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2014 IN REVIEW: My Top Films of the Year

February 22, 2015 1 comment

The LEGO Movie - Batman and Benny

I saw so many movies this year, I honestly couldn’t pick the best movie. The selection was so wide because I saw so many, I honestly couldn’t pit movies I just enjoyed versus films I admired. So, this year, I’ve decided to do something different — I separated them into genres. it’s not exactly what you might expect – Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t in sci-fi, for instance, because it’s much more of an adventure film in space.

I’ve ordered these based on gut instinct overall, however, and so you’ll be able to see what I (currently) favored over others. That being said, however, all of these movies are fantastic.

I’m tired of explaining things, honestly. The process of doing the year in review this year was a lot longer than I intended. So, yeah. You know the drill. Read below! Read more…

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2014 IN REVIEW: Everything in Between That I’ve Seen

February 7, 2015 1 comment

Under the Skin - Eye

Finally, we come to the films that I actually did see! As with the films I didn’t see, these films will come at you in three parts: the films that were just somewhere in the middle in terms of quality, the films I greatly disliked, and the films I really enjoyed.

I use those qualitative terms just to avoid confusion over what I’m ranking here. The films in this section range from generally bad to generally quite good, but never elevating to excellence or making me fall in love with them or making me hate them with a passion. That being said, I didn’t expect to like some of the films here as much as I ended up liking them, and, of course, I was letdown by others I actually was kind of looking forward to.

If you don’t see the movie here and didn’t see it in the list of films I didn’t see, then you can almost certainly be guaranteed to find them on one of my next two lists, as this is just a portion of the 121 total films I ended up seeing from 2014 as of this writing, whether in theatres, on DVD/Blu-Ray, or through streaming. Read more…

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2012 IN REVIEW – The Films I Didn’t See: May – August

January 19, 2013 3 comments

Men in Black 3 - Josh Brolin and Will Smith

Ah, summer — the time of tentpole blockbuster films that are meant to pad out the studios’ budgets for the next few months. I believe I saw most of the major films released during this period, at least at some point in the year, if not the theatre: The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-ManMen in Black 3, Battleship… Overall, it was a more than satisfying year for quality summer blockbusters that pleased both audiences and critics. … Well, probably not Battleship. That movie was awful.

Battleship - Alien ship. Yeah, I remember that from the boardgame.

With so many films that release in theatres that are best seen actually on the big screen, though, it was only inevitable that smaller and/or less interesting films fell by the wayside of my attention span. Critically acclaimed features like Beasts of the Southern Wild and Oslo, August 31st would get unfortunately lumped in with similarly ignored-by-me crap like Step Up Revolution and That’s My Boy this past summer, which isn’t a commentary on their quality as much as it is a reflection of my time and budgetary restrictions. (I subscribe to a number of rental services and still buy and go see movies in theatres, but I can only do so much and thus prioritize quality spectacle films usually over the quality comedies and dramas.)

So while I do believe I got the most out of my summertime viewings that I possibly could, let’s go over the films that I somehow managed to not see as of the time of this writing, for better or for worse. Read more…

Theatrical Review: “Rise of the Guardians”

November 30, 2012 12 comments
Rise of the GuardiansDirected by: Peter Ramsey
Produced by: Christina Steinberg, Nancy Bernstein; Guillermo del Toro, William Joyce, Michael Siegel (executive producers); Arin Finger (associate producer)
Written by: David Lindsay-Abaire (screenplay); William Joyce (story)
Art Direction by: Alexandre Desplat
Editing by: Joyce Arrastia
Music by: Alexandre Desplat
Starring: Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, Jude Law, Dakota Goyo
Based on the book series The Guardians of Childhood by William Joyce
Year: 2012

 

Imagine that all the childhood mythological figures were somehow real and were also way more awesome than how they are usually imagined. Imagine, for example, that they were way more like superheroes, and let’s say that, from time to time, they assembled together like some other recent big screen superhero team in order to defend childhood from evil fiends who would like nothing more than to ruin this blissful period of life. That’s essentially the awesome concept behind Rise of the Guardians, an DreamWorks Animation adaptation of the William Joyce books of a similar name. It’s a fairly awesome premise for an action-packed fantasy film, and, for a good while, Rise lives up to its promise, but not without making a few missteps along the way. Read more…

2011 in Review: My 10 Favorite Films, 3 – 1

January 30, 2012 5 comments

3.  Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (December 21)

This film barely made this list. For the longest time, it was actually on the Notable Films I Managed to Avoid list thanks to its late December release date. In the middle of writing these 2011 in Review articles, however, I managed to run out into theatres and catch an early morning showing a couple weeks ago while it was still on a properly large-sized screen. I’m glad I did, too! Read more…

2011 in Review: The Films I Liked

January 13, 2012 5 comments

As I stated many times over in my overviews of films I didn’t see in 2011, I was a pretty poor person this past year, which limited the number of films I could see in theatres. Luckily, I was able to make up for much of these missed showings through rentals.

Of the films I saw in 2011, few of them were truly bad films. A few were disappointing, many were just about as average as I expected, and a few turned out to be surprises. While none of the films on this list were truly awful in my eyes, not all of them were that remarkable either, with few exceptions. Before I tell you which films I considered to be the worst and which were my favorites, I am once again going to lead you through the year in review of the mostly average films that I actually did see throughout and from 2011 by the time I made this list.

Read more…

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Review: “Contagion”

October 6, 2011 5 comments

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Produced by: Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher, Gregory Jacobs
Written by: Scott Z. Burns
Starring: Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow
Music by: Cliff Martinez
Year: 2011

 

If you’ve ever seen a disaster movie, particularly one by The Day After Tomorrow director Roland Emmerich, and knowing what the genre usually holds in store for audiences, you’d be forgiven for not expecting much from this recent take on the genre from Steven Soderbergh. Contagion makes use of many of the same tropes every disaster movie since Airplane opened in 1970: A big cast of well-knowns face an unrelenting threat from an out of nowhere force (usually of nature) that threatens the very existence of themselves and/or humanity.

In The Day After Tomorrow, it was Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, and several others facing global warming. Cue giant wave and running from the cold front. In Contagion, it’s Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet, and many, many others facing a deadly, highly contagious disease. However, unlike most disaster films, Soderbergh takes a quieter, much more intimate approach and brings the tired genre up to a level that is at once riveting, emotionally resonant, and artfully produced. Read more…

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