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2016: The Year in Reviews (March)

End of the year, time to recap. Every January, I go over everything that’s schedule to come out, and a bunch more stuff that isn’t yet scheduled. Based on what I know at that time, I guess my eventual ratings for them.

So what ends up happening is, I watch everything over the course of the year, writing up reviews articles every four months, recapping and rating all the films I saw during that period. Then, in December, I post these articles, which contain both the initial guess and the actual rating, along with a final rating, which is based on how I feel about the film having had time to sit and digest it for a period of time.

I do it to see how accurately I can guess ratings for movies a year in advance, but really it serves as a way to give a complete picture of my feelings about each movie I see.

Today we’re recapping March:

Here’s how my ratings system works:

* * * * * (5 stars) — I really loved the film. Five stars essentially guarantees the film a spot in the top ten. I’ve never had a five star film not make the top ten. (2015 examples: Inside Out, Mad Max: Fury Road, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Steve Jobs.)

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars) — I loved the film, but not unconditionally. Four and a half stars means a likely top ten appearance, and for sure a top twenty spot. Rarely does a four and a half star film fall below top 15. (2015 examples: Anomalisa, Brooklyn, The Revenant, Sicario, Son of Saul.)

* * * * (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, but typically a four star film is one of those that I’ve solidly liked and will openly say is a great movie. Three and a half, I’ll say that I really enjoyed it. But four stars is where I’ll say that it’s really good. Four star movies are either in my 11-20 or tier two. It’s also not unheard of that a 4 star movie makes the top ten, especially after a year or two. (2015 examples: Beasts of No Nation, Bone Tomahawk, Crimson Peak, Dope, Grandma, The Walk.)

* * * 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, “That was 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 versatile ranking. Three and a half star films never make it above tier two (though not many will end up there), and most of them are tier three or four. (2015 examples: Cop Car, The Danish Girl, It Follows, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Mississippi Grind, Spy, Tangerine.)

* * * (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. (Though I still might hate it. That’s a completely different discussion.) 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. (2015 examples: 45 Years, By the Sea, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, San Andreas, Southpaw, Trainwreck.)

* * 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. 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. (2015 examples: The Age of Adaline, I Smile Back, Minions, Paper Towns, Pixels, While We’re Young.)

* * (2 stars) — Two starts means that I just did not like the film. For the most part it’s competently made (though not always), but it’s either part of a genre that I don’t like (horror movie, shitty thriller, Nicholas Sparks), I was utterly bored by it, or it’s one of those movies that really annoyed the shit out of me. Decent chance it could be Unforgivable. (2015 examples: The Boy Next Door, Fifty Shades of Grey, Hot Pursuit, Seventh Son, The Visit.)

* 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 films. 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. (2015 examples: Superfast, Vacation.)

* (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 sequel or being something that’s too easy to make Unforgivable (like a Friedberg and Seltzer movie. One we knew were gonna be a piece of shit going in). But in any case — they’re really awful movies that shouldn’t exist. (2015 examples: none.)

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. (2015 examples of 0 star films: none, thankfully.)

March

Knight of Cups

What I said about it back in January:

“Terrence Malick. He’s earned 3.5 stars, even though To the Wonder wasn’t great.”

“The cast doesn’t matter. This has been almost coming out for two years now. Based purely on Malick, you have to give him a blanket rating and let the film decide where it’s gonna land.”

What I thought about it:

“Terrence Malick has crossed that point to where it feels like his style is actually hindering him from telling a story rather than enhancing it.”

“I’m starting to tire of Terrence Malick’s whole style. He needs to find a story with a plot, that his style can actually help. Rather than having famous people look into the distance in beautiful locations and then cut to shots of nature, all while abstract voiceover plays.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s fine, but Terrence Malick’s “thing” is starting to get real tiring. He may have peaked with Tree of Life.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

London Has Fallen

What I said about it back in January:

“Gerard Butler gets to stab more people in the face.”

“I honestly don’t even need a synopsis or anything for this. 3 stars. It’s mindless action. We know what we’re getting here.”

What I thought about it:

“Utterly ridiculous and more of the same as last time.”

“Here’s what’ll tell you everything you need to know: the President has been captured by terrorists and taken back to their hideout. Gerard Butler follows them and is waiting outside. He relays the location to the government, who uses a satellite to scout the place for him. He says he’s going in. They tell him there must be ‘a hundred terrorists in there’. His response? ‘Well, they should have brought more.’

“Then he goes inside, proceeds to kill everyone, and at one point, is walking, unarmed toward the main villain, who runs at him with a machete. What does he do? Punches the dude in the face. Doesn’t try to dodge the machete, just punches him in the face. That’s this movie.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

They really should have brought more.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Zootopia

What I said about it back in January:

“The trailer was funny, but that’s because the scene they put in it was funny. Will the movie end up being that good? Hard to say.”

“But, it’s Disney, and I’ll give Disney the benefit of the doubt for two reasons. One, they have two movies coming out this year, so they had to put it this early. And two — they’ve been on a relative roll lately. Even though I didn’t like Big Hero 6, that was a solid effort in terms of pure entertainment.”

“I have to go 3.5 stars here, despite my gut telling me to go 3.”

What I thought about it:

“I saw this a few weeks before it came out. It was fine. I enjoyed it, it was exactly what I expected to get. And then it came out and got some insanely good ratings and people were calling it the best animated movie of the past 20 years. Calm down. It’s not that good.”

“It’s fine. It’s an entertaining movie.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I liked this, but I didn’t love it. I hate people who say this makes big statements about racism, because it doesn’t. The third act also completely falls apart for me. But on its own, simply as an animated movie, it’s pretty charming. And it’s about average in terms of all-time Disney movies. I’m happy with this.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

What I said about it back in January:

“Not a very good title, if you have to explain it.”

“A war comedy being dumped in March isn’t exactly filling me with optimism.”

“Trailer doesn’t look overly promising.”

3 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“It was actually better than expected.”

“The uneven tone is to be expected, but for the most part it works. I was engaged by it all, and it had enough comedy, complexity and seriousness to keep me invested in the whole thing.”

“It’s not a perfect movie, but it was more enjoyable to me than most things I see.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Maybe it’s because I saw it on a plane that accounts for that extra half star. But either way. I did enjoy this and I tend to like movies like this that are somewhat sprawling, and midway through comedy, drama and war or some other genre. It’ll be forgotten pretty soon, but this will be one of those movies over the next three years you randomly put on when it’s on cable and you go, “That wasn’t so bad.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

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

The Wave

What I said about it back in January:

“This was submitted for Foreign Language Film, but didn’t get anywhere. I saw the trailer and immediately said ‘I have to see this.’ I have it, so I’ll see it pretty soon. And I’m very excited for it.”

3.5 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“I liked it. Gotta respect a good disaster movie.”

“The set up wasn’t as boring as most of these disaster set ups. And the disaster scene worked. It was just the right amount based on the situation.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It worked. Small scale disaster movie. It manages to work on a budget. Good film.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Trapped

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Documentary I heard about and wanted to see because of the subject matter.

What I thought about it:

“It’s worth seeing. I can’t say this is the best documentary I’ve ever seen, but the subject is important.”

“I feel like people should be required to see how fucked up the state of the country is, between this, gun laws, and the celebrity/cell phone culture at large.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I’m terrified at what the reality of the situation depicted in this film is going to be starting in January.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Me Him Her

What I said about it back in January:

“No idea what it’s about, only that Max Landis wrote it.”

“The key with him is to keep expectations down.”

2.5 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“It’s a movie about a dude with no direction in his life who comes out to LA to help his friend navigate coming out of the closet on the eve of him being the biggest star on TV. Though everyone seems to know the guy is gay already. Thus negating any need for the plot.”

“But it’s cool, because Max Landis thinks he’s making the greatest movie in the history of cinema, and wants you to know that he knows it.”

“It’s sitcom level of how one-dimensional the characters are and how over the top the whole thing is. Chances are you have no idea what this movie is and will never see it, so I won’t waste any more time talking about how not great this was.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

This comes off so badly. It comes off like the thing you write in high school when you think it’s the greatest and smartest thing ever written. Except somebody made this.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Brothers Grimsby

What I said about it back in January:

“I think I’m gonna go 3 stars here, since even The Dictator, which was borderline incoherent, managed to go 3 for me.”

What I thought about it:

“It’s stupid, it’s pointless, but it’s watchable.”

“There’s a good story underneath it, but it’s loaded with stereotypes that aren’t interesting and are one-note, and it too often veers into the completely stupid moments that kill all of Sacha Baron Cohen’s movies.”

“It’s 2016, is a scene of a dude having to suck poison out of another dude’s testicle still funny? Not to mention the elephant scene. Which says all you need to know about it.”

“There’s a movie here, but I don’t think they quite get to it. But otherwise it’s watchable, so I’ll give it a pass.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I do think there was something here that they ignored in favor of elephant semen.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

10 Cloverfield Lane

What I said about it back in January:

“I hope this is one of those movies where you think he’s lying but he’s actually not. Though clearly, Stockholm Syndrome.”

“I’m sure it’ll end up being 2.5, but I’m going 3 stars. I typically like Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s choices.”

What I thought about it:

“I openly hated Cloverfield. I don’t think that’s a secret… That said — this was a different beast entirely.”

“90% of this movie is a thriller contained in a bunker below ground, and 10% of this movie is an actual Cloverfield sequel (or whatever they’re calling it). So 90% of this movie was awesome.”

“It doesn’t diminish the movie for me, despite not being ideal for what I’d have liked. But it’s fine.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

The interesting thing about this is that it took them into February before they revealed that it’s a Cloverfield movie. Which I guess is good, because if I knew it was Cloverfield… no, I’d probably have kept the 3 because the setup sounded interesting. But still. This was way better than I’d ever think I’d get out of a Cloverfield movie.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

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

The Young Messiah

What I said about it back in January:

“I was originally going to ignore this, but Anne Rice wrote the book this is based on. And Sean Bean is in it. So this actually seems legitimate and not one of those bullshit religious movies they throw out there that I ignore like the nature documentaries.”

2.5 stars.”

“Don’t think I’m gonna give a shit, but I will probably see it.”

What I thought about it:

“It’s not a bad movie, I just didn’t care. I don’t care about any of these movies. The less said, the better.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Next.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Lolo

What I said about it back in January:

“Julie Delpy wrote and directed. So 3 stars. I like her stuff, but a lot of it can teeter toward the pretentious.”

What I thought about it:

“I typically enjoy Delpy’s movies.”

“It’s enjoyable enough. I always appreciate these films, even though I definitely think the ‘2 Days’ movies were better films.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I’m okay with this. Didn’t love it. It was fine.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

My Golden Days

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Heard it was very good and saw it win a couple of Cesar Awards, then I was able to get it. And once I get it, it’s gonna get seen.

What I thought about it:

“This film was wonderful. It starts off messing with tones, going from a sort of straightforward ‘childhood reminiscence’ film to a spy thriller for a while, and then it settles into a really great romance, with a devastating third act.”

“I really liked this quite a bit, and I imagine most people did/will, as it did very well at the Cesar Awards, and won Best Director.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

This was very affecting. I’ve sort of forgotten it in the past seven months, but I did really like it when I saw it.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

The Program

What I said about it back in January:

“It’s the Lance Armstrong movie. Which didn’t get put out last year in the states, which means they don’t have a lot of faith in it being an Oscar contender.”

“I have faith that I can get 3.5 stars out of this still.”

What I actually thought about it:

“It’s solid. Not great. But solid.”

“Lance comes off a bit too much like a douchebag, but I get it. Could have been better, but I’m okay with what we got.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s probably only a 3 star movie, but I can’t in good conscience reduce the rating without having seen it in actually 11 months. It was okay.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Remember

What I said about it back in January:

“Could be all right.”

3 stars.”

“Worried that this could veer into road trip cliches. But what the hell.”

What I thought about it:

“LOVED this movie. Wow. Did not expect it to be this good.”

“Here’s the premise: Christopher Plummer is in an old folks home. He has dementia. His wife died. He’s forgotten. Every time he wakes up he forgets what’s going on. His friend, Martin Landau, reminds him. He says, ‘Remember what we talked about you doing after your wife died?’ And he reminds him. They were both in Auschwitz. One of the sadistic guards there escaped to the U.S. and has been living under an assumed name. Plummer agreed to go kill the guy, but only after his wife died. There are four potential suspects, all with the same name. Landau gives him all the info he needs, has it all taken care of (hotel rooms, train tickets), and sends him on his way. And every little twist in turn is practically Hitchcockian.”

“It’s really good. I won’t give anything away, because the film changes gears every step of the way, but it’s great. This is something I recommend very highly.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I like this movie even more now. This was fucking great, and I’ve been recommending it to people all year. Definitely still one of my favorite movies of 2016.

* * * * (4 stars)

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

Krisha

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Found out about it when I was looking up A24, as I’ve been so impressed by their choices of films for distribution that I wanted to see pretty much everything they pick up (which by happenstance, I pretty much already have). This was one of three that I hadn’t seen. Had to rectify that.

What I thought about it:

“I liked it. Well-made, great lead performance, and the style made it seem more than just another generic indie.”

“It showed a cliched event in a new way, and for that, I’m grateful.”

“I’m not the kind of person who loves movies like this, so don’t expect it on my year-end best-of list, but I did really respect what they did here.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s definitely got a unique energy to it. I didn’t love it, but I do like what they did here.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Creative Control

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Saw it mostly for work.

What I thought about it:

“This movie looks absolutely beautiful. That said, I couldn’t tell you what the story is if I tried.”

“The director has a great eye for setting up a frame and creating a composition. It’s very well made. But again, no fucking clue what this movie is about or what was going on.”

“Plus it’s so hipster bait. Mostly I just wanted to look at the shots. Which sometimes is enough.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I’d rather watch this on mute and just look at the images.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Hello, My Name is Doris

What I said about it back in January:

3 stars. I’m sure this will be one of those movies they push for a Best Actress nomination next year, even though no one will actually see the movie.”

What I thought about it:

“It’s charming. Not great, but does enough to win you over.”

“It’s broad comedy for middle-aged people. A lot of the comedy is about an older person not understanding youth culture.”

“It’s more winning than The Intern last year because here the protagonist is so adorable you want to root for her.”

“The script doesn’t do her any favors, but she elevates the material. That’s what good casting can do. This is Sally Field’s movie, through and through, and it only works because of what she brings to it.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s a decent movie that Sally Field keeps afloat with her performance.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Eye in the Sky

What I said about it back in January:

“This seems more like a talky thriller than an action thriller. So for that, I won’t go full downgrade and will give them the benefit of the doubt.”

* * * (3 stars)

What I thought about it:

“Really liked this. My only complaint is that I wish it had more weight to it and more tension.”

“It felt a bit too much like a modern day military procedural, and not enough like a 60s thriller. That’s what this really needed to be in order to be great. More emphasis on the decision making.”

“I really would have loved a more complex version of this. But as it stands, this is wonderfully taut and holds a lot of tension for its run time, and it’s a smart, engaging adult drama, and there simply aren’t enough of those nowadays.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Really enjoyed this. It’s straddling the line between 3.5 and 4 stars, but I think we need more movies like this, and I did see it on a plane, so we’ll stick with 4. This was really engrossing.

* * * * (4 stars)

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

Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing? Really? Could have sworn I’d been tracking this. Maybe I just missed it? They announced the date right after I put these up? No idea how that could have happened.

What I thought about it:

“Pee-wee is so great. I am down for anything Pee-wee they want to do.”

“This feels a bit lumbering, and doesn’t always work, but it’s so charming that I don’t care.”

“It needed a stronger hand in the writing and a director like Tim Burton to go nuts with it like in Big Adventure. This… gets some of the way there, and is a charming little movie that is unassuming and hard to dislike.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s not a great movie. But I enjoyed it. So I don’t care. Pee-wee is the best.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Allegiant

What I said about it back in January:

“Oh good, another Divergent movie for me to not give a shit about.”

2.5 stars.”

“And they’re really making me watch another one after this? Fuck.”

What I thought about it:

“I stopped caring halfway through the first movie. It hasn’t gotten any better from there.”

“I really don’t give a shit about anything that happens in this franchise. And it doesn’t matter if I ever do. This author is laughing all the way to the bank. One more mediocre movie I half-sleep through and we’re done.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

That first sentence up there about covers it.

Though that last one might not be the case anymore. Which would be incredible, if they just stopped making these movies on account of apathy. Has that ever happened before? Did they ever stop a franchise right before the end like that?

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Miracles from Heaven

What I said about it back in January:

“‘From the producers of Heaven Is For Real,’ they said, as though it were a boast.”

“Starring Jennifer Garner! Oh boy! That’s always the sign of a good movie.”

“Do I smell another Unforgivable?”

“Yeah, no faith in this to be watchable at all. I mean, did you see the trailer?”

1.5 stars.”

“I’m being nice.”

What I thought about it:

“Remember Heaven Is For Real? Yeah…”

“Fortunately this is that, just they save the stupid religious shit for the very end.”

“Only really at the very, very end do we get the miracle reveal. So I won’t give this a giant “fuck you” but I will say I did not care for this at all. It will actually not lose points because they waited so long to get to the really stupid shit.”

* * (2 stars)

Final Thoughts:

This was pretty bad, but at least they did save the really stupid shit for the very end.

* * (2 stars)

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

The Preppie Connection

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. I guess I thought it wasn’t something I’d think about seeing. But then I did. There’s always a good five of these every year this happens with.

What I thought about it:

“Not bad. Vaguely interesting subject that doesn’t really go anywhere. Don’t care about rich private school kids or drugs or any of that. So it was fine. But otherwise, not something I particularly loved.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Decent. But already forgotten.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

The Confirmation

What I said about it back in January:

3.5 stars. I like this kind of movie.”

What I thought about it:

“What a small, lovely film.”

“It’s literally about a guy looking for his tools.”

“It’s a nice father-son story. The ultimate rewards on a film like this aren’t particularly high, but they’re solid, especially since you had (and likely have) no idea what this movie even is.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

This really should be seen by people. It’s a low-key delight. It’s Nebraska without all the prestige built in. Very understated and worth watching.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Bronze

What I said about it back in January:

“I’ve been excited for this for a year now. I can’t wait to see this.”

“I don’t remember what I guessed for it last year. Right now, I almost want to go 4, but I think I have to stick with 3.5 stars. I don’t want to get my hopes too high. But I also really want this to be good.”

What I thought about it:

“The idea of this sounded great. The trailer, not great. The reviews, less so. But I held out hope.”

“The film — about what I expected.”

“It’s fun, but bit too light on substance a bit too heavy on the raunch for no reason except to be raunchy.”

“I enjoyed it more than not, and there’s enough here to say that, while it wasn’t the great comedy hit I wanted, it was a solid movie that I was expecting. I’m okay with that.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Very uneven, but I did enjoy it. So I don’t feel bad sticking with the 3.5.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Midnight Special

What I said about it back in January:

“The trailer looks really solid, so I’m gonna stick with 4 stars. I won’t be disappointed with 3.5, but I think this can hit 4.”

“I think this is gonna be really solid and that they pushed it to find an audience and not for quality reasons.”

What I thought about it:

“This is Close Encounters for this generation. But directed by Jeff Nichols.”

“It feels like a Jef Nichols movie put through the lens of sci fi movies from the 70s and 80s that meant something.”

“People had problems with the third act. I don’t. I have a slight issue with the final shot, but at this point, I’m completely willing to ignore final shots to movies because I’m aware that’s just the age we live in (looking at you, Nolan). This is just apparently how we end movies now.”

“This movie is absolutely wonderful, and I deliberately went to see this the weekend Batman v. Superman came out instead of that.”

“We needed a movie that had size and scope and was a genre film that had real emotion and didn’t resort to all the same crap every other movie of its kind would resort to.”

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

This is still one of my favorite movies of the year, nine months later. I need to see it again, but I really, really liked this and there’s a chance that this might be my favorite Jeff Nichols movie this year, even though Loving is also very good and getting more notice.

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

What I said about it back in January:

“Yeah…”

“I saw that trailer.”

“I had no faith in this to be good the minute Zack Snyder was directing.”

“I have no faith in this to be good now that I’ve seen that trailer.”

“I have no faith in this to be good now that I know what the full plot is.”

3 stars.”

“Has to prove it can be more than that. Man of Steel didn’t. It looks like they’re throwing too much into this movie for it to be even remotely coherent.”

“We’ll see.”

What I thought about it:

“Oh boy. Not sure where to begin here. The simple version is: perfectly entertaining enough to be okay, but also a HUGE piece of shit. My god.”

“But we’ll wait. I need to see this again to truly type up my feelings on this one. The reviews aren’t wrong. But I think most people already know that.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I even watched the extended cut, to see if it got any better. It didn’t.

This is just a giant mess from start to finish. How do you do what’s wrong with this movie justice in this little space?

But hey, at least I got the rating right.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Too Late

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“If there’s one thing I’ll always respect, it’s an audacious style exercise.”

“Here’s a noir told in five parts, all single-take twenty-minute segments. Lot of camera movement, zooms, etc. Hyper stylized dialogue, sometimes veering into ‘all right, we get it. We like movies too / clearly this was someone’s first script’ territory. But that all comes with the package.”

“I’d rather a flawed movie where they tried to do something interesting rather than a pretty good movie that’s basically by the numbers and offers little of real interest.”

“This is a nice little gem. Not a polished gem, but still a gem nonetheless. Big fan of this movie.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I really would rather something that tries to be different and fails than something that does the same thing as everyone else and succeeds at being average.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Get a Job

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. I stopped tracking it in December and left a blanket review of 3 stars for it in case it ever came out.

What I thought about it:

“This was on the shelf for like five years. They said it would never get released. And now that it has — I’m not sure which would have been the better idea.”

“Being released now, all that could have happened was that people wouldn’t see it and critics would eviscerate it. Which is what happened.”

“The premise is timely, the execution is not. But the cast is really solid, which is a problem, because now people are gonna seek it out and watch a movie that’s not that great overall.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Shit happens.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

What I said about it back in January:

“I still haven’t really seen the first one.”

“Based on that alone, 2.5 stars.”

“The director makes bland movies. The first one I’m sure is just okay. So I’ll assuming I really won’t care at all about this.”

What I thought about it:

“I don’t remember if I’ve even watched the entire first movie.”

“This — fair”.

“I was worried that the humor would be… kind of what it was. The kind that appeals to middle-aged parents and older people. That out of touch with the youth comedy. And that’s what it was. But the kookiness of the family is endearing enough for me to feel indifferent about the whole thing.”

“It’s harmless, it’s fine, but it’s to over the top and sitcom-my to really be any good.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s fine, it’s harmless. Just let it be and move on.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Born to Be Blue

What I said about it back in January:

“The director has made nothing I’ve heard of before. Ethan Hawke stars. I like him, but he can get a tad pretentious sometimes.”

“But it’s a jazz movie. Those are usually good. So I’ll say 3 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“I have this weird block where, instead of seeing Ethan Hawke putting on a great performance, I see Ethan Hawke being Ethan Hawke. It detracts me from the movies.”

“But yeah, this was fine. Liked the Miles Davis movie better, but this one was all right.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It was fair, but I still have that Ethan Hawke thing, and it’s distracting.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

I Saw the Light

What I said about it back in January:

“They pushed this out of Oscar season. Which can’t be a good sign.”

“The question is whether to go 3 or 3.5. Let’s go 3.5 stars and see if this is really disappointing or is just not the kind of movie that should have gotten an Oscar push.”

What I thought about it:

“I can see why they pushed it. It’s just okay.”

“Nothing makes it stand out. Capable, but not memorable.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I like how I lead my ratings. I knew this would only be 3 and a disappointment, but I had to make the point. Because simply guessing right wouldn’t have pointed out how disappointing this was, after something was groomed to be an Oscar contender. Sometimes you take the L to have a teachable moment.

* * * (3 stars)

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

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is April.

http://bplusmovieblog.com

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