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It seems I always end the year with very strange movies. I loved this. It was exactly what I expected it to be and I couldn't have been more pleased. Was it weird? Oh, yes! Was it shocking? Surely. It was also funny and entertaining and not overly gory. It feels like Kevin Smith is starting to find his "not-comedy" niche.
Gone Girl (2014)
Firstly, this was well-acted. Rosamund Pike, damn. It was truly stupid long, though. 2 and 1/2 hours. Not that it didn't keep you entertained, I just wasn't prepared for all that. I enjoyed the weaving plot and the way it left you unsettled. Interesting? I don't know. Go find out for yourself.
Do you know what a Ren Faire is? Been to one? Are you into D&D or LARP? If you didn't understand anything I just said, skip this. You will not enjoy it. Otherwise, this was an B-movie ensemble comedy that poked fun at itself and was really, truly enjoyable!
Death Comes to Pemberley (2013)
Mixing your favorite period-piece love story with a twisted whodunit in a book-turned-movie sequel? Yeah, I still don't know if it was a success. On one hand, the mystery was interesting and involved the scoundrel, Mr. Wickham, from the first story. On the other, I felt like it was trying to remind us that, at heart, this was a love story, too. I believe I would recommend it for the sake of having a conversation about it.
Road House (1989)
I've been told that this is the quintessential "guy flick" and I can now see why. I also understand why all the women of a certain age were so in love with Patrick Swayze (Dirty Dancing and Ghost, aside). If you're a man's man, yeah, you should probably see this.
The Equalizer (2014)
Cool, cool, cool. Man, I went into this thinking "Oh, another Denzel movie where he's all badass and shit." But it was...and in the best way. I can't even put my finger on what was different, but the suspense was...suspenseful. I was actually on the edge of my seat. It was more entertaining than just knowing what's going to happen next.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)
Either I'm getting more picky, or movies aren't as good as they used to be. I loved the first one. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was born to act in noir films. He's just got the attitude for it. Go watch "Brick," you'll see. Alba was also amazing-a step up from the last film. Rourke seemed a little drunk. Maybe that was just the character? In any case, I'd recommend it if you liked the first installment.
The Maze Runner (2014)
I'm a Dylan O'Brien fan and I thought he did wonderfully in this. Comedy has been his norm and it was great to see him do something with a little more gravity. Unfortunately, that didn't make the story feel any less like there was a huge chunk missing. I wanted to like it more, but something was left out. Maybe we'll find out what in the next film?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
It was awesome seeing the turtles on-screen again. I was happy with the new incarnations. The villains of the film appeared a bit weak and could have been more fleshed-out. I really enjoyed Megan Fox as April O'Neal. They downplayed her sexiness (which is all anyone really wants from her, apparently) and it worked for the character. All in all, I'll watch it again.
Let's Be Cops (2014)
I loved it. Have you seen the TV show "New Girl?" If you have, then you've probably already watched this. If not, check it out. If you like it, go watch "New Girl." I don't know. All the funnies.
I loved this. I pretty much love everything the Rock does, but that's beside the point. This movie took a story you already know (or are at least familiar with) and actually did something unique and interesting with it. I won't give anything away, but if you are a fan of comedic action/fantasy films (think: Stardust, Hook, Brothers Grimm) check this one out.
I've already seen this twice since it's been out. I'm a Luc Besson fan and Scarlett Johansson was just spectacular. Those looking for a straight-up action movie might be disappointed, as there aren't as many fight scenes as the trailer leads you to believe. I thoroughly enjoyed this "what if" sci-fi adventure.
Remote Control (1988)
This movie was SO bad. I get what it was trying to do and I really believe it accomplished what it set out to do. It might even be a little self-aware? In any case, the actors brought it. I really wouldn't recommend it, though. Unless you're completely stoned. Then it would be a riot.
My Science Project (1985)
Go watch this movie. I really miss the acting of the 80s. It was just so natural. Everything has to be dark and edgy now and this perfectly captures the "just sit back and enjoy this" that we got from that era. The story is hilarious and adventurous and it really is a hidden gem.
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Ah, Gremlins. They came back. Along with the actors. I guess it's been sequel month for me. :) It was a hoot. A hoot, I tell you.
This was a love story, kind of. It was a good thing to see if you like any of the actors involved. It won't be one of my favorites anytime soon, but I'm glad that I watched it.
The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
A sick and twisted sequel? Yes, please. I enjoyed this as much as its predecessor. It's not going to knock you on your ass with its intelligence, but it's a very entertaining story that does not fall into the 'torture-porn' category.
22 Jump Street (2014)
I'd read that this was better than the original. I enjoyed it for the sequel that it was and I would absolutely recommend it if you liked the original, but it wasn't better.
I started watching this because a good friend told me it was one of her guilty pictures. As soon as Nickelodeon flashed across the screen, I knew what was up...
About Time (2013)
I don't know how else to describe this film except to say that it was just downright charming. What a lovely compilation of images and sounds. It's not just a romantic comedy and it's not just about time travel and it's not just about family. It does a lovely job of being interesting and delightful the whole way through.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Well, they found a way to do something new with the "live the same day over and over" motif. I think the things I liked the most about it were the self-awareness and the false security that you're given as a viewer. I'd like to say more, but if you like Sci-Fi and don't hate Tom Cruise, you should check this out.
This is a straight-up Fantasy schmorgishborg. If you're into films like Legend, Stardust and oh, I don't know-Edward Scissorhands, you should probably love this as much as I did. I know people love to hate on actors, particularly Jolie, but she was so on-par. I don't know that this story could have been pulled off better. The only people I can see not liking this re-telling are the ones who need to see weird, sad shit in their films. As far as I can see, this accomplished everything it set out to do.
Have you seen Spaceballs a few zillion times? Know all the lines to Blazing Saddles? If your answer is "Yes!," then this movie is for youuuuuu! Seriously, though, this is the closest thing I have seen to a Mel Brooks movie since Mel Brooks movies were popular. I adored this.
This turned out to be better than I expected. Don't get me wrong, if you think you know what you're getting into based on posters and trailers, you're absolutely correct. It just didn't suck.
Brick Mansions (2014)
Ages ago, I watched the French film this was based on: District 13. Had I not seen that, and had it not been the exact movie in English with a few different actors, I would have absolutely adored this. It's got everything you look for in an action movie and more. Also-just a shitload of parkour. If you're an action-flick fan you should not pass this one up.
This miniseries was sublime. Tennant has his natural Scottish lilt. The rest of the cast is absolutely superb. This was a building, suspenseful murder mystery that hit every single mark. Did I mention the cinematography? Astounding. I just don't know how "Gracepoint" can possibly live up to this.
Oh, I love a good musical. It's a bit long, but it's amazingly worth it. The actors have these freaking gorgeous voices and they play their parts to a tee. Disregard anything you've heard about this and make up your mind for yourself. As someone who hates sad dramas, I can vouch that this does not fall into that category.
Every scene in this movie is visually inspiring. The story plays out more like a live-action high fantasy battle epic than anything animated I've ever seen. Why didn't I watch this sooner? Amazing.
This paid homage in the best way. They went back to radiation (as opposed to whatever they did in 1998), they built up the suspense and let it be character-driven. I also really enjoyed that they let Godzilla be Earth's hero I can dig it.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
It was good. It wasn't 'Avengers' good, but it did the job it was asked. It was entertaining and the characters were all very fun to watch. My biggest gripe was Zoe Saldana's Gamora. She did nothing unexpected and because she's the only lead female, that made me sad. I liked the villain chick (played by Karen Gillan) better. I suppose that'll have to do.
The Hooligan Factory (2014)
I didn't know going into this that it was a Green Street Hooligans spoof. Afterwards, I re-watched Green Street and it made quite a lot more sense. On its own, though, it was still a riot. If you like British comedy, that is.
This was so messed up. The whole movie is about this guy who's essentially just a huge dick. It's extremely raunchy and bad things happen consistently. That said, it was original and the actors were outstanding in their roles.
Need for Speed (2014)
Don't you love it when you expect something to be mediocre and then it turns out to be not good, but great? I loved this movie. Aaron Paul did this thing where he used the lower timbres of his voice-I'm thinking to differentiate from his Breaking Bad character. It worked. He just pulls you right in and really gets across what he's feeling. I can't wait to see more from him.
Aside from that, the plot was compelling and well executed. You know, or maybe I just like movies about dudes who can drive.
The Art of the Steal (2014)
This one starts out as the standard heist-movie fare. Then, it surprises you with really well-written (and acted) characters. The dialogue in this movie is what you should watch it for. SO priceless. What makes it even better, though is that it gets more clever as it progresses. I won't say it's a masterpiece, but it was quite entertaining.
The Double (2014)
This is one of those art house-type films. I give these a try every once in a while to see what I'm missing. Turns out I still don't like them. The acting was spectacular, but it was so f*cking weird. Yeah, that's all I got.
The Decoy Bride (2011)
This is one of those films where you can pretty much tell early on what's what. What makes it a film you shouldn't skip, though, is the actors. David Tennant (Doctor Who) and Kelly Macdonald (Brave) are just so much fun to watch in this crazy-random-happenstance romantic comedy. I'll definitely be watching this one again in the future.
The Legend of Billie Jean (1985)
This was a really fun watch. I would have liked to have seen it when I was still a rebelling teenager...along with Heathers and The Breakfast Club. As it is, it still holds up as a great "do what you believe in" movie. Also, it was pretty funny a lot of the time.
Rio 2 (2014)
Sequels are never as good, with very few exceptions. This one's about the same. It's a good movie to watch with kids. You get some fun new characters voiced by Kristen Chenoweth and Bruno Mars, though.
This was adorable. I can't believe I didn't watch it sooner. Whoever decided Jesse Eisenberg needed to voice an animated character was a genius.
I thought this was wonderful. It was a somewhat slow build, but not boring by any means. You have a good idea what you're getting into when you start it, so when you get a few twists and turns (much later on) it's very refreshing. The average moviegoer may not enjoy it, but I thought some of the concepts that got fleshed out were pretty profound.
I have some friends who hated this. Friends who read the series. I thought it was the best adaptation to date. It was compelling and, like the book, a good story to hold you over until the next Hunger Games comes out. :)
Is Liam Neeson becoming Statham or Snipes? Can I really expect most of his coming movies to be like the ones I've seen before? Don't get me wrong, the plot was a good one, but I feel like I've seen him do this before. If not him, than Caviezel, or some other well-respected actor. Anywho, I found myself drifting throughout once I was pretty sure about the plot.
So, not as paranoid as I thought. I think this film tried to be too many things. At one point, it seemed as if they were really going to play up the paranoia bit and have the kid lose it, but then that fizzled. There was really only one espionage scene, so not a spy movie. Ford and Oldman were really background characters, so nothing spectacular from them. The whole thing just kind of felt like wasted potential.
This movie was such a breath of fresh air. I spent the whole thing guessing what the twist was going to be. You know what's more fun than doing that? When the film still surprises you. Really...bravo.
Look! ^David Tennant! The only reason this one's worth watching is that you can tell the actors were having a blast filming it. It's not nearly as good as the first (or the original, for that matter), no matter how nicely you look at it.
Race to Witch Mountain (2009)
Oh, Dwayne, you slay me. I'll watch anything this guy does. If you don't believe this man can act, it's because you're prejudice against the wrestling community because it's all fake. That's why we love it, jackass. Also-it creates actors. Don't believe me? Go watch "Be Cool," then get back to me.
Gnomeo & Juliet (2011)
A cute twist on Shakespeare's most famous play told in the form of animated garden gnomes. While they did their level best to reference every movie ever made, it was the voice actors that gave this adaptation a story worth watching.
I liked the original better. I don't know if it's because they held more back until the end, the different backstory, or just the fact that I saw that one first. I'd actually be curious to know if people who saw this version first were as awed by it as I was its predecessor.
This is my favorite movie of this year so far. It was an absolute masterpiece. I won't give anything away, but everything you love about watching movies? It's in this one.
The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
I guess I'm on a Malkovich kick. This had so much more comedy than I expected. Leo was fantastic and if anyone had told me Malkovich, Irons and Depardieu played Musketeers together, I'd have watched this ages ago! This was brilliantly done and truly entertaining the whole way through. Oh, Gabriel Byrne is in there, too.
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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 and hopefully, some decent pictures. :P
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Film Journal 2015
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