Hello all! Welcome to a NEW YEAR!! Didn't 2014 go by fast? The month of December was a pretty decent one at the movies, so let's take a look at the rundown of the scores. It wasn't as strong as last year by about 2.2% and the average score was 8.3. What's more interesting however is the breakdown of the year's score which actually ended up around 7.80 which was about 1.33% higher than previous years. I think that result perfectly reflects what a strong year it was at the movies.
Wild: Wow. What an incredible film from start to finish and one that I thought surpassed the novel. Edited brilliantly with some gorgeous cinematography, music, and a stellar performance from Witherspoon make this one of the best made films of the year (RRS: 9.5/10)
Exodus: Gods and Kings: I liked it more than most mainly because I wasn't looking for the emotional connection. It definitely lacks a heart, but has plenty of visual splendor to make up for it. A few odd casting decisions were very distracting though. (RRS: 7.5/10)
Inherent Vice: I didn't get a chance to see this as it was a limited release but it sounds like a fun film, although it may not be Paul Thomas Anderson's best.
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies: Easily the most affected film of the three from the decision to split the book up three ways. BOTFA is really just one large battle, and not really that creative of one at that. Some great characterization and some awesome action near the end really help the movie to wrap up the trilogy in a nice bow, although I'd argue this is the weakest of the six Middle-Earth films. (RRS: 8/10)
Annie: I didn't get around to seeing this one but reviews would indicate two things: that most critics don't have a heart by giving this a lousy score, and that the film was fun family fare, but ultimately forgettable.
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb: Another one that I didn't see, and it didn't release to much fanfare. I've heard a few say that it's "the best of the series", but I feel like with this series, that isn't saying much. Most likely a decent family adventure film.
The Interview: My oh my, wasn't THIS the movie story of the year? Ultimately the comedy is a bit hit or miss and certainly not Franco/Rogen's best work. But I found that the film grew an extra layer of depth and weight having watched it after all the events that took place. If none of that matters to you, then you'll find an OK-to-good comedy here. (RRS: 8/10)
Into the Woods: Most reviews indicate that for the first 2/3rds of the film it's amazing, and then goes off the rails a bit in the third act, which is a shame as it looked like a lot of fun.
Unbroken: I couldn't get myself to go to this one because so many reviews indicated that it was a bore and lacked heart. Which is disappointing because I've heard the book is great.
American Sniper: Yet another film that I'll have to catch up with in January due to a limited release. Early reviews indicate that it's an intense film though.
The Imitation Game: I know I didn't cover it last month but that's because it has had such an odd, staggered release. But I found it to tell a very interesting story that I had no idea about, all capture brilliantly in Cumberbatch's portrayal of Alan Turing.
Selma: Again...another limited release. A wise one though as the film is planned to be released right before MLK Jr. Day. Early reviews are indicating it's one of the most important and powerful films of the year.
Most Disappointing: Exodus: Gods and Kings
Most Surprising: Wild
Worst Movie: Exodus: Gods and Kings
Best Movie: Wild
Now let's take a look at the films coming out in January, which is almost always a slow month where I try to catch up on limited releases from the Holiday season. Remember to click the titles for the trailer.
Why It's Worth Watching: If you like horror in January, this will be the film where you get your fix. I wasn't even aware that The Woman in Black was successful enough for a sequel so maybe this one will improve on the first chapter?
What Could Go Wrong: If the title isn't clichéd enough for you then I'm sure the actual film is.
Why It's Worth Seeing: It's Liam Neeson, action, and the series that helped make him incredibly relevant. There's always a chance it could recapture the first film's glory.
What Could Go Wrong: After how awful Taken 2 was in comparison to the first one, I'm not holding out much hope for Tak3n. If the film takes itself a bit more seriously than Taken 2 (where his daughter was throwing live grenades in public) then it should come out at least better than that one.
Why It's Worth Seeing: Once you set aside the fact that Thor is one of the best hackers in the world, it looks like a well crafted, Michael Mann directed, action thriller that, given recent "hackings" seems to be more relevant than ever. Could end up being one of those films that's much scarier than it intends to be.
What Could Go Wrong: Right now, we need a film that dives into the nature of hacking, and just how crazy cyber warfare could become. If Blackhat decides instead to focus more on a love story or action beats, it may falter.
Why It's Worth Seeing: It's a big screen adventure of one of Britain's most famous characters, filled to the brim with talented British actors. Early reviews are stellar and some are calling it Britain's best film of the year (2014).
What Could Go Wrong: Paddington had a pretty tough road to creation and I'm concerned if those compounded issues will lead to a mixed bag of a film, or one where you can tell the different stages of its development.
Why It's Worth Seeing: These films always have the possibility of being "good", and the fact that it is a female protagonist, in Jennifer Lopez no less, is interesting. It could be an empowering film.
What Could Go Wrong: Many times, these types of films end up being terrible due to stupid character decisions, poor acting, even worse scripts, etc. Example: No Good Deeds
Why It's Worth Seeing: We all love Johnny Depp essentially playing different versions of the same character and he looks positively silly in this one.
What Could Go Wrong: Depp has had an incredible string of duds and bad luck lately, and to be honest, Mortdecai doesn't look to be anything other than a dud. The previews are funny, but not that funny, and given its January release it seems to be destined to be a film that no one will remember.
Why It's Worth Seeing: Originally delayed and rebranded from it's late summer release, this film posts an interesting scenario about time travel all from the perspective of a handheld camera lens. If it worked for Chronicle, it could work for this.
What Could Go Wrong: The extreme delay worries me and based on the trailer it looks to be an incredibly messy film, which just does NOT work with time travel. I don't have high hopes for this one.
Must See (in order): None :-(
On My Radar: Tak3n, Blackhat, Paddington
Predicted Duds: The Woman in Black: Angel of Death, The Boy Next Door, Mortdecai, Project Almanac
January 2015 starts off with a whimper, that's for sure. See everyone next month as the year begins to heat up a bit with some must sees. 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!