2014: The Year in Reviews (October)

Every January, I go over almost the films that are scheduled to come out that year. I use Wikipedia’s year in film article as it exists at the time, and preview all the films. I use it to familiarize myself with what’s coming out, and, most importantly, use it to guess what I’m going to think about all of the movies. I like to guess ratings for all the films because, at this point, I know myself pretty well, and I selfishly like to see how close I can get up to twelve months out. Plus, it allows me to see which films at the end of the year surprised me, for better or worse. But mostly, it’s so I know what’s coming out. Sometimes I just want to know what to be excited for.

Aside from the films scheduled, I also go over films that have been finished (or are shooting), that, in all likelihood, will probably come out over the course of the year. I’ve gotten much more thorough about this since starting the blog. 2011 had 30 such films. 2012 had 90. Last year, I had 209, plus an extra 27 held over from the year before. At this point, there’s not much that I miss.

How these articles work: I recap what I said about the films in January, write up my review of the films based on the initial watch (which have been posted in three separate reviews articles from April, August, and… yesterday), and then I give my final thoughts on the film, after having had time to think about it some more, and finalize my ranking. Typically, the Final Thoughts space is for me to go, “Originally I gave it 3.5 stars, but now, it’s more like 3.”

We’ll start with January, and go month by month through December. After that, I’ll recap the films I tracked in January that didn’t come out (and ultimately decide which ones I’ll keep tracking next year). And at the end of it all, I’ll analyze all the numbers to see how accurate I was in guessing back in January. Mostly it’s to put all the ratings in one place. And of course, after that, we’ll end the year with the Unforgivables list and my Top Ten list. But that’s all not for another two weeks. Right now, we’re recapping October:

One thing I do in all these recap articles is explain how my rankings work.

* * * * * (5 stars) — I really loved the film. Five stars essentially guarantees the film a spot in the top ten or top twenty (Though usually top ten). (2013 examples of 5 star movies: Gravity, Frozen, The Wind Rises.)

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars) — I loved the film, but not unconditionally. Four and a half stars is usually the ranking for films in the top ten and top twenty. Rarely does a four and a half star film fall to tier two, but that’s all dependent on how many there are. (2013 examples of 4.5 star films: About Time, Inside Llewyn Davis, Prisoners, 12 Years a Slave.)

* * * * (4 stars) — I liked the film quite a bit, but it’s not one of those that I would automatically say is a top ten film. It could end up being one when all is said and done, but typically a four star film is one of those that I’ve solidly liked, and will openly say is a really good movie. Three and a half, I’ll say that I really enjoyed it. But four stars is where I’ll say that it’s a really good movie. Four star movies generally are top twenty and tier two. They don’t usually make the top ten, but it’s not unheard of. (2013 examples of 4 star films: Dallas Buyers Club, Escape from Tomorrow, The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, Pacific Rim, This Is the End.)

* * * ½ (3.5 stars) — The film stood out to me as being particularly solid. I always differentiate three and a half from three by saying that three stars is for a film that I just enjoyed enough to give it the thumbs up. Three and a half is when I go, “Wow, that was actually really solid and I enjoyed it quite a bit.” It’s not alway a mark of “this was better than I expected” or, “It’s better than you think.” Sometimes it’s just, “That was really solid,” or, “That was awesome,” even though the film itself wasn’t particularly a masterpiece. It’s a very variable ranking. It could mean a lot of things. Usually it’s for something I enjoyed, but didn’t love enough to put it near the very top of my year-end list. Three and a half star films never make it above tier two, and most of them are tier three. You’ll see only a few populating tier two, but mostly they’re tier three. (2013 examples of 3.5 star films: Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, The Best Offer, Frances Ha, Now You See Me, Pain and Gain, Upstream Color.)

* * * (3 stars) — Three stars is for films that were pretty good. Usually for a three star movie, I’ll say, “I enjoyed it well enough.” Or, probably the most common phrase I use is, “You can get through it.” But without qualification. For a two and a half star film, I’ll say, “You can get through it, but…” Three stars don’t have the qualification. Mostly three stars is for a film I enjoyed enough to say it wasn’t bad. I found it watchable enough that I wasn’t completely indifferent toward it. If I give a film that seems like it should have a higher rating three stars, then it means I didn’t enjoy it as much as everyone else. And if there’s something you’d think was a piece of shit at three stars, it means I thought it wasn’t actually that bad. But most of the time, three stars just means, “Yeah, it was okay. I enjoyed it well enough.” They’re just entertaining enough for me to not be indifferent. (2013 examples of 3 star films: Beautiful Creatures, The Call, The Lone Ranger, Spring Breakers, To the Wonder, 21 & Over.)

* * ½ (2.5 stars) — Two and a half stars is my ultimate indifference ranking. I didn’t necessarily think it was a bad film, I just didn’t give a shit about it whatsoever. I thought it was utterly generic. Nothing to make me like it, and it wasn’t bad enough to make me dislike it. It wasn’t memorable to me in any way. Odds are, if a “classy” movie is here, it means it was particularly disappointing, and if something that seemed like an Unforgivable is here, it means it actually wasn’t the piece of shit we were all thinking and was actually just about passable. It’s also my way of saying, “You might have liked this, but I certainly didn’t.” And also my way of saying, “This wasn’t very good, but at least it was competently made.” But for the most part, two and a half stars means I just didn’t care whatsoever and will not remember much about the movie in two years. They may also be Unforgivable, depending on my reasons. (2013 examples of 2.5 star films: After Earth, The Butler, Gangster Squad, A Good Day to Die Hard, Jobs.)

* * (2 stars) — Two starts means that the film was mostly competent and all, but I just didn’t like it. Either it wasn’t for me, it was a genre that I don’t like (horror movie), I just found it boring, or it was one of those generic shitty genre movies that populate the early months. Or it was just a giant piece of shit that at least looked like a good movie. So two stars is for — “They tried… it just wasn’t very good.” Depending on how bad they are, they do have a shot at the Unforgivables list. (2013 examples of 2 star films: The Big Wedding, A Haunted House, The Internship, Lovelace, Safe Haven.)

* ½ (1.5 stars) — One and a half usually means the film was terrible, but it’s not a surefire Unforgivable. Probably because it’s a shitty thriller, a shitty horror movie, or a horrible sequel in a franchise that has churned out nothing but horrible sequels. Or it’s for films that could have gone two stars, but I just have a particular dislike for them. These have a pretty good shot at the Unforgivables list, and should for sure make my bottom 25 list. (2013 examples of 1.5 star films: Battle of the Year, The Heat, Identity Thief, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, We’re the Millers.)

* (1 star) — I really didn’t like the movie. It was so bad it was almost unwatchable. Typically a one star film is certain to be Unforgivable. Sometimes one star movies get saved by virtue of being a certain kind of sequel (like Big Mommas House: Like Father, Like Son) or being something that’s too easy to make Unforgivable (like Marmaduke, or a Friedberg and Seltzer movie. Movies we knew were gonna be pieces of shit going in), but in any case — they’re really awful movies that shouldn’t exist. (2013 examples of 1 star films: Ass Backwards, The Canyons, Inappropriate Comedy, So Undercover.)

0 stars — It means I hated the film. Guaranteed Unforgivable. It’s a film that should never have been made, and has actually lowered the bar for cinema as an art form and has actually detracted from a culture that’s in the toilet to begin with. A film with no redeeming qualities whatsoever and one that physically made me angry while watching it. (2013 examples of 0 star films: Grown Ups 2, The Starving Games.) All right, now let’s get recapping: We’re gonna start, as we always do, with a combination of 2013 films that I didn’t get to see in time for last year’s articles (or are clearly 2013 films that weren’t released until this year or are ones I just didn’t know about until this year).

October

Men, Women and Children

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Because I couldn’t imagine it would be ready in time.

There’s always one major film by a director I don’t think will happen and does.

Last year was American Hustle.

What I actually thought about it:

Remember what Crash was for racism? Well, this is Crash, but for social networking. The difference is, this is based on a book. So at least I can blame some of the contrivances on source material and not on the writer/director. Some. This hits a lot of your social networking tropes. Not all of them are interesting. It’s watchable. I was engaged for most of it. Mostly the performances. And I appreciate the ambition of this. I won’t downgrade him for trying. This just — didn’t get there for me. It’s weird how far Jason Reitman has fallen. Not in terms of quality, necessarily. I mean, sure, I didn’t like his last two films as much as his first three, or even four, but think about it — how much did he have going for him after Up in the Air? And now, everyone has just turned on him. Young Adult,turned everyone off. Mostly because it was a giant fuck you to the viewer. Which I loved. And then Labor Day, no one saw, or gave a shit about. And this, people just went savage on this. And it was pulled from theaters in like, three weeks, and made less than a million dollars. That’s crazy. It’s not a bad film. It just — it really is the Crash of social networking. It wants to say something, but doesn’t really get there. At least the characters don’t veer into complete caricature territory. There’s something to be said about that. Plus, we get Adam Sandler doing dramatic. That’s nice. And some of those kid actors are actually really good. Overall, I think you could do worse. I think this ranks about the same as Labor Day. It’s solid, but in terms of the person making it, it’s a disappointment.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

A disappointment in terms of Reitman, but I liked it. I’m aware of flaws, but I don’t downgrade because of unreached ambition. He aimed high and didn’t get there. I’m not gonna tear into it like everyone else because of that.

But this also kind of is the Crash of social networking.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Annabelle

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. I guess I was hoping it wouldn’t come out.

Not that the result would have been any different.

What I actually thought about it:

Didn’t see it. I hated The Conjuring. Was never going to see this.

Tyler Perry movies and horror movies. Almost automatic skips every time.

Especially now that all horror movies get franchised.

How close was I?: N/A

Gone Girl

What I said about it back in January:

“It’s David Fincher.”

“That alone means blanket 4 stars.”

“I’m not even gonna waste time talking about it. He’s good for 4 every time. So bring it on.”

What I actually thought about it:

“It’s funny that I’m calling this one of Fincher’s worst, since one of Fincher’s worst is better than most people’s best.”

“It’s a fucking terrific movie. And wickedly funny. I wasn’t expecting it to be so funny. And it’s really well-made and I loved watching it.”

“One thing I really liked about this movie is how it doesn’t turn out the way you think it’s gonna turn out.”

“Big fan of this movie. Can’t wait to watch it again.”

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I did really like this. Curious to see where it ends up next week. I don’t need to throw praise at this one now. We know it’s good.

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star. But not wrong.

Left Behind

What I said about it back in January:

“Starring Nicolas Cage.”

“That’s all you need.”

3 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Look… I love Cage… but this is ridiculous.”

“This isn’t a Cage movie. Which is why it never hit 3.”

“Cage is a glorified cameo in this. It must have been great for him. I bet he had no idea what was happening. He just sat in a cockpit and collected a paycheck for two weeks’ work, max.”

“The only reason this doesn’t hit 3 is because it’s not about Cage and because he doesn’t get to go crazy. Also, it’s about the fucking Rapture.”

“It’s a remake of a KIRK CAMERON movie. If this didn’t star Cage, you’d have never even heard of this or known it existed. Which might have been a better way to be.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

This was terrible.

I need more Cage.

Cage is my cowbell.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star. Not even Cage could save this.

The Good Lie

What I said about it back in January:

“Starring Reese Witherspoon.”

“Ugh.”

2.5 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“It’s an admirably-made movie, I just didn’t care.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Didn’t care. That’s just the reality.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Stretch

What I said about it back in January:

“Joe Carnahan’s new movie. He’s always a solid director.”

“I’m gonna go 3 stars. I feel like 2.5 is a distinct possibility, but let’s trust Joe Carnahan. I really have no idea what I’m getting here, so let’s trust a director who has done well more times than not. He’s always good for a 3 star movie.”

What I actually thought about it:

“The throwback 90s movie. Joe Carnahan knows how to make these.”

“Not great, but fun.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s not high art, but it’s a fun movie that I enjoy as filler over shit like Divergent.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

What I said about it back in January:

“I’ve seen one picture from this film.”

“Looks broad.”

3 stars. Really expecting 2.5, though.”

What I actually thought about it:

This was crappy. I’m being lenient when I say I was indifferent about it. I’ll leave it at that before I change my mind.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Why the hell did I say 3? What was I thinking?

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Addicted

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. I figured it wouldn’t actually be a real film.

Still barely counts. But now I’ve seen it, so it does.

What I actually thought about it:

“This was fucking terrible.”

* (1 star)

Final Thoughts:

This was one of the absolute worst movies I’ve seen this year.

Seriously bad. Like, bottom 15 bad.

* (1 star)

How close was I?: N/A

The Judge

What I said about it back in January:

“Starring Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Melissa Leo, Billy Bob Thornton, Vera Farmiga, Leighton Meester, David Krumholtz, Vincent D’Onofrio, Dax Shepard, and Grace Zabriskie.”

“Jesus.”

“Directed by the guy who made Shanghai Knights, Wedding Crashers, Fred Claus and The Change-Up.”

Jesus.”

“But apparently it’s not a comedy?”

“Or maybe it’s more serious and not going for laughs.”

“Which I can go with.”

“But honestly, I have no idea what to make of this, so I have to stick with 3 stars until I find out more.”

“And also apparently they got the King’s Speech writer to work on this in some capacity? What the hell IS this movie?”

“Scratch that. It’s 3.5 stars now. Apparently this isn’t a comedy at all.”

“So let’s bump it up a bit. Why the hell not?”

What I actually thought about it:

“You know how I feel about trial movies. So that applies.”

“Plain and simple… this needed a better filmmaker. Too long, too generic, too many bad tropes and shots. Poor music choices, poor editing. This was made to appeal to the masses, not to be as good a film as it could possibly be.”

“A better director would have trimmed the fat off of this, made it not such an obvious Oscar ploy, and gotten the most out of the story, and not just the obvious moments.”

“It’s an engaging movie, but this won’t hold up for me because of the poor filmmaking.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

This wins for one of the best taglines of the year.

But my review is accurate. It’s a one-time 3.5 for a 3 star movie. Not very great, and I won’t go back to this one often. It’s a misfire because of directing that wasn’t strong enough.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Kill the Messenger

What I said about it back in January:

“Sounds good.”

3.5 starsHave to assume quality here.”

What I actually thought about it:

Final Thoughts:

How close was I?:

Whiplash

What I said about it back in January:

I thought this would be a forgettable Sundance movie, so I skipped it. Then it won. My bad.

What I actually thought about it:

“Holy shit, was this amazing.”

“This movie made drumming dramatic. You cared about every hit of the drum. It turned it into war. It was beautiful.”

“I so want this to make my top ten. This was awesome.”

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Really excited for where this can end up in a week.

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

The Town That Dreaded Sundown

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Knew about it, but didn’t track it.

What I actually thought about it:

“Gonna be perfectly honest. Only saw this for one reason. And that’s because Addison Timlin is in it.”

“I… didn’t really care about this.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I saw it because of her and didn’t care at all. The end.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

You’re Not You

What I said about it back in January:

“Sounds baity. But I just want to see it because of the cast.”

3 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This is one of those movies that, in script form, panders for Oscar attention.”

“It’s also one of those where, based on the cast they got, and the filmmakers, you knew exactly how it was going to turn out.”

“Completely cliche and mushy. You roll your eyes at some of it.”

“Indifference is the rating, and it’s not awful, but it’s too baity to be good.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Too baity to be good.

You know what you’re getting when you see the cast and the synopsis.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star. I understand the rating, though.

Fury

What I said about it back in January:

“It’s a World War II tank movie starring Brad Pitt and directed by David Ayer.”

“I was in an hour ago.”

“You guys ever see Sahara? This is like that. But in 2014.”

“I’m so fucking in.”

4.5 stars. I’m so all in on this. You have no idea. You want my most anticipated movies of 2014? This is probably number one. Bring it the fuck on.”

What I actually thought about it:

“It’s just a badass war movie. There isn’t much more to say.”

“You’re getting exactly what you expect, and that’s exactly the kind of thing I needed.”

“Glorious war movie. More of these.”

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

More war movies.

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Best of Me

What I said about it back in January:

“So apparently this is coming out and it hasn’t even started filming yet?”

“Sure.”

“But I guess 3 stars, just in case.”

What I actually thought about it:

“It’s a Nicholas Sparks movie. It’s a piece of shit. The end. I’m not wasting any more time on this.”

* * (2 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Yup.

* * (2 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a full star.

The Book of Life

What I said about it back in January:

“An animated movie described as a Romeo and Juliet-inspired love story set during a Day of the Dead celebration.”

“What the hell is this?”

“Uhh.. 3 stars? I have no idea what to expect here.”

“This is all over the place. But the premise actually makes it sound kind of grounded. So I really don’t know what I’m getting here.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Meh.”

“I was hoping it would be hand-drawn. I don’t know why I continue to hope these things, but I do.”

“I don’t know. Just gonna leave it right here, where I leave most animated movies.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

‘Meh’ about covers it.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Dear White People

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. One of those movies that I learned about over the course of the year.

What I actually thought about it:

“Solid movie. Really entertaining, really well made. I’m a fan. good for them. Definitely should be seen.”

“Wasn’t over the moon about it to shout about how much it should be seen, but I’m definitely in this movie’s camp, and think people should see it. It’s good.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I did like this. I just didn’t love it. So I’ll leave the shouting to the people who loved it.

But it’s good, and I do recommend that you see this.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Dracula Untold

What I said about it back in January:

“All right.”

“What am I getting here?”

2.5 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“What a piece of fucking shit.”

“The moment you said, “Let’s take Dracula and make him battle,” this movie was a bad idea.”

“This was really bad. Like, almost unwatchable, bad.”

“And they’re saying this is going to lead to a reboot of the rest of the Universal Monsters? WHY?! Remember I, Frankenstein? You’re not going to do anything good to one of your biggest franchises. There’s no good that can come of this. None.”

“Oh, and by the way — this movie posits that Caligula was a fucking vampire. Fuck you.”

“Just tell the goddamn story we like, and stop trying to put action scenes in there. This might end up Unforgivable. I’m so upset that they made this movie.”

* * (2 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Well I’m not sure I can quite call them final just yet…

But this was a piece of shit.

That’s the short version.

The long version might be coming.

* * (2 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star. Apparently I thought this was gonna be a Dracula movie.

Birdman

What I said about it back in January:

“Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s new movie.”

“I’m in for this. 3.5 stars. Very excited.”

What I actually thought about it:

“My god, what a movie. Absolutely astounding, from the opening shot to the final shot.”

“And it’s shot to look like a continuous sequence, which is amazing.”

“I loved everything about this, and I hope it gets nominated for a bunch of awards, and this will assuredly be in strong consideration for the top ten this year.”

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

LOVED THIS MOVIE.

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a full star. In the best way possible.

Camp X-Ray

What I said about it back in January:

“Yup.”

2.5 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“It’s that Kristen Stewart Guantanamo movie.”

“I was dubious going in, but I’m gonna be honest — it wasn’t that bad.”

“The climax between the two of them was good.”

“And I love the fact that all the dude wants is just to read the last Harry Potter book. That’s it. That’s what this movie is about. And I can’t find a way to say anything negative about this movie when that’s the case.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

He really does just want to read Harry Potter.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Rudderless

What I said about it back in January:

“Directed by William H. Macy.”

“Sounds good.”

3 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Weird movie. The movie waits a while to tell you what’s really going on.”

“The movie is fine. I didn’t care, but it was fine. Most people won’t ever see this, but William H. Macy directed it. So there’s that.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Might actually be an interesting watch for some people. I won’t tell you to not watch it. But I didn’t care, ultimately.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

The Tale of Princess Kaguya

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Not sure why. I guess because I didn’t think it would be ready in time or something.

Or maybe because I figured it wouldn’t come out domestically this year.

What I actually thought about it:

“Boy, did I fall in love with this one.”

“I thought it was beautifully animated, and a beautifully told story.”

“This is definitely a top 25-er for the year for me.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I hope this gets nominated for Animated Feature. It was gorgeous.

* * * * (4 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Laggies

What I said about it back in January:

“Sounds interesting, and there are quality people behind it.”

3.5 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

Haven’t been able to see it yet, but I really, really want to. Of all the movies left I have to see, this is actually my most highly anticipated.

Final Thoughts:

How close was I?:

Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. These documentaries only happen during Oscar season.

What I actually thought about it:

It’s fine. Not much substance. Famous singer has Alzheimer’s. We see his career and see him on tour with the disease. That’s it. The song is pretty good and might get nominated. Otherwise, it’s just kind of there. Music makes it more interesting, but otherwise, I was indifferent about this.

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Yeah, that’s about it.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

CitizenFour

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Oscar season doc.

What I actually thought about it:

This was actually interesting to me. More so than I thought. I’ll give this a thumbs up. Definitely was a good way to show people the issue in an easy to understand way. Which is what a documentary like this should do. So good for them. This’ll be a heavy hitter in the category.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

This was solid.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Young Ones

What I said about it back in January:

“Call it 3 stars. Premise sounds good.”

What I actually thought about it:

“The premise was good, and I’ll watch Michael Shannon in most stuff based on his indie track record. But the finished product was just okay.”

“Liked the premise, the execution was decent. It’s a middle of the road movie.”

“Slight thumbs up for being more memorable than other stuff, but come year’s end, if I watch 300 movies, this will be between 100 and 150. That’s where it ranks.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Middle of the road movie. Interesting premise. So-so execution.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Ouija

What I said about it back in January:

“It’s a microbudget version of the board game.”

“If there’s any way they can do this successfully, this is the way.”

2 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“It’s a bad movie, but I can’t say I didn’t like it, simply because I just didn’t care. If I gave it any thought, I might go lower, but I really just didn’t give a shit about this at all.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

This was a piece of shit that I didn’t care about. If I gave it any more thought, I’d have hated it.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

St. Vincent

What I said about it back in January:

“Oh, this looks enjoyable.”

“Honestly, I remember hearing this was a great script, and knowing Bill Murray is involved, given his — I guess choosiness is the word — I feel like there’s something worthwhile here.”

3.5 stars. I hope this ends up somewhere in that top ten article in December.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Bill fucking Murray. That’s why you see this, that’s why you enjoy this.”

“I like that it felt like a fully realized story.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final Thoughts:

They bumped it from April to October. That’s usually a tip off. (Though if we know how the How to Read a Hollywood Release system works, that’s also a set of interchangeable months.)

I liked it. It’s not anything groundbreaking, but it’s really enjoyable. I’ll always enjoy something like this over some art movie people want to talk about.

* * * * (4 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

John Wick

What I said about it back in January:

“I’m in.”

3 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This was fucking fantastic. So much fun, from start to finish.”

“This is one of those movies that’s just badass and fun. And it makes all the right, smart choices, and doesn’t take itself too seriously and knows exactly how to be cool.”

“Definitely gonna be one of the higher ranking films of the year for me. Enjoyed the living shit out of this.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Did not see this one coming. This was a terrific movie that I juts did not expect.

Big fan of this. Hidden gem of 2014.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Low Down

What I said about it back in January:

“Sounds like it could be good.”

3 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

Haven’t been able to see it. It got quietly released and I haven’t been able to find it.

Final thoughts:

How close was I?: N/A

Stonehearst Asylum

What I said about it back in January:

“Why does this movie have this cast?”

“It’s based on Edgar Allen Poe. Still, though. That’s a cast.”

2.5 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Doesn’t hold a lot of secrets, and probably needed a stronger voice to turn it into a better movie, but it’s serviceable.”

“One of those random movies I’d have found on cable one night and went, “Meh. Was fine.” That’s what this is.”

“It’s got some good moments of tension, but for the most part, it’s just okay.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Perfectly okay.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star. Thought I’d overshoot it. Didn’t think I’d undershoot it.

Force Majeure

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Foreign language shortlister that I only see because of that.

What I actually thought about it:

Final Thoughts:

How close was I?: N/A

Before I Go to Sleep

What I said about it back in January:

Uhh… let’s check the director. Wrote 28 Days Later, The American, wrote and directed Brighton Rock, which I didn’t see.”

“So… 2.5 stars. I needed a movie I really liked to swing this higher.”

What I actually thought about it:

“It’s not a very good movie. It’s passable enough, but even then, who gives a shit?”

“It’s formulaic, and Nicole Kidman scares me now, with all the plastic surgery she’s had.”

“So I didn’t have a very good time with this one, especially since you can spot the ending a mile away. And even if you don’t, you have a 50/50 shot at it.”

“The best thing I can say about the reveal is that it’s not as “thriller-y” as you’d expect. Which is probably due to poor writing or filmmaking. Either way, pretty forgettable.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

What I said up there. 3 stars is being lenient.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

White Bird in a Blizzard

What I said about it back in January:

“Looks all right.”

3 stars.”

“I hope it goes higher. Love me some Shailene Woodley.”

What I actually thought about it:

“It was fine. My expectations in January weren’t met, but my expectations going in were met and slightly exceeded.”

“Eva Green was terrific, and it was nice to see Shailene Woodley play a more abrasive character than I’ve seen her play.”

“I think this was a solid three star movie. And I’ll take that.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Actually pretty solid. I’m glad it was solid.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Nightcrawler

What I said about it back in January:

“Uhh… 2.5 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I wanted to love this.”

“This is still a great movie. I just wasn’t totally in love with it.”

“Gyllenhaal was really solid. I like how much of a sociopath he was. They were clearly going for a modern day Taxi Driver. And, character-wise, they almost get there. In fact, they might actually get there. Since I feel like a modern day Taxi Driver wouldn’t actually commit violence, but would find a way to monetize and socially network violence. So they might actually have completely succeeded on that front.”

“I think we all know at this point that I love movies with 70s-style endings and ones where bad people get away with it, so I was all for this one.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Big fan of this one. This is a movie that will probably end up higher in my mind than wherever it ends up on my list next week. I feel like this’ll hold up for me.

* * * * (4 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a star and a half. What was I thinking?

Horns

What I said about it back in January:

Did I not? I could have sworn I was tracking this.

Oh, I see… I tracked it in 2013 and didn’t track it for this year. So there’s no official rating. Oh well.

What I actually thought about it:

“This definitely surpassed any expectations I had for it.”

“It’s a weird movie. A very weird movie. And things don’t happen the way you’d expect. It was weirdly engrossing.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I did really like this, and didn’t think anything was going to come of it going in.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is November.

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