The Films of 2016


0074-snapshot-written

 

59.  That is the number of movies that I saw that Wikipedia says were released in 2016.  …I go hard in the paint.  Last week, I posted the video where I picked my best and worst 5 of the year (view it here on my YouTube channel), but many people might be wondering what I thought about the other 49 movies I watched this year.  Well wonder no more!  Now, if you have the balls and the stamina to read 10,558 words and 20 pages worth of reviews, you need only scroll down from here to find out my thoughts on them all!  …Or you could just find the ones you specifically want to know my thoughts on.  You do you.

 

JANUARY

THE FOREST

I can’t say that I had any major problems with The Forest.  Except that it wasn’t scary.  That’s probably a fairly major problem for a horror movie though.  The premise was a fairly interesting one since I didn’t know about this suicide forest before this movie, but it kind of falls apart after that.  Like, I certainly hope it’s not actually the police’s policy to not even bother looking for someone 2 days after entering the suicide forest and just assuming they killed themselves, but if it is, maybe if you’re going in there, let the cops know that you’re going in there to look for someone and definitely not to kill yourself, so come looking for me if I don’t come back.  And if the person you’re looking for is your twin sister, why bother bringing a picture?  Just point at your face and say, “With dark hair.”  But this movie at least has Natalie Dormer going for it, who is good and pretty.  And technically it has two of her, ‘cause she’s twins.  But that’s about it.

 

THE BOY

Two in a row with the mediocre horror movies, eh?  And along with the Forest, another mediocre horror film with good, hot actresses from very good, very popular TV shows I love.  The big thing that sets this one apart is that it’s reeeeeeally weird.  You think it’s all about some super crazy old people that want to pay a hot lady to watch a doll they act like is their actual son.  …Okay.  Fair enough.  Then the movie starts seeming like it’s a little more subtle and psychological version of Chuckie from Child’s Play, and then it’s even weirder than that!  Somehow, ghosts would be more feasible (and probably scarier) than the way they ended up going.  Lauren Cohan was good though, and she was hot.  I did not care for Brahm though.  His performance was a bit stiff and wooden.  …GET IT?!?!?!  ‘Cause he was the doll!!!  …You get it…

 

THE WITCH

I don’t know if I would go so far as to say The Witch is a scary movie.  It’s certainly unnerving though.  It’s kind of weird and creepy and there’s old naked women and ravens eating women’s nipples and talking goats and creepy children.  It creates quite a mood and an atmosphere though, so that probably counts for something.  I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t find much about the movie that would lead me to recommend it either.  But most other critics seem to like it, so maybe check it out or whatever.  Just not really my cup of witches brew.

 

FEBRUARY

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES

This is certainly a silly premise for a movie.  Take an old classic book and toss some zombies in there.  But for me, it works.  ‘Cause I’m not reading a book.  And I also am not watching Pride and Prejudice as a movie…unless you add zombies and sword fighting.  So I enjoyed the movie well enough AND I can now tell people I’ve read Pride and Prejudice.  …I turned on the subtitles.

 

DEADPOOL

Coming from a longtime fan of the character, I would have a hard time finding any fault to Deadpool … so I won’t!  I loved this movie!  The action was great and the comedy delivered practically nonstop all the way to the end of the movie and starting from (and including) the opening credits.  How many times would you tell someone that they better not miss the opening credits?  Once!  The whole cast was fantastic; Morena Baccarin and Gina Carano were really hot and so was Ryan Reynolds…  Everyone delivered exactly what they needed to.  And my favorite part?  Not only did they not completely ruin the character of Deadpool, they made fun of the previous time when they did completely ruin the character of Deadpool!  Basically, if you don’t like this movie, you just don’t like Deadpool, because this movie is, to me, a perfect capturing of the character.  To me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this movie, and the only thing that makes me nervous about the sequel is that they won’t be able to recapture what this movie had, but I’ll certainly be in the theater as early as possible to find out.  But as long as they don’t take the mouth off of the Merc with a Mouth, then it couldn’t possibly be THAT bad.

 

ZOOTOPIA

At first glance, Zootopia seems like it’s just another cute Disney movie.  And it is, but there’s also a lot more to it than just that.  On the surface, it’s cute, beautiful, funny and charming, all the things that kids will enjoy in a movie.  And things get hit in the head a few times, and that is a child’s pinnacle of comedy.  But it also bases itself on a message of trust and friendship overcoming prejudice and fear.  That shit’s deep for a Disney movie!  And pretty topical too!  It seems like it’s all about the cute little prey bunny overcoming everyone else’s prejudice against her to make her dream a reality and become a police officer, but even she has to come to the realization that she (and other prey) also jump to conclusions about the predators being prone to violence.  And the best thing about this message is that it’s there and it’s obvious, but it also doesn’t beat you over the head with it to the point of annoyance.  The voice cast also kills it, especially the two main characters that carry the movie (Goodwin and Bateman) and also Shakira who sang the great song for the movie and made me feel weird things while looking at a gazelle.  I cannot find fault in this movie, and I have no interest in trying to.

 

ZOOLANDER 2

I feel like Zoolander 2 didn’t hurt my feelings too badly because I don’t hold the original Zoolander in high enough esteem that I went into this movie expecting much.  And I also can’t say that it hurt me too drastically because I barely remember seeing it.  I know I did, and I’m pretty sure I own it on Blu-Ray around here somewhere, but that’s about it.  Maybe that’s because the closest to funny this movie gets is by rehashing the vaguely funny things from the first movie, but that’s not going to be good enough.  And the movie has a ton of cameos, which is great if that’s more important than humor out of a comedy to you.  The best things that happened in this movie were some kinda funny moments from Kyle Mooney’s hipster character Don Atari, and the fact that they killed Justin Bieber in the beginning.  But if I can’t say I like a movie that kills Justin Bieber in the first 5 minutes, that movie is probably not very good.

 

GODS OF EGYPT

Gods of Egypt did not do well with either the critics or the people in general.  Many people condemned this movie before its release because the cast was a bunch of white people acting like Egyptians.  I don’t really care about that personally because I would rather have a better actor in a role than one that looks right.  It probably helps that most times it’s white people taking roles from other races and I’m white, so why would I be offended?  I think what’s more offensive about this movie is that it’s just not very good.  But where I would take critics to task on this one is my “what were you expecting?” argument.  This movie was exactly what I assumed it would be based on its poster.  Decent visuals and passable action, possibly some pretty ladies scattered about, and everything else was not a concern.  So whether you have seen this movie or not, whether you are making an educated decision about this movie or not, you are probably right.  There’s no reason to see it really, but it’s not awful.

 

MARCH

LONDON HAS FALLEN

London Has Fallen is a sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, which is a movie most famous for being often confused with that other movie about the president being kidnapped.  You probably don’t need me to say more, which is good because I don’t have much more to say.  This time, a whole city has fallen, so I can only assume that next a whole country, then a continent, then a planet, and maybe even a solar system will fall as well, and only Gerard Butler can stop it because he’s super dedicated to his job and an inexplicable badass that single-handedly takes down armies.  So what is there to say about this movie?  It’s dumb, but lots of things explode, and the cast is maybe 10% better than standard action movie casts are.  So watch this movie next time you want to shut your brain off and watch things go boom.

 

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was a little more drama than comedy to me, but it was a fairly enjoyable experience.  It didn’t seem to hit too heavy on anything I was thinking it would go for.  There were funny moments, but nothing was incredibly laugh out loud funny.  There were serious moments, but nothing too depressing or tragic.  Some action moments, but nothing terribly thrilling.  Overall it was just a long, moderate enjoyment that I felt.  Nice little love story in there that wasn’t really the focus, but Tina Fey was enjoyable as usual, as was Martin Freeman and Margot Robbie.  And I especially enjoyed Fey’s relationship with her fixer Fahim.  So it’s a solid movie, but as it doesn’t really feel like a spectacular version of any type of movie, I don’t know if I’d call it a must.

 

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

10 Cloverfield Land certainly wasn’t what I expected going in, but being a psychological thriller about 3 isolated people that’s a sequel to a Godzilla-esque giant monster movie will have that effect.  But after the initial shock of that wore off, I found myself able to enjoy this movie for what it was.  It was a very well done, tense, and psychological movie that was also very well acted.  Not typically the type of movie I go for, but I felt like it carried the flame from the first movie pretty well.  I just hope to get a little more info and a little more Godzilla if they do another one.

 

THE BRONZE

I think what mostly drove me to want to watch The Bronze was how often I stumbled across it.  I came across the movie in RedBox many times and saw the mildly amusing trailer for it many times.  Finally I stumbled across it on the list of movies that came out in 2016, and figured I might as well give it a shot.  Once I did, I found it acceptable.  The story wasn’t mind-blowing, but it had a decent amount of humor sprinkled around to make it enjoyable, especially the gymnast sex scene near the end.  The cast was good too.  Melissa Rauch wasn’t very likeable until the end, but that’s what she was going for, and I’m always happy to see Thomas Middleditch and Sebastian Stan.  Haley Lu Richardson was pretty enjoyable too.  The Bronze has some things going for it that I would say bring it dangerously close to being worth your time.

 

THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT

I don’t really know why I watched Allegiant.  And I don’t know why I watched Divergent either.  And more than that, I don’t know why I watched this one when I apparently forgot to watch Insurgent, which is the second one.  So maybe fans of the movie would argue that the reason I didn’t like this one is because I wasn’t able to follow the deep, cohesive storyline.  Well that may be the case.  Also a possibility: it was boring and dumb.  When I watched the first one, I barely understood what they were trying to go for.  Then this one adds more stuff for me to be confused by.  Perhaps, had I seen the second one, it would’ve been the appropriate level of confusion for my brain to shut down and enjoy the movie.  But I found myself completely capable of realizing that they had some fairly big ideas and stopped right about there.  But they threw some pretty computer pictures around to make it look fairly nice, and then threw a few great actors in and surrounded them by pretty actors that could pass as moderately acceptable actors, and then that was a trilogy.  Skip it.

 

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

I would never have been classified as a fan of the DC Universe, and with movies like they put out when Christopher Nolan isn’t behind the camera, they are doing nothing to help that.  Now, I didn’t despise Batman v Superman as much as other nerds I have heard discuss it because I’m not as close to the source material, but the movie still mostly sucked.  Y’see, I’ve actually read the Dark Knight Returns.  Zack Snyder should’ve too.  It’s pretty good.  Instead, I think he might’ve read the Wikipedia article about it, or the Cliff Notes if they do that for comics.  What he understood was that Batman fights Superman at some point.  Didn’t really get why.  He also didn’t really get the character of Batman and his whole “One Rule” thing he talked about it The Dark Knight.  You know, how Batman doesn’t kill, like even if blowing up that car with enemies in it would look REALLY cool and get those bad guys out of his hair for a while.  Like not even if there was a 1% chance someone could be a bad guy, since y’know EVERYONE has about a 1% chance of being a bad guy and he specifically never killed the Joker who has about a 147% chance of being a bad guy.  And if you thought his reason for fighting Superman in the first place was stupid, wait until you find out why he stops fighting him.  Also, I did not like Eisenberg’s over the top Luthor weirdness.  He was super annoying through the entire movie, but then a little bit good and intimidating at the very end of the movie.  On a positive note, I liked Ben Affleck a lot and look forward to what he’ll do in the future, and he had some great action scenes that felt straight out of one of the Arkham games.  And Gal Gadot was great and every Wonder Woman scene was awesome … and would have been much more so if every one of those scenes wasn’t in the trailers.  So this was not a painfully bad movie to watch, but where it hurt itself was being a movie about well-established characters that it didn’t seem to understand … and not being very good.

 

APRIL

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR

I absolutely loved Civil War.  I’m sure that’s no surprise coming from a hardcore Marvel fanboy, but I think the movie was fairly universally loved.  Full of the fun one expects from Marvel movies but with the serious moments when they were needed and a great plot where all the characters had clear motivations.  Interesting concept, eh Batman v Superman?  Obviously they couldn’t make this movie exactly the same as the comics (which I had heard complaints about), but of course they couldn’t because they don’t have the ability to use the word “mutant” or use the X-Men.  So shut the fuck up, nerds!  The whole cast was great, especially new characters of Black Panther and the new Spider-Man, and also Daniel Brühl as Zemo, and everyone had a great moment in their wicked awesome fight at the airport, which was only one among many great action set pieces.  Marvel is killin’ it, as always.

 

THE JUNGLE BOOK

I had no interest in The Jungle Book for a long time.  I saw the cartoon.  I thought it was okay.  Later on they made it again with one real person and some computer stuff and that guy that made Iron Man.  That would probably be fine, but I know what’s gonna happen.  Eventually, the media talked me into it as podcasts I listened to talked it up.  Then I watched it and they were right.  It is really good; better even than the cartoon.  The story is roughly the same, but the new visuals really help to tell that story, and those visuals combined with the voice acting makes me have to say a statement like, “That wolf gave a performance that brought tears to my eyes.”  I don’t recall actually crying because I’m so manly and all, but it worked very well.  And they had all the musical numbers that they should have and though only Scarlett Johansson really had much of a singing voice; it was still nice to hear them again.  This was a really entertaining and touching movie that everyone should enjoy.

 

THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR

Though I would not be bold enough to call The Huntsman: Winter’s War a good movie, I would certainly say it was better than the original.  Is that because this one didn’t have Kristen Stewart in it?  Possibly.  But I would say I had no major problem with the sequel too.  The story was fairly bland and not much more than good guys versus bad guys followed by credits, but I also wasn’t really expecting much more than that.  The actors can probably take most of the credit for this movie being watchable.  I liked Theron and Blunt and their interactions, and I really liked Chastain and Hemsworth and their chemistry together.  I even liked the dwarves, even though they really had no real reason to be there save for mild comic relief.  But the movie was fine.  You don’t need to see it, but at least Kristen Stewart isn’t in it.

 

KEANU

Keanu was cute.  The cat, I mean.  Not the movie.  The movie was fine.  I’ve never seen Key and Peele’s show, but I’ve enjoyed the clips of it I’ve seen, so I expected a fair bit from this movie.  It was somewhat funny, but not uproariously so.  Just kind of enough to make me smile throughout and chuckle at a few parts.  The story premise can keep you smiling because it’s just so silly, but not very many jokes really got me.  The cast was enjoyable too.  Key and Peele are very likeable, and Anna Faris was probably my favorite part of the movie.  Besides Keanu, that is.  He was slightly cuter than she is.

 

RATCHET & CLANK

My main goal in watching Ratchet & Clank was to see if I could learn the story of the games without bothering to play them, which I had never bothered to get around to even though I typically heard good things.  Was this movie successful in this endeavor?  How should I know?  I had nothing to compare it to.  So instead, I’ll say if it was successful as a movie.  Probably.  I’m sure it made a lot of money.  As for its quality, I would say it was fine.  It looked great and its story was the basic dream-fulfillment, zero-to-hero thing.  Kids will probably like it, but as far as I can tell, random shapes and colors moving on a screen will be enough for most children.  Disney and Pixar have probably set the standard for movies too high for parent to be entirely thrilled by this movie though.

 

MAY

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

I might actually surprise you all with my review for X-Men: Apocalypse.  I didn’t actually love this Marvel movie.  I would say I just really really liked it.  Number one thing it had going for it: there were X-Men in it.  It also had Apocalypse and the Four Horsemen in it, as well as a killer subtle gag where they used Metallica’s “Four Horsemen” in the movie.  And it also had an awesome Phoenix moment.  I liked the greater majority of things about the movie with only few minor problems.  First, I think Xavier should really be portrayed as stronger than he was on the Astral Plane.  I also really didn’t care for the kid playing Cyclops or the look of Archangel, but I did like all the returning cast and the new people like Apocalypse, Sansa Stark, Olivia Munn, and Nightcrawler.  The Weapon X sequence was also cool, but their attempts to make the Weapon X gear look less goofy for camera didn’t really go that well.  Overall, I found it quite enjoyable, but I’m also an X-Men nerd.  I may not be trustworthy.

 

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

I have no particular love for the previous Alice in Wonderland movie.  It looked pretty and computers made wonderful fantasy things look somewhat realistic.  And there was probably a story, but damned if I remember what it was.  Cut and paste for Through the Looking Glass.  It was fine.  Pretty computer things and a story about time-travel or whatever.  Nothing too mind-blowing.  It has some pretty good actors giving mixed performances though.  Depp and Carter are a little over the top for my taste, but I like Wasikowska and Hathaway, and I thought Sacha Baron Cohen was a really enjoyable part of the movie.  Probably not so much as I’d really recommend the movie, but I’m sure kids would really get a kick out of it, and the parents probably won’t hate it while watching with them.

 

THE DARKNESS

I didn’t even know this movie existed until I saw it on the Wikipedia list, and then out of nowhere it gets to be on my list.  Congratulations!  Anyway, I know we’ve all sat around and thought to ourselves about how much we’d like to see a boring and cliché version of Poltergeist, right?  And then we watched the remake of Poltergeist, and after feeling like that wasn’t quite bland and obvious enough, we started demanding to see The Darkness.  It’s Poltergeist with the burial ground replaced by 5 rocks an autistic child found in the desert.  And the family’s biggest concern for most of the movie was with the dry cleaning from getting black handprints off of everything.  And the funny weird lady from the Poltergeist is now a Mexican lady and her granddaughter…who for some reason are the experts you call in when having troubles with Anasazi demons.  I guess as long as their skin is brown, they can probably do it.  They all look the same to us anyway.  So what I’m saying is, instead of bothering with this movie, just go watch Poltergeist.  …Either one is better.

 

THE NICE GUYS

For a long time, I could not imagine a reason for me to watch The Nice Guys.  A comedy on the backs of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling?  Sounds like a pretty terrible idea.  The only funny thing I can think of involving either of them is a series of videos where someone tries to feed cereal to one of them.  But it turned out that this movie was almost as funny as feeding cereal to Ryan Gosling.  The story was the buddy cop movie basics, but with plenty of laugh out loud moments along the way, making it feel like that Starsky and Hutch movie but funny.  And you gotta give credit where it’s due: Crowe and Gosling delivered.  I doubted them and they shut me up.  …No I mean it.  I’m gonna shut up now.  Watch the movie though.

 

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS

What can one really expect when going to see a movie like TMNT: Out of the Shadows?  …Yes.  That is the answer.  You should be looking for a dumb, roughly pointless story with as much fan service as they can muster (Hey, we added Krang this time!).  Then you should expect a visual extravaganza, and I guess they kinda get there.  I still hate how the turtles look, but can’t change that now.  One of the actors is Megan Fox, so you can’t expect much there, but the turtle voices are pretty good, and I like Will Arnett and Stephen Amell, and I liked Sheamus and Gary Anthony Williams as Bebop and Rocksteady.  So what can one expect out of this movie?  Yes.  Exactly what you think.

 

JUNE

POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING

The first thing I would clarify about seeing Popstar is that I didn’t want to.  Someone had to suggest it to me.  The reason I didn’t want to see it is because I really don’t care for Andy Samberg very much.  He’s occasionally acceptable to me in small cameo roles, but the only time I’ve seen him in a starring role was Hot Rod, which was talked up as the greatest comedy in years to me by one of my friends and was instead something that made me want to kill myself.  Also, I think I thought it was that movie where Adam Sandler is Samberg’s dad for a while.  But even though it was an uphill battle to overcome my general disinterest in Samberg, I feel like this movie pulled it off.  It’s like This is Spinal Tap for the new generation … but not nearly as good as that.  But that’s a high bar to reach and one shouldn’t necessarily expect it to be able to reach that.  Basic story, decently funny, pretty well acted, Samberg was enjoyable, and tons of cameos from the comedy and music world for those that would find that interesting.  Popstar was pretty solid though.  A decent watch, and probably more so if you’re a big Samberg/Lonely Island fan.

 

NOW YOU SEE ME 2

I thought the first Now You See Me movie was fine.  Didn’t blow minds, but was entirely watchable.  The sequel was roughly the same, and perhaps took a step down for losing much of the surprise of the movie to its predecessor.  And the biggest problem of both movies is that it bases itself on magic and illusion which is impressive when watching someone do it in person, but much less impressive to watch when it’s the skill of a computer and not of a person who spent their life mastering the craft.  But the story of the movie seems fairly well planned out, had a few nice twists, and some of the magic stuff was interesting to watch.  I also still like how they use magic tricks for fist fights and heists, and the actors are all good.  The movie’s a decent watch, but not a required one by any stretch.

 

THE CONJURING 2

So many of these movies come out that I have a hard time remembering which is which sometimes.  The first Conjuring was about the Amityville stuff, right?  …Or am I thinking of Amityville Horror…  Well, this one is about this English family that claimed to be haunted in real life and the Warrens are back to kick ghost ass and chew bubblegum, but their bubblegum didn’t make it through customs!  And this movie was pretty successful.  I like the use of “real life” hauntings as a basis for a movie because, if nothing else, it’ll make me read about the “real life” stuff and be entertained by that, but the movie entertained pretty well too.  It pulled off jump scares pretty successfully and creepy build up decently.  The old guy ghost was somewhat scary, but that old nun lady was downright chilling.  All the living actors did very well too.  I’ll call this one worth a watch.

 

WARCRAFT

My idea to watch Warcraft came from a discussion on a podcast (Shout out to Just2Pals Podcast!).  My friend (a big Warcraft fan) loved the movie, while his partner (less of a Warcraft fan) did not.  My history with Warcraft puts me somewhere in the middle of those two, as did my enjoyment of the movie.  I played and loved the original RTS Warcraft games, and even played a little of World of Warcraft, though I lost interest fairly quickly.  And since my time with Warcraft pretty much ended around 2003, my knowledge of the lore of Warcraft has mostly dispersed.  I know humans don’t like orcs.  And this movie does enforce that.  And pretty much covers the story of the movie as well.  The action was decent, but it’s hard to make very impressive action when it’s technically a guy swinging a plastic sword at air, but the computers did some good work on this movie.  I especially liked what they did the orcs, especially with Paula Patton.  It’s hard to feel for (and be attracted to) a big green lady with tusks, but nature finds a way.  So what it seems to come down to with this movie is that my recommendation is dependent on your involvement with the Warcraft lore, sliding up from “don’t bother” if you know nothing of Warcraft to “you’ve already seen it” if you’re a huge fan.

 

FINDING DORY

Sequels to animated movies (especially in Disney movies) can be hit and miss.  Finding Dory at least had the benefit of not being straight to DVD, which typically means better, but Cars 2 hit theaters, so it’s not perfect.  And neither was Finding Dory (long way to go for that one, I know), but it was really good.  It’s a nice emotional story about Dory trying to find her family and overcome her memory problems, and it’s pretty well assembled.  I feel like Dory works better as a secondary character generally, but she’s more fun to be with than Marlin, so it’s okay.  I also really enjoyed Hank the octopus and Becky the bird, who pretty much stole the whole movie for herself.  And the story did tug at the heart strings, but I don’t recall being overwhelmed by emotion at any point.  So the movie is good, and probably met my expectations, but it doesn’t quite blow me away.

 

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

Independence Day: Resurgence is exactly what it needs to be.  If you went into this movie expecting it to absolutely brilliant, you might be stupid and I pity you.  Before going to see this movie, I remembered the good times of things exploding a lot, Bill Pullman dropping a killer speech, and Will Smith and his patented way of welcoming someone to our planet.  So when seeing the sequel, I expected roughly the same thing except someone else would be on our planet’s welcoming party.  But I enjoyed the experience of the movie.  What was the story?  …That wasn’t a set up to something.  I really don’t remember.  Something about aliens coming back with bigger and angrier ships but we found this white sphere that helps somehow.  And the cast was solid, even if they weren’t Will Smith.  But who is?  Besides Will Smith, of course.  But none of that stuff really matters, does it?  I went to this movie to see aliens blow up as much stuff as they could before America whooped that ass.  This movie delivers on that.  It’s not smart; it’s big and spectacular.  That’s what it was supposed to be.

 

THE SHALLOWS

I was surprised I liked this movie too!  But this movie has it all: thrills, chills, suspense, and Blake Lively in a bikini.  This is what I expected from The Shallows and this is what I got.  I would say it takes a little long to get to the heavy stuff, but since that time is spent watching Blake Lively be super-hot, it felt like a productive use of my time.  But then when it gets going it is pretty damned edge of your seat stuff all the way through to the end.  And that shark was a dick!  I mean, I understand you gotta eat, but if you’re just looking for food, there’s this huge dead whale like 20 feet away that they used to explain why you showed up in the first place.  There’s a lot more meat on that thing than on Blake.  So really you’re just doing this to be an asshole, right?  And he was.  Fuck that shark.  And even not counting her ridiculous hotness, I thought Blake Lively was fantastic, and I’d be willing to kick that up to amazing since the only other thing I’ve seen her in was Green Lantern, so I didn’t know she had this kind of performance in her.  I thought everyone did a really good job with this movie, and think it’s worth watching.  Just like Blake Lively is.

 

JULY

THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

There wasn’t much memorable about The Legend of Tarzan.  I could say that I remember that Margot Robbie is hot, but that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the movie.  It’s Margot Robbie.  When is she not?  And then I remember Christoph Waltz stole Tarzan’s lady and he must return to his Tarzan roots to get her back, and he does.  And there’s some black dude that wants to kill Tarzan too.  Don’t remember much about that.  The Legend of Tarzan was a perfectly fine movie that just wasn’t special enough to dedicate any space in my extremely limited memory to.  I think I might just prefer my Tarzan animated.

 

THE BFG

Growing up a fan of the Doom series as I did, I was very disappointed when starting The BFG.  It wasn’t about a Big Fuckin’Gun at all!  It’s about a Big Fuckin’ Guy and his friendship with a young girl.  After I was able to get over my disappointment (and realize that most movies that have been released based on Doom haven’t really worked out too well), I was able to enjoy the movie for what it was.  And it was surprisingly enjoyable.  The story was as simple as a little girl befriending a giant and then helping him take care of the bad giants, but it was the world that was created that was impressive.  Visually stunning and well planned out, it can be really immersive.  And the performance of the little girl and the giant really get you attached to them pretty quickly.  A very nice little movie to take kids to.

 

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR

Holy hell!  There was a second Purge movie?  Oh well.  I missed that one, and I don’t care.  I haven’t particularly cared to see any of the Purge movies.  The first one was standard and unimpressive unless you have a phobia about red corn syrup, which I do not.  The third was roughly the same, maybe made slightly more interesting by some story elements, but really it just comes down to different ways to make people shoot corn syrup around.  But this time people are trying to protect a candidate that wants to stop the Purge.  So that should count for something.  But that something isn’t a recommendation.  It’s just also not a warning.

 

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS

The Secret Life of Pets is also a simple story of pets.  There’s no real surprise to the story of this movie.  Happy, content dog has his world turned upside down by the addition of a new dog that he fears will take his owners love like a child when a new baby arrives.  But the real surprise about this movie for me was how enjoyable it was.  It seemed so cookie cutter from the trailers and seemed like something only kids might fall for, but I fell for it too, based mostly on the excellent and often adorable animation and the quality of the voice acting cast, especially Jenny Slate, who I adored in this movie.  I was so happy every time Gidget showed up so I could hear her again.  The movie also had some solid funny moments.  Definitely a good movie.

 

GHOSTBUSTERS

Talk about the new Ghostbusters movie was as mixed after its release as it was before.  “How could women do funny things?” they asked.  I wasn’t one of those people.  I looked at the cast and found Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon sufficient to believe comedy was possible (I’m not really a fan of Melissa McCarthy and I wasn’t familiar with Leslie Jones).  And after seeing the movie, I decided that they succeeded in realizing that comedy.  This was a very funny movie.  Was it as good as the first two Ghostbusters?  No.  Not much is.  And that’s why I didn’t expect this movie to surpass the first two Ghostbusters.  It’s not the same kind of dry, subtle humor that made those Ghostbusters brilliant.  It’s a different thing.  This movie probably would’ve been very well received had they chosen a different title, but these women busted ghosts, so they must’ve felt the need.  Sure, it wasn’t the Ghostbusters we fans wanted, but since that’s never going to happen, this one will do.

 

STAR TREK BEYOND

Star Trek Beyond was fine, but a bit ridiculous in parts which held it back from greatness.  The story was solid and included a nice twist surprise at the end that worked very well.  And the movie had no real shortage of blockbuster action, which is also enjoyable.  And all the returning cast as well as the new additions of Idris Elba as Krall and Sofia Boutella as Jaylah were all enjoyable.  So what was the problem?  Their determination to make sure there was a moto cross scene that barely makes sense and the fact that the music of the Beastie Boys saves the day.  Having the anachronistic music playing is fine because I like the songs and they work well as soundtrack music, but having it be their main weapon against the enemies is a little silly.  Still an enjoyable movie though.

 

JASON BOURNE

Though I don’t necessarily think that the movie world needs to leave this Jason Bourne guy alone, I would find it acceptable since it would make sense in the story of the movies that the government would finally decide that they should stop fucking with the guy that just wants to be left alone, but will happily destroy you and everything you have if you don’t leave him alone.  Plus, the latest couple of movies haven’t been that good and eventually there’s going to be more mediocre ones that great ones.  This is one of the mediocre ones.  It’s fine, but it doesn’t really add anything to the world of Jason Bourne, and it also didn’t really need to exist.  It’s a fine basic action movie that fans of the series will want to watch, but it doesn’t really stand out enough to recommend.

 

AUGUST

SUICIDE SQUAD

I would say that I really wanted to enjoy Suicide Squad.  DC’s movies have been so disappointing that, even not being a big DC fan, I was hoping they would get a surprise Deadpool-esque hidden gem movie out sooner or later.  This wasn’t it.  I didn’t hate Suicide Squad, but I really didn’t enjoy it.  It felt to me like they were trying too hard with their moments of freezing and throwing up title cards for their characters and their “cool” music, but it couldn’t quite come together.  The story was just an origin story with a somewhat secondary and forgetful story about a bad guy and the “good” guys have to stop it.  The action wasn’t impressive either, but it was okay.  And the characters were mostly disappointing.  I didn’t care about most of the characters going in, and not much changed on leaving.  I liked Will Smith and Margot Robbie, Rick Flag and Katana were kind of bland and forgetful, El Diablo and Enchantress were fine, Captain Boomerang was fairly funny sometimes, and I didn’t care for Killer Croc at all.  He just felt like his performance should be him saying stupid things and licking things a lot for no reason.  And he looked strangely emaciated for some reason, even though the character and the actor portraying him are pretty big and buff.  And the biggest problem with the whole movie in my opinion was Jared Leto’s Joker.  You could tell he really had a character choice in mind, but I didn’t like the way he went at all.  I just found him annoying.  And worse than that, pointless.  It felt like everything involving the Joker was a waste of my time and he could’ve been not involved at all, or at least only involved in the flashbacks.

 

PETE’S DRAGON

Pete’s Dragon is … I don’t know, man.  It’s whatever.  I don’t remember the original well enough to compare them, and I already don’t remember this movie well enough to care.  The kid has a dragon, a family takes him in, bad people try to catch the dragon, happy ending.  It looks really pretty and the dragon is fairly well done, but I didn’t feel like I cared enough to pay attention while watching it and it couldn’t pull my attention.  I say skip it, but if you have kids it’ll perform as background noise fairly well.

 

SAUSAGE PARTY

I would give this movie some credit.  It almost lost me in the first 5 minutes with the musical number that opened it which I found completely devoid of humor and just trying too hard to be offensive.  And though the trying too hard to be offensive continued throughout the movie, some humor showed up making it more worthwhile.  It’s a silly movie that hides a strange religious argument meaning in between some of the lowest comedy that sometimes works.  I had a hard time in the movie weighing the jokes that were just too dumb or too gross with some actually well-written and funny jokes, but I’d say I warmed up to it, and I enjoyed the cast, particularly Nick Kroll doing his character Bobby Bottleservice as Douche.  I don’t recommend it if you’re easily offended because you probably wouldn’t make it very far into the movie, but if you can deal with that, you could actually enjoy the movie.  Or wind up somewhere in the middle of enjoying and despising it.

 

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS

This movie blew my damned mind!  I had a mild desire to see it based on its interesting style and Asian feel, but never bothered to get around to it until my friend Maggie raved about it.  I rented it, watched it, and went out to purchase it in full immediately afterwards.  It succeeds on every level.  The story is new, funny in parts, touching in others, and interesting to all ages throughout.  The animation is beautiful and engaging.  The cast also knocks it out of the park.  I don’t have much to say beyond saying I loved this movie and recommend you watch it post haste.

 

BEN-HUR

Even if it’s not necessary, every movie will probably be remade eventually, even if the original holds up just fine and the new one has nothing to bring to the table.  Granted, I probably don’t remember the original Ben-Hur well enough to say what the new one brought in or left out, but I do remember liking the original and being bored of the remake.  It’s not bad.  The race at the end is cool and some of the Jesus stuff is interesting and the cast tries their best, but it all seems futile.  Just go watch the original.

 

DON’T BREATHE

I found myself pretty surprised by Don’t Breathe.  Not so much by the quality.  The premise seemed interesting and the trailers sold the movie pretty well to make me think there was some quality to be found here, and there was.  I liked the premise of the kids breaking into the blind guy’s house and then he turns out to be a badass, and they were able to milk this for some really tense scenes.  My concern going into it was that the kids were supposed to be our protagonists, but I wondered if they would be able to make me feel bad about the blind war veteran killing the little shits that broke into his house, and they did that with the real surprise in this movie: all the stuff going on in the basement.  It made it so we didn’t like the blind guy a whole bunch more than we didn’t like the thieving kids, and led to some real weirdness and at least one super grossness.  But besides that, it was a very interesting movie, and I’d say it’s worth checking out.

 

MECHANIC: RESURRECTION

If you like Jason Statham action movies, this is one of them.  It’s not particularly special in any way, and it’s more than a little silly, but I didn’t hate it.  It’s a standard action movie that seemed like they had 3 ideas for interesting set pieces for and then just figured out some way to slap them all into the same movie.  They are also going to need A-Team-style ‘prepare for hit’ montages before each one.  Heaven help you if you don’t have that.  Then they added in a corny love story with Jessica Alba who this hardcore, lone wolf killer guy falls for way too quickly even though he knows she was sent by the bad guy.  But there were some cool action scenes and some cool fight scenes, also Jessica Alba is hot and Jason Statham is shirtless a whole bunch for anyone who may be into that sort of thing.

 

SEPTEMBER

YOGA HOSERS

It is known that I am a fan of Kevin Smiths.  I listen to his podcasts, I enjoy his TV shows, and I enjoy the greater majority of his movies.  When I listened to the creation of the term “Yoga Hosers” on Smodcast, I thought it was hilarious.  Sadly, I didn’t feel the same about the movie.  Smith goes back to the convenient store in this movie, this time replacing Dante and Randall with his daughter and Johnny Depp’s daughter, and also replacing the witty conversations with slapstick silliness.  Smith said he was going for a cheesy 80’s buddy movie with this one, which is probably fine but I just didn’t get any laughs out of it, which is less fine.  It was just too goofy and seemed like Smith just wanting to put friends and family in a movie and see them do things that amuse him, like having Ralph Garman’s character do impressions for no reason other than Kevin knows Ralph can do them and they make Kevin laugh.  And they make me laugh too when listening to Hollywood Babble-On, but not so much here.  Perhaps this movie is better suited for Smith’s target audience of preteen girls, but it just didn’t do it for me.  I haven’t been a preteen girl for years.

 

SULLY

I liked Sully, but I have to say I found the movie a bit implausible.  There’s no way that could actually happen!  Silliness aside, I realize that a certain amount of the credit for this movie goes elsewhere because it’s probably pretty easy to make an interesting movie about this just by following the real life events of a hero, but the movie was deftly handled.  I saw some complaining about how they handled the NTS board that was actively trying to prove that Sully fucked up and saying that this wouldn’t be how it would’ve happened in real life, but screw that.  They need a bad guy and they have to build it up so the audience would be amped when Sully proves that what he did was right.  That wouldn’t have been nearly as impactful if they were just like, “Yup, you were right.  Just as we all thought.  Good work, Captain.”  He needs to teabag them with knowledge.  After that stuff, you’ll be shocked to find that Tom Hanks was fantastic in this movie and carried the movie well.  Whoda thunk it?  Great movie and worth watching.

 

BLAIR WITCH

As another addition to the Blair Witch mythos, I found that this sequel raised more questions than it answered.  Like why is that black dude being such a dick to the two stoned weirdos?  They’ve been perfectly civil and helpful so far.  And why did the stoned weirdos fake those wooden doll things?  Like, you wanted others to believe in this stuff, but you wanted to stay in the woods longer and those things just made everyone want to leave.  And when they were leaving, why not just admit you faked it?  And why was faking it such a big deal to everyone else?  And why would our heroes tell them they had to leave because of it?  They could get lost and die in those woods … because they hung up their arts and crafts?  And why are the “heroes” still terrified after finding out that stuff was faked?  And why does everyone in horror movies think it’s okay to sneak up behind people that are already dealing with a scary situation?  These are the kinds of questions Blair Witch raises.  But the biggest one is why did they make this?  It really only rehashes the original Blair Witch movie, but now they have better and cooler technology.

 

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

There are two things that need be expressed in my review for this movie.  First, I have a predisposition towards enjoying Westerns.  Second, I haven’t seen the original, so I have nothing to compare it to.  That being said, I really enjoyed The Magnificent Seven.  Granted it’s a super standard movie in that a bad guy is terrorizing a town and the good guy must assemble a team of misfits to save the day.  And then a lot of bullets, a lot of explosions, a lot of death, and then the day is saved.  Who can’t name at least 5 movies to compare that stuff to?  Especially if you count the original Magnificent Seven, which I assume is similar.  But this movie is a solid western with good action and good acting.  Definitely worth a watch, especially if you like Westerns.

 

OCTOBER

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK

I enjoyed the first Jack Reacher movie pretty well, but not well enough to bother seeing the sequel in theaters until it was time to start watching movies for this review.  I had to go to the Dollar Theaters for it.  And that’s about the right price to see this movie.  It’s fine, but formulaic, and generally unnecessary.  The action’s okay and the fights are fine, but the story leaves something to be desired.  Mostly I just desired something not easy and obvious.  And probably desired (without knowing it) that they not have a completely pointless subplot about a daughter.  She only served the story as a damsel in distress, and was even more pointless because she wasn’t even his daughter.  They just sort of thought she was for parts of the movie but wasn’t, thus rendering her pretty pointless to the movie in general.  But it’s not a bad movie and I liked the action, so I would say it’s not necessary to see, but not painful to see.

 

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL

I’ve seen so many Ouija movies that I can’t even tell if any of them are supposed to be connected or not.  And if any of them are, I’m not sure why I watched this one because all the rest of them I’ve seen are just awful.  According to Wikipedia, this is a prequel to Ouija, which was garbage.  But Origin of Evil was inexplicably pretty damned good.  Pretty well-paced and nerve-wracking, with a solid story and some good scares, and pretty good acting to bring it all together.  One of my favorite things that they did in this was that they had scary things standing in the background a lot, but didn’t make a big deal out of them.  There would just be a silhouette back there with glowing orange eyes, but they wouldn’t zoom in on it or hit it with a music sting to make sure everyone saw it.  You don’t need to see it for the movie to work, but once I saw one I was nervously checking the background in every scene.  And when they looked through the lens in the planchette it made me want to hide until it was over.  This movie brings in a fair amount from The Exorcist and Poltergeist to help it be effective, and that’s just what it was.  Great horror movie.  Worth watching.

 

INFERNO

I didn’t think Inferno was nearly as bad as most critics seemed to, but I didn’t think it was good either.  If nothing else, a Tom Hanks movie has Tom Hanks in it and he can hold any piece of crap fairly well by himself.  I think my biggest problem with this movie is it didn’t feel like it had anything in common with the Da Vinci Code, which it should because that movie is the reason I watched this one.  The other movies didn’t really feel like full on action movies.  They felt more like Zelda.  Some action, but a lot of puzzle solving and interesting ideas about how Jesus had children or whatever.  Because of how this movie was set up, Tom Hanks’ character didn’t remember anything, which meant that he was pretty much being dragged from scene to scene until he finally got his shit together.  And the big reveal that the person you thought was good but was in fact bad was only a surprise because I thought they were being so blunt and obvious about it that it couldn’t possibly be the way they were going.  But it was.  And the black guy cop was hunting this bad guy for years but didn’t know he had a girlfriend or what she looked like?  So there’s not much going for this movie to make it worth watching.  I would say Hanks and their cool Hell imagery is about the only thing, but it’s not enough.  You can skip this one.

 

NOVEMBER

DOCTOR STRANGE

Never having been a big fan of Doctor Strange, I wasn’t sure how well this movie would work out for me.  That of course is stupidly forgetting who I am as a person and how I generally feel about Marvel movies.  Of course I loved this one.  But, in my defense, critics seemed to as well, so I feel justified.  This was a fantastic origin story movie that really worked on every level.  You can’t expect too terribly much from the story because it’s going to be an origin story and a small bad guy that probably sets up a bigger bad guy, but mostly serves as proof that he’s finished his origin by the end of the movie.  And that is what it was, but it also had some surprises and cleverness and humor in there to make it feel different enough.  The most obvious difference that sets this apart from other Marvel movies is the imagery.  Obviously I don’t mean that the CG was great, because it was and most Marvel movies are, but the jokes that it seemed like Marvel’s Inception I had heard before seeing the movie were apt.  But also, who cares?  It looked great and no one would need to guess that something magical was happening when you’re in a Kaleidoscope world.  Also, Cumberbatch was fantastic, and I also really enjoyed Swinton, McAdams, Ejiofor, Mikkelsen, and Wong.  Which is pretty much everyone, but that’s because they were all good, and only surpassed by the amazing performance of Doctor Strange’s Cape.  That was my favorite character by far.  Great movie, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the future with the character.

 

ARRIVAL

I hadn’t heard of the Arrival until someone suggested I watch it.  I typically don’t expect much when watching a movie I’ve never heard of because I’m so damned hip that I’ve always heard of everything worth hearing of.  And while that might not be true, it was also not applicable to this movie.  Definitely a solid movie.  I don’t give it quite the acclaim that it gets from other critics just because I found it boring in chunks of the movie, but it was generally worth sticking it out.  The movie felt a lot like Contact with a lot of sciencey stuff and aliens and whatnot, but very few explosions.  This movie was less about engineering and math and more about language though.  What it shares with other alien movies is the stupidity of so many people getting bored of trying to communicate so fast and deciding what needs to happen is we need to wave our gun dicks at the super advanced alien civilization.  Great idea, guys.  But since there’s a very good chance that would happen in real life, I can’t hold it against the writing.  And the writing was good anyway, even though the ending was a little confusing and hard to follow.  Still an enjoyable movie.

 

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

I’m a fairly big fan of the Harry Potter franchise, but I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them … mostly because I didn’t know they were related.  I believe I mentioned how hip and well-informed I am.  Well, once I figured it out, I went to see it fairly quickly.  And it’s good.  Not great, but good.  Story was interesting, but not mind-blowing.  I like what it adds to the mythology of the Harry Potter world and I’m excited to see where it goes in the future.  The graphics are of the quality that should be expected from Harry Potter and were really awesome.  And the cast was mostly great, at least in what they were going for.  Dan Fogler seemed to be the comic relief and largely unnecessary for most of the movie, but he performed it well.  And he had a great little love story with Queenie, so it made it worth it.  So there really wasn’t anything wrong with Fantastic Beasts, it just didn’t really resonate with me like the other Harry Potter movies did.  Maybe I just require a little more Emma Watson in my Harry Potter movies.

 

MOANA

I loved Moana far more than I expected.  It looked like a fairly average Disney movie, and it was.  But one forgets that the standard Disney formula has worked for a very long time for a good reason.  And Moana is a Disney-ass Disney movie.  It’s straight Disney as fuck.  The story is a classic follow your heart type of story as well as a save the day movie.  It also has something that I like in movies that wasn’t as big for other Disney movies: a strong female heroine.  Sure, Disney movies have had strong female characters, but most of them are the prize of the hero or the damsel in distress.  This movie doesn’t even waste it’s time with a love story.  Moana loves the sea and exploring, but she’s probably not shacking up with Maui afterwards.  He’s a big dumb oaf for most of the movie, and not worthy of Moana until the end, but that’s not what the point of the movie was anyway and I like that.  The movie also looks beautiful as one would expect it to.  The songs were good and “How Far I’ll Go” was great, and Dwayne Johnson’s “You’re Welcome” was a decent song, but showed that The Rock actually has some pipes.  Great movie for kids and adults alike.

 

DECEMBER

ROGUE ONE

I don’t know how much weight one can put behind my opinion of a Star Wars movie, but suffice to say I enjoyed Rogue One.  It was not my favorite Star Wars movie and I thought it paled in comparison to last year’s offering, but I am typically going to be pretty happy to go back to the Star Wars world.  I think what I enjoyed most about Rogue One was the gaps that were filled in the mythology of Star Wars, like how the Rebels got the plans to the Death Star in the first place, what powered the Death Star, can they pull off CG young Leia, etc.  I also like the greater majority of the performances.  I especially liked the robot K-2SO for being a straight up funny asshole (and apparently voiced by Alan Tudyk, which makes me love it more), and Donnie Yen as Space Zatoichi.  I really wish I could’ve seen that guy use a lightsaber.  He was rad.  I thought the movie was great, just not really great enough to make my top films of the year, but it had stiff competition.  Heck, it has stiff competition amongst Star Wars movies.  I would also like to say that I’m super glad I saw this movie when I did, because if I had waited longer I would’ve broken down in a blubbering pile of tears when Leia showed up.  RIP Carrie Fisher.

 

ASSASSIN’S CREED

What was it about the Assassin’s Creed movie that caused me to ignore history and actually have hope that it would be a good movie?  It’s a video game movie!  That’s a pretty big hill to climb.  It was probably mainly the inclusion of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.  They wouldn’t do a shitty movie, would they?  Well yeah, apparently.  One of the criticisms I have for this movie is the same that I’ve always had for the games that they are based on: No one cares what happens outside of the Animus!  I want to be an Assassin!  I don’t want to be Desmond Miles!  The parts inside the Animus seemed like they could’ve been a fairly cool movie on their own if they spent a little time with it.  Heck, the time out of the Animus probably could’ve too, but together it just kept slowing the movie down.  At least the games know to make us spend the majority of our time as an Assassin.  Now, I wouldn’t say that I absolutely hated this movie.  The CG was cool and Fassbender and Cotillard were good, but it was just kinda boring and lackluster, and nowhere near what I was hoping for.

 

PASSENGERS

I respect a movie that can do so much with so few cast members.  Of significance, there are like 4 actors in this movie.  Sure, Andy Garcia shows up at the end, but I don’t even think he says anything.  But I enjoyed Passengers, based mostly on some interesting story ideas and the strong chemistry of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence.  I saw a lot of criticism of one really big decision that Pratt makes in the movie, and I get that, but I don’t know why people are saying that takes away from the movie.  The characters in the movie treat the decision fairly appropriately, and it’s also hard to say it wasn’t justified.  Dude thought he might have to spend the remaining 60 years of his life completely alone.  And did a year of it already.  It’s a hard decision to make, but one I think most would’ve made sooner.  Especially for Jennifer Lawrence.  Also, the movie looks fantastic.  And I also thought Michael Sheen was surprisingly charming for an android.  I wouldn’t say Passengers is one of the greatest movies ever, but I’d certainly recommend it for a rental.

 

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!

Advertisements

The Films of 2013


I may have gone a little overboard this year.  I saw a lot of movies last year, but I saw 11 more than that this year.  57 out of the 280 movies that Wikipedia listed as a 2013 release.  That’s 20% of the movies that were released last year by my very terrible math.  And I’m not even getting paid to do this stuff!  Nor am I getting paid to break down all of the movies I saw last year in an 8,000 plus word review of all the films of 2013, but I’m doing that anyway.  And since I’m sick of writing words after having done just that, I’m just going to stop right here and see if you have the balls to read my review of the films of 2013.  Good luck and Godspeed.

JANUARY

THE GRANDMASTER

I went to see this movie pretty much at the behest of my Film Criticism teacher.  I hadn’t really entertained the idea of seeing it from just seeing the trailers and I’m not sure why.  I loved all of the Ip Man movies, so why wouldn’t I love this?  Well I saw the movie and that’s when I found out why.  It wasn’t anything like the Ip Man movies.  Fighting was replaced with boringness and talking and artsy fartsy stuff.  This is not to say that this was a bad movie, but it bothered me because of the expectations I went in with.  It’s more of a drama than a martial arts movie.  It’s a good drama, but a shitty martial arts movie.  And that’s just not what I wanted this movie to be.

A HAUNTED HOUSE

You know how Netflix thinks it has a handle on the movies you will like?  This movie proved that it doesn’t.  Well, I guess I can’t say that because I request to watch so many movies that I think will be awful that Netflix probably has a hard time getting a read on me.  Well this movie was a parody of Paranormal Activity.  Much like the greater majority of the Scary Movies, this one wasn’t very funny.  It wasn’t painfully unfunny, but there wasn’t much reason to waste any time on it.

GANGSTER SQUAD

I actually watched this movie 2 days ago.  I never really thought it looked that interesting so I never really felt the need to look into it.  While at work one day recently, I saw parts of it on the TV (although I couldn’t hear any of it) and decided it looked interesting enough to give it a watch.  And it was!  It was … thoroughly okay!  Decent enough action, some great performances, but not a whole lot I found interesting in the story.  Still, it was a decent enough watch.

HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS

I saw this movie in a dollar cinema and overpaid.  It wasn’t a bad movie, but it didn’t really seem to have a purpose.  It was a fun idea, but the fun of that idea wasn’t really realized by the basic script with laughs that typically fell flat.  The action wasn’t fun either, and the performances didn’t do anything spectacular.  It’s not a bad movie, but since you’ll have a hard time finding it cheaper than a dollar, I can’t really recommend it.

MAMA

In my review for this movie, I called it “super passionate about being mediocre.”  I stand by that.  It was a fine movie, but there wasn’t anything spectacular about it.  It looked pretty nifty and the performers all did a great job, but there weren’t any scares to be found in this movie and if there aren’t any scares in a horror movie, there isn’t much of a point.  I still think the movie works well enough to see it as a rental.

THE LAST STAND

I watched this movie a long time ago and never bothered to review it.  I think we all know what it is.  It’s Arnold Schwarzenegger trying to make his come back into the world of poorly written, poorly conceived, mindless action movies with … well … another one.  It is what it is.  You probably don’t need to watch it.

FEBRUARY

THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA

My unnatural love for ghost movies drew me to see this one.  If I could have my love for these movies removed, I would.  I thought next to nothing about this movie.  I took one note pointing out the fact that their idea to make this movie scary was to make a ghost walk by every other minute or so and then I watched the rest of the movie.  Not scary, not interesting, not cool, and it didn’t even make sense.  It seems to have nothing to do with the first Haunting in Connecticut movie.  Not even the state it takes place in.  This is in Georgia!  If there is a haunting in Connecticut, it’s not going to be seen here.  The first Haunting in Connecticut movie wasn’t even that good that you would think you needed to ride it’s coattails to fame and fortune.  Just call the movie Ghosts of Georgia and let everyone find out that this is a whole new and different underwhelming horror movie.

A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD

So this movie happened.  I watched this movie like 3 weeks ago and I have no memory of it whatsoever.  I’m sure that means it’s great.  John McClane has a son now and he’s trying to save him in Russia and there’s a bad guy and then stuff blows up.  If any of that sounds interesting, rent this movie.  If not, good!

DARK SKIES

This movie was really close to being a good comedy.  …But it was a horror movie.  There were no scares, and what they attempted to scare me with made me laugh, like Keri Russell banging her head on the window.  It still kind of tickles me.  It didn’t really make sense and everyone seemed to get bored before they arrived at the climax of the movie, where the movie seemed to sheepishly back out of the theater, hoping no one would get mad that they could no longer get their money back.  And the performances were only the stereotype characters of any horror movie.  The mom figures out that something strange is going on, but the husband refuses to acknowledge it … even after she just found him standing in the backyard with blood pouring from his nose … as per usual!

MARCH

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

WRITTENVIDEO

Oh, this movie.  I feel like I’ve done enough to this movie already after having written a review for it and posted a video review, but I’ve still got one more go around with it, I suppose.  It was watchable, but only just so.  The story was basic, the graphics were pretty, but most of the starring characters were way over the top in their portrayal.  It was like the original Oz movie, but this time we have a lot of other options for movies and have no reason for this one.

THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE

I feel like this movie got beaten up pretty badly.  It was talked about by many people who wouldn’t even watch it as a stupid comedy.  Well take it from someone who actually watched it: …yeah, that’s kind of true.  But it wasn’t painfully bad.  It was cute.  I feel like that is the best I can do for this movie.  It had its funny moments.  I like the cast.  Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi are great, Olivia Wilde is hot, and Jim Carrey kind of carried the movie.  His parts were typically funny, if spread out a little too far.  It’s not a great movie, but it’s not a terrible movie either.

ADMISSION

I kind of watched this movie on a whim.  I guess I was disappointed because I can’t help but have high hopes for a movie starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.  It wasn’t up to their standards, but Tina Fey didn’t write the thing.  It probably would’ve been better if she had.  It was a decent enough story and was pretty heartwarming, but nowhere near as funny as I wanted it to be.

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN

This was the serious version of White House Down.  Basically the same idea, but not very fun.  It was better than I expected it to be because it was saved by some decent action and performances that were of a quality that I didn’t expect from this movie, but the story was super simple as they probably realized it was barely necessary for anyone going to see this movie.  It’s an okay way to kill some time.

G.I. JOE: RETALIATION – VIDEO

I was pleased with this movie because it wasn’t as bad as the first one.  They set the bar low and managed to keep themselves from tripping on it as they passed into the second one.  The story was dumb, but you’d be dumb if you’d think I’d have anything else to say about it.  My mind would be blown if there was any good writing to be found here and I would be completely unable to write this review.  But the action was pretty good.  Ninjas fighting on ropes while hanging from a mountain?  You got it!  Blowing up entire towns?  Why not?!  And The Rock leads this movie, and I like that guy.  So it’s dumb, but it’s fun.  So I guess you should watch it.

APRIL

OBLIVION

I actually liked this movie.  It helped that I went into this movie with low to no expectations.  The story didn’t really impress me too much, but it was interesting if a bit slow-moving in parts.  But the look of the movie was pretty nice, and there were some great performances.  It’s a decent enough watch and probably good for a rental.

PAIN & GAIN

I watched this movie and didn’t find it particularly memorable or remarkable.  Perhaps Michael Bay should just stick to straight up action movies that we all find humorous instead of trying to make intentional comedies.  The story of this movie was made slightly more interesting because it was at least mostly real events, but made less interesting because it wasn’t written very well and most of the story was told in annoying voice over instead of just shown to us.  Bay is also a hug fan of filming people from below while spinning the camera around them, and also thinks that The Rock should not be filmed any other way.  But The Rock remains an interesting character, and it was amusing to watch him spiral down in the later part of the movie.  Still, I don’t think there’s anything in this movie worth watching.

MAY

FAST & FURIOUS 6

Paul Walker’s final movie (as far as I know) before his untimely death that spawned the people of the world to spew out the same joke about how his death resembled his most famous movies.  It is my hope that this refrain was finally silenced as everyone making those jokes realized everyone else was making the exact same joke.  His final release before his death was about as underwhelming as those jokes were, but it wasn’t a bad movie.  In the same vein as Fast Five, this movie has a really basic and predictable story and acting work that does not impress, but the action was solid.  Not quite as spectacular as in the previous movie, but good.  I wound up buying this movie, though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the same.  It’s at least worth a rental.

EPIC

This movie was cute if not very substantial.  It really is just a kid’s movie and didn’t resonate with me in any way.  It was pretty.  That’s about all I’ve got.  If you have kids, then this movie is fine.  Otherwise there shouldn’t be much inspiration to see it.

NOW YOU SEE ME

WRITTENVIDEO

I liked the premise of this movie more than I liked the movie itself.  The idea of people using magic tricks to rob banks and fight was a cool idea, but there wasn’t quite enough magic in the storytelling.  Telling us to look for misdirection made me do just that, and the rest of the story and the mystery they were going for just unfolded.  But the movie was presented very well and the performances were pretty great.  I wouldn’t buy this movie, but I’m not bummed that I watched it.

JUNE

THE BLING RING

I don’t know why I saw this movie.  Oh wait, yes I do.  It was Emma Watson.  When I eventually meet and marry Emma Watson, I feel like it would offend her if I say I haven’t seen all of her movies.  Hopefully she won’t ask me if I liked them all as well because this movie didn’t really work for me.  Most of the movie is pretty people sitting around having inane conversations.  Then those pretty people start robbing places while having the same inane conversations.  The characters in this movie just made me angry with their stupidity, but I guess I can’t really blame the movie because this stuff actually happened.  But I wouldn’t have hung out with the real people and I don’t really want to hang out with the fake versions by watching their movie.  Most of the performances were fine, but there just wasn’t anything in the movie I cared to watch.  Except for Emma Watson.

WORLD WAR Z

WRITTENVIDEO

People hated this movie a lot because of the changes they made from the book.  I have not and will not read the book, so none of that bothered me.  And that allowed me to enjoy the movie.  The story was interesting all of the way through, even though a few parts were a little slow and a couple of things didn’t make sense to me.  It looked really good and the action created a lot of excitement and suspense.  And all of the performances in the movie were great.  I had no complaints.

WHITE HOUSE DOWN

This was the funny version of Olympus Has Fallen.  Well, it WANTED to be funny.  I don’t know if I’d say it fully arrived at that benchmark.  All you really need to know going into this movie is that it’s a Rolland Emmerich movie.  Like all of his movies that I’ve seen, they’re really stupid, but they lavish in their stupidity.  If you’re going to make stupid movies, overcome that with lots of fun.  Shut off your brain and start clapping at shiny things and pretty colors, because I kinda recommend you rent this movie.

JULY

THE LONE RANGER

This movie was beaten up by critics, but I actually didn’t mind it.  I didn’t think it was good, but I didn’t find it painful as most of them seemed to.  I have no ties with the Lone Ranger mythos so this movie didn’t ruin anything.  I also like the quirky Johnny Depp performances, though it seems most critics do not.  Captain Jack Sparrow was a lot of fun, even if you put a dead bird on his head.  I thought this money had a decent amount of funny moments and some decent enough action.  And only one of those action scenes was ruined with the old Lone Ranger music that completely didn’t fit the scene.  I don’t think this was a good movie, but I’d call it an okay movie.  I recommend renting this movie and reaching your own conclusions about it.  I think the criticism has been a little unjust.

RED 2

I really liked the first RED movie.  I wasn’t expecting it to be as cool and stylized as it was, and the action was great.  Then they came out with this movie.  It tried to be as cool and stylized as the first movie, but it felt more like it was just repeating the first movie with a slightly different and less interesting story.  In the first movie he stepped out of a spinning car.  In this one he steps into a spinning car!  But I’ve seen that already!  Show me something new because your story isn’t that interesting and your cast isn’t trying that hard, even though they’re mostly spectacular actors.  And I’m always down to watch Mary-Louise Parker.  She’s hot, cute and funny.  Speaking of which…

R.I.P.D.

She was in R.I.P.D. also!  And I liked this movie more than I liked RED 2 while still not thinking it was that great of a movie.  This movie also had nothing special in the story or the action, but I think what made the movie work was the chemistry between the actors.  Ryan Reynolds is likeable, Jeff Bridges is basically doing Rooster Cogburn from True Grit (which is always a good thing), and Mary-Louise Parker is Mary-Louise Parker.  This movie is fine for a rental.

THE CONJURING

A horror movie never really needs to win with the story.  There’s a haunting and you can either fix it by finding what it wants and taking care of it or leaving the house.  I guess you can also just die, but that’s no way to end a movie.  What a horror movie really needs to do is create an atmosphere that builds anxiety, gets you on the edge of your seat, and frightens you.  This movie did that fairly well.  It didn’t really frighten, but it did create a nice spooky atmosphere that made this movie acceptable as a horror movie.  It wasn’t quite good enough to need to see in theaters, but now that you can rent it, I can get behind recommending that you do that.

THE WOLVERINE

The real problem with this movie is that it totally should’ve been in my best of for this year, but I just couldn’t do that.  How can you make a movie involving the X-Men or one of their biggest characters that doesn’t get me going?  ME!!  I love the X-Men!  Avengers was my best movie of the entire year last year!  You’re already closer than any other movie before I even see you!  I guess this movie wasn’t really that much closer because X-Men Origins: Wolverine was so bad that I was torn about what I should think as I went into it.  It was better than that piece of shit, but still not great.  The story was okay but the dialog was deflating.  And I guess the story is to blame for the feeling that Wolverine himself was a little diminished because they decided to take away his healing abilities, but they didn’t let it diminish him nearly as much as I expected it to.  But if you’re building a movie around such a great character, you can’t come mediocre.

AUGUST

WE’RE THE MILLERS

I didn’t find myself particularly interested in seeing this movie at first.  I like Jason Sudeikis well enough, but I’ve seen him in some bad movies before so he’s not really a draw.  But one of my friends did recommend this movie, so I decided to give it a shot.  Okay, it was really because Jennifer Aniston looked hot as a stripper.  And she was!  And this movie wasn’t that bad.  It had plenty enough funny moments and it had Jennifer Aniston getting sexy.  That’s good enough for me.

ELYSIUM

I didn’t have any inspiration to see this movie.  I wasn’t that big of a fan of District 9 and didn’t feel inspired to see the movie that followed it up and seemed extremely similar.  But as the end of the year was approaching, a lot of people were telling me that this movie would definitely be making it on their best movies of the year, so I felt the need to at least give it a shot.  I still feel like I was right.  Just like District 9, a lot of people like it but I didn’t get that excited by it.  The story was okay but really just seemed like it broke down to, “Rich people are bad!”  The performances were okay, but I could definitely see what some people were saying about the accents sounding weird, but I thought that Kruger guy’s accent was way weirder than Jodie Fosters.  I guess the thing I noted about this movie that it did well was the gore.  There was a lot of really cool gore in this movie, from people’s faces getting blasted out to guys blowing up, but other than that I wasn’t really into it.  But since so many people seemed to love this movie, I’d still recommend that you watch it.  You might be one of … THEM!

KICK-ASS 2

I was a huge fan of the original Kick-Ass movie, but this one fell a little flat with me.  It didn’t lose me completely, but it had a high bar to measure up to that it just couldn’t.  The action was a little spread out for my tastes, but was good when it happened.  The story wasn’t mind-blowing, but it was good.  And the performances were great as we had seen in the first movie.  So basically what I’m saying for this movie is that there was nothing particularly wrong with it, but the first one was better.  Still at least worth a rental.  If I hadn’t forgotten that it’s out on DVD already, I probably would’ve remembered to buy it already.

JOBS

I confess that my only inspiration to watch this movie was in hopes of having a movie to put in my worst movies of the year list.  Ashton Kutcher is in it!  How could it lose?!  Well it did because it was just mediocre and not horrible.  It’s basically just the life of Steve Jobs, which is somewhat interesting, I suppose.  Probably more so if you’re a big Apple lover.  But I’m writing this on Microsoft Word.  Microsoft Word is running on Windows 8.  Windows 8 is running on a computer I built.  I use only one Apple product.  I don’t really care about Steve Jobs life.  This movie would’ve had to be much better or much worse for me to have paid much attention to it.  I’m not going to recommend it unless you’re some crazy Machead.

THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES

I won’t be going too in depth with this review because my friend Tara specifically requested this movie as a video review.  I usually don’t accept requests for video reviews because a movie needs to have a lot of material for mocking to be worthy of a video review.  Tara seemed aware of that when she suggested this movie.  It’s not bad, but it’s definitely not for me.  It’s another movie that makes me think I need to write some vaguely sci-fi fantasy love story for teens.  Those things are blowing up right now.  Even the worst of them is being turned into a movie in hopes of becoming the next Harry Potter or Twilight.  Well this movie is kind of Twilight.  I didn’t like that movie either.  It’s not a painfully bad movie, but it’s not really worth watching.  What probably will be worth watching is my video review of this movie.  I took a lot of notes on this thing.

SEPTEMBER

HELL BABY

I like a lot of people involved in this movie.  Tom Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, Rob Corddry, Keegan-Michael Key, Riki Lindhome, Michael Ian Black, Kumail Nanjiani, etc.  I like all of these people.  And the female one got full on naked in the movie.  Okay, THAT’S probably the real reason I watched it.  But the movie was pretty good too.  It looked pretty good and the writing was okay, but the cast they got elevated what would otherwise be okay jokes well into funny.  It’s definitely at least worth checking out.

RIDDICK – VIDEO

I haven’t been that big of a fan of the Riddick series, but I decided to see this movie because it was there when I went to the theaters once.  It’s really not far removed from a remake of the first movie that made the character popular.  I would never have been so bold as to go into this movie expecting much out of the story, but if they’re not going to have a fantastic story they at least need some good action.  Even that wasn’t anything special.  They just want to constantly remind us that Riddick is a badass.  The best way to do that is to make a cool movie next time.  Let’s try that one out if we make another.

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2

I feel like I could cut and paste my review for Kick-Ass 2 into this and have the same effect.  Solid movie, but the first movie was better.  The story was just okay and some of the things didn’t make that much sense to me, but didn’t bother me that much in the long run.  Some of the things they did were cool and innovative and the performances in the movie were pretty strong.  The thing that I can say about this movie and not Kick-Ass 2 is that it didn’t really build tension and didn’t really scare as it should have.  It’s still an okay movie, worthy at least of a rental.

OCTOBER

CARRIE

I was forced to watch this movie as part of my midterm for my Film Criticism class where I had to compare this movie to the original.  But I didn’t like the original that much, so how would a remake do?  The answer is fairly well.  I liked the remake much more than I liked the original, but that’s not saying too much.  I guess I’d call the remake of Carrie, “Okay.”  The story was almost identical and the only performance I’d say that I missed from the original movie was Sissy Spacek.  Chloë Moretz did a good job, but Spacek was probably better.  Piper Laurie was always a little over the top for my taste and Julianne Moore played it much more real.  The main improvement was in the look, which would obviously have been improved over the years.  I liked this movie better than the original, but I still only thought this movie was okay.  At least worth a rental, but not necessarily a purchase that needs to happen.

THOR: THE DARK WORLD

The original Thor didn’t do that much for me, but I’ve also never been that big of a fan of Thor in the first place.  I didn’t really start liking Thor as a character until the Avengers movie.  I also like everyone that was involved in that movie in any capacity.  The sequel was a fairly big improvement from the original.  These kinds of movies always benefit from not having to explain all the setup and background stuff to the audience.  This movie also benefited from having an entertaining and even sometimes humorous script to work with, as well as some solid action and great actors.  I especially liked Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgård, who were the ones that brought the most humor to their performances.  Hemsworth, Portman, and Hiddleston also did the great jobs that I would expect from them.  I’d recommend this movie for a purchase.  That’s probably what I’ll be doing.

NOVEMBER

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

You may recall that the first Hunger Games movie made it into my list of the worst movies of the year.  Since you’re not finding this part of the review in that section, it can be assumed that this movie went a little better.  And it’s true that this movie was better than the first one.  I still think the names are stupid and I’d prefer Elizabeth Banks as hot instead of all Lady Gaga’ed out, but they weren’t as annoying with their camera choices allowing them to capture the action better.  I’m still not too big of a fan of the story, but I wouldn’t really begrudge anyone for liking this movie as I did for the first movie.  Hopefully it’s a sign of exponential growth for the next movie, but only time will tell.

DECEMBER

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

The biggest problem I’ve had with the Hobbit movies so far is my anger over the fact that there does not seem to be a need for these to be split into three movies.  This time I got angry that I didn’t see Smaug desolate anything, but I was happy that I didn’t have to spend a half hour watching dwarves eat dinner and play with dishes.  Instead, we get into a slightly more interesting section of the story and are treated to some great action and fight scenes thanks to our new elven friends introduced in this movie.  Even if this movie should have been part of only one or two Hobbit movies, it was still an interesting movie to watch.  I’m hoping the third one will be a lot better because we’ll finally get to see Smaug do something interesting, and we’ll find that out later.

ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES

I think the problem with this movie is that it was a sequel.  One problem it encountered was the fact that the first Anchorman is such a classic that it’s going to be hard to live up to that.  The second problem is that, in order to live up to its predecessor, it’s going to try to rehash the jokes we loved in the first one.  People loved the joke about Paul Rudd’s cologne in the first one.  Let’s do that again and try to ramp it up a little bit.  But I’ve already seen that joke!  Too bad!  There were some very funny moments in this movie, but I doubt it will be anywhere near as quoted as the original was.  The cast is still great though.  Carell and Wiig’s relationship is hilarious, and the cameos in the news battle are epic.  I still say this is a movie that is worth seeing, but it’s not as good as the original, and you should go in knowing that.

47 RONIN

We all had expectations for this movie.  It’s like the Last Samurai with Keanu Reeves.  It simply must be terrible.  But it actually isn’t.  It’s certainly not fantastic, but it’s okay.  Much like Last Samurai, actually.  The story wasn’t anything shocking, but I suppose it’s also somewhat based on a real myth, so they probably tried to stick to something around that.  Most of the visuals worked well and some of the action was pretty exciting, and the performances weren’t bad.  I still take issue with any Keanu Reeves performance where he doesn’t use the word, “Whoa,” but I’m sure that’s something he’s actually trying to avoid.  This movie isn’t something you necessarily need to go and see while it’s in theaters, but I’d recommend it for a rental.

THE WORST FILMS OF 2013

HONORABLE MENTIONS

BULLET TO THE HEAD

You could say this movie was mediocre, but only if you were being nice.  In reality, it’s pretty damned boring.  The story was simple and the dialogue was crap, and they didn’t even have the common decency to fix those problems with some great action.  At least not until the very end of the movie, but they had lost me a long time before that.  There’s no good reason to watch this except to make fun of it.

AFTER EARTH – VIDEO

We all know what this is.  It’s a bad movie, yes, but it’s not nearly as bad as it was treated like.  The story is completely lame.  It’s a really long fetch quest.  Spend an entire movie getting to the ass of your ship to light off a rescue beacon.  The look also wanted to be spectacular, but never really impressed.  Will Smith was okay, but I don’t really like him as a jerk.  I like him in comedies.  And the entire movie seemed like it wanted us to care about Jaden Smith.  I still don’t recommend that.  I also don’t recommend this movie.

THE LAST EXORCISM PART II

The thing that made me most angry about this movie is the stupidity of its title.  The Last Exorcism … Part Two.  The second final exorcism.  The last movie was the Last Exorcism and this one is the next one.  I hate you going into this movie.  And then you’re not a very good movie.  There wasn’t anything impressive in the story and none of the movie was particularly scary.  The only thing good in the movie was Ashley Bell.  She’s pretty good.  But there’s still no reason to see the movie.

FIFTH WORST

Machete Kills (2013)MACHETE KILLS

Some people like a good campy movie.  That is my assumption at least because they’ve made two Machete movies and seem to be making a third one.  I thought the Grindhouse movies had their charms, but the first Machete was fairly mediocre and the second one was just crap.  I get the feeling like they wanted their story to be shitty because it was within the camp parameters they were going for, but I don’t have any appreciation for camp.  Maybe if they had some good action or performances it could make it more tolerable, but camp doesn’t allow for that either.  All it allows for is a super basic story, unconvincing violence, less than spectacular action, and cheesy performances.  I see no reason to watch this movie.

FOURTH WORST

Getaway (2013)GETAWAY

As best I can tell, no one wanted to see this movie.  It’s like the movie Phonebooth if the phone booth had wheels and an annoying ex-Disney star in there with you.  The bad guy had no discernable purpose in the movie and his motivation would qualify as the entirety of the story.  Was he trying to make money or was he trying to make a former race car driver believe in his abilities again?  I can’t remember and I don’t give a shit.  Either option qualifies as either boring and average or stupid.  If you’re interested in car chases, this movie has that in spades.  But if you’re not, then this movie might come across as a series of boring with no other purpose … like it did with me.  For the performances, Ethan Hawke did okay and Jon Voight did as good as you could with a mostly exclusively vocal performance, but it should not shock anyone that Selena Gomez cannot pull off being a badass little thug girl.  Go ahead and skip this movie.

THIRD WORST

The Purge (2013)THE PURGE

What?  Ethan Hawke is back already?!  There’s no way I’d have movies that would share actors again in this list.  But this movie sucked.  I kind of knew it would because that’s all I had heard about it before I decided to watch it.  They were right.  I guess the premise of the movie was cool enough, but it also doesn’t really seem to make that much sense to me.  I would like to think that, given a day where the illegal were legal, that most people wouldn’t take that opportunity to go around killing people.  It’s perhaps a bit naïve way to look at the world, but it’s how I prefer to.  It just makes me feel better.  But even if I wasn’t out looking to kill people, you’d better believe I would kill someone that came into my house trying to kill me and my family, whether there were rules that day or not and whether they were just some random gang of jerk kids or my asshole neighbors.  Neither would survive the night while I was still alive and kickin’.  And if I had anything to say about it, my whole family would survive as well … except for maybe my asshole daughter.  She got on my nerves, regardless of her somewhat hotness.  So basically what I’m saying is this was an interesting premise that frustrated me with its shitty writing and underwhelming everything else.  So I’m not recommending this either.

RUNNER UP

Spring Breakers (2013)SPRING BREAKERS

What?!  Now Selena Gomez is back!  Was the Getaway so bad that I hated every actor in it enough to hate any other movies they were in?  No, they just picked some bad movies this year.  And Selena Gomez is garbage.  Also, I hate Harmony Korine movies.  Other critics love this guy’s movies because of their social commentary or whatever.  I hate them because they seem like pretentious artsy crap.  And that’s what this movie felt like to me.  It was filled with annoying people I don’t want to be around or watch on film.  A bunch of annoying girls that rob people, a bunch of guys whose brains have been fried by drugs, and a rapper who would tattoo an ice cream cone on his face and can’t act.  The story of this movie was super simplistic and the movie was prolonged by having the movie repeat itself constantly.  I imagine this movie was actually half as long as it turned out if they cut out all the moments of repeating themselves, and those moments made the movie feel twice as long as it actually was.  Is there social commentary in this movie?  Probably, but there are less annoying ways to present that message.  As it was, the only thing I enjoyed about this movie was the titties.  They were abundant.  But you can also find that stuff on the internet without an annoying movie to accompany them.

THE WORST MOVIE OF 2013

Movie 43 (2013)MOVIE 43

This movie was aggressively and furiously unfunny, filled with a level of comedy that I assume might amuse people that could consider it a wonderful and productive night to sit around and say “underwear” and “poop” to be met with uproarious laughter.  My mother tells me that this was my pinnacle of comedy … when I was 2.  So if you hate your 2-year-old, this might be the movie to show them.  The movie even seemed aware of how painfully bad their jokes were because it was bookended by scenes of a person pitching this movie to a studio and being turned down because of how painfully unfunny and blatantly offensive their attempts at humor were, so much so that he was only able to get the movie green lit by pulling a gun and a grenade on the studio head.  I think that was based on a true story.  Worse than their attempts at comedy were what they did to people I like and respect.  It opens with Wolverine on a date with Academy Award Winner Kate Winslet and Wolverine … has balls on his neck.  And that’s the entire joke.  They then went on to dilute my affections for people like Halle Berry, Naomi Watts, Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Bell, Patrick Warburton, Anna Faris, John Hodgman, Matt Walsh, Seth MacFarlane, and Stephen Merchant, just to name a few.  If some of those people had any input in the script at all, they could have made a funny movie.  Instead, even their rare funny premises had shit thrown at them (literally) in order to sustain them as a sketch.  The most painful thing this movie caused was that people I know and respect for their sense of humor said that they laughed at one or two points during this movie.  That was the unkindest cut of all.

 

THE BEST FILMS OF 2013

HONORABLE MENTIONS

IRON MAN 3

Iron Man 3 was a good movie, but the nerdiness in me was ultimately disappointed by what it delivered.  I liked the story, but I absolutely hated what they did with the Mandarin.  I was not asking for them to go supernatural with the character and give him a set of magical rings; I was only asking for what I was promised.  You made the Mandarin into a real world style terrorist from what I saw in the trailers, and Ben Kingsley rocked that part of the performance.  But that’s not the way you went, was it?  I was completely deflated at the reveal for the Mandarin and it at least partially ruined the movie for me.  But the story was pretty good and the action was solid, although I didn’t really appreciate how disposable the Iron Man suits were.  Enemies were cutting through them like butter and Tony Stark was jumping into new ones to get destroyed.  I think he builds them a little bit sturdier than that.  But I did like the movie and the performances were expectedly great, I just couldn’t help but be disappointed by parts of it.

PACIFIC RIM

WRITTENVIDEO

I liked this movie a lot, but I couldn’t put it much higher than an honorable mention because the story was nothing special.  It wasn’t a bad story, but there was nothing new or unexpected in it.  But fuck you if you saw this movie expecting more than that.  I saw this movie for monsters and robots punching each other in the face.  And this movie brings that.  It looks great, it actually feels like giant robots and monsters laying waste to each other, and the action is plentiful.  Nothing special in this movie by way of story or acting, but that action makes it worth the ride.

MAN OF STEEL

WRITTENVIDEO

There were things that were not to be liked in this movie, but I thought the movie was pretty well done anyway.  Sure, it doesn’t seem like Superman to engage in combat that would level his two favorite cities, but I don’t like Superman anyway, so I don’t really care that it didn’t seem like Superman.  What did seem like Superman was the story.  It was the same story we’ve seen before in any number of Superman origin stories, and nearly identical to the story of Superman 2, but at least they didn’t use the old staple of the green rock to create drama as they have with every other Superman movie in the past.  But overall, the performances were good and the action was solid, so this was still an enjoyable watch, and probably the best Superman movie I’ve seen.

FIFTH BEST

The World's End (2013)THE WORLD’S END

I recently got into a conversation with a friend of mine who mentioned this movie as a great disappointment.  I reminded him that the only reason he could find this movie disappointing is because it was the third part in a very strong trilogy of movies.  On its own, this movie was really good.  It was a strong story that maybe lost itself in getting a little heavy handed and had a weak ending, but it counteracted that with a good amount of funny and awesome moments.  And the cast is fantastic.  The only real problem with this movie is that Shaun of the Dead is one of the best movies ever in my opinion, and Hot Fuzz is a fantastic movie as well.  Compared to those movies, it doesn’t quite match up.  On its own, it’s a solid movie that’s definitely worth watching.

FOURTH BEST

Evil Dead (2013)EVIL DEAD

I thought this movie was awesome.  Look, I respect the original Evil Dead (even with its camp appeal), but I always liked the following two movies better because they just went for outright comedy instead of camp.  It never really worked as a horror movie for me.  The remake, however, did.  I felt like they improved on the original in every way.  It looked better and that brought better gore.  Neither one of these movies was ever actually able to scare me, but they had some suspense and this one works really well as a slasher flick.  The performances were pretty good in this movie as well and the only thing that left me wanting was the lack of Bruce Campbell.  He wouldn’t really have made sense in this movie, but Bruce is awesome and I’m always going to miss him if you remake one of his movies without him.  But he was the only thing I missed, and I thought this movie was pretty awesome.

THIRD BEST

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

WRITTENVIDEO

This movie is a total win for me.  I’ve always made public the fact that I chose Star Wars in the Trek/Wars conflict and never really gave Star Trek a chance.  The first Star Trek remake movie was really good, but Into Darkness was so good that it actually made a Star Trek fan out of me.  The story was fantastic, exciting, emotional, and suspenseful, so much so that it inspired me to watch the entire original series, the entire original movie series, and even purchase and get into Next Generation.  That’s a lot of inspiration caused by one movie.  That kind of inspiration can only be caused by some good writing, some fantastic performances, and some great action, and that’s what this movie delivers.  It’s not going to win any non-visual Academy Awards, but fuck those weepy drama movies.  Give me an awesome action movie any day.

RUNNER UP

This Is the End (2013)THIS IS THE END

I regretted having to write a review for this movie.  I pride myself in occasionally being able to add a little bit of comedy to a movie by making jokes in my reviews, but how could I add comedy to one of the best comedies I’ve seen in years.  I don’t think I’ve found a movie as consistently funny as this one since Airplane!  I could scarcely go 5 minutes in this movie without laughing out loud, and the same could be said about the second time I watched the movie after I purchased it.  Using the end of the world as a backdrop for a comedy is an innovative idea, but the writing in that regard was a little simplistic.  Being that it was a comedy, the only writing that actually has merit is the joke writing, and that was fantastic, and was made even better because they got a cast full of some of the best comedic actors around.  This is a fantastic and hilarious movie that you need to check out.

THE BEST MOVIE OF 2013

Gravity (2013)GRAVITY

I had no interest in seeing this movie.  Mainly because it had Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in it.  That isn’t usually my type of movie.  But after my Film Criticism teacher kept talking about this movie week after week, I finally decided that I should give the movie a shot.  And I’m very glad I did.  There wasn’t much in the story of this movie as it was basically just a story of survival, but it was how they told that story that made it so effective and made me like it so much.  I haven’t been able to refer to the suspense a movie creates as “edge of your seat” in quite some time, but I couldn’t think of any other way to refer to this movie.  It barely ever let up on the suspense!  Once it got going, I doubt my back touched the chair I was watching from.  The movie also effectively captured what I imagine it would feel like to be viewing all of this from space.  I felt queasy and disoriented through parts of the movie, just as I imagine I would in zero gravity.  I haven’t seen many Sandra Bullock performances that are regarded as good, but she was fantastic in this movie.  You should definitely see this movie, but the real shame will be if you didn’t go see it in theaters.  I think it would be much more effective in a more immersive setting like that.

Congratulations to any of you that actually read all of those words to get to this point.  Hell, congratulations if you only read the top and bottom 5 to 8ish.  As always, don’t forget to leave me a comment on this review with your thoughts about my choices and your opinions on what are the best and worst movies of the year.  I love to read those.

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!

Now You See Me (2013)


Who Doesn’t Love a Good Magic Trick?

Now You See Me (2013)As the day of my birth approaches, I decided that I should not be at work as I turned 30.  Well, not at one of my jobs at least.  I would spend my vacation from one job working on the one I actually enjoy: stuff-reviewing.  The first step would be to make my way to the theaters, with my friend Greg in tow.  There were a few movies that I wanted to see in theaters, but Greg had either already seen them or had no desire.  We agreed only on today’s movie.  This movie had piqued my interest when I saw trailers for it, but I had apprehensions about it.  It seemed like an interesting enough premise, but I worried at the movie’s ability to realize that interest.  We find out how well it did as I review Now You See Me, written by Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, and Edward Ricourt, directed by Louis Leterrier, and starring Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Common, Michael J. Kelly, and Elias Koteas.

A few stray tarot cards bring together four magicians – Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) – with a plan to accomplish three amazing feats for a mysterious benefactor.  They become “The Four Horsemen,” sponsored by insurance magnate Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine).  For their first trick, they rob a bank in Paris and give all the money to the audience.  This attracts the attention of FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol Agent Alma Vargas (Mélanie Laurent), who need to figure out how they did it and what they intend on doing next.  For that, they enlist the help of an ex-magician who makes a living debunking other magicians, Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman).

I enjoyed this movie.  It was not without its share of problems, but I still found the experience enjoyable.  I found the premise of the movie to be the most compelling part.  The idea of magicians using their abilities for “evil” instead of their usual motivation of “pussy” was very interesting to me, and I thought it was clever how they did it.  I especially liked when Jack Wilder fought the two FBI Agents using magic as a fighting style.  I wasn’t able to figure out their Las Vegas stunt until they revealed it to us.  Their New Orleans stunt was much more predictable and much less mystifying, especially with what they did with the word “Freeze” and how easy it would be to make someone’s money move from one account to another with a simple computer, but there were still some clever ideas in there.  I feel like the problem I had with the movie was that it practically dared the audience to figure it out and to be wary of misdirection, but overall wasn’t clever enough to make it happen.  When one of the characters tells Rhodes that someone might be a spy for the magicians, you can pretty much rest assured that it won’t be either the character that told him that or the character he was talking about.  That would be too easy.  But it doesn’t leave many options, so it wasn’t that hard to figure out.  And though you might not have known how they accomplished something, you can have an idea that something was accomplished, like the part in the story with a car crash.  I didn’t know how it was faked, but it’s a movie about magic.  Of course it was faked.  I would also say that the movie started off by getting me, because I totally picked the card that Jesse Eisenberg put on the side of the building, but there’s also a chance that this could’ve been manufactured with camera tricks.  I also felt like Woody Harrelson’s mentalism stuff was mainly included for exposition, because he delivered most of the character’s backstories using that stuff.

The cast of the movie was great, with no real complaints.  They got great people so I would expect nothing less.  Jesse Eisenberg plays nervous and self-conscious better than he plays a cocky douche, but he did very well.  Isla Fisher is hot, and I heard she almost drowned at one point in this movie, so props for the commitment as well.  Woody Harrelson was pretty entertaining all the way through, and he got to be the funny one in the group most of the time.  I’ve loved me some Mark Ruffalo ever since he was the Hulk, and I found myself worried for the magicians that they might get him too angry.  They might not enjoy that.  I was also very excited to see Mélanie Laurent since I haven’t seen her since I fell in love with her in Inglourious Basterds.  Long distance relationships are always so hard…  I also got to thinking that, with both Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman in this movie, how could they not have been able to get Christian Bale (and maybe even Hugh Jackman) to come in for a pivotal scene at the end of the movie where they just yell, “THE PRESTIGE!” and dance around in circles?  It would’ve made the movie for me.  But sometimes, I just want to watch the flash paper burn…

I thought the premise of Now You See Me was great, but there just wasn’t enough magic in the storytelling.  Their clever ideas also activated the parts of the brain that cause us to try to figure out how magic is accomplished, but the story wasn’t quite polished enough to hide their secrets from me.  But their ideas were clever enough to keep me interested, and it was presented well enough and included many great performances.  I’d say this movie is definitely worth a watch.  I don’t know that I’d say it was important enough that it need be seen immediately in theaters, but it also wouldn’t hurt.  Renting it would do fine as well.  Now You See Me gets “The more you think you see, the easier it’ll be to fool you” out of “You have what we like to call in the business, ‘nothing up your sleeve.’”

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!