Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Cinema Round Up

Movies cost more to make and attend than ever.  Each of the six major studios crossed the billion dollar gross line but attendance slid to 1.2 billion admissions.  That's just above 1995 numbers.  3D upcharges, reboots, remakes, sequels, everything being based on something else, the so called rise of television, video games, no one will ever know what will please audiences.  Luckily I just like movies and saw dozens of them in the theater this year.  New ones, old ones, good ones, shitty ones, seeing a movie in the theater is still the best way to experience a film in my opinion as you have nothing to do but watch the movie.  Unless you're an asshole on a phone then I'm giving you to the count of 0.  Sometimes dealing with rude patrons is enough to make you not want to check out the cinema but being in Los Angeles where movies are such a key to the infrastructure, you tend to be able to get through most flicks without telling someone to go outside and seeing if their response is going to be compliance or getting into it.  I'm fine with either one.

In no order, some of the flicks I enjoyed this year:

Sabotage: "Look at you with your fucking 48% body fat!"
Arnold in a mature, raw, ridiculous action thriller.  David Ayer's street, bro-down style makes little sense but I loved it and told Sam Worthington so in person.

Snowpiercer: "I know what people taste like. I know that babies taste best." 
Crazy, sad, visual, violent, funny. Oh them Koreans and their post apocalyptic, 99% VS the 1% on a train tales. 

Frank: "Ginger crouton!"
Not so much a movie but more a sad/funny/weird experience about fitting in and mental health.  Michael Fassbender wearing a paper mache helmet for 95% of the running time shows you what kind of actor he is.

Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier: "It's real!"
Marvel again knocks it out of the park, giving audiences fun times without really challenging the genre and treating movies like television.

The Lego Movie: "Spaceship!"
One of the few kiddie movies I saw this year but uber cute, funny with a killer cast and interesting core message of everything being awesome.

Interstellar: "You don't believe we went to the moon?"
Something to be experienced and felt, in your heart from the emotions and your chest from the big ass sound system.  It's not a documentary so don't analyze it as such.  Otherwise I can punch holes in Guardians all day but since people had fun with it they don't think to nitpick it.

The Expendables 3: "I'll open up your meat shirt and show you your own heart."
Saw this thing 3 times in as many days.  Modern, sleek and entertaining it's less serious than I and not as weird goofy as II.  Gave up hope on a "good" Expendables movie after the first one and just went for the ride.  Wondering how it's failure will effect a potential fourth chapter.

Nightcrawler: "You're a lifetime too late!" and "Twerp."
One of the surprises of the year, funny, creepy and messed up Los Angeles movie about shock media and journalism.  Jake G is slowly turning me into a fan. Bill Paxton showing up always a plus.

Birdman: "I'm gonna crab up on your ass and choke you out!"
Beautiful, bizarre, Broadway.  Michael Keaton and Edward Norton are terrific.

Fury: "Best job I ever had."
David Ayer second appearance! Violent, brutal bromance of a World War II tank flick. Brad Pitt still has it.

The Almost Pacific Rim but Not Quite AwardEdge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise has yet to make a bad movie and this big sci-fi, time leaping, alien invasion romp is a lot of fun if a little repetitive.  Bill Paxton again.

Whoda Thunk: Let's Be Cops
Actually quite funny buddy action comedy with consistent laughs on a low budget and expectations.  Those New Girl guys are good together.

Surprised People Liked It So Much: John Wick
The moody, violent action flick was a nice run from Keanu Reeves but I honestly can't believe people liked the hitman flick as much as they let on. 

Almost Good But Not Quite: Robocop & Godzilla
Samuel L. Jackson opened and closed the Robo remake with gusto but in between it was pretty uneven and Joel Kinnaman ain't no Peter Weller, bro.  His faux Detroit tough guy turned lobotomized cyborg did nothing for me while Godzilla was hardly in his own movie and we're left with uninteresting human characters doing uninteresting things.  Godzilla was probably the biggest let down of the year.

Just Didn't Get It:
The Raid 2 - Amazing action yet mean spirited, overlong with a simple story that doesn't justify the running time.  Cut it down from 130 to 90 minutes and I'm sure there's a classic inside.
Gone Girl - A big budget Lifetime movie where serious adult actors utter "cool girl".
Lucy- Along with 3 Days to Kill shows that Luc Besson and company have an interesting method to crafting would be action movies but become a little too abstract while not sticking to their own made up rules.
Into the Woods - Beautiful yet boring, maybe if you like musicals.

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