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2016 IN REVIEW: Between Greatness and Incompetence

February 17, 2017 Leave a comment

X-Men: Apocalypse - Egypt

Well, now we’re finally at the films that I actually did see from 2016. Below, in release order, are the films I watched from this past year that were neither great nor horrible. They made me neither super angry nor super thrilled. Again, they are ordered in terms of release date, and so the list does not represent a ranking. Should you watch these?

Should you avoid them? It’s really up to you. As the title suggests, I watched them and came away, generally, as feeling all of these were, generally, somewhere between greatness and incompetence.  Read more…

2016 IN REVIEW: The Year That Was…

January 5, 2017 Leave a comment

 

the-nice-guys-ryan-gosling

Well, that certainly was a year, huh?

2016 was, for many, a total shit year. I don’t even have to go into all the details of why that was the case, and so… you know, I won’t. Needless to say, though, much of it was heartbreaking. Much of it was disappointing. Much of it was just plain stupefying. Personally, I even lost a job due to layoffs halfway through the year and spent the better part of my admittedly short period of unemployment thinking I’d finally had a glimpse of the end. (Anxiety and depression is fun, you guys!) The political climate this past election also unleashed in me something unexpected, having grown tired of all the bickering and willful ignorance of any nuance to either side. People I knew were being outright nasty towards people, sometimes even going so far as to disown them. This climate even seemed to spill-over into the world of films, which could no longer, for example, be an exciting new entry in a beloved series that, for whatever its faults, was still a solid entry that was easily enjoyed. No, no… now movies are either perfect or they’re absolute garbage with a political bent that has its crosshairs set on your personal belief system! I was in danger of growing completely misanthropic as a result.

king-jack-charlie-plummer-cory-nichols

Perhaps that’s why I saw so many movies this year…? Last year, I reached another personal record of 143 films by the end of my 2015 in Review series, which concluded in February. As of this moment in writing, however, between rentals, streaming, and theatrical releases, I have seen a whopping 164 films from 2016, and that’s if I didn’t forget any. And that’s not even going to be the final number, as I traditionally discover a few that intrigue me or that I forgot during my “Films I Didn’t See” subseries and thus follow up on before the end. Yeah, I think I might have a problem…

At the very least, though, because of this, I know that 2016 wasn’t all bad. Personally, I have been enjoying being an uncle to my nephew, who at age 1 already has a huge, delightful personality. My period of unemployment was honestly very brief, despite the issues compounding that, and I found a job that is not only expanding my resume but is also something I’m actually quite good at, and I like the people I work with, too. I turned 30 this year, which… well, at least it wasn’t as painful as I had feared. And, before this, I also made a huge personal milestone by pretty much completely and publicly coming out of the closet… And, so far, despite a few exceptions I made by excluding a few people who I’m certain would make some family members’ lives problematic by knowing this, it’s actually been relatively smooth compared to my expectations. Not… perfect… but much better than anticipated. And, you know, the same can be said about 2016 – at least when it comes to the films released this past year, provided you knew where to look and didn’t put too much stock in every big, anticipated film.

Ghostbusters (2016) - Stay Puft

And so, I begin my 2016 retrospective as I do pretty much all of my previous annual retrospectives, by laying out what to expect from this series. I make no promises regarding the promptness, as I have a job and a life outside this blog. However, think of this as a time when you can reflect along with me about what you watched and what you may have missed. I obviously mostly saw films from earlier in the year, regardless of whether it was in the theatre or once it was released. As noted above, I reserve the right to be intrigued by the films I note that I have not seen, to then see them, and thus add them to my review and rankings of films I did see once I reach those articles. As such, I will first begin by recounting the various films I managed to miss over the course of a few articles – covering as many as humanly possible, though I’m sure to miss a few. I will then move on to covering the films that were neither my favorite nor my most hated. Capping off the year in review will then be My Worst of the Year list, followed by a list of My Favorite Films of the year, divided by genre. (Note: Not “THE BEST,” but rather my subjective favorites.)

Pete's Dragon (2016) - Sunset.jpeg

Here’s a rough outline of how this will all go down:

  • 2016 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (January – July)
  • 2016 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (August – October)
  • 2016 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (November – December)
  • 2016 IN REVIEW: Everything in Between That I’ve Seen
  • 2016 IN REVIEW: The Worst Movies of the Year
  • 2016 IN REVIEW: My Favorite Films

2016 was a heck of a stupid year, but hopefully the world of film was at least one of many bright spots in all of the darkness you may have experienced. And, if not, I hope we can retroactively change that through this series.

Here’s to 2017. May it not suck.

…Please.

2015 IN REVIEW: My Favorite Films

February 20, 2016 1 comment

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter - Rinko Kikuchi

Alright! Final entry in my 2015 in Review series! Gosh, this was a hard year to review. I broke another record for number of films I saw before finishing this review series: 144 films from 2015, either seen theatrically, streaming, or rental. I don’t think I’ll be breaking that record any time soon, but that’s what I said about 2014, too, so…

Anyway, I’m about ready to start reviewing movies again on an individual basis. I did this series while going through a particularly tough time, personally, which is why it’s taken so long to do. I had the goal of finishing by the end of January, and that simply didn’t pan out, and I was so busy with stuff outside of this site, including doing a bunch of work on the weekends, that I just wore myself out! No worries, though. I’ve finished, and while I know the stuff I wrote was roughly edited, I’m still pretty happy with what’s there.

These movies below are all, in my opinion, good to great, but all of them were pretty much my favorites from throughout the year. As a result, as with last year, I am separating them out, roughly, into genres and then ranking them based on level of their being my favorite from the past year in that genre. (There’s obviously genre overlap, so I have divided based on what I believe is the main draw of the film, such as Jurassic Park being in the Action/Adventure section rather than the sci-fi, ’cause we’re all watching it for the action, right?) As such, you will probably see some admittedly lesser films ranking above objectively better films or films that were generally considered mediocre appearing here because I simply just liked them a lot. Again, they’re my favorites, not necessarily the best – though I did see all the Oscar Best Picture nominees, once again! I have included the Rotten Tomatoes score next to the release date, though, so you can easily compare whether I’m crazy or whether you should see the movie. In general, though, I do believe these are great films, and I hope you enjoy them, too!

But, seriously, I’m glad to move on from 2015 finally…
Read more…

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…

2013 IN REVIEW: Neither the Best, Nor the Worst Films I Saw

February 1, 2014 1 comment

Elysium - Sharlto Copley and Alice Braga

I apparently watched a lot more movies in 2013 than I had realized… The films below represent not the worst, not the best, but certainly not always good, but also certainly not always bad movies that I saw in and from 2013. Only films released theatrically were counted, and film festival debuts did not count. Some of these films were truly great, others were truly awful, but none of them were seen fit to be placed in “the worst,” “the best,” nor “my favorite” categories. And so, they go here. Here are some of the films I watched in 2013, in order of release! Read more…

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Theatrical Review: “This Is the End”

June 24, 2013 4 comments
This Is the EndDirected by: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Produced by: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver
Written by: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg (screenplay and story)
Edited by: Zene Baker
Cinematography by: Brandon Trost
Music by: Henry Jackman
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jamese Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Emma Watson, Michael Cera, Rihanna
Year: 2013

 

You don’t expect a movie where movie stars, playing (often slightly askew versions of) themselves, fight demons during the apocalypse to get widespread acclaim, and yet, here we are, and This Is the End has managed to delight audiences and critics alike. At least, the ones who can handle a heavy dose of raunch. And, for the religious out there, those who can handle a few liberties being taken with theology. This movie isn’t for the squeamish. There are scary demons in the movie who are well equipped to do their jobs, if you get what I’m saying…. (PROFANITY AND OTHER SUCH STUFF AHEAD, o ye of faint hearts!) Read more…

Review: “The Simpsons Movie”

September 20, 2011 3 comments

The Simpsons MovieFor my first two reviews, I’m going to do a bit of cheating, but hear me out!

These reviews are special, as they were what set me in the direction of being an aspiring film critic in the first place.  See, my third year of college was a bit of a turning point for me, academically. I had spent a good portion of my time at Arizona State University as a Creative Writing major who secretly couldn’t make up his mind. When I discovered that the Department of English required their majors to take not one, but two years of foreign language, I knew I had to bail. Korean was a hard language to learn in the first year alone, and a second year would’ve likely wrecked my GPA. After a bit of exploration, I discovered the Bachelor’s of Interdisciplinary Studies degree, and chose to transition into that, with concentrations in Writing and Communication (a subject I chose based on prior electives and, mostly ,just to fulfill that second concentration, I admit).

One of the upper division classes I was encouraged to take was ENG 494 – Review Writing. The class ended up being one of, if not my absolute favorites in college, and the professor, Dr. Sarah Duerden, was definitely my favorite professor, and she gets good marks on Rate My Professor, too!

The review I post here is unedited from the paper I turned in, with appropriate modifications to the format to duplicate it on this page. The assignment was to do a film review in the style of a well known publication. For my review of The Simpsons Movie, I chose to emulate the style of one of my favorite entertainment sites, The A.V. Club, which is a fantastic source for entertainment news, reviews, and analysis written for entertainment buffs in a casual (often profane, I admit) but informative manner. I hope you enjoy!

Read more…

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