The first film in The Hobbit trilogy was entertaining but suffered from a bloated and overlong run time that didn’t have a whole lot of interesting things happening. The sequel, The Desolation of Smaug fixes pretty much every problem that the first one had. It is still excessively long, but this time the nearly three hour run time packed with far more content interesting content than the first one. Visually the sequel has also improved. The high frame rate technology looks much better this time around, making the amazing special effects very crisp and clear. The action scenes are also improved this time making for a much more exciting movie. The second Hobbit film also has possibly one of the greatest movie dragons of all time in the form of Smaug who is created through some of the best special effects since Gollum from The original Lord of The Rings trilogy. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is extremely enjoyable and a much needed uprade from the first film. Go see it.
Not only is Frozen an absolutely wonderful movie in its own right, it is also one of the best Disney movies we have gotten possibly since Mulan. Combining elegant, beautiful animation with some truly loveable characters and some incredible songs really makes Frozen feel like a lost Disney classic. It also works as an excellent deconstruction of common Disney tropes and themes, particularly in the third act which contains some legitimately shocking twists that manage to set Frozen apart from pretty much every other Disney movie out there. Frozen isn’t perfect, the first act is a bit rushed and it does drag a bit in the middle act but in the end, it really is remarkable. Frozen is one of the best movies of the year. Definitely check it out.
The original Korean version of Oldboy is one of the darkest, most violent, and most entertaining foreign films to ever be made. it is brutal, intelligent, and fascinating. It is a movie very rooted in Korean culture so I was interested to see how an American remake would handle it. The answer: not well. Not only is the Oldboy remake a bad remake, it is also a failure in such a bewildering way. Director Spike Lee doesn’t always make the best films but if there is one thing that his movies are, it’s evocative. Oldboy is just empty and lifeless, there is no trace on creative energy behind it. It’s like filmmaking auto pilot. This is strange for Spike Lee as his films are generally so unique. This version of Oldboy is just flat and boring. Avoid it.
Dallas Buyers Club is a mostly just okay movie that is greatly elevated by the strength of it’s outstanding cast. Though based on a true story, there were obviously some artictic liberties taken with this movie and it shows. The way the script handles it’s themes is so blunt and heavy handed. There are also moments that are way more over the top and melodramatic then what could have possibly happened in real life. But once again the best qualoty of the film is the cast. Matthew McConaughey, who lost tons of weight for this role, gives a career best performance. Jared Leto is also remarkable, showing off his considerable talent that we have never really seen before. Dallas Buyers Club would end up being just okay but the moving very performances make it worth seeing.
Homefront is a throwback to the classic cheesy action movies of the 80s and 90s which are some of my favorite movies. Too bad Homefront isn’t very good. It’s slow, boring and does not have very much action in it at all. the action that is there is alright but it’s not very impressive or particularly exciting. The tone is just so dour and miserable that we are not able to have any fun with the movie. It is entertaining to watch Jason Statham attempt to fake an American accent but other than a kinda fun James Franco performance, there is nothing memorable about this movie. Homefront is not an awful movie, it’s just too bland and forgettable to have much of an impact. Skip it.
The first Hunger Games movie is a cheap, ugly looking, and tv movie quality film that only works because of the strength of the performances and the writing. Catching Fire fixes literally every problem that the first film. The direction is smooth and crisp, there are some Oscar worthy special effects on display, and the cinematography is no longer a mess of incomprehensible shaky cam. The movie just has a much more exciting and organic feel to it when compared to the first one. Once again the writing is top notch and the performances, much like the first film, are fantastic. Jennifer Lawrence once again shows us why she is the best actress of our generation. Catching Fire is better than the first film in every way imaginable and is one of the best movies of the year. Check it out.
12 Years A Slave is without a doubt one of the best movies to come out so far this year. Though it is not an easy movie to sit through, it is also an extremely important movie that I think everyone should experience for themselves. There are some shockingly brutal and heart wrenching scenes here. Though the direction and cinematography occasionally fall somewhat flat, the film is exceptionally well written. The absolute best thing in the movie is the stellar cast. Chiwetel Ejiofor is definitely one of the greatest actors of all time and he gives his all here. There is alos an excellent and varied supporting cast, Michael Fassbender standing out as a ruthless slave owner. Overall, 12 Years A Slave is a remarkable movie and is a definite must see.
Thor: The Dark World, the follow up to 2011’s Thor is incredible. The cinematography is gorgeous and the special effects are absolutely incredibly. The action scenes are also fantastic and breathlessly exciting. It also has an amazing script that is dark and complex while also being effortlessly funny. The performances are also top notch all around, Tom Hiddleston as Loki once again being the stand out. Chris Hemsworth is still great as Thor and Natalie Portman is having a lot of fun with her role as Jane, Thor’s love interest. Overall this movie is a lot of fun and I would definitely recommend it.