Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Top Ten Films of 2016.

I am aware that 2016 ended two months ago; but as a completion-obsessed shut-in who uses too much punctuation, it takes a while to track down all the Danish movies about chicken that I want to see. Thankfully, we can adopt the Academy Awards as 2016's film criticism deadline. I know you'll probably be spending your Sunday at the liquor store in preparation for all the political acceptance speeches, so don't worry about reading this right away. But if you find your mind wandering while La La Land wins just about every category, feel free to reference this list as a reminder that other films did come out.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Top Ten Films of 2015.

I think there's something in my blind spot.

The Oscars are Sunday and thus, I return to you. I actually made it an entire year without writing a single word, which coincides with my realization in November that I'd only seen a handful of 2015 films. I kept waiting for the barrage of theatrical must-sees. Then I realized that essential Hollywood was largely taking the back half of the year off. Don't let my pessimism get you down though, because I made up for lost time and saw a lot of good films in 2015. I'm just crabby because I liked 2014 too much, and nothing in 2015 blew me away like The Guest did. Before we get to my arbitrary ratings, let's hit some honorable mentions and talk about the movie I feel required to mention—even though I really don't want to.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Top 10 Films of 2014.

It's so tempting to Photoshop Nicolas Cage into the negative space.

After another five month hiatus, I'm back for the yearly staple. We have a record low of one Best Picture nominee gracing the top 10 this year, which goes to show that I have severely different tastes than ridiculously old white people. Turns out, most of the great films of the year were fairly divisive, and we all know that you can't win a Best Picture award if you leave people feeling uncomfortable. As always, documentaries and animated films are ineligible as I didn't make an effort to see all (or any) of them. Here are your honorary awards.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Boyhood: Richard Linklater's Battle Against Alcoholic Stepfathers.

Dear Richard Linklater,

You worked wonders with Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight.  Every nine years, you gave us another great movie focused on the same two people in various stages of their relationship.  The series evolved with its characters; what began as a starry-eyed romance ended as an explosive bout within a long term relationship.  With only two hours every nine years, you created a believable relationship between two very real characters that easily produced empathy.

With Boyhood, you've attempted the opposite.  Instead of giving us the snapshots and letting us fill in the blanks, you've provided a full twelve years in one character's life.  We watch as Mason, the boy in question, grows from a child into a young man.  Unfortunately, the effect is not the same.  There isn't enough time for both Mason's life story and the emotions that accompany it; and at times, Mason seems more of a peripheral figure than a protagonist.

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Avengers Youth Team.

Guardians of the Galaxy gets bonus points for following The Avengers formula without depending on five origin films to set up all the character development necessary to facilitate the coming together of its main characters.  That being said, the film immediately thrusts its wise-cracking protagonists into an intergalactic religious war; pausing only momentarily to produce thin explanations for the necessary plot devices.  The complexities of why–or honestly even who–the Guardians are fighting, don't seem to matter to the filmmakers.  Thankfully, it doesn't really matter to the audience either.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Million Ways to Fart in the West.

The role that expectation plays in our enjoyment of cinema is an intriguing one.  As I get older, it seems more and more people—notably those with spouses, kids, or responsibilities other than checking their Facebook notifications—have begun using the phrase, "It seems like a rental," when referring to films of tentative quality.  My version of "It seems like a rental", is the noon showing on a Thursday afternoon, when I've suddenly found myself mysteriously awake before 2 PM.  This is the story of how I found myself watching A Million Ways to Die in the West.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

22 Jump Street: You Know, The Second One.

21 Jump Street was way better than it ever deserved to be.  In an era of reboots, it stood alone as the film that actually tweaked its source material enough to spit out an original product.  It occasionally mocked its existence, but spent more time poking fun at the Glee-generation and flipping high school stereotypes on their head than it did rehashing old narratives.  It barely felt like a reboot.

Two years later, 22 Jump Street feels like nothing but a sequel.  In fact, the movie's sole purpose is to remind you, over and over again, that you're watching a sequel that was only made to squeeze more money out of a tired concept.  The self-satire is frequently amusing, but 22 Jump Street spends so much time making fun of itself that it forgets to become more than the concept it's been mocking.