Now to start off I’m making it quite clear that I missed a lot of the big, critically acclaimed films this year for one reason or another so I am straying away from a formal top/worst list and going with more of a Good, Okay, Bad, style list. I think I spent most of my movie time this year on older films so I just never got to the theatres.
I have include a list of the films I missed this year at the bottom to avoid any confusion, yes I know I need to see Spring Breakers, I just never got around to it. NOW THE FILMS.
Probably the only, definitely the best, documentary I saw this year. Dave Grohl’s tale of the once famous Sound City recording studio is a must watch for avid rock fans, and the interviews with musicians like Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, etc make it even richer. Let alone the supergroup performances created just by the movie’s existence.
Star Trek: Into Darkness:
While it did have a few bumps, I am a fan of the Star Trek reboot because I find the cast really know how to play off each other and get excited to just go see it despite never really getting into any Star Trek shows. The inclusion of Benedict Cumberbatch was a great choice. Although my one major gripe with the film (SPOILERS) was the last 20 minutes. Choosing to not only repeat the Khan villain, the series also chose to basically mirror the ending of the original Wrath of Khan but switching Kirk for Spock. I also found the revival of Kirk at the end through “superblood” to be cheap and cowardly.
The World’s End:
As big fan of the The Cornetto Trilogy (as well as Spaced and Edgar Wright’s work in general), I had high hopes for The World’s End. The slow and dry opening was very concerning as it took until the 30 minute mark for the film to become entertaining and funny. But after that it was more or less what you come to expect from a Cornetto film. As with any Edgar Wright film I realized soon after how much subtle imagery was in the film, such as pub names foreshadowing plot points and other details, meaning I will probably have to see it a few more times. A bit of a let down but a worthy part of the trilogy.
Rounding out the bottom of the good section of my list is Gravity. While I found it quite enjoyable and visually striking, I found I just couldn’t completely enjoy this movie. While the large amount of silence that was supposed to add realism and a feel of isolation were interesting, it also made the film a little dull and gave me room to think about what was actually happening. This ruined the film a little for me as I realized they probably were going to (SPOILER) not kill off Sandra Bullock, removing most of the film’s tension as it seemed to manage the feature length action sequence, just not without facing the problems it brings.
THE SAD (disappointments or just okay films):
Iron Man 3:
Just missing the good section of my list, Iron Man 3 was a decent film that just didn’t seem to do much. Whether it was it’s dragging middle or dull lead villain (Guy Pearce I’m sorry), it just had me feeling like it was enough but not really anything to brag about. Although I did enjoy the twist of using the Mandarin as a red herring for both fans and new viewers alike as Kingsley pulled a curtain over everyone’s eyes. The end sequence with all the suits was fun but not enough to save a fairly actionless film, I might also add the lowtech Tony sequence was way more entertaining.
Coming off of one of the most interesting trailers (and premises) of the year The Purge looked to be one of the darkest and most twisted films of the summer. Unfortunately due to bad acting, unlikeable characters, predictability and some poor writing choices it just didn’t hit the mark.
The Great Gatsby:
I will admit I had never read the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel before seeing it, but I found this film quite enjoyable. Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation while hitting many points of excess well also was plagued with weird editing, song choices and strange cgi. One of the few times I’ve ever felt immersed in a Dicaprio film too, as he seems to take me out of films for some reason (not to say his acting is the cause). The fireworks reveal of Gatsby set to “Rhapsody In Blue” is probably one of my favourite cinematic moments of the year. Also Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” while initially very emotional, becomes almost comedic and annoying by the end due to overuse.
Not much to say here. An about average superhero flick. Mixed acting with some weird special effects made for an watchable movie. WAY BETTER than the trash that was X-Men Origings: Wolverine but not exactly standout. The Japanese setting definitely helped keep the film interesting though.
While I didn’t by any means expect Anchorman 2 to beat or really match the first movie, I didn’t expect it to be this bad either. While I did laugh harder than I probably did at any film this year, there was a good half if not 3/4s of the film that was very flat or cheap on the laugh side. The film’s shining moments came in cameos (Drake and Kanye killed me) and old standby’s (channel gang fights anyone?), and unfortunately ran most dialogue’s much too long. The film would’ve also definitely been bettered by removing the manager character (played by Dylan Baker) who feels painfully fake and spends the rest of the movie just saying phrases like “Yay Ron”, I honestly cringed every time I saw him as he wasn’t funny and was a brown-noser inside a film that didn’t need one. I’ll be doing a full review in the Iron Times for those interested.
THE UGLY (or 2 Die Hards and the Death of Superman):
Man Of Steel:
While most people reading this have already read my long Man of Steel Review I’ll summarize. Bad characters, bad plot and a choice of style over substance made this a pretty boring film to watch. My biggest disappointment of the year. This film failed by removing one of the most intriguing and necessary parts of any Superman film, Clark, and this made the whole film bland.
Olympus Has Fallen:
Wow probably one of the cheapest (both animation and writing-wise) films I’ve seen all year. Glaring plot holes and contradictory developments made this movie fairly unwatchable to me. Besides terrible acting (why Morgan Freeman, really Aaron Eckhart?) some unnecessary scenes (president’s wife’s death scene even though nobody cared about her yet), and just a terrible group of characters, this Die Hard wannabe is not worth watching for free. Which leads me to my next choice.
Die Hard 5 (or I’M ON VACATION):
As a fan of the original Die Hard (and decent second), as well as the passable fourth installment, I thought the new film might be enjoyable, my hopes were barely even grasped. The film ended up really being just a Bruce Willis action flick using the Die Hard franchise to get people to actually watch it. Not very interesting and fairly predictable. Just skip it.
AND THAT’S IT, I really saw barely 10 new movies this year, hoping to catch up on a bunch soon. Any suggestions? Post in the comments.
The To-Do List (Or Movies on other’s lists that I missed and am listing here to avoid heckling)
Both Miyazaki films (he’s doing more than one a year now?)
The Place Beyond The Pines
Inside Llewyn Davis
and Wolf of Wall Street