X-men: Days of Future Past – This movie was pretty fun, though I kind of feel let down. I had heard the opening fight was the best of the movie, and that’s true. Unfortunately, it’s only a good fight, it’s not amazing. I love Blink, she was used really well. Seeing Sunfire was cool, but he didn’t do much. Warpath is lame and was used lamely. Bishop is cool and was totally wasted. Colossus is boring, but was also totally wasted. The coolest part of the movie is probably Quicksilver’s scene, that was fun. I can’t stand him as a character, but I never liked him in the comics, so that fits. The rest of the movie is kind of meh. The story is pretty dumb and kind of falls apart if you think too hard. But there’s enough cool stuff in it to like it.
Captain America 2 – I liked this movie. I liked the first one, which didn’t seem to be the common consensus. I never liked Cap that much, too one dimensional, but the first movie captured that essence really well, I thought. This one leans less on that (except in the “We can’t let the NSA, *cough*, I mean SHIELD take away our liberty” conversation, and more on the shooty shooty fighty fighty. But it’s all good shooty fighty. For being a relatively lame super hero, the action was good. Granted, the bad guy has to be a dude with a tin foil arm, not a real villain, but you gotta swing in your league. But the movie is fun, the fights are good, I love how it ties into the TV show. In fact, we had to go see this in the theater, which I otherwise would never have, just so I could stay caught up. Well played, Marvel.
Thor 2 – Also liked this movie. Was not a fan of the first one. The stuff in Asgard was pretty cool, the stuff on Earth was a snoozer/melodrama. This movie is much more the former than the latter. The only earth stuff is an excuse either to jump start more Asgard stuff, motivate the ending, or throw in some humor, all of which is done fine. More punchy punchy blasty blastly, all of which is fine. Another fun time.
Frozen – Um, so… this is the best Disney move in 10 years, huh? I guess that’s not saying much? I really don’t get why everyone loves this so much. I’ve heard more about this movie than the last decade of Disney, cumulatively. But it’s really no better than any of those. It’s of the same archetype of all the modern disney movies. Overly self-aware, overly hip, and overly pop. The music isn’t that good, it all sounds over produced and like whatever teenage girl is popular these days. There’s one song, with the trolls, that felt like 90s disney to me, I liked that one. The main song is pretty awful, its twangy, warbly, and has a horrible message. Elsa is basically the worst, she makes selfish choices from top to bottom until someone ELSE makes a sacrifice. Great, good job, I’m glad somebody else learned your lesson for you.
Anchorman 2 – Yeah, this is kind of what you’d imagine. It’s funny, I laughed, but jeez they really do recycle all their jokes. Remember the thing where he makes strange exclamations like Odin’s beard? He does that. Remember how he’s a flaming asshole and then becomes good? Yep. Remember how there’s a news team gang fight? You got it. It almost seems like a parody of itself, it is repeating so much material. It’s funny, but it’s nothing like the first one (in that it’s everything like the first one).
12 Years a Slave – Well, I’m not sure I can add much to this conversation. It’s a very very good movie. And shocking that it’s based on something that happened. The main guy does an astonishing job, he’s very very good. I’m not totally sure why the girl got an Oscar. Not that she didn’t do a good job, but she had a kind of small part. She was good, but not amazing. But still, the movie is everything it ought to be and very good.
The Wolf of Wall Street – Ugh. As interesting as it is, as train wreck as it is this movie kind of makes you sick. Sick that it all could happen, sick that it’s surely still happening. And sick that by watching the movie I indirectly give this asshole even more money to keep on being his assholey self. It’s a well made movie and everyone does a good job, but you feel kind of dirty for watching it.
Riddick – Seemed so much like the previous ones, I seriously questioned if I accidentally rented it twice. But, I love the first one, I really like the 2nd. Riddick kills the shit out of stuff for a couple of hours, loosely strung together with a motivation. Good stuff. The last line between Starbuck and Riddick is horrendous and offensive, however.
The Hunger Games 2 – Okay, I said I liked the first one okay, but I was much more interested in the fight-the-dystopia story than the games. If I wanted to see games, I’d go watch Battle Royale again. But hey, the first HG clearly ended by setting up a revolution, right? And the second movie was going to be all about that, right? God dammit, this is just more games. The THIRD movie is the revolution?
Gravity – Honestly, I went in to this movie prepared to dislike it a bit, so much hype. But gosh dang it was pretty. There isn’t really a lot to the story, from the words on the box you get the basic outline, that’s not really the point. And I guess the actors do well, but again not the point. The visuals are just so cool. We don’t see a lot of CG space stuff that’s based on real things. There’s spaceships and space stations and lasers and all the rest for days, but I’m not sure the last time I saw the ISS. I definitely didn’t see it get torn apart by debris. And just all the visuals of the earth itself and the stuff in orbit is worth it. Kind of reminded me of Sunshine, without all the horror, just beautiful to watch.
The Book Thief – This is a pretty sad movie. I guess it’s supposed to be uplifting, hope amongst despair, that kind of thing. But it’s mostly pretty sad. It’s well done, everyone does a good job. The kids are a bit iffy, but mostly pretty good. The narrator was… odd. Completely unnecessary. Maybe it was cooler in the book? And the ending was way too convenient. Which isn’t to say it was a happy ending, there’s lots of sadness. But even the way the sadness worked out was way too convenient. Pretty good though.
Saving Mr. Banks – This was pretty good. I didn’t know anything about this story except a little of what we saw at the Disney exhibit in Chicago. The movie is a bit too drawn out. Quite a bit, honestly. It takes a long time to fill in the back story even though it’s very clear what’s happening. Even though you know she’ll have good reasons for being such a nasty person, she really is intolerable. It was an exercise in patience to put up with her until she lets go. But still, in the end, it’s incredibly sweet and you understand why everyone is the way they are and it’s a pretty cool story.
Prisoners – There’s nothing wrong with this movie, but it didn’t catch me. Some kids go missing, and a father goes basically insane trying to find his daughter. He does some awful things because he is so desperate to get her back. So, you kind of ask the expected questions. How far should he go. What if he’s wrong. Is he becoming what he hates. Etc etc. To some extent, you can kind of see all this coming and that makes it kind of boring. Yet, it is well done by all involved. Hard to judge, I guess.
The Butler – So, this movie is very very good. I guess there’s almost no way it couldn’t be good. Fantastic acting, amazing story. I guess it’s not literally true, it’s a bit of an amalgamation with some of the events and some of the family. But the core of the dude who is a white house butler for all that time is true. The scope of history is just too powerful for the movie not to be good. To go from plantation to functional slavery to seeing the first black president – that’s a life I cannot imagine. I can’t imagine anything in my life will ever be as impactful as that sequence of events. Very good.
Red 2 – I actually like the first one quite a bit. It was dumb, but everyone seemed to know it and it was a lot of fun. This one is basically the exact same movie again, which is kind of boring. It’s still fun, I guess, but there’s not much interest in watching it over again.
Don Jon – Mehhhhh. This is the one about the dude who loves porn, and then has to try to give it up for a girl. I can’t exactly blame the movie, it is exactly what it it sets out to be. It’s not like I can say I was tricked by the trailer. The guy is obnoxious. The girl is obnoxious. These people are very unlikable. So, I can’t bring myself to care much about their dopey story. But hey, I pressed play on a movie called Unlikeable People Do Dopey things, so, there ya go.
Okay, I’m behind, so let’s do a lightning round:
The Mortal Instruments – Shockingly bad. Like, as in you have to try to be this bad.
Battle of the Year – Bad acting, good dancing, fair trade.
The Croods – Silly, but funny, better than Frozen.
The World’s End – Better than Hot Fuzz, not nearly as good as Shaun of the Dead, I would have been happy with a Cornetto Unilogy.
Kiss of the Spider Woman – Really weird, I thought I was getting a musical. Instead it was a character study that was mostly depressing. It might be good if you are in the right mood, but I wasn’t, so it wasn’t.
Kick-ass 2 – Like the first one, but without any of the originality. Okay fights and some fun, but nothing super memorable.Dreamscape – Ha. This is a goofy 80s movie that does everything goofy you could hope for. But I didn’t see it in the 80s, so it just seems dopey.
Make Believe – Odd little documentary about teen magicians. It’s interesting, in a kooky way, because I don’t know anything about any of them. It’s not exciting or anything, but it’s kind of cute.