Hobbit 2 – This movie is much like the first one, which is to say it’s much like the first 4. It’s good, I like it a lot and have a lot of fun. It has the same flaws the Hobbit had, and the same strengths. I can imagine how people are sick of this by now, but I sure do love the fighty fighty staby staby. I know people say there’s a lot of walking, and… there’s a lot of walking. The CGI, exactly like the first one, is at times brilliant and at times shockingly bad. Like, I just learned photoshop this weekend bad. I have a theory that it’s 3D’s fault. The stupid characters just stand out too much from their environment and it looks way fake and I wonder if that’s because they are being pieced into layers so that 3D can be all 3Dey. But, I haven’t seen them in 2D, so I don’t know for sure, maybe they suck there too. Yet there’s plenty of things that look incredible, I really don’t know why some are one and some are the other. Anyway, it’s exactly what you expect, but if you can’t get enough of middle earth characters and creatures battling, then it’s great.
Pacific Rim – What can I say, it’s transformers vs. godzilla, just like everyone said it was. And that’s pretty great. I had heard that the movie was kind of bad, sans the awesome battles. It’s not particularly good or anything, but it’s not bad. I’ve certainly seen much worse acting, dialog, and plot in movies that got much less hate. It’s just good enough to serve the rest, which is pretty bad ass fights between giant things. Pretty cool.
Oblivion – I actually liked this movie quite a bit. It’s got a very pretty style that combines the white sheen of an apple store with the wasteland of a fallout game, but the parallel works. The story is cool, it tries to twist and turn, but you generally stay one step ahead of it. It kind of falls apart at the end, you really can’t think too hard about that part. But it’s still a cool movie.
Now You See Me – I’m of two minds about this movie. On the one hand, it’s a lot of fun. It’s very funny, it’s a good ride, all that good movie stuff. On the other hand, overly complex movies can never be satisfying to me. It’s just too much to believe that all these intricate things planned a lifetime in advance could possibly work out in just the right order to make just the right conclusion. You really have to turn your brain off to buy that any of this is happening. But while you are there, it’s very entertaining. Also, that main guy was an asshole. Just because you are a clever asshole doesn’t make you not an asshole. And you have to work a lot harder to make your bad guy unlikeable before you can let your star be such a flaming asshole.
Rise of the Guardians – This movie isn’t that great. The first half is kind of a bear to get through, honestly didn’t laugh very often. The second half is better, maybe pushed forward by the story I don’t know. It seemed to get funnier. But still, pretty low on the list of cartoon comedies.
Stand-up Guys – This was a surprise. I thought it was that movie where all the old gangsters get together and do stupid things and say I’m too old for this shit a lot. Turns out, not that movie. Instead it’s Al Pacino and Christopher Walken as old gangsters who do stupid things and are too old, but it’s actually good. Al Pacino is just out of prison and they have a night of frivolity. I really thought it would be corny and dumb, and there’s some dumbness sure, but I actually like the relationship between the guys. Not an amazing movie or anything, but decent.
An Adventure in Space and Time – I’m not positive this counts as a movie, but we’ve watched so much Doctor Who lately, I felt like it anyway. This is a biopic about the creation of the show and the first doctor. We’ve only watched the 2005+ version, so I didn’t know anything about the origin. The movie is very cool. In the end, it’s very touching. There’s some interesting parallels between William Hartnell and the fictional Doctor too, like everyone leaving and him just moving forward. The movie is pretty well done. With the exception of a couple bad moments, it’s written and acted well. Then again, I’m a bit biased because I like the subject matter so much.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Well, this movie isn’t really for me, to be fair. It’s a teenager movie about teenagers, for teenagers. In that context, I think it’s probably a pretty good one. I will always be annoyed with the story about the kid who doesn’t have any friends who… has friends. Or the kid who can’t get a girl who… gets a girl. Those stories are very fake to me, yes they happen, but it seems to me it doesn’t speak to the people for whom it doesn’t happen. But I guess the other version of the story is not very uplifting. So, okay, it’s a teenager movie, and one in which the kid gets things he wants. With that, it’s pretty good and I think it does everything it wants to do.
Monsters University – This movie is very fun. It, like the last couple Pixar movies, is just fun. It’s not amazing like the best of Pixar. It’s not even as good as the first Monsters. But it is funny, it is cute, it is sweet. It’s an above average animated movie. Just a below average Pixar movie (although, that average is dropping).
Europa Report – I actually liked this quite a bit. It’s basically a found footage movie, but not horrible, which is kind of amazing. The conceit is a manned mission to Europa goes awry and Earth loses contact. Then they find all the footage from the mission and we see what happened. So the whole movie is cameras in and around the spacecraft, which is just enough to tell the story, just enough to hide the unknown. The stuff that goes wrong is drawn out, they bounce around in time a little bit to help. For a presumably low budget movie, they do very well by confining their scope. Pretty good.
Moneyball – I liked this movie. Granted, it’s about math and statistics succeeding, that’s kind of appealing to me. But it’s well done as well. It’s not fancy, it’s a pretty straightforward movie. But everyone does a good job and it’s a cool story. So I liked it. Not having much to say makes it seems like I don’t care, but it’s one of the better movies on this list.
Elysium – Another dystopian/utopian future movie. Seems like there’s a lot of these lately. I liked this okay. I guess I had heard such bad things I had pretty low expectations. The first 20 minutes are pretty dumb with the over the top and ridiculously implausible political allegory. But the rest of the movie does what it’s trying to do. I liked District 9 a lot more, to be sure, even though it was also pretty on the nose with the allegory. This one turns in to a video game about halfway through, which is actually pretty badass. Some of the violence is kind of insane, but it’s cool.
She’s Crushed – Yikes. I only watched this because Keith from KATG is in it. It’s…. really bad. Not even like enjoyably bad, just bad bad. To some extent it’s just because it’s an amateur movie, which means it doesn’t look as good, isn’t filmed as well. The sound is bad, which is interesting, I don’t know that I’ve noticed that before, it kind of seemed muddled. Even if all that was kind of forgivable, the movie is just dumb otherwise.
Despicable Me 2 – I didn’t think this was very good. I seem to remember liking the first one, at least a little. This I thought was pretty bland. I laughed out loud now and again, but not that often. And since it wasn’t really a redemption story (well, kind of for the one guy), it didn’t have the sweetness of the first one. So, meh.
The Wolverine – Granted, after the shitshow that was the first one, anything is going to look good, but this was decent. I wasn’t super in to it, but I feel like it did everything it was trying to do. Some decently cool fighting. Wolverine actually uses his claws as weapons instead of glorified scissors. The claws still look pretty bad. I don’t understand how in a movie with this much special effects the claws still look like roger rabbit. But that’s mostly when he’s posing (which, to be fair, is about 20% of the movie). In action they look fine and are used healthily (well, unhealthily, but you know what I mean). Still not an amazing movie by any stretch, but kind of on par with the mid-range non-fox marvel movies. The trailer tag was pretty bad ass though.