Friday, January 29, 2016

Movie Music and More #43 : "The Sting" (1973)

The Sting (1973) follows two con artists (Paul Newman and Robert Redford) as they run a long con to ruin the man who had their friend killed.  It's set in the 1930s and filled with amazing period costumes, sets, and music.  Marvin Hamlisch blends Scott Joplin's classic rags with original bluesy variations of other period songs to create a soundtrack that is a pure delight.  Here are my three favorite tracks from one of the first soundtracks I ever heard -- my parents owned this on LP!

My favorite song of all is Joplin's "Easy Winners."  I love how jaunty it is.  I can't help smiling when I hear it.

"Luther" is more melancholy, a solemn contemplation of loss and mortality.  It takes bits of "Solace," another of my favorite Joplin rags, turns them minor, and turns them into a dirge.

"The Entertainer" is probably the most famous rag, whether by Scott Joplin or anyone else.  The Sting uses it to great effect, as it's a great blend of spry playfulness and an undercurrent of more dramatic seriousness, which pretty perfectly describes the movie as well.

That's all for today, friends.  If you liked these selections, you can hear the full soundtrack on YouTube here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Doctor Who News: Moffat Leaving and Series 10 Delayed?

Steven Moffat is leaving Doctor Who after 2017! And there will be almost no new Doctor Who until 2017?
A few days ago, big news about Doctor Who was dropped; some good, some bad, but all interesting. First, Doctor Who will not return with a new season (series) until Spring 2017, with only a Christmas special at the end of 2016. The following is a quote by BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore about the reasoning behind the delay of Doctor Who: “I have decided to schedule Steven’s big finale series in Spring 2017 to bring the nation together for what will be a huge event on the channel. 2016 is spoilt with national moments including the Euros and Olympics and I want to hold something big back for 2017 - I promise it will be worth the wait!”

Honestly, this reason sounds like BS. This barely answers why we have to wait, but who knows. Regardless, that's what is happening, so no new Doctor Who until Christmas of this year.

On the good news side, Steven Moffat is leaving as showrunner after the 2017 season! Moffat might have written some of the best episodes of Doctor Who, such as "Blink" and "The Girl in the Fireplace." However, his convoluted style of storytelling may have worked for a few seasons, but it is getting old. He seems unable to come up with enough new ideas, especially in the season finales, so I, for one, am glad to get new blood into the mix! Maybe he can devote his effort to the always exceptional Sherlock!

In Moffat's place, Chris Chibnall will take over as the showrunner. Chibnall is known for being the creator of the popular Broadchurch series starring David Tennant. If you are interested, definitely watch the first season and forget that there is a second season, because it is barely worth watching. Chibnall's other credits include episodes for Life on Mars, Torchwood, Law & Order: UK, and even Doctor Who. The following are the Doctor Who episodes and web-shorts he has written:
  • "42" (2007)
  • "The Hungry Earth" / "Cold Blood" (2010)
  • Pond Life (2012)
  • "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" (2012)
  • "The Power of Three" (2012)
  • "P.S." (2012)
Honestly, I do not remember "42" at all. "The Hungry Earth" / "Cold Blood," "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship," and "The Power of Three" were all rather mediocre episodes, and far from the quality Doctor Who should be. Pond Life is the short webseries about Amy and Rory, and "P.S." is basically a deleted scene from "The Angels Take Manhattan" released online. Overall, his work on Doctor Who is rather unimpressive. However, Broadchurch's first season is brilliant, so I have high hopes that Chris Chibnall will finally bring something new to the Doctor Who franchise.

Lastly, Peter Capaldi is rumored to be leaving the series after season 9 to give the series a fresh start with Chibnall at the helm. While it might seem a little too soon for Capaldi to be leaving the series, the previous actors only stayed onboard for 3 seasons, plus specials, and considering that 2016 is basically an off-year, Capaldi's tenure would be about as long as the others. With that said, Capaldi showed his true potential last season, and if he were given stronger scripts that fit his style, instead of Moffat's often clashing tone, Capaldi could truly shine in the role. With that said, Moffat started with a new Doctor and the same will likely be true for Chibnall (wow, I am going to have to get used to spelling that name, haha). Fingers crossed for the extremely unlikely choice of Idris Elba as the Thirteenth Doctor!

Overall, while Doctor Who being delayed is disappointing, Moffat leaving is a more than welcome change, because we desperately need something new and fresh!

What are your thoughts on the Doctor Who news? Please comment below and let me know!


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Monday, January 25, 2016

Top 10 TV Comedies: Part 3

The Top 10 TV Comedies of All-Time comes to a close with the final three entries on the list!

3: Frasier
A spinoff of the popular Cheers TV series, Frasier might the most consistently high quality TV comedy ever made. Every TV series is bound to have moments of weak writing, and yet Frasier, despite 11 seasons and 264 episodes, rarely features a truly weak episode. Not every episode is the funniest thing ever, although many episodes are, even the weaker ones make you laugh several times. Honestly, Frasier is the type of comedy that everyone could at least get something out of and that everyone should watch because it is not especially crude, or at least no more so than Seinfeld. The series follows Frasier Crane, his brother Niles, their father, Martin, and the physiotherapist, Daphne Moon as they go about their everyday life, and even though it is a spinoff, having only seen a handful of Cheers episodes, you can watch Frasier without any prior knowledge.
Watch on: Netflix, Hulu

2: Seinfeld
If you haven't lived under a rock your entire life, chances are you have at least heard of Seinfeld, if not seen or heard it referenced at some points. Seinfeld, described as "a show about nothing," obviously did a lot of something to become probably the most popular and well known comedy of all-time, and for good reason, it is absolutely hysterical! The series follows a fictionalized version of Jerry Seinfeld and his friends in New York and all of the insane misadventures that the group gets themselves into. If you somehow have not seen Seinfeld, what the heck are you doing!? Watch it! It's beyond a classic!
Watch on: Hulu
1: Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation is very much a personal pick as it is a favorite of mine (obviously, hence its ranking). After watching Seinfeld and the old classic comedies, the new brand of comedies like The Office and Arrested Development never seemed to interest me enough to watch. However, after Guardians of the Galaxy, I desperately needed more of the hysterical Chris Pratt, which led me to Parks and Recreation, and thus my doorway to many modern comedies in the Single-Camera style. Parks and Recreation finds the perfect middle ground between character drama and humor, and while Seinfeld or Frasier might be funnier, Parks and Recreation's characters are incredibly likable and quirky. With that said, Parks and Rec being number one is much more of a biased subjective pick as any of the other comedies on this list could be number one depending on your taste in humor. Regardless, they are all worth watching!
Watch on: Netflix, Hulu

Honorable Mention: Psych
Psych is a crime mystery drama with a heavy dose of comedy blended throughout. Often times, it is funnier than the majority of comedies, yet smarter than the majority of drama crimes. Since Psych does not fall into the usual definition of a comedy sitcom, it does not qualify for the list. However, if it did, Psych would likely be number one thanks to its ingenious humor and mysteries.
Watch on: Netflix

What are your favorite comedies? What do you think of my picks? Please comment below and let me know!

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Movie Music and More #42: Berserk

Hello all, it me Jamie! I generally blog over at "Jamie Talks Anime" but I'm here to discuss a very unique, airy yet earthy, memorable anime soundtrack. After a thousand repeated recommendations from James The Reviewer, I plunged through the 1997 anime Berserk a couple weeks ago! It was definitely as good as he'd said, and I’m determined to read the source material this year!
However, one of my favorite things about Berserk was, hands down, its soundtrack. It added SO. MUCH. DEPTH. to each and every scene that it was used in. It created such a stunning, atmospheric sound that brought that entire, medieval world to life. Somehow it tugged on my heartstrings too, and now I can’t stop listening to it!
Track 08: Earth. It starts off very airy, with harps, a couple voices, and a bagpipe, just filling the air with atmosphere for the first two minutes. Then, as the rhythm picks up, the pipes go much faster, driving in rhythm of ambition and the taste of ancient times. I get lost almost immediately in the male and female vocals and the sound just swallows me whole by the four minute run time is over. I’d like to note that the synthesizer is used many times in this OST and it’s one of the key elements to gave Berserk such a wonderful sound.
Track 01: Behelit. The first track of Berserk’s OST begins with the urgent movements of the harp and an uneasy wind instrument. The tension grows and remains high through the track’s entirety before softly ending. This melody is definitely a fantastic tone setter for the more mysterious moments of Berserk as it dances around the supernatural wonder of character Griffith and simply the world of Berserk its self.
Track 04: Guts. “Earth” and this track “Guts” are the two I’ve listened to most the past few weeks. This piece has several layers of emotion, just like character Guts himself. Firstly kinda eeiry and mysterious. Then full of rich longing with hope and wonder. This track in particular also executes the electronic sound very well! You can especially hear it in this piece, as reverbs become a intricate part of the musical sound. Somehow it works perfectly with the medivial setting in the anime!
Track 05: Murder. This soundtrack incredibly long with a 9 minute running total! This has got to have one the most ominous, deep, dark sounds I’ve ever heard in an anime soundtrack though, so I'm sharing it anyway. It starts off quiet, and strings and electronic reverbs slowly begin to grow as utter darkness swallows the air for the first two minutes. Then the pace begins to quicken followed by pounding percussion at the 3 minute mark. At about the 5 minute mark, vocals take charge for a bit, soft but haunting and rather disturbing, rejoined later by the percussion. A truly captivating piece of haunting darkness if ever I heard one!
Forces. Ok, I can’t end without talking about this song. It plays during the final bit of each episode during “Next Time” and it’s fantastic! It’s loud, it’s brash, it pounding like horses on a battlefield, and yet it’s also triumphant and full of longing and glee. The voice work is incredibly strong, especially during the chorus. There’s just a driving fire in this piece; it’s wild and fierce and electric; it captures the spirit of Berserk incredibly well!
Have you seen Berserk? What did you think of its soundtrack? Have you heard any more of the great composer Susumu Hirasawa’s music (if not, go listen to this immediately!) Let me know which track is your favorite!
Jamie writes on her personally chaotic blog "Through Two Blue Eyes" about her life as a maturing fangirl in the center of Arizona. She also enjoys anime enough to write about it, and often times its music, on a second blog "Jamie Talks Anime." Drop by anytime! ;)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Suicide Squad Trailer #1 Review

Let's face it people, regardless of whether or not the movie sucks, this trailer is a ton of fun! And the use of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" is absolute perfection! You can never go wrong with Queen music, and the editing is top notch. You might remember a few years ago, I created a movie tribute (watch it below), and I created a few others that were never published, so editing clips to music something I always like seeing. Anyway, the trailer is excellent! And it actually gets me excited for the movie itself. The creators seem to be having fun with it, instead of being all dark and brooding. Plus, villains are always the best. A movie about villains is what I have wanted for a long time, and the Suicide Squad is the perfect vehicle for that concept. Even though using rockin' 70s and 80s tunes is taking a page out of Guardians of the Galaxy's playbook, it would be great if Suicide Squad used some great classic tunes during the film. However, that probably will not be the case. Honestly, though, Suicide Squad has the potential to be DC's best film since The Dark Knight. Granted, that's not saying much. What do you think of the trailer? Do you plan to see this film? Please comment below and let me know! And below is my movie tribute if anyone is interested.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Top 10 Movie Memorabilia

What film fan doesn't want some Movie Memorabilia to hang on their wall or display in their geek-den? And today I made my dream wish-list of movie memorabilia! My only rule in making this list is the prop can't be huge, like the Millennium Falcon, but of a practical display size, such as the size of a full body costume or smaller. Otherwise, anything goes!

The topic of today's article is definitely thanks to, who contacted me with the idea for this post. is the place to find must-have collectibles and one of a kind pieces; new memorabilia and movie props is being added almost daily to their website, and they boast an entire section dedicated to Star Wars! If you want to check out some movie memorabilia, as well as various others things, definitely check them out.

Now, let's get this list started! And the list is not in any order.

Darth Vader Costume
At the top of my most-wanted Movie Memorabilia list is the Darth Vader costume worn by David Prowse in Star Wars (1977). While finding a place to display it would not be easy, it is the costume of one of my favorite characters in all film, and one of the most imposing and iconic costumes in the history of film. 

The One Ring
There were various props of differing sizes that were used for the One Ring during the Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, the one I would want is the version that is used during the close up shots with the actors. Even more specifically, the one dropped into Mount Doom.

Indiana Jones' Hat and Whip
Ever since I was a kid watching the Indiana Jones films, I have wanted the hat and whip used by Harrison Ford during Raiders of the Lost Ark. Other than Lightsabers, no other movie prop defines my childhood like Indy’s Hat and Whip!

Neo's Sunglasses from the Matrix
Aside from the trench coats and guns, there are few props directly associated with the Matrix except one thing: the sunglasses. The Matrix's sunglasses might be impractical in the real world, but Neo's sunglasses would make an excellent display piece!

Iron Man's Arc Reactor
Iron Man is not a film with many smaller recognizable props. However, the first Arc Reactor created by Tony Stark to escape from the terrorists is unforgettable piece from the film that launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

R2-D2 and BB-8
With the exception of Lightsabers, there are few things in Star Wars more iconic than the droids! And R2-D2 is easily the most iconic droid from the film. Who doesn't love this plucky-willed droid? And now BB-8 from The Force Awakens is sure to become yet another iconic droid in the Star Wars franchise. Both of the props used for the droids would make excellent pieces in any collection.

Captain America's Shield
Captain America has been my favorite superhero since childhood, and what superhero movie prop is more recognizable than his Shield? While many props are made for the shield, the heavier one used during close ups, held by Chris Evans, is the one I'm sure anyone would prefer.

Han's DL-44 Blaster
A classic weapon from my favorite character of all-time, Han's DL-44 Blaster is a must for a Star Wars fan like myself. In fact, you can read more about it from, specifically the one used in the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

The Tenth Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver
While the TARDIS from any of the seasons would be cool, who has room for a large blue box? Instead, David Tennant's Sonic Screwdriver, my favorite one from the franchise, is the ultimate piece of Whovian memorabilia!

Anakin and Luke's Lightsaber
Lightsabers are one of, if not, the most iconic props in the Star Wars franchise. And no other Lightsaber would make a better collector's item than the very first Lightsaber seen during the original Star Wars. But of course, any of the Lightsabers from the Original Trilogy, or Kylo Ren's Lightsaber from the Force Awakens, are at the top of my list.

What movie memorabilia are at the top of your wish-list? Please comment below and let me know!

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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Doctor Who: "The Husbands of River Song" Review

Doctor Who returns for its annual Christmas special with "The Husbands of River Song." 

River Song is a divisive character. Some hate the character, while others love her. Personally, she is not a favorite of mine. Her introductory episode, "Silence in the Library" is still one of my favorites, but the more she is used, the more annoying she became. She might be the wife of the Doctor, but there was rarely any chemistry and their timeline grew more and more convoluted as well. Thankfully, "The Husbands of River Song" gives us River's best episode since "Silence in the Library."


As soon as River meets the Doctor, there is instant chemistry between Capaldi and Kingston, even though River, as a character, does not realize the that he is the Doctor. For the first time, River actually feels like a fleshed out character with flaws and not just an annoying plot device. She tells the Doctor of how she views him, not knowing that she is, in fact, talking to the Doctor. Throughout the episode, her banter creates more character development than she has had during the entire series thus far. With that said, River is not a great character now, but when a character goes from being an utter annoyance to not half bad, that’s rather impressive.

Moving on to the plot, the concept of River stealing a diamond from Hydroflax's served head, which is connected to a mechanical body, is fun. The entire episode plays out like a comical farce that moves River and the Doctor from one crazy predicament to the next. While the episode is certainly comical, scenes featuring British comedian, Matt Lucas as Nardole, and some of Hydroflax's scenes come off as unintentionally cheesy and miss the mark. 

Thankfully, the comedic failures are made up for with a pleasant finale, and hopefully, final, send off to River Song with excellent chemistry between the leads. However, considering Moffat's apparent love of the character, we will probably see her again. But if this is the end, the character has never been better, especially considering how troublesome the character has been in past seasons.

Overall: 8.1/10- Easily River Song's finest episode in years, "The Husbands of River Song" demonstrates Capaldi's acting prowess and fleshes out River, despite some comedic failings. Overall, this was a strong Christmas episode to end a very solid year of Doctor Who.

Episode Reviews:
Other Reviews:

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Movie Music and More #41: "3:10 to Yuma" (1957)

George Duning's brooding score perfectly suits the original 3:10 to Yuma (1957).  It's dark, intense, and full of emotions, just like the film, which tells the story of a desperate rancher (Dan Evers) who agrees to help take a dangerous outlaw (Glenn Ford) to the train to Yuma State Prison in exchange for enough money to save his drought-stricken cattle.

If you had a western movie or TV show theme song you needed sung back in the 1950s, Frankie Laine was a the guy you wanted singing it.  His husky, lonesome voice so perfectly evokes the sorts of strong, yet weary men that filled those stories.

"Lovely Emily" reuses the melody from the "Main Title," but turns it into a tender love song, simple and haunting.

"One More Shot" might be my favorite cue of all.  It combines both danger and peace, starting out with a shiver of violence, then pulling in a wistful melody that was used in earlier scenes at Dan Evers' quiet ranch.  This track feels very yearning and anxious to me.  And there's a menacing little duet between piano and guitar that reminds us there's a lot to be done before this can be resolved.  Parts of the theme song come into play too, never letting us forget about that train.

You can listen to the whole soundtrack on YouTube here, if you liked these selections and want to hear more.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Spoiler Discussion Topics

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is still crushing the box office! And I am going to watch that incredible film again next week! So, instead of trying to think of spoiler topics after re-watching, my plan is to walk into the theater with various points of discussion on my mind, which brings me to your part in this. Please let me know what you want me to discuss about film, whether it is a plot point, a criticism, or fan theory. Whatever it is, please leave a comment with any number of discussion topics and I will try to write about it! Below are some topics that I have already thought of, so let me know what other things you want me to discuss. 


In-depth Discussion of Each Character

Discussion Topics:
  • Anakin's Lightsaber
  • Han Solo Dies
  • Kylo Ren is Han and Leia's Son
  • Leia and Chewie not Mourning
  • Original Trilogy Allusions
  • Poe Dameron Sidelined
  • "That Piece of Junk will Do"
  • R2-D2 Conveniently Reveals Map
  • Rey's Origin

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Top 10 TV Comedies: Part 2

After far too long of a break, my Top 10 TV Comedies list is back on track with the second part of the list!

7: M*A*S*H
After growing up watching hilarious comedies like I Love Lucy and the Andy Griffith Show, M*A*S*H was the first comedy to show me how the genre could deliver character drama that was as entertaining as the comedy. Following a United States Army Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) during the Korean War, M*A*S*H became one of the first successful comedies with a darker, more serious type of humor. As a whole, other comedies might be funnier, but M*A*S*H's strong characterization and unforgettable character quirks makes it hold up just as well today as it did all those years ago.
Watch on: Netflix
6: Fawlty Towers
If you want to laugh and only have to watch 12 episodes, look no further than the British comedy classic, Fawlty Towers. Starring Monty Python veteran, John Cleese, it is possibly Cleese's best work, and considering how hysterical his other works are, that's saying something. Fawlty Towers' premise is simple. It follows Basil Fawlty, his wife, and the people that work at his hotel and all the hilarity that ensues! If you want a short and easy to watch example of the Brit's quick wit, look no further than Fawlty Towers.
Watch on: Netflix

5: The Office
Of all the many comedies that I have seen, no other comedy features characters with the level of development that The Office displays. Yes, The Office is hysterical, especially seasons 2-7, and it is full of jokes and quotes that left me in stitches. However, what sets it apart is how you care about the characters as they live their lives and the drama that follows, along with the great comedy. Unfortunately, after Steve Carell left, the series' writing took a massive drop in quality to the point where it was not even funny during the middle portion of the final season. Despite that, The Office is one of my favorite comedies with some of my favorite characters in television.
Watch on: Netflix, Hulu

4: The IT Crowd
A British comedy about the IT (Information Technologies) department at Reynholm Industries, a fictional corporation in London, The IT Crowd is one of the pure funniest TV shows ever made. With a zany style all its own, The IT Crowd is a unique comedy to be sure. Instead of going the route of quantity over quality, like many US sitcoms, The IT Crowd only features 24 episodes over 4 seasons. Each episode is a setup to several big jokes with the punchline at the end, with many smaller hilarious jokes intertwined. Describing how the series' humor works is difficult, but if you are up for some wacky and occasionally surreal comedy that defies conventions, watch The IT Crowd. 
Warning: The IT Crowd is intended for mature audiences. There are occasional uses of strong profanity, as well as potentially offensive humor (but what comedy doesn't have that?).
Watch on: Netflix, Hulu

What are your favorite comedies? What do you think of my picks? Please comment below and let me know! If you missed it, click here to read part 1.

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Coming Soon: January 2016

Well, what a year at the movies it has been! 2015 was rather unforgettable in that regard as I reviewed 72 new films throughout the year (a personal high). As I did with my first new post of last year, let's review some of the highs and lows at the cinema, shall we?

Worst Films of 2015 (in no particular order):
Terminator Genysis: Almost DOA due to some terrible trailers, the newest Terminator installment was so bad because it was A) a boring action film and B) it basically undid everything in the [much better] films that came before it. So not only did it hurt itself, it hurt the franchise too. RRS: 4.5/10
American Ultra: Not really a film I was looking forward to regardless but this was a failed attempt at merging stoner comedy with an action film. My distaste for Eisenberg aside, the film wasn't that funny at all and the action was pretty lame too. All around a fairly non-enjoyable trip to the movies. RRS: 4/10
Tak3n: I may have overrated this one a bit but the *hopeful* conclusion to the Taken trilogy is only slightly better than Taken 2, but still pretty awful. Why? For starters, the plot is cliche/obvious/boring (whatever you'd like to call it) and second, the directer, Olivier Megaton, is terrible at his job. His quick edits make action impossible to comprehend which is the exact opposite of what you want in an action movie. Duh! RRS: 5.5/10
Fantastic 4: Another film that was DOA, many are now trying to defend it by saying "it's not that bad". is. There are moments of light and that first third is still a merely decent start. As the film progresses, it begins to implode on itself, struggling to tell any type of story and mounting in a conclusion that's one of the worst I've seen for a comic book film. RRS: 4.5/10
Hot Tub Time Machine 2: The absolute worst film of 2015, this received the second lowest score I've ever given. Void of any laughter and a lot of characters to dislike, this was one worthless, unnecessary, sloppy, stupid sequel. RRS: 1/10

Best Films of 2015 (in no particular order):
Mad Max: Fury Road: Intense, visceral, and exciting, the fourth iteration in the Mad Max series (one that I wasn't even too much of a fan of by the way) was a crazy chase film and an action masterpiece. It was dreadfully gorgeous, deliciously weird, and insanely kinetic. A true treat. RRS: 9.5/10

Ex Machina: It may not have been seen by the masses, but nearly everyone who saw it loved the film and it's making appearances on many critic's Top 10 lists. Ex Machina dives into the question: if something is true AI, how would it react and behave? I won't spoil the film but there are so many angles to that question that's it's a bit scary and the film is an eerie analysis of the answers. RRS: 9.5/10
Sicario: The most beautifully shot film of the year, thanks to cinematographer Roger Deakins, this is a haunting, yet realistic film about the Mexican drug cartel. Because of this gritty realism, the film is much more intense than one would anticipate, making it hard to stomach, but also hard to look away. Not for everyone, but a frightening film that's superbly well made nonetheless. RRS: 10/10 -- Instant Classic
Kingsman: The Secret Service: One of the most ridiculous but insanely fun films of the year, Kingsman was a film that stuck with me a long time even though I saw it in February. It's a funny and highly enjoyable take on the spy genre, features one of the craziest scenes of the year (or any year for that matter), and is highly re-watchable. An absolute blast, even on your 6th viewing. RRS: 9/10
Star Wars - Episode VII: The Force Awakens: Living up and even surpassing the unrealistic and lofty expectations, the seventh iteration in the franchise may have borrowed too much from past films, but was still such a breath of fresh air and so darn enjoyable that it's hard for me to say a negative thing about it. Perfect? No. But one of those times where you won't be disappointed? Absolutely. We're very lucky to even get a new Star Wars, much less a film as great as this one. RRS: 10/10 -- Instant Classic.

See what a great year it was? Now let's recap a busy December before we break into what's coming in January.

Krampus: One of the many films I skipped in December, this corny horror film seemed to miss the mark on being "so bad it's good" by not actually being that bad. Many said it was forgettable and I think that's about what we all expected.
In the Heart of the Sea: Ron Howard's latest was fairly dull, despite the Moby Dick subject matter. I was hoping for more, but expecting about what I got as Howard has a decently hard time capturing emotion in his films. RRS: 6/10
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Already discussed briefly in this post, Star Wars didn't disappoint and in turn was one of the most enjoyable films of the year. What else is there to say? RRS: 10/10 -- Instant Classic
Sisters: Not a classic by any means, but also pretty darn funny. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are a great duo as always in this R-rated comedy. RRS: 7.5/10
Carol: Not covered in last month's post, I was able to catch a free screening of the highest "critic" rated movie of the year about two lovers hiding their forbidden love. Carol has strong performances, and is well made, but incredibly dull and boring. This is a critic's film through and through, clearly not designed for someone with my tastes. RRS: 6.5/10
The Big Short: Another film I didn't cover last month due to a super weird limited release schedule, this was a highly entertaining and informative film about the housing crisis in 2008. It features a great cast and balances the laughs and drama very well, making for one of the year's best. RRS: 9/10
Concussion: Controversial subject matter and Will Smith at the helm didn't seem to do much to save the film. It received average reviews with many calling Smith's performance great, while the film? Not so much.
Daddy's Home: Unfortunate that a re-team up between Ferrell and Wahlberg couldn't rekindle the magic of The Other Guys. Daddy's home was kind of funny, but inconsistent and another lame comedy in a year of a lot of lame comedies. RRS: 6/10
Joy: Similar to Concussion this was A) a film I skipped, B) a weak drama, and C) headlined by a great central performance. Moving on...
Point Break: Oh joy! Another Christmas release! This was the remake that no one asked for that apparently no one saw as its box office was paltry and it has few critic reviews, mostly all of them bad. The stunts are pretty, but that's about the only light in this useless and hidden release.
The Hateful Eight: I was lucky enough to catch this one when the 70mm road show came through Denver. Not my favorite Tarantino film by any stretch, but I still found a ton to enjoy among the dialogue, carnage, and quirkiness, even if the film does go a bit overboard in some areas. RRS: 8/10
The Revenant: don't want to release anywhere other than a few theaters in 2015? Well too bad! I banish you to the abyss of 2016 movies. I plan on this being the first film I see in 2016, so I shall update with my findings next month.
Anomalisa: I've already seen this one a while ago and I'll just say that it's stuck with me for a while. Highly unique and memorable. Feel free to read the review for more insight. RRS: 9/10

Most Disappointing: Daddy's Home
Most Surprising: The Big Short
Worst Movie: In the Heart of the Sea out of the ones I saw
Best Movie: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Now that we've gotten all that out of the way, let's take a look at what's coming during the month of January! As always, trailers linked in the titles.

Why It's Worth Seeing: I feel like Natalie Dormer usually doesn't work on something unless she wants to so I'm curious to know if there's something special about this horror film that drew her to it.
What Could Go Wrong: Actors also work for money and this could have been a quick paycheck. Not many horror films release in January and of the ones that do, fewer still are actually worth watching. 

Why It's Worth Seeing: One of the most politically controversial topics of the last decade, this film promises to be a portrayal of what went down in Benghazi when, technically speaking, U.S. soil (embassy) encountered a terrorist attack. Plus the casting of John Krasinski (Jim from the office) as a soldier intrigues me.
What Could Go Wrong: With Michael Bay it will probably get torn to shreds by critics (unfairly), but he does have some reoccuring issues that worry me. For starters, he can't ever make a film less than 2 hrs...I'm not sure this one needs to be that long. Additionally, his action editing is overdone and this is a military film so...we'll see.
Why It's Worth Seeing: I never saw the first film, but Kevin Hart and Ice Cube both have substantial comedic talent and apparently the first one did well enough to warrant a fast-tracked sequel. The trailers have some funny parts so there's hope.
What Could Go Wrong: This seems like a film "banished" to January so that it doesn't get completely lost in the summer. I get the feeling that most of the funniest parts are in the trailers. 

Why It's Worth Seeing: I always enjoy Chloe Grace Moretz, even if her films sometimes leave a little to be desired. The trailers make it seem like this could be a more mature YA adaptation of a series that I haven't even heard of.
What Could Go Wrong:Why haven't I heard of this YA series? My guess is because it's not that good. It's very rare that a mediocre book turns into a better movie...

Why It's Worth Seeing: This looks like a really fun, odd pairing of Efron and De Niro, both of whom I enjoy. The early trailers have been pretty funny/outlandish.
What Could Go Wrong: Again, it worries me that a comedy is dropping in January. Is this one more raunch than laughs?

Why It's Worth Seeing: It's made by Disney, tells an interesting, yet unknown tale of heroism, and Chris Pine often does well.
What Could Go Wrong: It looks like a film that you won't remember by the time Feb 29th rolls around this leap year and the uber-generic title doesn't help either.

Why It's Worth Seeing: The Kung Fu Panda films have both had some great quality so far and there doesn't seem to be any reason that the third film wouldn't continue that. It looks fun.
What Could Go Wrong: Disney/Pixar excluded (I'm thinking mostly of Shrek here), the third film in an animated series often shows dropoffs in returns as far as laughs, characters, and enjoyment. I'd hope this is the last Panda film, unless of course it's amazing.
 Must See (in order): Kung Fu Panda 3
On My Radar: 13 Hours, Ride Along 2, Dirty Grandpa, The Finest Hours
Predicted Duds: The Forest, The 5th Wave

Welcome to 2016 everyone! Hopefully it's as great of year in the theater as it in 2015. 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!!
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