boys, move in next door. And what is supposed to be wackiness ensues but it’s just a silly neighbor war that only involves bad dancing at frat parties. And Seth “milks” Rose which is ridiculous. Couples with no taste who think they’re cute might enjoy this. Otherwise, I have no idea who would.
Divergent – I ended up heckling this on twitter as I watched it (via redbox). How dumb are the children who liked it? Right away it crapped out on it’s own rules. The test chooses which faction you belong to. 2 minutes later… No it doesn’t you can pick. Oh no, you’re divergent. But don’t tell anybody. Then she picks what she wants. Where’s the danger? There isn’t any. Oh new rule: if you suck and you’re last then you have to go live factionless. Which is bad because why? This movie ain’t gonna tell you. They look homeless but there’s enough of them to be their own faction so if they worked on it… What a suckass movie. Absolutely no point to it. All you realize is that both Shailene Woodley and Kate Winslet have a wonky eye.
Godzilla – Stupid. I wasn’t going to see it and then the commercials looked really good. I’m going to be avoiding even more movies because of this error. Next to no dialogue. The worst flashback wigs ever. And all Aaron Taylor Johnson did was turn around and look at things like half-incredulous/half-hungry. Just watch Pacific Rim instead. That had atrocious dialogue and bad acting but was miles and miles better. (5.20.2014)*
Merry Friggin’ Christmas – Hard to watch as Robin Williams should have been doing better movies. Especially at the end. On par with RV but I really didn’t pay close attention so I can’t do a real review. Putting it here because that’s where it probably would have been anyway, or worse. ^
Guardians of the Galaxy – It seemed extremely overhyped to me but I’m holding out the possibility that I’ve just gotten too old. Chris Pratt seems like a prick. I don’t like Zoe Saldana. But Benicio Del Toro has been my co-favorite actor for almost 20 years. I’m thinking I might need to re-evaluate my life. I have to give him bad marks as well. The emotional scene from the raccoon made me laugh. I thought the blue lady and her black stares were ridiculous. In fact I’d love to know what was wrong with everyone’s necks. Half the characters couldn’t moved them. Otherwise the jokes were too simple. I didn’t like the “awesome” soundtrack. I mean it just wasn’t for me one way or the other. I also in general don’t care when an orb or tesseract of some kind is in jeopardy. Some no name planet with people you’ve never seen will all die if they don’t find the whatchamacallit. Who cares? Anyway, I liked Groot. (8.1.2014)
A Million Ways to Die in the West – Well. I don’t know what he was going for but it missed. Being a modern male stuck in the Old West is a dumb idea in the first place. You had a great cast and great production values but why? I’m just puzzled. There was a point where Doogie poops in two hats for like 5 minutes and it felt like five hours. Why? Liam Neeson really should play a cowboy IN SOMETHING ELSE. All I have are question marks here. ^
Jersey Boys – It’s not the worst thing I‘ve ever seen but… I’m a huge fan of musicals and for some reason they are not getting them right. This may have been a problem of the stage production in this case. I wouldn’t know. I never understood why people would pay Broadway prices to see someone pretend to be Frankie Valli, when the real guy still tours and I’m sure the tickets are cheaper. But something was seriously wrong with it all the way through. I think Eastwood might have done what people always think you should do. Put the stage show on screen as is. Yeah, we know that doesn’t work now. I’m sure the guy playing Valli was fine on stage where you can’t really see him but he looked like Patrick Chan. It’s obvious a movie should have been made maybe 20 years ago starring Al Pacino. What’s not fair is that it gets the goodwill of the songs so people might think they liked it better than they did the way the abomination Mamma Mia unfairly benefitted from the greatness of ABBA.
Calvary – So people hate this priest guy for things other priests or God did. That’s pretty stupid. And they act on it. I got it out of the redbox because I heard it was supposed to be great but that’s all there was to it.
Pompeii – I liked it. It wasn’t great or insightful. I suppose they could have done more but it’s sword and sandal epic like you’d expect. Jon Snow and Mr. Eko made a good team. I just wish in these movies when people are fighting you could actually see the fight. I know it’s a cheat to move the camera around during hand to hand combat. I don’t know if it’s so it doesn’t look too violent or just in case they miss. But if they can spend all that money they can hire a fight choreographer and make it look cool. As odd as it may sound it’s actually Troy quality even though that had an amazing cast and should have been better. It’s like they can’t bother with the story in these films because you’re already supposed to know it. There was a girl in it for some reason and she was uninteresting. It would have been better if it was just the guys trying to escape the volcano after freeing themselves or something. (2.27.2014)
Enemy – I don’t know. It was well made but that ending just unraveled whatever I was thinking it was about. I’m not a big fan of symbolism. So watching a movie and then having to interpret it later is no fun in my book. I want to see what I’m seeing. So maybe this movie is for psycho-analysts. Jake was fine. Didn’t care about anyone else. The further away I got from seeing it the less I thought of it. ^
Magic in the Moonlight – It’s been a few days since I’ve seen it and it’s mostly forgotten. Firth and Stone make a terrible couple. I’m not a fan of hers anyway, but chemistry was definitely missing. Otherwise, it’s about an hour and a half of Colin Firth modeling clothes which really isn’t a bad thing. I also thought the love twist was unbelievable so that didn’t help. This will be going on the low end of my Woody Allen movies list.
Transcendence – Pretty good. Slightly boring though. The point is you can try to make a Christopher Nolan movie that Christopher Nolan isn’t directing but it’s not going to be the same. It brings up interesting questions I guess but it also tells you what to think. And then tacks on an extra ending which I think they should have left off. I do find it odd that a Wally Pfister directed movie looks so dark and sorta bleak for no reason. Like the cinematography was meh. Otherwise it was pretty good. I do predict that I’ll mostly forget about it and it will fall down the list we’ll see. (4.21.2014)
Boyhood – It’s really just a walk down memory lane for people who’ve raised children in the last two decades. Really there are just a lot of timestamps by way of Harry Potter midnight releases, pastel Apple computers, Britney Spears’ songs, etc. So pandering. So nothing really. It’s one thing to make a period film (difficult). It’s another to shoot a film throughout the period (easy). Otherwise it’s sort of day in the life type stuff about this “family” that didn’t really have anything interesting about them. Nothing of note happened to this kid or anyone else in the movie. Ethan Hawke is the only one who carried his character successfully through the years. The parts he wasn’t in were a chore to watch. I like Patricia Arquette. I think she’s a really good actress but there was almost nothing here. And there was some really bad acting mainly from the sister and the first step-father. It actually made me feel better about not having kids. Because they would have had similar lives in the shitty world of this timeframe. I don’t know what made critics unanimously claim this a masterpiece. Okay everybody grew older but that’s like what happens. That’s not a movie. I really wasn’t expecting to be this unimpressed. There were a couple of points when I thought maybe it was going to be something and then Ethan Hawke disappeared again. The most exciting thing in it was the appearance of Charlie Sexton, who I haven’t thought about since my girlhood. And the worst part is the last half an hour to 45 minutes is the kid being a pathetically philosophizing teenager. Yes that might be what happens, but who wants to sit through it? This will not be rewatched by me and most people, including those who supposedly think it’s brilliant. I’m sure of it. It’s like watching someone else’s boring home movies. ^
Ida – Well made. What’s great about it is the supporting actress Agata Kulesza. Otherwise you have a nunny nun acting like a nun. It’s black and white which is meant to evoke Nazis. Grey movies for bleak times. And she has not much of a decision to make. Before she makes it she has to “go on a journey” which doesn’t do much. She wasn’t changed by it from what I could tell. Honestly she seemed like a nothing person before and after. So apart from craftsmanship of the film, which is solid, there’s not much to see here. And I felt immediately like I’d seen it before. Want a better nun movie? Try The Nun’s Story.
The Drop – I really don’t know with this one. Firstly, it’s Brooklyn but most of the cast are foreigners. I love Tom Hardy but that whole idea started to bother me in a “they took our jobs” kinda way. I only just watched Rust and Bone last week and immediately recognized Matthias Schoenaerts from that which is weird because I don’t remember seeing him before at all. Then you have Noomi Rapace who is nothing like a Brooklyn girl. And I don’t think any of these people were supposed to be playing recent transplants. It seemed like they were meant to be homegrown but I could feel the not-Brooklyn-ness of them even if I almost bought Schoenaerts toward the end. You really got the feeling that you were watching some European’s idea of a Brooklyn movie based on other Brooklyn movies they’d seen instead of actually knowing anything about Brooklyn or its people. There was a weight missing to it. It was written by Dennis Lehane which just makes me wonder why it wasn’t set in Boston. But would it have mattered if they cast a bunch of Swedes or something? I don’t know. It was just off. Gandolfini was fine of course. So sad to have lost him. Killing Them Softly would have been a better send off for him. So anyway, the movie takes an unexpected turn and I’ll give them that, it was unexpected. But it just made me wish I’d liked everything that came before it better. Then I was like “was this supposed to be a romance?’' The whole last 20 minutes was me being confused about what kind of story I just watched. Who was the what and why was I supposed think or not think things and what was the moral of the story? I don’t even really know how to rate it so here it is.
Under the Skin – It’s different and good. It’s low position on this list isn’t about it’s quality. It just wasn’t exactly my thing. It’s pacing and lack of events is not really my cup of tcha. Scarlett does her job but it wasn’t a very demanding role. Except for the nakedness. Nobody can really do naked like Scarlett, but her costars all tried. It was an interesting story. Unfortunately for me I was spoiled beforehand. Perhaps I would have liked it better had that not happened. I’ll tell the truth, I’m not actually sure what it was trying to say, if it was trying to say something. It might not have been, which is fine also. And the fact that it didn’t feel the need to answer regular questions that come with a film like this is to be applauded. The answer to those questions is probably “none of your business” anyway. I know some people, especially the youngins, think that kind of ambiguity means that a film doesn’t make sense. They need their Whys answered. But you know, tough noogies.^
Noah – I liked it. I guess people can’t deal with reimagining the Bible but you know I’m sure the actual text has been reimagined quite a few times. I enjoyed it. I liked the fallen angels and what they did there. Ray Winstone shouldn’t be cast as much as he is. He’s not a good actor. I liked Noah’s convoluted struggle. It was well made. I don’t know. It was a creative endeavor not a film made by the Church for the Church. I thought it was fine. And Russell Crowe should really keep the long hair when he can. (8.1.2014) ^
The Expendables 3 – Let’s just get this out of the way. The young Expendables were completely useless. Otherwise the movie was pretty good. Randy Couture’s gravitas acting cracked me up quite a bit otherwise, you know the score. It gets shooty and stuff blows up. The coolest thing about it of course is seeing actors together who you’ve never seen together before. I like all the old guys and just wish we didn’t have to waste time on that new group. I think it would have made the film tighter and therefore better. I do hope there is an Expendables 4. Banderas seemed to take on his former Spanish movie self. Harrison Ford was great after he woke up and you knew that scene was coming. Mel was a good villain wish there was a little more of him. But all around it was a fun time.
Gone Girl - Surprised that this cast was as decent as they were. I’m giving credit to David Fincher for that. And you know he’s a really good director and he’s crafted a great noir here. I think people who didn’t like his lead character maybe aren’t familiar with noir. Women are really bad in them. That’s why they call them “femme fatales”. Fatale meaning something not good. lol My mom freaked on the bloody murder scene. We watch “Game of Thrones” so I don’t know for sure what the difference is. I think it’s the way Fincher made it really pop from the screen and how freaky the killer was at that point. Very visually striking, which to me is great, but I’m not squeamish either. So for me the greatness of this film is in the direction. That’s where I’d put a definite nomination.
St. Vincent – I really like a lot of it. But some of it was what they call ham-fisted. It does well to show situations happening to people right now. So if you’re a people you should find something to like in it. It’s sort of for the Philomena crowd, but it’s not a stupid movie. Bill Murray is a great guy but I don’t know why he bothered trying an accent. He pretty much dropped it after a while. The kid was good. McCarthy was fine. Naomi Watts needs a better agent or something. It’s not going to change the world or anything but it’s an interesting enough ‘day in the life’ type thing.
The Imitation Game – British. Very. Keira Knightley was the standout here. A nice story. It seemed extremely brief. They could have gone to the end of his life. That might have made it feel more complete. It seemed like it was wavering between being a movie specifically about breaking Enigma and a movie about Turing being gay. It tried to do both but then it’s like it straddled its own purpose. Was it a biopic or a movie about code breaking during the War? It can have all the same stuff in it if you do a biopic but then you’d need to end it with his death, which they didn’t do. If it was just about the code breaking they wouldn’t have needed the flashbacks to his younger days. Other than that it was fine, not great.
Snowpiercer – Pretty good. But some flaws knock it down. First obvious flaw was Octavia Spencer’s character was unnecessarily ghetto. Second the main villain should not have been played by that actor. I love the guy, but that character should have been British. In fact, John Hurt plays a role in this film and I thought he and the villain guy should have switched roles. But then I can’t remember Hurt ever playing a villain. Anyway the story is good, and ambitious. The movie itself is decidedly Korean although most of the cast are Westerners. Tilda Swinton continues to be a hoot. This woman needs a special award for consecutive years waving a freak flag. (7.4.2014)
Unbroken – At first, actually for most of it, it was just reminding me of other movies. Memphis Belle, Rescue Dawn, Empire of the Sun. Then I’m looking at Zamperini and his family and it hit me that Jack O’Connell doesn’t look remotely Italian. The actors playing his parents do, but he looks nothing like them either. He really really looked Scottish with that black black hair. Anyway this isn’t really a problem but then at one point he’s talking to his friends about his mother’s “knee-oki”. I’m thinking to myself, “What the hell is knee-oki?” Then I realized he was trying to say gnocchi. I was so dumbfounded by that mispronunciation that I couldn’t stop thinking about it for like half an hour. It’s not just an Italian word. Most Americans know how to pronounce gnocchi. Even people who’ve just seen movies with Italians in it know how to pronounce gnocchi. So the more I thought about it the more I realized that O’Connell and Jolie both must have not known, or she would have corrected it, but also that the rest of the crew kept mum. There’s no way none of them knew and they knew how that would stick out like a sore thumb. So I kinda think they wanted them to look stupid. Speaking of stupid. The dialogue. Super simplistic and made these soldiers look dumb as well. Just like Saving Private Ryan. Like all they know how to do is foreshadow and tell ethnic jokes. So I was side-eyeing this movie until this scene toward the very end. (spoilers) When he started lifting the plank over his head I was like ‘hang on… this might be something’ then later when he re-lifted it I was screaming in my head “Look him in the eye dammit! Look him in the eye!” (spoilers end) So that won me over. I don’t know how much of this was Jolie’s doing or her underlings but it was lovely to look at. Especially that Finn Wittrock. I noticed his gorgeous face in “The Normal Heart”. We’ll need to see him often. (1.1.2015)
Selma – Nice work by DuVernay. I had a really difficult time thinking Oyelowo was Dr. King. He was just so far off in looks and voice to start with but I thought by the end he’d really done the best job he could. So A for effort. One casting problem I had. Common. Every time I see him in a movie he just looks like he doesn’t belong. Like if Barney the purple dinosaur was standing next to Dr. King. Anyway, the song was great. lol The rest of the cast did fine. I thought it really was a great director’s vision type movie. You could see craftsmanship which I guess won’t matter if the boy movie wins BP, but the critics and their bitches in the awarding bodies have no taste at all. We’ll see if the Academy remembers who they are this year. This should be a nominee at least, along with Ms. Duvernay.
This Is Where I Leave You – First off does this ever happen in real life that you go home for a few days and that fixes everything? Anyway, it’s a 7/10 instead of an 8. But they did it to themselves. SPOILERS… I was with this movie until they made the mother a lesbian. I’m not saying they couldn’t have made her a lesbian but not in the middle of them stealing the brother fight from “Arrested Development”. Too much going on wrapped around itself. Life isn’t that convenient. Otherwise it was a really good movie. The cast was great. There was some interesting truisms about modern behavior. Well done. ^ (2.6.2015)
Begin Again - I thought it was cute actually. Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo made an oddly good mix. Not really a love affair but a really nice pairing. I think I would have like it better it ended differently but it was very good. It’s a musical which is great and I did like the song a lot. Knightley’s version. I think Adam Levine might have been typecast.
John Wick – Reminded me of The Terminator. A lot. It’s not SciFi though. So there’s that. Anyway, there’s a lot of shooting. Mostly with a handgun. And I would have like the movie that much better if he’d never picked up a machine gun. Like if that had been his thing. Because honestly, he didn’t need it. Keanu was great in the role and I’m so glad they shot him from below to show his stature. He’s a tall drink of water. as they say. The whole film was incredibly stylish. So it’s a super stylish shoot ‘em up. Very slick, which I enjoy. If I have a complaint it’s the older villain. I don’t know where they got him from but he was too much. It needed more Alfie Allen too. ^ (2.6.2015)
Get on Up – Really good. Had I made a James Brown movie I probably would have gone more serious and involved more of his background stuff but that would have taken 5 hours at least. This is more like a Disney production, which isn’t a bad thing if you get my meaning. It’s sort of close to What’s Love Got To Do With It I guess. Chadwick Boseman was great even if he looks nothing like James Brown. And the weird thing is when he plays older James Brown they decided to put old makeup on that made him look like James Brown but for the rest of the movie he didn’t. IDK. The rest of the cast was great although I don’t remember if poor Sistah Girl had one line. I liked this Nelsan Ellis guy but I kept thinking he looked like Mike Damone from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. All in all a good film.
The Grand Budapest Hotel – All my favorite faces. It’s a quirkier movie than I would have expected. Maybe not as profound as The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou or The Darjeeling Limited but entertaining nonetheless. And still sweet of course. But I feel like you have to get behind the effort that went into this. Maintaining that style and vision throughout a career and carrying on with it. It’s like the films are their own anthology. And I’m happy for that with what we usually get from directors whose names we don’t know but they’re cashing all the big checks making forgettable slop. Everyone was great in it. Can’t really imagine anyone hating on it.
The Immigrant – I don’t know why I didn’t write about this one before. Anyway I love these three people. But besides that this is a great film about one woman’s ordeal coming to this country and how her beauty just Fs everything up. Their performances are top notch as is the direction. Don’t ask me why it was buried. I only recently watched it on Netflix. Should have been in the Oscar race but this was such a stupid Oscar season that maybe it’s better that it wasn’t. ^
American Sniper – Another solid Eastwood film. I’ve really liked his movies over the last decade. Mostly. This movie was basically a character study and Bradley Cooper did a great job. You could forget it was him. There’s not much to say about the other actors because they were mostly there to support Cooper. The film was really tight. It looked great. Everything was clear, concise. It deserves its nomination and I’d be happy if it beat the gimmick movie.
Nightcrawler – Interesting. It’s Jake being really un-Jake. At least I think so. He always seems the exact opposite in interviews. Although, maybe this is the real him and that guy is fake. Anyway, it’s well made. It’s not stylish or anything to make you want to love it. But the story and Jake’s portrayal of this depravedly indifferent individual really draw you in. He basically is career-minded. But it’s a career he hadn’t thought of until he happened upon it. And he sees it as a way to make something of himself. And he’s extremely determined. And he uses people as is necessary to get there. It’s all very business-like and cold. His similarly big-eyed co-star is great as the coitadinho along for the ride. It’s definitely worth the watch and it’d be great if Jake was recognized.
Blue Ruin – Holy crap that blonde actress at the end. I love seeing stuff like that. Anyhow, really well done small movie. I like how it looked just like normal people with the old furniture and old family albums and everything. If you like your low budget revenge pictures you should like it. Not much to say without getting to the plot. I saw it knowing nothing. So should you.^ (1.1.2015)
Edge of Tomorrow – Really really good. Smarter than I expected. Yeah it builds on the Groundhog Day idea, but it’s a great idea that can be done over and over again. I‘m glad for Cruise and just wish it was a bigger hit. This adds to my theory that the millennials are not as keen on Sci-Fi as we were.
The Equalizer – Really great actually. I regret not seeing it sooner. There were some cheesy Russian villians. I guess we’re in a new age of cheesy Russian villains. Now their gangsters instead of commies. Anyway, it was a great installment in the revenge genre if you’re into that sort of thing. I am. Denzel still acts like himself even if this technically against type. Hit-girl does a nice job as the damsel in distress. Watch if you haven’t but I assume you beat me to it.
Locke – really good. It’s all on Tom Hardy if you don’t know. He’s just driving and talking on the phone the whole time but it’s great. I knew nothing when I saw it so I’m not going to spoil anything, but you have to be a really good actor to pull that off. And of course he did. ^
Kill the Messenger – Can we talk about Jeremy Renner’s hair in this? Amazing. Anyway I didn’t really know this story. Of course I would have liked it to end differently but you can’t fudge a true story that much. I think this is a film people need to see right now but sometimes I wonder if people even worry about getting the message anymore. Because I’m strange I thought it would be a great double feature with Disco Godfather, but don’t do that. I’m crazy. I don’t think it had much of a wide release if it did. Shame.
The Lego Movie – Everything is awesome! Yeah sorry. I did end up loving that song. lol Anyway I cannot for the life of me understand how kids will like this movie. It’s made for Gen X. How will the youngins get the references? Anyway, if you get the references it’s hilarious and smart and it’s even got messages that are bigger than a message you’d expect in a movie about Legos. No way to talk about it without spoiling. I feel bad that I waited for the redbox. It was really good. ^
X-Men: Days of Future Past – Woohoo!! Thank goodness Brian Singer is back. Great director back home where he belongs. X2 had been my favorite superhero movie for a long time, until The Dark Knight came out and Godfathered the genre. So the quality of the direction is what puts this up there with Cap which might be a better “movie” in terms of the story and all that. There was a little too much Mystique kicking people in the head and I’m going to start a foundation to stop James McAvoy’s two fingers-to-temple psychic acting. It’s so silly. I just want to slap him. But the direction was so majestic that as I’m sitting in the theater trying to switch it to a 9, I couldn’t. Especially with that perfect ending. I had to keep it as a 10. Hugh Jackman can’t sing for shit, but that is a perfect body. And kudos to him for realizing he needed to commit it to celluloid once more before it all goes south. One thing I found weird. I thought Halle Berry wasn’t going to have any lines. Anyway, the Dink is the villain in the 70s. And let me just say everyone looked super groovy in their threads. Honestly, I’m fairly certain I’ve seen all the X-men movies, recently watching the second crap Wolverine one just in case, but I was still lost. And with timelines and whatnot, I don’t even know. But who cares? I love not knowing what’s going on with timelines. That’s what repeat viewings are for later on. Once I see it again, which should be the fall, lol, I’ll add on. For now, a return to form for the X-Men and Mr. Singer. Finally rewatched it. It’s not confusing at all. I liked the threads even more this time and I liked Mystique constantly kicking everyone even less. I still don’t understand how the chick is throwing doorways and what is that? The past? A storage unit? And I don’t know who the brimstone guy is. I liked Fassbender’s Magneto more than McKellen’s this time. Whoops. I’m moving this up. (12.27.2014)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Excellent. The CGI is just astounding. Never seen anything like it. There is a scene where they are out in the nighttime San Francisco fog and their hair is blowing in the breeze, it was so realistic I swore I could feel the fog hitting my cheeks. Again I did not see this film in 3D, I can only imagine what it would have been like if I had. But CGI does not a masterpiece make. Great storytelling and acting and overall execution do and this has it all. It should be nominated for Best Picture and I would not be surprised if Andy Serkis was nominated for Best Actor. I thought it was fantastic that they clearly meant for the audience to understand that Andy Serkis is the lead actor by making his name the first in the credits. Jason Clarke’s role is definitely supporting although he is the lead human male but the humans really are just the supporting cast here. That’s clear. This is the story of the apes and the beginnings of their rule of Earth. (7.27.2014)
The Two Face of January – Really liked it. It was like a Brian De Palma movie that Brian De Palma didn’t make. It’s noirish but I’m not sure you can call it that. It’s not exactly a mystery either. But it feels like one. Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst play husband and wife and at first you’re like “Really?” because gorgeous as he is he’s just too old for her. But that’s sort of the point here, I think, so it’s fine. She’s a good actress as well. Anyway they’re up to something, or he is. Then Oscar Isaac gets involved and he’s up to something. Maybe. lol I liked it. I liked the way it ended even if I didn’t get it at first. Wish it had had a wide release.
Chef – I really really liked it. Jon Favreau is a chef in a restaurant where he doesn’t control the menu. But he doesn’t want to take other people’s advice and do something else. Then he gets into a twitter war with a food critic and it sends the plot into action. I really enjoyed it. Some people complained about twitter like it was product placement. They don’t know what they’re talking about because this is what happens on social media. I thought it was insightful and timely to have that in there. What the movie evolves into is a story about friends and family and people helping each other out to do what they should be doing and to realize their dreams. It’s such a great ensemble cast. I can’t believe I didn’t know most of those people were in it. So you shouldn’t either. What a great surprise this was.^ (1.1.2015)
Into the Woods – Great. I was very skeptical about Streep’s and Depp’s singing because they’ve not been that great at it before. They were fine. And Streep was necessary I think. That sort of acting power was great in her big dress scene. I’m not familiar with the musical and I stink at remembering fairy tales, which is why I’m always lost during “Once Upon a Time”. I wonder if people won’t be fairy-taled out and opt for something else at a super crowded Christmas release. But they should get around to it. The story takes a sharp left turn and there is a noticeable difference in tone. When it did I kind of had to sort things out for a minute. I don’t know if they cut things but I was expecting a little more story from several characters. But what’s there is great. That’s how it should be, leaving you wanting more. Chris Pine was very good. Anna Kendrick’s role was smaller than I thought somehow. I really liked Rapunzel and her boyfriend. Emily Blunt was the surprise for me. Had no idea she was such a good singer. And the guy who stole Craig Ferguson’s job was there. I liked it quite a bit. If the soundtrack was
if I wasn’t cheap I would have bought it. (I did. It’s in the mail. lol)
Birdman- Everyone was right. It’s really great. Love the technique Alejandro González Iñárritu used. No one else could have played this part. Keaton has always been great. I’m glad he’s getting the recognition now. The whole cast was wonderful. Somehow the way he shot him made Edward Norton look attractive. Explain that one. Anyway, I’m not a fan of Emma Stone but she sold that last scene so I have to give her credit. I believe it was real. I don’t want to spoil anything. You guys have probably seen it already anyway, but I really enjoyed it. It’s not going to be my favorite of the year, but I’m fine with it winning BP if it does.
Lucy – I’m SHOCKED at how much I liked this. You expect going into something like this that you’ll have to do your fair share of suspending disbelief. But I didn’t. I don’t know maybe it moved fast enough that I didn’t have to pay attention but I think I did and I think it made sense. Because it’s fiction and it’s made up so if you don’t know that it could happen you also don’t know that it couldn’t. I went with it and loved it. It was cool beyond cool. You know how Asians do. And I swear they scoured the earth for the least attractive French people they could find but you can see from me saying that that it’s international which is another gold star in my book. (spoilerishish) I liked the idea in Phenomenon quite a bit and was sad at that outcome but although this was sort of going that same way there was just too much to be happy about. I tell you truly that I cried when Lucy met Lucy. I used to work in AMNH and I used to pass the Lucy exhibit almost everyday. That was truly a moment imo. I don’t know, what can I say? I love to think that this is possible. I’ll go ahead and give a shout-out to Limitless from a few years back which I also liked. I’m disgruntled most days because of how much we humans haven’t done. We’re so completely retarded compared to where we should be. It makes me sad every day. This movie made me very happy. Go Scarlett!!! (saw it today 7.29.2014)
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – It’s not a stand alone film. It’s just not. So it’s hard to know what to do with it. It’s incomplete, from the front, but the quality, the showmanship, is unsurpassed. Peter Jackson should be given some kind of Nobel Prize for filmmaking. What he’s done for us as a people I can’t believe anyone else will come close to again. So here’s the rub. I haven’t watched the Desolation of Smaug since last year in the theaters. I realized how stupid that was as I was sitting through the previews. Here’s my thought process watching the film…”Oh shoot… what happened again…yup Smaug I know him…who’s this kid… oh hey handsome….right, he’s got to shoot at him….God is he handsome….what, that’s it… now what happens…what happened in the animated one...wow he really makes Legolas look like a bag of hammers… lol Kate…. I’d love to reclaim him for the females of Earth…” Here’s my issue with the film. I don’t think Richard Armitage was the right guy to carry these movies. He doesn’t have “it”. Martin Freeman was absolutely the right choice. That I would never have guessed and he almost gets the Viggo treatment of barely being in the last movie of his trilogy. I never thought there was enough King in Return of the King. Same here with Bilbo. Too too much dwarves and I never figured out which one was which. Of the dwarf actors, I only remember James Nesbitt and he was really not used in this. So I’m complaining here but it’s because it can’t stand alone. I do think it should have been two. The Desolation of Smaug and the Battle of the Five Armies should have been one film. If they were you would have had awards talk, I think. I really think Martin Freeman should have been nominated at least. I said it after the first one. But these movies get the shaft anyway, so when you stretch it out like this, you’re not helping your own cause status-wise. But it is part of another masterpiece. Its problem is that its predecessor trilogy are the greatest movies ever made. Great in every sense of the word. This trilogy won’t be recognized, because BOFA seems like the weakest of its three films. It’s not but it’s truncated and you need a recap before it. Not fair, but they made this mess. The Hobbit, as a whole, is anything but a mess. It’s extraordinary. But both trilogy’s best film was the first.
Inherent Vice – I need to see it again. It was complicated and there was a lot of mumbling. It wasn’t an acting choice. Phoenix just seems to do that now. But anyway, I really liked it. Once I understand it better my fairly certain I’ll be able to say I love it. First thought is that I wish there were more scenes with Joaquin, Benicio, and Josh. I thought there was a great chemistry there. I also wonder if there were a lot of cut scenes. It was a long movie but I still felt like some information was left out although that could have been intentional. It was very groovy and I’m sad that it got released so late. But then again maybe the critics didn’t understand it enough to allow it into Oscar talk. People, real people, are going to love it when they see it. I’m sure of it.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier - I love these Cap movies. I liked the first more but still this was great. And when people are fighting in this movie you can actually see the fight. YAY! Now I’m going to be spoiled and intolerant of the shakycam hand-to-hand combat I know I’m going to have to put up with in lesser films. But in this movie when they connect, they connect. Rocky I & II fo sho. Chris Evans is really great as Cap and I can’t imagine anyone else in the role now. He totally gets what Captain America stands for. He’s almost a straighter arrow than Superman. Even his posture is perfect. Seriously watch him walk in this movie. lol Love the entire cast. Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, and Frank Grillo are people I love anyway so that only adds to an already awesome film. The plot gave me hope honestly, because the world is a very dirty place and this movie tells it in a superhero way but hopefully people will find their inner Cap and rise up. And we have to give a shout-out to Robert Redford and Jenny Agutter. Old home week for the win! :D You know they cast Redford because had it been back in the day he would have played Captain America and that means something plotwise if you read between the lines, in my opinion. I’ve seen it twice in the theater in 2D. I’m mostly skipping 3D this year. Hopefully I learned that lesson after the hot mess that was 2013. I’m moving this up. I just rewatched it this weekend and I gave some other movies too much credit. This was a 10/10. (1.6.2015)
Interstellar – Well. I think it’s his masterpiece. Even if it’s not my favorite Nolan film. Far from it actually. But this is how much better he is than everyone else. He can make a movie that you have to acknowledge its greatness even if it’s not hitting the perfect notes for you. Which isn’t to say there was anything I didn’t like. I loved it. I just love some of his other movies more. It reminds me of E.T. I love that movie. It means all kinds of things about my childhood. It has that same event feeling that E.T. did if you can remember. But E.T. is also not on my short list of favorite movies. But it marks a moment in time and I believe this will too. The story is heavy but great. You really have to pay attention. Matthew McConaughey is great again. Hathaway does just fine. The supporting cast do well. But my favorite characters are two robots, especially TARS. This reminds me of old school 70s Sci-fi like Silent Running, which was ripped off by Wall-E. I don’t think that’s just me. I thought Nolan was going for the old look. I think he wanted there to be weight to it. I think the ships they used look like the Imperial Shuttle and I swear I saw Vader’s tie fighter in there somewhere. I’m starting to think Nolan and I are cut from the same cloth except his piece is way smarter somehow. I hope he and it are rewarded come Oscar time but I highly doubt it.
Exodus: Gods and Kings in 3D – I loved it. I thought it was perfect really. I don’t waste my time getting offended. At this point in my life I just can’t understand people who do. So most of the hate coming at this film is because of the casting. If they want to be prejudiced against a movie they haven’t seen, so be it. We went through that with Cloud Atlas. I thought the performances from Bale and Edgerton were electrifying. I actually rooted for both Moses and Ramses. It’s about brothers really and faith. It reworks the events of the Bible to make them more realistic but at no time should it interfere with anyone’s religious beliefs. (spoilers) Unless you have a problem with God appearing as a child, which if you do, you’re probably the problem. You know the story but this is an epic action movie version of these events, that are grounded in reality without losing its spirituality. It was amazing in 3D but I don’t think it’s necessary.
*************** = barrier between movies I liked to some degree and those I found unnecessary
* = The dates I’m writing are not necessarily the day I saw the movie, but the day I wrote the comment.
^ = watched at home