Jordan is returning to give his usual rundown of the upcoming films of the month.
Hello all and Happy New Year! I hope that each and every one of you had a cherished time with your loved ones this holiday season. And hopefully you got to the movies this December because it was the BEST MONTH OF THE YEAR! Crazy when that happens but the average Rath's Review Score was a whopping 8.9, 7.9% higher than it was in 2012 and 0.3 points higher than May's impressive average score of 8.6. Overall this year was slightly less impressive than last year with an average score of 7.56 which was 2.4% less than last year's whole average. But take that into perspective because remember that 2012 was one of the biggest years for cinema ever.
Before we get started, please, PLEASE take a moment to vote for your FAVORITE MOVIES OF 2013. Every year I conduct the Rath Awards, and one of the awards is the Top 10 Movies as voted by the users. Please and thank you for your participation!
But let's recap the obnoxiously busy month of December. I wasn't able to make it to even half of the movies, but I made sure the ones I saw counted.
Out of the Furnace: The trailers for this film were very misleading and the actual film was much slower than I had anticipated. It was anchored on some strong performances, particularly by Bale, and was overall an enjoyable watch. Just not the epic, Bale-kicking-butt escapade that we were led to believe. (Rath Review Score: 7.5/10)
Inside Llewyn Davis: Missing this film hurt the most because I really wanted to try and fit it in, especially to see Carey Mulligan again. I hope to see it sometime soon and almost all reviews indicate that it's something special. I still worry about how captivating the whole story about Llewyn Davis actually is, but its sure to be a strong movie regardless coming from the Coen brothers.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: WOW! One of the best movies of the year and a thrill ride from beginning to finish. I really liked the first Hobbit, but I also admitted that it had its issues. I think within the context of the tone of The Hobbit trilogy as a whole, Smaug was a vast improvement and just as good as any of the Lord of the Rings films. (RRS: 10/10 -- Instant Classic)
Saving Mr. Banks: I missed this one too, but I wasn't entirely interested in it in the first place. Reviews indicate that it's a feel good movie. Pretty standard Christmas movie fare.
American Hustle: It had one of the most impressive casts of the year and you could tell they were having a bunch of fun. David O. Russell hit it out of the park again with this one and really my only complaint was that the movie's ending just sort of happens when I felt the film was building to a big, climactic scene. (RRS: 8.5/10)
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: You may have heard conflicting reports on this one, but let me set it straight. Anchorman 2 is a fantastic successor to the original. Looking back on it I'm starting to think that people who think otherwise A) either need more time and a second viewing or B) were never fans of the the original in the first place. For me, it narrowly beat This is the End as the funniest movie of the year and was only held back from perfection by a long run time. (RRS: 9.5/10)
47 Ronin: This movie is getting destroyed by critics right now and I'm glad I skipped it. The consensus is that it's extremely forgettable.
Grudge Match: Another film that I was happy to skip. Reviews are telling us that other than seeing De Niro and Stallone back in boxing form, the movie is pretty much worthless/forgettable as well. Some critics were having fun with it, so much like Mr. Banks, it seems like another feel-good holiday movie for the family.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: I also skipped this one, but with a little less acceptance. I like Ben Stiller and I wanted to see this one because it seemed like it really might have been a hidden gem. I hope to catch it sometime soon but for now I'll recommend this film as the holiday feel-good movie that you should see out of all the ones out right now.
The Wolf of Wall Street: Easily the most R-rated movie of the year, The Wolf of Wall Street was almost too much. In fact, for a lot of people, it was too much. But I loved Leo's performance (which is one of the best of the year) and was surprised by the brisk pace of the film's 3 hour run time. Problem is, there is almost no reason to justify it being that long other than to have a copious amounts of drug, sex, and boozin scenes. (RRS: 9/10)
Lone Survivor: I will most definitely be reviewing this film when it experiences a wide release on Jan 10th. It's not playing in Denver right now, so I decided to prep by reading the book first and it might be one of the most incredible stories of heroism I've ever read. If the movie is done accurately and realistically it could be fantastic. Fingers crossed and I'll keep you guys updated.
Most Disappointing: Out of the Furnace (slightly)
Most Surprising: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (I knew it would be good, but not THAT good!)
Worst Movie: 47 Ronin
Best Movie: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Naturally, January is always a slower month, but we do have some key movies to cover! Let's check them out and remember to click the movie titles for their trailers!
Why It's Worth Seeing: The Paranormal Activity series skipped its annual entry in 2013 and instead we get two of them in 2014 (assuming this one does well). It's a fairly unpredictable series. The third one was its best and the last one was its worst (although I still liked it somewhat). If this one can give us something new again then it could be special.
What Could Go Wrong: I really don't like the additional title "The Marked Ones". This makes it seem like a cheap knockoff and for me, it was the first thing that indicated the team was out of ideas. At this point I'm cautiously pessimistic about this one.
Why It's Worth Seeing: I honestly don't know much about this one except for the fact that I was underwhelmed by the trailer. If it can do something unique and/or have a worthwhile story to tell then it might be the winner of the TWO Hercules movies we get this year (with the other starring Dwayne Johnson).What Could Go Wrong: I don't think anything will go drastically wrong, but I don't see this movie being one you remember at the end of the year. It looks about as generic as generic can be and I'd much rather see Johnson in the role several months later, or the new, highly-anticipated 300 sequel instead.
Why It's Worth Seeing: It's early reviews from an obnoxiously limited release are stellar and I'm a sap for a good love story. Not to mention, this one is unique as can be where the man falls in love with his computer's operating system. It looks heartbreaking, insightful, and the soundtrack by Arcade Fire might be a real treasure.
What Could Go Wrong: There is a lot of potential for it to be overrated and delve into the "weird" territory since he isn't actually falling in love with a human being.
Why It's Worth Seeing: Tom Clancy's novels have a hard time on the silver screen sometimes. It seems like we can never get one actor to stay with the role of Jack Ryan for long enough and I think they suffer a bit (other than the older ones of course). But Chris Pine looks like a natural in the role and if it's a hit it could start an awesome new spy series.
What Could Go Wrong: Again, I'm not sure anything will go terribly wrong with this one but it will have to make itself stand out from Bond, Bourne, and Hunt. From the trailers I'm not entirely sure it has the capability to do that.
Why It's Worth Seeing: The trailer is hilarious and I just have the gut feeling that this could be an awesome comedic duo. Sometimes the best comedies of the year hit early on and if this one can keep Kevin Hart in line (by not letting him get annoying) and pack a good script we could be looking at a real winner.
What Could Go Wrong: Apparently it's PG-13 which is fine, but it just seems like a comedy that on the surface would function better as an R-rated film. Also I worry that there will be too many jokes that often come packaged with Kevin Hart (short, loud, etc.)
Why It's Worth Seeing: I always like Aaron Eckhart and this comes from the same team that brought us the Underworld series. The staples of that series were monsters, gore, and Kate Beckinsale being incredibly awesome/sexy. I, Frankenstein looks to have at least 2 out of the 3.
What Could Go Wrong: In all honesty, the Underworld series wasn't anything super special by the time it was all said and done and it hinged quite a bit on Beckinsale. I'm not sure I, Frankenstein will be able to hold the attention of audiences based on what I'm getting from the trailer. Plus the movie's title is stupid.
Why It's Worth Seeing: The cast is really talented with Efron branching out into comedy pretty heavily this year. This one looks like just a good time at the theaters with not too much commitment from the audience.
What Could Go Wrong: The script may not be all that funny and if it can't find the right balance between romance and comedy we could be looking at a pretty forgettable snooze fest.
Must See (in order): Her
On My Radar: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Ride Along, That Awkward Moment
Predicted Duds: The Legend of Hercules, I, Frankenstein
It's a bit of an uneventful month, but maybe January is best used for all the movies that you missed in the extremely busy November and December months? Thanks again James for having me and I'll see you guys back in February! Be sure to come on over and follow me through Blogger at RATH'S REVIEWS and like me on Facebook HERE! I follow-for-follow 100%. Thanks again!