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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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Special Review: “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” — A Surprising Lack of Inexperience

June 4, 2013 1 comment
The 40-Year-Old VirginDirected by: Judd Apatow
Produced by: Judd Apatow, Clayton Townsend, Shauna Robertson
Written by: Judd Apatow, Steve Carell
Edited by: Brent White
Cinematography by: Jack Green
Music by: Lyle Workman
Starring: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco, Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Leslie Mann, Kat Dennings, Jane Lynch
Year: 2005

 

If you’re among my friends, you probably know the story about how I saw this movie soon after it came out on DVD during my first year of college. It wasn’t the sort of movie that I would have sought out myself at the time, but my best friend’s roommate put it on one night while I was hanging out at their dorm, as I was wont to do in those days, and, yeah, I watched it. It was pretty much the first hard R-rated comedy film I had ever sat down and watched at the time on my own. Being 19, living relatively on my own, I felt pretty grown up about the whole situation. And, you know what? I actually quite liked it. (Spoiler alert if you’re worried about those kinds of things with a review.) Read more…

Theatrical Review: “ParaNorman”

August 26, 2012 6 comments
Directed by: Sam Fell, Chris Butler
Produced by: Travis Knight, Arianne Sutner
Written by: Chris Butler (screenplay), Arianne Sutner, Stephen Stone (story)
Cinematography by: Tristan Oliver
Music by: Jon Brion
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, John Goodman, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, Jodelle Ferland, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Elaine Stritch, Bernard Hill, Jodelle Ferland, Tempestt Bledsoe, Hannah Noyes, Ariel Winter
Year: 2012

 

There are several things that I admire about this movie that I’m just going to highlight from the outset:

  1. The animation is impressive. I have no idea how they pulled off the visually (not to mention emotionally) charged ending effects, but I would really like to see the featurette on the home release on that.
  2. Getting back to the emotion, there are moments in the film that feel stunningly authentic, and that ending really does pay off.
  3. The filmmakers largely stayed away from obvious pop culture horror references that would be so prevalent in so many big studio film efforts. There are some, one of which is revealed in the trailers (“You want to play hockey?”) and another that is a lot more subtle than this (Norman’s ringtone is from The Exorcist), but, for the most part, the film is a much calmer, more self-contained experience than it could have been.

I lead into this review with those points because I don’t want to sound like I didn’t enjoy this film, because that wouldn’t necessarily be true. The fact of the matter, however, is that for all the things this film excels at, there are several things that hold it back for me from being the apparent critical darling that Rotten Tomatoes would suggest that ParaNorman is.

Read more…

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