Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Top Ten Worst Films of 2014...

Oscar season is in full swing, and 2014 has come to its close. In many ways, it’s both a blessing and a curse. The end of the year towards the first half of January finally gives us a chance to witness many of the year’s best and most anticipated films, usually the raved Oscar heavyweights. However, it also usually yields some truly horrendous new releases as well. But January isn’t the only month we get some truly awful films. For every Birdman, there will also be a Left Behind. For every How to Train Your Dragon 2, there’s a Planes: Fire and Rescue. So, like I did, last year, I’m counting down the worst 2014 films I saw, but rather than five, I’m increasing this year’s slate to ten to unleash some bottled up negativity on these awful movies.

I saw a total of about 74 films this year, and while I don’t consider 2014 to be a bad year for movies, compared to last year’s slate of releases, it had by far less variety, overloaded by sequels and the like (even those that I liked), so much so that a movie where Seth Rogen shoves a tracer up his butt is now part of American history. In spite of what wholly original films I saw, it also yielded just as many that were vile and insulting. Keep in mind that I haven’t seen some reportedly horrible titles like Left Behind, Sex Tape, God’s Not Dead, The Legend of Hercules, Quija, Grace of Monaco, or Exodus: Gods and Kings (Because I’d prefer to see something I might actually enjoy), so this is limited exclusively to my worst experiences.

Not quite making it on this list is The Expendables 3, a mildly fun movie that unfortunately lacks any of the same spark and witty chemistry that made the first two films enjoyable. Also just missing out is the Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a generally inoffensive and harmless movie, but is too overly rushed and underdeveloped to recommend. This is Where I Leave You had a charming and A-Game cast all across the board, but saddled them with thoroughly mediocre characterizations and dialogue, as well as a wildly undisciplined tone. The Amazing Spiderman 2 suffered from an overload of subplots and characters, highlighting obvious interference from Sony, and saved only by the chemistry of its two leads. Meanwhile, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever may not have gotten a theatrical release, but is such a bizarre and nonsensical movie that, oddly enough, I think you should check out to believe.

As for the real top ten, I’ve not had the “honor” of reviewing most of them, so this list will also act as a review page for them.

With that said, let’s begin.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My last reviews of the year 2014...

With the year over, and the Oscar season in full swing, I didn’t have much time to make many more full reviews. So, in my spare time, I’ve managed to jot down some write ups for some films I finally got the chance to get around to (many of which I watched simply because of said Oscar season). They’re all quite brief, but I hope you enjoy reading them.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Brief thoughts on American Sniper.

In Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, whenever Chris Kyle (played here by Bradley Cooper) stares down the scope of a sniper rifle, it always leaves you holding your breath for so many reasons. Whether it be questioning what it means to take a life, or knowing that split second hesitations will result in the fatalities of close allies and friends, and eventually how the weight of these burdens can carry long-term trauma to one’s state of mind. For that reason, it’s no understatement that American Sniper, the recent recipient of six Academy Award nominations, is one of the most intense and suspenseful movies of the year.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Top five Oscar nominations wishlist.

Tomorrow at 8:30 AM, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce their nominations for the best achievements in film of 2014. For the first time in their history, the Academy will be announcing all 24 categories at once, and man, are we all excited for it!

Recently, expert Oscar predictors have released what they think will be nominated in all the categories, and some have even released wish lists for films that they wish to see nominated.

In light of this, I decided to do the same thing, and give you my top five nominations I want to see most. I only have a couple of rules for how I went through with this.

1) The film must not be a longshot (ie. a performance from Ida getting in), and must have some legitimate chance at making it in.
2) The wish list cannot include any guaranteed locks.
3) The wish list cannot have any one film receiving more than one slot.

With that said, here’s my list.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Brief thoughts on Selma.

This will likely be my last major review of a 2014 release, while some smaller reviews will be posted in a collection later on.

The year was 1965 when Martin Luther King Jr. led the march from Selma to Montgomery in the state of Alabama, in a campaign for African-American men and women to have equal voting rights. In that period of time, tensions were heated, blood was shed, and in the end, justice ultimately prevailed.

And yet, in spite of the progression and much more welcoming environment in the years since, when we really reanalyze the words of Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, how close have we actually come to fully realizing the equality he wanted all men to have? This is merely one of the many fascinating aspects present in Ava DuVernay’s Selma, a biographical film of the historical march, and hands down one of the greatest and most searing films of the year.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Double Review: Unbroken and Into the Woods.

With Oscar season in full steam recently, I’ve been able to get around to a few new titles (and hope to get around to some more) vying for awards attention. Today, I’ll be reviewing Angelina Jolie’s World War 2 drama Unbroken, and Disney’s big release of the holiday season Into the Woods. Hope you enjoy reading my thoughts on them.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies movie review.

“We came all this way, but now comes the day to bid you farewell.” So sings Billy Boyd during the end credits song “The Last Goodbye” from Peter Jackson’s final installment of The Hobbit trilogy, The Battle of the Five Armies.

After having been witness to so many hardships alongside the characters of the Middle Earth saga, it’s quite bittersweet to finally say goodbye to this world. However, you could also argue that it’s just as appropriate to wish it good riddance.

Ever since the departure of original director, Guillermo Del Toro, and after the decision to extend the films to three rather than the originally envisioned two, this trilogy has received a non-negligible number of criticisms for its excessive context and bloated running times, a steep contrast to the simplicity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s original book. Seen as a greedy attempt at recreating the success of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it’s one of numerous adaptations guilty of this sin. I once made a statement in my review of The Desolation of Smaug that my thoughts were so similar to An Unexpected Journey that I could copy and paste most of my original thoughts verbatim. With The Battle of the Five Armies, I feel like I could just as easily do so, for much of what worked and didn’t work in the previous films are also present here.