Sunday, February 1

01/15: Nobody puts Baby in the corner.

How's 2015 treating you so far? January seemed like a fluid month, with some major ups and downs, but my optimistic self is hoping for better things to come as the year goes by. Sundance has also started, which means a new crop of films to look out for for limited/wide release. Awards season has begun; besides SAG, Critics and Globes, there's still the Oscars, which received a lot of backlash for various reasons. Even mid-season premieres started this month. Besides Parks & Recreation and Cougar Town (both shows are ending this year), I've started watching Galavant, though the musical-medieval bit charm is starting to wear off. There's also Backstrom, but I got annoyed with one scene because the sound of the rain was muffling any conversation that was transpiring. Still giving it a chance though. Any new shows you're watching mid-season?

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day | Bandidas | Belle | Big Night | Blackhat | Boogie Nights | Bugsy Malone | Calvary | Clue | Dear White People | Dirty Dancing | Eraser | God Help the Girl | Gone Baby Gone | Hector and the Search for Happiness | I Could Never Be Your Woman | Into the Woods | John Wick | Laggies | Penguins of Madagascar | Ponyo | The A-Team | The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her | The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him | The Parent Trap (1961) | The Raid 2 | We Bought A Zoo | Whiplash

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - 1. What a very long title. 2. It wasn't as terrible as I predicted it to be. Usually children's books-turned-movies are so bad that you have to wonder if they are actually reaching their target audiences. This doesn't complicate things and everything happens in a linear order that the movie doesn't try to reach out to other possibilities. I think that's what makes this work compared to others. It was just 'here's the material, go make it into a movie', and that's it. No special effects, no elaborate children's fantasies, just a plain family movie.

Bandidas - I was looking over Penelope Cruz's filmography when I decided to go see this one. It was a fun movie, though the two women haven't collaborated since. Some parts didn't make any sense, but at least it didn't put me to sleep.

Belle - This was so good. I usually avoid period pieces, but this was fantastic. It's about a colored girl who doesn't really know her place in society (she mentions that she's too high to dine with servants, but low to not dine with her family). Entwined in her quest to finding her identity is an issue involving human life and slavery. Gugu Mbatha-Raw was fantastic, as well as Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson. I was not expecting to like it that much. 

Big Night - The cooking made me hungry (and I would like to try some of that pasta, please!). For a simple plot about two Italian immigrants struggling to save their restaurant, there was a lot of content going on. While the movie centered more on Stanley Tucci's character, the thoughts and intentions of Primo (played by Tony Shalhoub) were still evident even if we don't get to see him much on screen. My favorite actors of the movie were Alison Janney and (surprisingly) Marc Anthony - even as secondary characters they are relaxed in their roles and does great with it.

Blackhat - How did a hacking movie suddenly turn into a cop/shootout movie? It's gritty effect and the style it was filmed did not do wonders with the material. I wished I understood the dialogue much better, some of the lines were being mumbled. The acting was bland; even Chris Hemsworth was barely inserting any effort. It was way too long for something that can easily be edited to fit under a two-hour mark.

Bugsy Malone - This was an inspired movie, tackling on a crime genre using children as actors, and bringing the whole movie to scale. It was entertaining to watch, and I like how much effort was put on sets and props. It was creative imagining and didn't skip out on the gang wars factors.

Calvary - I watched the first half, took a nap, then resumed my viewing. With the accolade it was garnering, I assumed it would be good, or thought-provoking, or at least I'd sympathize with the character. People are terrible, but what he did when he got his threat was a bit humbling. He still continued his work instead of running for his life or getting protection. Brendan Gleeson was good, but I haven't seen him in any bad performances at all.

Clue - This was a comic movie, and a successful rendition of a board game. I liked the alternative endings; it will keep you guessing on who the culprit could be.

Dear White People - Culturally speaking, we all have different experiences when it comes to diversity so I'm not going to divulge deeper into the message of the film. Nonetheless, it presented different voices of reasoning when it comes to racial diversity, and it's refreshing because it doesn't only stick to one ideal, but rather explores different opinions. This was good, although the progression was a bit slow.

Dirty Dancing - No wonder people actually like watching this movie. At first I deemed it to be laughable, but when certain inhibitions are let go, this was quite an enjoyable movie. Now the song's just playing on a loop in my mind.

Eraser - It could have used a shorter finale, as apparently Schwarzenegger doesn't go out without a bang.

God Help the Girl - It was a charming, quirky film. I didn't expect to like it that much, but it was quite lovely. The singing was all right, and Emily Browning and Olly Alexander had chemistry.

Gone Baby Gone - It was a great directorial debut from Ben Affleck.

Hector and the Search for Happiness - I liked the book, but the movie lacked charm and heart and all those fuzzy feelings you're supposed to get. So sad because I liked Simon Pegg and Rosamund Pike, and they try to make this work but something was missing. 

I Could Never Be Your Woman - With Amy Heckerling writing and directing this, I was expecting more of the Clueless vibe, and less of what the movie actually was. I felt that this was a put down for women because it didn't discuss relevant issues when embarking on a May-December relationship, but solely stuck to age difference. It basically reinforces the gender stereotype that it's okay for men to date younger women, but women must suffer the agony and judgment from dating a younger man. Saoirse Ronan was the only good thing about this movie.

Into the Woods - It was underwhelming. My expectations were a bit high because it was from the same director who did Chicago (which was so good). Meryl Streep wasn't given much to work with but she still manages to give a good performance.  I pity her story line; I would be working my guts off if I'm an unknown actress and is given a chance to work with her. Emily Blunt was good (as always). I think she needs a Amy Elliot Dunne role to finally thrust her into the spotlight.

John Wick - Keanu Reeves might have found his new money-making niche as John Wick was pretty good. Hopefully his future endeavors would be as entertaining as this.

Ponyo - Another gem from Studio Ghibli, Ponyo's story is a bit similar to Hans Christian Anderson's Little Mermaid story. It's a vivid film, and quite suitable for children.

Penguins of Madagascar - My soul died a bit because of this. I think somewhat successful animated franchises should not venture into television (popular television nonetheless) if it wants to earn more movie money.

The A-Team - I've skipped this one when it was first released, but I had a weird inkling to watch it so I did. This was good. I liked the characters, and the actors' performances were pretty decent. An enjoyable action flick all around.

The Parent Trap (1961) - It was a bit long for a family movie (clocked in at 2 hours, if I'm not mistaken) but I liked the chemistry between the parents. Though I think the character of Joanna Barnes was the best.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her - I made a mistake of watching this first because this proposed more answers rather than questions. This touches more on the emotional side of the story as the way it progressed, both Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy portrayed emotions that doesn't seem to be present in Him. This for me was the better of the two halves, if only by a margin.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him - While Her touched on answers and the emotions of the story, Him tackled on the progression of living, most prominent with how McAvoy pursued his life, providing the gaps that Her has managed to answer. I liked the palette used here, because it was easier on the eyes. If planning to see Her/Him instead of Them, I suggest watching Him first.

We Bought a Zoo - It was the exact light-fared movie I need to kick me out of my movie-watching rut. It tries to have heart, and with the way the movie is positioned, I think we're supposed to be in for a little bit of grand moments that would play with our emotions. Alas, that factor was missing here, despite the setting it puts the characters in. It's not terrible, but not any of their best works either. The cast was likable, which was a plus.

Whiplash - This was absolutely astonishing. Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons were amazing. Who knew a movie about drumming can be so passionate and alive?


Alex shares his top male and female performance of 2014.


Brittani shares her list of strong women on television

Nikhat lists down her 30 awaited films for 2015.

Irene shares her list of 14 Great Movies Based on Short Stories.

Sati shares 15 best shots of 2014.

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing my link! You saw a lot of stuff this month! I keep hearing all these good things about John Wick and I totally wrote it off when I saw the trailers. Maybe I'll have to give in and check it out.

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    1. I was hesitant about John Wick as well, but finally decided to give it a go. I've been skipping a lot of Keanu Reeves' recent movies (it was like he disappeared after The Matrix movies) but this one was good. Maybe I'm genre-typecasting him but he has always been good in action-type movies.

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  2. I just saw Cavalry last night. Gleeson was terrific, wasn't he? I liked this performance even more than his role in In Bruges. I agree that his response to that situation was humbling. I wouldn't have had that much courage.

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    1. I don't think I would have done the same thing he did. He made a choice, and he was tempted to not stick to it and had all the opportunity to do so, but he stuck with it.

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  3. Great run down of reviews here. I'm so envious of everyone that actually gets to watch so many movies in a month.

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    1. Thanks! A con for me for watching a lot of movies in a month is that there's a possibility of getting burned out from too much. That's how my numbers suffered last month, where I would be catching one to two a week instead.

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  4. Thanks so much for the link! Lots of great movies listed here especially Whiplash, glad you liked this one!

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    1. Whiplash was fantastic, really liked Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons' performance.

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  5. Glad to hear you love BELLE too, and that's cool that you gave it a shot even though you're not generally into period dramas. I found Into The Woods to be underwhelming too, but yeah Emily was good as always and Chris Pine was hilarious in his 'Agony' rendition!

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  6. Looks like you saw a great amount of movies! So many that I still need to see. Thank you for the link! <3

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