Saturday, February 6, 2016
Hail, Caesar! is a movie that is set in the 1950's and is essentially about a day in the life of a film studio back in the day. This is not a true story of an actual studio or movie. All the names of actors, directors, movies, studios, etc. are completely fictional, but there are a lot of parallels to the actual 1950's with the types of movies and situations with the actors and whatnot. Thus the movie is an homage to old film, which is cool. There are several movies within this movie that are followed, the main one being Hail, Caesar!, a biblical epic that tells the story of the life of Christ from the vantage point of a Roman soldier. They are almost finished filming this movie when the lead actor gets drugged and kidnapped. This is the story that was advertised a lot in the trailers and thus I thought the movie was going to be an uptempo, comedic thrill ride where some of the cast and crew go on a big search to get their star back. No, this is not really the case. Comedic, yes. Uptempo? No. Thrill ride? No. This is actually a slow, drawn-out movie where the tone is all over the place and the focus doesn't really seem to be there. In fact, we bounce around quite a bit showing several different movies that are in the process of being made and the central character is a guy who is head of the studio and is trying to juggle a whole bunch of things, both with his work and with his personal life.
I don't want to just totally tear this movie apart, so lets start with the good. The look of the movie was very good. Being that this was an homage to old film, this definitely had the look and feel of an older movie. The color schemes in the movie were great as were the costume designs and set designs. It felt like I was watching an old 50's movie. On top of that, the great Roger Deakins was out cinematographer and he was great as always. There were a lot of great shots in this film and great camera work. Some of the edits in the movie were a little jolting, but overall all the technical aspects of this movie were spot on and this was a well-designed movie. I was also completely glued in to the first half of the movie. I loved the fact that we were watching a film about a film. We would be watching a scene that felt like it was an actual movie from the 50's and then we heard the directors voice and suddenly we noticed that we were on a set. This was a lot of fun. Then the directors would give advice to the actors or the actors would forget a line or mess up somehow. Then we jumped to another movie set and did the same thing. Or we would cut to Josh Brolin's character, who was the head of the studio and we saw him doing a bunch of behind the scenes work to make sure everything is running smoothly. It started off a lot of fun.
From a fairly young age, I was taught the format that stories follow. This is like basic English class stuff with that bell curve and all? We get introduced to our characters, then some sort of conflict begins. This leads to the rising action and at the peak of the curve is our climax. Then we get the falling action followed by the resolution and end stuff. I'm botching all of that terminology, but hopefully you have that picture in your head. I didn't feel like Hail, Caesar! followed that. Instead of the movie being like a bell curve, it felt like a straight line that was going for a while and just abruptly stopped. I sat there during the end credits and during the drive home feeling like I missed something. Like there's some sort of deeper meaning and hidden story within the story. I didn't find that. I don't know what the point of the movie was. I couldn't find any real strong themes. What was the goal of the Coen Brothers with this film? What were they trying to say? I really don't know. Some movies you do have to watch once or twice to fully understand things. I get that. Maybe if I watch it again, then I will pick up on more things or I'll discover a new movie within the movie. I don't know. Right now I just feel confused. Not at the plot. I know exactly what happened. I'm just confused at what the point of this movie is.
I'm not going to call this a bad movie. It isn't. The movie is an homage to old film and that I thought was cool. The cast in this movie is huge and they all do a great job. Most of the cast, like Scarlett Johansson and Jonah Hill, felt more like cameos, but still. Their segments were good. The three main actors that we actually followed were Josh Brolin, George Clooney, and Alden Ehranreich. They all were great. The comedy was fantastic as there were several laugh-out-loud scenes. All the technical aspects of the movie were spot on. So there's a lot to love. But as a whole, I don't know what the point of this movie was. I couldn't find a solid theme or a purpose for the movie. It just felt like a day in the life of an old 1950's film studio with little substance and I kinda found it boring. Honestly this is exactly how I felt about Inside Llewyn Davis. I felt that movie was just a week in the life of a struggling 60's folk singer with little substance. Yet some people called that movie the best movie of 2013 and one of the best this decade. So perhaps I'm missing something with this movie. Maybe I need to spend more time thinking about it. Maybe I need to watch it once or twice more. I fully admit that. Perhaps my opinion will change over time, but initially my grade for the movie is a 6.5/10.
Thursday, February 4, 2016
February 5th - 7th-
It wouldn't be February without a romance drama would it? Even better, a Nicholas Sparks movie? This year's edition is The Choice, which is the 11th Nicholas Sparks movie. They started with A Message in a Bottle in 1999 and have been almost an annual thing since 2010. I don't need to really tell you what the movie is about. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl experience a falling out that almost causes their relationship to end. Boy and girl overcome whatever problem and live happily ever after. That accurately describes every Nicholas Sparks romance drama ever made. The difference is the leader actors and a slight variation in the setup. This year's boy and girl are Benjamin Walker and Teresa Palmer. Typically these movies have had a good track record at the box office, especially the ones that actually get released around Valentine's Day. But the last two have actually completely bombed. Are people finally getting tired of these movies or is a resurgence in store this month?
Speaking of romance dramas, arguably the most popular movie or book in the genre is Pride and Prejudice. Most girls you talk to know and love this story and for good reason. This month the story is back on the big story. This time around there's a huge twist, though. All you have to do is look at the title to know what it is: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. This comes from the same author that penned Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and is another ridiculous action comedy that will obviously appeal more towards the male gender than the female gender. Do females really want to see a movie that adds zombies to their beloved story? Targeting males this weekend does pose two major problems. The first is that most guys will be preoccupied with Super Bowl 50 this Sunday, which will affect this movie much more than the other two this weekend as people don't necessarily rush out to see a Coen Brothers film on opening weekend and a Nicholas Sparks movie appeals more to teenagers and females. The other problem is that the male audience are probably much more interested in next weekend's Deadpool than this. At the same time, though, this does have a built in audience because of the book which could give it a chance to beat out the other two this weekend.
February 12th - 15th-
The weekend's second release is another highly anticipated movie and that is Zoolander 2. Looking at the numbers, it might not seem like a Zoolander sequel is a great idea. Zoolander only made $45 million at the box office, it's been 15 years since it's release, and reviews weren't that great in the first place. However, since its release Zoolander has become a bit of a cult classic as its audience has grown quite a bit in the last 15 years. So a sequel actually does make sense and many people are excited. It will definitely have competition from Deadpool, but the movies are different enough that they both should play well. The whole crew is back for this sequel as Ben Stiller is on as director and star again and Will Ferrell and Owen Wilson join him as co-stars. There's also several newcomers to the cast as well as a huge list of big cameos that should make this a very fun outing for Zoolander fans.
The final release of the weekend is a very timely comedy called How to Be Single. Valentine's Day is usually a great day for people that have a significant other, but it can be a depressing day for those who are single. Hollywood always gives movies around this time for the former, but rarely is there a movie that panders to the latter, which is what this comedy is. It's a comedy that where a bunch of people need to learn how to be single in a world with a constantly changing definition of love. This is a premise that could work very well, but yet it is a raunchy comedy that is definitely targeted towards adults and not teenagers, which could limit its potential on this Valentine's Day weekend. Raunchy comedies do have a good track record as of late and this has a great cast led by Rebel Wilson, Dakota Johnston, and Leslie Mann, all of whom are fairly popular as of late. It just has a lot of competition to fight through, so we'll see how this all shapes up.
February 19th - 21st-
Next up we get a biopic of a very important figure in sports history. Race tells the story of track and field legend Jesse Owens as he competed in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. He was a black athlete competing on the world stage during Hitler's reign in Nazi Germany. A few years back, the movie 42 was another sports biopic tackling similar themes as it told the story of baseball legend Jackie Robinson. That movie played very well both with critics and at the box office, so there is potential here. Although sports dramas of late haven't been the biggest box office drama. Disney struggled to find an audience with both Million Dollar Arm and McFarland, USA despite positive reviews, the latter being released at this same exact time last year. We'll see if Focus Features can have better luck here with Race.
And finally, we have a horror movie that wowed audiences at Sundance in January of 2015 and that is The Witch. Getting praise at Sundance doesn't always equate to huge box office numbers, though. Last year's other big Sundance hits, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Dope, only earned $6.8 million and $17.5 million respectively. Brooklyn was another big Sundance hit from 2015 and even with a few huge Oscar nominations (best picture and best actress), it's only managed to get to $30.8 million. Most general audiences won't see The Witch as a Sundance hit they need to see. They'll just see it as another horror movie and with so many being released recently, it might be hard for The Witch to find an audience, especially with no name brand attached to it. Last month The Forest and The Boy both barely cracked $10 million in their opening weekends. If The Witch can get to that mark, that'll be a win. It'll have to rely on positive word of mouth to earn its money, which could be the case. This is a horror movie that goes back to witchcraft in New England in the 1600's, which isn't your typical backdrop for a horror movie these days.
February 26th - 28th-
Speaking of sports dramas, we have two in two weeks this month as Eddie the Eagle hits theaters a week after Race does. Neither seems to be in for a super box office run, but Eddie the Eagle seems to be the lesser of the two as it's a movie about Great Britain's first ski jumper, Michael "Eddie" Edwards, to enter the winter Olympics. It's a much less intriguing story than Jesse Owens running in the Olympics during Nazi Germany. How many people interested in a movie about a ski jumper? On the flip side, though, what the movie does have going for it is the cast. Taron Egerton broke out in a huge way last February as he starred in Kingsman: The Secret Service. He plays the lead role of Eddie in this movie. He'll have Hugh Jackman as a co-star, which also helps. Although it remains to be seen if Egerton can be a box office draw after just one huge hit and Jackman isn't immortal when it comes to the box office as he starred in two huge duds last year in Chappie and Pan. Fox did purchase a Super Bowl spot to advertise this movie, so they're certainly hoping for the best.
As our final wide release of the month, we have the crime thriller Triple 9. This movie boasts quite the big cast which includes, but is not limited to, Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Woody Harrelson, and Kate Winslet. Triple 9 is a heist movie where a gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan to murder a certain police officer in order to pull off a huge heist. A lot of craziness will ensue with double-crossing, revenge, and greed playing a huge role it what will be quite the action-packed movie. Adults wanting a straight-up action movie don't have a whole ton of options this month, so with this premise in mind added to the loaded cast, this one has the potential to become a bit of a sleeper hit. But potential is the big word there. A lot of action movies, especially ones with a strong rating, come and go without being noticed, especially when it comes to the beginning of the year. Something like Kingsman: The Secret Service is more of the exception than the rule and Triple 9 seems to be targeting even more of a niche audience, which will definitely limit it's potential.
Netflix is becoming even bigger right now as straight-to-Netflix is becoming a popular platform to release both new TV shows and new movies. Thus it's definitely worth mentioning the straight-to-Netflix release Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny as the final movie this month. Recently TV shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones became huge Netflix releases. Fuller House is an example of another highly anticipated TV show that will be debuting on Netflix this month. On the movie front, Beasts of No Nation is an example of a major movie that debuted on Netflix at the end of last year and was thought to be a huge Oscar contender (although it got completely snubbed). This year there will be several movies debuting on Netflix as both Netflix and Amazon were at the Sundance Film Festival this past month purchasing movies. A sequel to the huge 2000 hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon has been in talks for a while now and recently the Weinstein Company made a deal to release the sequel on Netflix. The initial idea was to release it in IMAX theaters in addition to Netflix, but a lot of theaters dropped out of that. It still might get a small theatrical release, but the streaming service release is the big draw here. Different director and mostly different cast with this sequel, but it does bring back star Michelle Yeoh, so there is a connection there.
Saturday, January 30, 2016
The Kung Fu Panda franchise has done an amazing job at finding the perfect balance between action, comedy, and emotion that is great for both kids and adults. The idea of a bumbling panda becoming a kung fu master is a really silly, yet hilarious premise. At the same time, it packs a huge emotional punch as we learn in the first movie that the secret to becoming special is believing in yourself. Whatever goal you have in life, if you believe you can achieve that goal and then work hard to achieve it, that goal can be reached. What a great message! Then we learn in the second movie that your past doesn't have to determine your present or your future. Another great message! Now speaking of the past, this third movie is out to teach another great lesson and it uses Po's past to set this up. If you remember the end of the second movie, we get the tease that Po's real father is still out there and is living in a thriving panda village. That clued us in early that they had an idea in mind for the third movie long before it actually was released. Five years later, that's the exact premise he goes with. Po's biological father shows up and Po goes to this panda village to learn a new lesson and prepare to stop our new villain, one that is more powerful and dangerous than any other villain we've seen in this universe so far.
In addition to the brilliant look of his character and the well-written backstory, what seals the deal for Kai is J.K. Simmons' fantastic voice acting because this character just sounds like a scary beast that you don't want to mess with. We learned in Whiplash that J.K. Simmons is excellent at being scary as he played the band teacher from Hell in that movie and that definitely carries over in this movie. Thus he is able to carry this movie on his back and make it a fantastic ride as he just terrorizes the whole country. Not even Master Shifu or the Furious Five is a match for this guy. Adding to his power is that once he defeats someone, he is able to turn them into jade zombies of themselves and use them to fight on his side, thus in addition to his own strength, he has an army of former heroes that are being forced against their will to fight for the wrong side. Thus the only person that is able to stop Kai and his army is our Dragon Warrior Po and his own army of pandas. But the catch here is that Po has to be able to teach them. That's his next step as a kung fu master. He's trained to become a kung fu master and he's learned to fight, but now he has to teach and that's what he has a really hard time doing.
Yes, this movie is quite the wild ride from start to finish. But specifically the finish. Even though this is a movie you can thoroughly enjoy even if you know the whole movie, I won't spoil what happens in the second half of this movie. You can probably see the ending coming from a mile away, but that's okay in this instance. It's not the type of movie where crazy twists and turns are needed. Needless to say that the ending is an absolute blast and probably the best finale out of all three Kung Fu Panda movies. If I'm being nit-picky, it's the first half of the movie that does struggle a bit. The first two movies flowed very well. They had the perfect balance of humor and emotion while providing a lot of fun action with a great story. This movie has all those elements, but it's a lot less engaging to start out. It still has a lot of great humor that made me laugh pretty good, but a lot of it did feel a bit forced. It felt like they were trying really hard to capture the magic of the first two movies. While they didn't necessarily fail, there were times where I could tell they were trying too hard. Certain things were a little too silly. The writing wasn't always clean and crisp. The flow wasn't perfect. But it was fine. I was still enjoying myself even if the magic wasn't fully there.
In the end, I had a ton of fun Kung Fu Panda 3. No, the magic of the movie wasn't quite there during the first half of the movie as there were times it felt like they were trying too hard to repeat what they accomplished in the first two movies, but I was still having fun with the movie. That magic was recaptured in the second half of the movie and thus as a whole I think this is another great addition to the excellent Kung Fu Panda series. I think it's harsh to call this the worst movie of the franchise. Third best is probably the most accurate terminology because all three of these movies are great! In my opinion, this third one does have the best villain of the three as well as the best final battle of the three. The ending doesn't necessarily gift-wrap the franchise up, if you know what I mean. This is the type of franchise where they could do a Kung Fu Panda 4 without making people angry. But with the way that Dreamworks is slowing things down and focusing on quality instead of quantity, it'll be at least five years before they have room on their schedule to make another one, so in my opinion they might as well call it good. If they do, they can now proudly say that they have made of the best animated trilogies ever. Well done Dreamworks. My grade for Kung Fu Panda 3 is an 8/10.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
13 Hours touches on subject matter that I personally am not too familiar with. It's also super recent stuff. As in September of 2012. Just over three years ago. This blog existed when the events of this movie were taking place. Usually they wait 10 or 15 years at least before doing a major movie on current events. But not this time. And that seems to be the trend recently as stories I remember hearing about on the news not too long ago are getting movies. I don't really know what I think about that, but okay. This here is about the war over there in the Middle East that's still going on. I should keep up with that stuff more than I actually do. But oh well. Thus when I went in, I was ready for a bit of a history lesson. Tell me about Libya, Michael Bay! Because that's where we are. Benghazi, Lybia. On September 11, 2012, an American diplomatic compound was attacked, killing U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. This led to quite the chaotic night for a group of soldiers. That's the night that this movie is about. 13 hours of chaos on the night before they are scheduled to go home to their families.
I got the feeling that Michael Bay just couldn't help himself. It's as if he listened to all the criticism he's had over years and years of making horrible movies and decided to attempt to make a good movie this time around. And it mostly works. But he couldn't help himself. He had to include a lot of his typical Michael-Bay-isms. An overly long movie with too many action sequences. Unrealistic firework explosions. Soldiers running in slow motion. Attempted humor at the wrong time that kill the suspense. Weird camera angles, specifically camera angles where the camera is really low and angled upwards that give us the feeling that we are laying on the ground watching these super tall soldiers. And product placement. All of Michael Bay's movies have to have product placement. The Transformers movies are loaded with them. This one doesn't have nearly as much, but once again, Michael Bay couldn't help himself. I get the need for product placement, but it can be done well and it can be done poorly. This is the latter. Like there are scenes where the movie is super suspenseful, but then the suspense is completely ruined because suddenly you realize that you are in a Mercedes Benz commercial instead of a movie.
All of this was really frustrating to me because I knew there was a great movie hidden amidst all of these Michael-Bay-isms. I get that the man is trying to redeem himself, but ultimately I wish this movie was done by a different director. I think we would've had a great movie, because Michael Bay has to have his stamp on the movie. Yes, this is better than the Transformers movies. And yes, this is much, much better than his other two movies that are based on a true story. I mean, his first attempt at that he turned the events of Pearl Harbor into long, drawn-out love story with a few Pearl Harbor scenes thrown in. His second attempt, he turned a rather horrible and disturbing crime drama into a really offensive comedy. Pearl Harbor and Pain & Gain. Bad movies. In fact, is 13 Hours Michael Bay's best movie? I guess. But best Michael Bay movie is like asking which pile of dog crap you'd rather step in. In this instance, the movie is like walking through the grass thinking you're going to step in a pile of dog crap, but then checking your shoe afterwards and realizing that you didn't. It's not an experience to write home about, but at least you didn't step in a pile of dog crap. 13 Hours wasn't a great movie. But at least I didn't feel like I was being punished with my sentence being me forced to watch Transformers: Age of Extinction all the way through.
But yes, as this being Michael Bay's best movie, or at least the best movie he's made this millennium, there are some things to praise about this. Namely the last act of this movie is really good. The first two-thirds of this movie I found boring, confusing, way too shaky (I almost got dizzy in a few scenes), and stuffed with enough Michael-Bay-isms to annoy me. But holy cow was the ending of the movie great. The suspense was at an all-time high. These men are just trapped on the tops of these buildings trying to fend off the attacks and simply hoping that they make it through the night. When the attacks come, you are on the edge of your seat, biting your nails, hoping that they make it. When the downtime arrives, it's even more suspenseful because you are thinking that at any given second another attack could happen. And of course it's at these moments where you get your strong feelings of patriotism where you are super grateful for these men for putting their lives on the line as they defend our country. Even if the battle they are fighting is useless. You're still grateful. And by that I mean this is where the slight political agenda comes in. It's not a bad thing. They are just trying to be honest in stating that the United States came in with intentions of establishing democracy, but it blew up in our faces, leaving everything in complete chaos, making you wonder if we should've stayed out of it in the first place.
Overall this is not a bad movie. It's curious that they decided to do this so soon. I'm wondering what the soldiers involved in the actual events think of this movie as it has to be fresh on their minds still. In the hands of another director who is used to doing war dramas, this would've been great. As is, Michael Bay got his hands on this, and although he did a worthy job, he just couldn't help himself. He had to put his annoying stamps on the movie, which makes this a very average-at-best movie for the first two acts. I was bored, confused, and annoyed for most of the movie. It wasn't horrible, but I saw the potential the movie had and was sad that it was being ruined by a bad director. But then the third and final act came around and I was totally glued in and on the edge of my seat. I almost completely forgot about my complaints from the first two acts and I almost completely forgot that this was a Michael Bay movie. It was super intense, super suspenseful, and super emotional. Had the whole movie gone down like the ending went down, this would've been one of the best war dramas I've seen, especially since John Krasinski gives the best performance of his career in an Oscar-worthy performance. But as is, I have to give a grade to the movie as a whole and that comes in as a slightly above average movie. My grade for 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is a 7.5/10.
Saturday, January 23, 2016
I will admit that this is a tricky movie to review as literally the whole movie hinges on whether or not the last third of the movie is any good. As such, a good portion of my thoughts pertaining to this movie have to do with the ending. But ain't no way am I divulging any of those thoughts because that will ruin the experience for you. The whole premise of the movie is centered on the mystery of this doll. Our main character is a girl who has just got out of a pretty bad experience with a previous relationship and she is simply looking to escape the world, so she accepts a job as a nanny out in the country. The house she goes to for this job is a huge, old house in the middle of nowhere with all the windows boarded up. Her job is to watch after an older couple's 8-year-old son while they are gone on some sort of vacation or something like that. Turns out their son is a doll, which confuses her, especially when both of the parents treat the doll as an actual boy with strict rules that need to be followed. The doll is not alive. It's not possessed or talking. It's just a doll. So when the parents leave, she doesn't really take this seriously at all. She leaves the doll on the chair or on the bed and goes about her normal business. She has broken the rules.
Does saying this spoil the movie? Not in my opinion. My point here is that I want you to know what you are getting into with this. Perhaps if you look at it the right way, you might actually enjoy the movie. No there aren't a ton of jump scares or blood and gore. Yes, there is a lot of suspense and a lot of that is done in more of a natural way. We are thrown right into a very complex story that we don't know much about. As the movie slowly starts to reveal itself, we start getting an idea of what's actually going on. But it's not given all at once. The mystery shrouding the whole situation is what keeps you intrigued and keeps your eyes glued to the screen. What's the deal with this family? What have they gone through? Why are they doing the things that they do? The first thing I actually noticed was the set of the film and the lighting. This sets the tone for the movie. Instead of jump scares, we get great camera work combined with a beautiful, creepy score. We also have great acting by everyone and very believable characters. The way the older couple cares for this doll as if it's their actual son is great and believable. How our main girl reacts to this while the parents are there and what she does right when they leave is also great. The whole thing felt real and genuine. I felt like they were actually trying to make a film instead of using horror cliches to grab a few extra bucks and I appreciated that.
In summing this point up, this felt more like a thriller to me than a horror and I think that if you look at this as more of a thriller, then you might appreciate the movie more. In fact, a very comparable movie was M. Night Shyamalan's The Visit from last year. That was another movie that was a horror/thriller. It wasn't scary or gory, but it was suspenseful and it was actually really good. Much of the same qualities that made The Visit a good movie make this one a good movie. Even if we were to ignore the ending of The Boy, the way that they crafted the film and the way that they chose to build up the suspense were very admirable in my opinion. When it comes to thrillers, I'm once again going to refer to the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. None of his movies were super scary, but they were very suspenseful and the way he built that suspense was beautiful. I want more people in our day to look at the model Hitchcock set up and use that for their films. When I see it happen, I make sure that I give credit where credit is do. Last year STX delivered The Gift which I felt was a modern Hitchcock thriller, which is why I loved it so much. I went into this movie hoping that The Boy would follow the same format and I honestly feel comfortable in saying that it did. The movie was set up like a good thriller should be set up and I loved that about this movie.
So yes, as I stated earlier, this was a hard review to write. Overall I suppose a good way to sum up my thoughts is that I was satisfied. Perhaps this isn't the most original idea. I haven't actually seen a lot of creepy doll movies, but I really enjoyed the direction they took with this movie. This certainly isn't your typical slasher horror movie. This also isn't a situation where Sam and Dean Winchester needed to intervene, if you get that reference. I don't know what else to say without spoiling things, so I'm going to leave it at that. But once again I want to repeat that you should know what you are getting into with this movie. If you want a gory, jump-scare filled monster movie that so many horrors are like nowadays, this is not your movie. If you want to see a movie that scares your pants off, this is not your movie. I see this as more of a thriller where the suspense is built up in a slower, more natural way that I personally appreciate a lot more. Is this on par with The Gift? No, it's not. I have a few things to nit-pick that I can't tell you about, but I do think this is a good movie. I also think it's very comparable to The Visit. If you liked that movie, then I think you should give The Boy a shot. My grade for it is an 8/10.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
A few days ago I gave you my list of my top 10 favorite movies of 2015. If you missed that list, I have it linked right there for you to catch up on. Now it's time to do the opposite and give you my least favorite movies of 2015. As a reminder, this is my list. If you liked some of these movies, that's great. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. I didn't want to hate these movies. I always go into a movie hoping to like it, but sometimes that's just not what happens. In the case of these movies, my experience was a disaster. It's also worth noting that, once again, I did not see every movie this year. In fact, when it comes to bad movies there are some that I just had no desire to see. As an example of this, I'll let the cat out of the bag right away. I had no desire to give Fifty Shades of Grey one penny of my money. Does the movie promote rape and sexual abuse? No. Does it look like a really cheap porn flick with horrible characters, acting, dialogue, and story? Yes. So I didn't see it. It's not the only bad movie I skipped. But there were enough atrocities for me to feel comfortable doing this list. So here they are!
10- Taken 3
9- The Divergent Series: Insurgent
6- Terminator: Genisys
5- Jupiter Ascending
4- Strange Magic
3- The Green Inferno
2- Jem and the Holograms
1- Fantastic Four
10- Taken 3
9- The Divergent Series: Insurgent
Every 10 years or so Hollywood decides that it's time to remake Peter Pan again. I don't know why this is the case, but if we have to do this I can at least respect the idea of doing something different. I kinda liked the idea of doing a prequel where we explain how Peter Pan got to Neverland. The idea of Hook being a protagonist to start things off was interesting. We can tell the story of how they became enemies. Add a fantastic cast and a great director and things were looking great! Until the trailers started being released. Uh-oh. I suddenly got really nervous. The trailers were terrible. And turns out that uh-oh was right. We have the dumbest, most cliche orphanage scene to start things off. I just wanted to get to Neverland. But then the journey to Neverland felt like an acid trip and when we got to Neverland they were singing "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Might I remind you that this was set in World War II. That song didn't exist!!! But dumb things like that set the tone for the rest of this movie to the point where if you are a fan of Peter Pan, this movie will be offensive to you because nothing is right. It's all horrible and hard to watch. It baffles me how people like Hugh Jackman and Rooney Mara can read scripts like this and decide that it's a good idea to accept the job.
6- Terminator: Genisys
Well here's a franchise that should've ended 20 years ago. If you haven't seen the first two Terminator movies, go watch them. They are two of the best action/sci-fi movies ever made. But then the rights went to someone else and then those someone elses decided to continue a franchise that was wrapped up in the most perfect way. In doing so, there were so many continuity errors that it was apparent that for some reason the new people in charge did not care for those first two classics at all. That third Terminator movie was a disaster. The fourth one had nothing to do with anything. And yet we still got a fifth one. And we might even get a sixth one. Stop it! Just stop it! Now to be fair, the initial premise of this movie is interesting. They go back to the events of the first movie and had they stayed there, this could've be a fun movie. But then they jumped into the future and the whole thing became a confusing mess. Time travel is a fun subject that I enjoy. But if you get too carried away, it easily can become a mess, thus you have to tread carefully. The first two were perfect in regards to this. But now the whole franchise is just messed up and now this this franchise has become the textbook example of what NOT to do with time travel in a movie. Personally I choose to pretend that Terminators 3-5 don't exist and I cross my fingers that they will one day just stop.
5- Jupiter Ascending
4- Strange Magic
3- The Green Inferno
2- Jem and the Holograms
1- Fantastic Four
Friday, January 15, 2016
We've finished another year in movies and so it's finally time to reveal my top 10 personal favorite movies of the year. A few things to note before we start. First, this is a list of my personal favorite movies. The movies I enjoyed most or the movies that I had a personal connection with. I've been told in lists like this that I'm wrong and that makes no sense. No, I'm not wrong. This is my list. It's biased towards what I liked. Second, I have not seen every movie this year. That's an impossible feat because there are so many that come out each year. But that's okay. It means that there's always more movies to discover from every year and I think it's good to always keep searching those movies out instead of only focusing on the new ones. In the future I probably will find several movies that should've been on this list. No problem with that, right? Finally, while I do enjoy assigning grades to movies, when creating this list I always ignore the grades that I gave. Thus you might find things in an odd order if you pay super close attention to the numbers I give out. Don't let that throw you off. A number is just a number. This is all about comparing the movies to each other, which is something I don't do when giving out an individual grade. So without further ado, let's begin!
10- Shaun the Sheep Movie
9- The Revenant
8- The Martian
6- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
5- The Gift
4- Ex Machina
2- Mad Max: Fury Road
1- Star Wars: The Force Awakens
analyzed review by Chris Stuckmann that I just linked right there. There's so much to praise! The movie is a character piece that dives specifically into both Rey and Kylo Ren. It's their movie. Rey is such a great protagonist. I love everything about her and everything she does. And Kylo Ren is such a deep, troubled villain. I love how broken and conflicted he is. It makes him a better villain. I'm excited to see where the rest of the trilogy takes these two. It was great to see Han, Leia, Chewie, and the gang again, but what's more impressive is how I cared more about our new characters. Not just Rey and Kylo, but also Fin, Poe, BB8 and others. I love the return to practical effects. I love the sets. I love the visuals. I love the cinematography. I love the John Williams score. I love the action sequences. I just absolutely love this movie! J.J. Abrams and company have successfully made the third best Star Wars movie!
10- Shaun the Sheep Movie
9- The Revenant
8- The Martian
6- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
5- The Gift
4- Ex Machina
2- Mad Max: Fury Road
1- Star Wars: The Force Awakens