Well here we are, at the end of the year! What a big month November was huh? The month of November was unfortunately dragged down by a single abysmal score, making the average 7.4, which was about 9.5 percent less than the average for that month. Let's look at a recap shall we? Remember to click the movie title for my review!
Interstellar: For all the criticism it received (even coming from a Nolan-ite like myself), it was still a wondrous journey that is very worth taking. It just could have used a little bit more time on the editing room floor. (Rath's Review Score: 8.5/10)
Big Hero 6: Disney Animation Studios just keeps on cranking out some amazing films and Big Hero 6 is no different. Had the plot not been such a generic superhero "origin" story, we would have been looking at a perfect score. (RRS: 9/10)
Dumb and Dumber To: Simply terrible. As an avid lover of the first film, "To" was one of the most disappointing and unfunny trips I've ever had to the theater. Not only the biggest disappointment of the year, but also the worst film thus far in 2014 (RRS: 3/10)
Foxcatcher: The film is a bit slow and has some issues with its pacing, but it's anchored by some incredible performances by Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carrell, and Channing Tatum. Very well made film for the most part. (RRS: 8/10)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I: I think that many reviewers are giving Part I of Mockingjay a bad rap. Did this book need to be split? Absolutely not. But I thought, given the material, that director Lawrence did perfectly fine in making it a strong stand alone adaptation of the book. If I'm being honest, I think many people who are harping on it too hard are the same people who haven't read the actual novels. Open a book people! (RRS: 8.5/10)
Horrible Bosses 2: This was an enjoyable trip to the theaters as I was one of those that liked the first film. This is a well made sequel that follows the mantra, "If you enjoyed the first one, you will enjoy this one." (RRS: 7.5/10)
The Penguins of Madagascar: Despite the funny trailers, it seems that this was exactly what it appeared to be: a cashgrab. It was the lone film that I skipped this month and it seems that I wasn't missing much, especially given the ridiculously strong year it has been for animation.
Biggest Disappointment: Dumb and Dumber To
Biggest Surprise: None
Worst Film: Dumb and Dumber To
Best Film: Big Hero 6
Now let's take a look at December! It's a VERY busy month, mainly due to all the Christmas Day releases. Suffice it to say that during my recaps next month, I will most likely not have seen a majority of the films listed below. Remember to click the titles for the trailers!
Why It's Worth Seeing: Reese Witherspoon seems to be going through a bit of a career revival a la Matthew "alright alright alright" McConaughey and early reviews from Wild suggest that she does phenomenal in it. The story is an interesting trek that follows a woman's trip as she hikes the PCT.
What Could Go Wrong: The book tended to veer off in random directions at times and threatened to derail at points because it didn't relate back to the main story of the hike. I'm hoping the film chooses it's distraction details more carefully.
Why It's Worth Seeing: Ridley Scott + Biblical times + Christian Bale + Joel Edgerton = you have my immediate attention. If it can tell a somewhat straightforward story of the tale of Moses with Scott's visual eye, it could be a special end of the year treat.
What Could Go Wrong: If it strays horribly from the source material (similar to the overrated, even by me, Noah) then we will have issues. Also, so far from the trailers, the characters of Ramses and Moses seem rather boring, despite their actors.
Why It's Worth Seeing: It's Paul Thomas Anderson's next film and he is a phenomenal filmmaker. If you haven't seen There Will Be Blood, you really should.
What Could Go Wrong: Sometimes Anderson seems to hold the frame for a bit too long or focus a bit too much on the mundane. For the seemingly comedic direction that Vice is appearing to take, that could drag it down a tad.
Why It's Worth Seeing: As T-Swizzle would say, "The haters gonna hate, hate, hate". I personally don't understand all of the hatred for this new Hobbit series. Other than some spotty CGI here and there the first film was amazing and the second film was a classic. Peter Jackson is doing a phenomenal job at dragging out the story into three solid films and Battle of the Five Armies looks to be the epic concluding chapter. Middle Earth still holds plenty of magic in my eyes.
What Could Go Wrong: We all remember the four endings of Return of the King that pushed the runtime to near 4 hours? Yeah. Let's hope Jackson only needs one ending this time. For the sake of our bladders.
Why It's Worth Seeing: I can't quite place my finger on it, but there seems to be something special about this Annie iteration. I'm digging the retelling of the story, the actors chosen, and the more hip-hop-esque music. I think this will be a feel-good film for all.
What Could Go Wrong: I think that if it caters to children too tightly then it might have some substantial issues. From the trailers, that doesn't seem to be the case as at one point there is essentially a prostitute joke.
Why It's Worth Seeing: It's Robin Williams' last performance on screen and the conclusion of the trilogy. I haven't seen a single film in the series but it seems to be a decent enough series to continue getting funding for sequels. It will certainly be sad to see Williams though.
What Could Go Wrong: Last I checked these films weren't super funny and are ultimately forgettable throwaways that are enjoyable, but lack substance. This one looks no different.
Why It's Worth Seeing: I'm not sure what will end up being funnier: this movie, or how angry North Korea will be about it. Given that it's Rogen and Franco in what appears to be some pretty meta roles, the potential is there as the last time they did something similar (This is the End) the results were hilarious.
What Could Go Wrong: Really with these two it all comes down to the script. They are pretty good at improvising, but if the script is unfunny or overly crude this duo gets old fast.
Why It's Worth Seeing: It's got a stellar cast and a really interesting premise, basically it will be Maleficent with singing. This will probably be the box office champ of the holiday weekend.
What Could Go Wrong: For the life of me, I can't get the least bit excited for this film. I'm generally not a fan of musicals but this one looks a bit dull personally and I would probably choose Annie over this.
Why It's Worth Seeing: The story about an Olympic athlete who is drafted into WWII and becomes a POW is an extreme tale of survival and perseverance and it comes from director Angelina Jolie. Yes, THAT Angelina Jolie. Early award buzz and reviews indicate that it's stellar.
What Could Go Wrong: Again, this is another film that I'm not on board with 100% yet. Historical dramas can be great, especially with unique material like this one. But if they hold back and focus too much on the mundane, I find they get boring quickly.
Why It's Worth Seeing: Not counting Eastwood's recent misstep with Jersey Boys, he is a great filmmaker and this story is about the deadliest American sniper in U.S. History with the main character played by Bradley Cooper. Count me in.
What Could Go Wrong: It seems like it will be less of a war movie and more of a character study to me. With "sniper" in the title, I want a good war movie first and foremost.
Why It's Worth Seeing: Given the current events, I think it's high time that people on both sides of the argument could use a little reminding as to what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached. Selma covers a particular time of his life and early reviews say it's pretty incredible.
What Could Go Wrong: Much like with 42 (and other character historical dramas) I hate when it only focuses on a short span of that person's life. Make a longer movie, much like Ghandi, and give us the FULL picture.
Must See (in order): The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, American Sniper, The Interview, Exodus: Gods and Kings
On My Radar: Wild, Inherent Vice, Annie, Into the Woods, Unbroken, Selma
Predicted Duds: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
Once again, it's a busy, busy month. Enjoy the holidays and I'll see you all again for a much calmer January 2015!. Thanks everyone and I hope that you enjoyed the overview! As always, I'd be really appreciative if you came and followed me through Blogger at RATH'S REVIEWS and like me on Facebook HERE! I follow-for-follow 100%. Thanks again!