Film in 2016

As Seen In Theaters:
Zootopia – 10/10
Midnight Special – 8/10
10 Cloverfield Lane – 8/10
Café Society – 8/10
The Secret Life of Pets – 8/10
Warcraft – 7/10
Captain America: Civil War – 7/10
Alice Through the Looking Glass – 7/10
The Legend of Tarzan – 7/10
Star Trek Beyond – 7/10
Jason Bourne – 7/10
Suicide Squad – 7/10
Kubo and the Two Strings – 7/10
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – 7/10
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – 6/10
X-Men: Apocalypse – 6/10
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – 5/10

2015: Film in Review

Brooklyn – 10/10
Mad Max: Fury Road – 10/10
Ex Machina – 9/10
Crimson Peak – 9/10
The Lobster – 8/10
Irrational Man – 8/10
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – 8/10
The Age of Adaline – 8/10
The Intern – 8/10
Bridge of Spies – 8/10
Secret in Their Eyes – 8/10
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – 7/10
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – 7/10
Slow West – 7/10
Z for Zachariah – 7/10
Project Almanac – 7/10
The Divergent Series: Insurgent – 7/10
Furious 7 – 7/10
Avengers: Age of Ultron – 7/10
Pitch Perfect 2 – 7/10
Tomorrowland – 7/10
Inside Out – 7/10
Aloha – 7/10
Jurassic World – 7/10
Minions – 7/10
Ant-Man – 7/10
Paper Towns – 7/10
The Gift – 7/10
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. – 7/10
American Ultra – 7/10
Steve Jobs – 7/10
Pawn Sacrifice – 7/10
Hotel Transylvania 2 – 7/10
Burnt – 7/10
Spectre – 7/10
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 – 7/10
Creed – 7/10
Victor Frankenstein – 7/10
Terminator Genisys – 6/10
Fantastic Four – 6/10

2014: Film In Review

Interstellar – 10/10
Magic in the Moonlight – 9/10
Captain America: The Winter Soldier – 9/10
Transformers: Age of Extinction – 9/10
Gone Girl – 9/10
John Wick – 8/10
Big Hero 6 – 8/10
Big Eyes – 8/10
The Lego Movie – 8/10
Need for Speed – 8/10
The Grand Budapest Hotel – 8/10
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – 8/10
Penguins of Madagascar – 8/10
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – 7/10
The Signal – 7/10
The Monuments Men – 7/10
Chef – 7/10
Muppets Most Wanted – 7/10
Divergent – 7/10
Brick Mansions – 7/10
Godzilla – 7/10
X-Men: Days of Future Past – 7/10
How to Train Your Dragon 2 – 7/10
The Fault in Our Stars – 7/10
Edge of Tomorrow – 7/10
The Imitation Game – 7/10
Love & Mercy – 7/10
The Equalizer – 7/10
A Walk Among the Tombstones – 7/10
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – 7/10
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 – 7/10
Seventh Son – 3/10

2013: Film in Review

Despicable Me 2 – 10/10
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – 9/10
Saving Mr. Banks – 9/10
Her – 9/10
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – 9/10
Blue Jasmine – 9/10
Oblivion – 8/10
Iron Man 3 – 8/10
Mud – 8/10
To the Wonder – 8/10
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 – 8/10
Captain Phillips – 8/10
Pacific Rim – 8/10
The Way, Way Back – 8/10
Warm Bodies – 7/10
Identity Thief – 7/10
A Good Day to Die Hard – 7/10
Oz the Great and Powerful – 7/10
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone – 7/10
Olympus Has Fallen – 7/10
The Croods – 7/10
G.I. Joe: Retaliation – 7/10
Star Trek Into Darkness – 7/10
The Great Gatsby – 7/10
Fast & Furious 6 – 7/10
Now You See Me – 7/10
Man of Steel – 7/10
Monsters University – 7/10
World War Z – 7/10
White House Down – 7/10
The Lone Ranger – 7/10
RED 2 – 7/10
R.I.P.D. – 7/10
The Wolverine – 7/10
Ender’s Game – 7/10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – 7/10
Frozen – 7/10
2 Guns – 7/10
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters – 7/10
Elysium – 7/10
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones – 7/10
Riddick – 7/10
Escape Plan – 7/10
The Fifth Estate – 7/10
Thor: The Dark World – 7/10
Europa Report – 7/10
The Internship – 6/10
The Counselor – 5/10

Gatsby?

Gatsby…The Great Gatsby? The one where DiCaprio stars? It is a definite rental. Don’t waste your money seeing it in the theaters. It is way too long and so many scenes are laughably bad. At one point I thought I was browsing PostSecret on the big screen, and I nearly retched and walked out.

Yet, in contrast to those scenes, there are so many good moments. The actors are at the top of their game here. This is Toby’s best performance of his career, which isn’t saying much, but at least casting directors know he can act decently and he’ll get better roles. DiCaprio was born for this role and continues to impress.

Overall, its an incredibly flawed movie. My hope is that when the home video version is released, some fan makes an edit that takes out all the garbage scenes, and makes it into something more appealing. It gets 6.8/10 star from me. There is some good stuff and a few incredible performances, but even DiCaprio can’t save a film that insists on using postsecret visuals as a crutch.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Simply put: Burt Wonderstone was hilarious. If you didn’t see it, it’s probably because it was misadvertised. The advertisements should have shown the relationship between Steve and Oliva. That entire side of the film was far more entertaining and enjoyable than the Jim Carey vs Steve Carell rivalry part of the film, which really does take a backseat to the real story.

The true story of Burt Wonderstone is one of Man vs Self, not Man vs Man. I think many people went into the theater thinking that they were gonna be wowed by Jim Carey, but instead got a heartfelt performance of a washedup arrogant stage magician who humbles himself enough to spark a new era of his career.

Overall, it’s worth seeing, but probably not worth paying for the big screen prices unless you’re seeing it at a dollar theater. If you’re a Steve Carell fan, it is a worthy performance and should quickly find a spot in your home collection.

Oblivion (2013 film) – Review

Over the weekend I saw the film Oblivion. It’s been over ten years since Minority Report. I’m glad the trailers and other marketing did not spoil the film for most people. Even going into the film knowing the twist, I was impressed with nearly every aspect of the film. The film stars Tom Cruise, Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko, and Morgan Freeman, all of which provide compelling performances. The special effects distract from the subtle hints placed throughout the film, providing an opportunity for a still exciting second viewing where you can pick up all the clever foreshadowing.

Overall, this film is worth paying to see in theaters. If you’re not a fan of Tom Cruise it might be wise to check out the film during matinee prices, but it is worth seeing. If you don’t have time in the next two weeks, don’t rush – everyone will be talking about Gatsby and Iron Man 3 soon enough and you won’t have to worry about being spoiled unless you go out of your way to learn the plot details.

Oz The Great and Powerful (2013 Film)

Oz: The Great And Powerful is a film I didn’t expect to enjoy. I laughed throughout the entire film. It is a cheesy comedy, and it doesn’t try to be anything else. The early marketing had me worried that they were trying to make a serious film, but the instant I saw Zach Braff’s name in the opening credits I realized this was going to be a comedy.

The strategy to reboot The Wizard of Oz through a prequel film is somewhat impressive. Hook people with a solid backstory to who was the man behind the curtain, and then green light a true remake if the first film is successful. They didn’t have to risk their core brand but stood to gain. There’s no waiting around wondering if the film will do well enough. The remake film has been confirmed thanks to a solid $79M+ opening weekend in The United States of America.

Overall: 8.5 / B+: While the film might not have the best Rotten Tomatoes score, it is worth seeing. These days it is hard to find a worthy PG or G rated film that doesn’t come out of the house of Miyazaki, but Oz meets the qualifications.

Jack Reacher – One Shot

The film Jack Reacher is worth seeing. It has the right mix of action and comedy. Despite what some critics say, the comedy is blatantly intentional. Tom Cruise does a good job with the character. The script is pretty straight forward and well paced. I’m not completely sold that it is a ‘must see in theaters’, but the car chase scene is pretty cool on the big screen.

The film is based on the book One Shot by Lee Child and the changes from the book appear to have been done mostly to streamline the story down to a more friendly 130 minutes compared to the rest of the Christmas competition (166 minutes for The Hobbit and 157 minutes for Les Miserables). A few characters were removed and details changed, but the primary narrative stays for the show.

Lee Child has an entire series of books written in the traditional grocery store thriller/page-turner format. There is plenty of material for further movies. Provided continued box office success, the series could be the building point for a ‘James Bond’ or ‘Jack Ryan’ type film series and I wouldn’t be upset. This is a good start, but as a fan of the books, I’m more interested to see some of the more exciting stories starring Reacher make it to the big screen, or perhaps a longer run-time episodic BBC mini-series like they’ve done with Sherlock.

Brave

Roger Ebert writes on Pixar’s latest film, Brave:

This is a great-looking movie, much enlivened by the inspiration of giving Merida three small brothers, little redheaded triplets. The Scottish Highlands are thrillingly painted in astonishing detail, and some action shows Merida’s archery more than equal in assorted emergencies.

“Brave” has an uplifting message about improving communication between mothers and daughters, although transforming your mom into a bear is a rather extreme first step. Elinor is a good sport, under the circumstances. But Merida is far from being a typical fairy-tale princess.

Being Scottish and a fan of bears (although not quite as much of a fan as the witch in the film) I enjoyed it. It’s worth seeing but nothing about it screams ‘must see in the theaters’. I suspect that this is a great film to watch at home on a rainy day with croisants and hot chocolate instead of candy and popcorn at the theater.