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It's only fitting that I wrap up the year with one of the quirkiest, funniest, lewdest films I have ever seen. Do yourself a favor and see this one...it's so dry and clever, it'll leave you in tears.
Kick-Ass 2 (2013)
This was the natural progression. I can see how the characters went from point A to point B. This one was just as over-the-top and crazy as the first one. That's why we watched it, though, right?
RED 2 (2013)
You saw Red, right? It's just like that. If you liked one, you'll like the other. They're both funny in that "I can't believe they just did that" kind of way. I thought it was pretty damn funny.
This was billed as a comedy, and it's got some hilarious moments. Turns out, it's based on the true story of a guy who's only talent is beating the shit out of people. It was surprisingly touching. Definitely a great film for hockey fans.
I loved it. This was exactly what I wanted. It had the creepy creatures of darkness from 'Pitch Black' and the relentless Sci-Fi of 'Chronicles'. I hope they make 10 more of these.
West Side Story (1961)
I really enjoyed this story. It was a neat twist on the Romeo and Juliet tale. What I did not enjoy was the singing. The dancing was amazing...but the singing...damn. Natalie Wood and the lady who sang the 'In America' song were the only ones who could carry a melody, in my opinion. I wasn't expecting the twist at the end, but that's what makes any story surprising. In any case, I'm glad I finally saw it. :)
The Wolverine (2013)
This was pretty cool. It was a true 'Wolverine' story, I think. Gritty, emotional and full of ass-kicking. The red-headed chick was totally a badass, which was awesome. I'll probably re-watch it someday.
This was dreadful. I read these books because I enjoy the Urban Fantasy genre. Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed Jamie Campbell Bower's performance, which I was dreading. It was goddamn Lily Collins. I want to like her so badly but I can't because she's made of wood. She's f'ing Pinocchio. I haven't liked her in anything but that goofy Snow White movie, and I'm pretty sure that's because it was a comedy and she wasn't expected to portray any 'real' emotions for any amount of time. She just can't convince me that she's feeling anything. I hate to write off any actor because I like giving the benefit of the doubt, but this is strike three.
The World's End (2013)
Ah, the end of the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy. That's a thing-look it up. I loved it. If you loved Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, (and let's admit it, you've got to appreciate a certain type of humor to do so) then this film's for you! Yep, that's it. Beer and aliens. Go watch it.
Much Ado About Nothing (2013)
Whedon strikes again. Sometimes I substitute 'Oh my Joss' for 'Oh my god'. True story. Here's why: The man can take something as convoluted as Shakespeare's prose and, with the help of brilliant actors doing some fine physical comedy, get you to understand the meaning behind words you may never have heard before. Now, I think Shakespeare was a brilliant storyteller. I realize not everyone enjoys prose. If you happen to, though, check this out. It was amazing.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Well, then, there, now...I'd never seen a James Dean flick. This one's my first. Wow. I get it, now. The man is so easy to watch. This was much more of a drama than I'm usually drawn to, but I guess morbid curiosity got the better of me. I just kind of hung on his every word. Natalie Wood was pretty great, too. But, man...he just delivers his lines so damn flawlessly. It's not even like he's playing the character-he IS the character and you're getting a peek at his life. Excuse me while I go dig up everything else he ever touched.
The Wild One (1954)
So, biker gangs. Marlon Brando. I gotta say, I wasn't too impressed. I wanted to be, but after seeing so many episodes of 'Sons of Anarchy', this seemed forced and too clean. Maybe if I'd seen it during my formative years, but even then, maybe not? I just kind of wanted to hit him in the face every time he snapped his fingers. I usually like Brando (older Brando, anyway...), so I'm gonna blame this on direction, I suppose. I also wasn't too wild about the chick. I enjoyed watching her put him in his place, but then she goes and ruins it by running off while crying. Way to take a few steps back, lady...
I loved this so hard. This is straight up Urban Fantasy, which has to be, hands down, my favorite genre. Ever. I get why it wasn't a box-office smash, but movies like this have a really hard time marketing to the right audience for some reason. I will definitely watch this again in the future, mostly for Jeff Bridges and his crazy balls-to-the-wall antics, I think.
Love Me If You Dare (2003)
It's been awhile since I've seen a French film. This one caught my eye because it looked to be shot (cinematography-wise) the same way 'Amelie' was. Suddenly, I'm pleasantly surprised when it turns out to be entertaining, sad, bittersweet, hilarious, enthralling and shocking all at the same time. I don't agree with all of the choices the characters made, but that's what made them such good characters. :)
Despicable Me 2 (2013)
I'm one of those adults who enjoys cartoons. No, I don't watch them because I have kids, I just like them. This sequel was a complete cash scheme. The jokes were all the same, the characters were all the same. I found myself chuckling because I knew I should. The first one was kind of genius, so unless you have kids around to blame this on, don't waste your time.
The Purge (2013)
I liked this movie because it's a good discussion topic. What if...? Can you imagine? There were parts of it that surprised me and there were parts that didn't. Mostly, I think it was an original idea that was decently executed. I think my favorite character was the Polite Leader. I enjoy characters who use more words than they need, especially in an eloquent way. Yeah, this was definitely cool.
Pacific Rim (2013)
After seeing 'Green Street Hooligans', it was pretty much a given that I'd see anything with Charlie Hunnam in it, so....yeah. Okay, I know it's about giant alien sea monsters vs. robots controlled by people. I get that. I'm not going to sit here and tell you it was the best film of the year. It was sooooo cool, though! If you've ever enjoyed a Godzilla film, this one's for you. Somehow they make the movie feel like it's set in the future, but also the past. And the alien/monsters were just amazingly wicked awesome. I also read that even though this one didn't do as well in theatres as they expected, they're moving forward with a sequel. Which I would see.
The Lone Ranger (2013)
This movie was all fun and goofiness. It was what it was and I didn't hate it. I really enjoy Armie Hammer's voice. I always expect it to be higher than it actually is. So, there's that.
The Hangover: Part III (2013)
Now, I don't revere this trilogy like most of the guys I know. There were some funny parts in the first two. I can't deny it. There were some funny parts in this one, too. I think the thing that bothered me the most is that they didn't get dosed with anything or get drunk this entire film. How can you have a movie called 'The Hangover' without the characters ever actually being hungover? I think it's safe to say I'll never watch this again.
This Is the End (2013)
This movie is exactly what you expect it to be. There are some laugh-out-loud moments. I don't know. Watch it if you like this sort of thing. If you don't, steer clear...you know you'll hate it.
The Great Gatsby (2013)
Oooooh, this was really good. The only part I didn't love was the weird modern-day music remixed to sound like it was from a different era. That threw me. Other than that, though, I loved the story. Despite the ending (which, as someone who's never read the book, I thought would be much, much different), I maintain that it's a story of hope and was very satisfied once the credits started to roll.
World War Z (2013)
Having read the book, the only thing they have in common is that they both were about zombies and the main character traveled all over the world. I'd like to have seen an actual adaptation of the book, but the movie sharing its name had merits, as well. Scary-ass zombies for one. Those teeth, man. Creepy in the very best sense of the word. If you're into the zombie genre, this film is a must-see.
Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
Awesome. This movie was awesome. Yeah, I'm part of that crowd. Keep making 'em, guys. I'll keep watching them.
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
I love what they're doing with this new Trek series, I gotta say. They've kept everything about it that made it great Sci-Fi and found a way to make it new and intense at the same time. The actors they've chosen are sublime. I'll keep watching these as they come out just to see Karl Urban deliver Bones' lines. Freaking lurved it.
The Lords Of Salem (2013)
Oh, god, I am so glad I saw Suspiria before I got around to this! Having seen them both, I can only conclude that this was Rob Zombie's love letter to Dario Argento.
Now You See Me (2013)
I almost loved this. I enjoy being truly surprised and I was, at least once. What tripped me up were the random flash-forward or flash-backward scenes that didn't really reveal anything. They were just kind of...there? It wasn't annoying as much as puzzling. I enjoyed the characters and most of the storyline. I'll see this again in the future...maybe I'll figure out those random scenes then.
Iron Man 3 (2013)
I keep hearing that everybody hated this. Really? I'm pretty sure this one rivaled the first film in how entertaining it was. You had Tony Stark as the snarky, lovable rich guy, as well as an army of badass sci-fi villains. Ben Kingsley's role as the Mandarin/not the Mandarin was kind of awesomely hilarious. That had to be it-Everyone hated it because the Mandarin wasn't actually in it. Guess what? Film makers change things, people. They always have. They always will. Get Over It and enjoy it for what it is. The bantering between Tony and that little boy was probably my favorite bit, though. I don't get the hatred, guys.
Princess of Thieves (2001)
This was campy, sure. It was also very enjoyable for what it was. Robin Hood really wanted a son. Instead, he got Keira Knightley. I thought it was pretty adorable. Also, you get to see Vampire Bill from True Blood as the prince from France. So there's that.
Oh, Ted. I knew what I was getting into with this. It's written & directed by Seth MacFarlane (creator of Family Guy) and you know what that means-witty, yet very lewd humor. I was on the fence until I saw the fight scene between Mark Wahlberg and the teddy bear. Then I was like "YES!!!" and promptly laughed my ass right off. It was stupid and funny and I quite enjoyed it.
Disappointingly, I loved the first story of this anthology more than the ones that followed. I think if they'd saved that one for last, I may have been wowed. Even so, the film was semi-original and it was fun to pretend like the people in it weren't acting. I don't know if I'll ever watch it again, but it was pretty cool.
Killer Elite (2011)
(Yes, that is Statham beating someone up while tied to a chair) This was good for what it was, which was really a Jason Statham device. It's one of those action flicks where the story is foreseeable, but the acting is pretty good so you keep watching. The end comes around and you're satisfied. All of the pieces have come together. Unfortunately, I won't remember what this was about in a year.
The Big Wedding (2013)
A romantic comedy/family-based dramedy that surprisingly is pretty funny. There's a lot of miscommunication and estranged family and huge lies and little lies. There's also quite a bit of cursing, which was honestly refreshing considering the family was comprised of adults. This was enjoyable.
This movie had a very interesting concept. It was a bit slow for my taste, but I stuck with it. Hawke and Thurman both did okay. Not spectacular, but okay. It was more melancholy than I usually like, but it ended well. It was average, I'd say.
The First Time (2013)
Oh, what to say about this one? I think it'll be my new go-to when I need a pick-me-up. I wanted to watch this because of Dylan O'Brien who is quickly becoming one of the ones I'll watch movies for. I was so glad that I did.
This is a typical story of boy meets girl, girl has boyfriend that's not good enough for her...you get the picture. What I loved about it, though, was that it left out all the cliches. Every single time I thought to my self 'now he's gonna go and ruin it'...it didn't happen. It was so fresh. Also, it was genuinely funny. Good stuff, this.
I had no interest in this movie. I thought for sure it would make me cry. Then, I read a review somewhere that compared it to the Breakfast Club in the groundbreaking way that it viewed teens. So I said, "Okay, I'll bite."
At first it was interesting, then funny, then heartbreaking, then...I don't know. Everything? The characters were people I knew when I was in school. Real and emotion-provoking. Once you have that, it's really easy to care about what happens to them. I'd probably recommend this to anyone.
Frankie Go Boom (2012)
Oh, give me a quirky, dark comedy any day of the week. Don't you just love the little indie films that get bigger actors to do roles you never imagined them in? Charlie Hunnam (Jax from Sons of Anarchy) is kind of a wuss and Ron Perlman (Clay from Sons of Anarchy) is a post-op transgender. See what I mean? It was quirky and fun and everything you think it's going to be.
Anna Karenina (2012)
Never read the novel, just got around to this version of the movie (my first version). I loved it. I'm a Keira Knightley fan and it may be because of her acting, it may be because of her eyes. I don't truly know. In any case, I'll pretty much see anything she's in just to find out if it's any good. I thought this one was. I loved the sordid affair and the descent into madness and the fact that the baby was mentioned, what, twice? Haha!
I also loved the crazy sets in the background that the characters moved through-that was completely original and had me scratching my head at first, then appreciating it. I don't know if it's terrible in comparison to the book, but when I got to the end, I felt satisfied.
This movie is thoroughly depressing. If you want a manual on what not to do in life, here it is. The cover makes you think it's a romance and if you don't know what it's about, you read 'Michael Fassbender' and think "Well, that's gotta be good." It's based on the life of Angel Deverell, a young, eccentric, female author in the early 20th century. I prefer to live in my fantasy world where everyone lives happily ever after, thank you oh, so much. On the other side of the coin, the actors all played their parts very well, I thought.
This was good sci-fi, I think. I tend to think that about most sci-fi, though, so what do I know? Ha! It's intriguing and whether you admit it or not, that damned Tom Cruise is so captivating. I've been coming around to him lately and I think he deserves the praise he gets. That said, this movie was built on concept after concept and they keep kicking them away to reveal new ones. I like what they did with the 'alien' because that made it less predictable than most. I'd say it was decent.
This was an almost-realistic take on the Cinderella tale. Told from the stepsister's point of view, it paints the 'evil stepmother' as the real bad guy who pretty much ruins everything for everyone 'cause she's a selfish bitch. It's got about 5 meensy seconds of "magic" in it and explains everything else in a very practical way. You also get a lot more backstory about the stepsisters; their hopes and dreams and such. I'd recommend this to anyone who just purely enjoys fairy tales.
They Live (1988)
'They Live' was so cool! Roddy Piper does this amazing job of making us believe he's actually seeing aliens through these sunglasses. He's so non-chalant and natural the whole time. Yeah, the aliens are kind of goofy mask people with bad makeup, but he is so adamant about them being real, you just go along with it. Sure, I'll bite. The way it ended was semi-surprising as well. I'll definitely see this again in the future.
This is actually my introduction into Clint Eastwood-era westerns. I love westerns, but I rarely choose them to watch. After this one, though, I'm thinking it's time to finally see the Man with No Name trilogy. It's a gritty, almost-revenge story wrapped inside a love story, but not really. Heh, can I be more vague? It was fantastic and epic and emotion-provoking. I loved it.
Mortal Kombat (1995)
Okay. I'd never seen this before, played the original game as a kid, sure. I just never got around to the movie. It is what it is. It's cheesy, with a completely predictable plotline, characters that are in B-movie mode and really amazing sets. Maybe if I'd seen it when I was younger....ya know? That said, when the Scorpion fight went down and you heard 'Get Over Here!', I totally got chills. It's watchable.
'Servitude' is a working class comedy in the vein of 'Waiting...'. It's got a lot of the same type of characters and it's fairly predictable, but I definitely laughed out loud a few times. It's worth watching for that 'I just need to not think about anything and laugh' kind of day.
Warm Bodies (2013)
When I read this book, I didn't get the Romeo & Juliet references. After seeing the movie, though, they are very obvious. This was dry and paced. I say that in a complimentary way. Sometimes it's nice to see a change from "Braaaaaaaaaiiiiiiinnnsss...".
If you didn't like this, it's probably because you don't have enough silly in your life. As for me, I enjoy ridiculous concepts that can't possibly happen because life is too goddamned depressing. Yay, zombies that can think!
Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
While this won't ever become a favorite of mine, I enjoyed it for what it was-a different L. Frank Baum story. This is the story of how the "Wizard" got to Oz in the first place.
The few people I've discussed this with hated it because they loved 'Wizard of Oz' so very much and it didn't follow the same story. What I had to explain was that 'Wizard' changed the story, not 'Oz'. There were never any red shoes in the book. Did you know that? They were put in for the musical because it was being filmed in color and that was spiffy. Also-Glinda was never the 'Good Witch of the North', the 1939 film merged her character with another from the book. The 2013 film, instead gave back her correct title of the 'Good Witch of the South'.
Jack The Giant Slayer (2013)
Ah, Nicholas Hoult. He's fun to watch. This movie has everything you'd expect it to have. Nothing more, nothing less. Worth watching if you like fairy tales and such.
Bullet to the Head (2013)
Is this movie pretty much Sly kicking ass? Yes, yes it is. Why should you watch it, you ask? Because it's got some really great one-liners, some really creative death scenes and that one guy from the Fast & the Furious films. It was actually pretty entertaining and I'm impressed Sly is still doing things like this.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)
Now, I watched Thundercats, X-Men and TMNT growing up, but I never watched the G.I. Joe cartoon. This is probably the reason I liked the first G.I. Joe film. Sorry. That is what happens. I liked this one much better, though. It might be because of the whole Storm Shadow-Snake Eyes team up bit, or it might be because Dwayne Johnson is actually a decent actor and can carry a film, now. Either way, this is an action flick I will watch again.
This was another of those cool indie dark comedies. Have you ever seen Hard Candy? It was like that in the way that a few people can hold your attention for over an hour even though they're just sitting there talking. You still get suspense, you still get nervous and excited. As the story slowly unfolds you just keep creeping closer to the edge of your seat. Is she gonna do it? You should go find out.
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I generally pick films to watch based on an actor I like and end up getting surprised by the different types of films people choose to make. I've explored most genres and hopefully will discover more. I'm always on the lookout for the next 'Arsenic & Old Lace' or 'Hard Candy'. These are the films I've watched this year along with my spectacular opinions. :P
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