2015 IN REVIEW: Everything in Between That I’ve Seen

January 30, 2016 1 comment

Jurassic World - Indominus rex

Finally! We’re on the films that I watched! I know. I’m excited, too! These are the middle of the road films I watched this year. They are neither awful nor great films that I watched in 2015. Some of them are bad, some of them are decent, but none of them are truly great, in my opinion.

Now, keep in mind, there may be some mediocre movies that may not show up here. Don’t freak. They probably won’t show up on my Worst of 2015 list. The way I do things here is have a list of My Favorite Films of 2015, so they might not be the best, but I might have really enjoyed them, too!

So, if you don’t see the movie here by this point, it’s either that I hated it, really liked it, or just flat out didn’t see it. These? These you can pick and choose from and figure out if you like them yourself. You may not, but I don’t think you’ll be clawing your eyes out at them, either.  Read more…

2015 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (September – December)

January 24, 2016 1 comment

Steve Jobs - Michael Fassbender

Ah, the final stretch of films I didn’t get to see. This is awards season, where the Oscar-bait films get released in the hopes of staying fresh in people’s minds – particularly the minds of the Academy members. Although, increasingly, a lot of bigger films are also getting releases in this time period, including superhero films and spy films and sci-fi adventures, etc.

This list has an admitted large number of films. If you don’t know, I don’t see movies for free, so I rely upon streaming and Redbox in a lot of cases to see certain movies to keep costs down. This being just the past few months, a lot of these films are either still in theatres or are in that limbo between theatre and home release. Others, I just haven’t yet had the chance of getting around to, even if I wanted to.

If you don’t see a movie on this or the previous two lists (Part 1, Part 2), then there’s a good chance I saw it or just managed to not list it. I can’t be that extensive, you know. Also, as always, I reserve the right to see any of these films and include them on my upcoming lists of films I’ve seen, just so long as I have seen them before publishing the list (obviously).

The films below are listed in order of release and have their current Rotten Tomatoes score posted, as well.  Read more…

2015 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (May – August)

January 16, 2016 1 comment

San Andreas - Carla Gugino, Dwayne Johnson

Huh. You know, I think I saw most of the big blockbuster films this summer. So, what else came out? Not a whole lot! I mean, at least not stuff that was promoted fairly well. There look to have been some great indie gems I missed, and then your usual horror film sequels that I skipped. Plenty of international releases that look fantastic, too!

If you didn’t catch it already, be sure to check out the films that came out in January – April 2015 that I missed first!

No big introductions this time. Let’s get going!  Read more…

2015 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (January – April)

January 10, 2016 3 comments

 

Strange Magic - Meredith Anne Bull, Evan Rachel Wood

Alright, so if you aren’t already familiar with how I do my Year in Review process, I always go through a list of the films I didn’t see first, divided into three 4 month sections. Why do I do this? Because I like to still review the stuff that was making the rounds that I managed to miss, firstly, and because it’s a great way to find movies that might never have been on my radar in the first place had I not pursued them, and I like to share them with you, too!

Basically, my process involves perusing the list of films on Wikipedia and various other sites that I read regularly, which tend to be able to publish their Best/Worst of the Year lists far more in advance of me because, you know, they’re actual media, not just a crazy movie fan who likes to spend his weekends watching movies all day, like me. These films are ones that I managed to not see for one reason or another, usually because I just didn’t have the time, but often because I just wasn’t interested, but others just because I didn’t know about them in the first place.

This is by no means a judgment of quality, as they’re listed in order of release date (though I included the Rotten Tomatoes score, if any), and this is also by no means a complete list, either. I’ve already explained that I also had to eliminate my coverage of too many foreign films because they usually weren’t even marketed in the U.S. in the first place and likely will never come here, too. That being said, the ones that did make it over here in some capacity (or ones that struck me as notable for their concepts) were included, so this isn’t totally just Hollywood and American indies, either, and I’ve also begun considering VOD and streaming services as valid, notable venues for feature film debuts. As per usual, I reserve the right to take interest in any of these films and see them before I begin to publish my lists of films that I actually did see, so you may see these films reappear in the coming weeks if I managed to get around to those before publication.

The first part of this feature will, of course, cover the traditional dumping ground for expectedly low-performning flicks from January – April, the second part the traditionally summer blockbuster season from May – August, and the final part will cover what is often considered the Oscar-baiting season, from September – December.

Read more…

2015 IN REVIEW: The Fifth Annual One of These Things

January 4, 2016 Leave a comment

Star Wars Episode VII - The Force Awakens - Starkiller Base Engages

2015 is over. Can you believe it? For me, this was probably the most looked forward to year in movies since 2012, when The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises premiered. In fact, 2015 was in a lot of ways exactly like 2012 and had a lot of follow-ups to major films of 2012 – an Avengers film, a new James Bond film, a Hunger Games film, a new Quentin Tarantino film, a prestige Steven Spielberg historical drama, a new David O. Russell film featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert De Niro, a new film about Alfred Hitchcock, an Aardman Animation film, a new Pixar film featuring female leads… Yup, pretty much a repeat of 2012, only 2015 featured even more familiar cash-ins than even then, with even more familiar brands making their return to the silver screen: Mad Max, the Terminator, Jurassic Park, Rocky, The Transporter, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Vacation, Taken, the Fantastic Four… Oh, and Star Wars. Can’t forget that one!

Vacation (2015) - Christina Applegate, Steele Stebbins, Skyler Gisondo, Ed Helms

But a lot of other films did come out this year beyond just major franchises and major brand releases. I can’t say that I saw everything that was released this year, of course, and I do have to make a confession about my film viewing habits this year, too: I saw far more of those major releases over the minor ones than I had actually intended. Oops. I feel like a bad critic, particularly since I am pretty much about to break another record for number of movies I have seen for a single year. (I count Redbox and streaming services and also post-New Year’s views, too, so long as they’re before I complete the year in review, just to let you know.) I had a rather personally tumultuous year, you see, and so I do believe this resulted in me not exactly engaging my brain nearly as much as I wish I had, and so I feel like I got a little lazy in seeking out the particularly great but overlooked films that were released throughout the year. I might very well break my streak of seeing every Best Picture Oscar-nominated film in a year, in fact, which I have managed to maintain since I first did it for 2012. — Hey, look! Another 2012 parallel!

Room - Jacob Tremblay, Brie Larson

As a result, I am going to do things somewhat different this year for my year in review, but only slightly.

The major change: I am no longer covering films that were released solely in foreign markets. You see, when I first decided to start doing these year in reviews, I intended for the reviews of film I missed to reflect what was going on in the world of cinema outside the United States, too. I had good intentions, and the list of films supplied by Wikipedia was pretty extensive, particularly for Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu language films releasing out of India, and I mostly had a lot of fun finding out what was making waves in foreign box offices. However, the process of researching these films was exceedingly exhausting, as trailers were rarely in English, and so I had to seek out synopses for these films before I could even provide any sort of commentary on them. Sometimes this resulted in pure ambivalence that I feared could be misconstrued as condescension. I just don’t think I have the energy this year to do it, and I’d really like to make 2015 the year that I get the year in review completed at least by the end of January again, and so I had to sacrifice researching films I really had no chance of seeing in the first place. Foreign films won’t be completely absent, of course, as I’m still including particularly significant or interesting films that I curated while doing preliminary research, as well as foreign films that at least had limited theatrical releases here in America. So, yeah, I’m not being xenophobic, you see! It just made the most sense to lighten my workload in this area of all areas.

Timbuktu - cast

The minor change isn’t really an alteration of my process as much as it is an alteration of the changing way in which we watch movies. Yes, since this was the year in which Netflix decided to start releasing original films, I am now also including significant films that debuted on streaming media services from here on out, as well. (Many of them also saw limited theatrical releases, anyway, so I’m not sure how much this counts as a real change, like I said.)

Also, this year, I will actually continue to separate my Best of the Year list (or whatever I end up calling it) by genre, as I did the year before, since I find it unfair to judge the excellence of a side-splitting comedy against the excellence of a tear-inducing art house drama and declare one the victor when they set out to do completely different things and may have equally excelled at those goals, different though they may have been. I am still going to rank the Worst of the Year list by level of craptitude, however, ’cause I have no problems ranking my level of gut level disdain for each individual film!

The Ridiculous 6 - Taylor Lautner

That’s really about it, otherwise! I will continue to breakdown these lists into multiple posts, starting with a 3-part review of the films I managed to miss, a review of the middle ground films I saw and didn’t feel especially strong in either direction towards, a review of the most terrible films I saw from the year, and concluding with my favorites (’cause, again, I sometimes still really like fluff entertainment that has flaws as much as I like an expertly rendered cry! I’m dynamic like that). As per usual, here is the schedule:

REVIEW: Four Christmases

December 25, 2015 Leave a comment
Four ChristmasesDirected by: Seth Gordon
Produced by: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman
Written by: Matt Allen, Caleb Wilson, Scott Moore, Jon Lucas
Edited by: Mark Helfrich, Melissa Kent
Cinematography by: Jeffrey L. Kimball
Music by: Alex Wurman
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Mary Steenburgen, Jon Favreau, Tim McGraw, Kristin Chenoweth, Katy Mixon, Dwight Yoakam, Carol Kane, Patrick Van Horn
Year: 2008

 

Hey, have you run out of Christmas movie classics and now you’re in the mood to watch a movie with absolutely zero likeable characters in it? Then have I got a movie for you! Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

December 21, 2015 Leave a comment
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force AwakensDirected by: J.J. Abrams
Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk
Written by: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt
Edited by: Mary Jo Markey, Maryann Brandon
Cinematography by: Dan Mindel
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Max von Sydow
Based on characters created by George Lucas
Year: 2015

 

Good Lord, it’s finally here!! Read more…

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