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2016: The Year in Reviews (April)

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 April:

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.)

April

The Dark Horse

What I said about it back in January:

“I’m gonna say 3 stars, but I hope it can be 3.5. The April date doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence up front. But this kind of story could be good. Or it could be The Soloist.”

What I thought about it:

“Really strong.”

“”t’s no Searching for Bobby Fischer, but for a New Zealand film that brings no expectations, this was quite terrific.”

“Watch this for (Cliff Curtis’s) performance. He’s extraordinary.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Really liked this. Not perfect, some storylines don’t work. But Curtis is amazing, and chess movies are always interesting.

* * * * (4 stars)

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

Miles Ahead

What I said about it back in January:

“Usually not overly promising when actors do everything on passion projects.”

3 stars.”

“It’s gonna play at Sundance, so if this gets good notices there (and maybe pushed later to October), then 3.5 seems like a more appropriate guess. But the way things are sitting now, I have to go 3 and let this prove its better.”

What I thought about it:

“It was more solid than I was expecting.”

“I liked the laid back narrative, and the fact that it doesn’t really try to adhere to any structure, and I really liked the performances.”

“Definitely a confident feature debut from Cheadle.”

“Can’t say I loved it, but I did like it more than I expected to.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

The uniqueness of this is what’s making me stay positive on it. If it had a more standard structure, it would have been more like Born to Be Blue, where I ultimately forgot it pretty quickly afterward. Instead, this is something I enjoyed and think is a solid little gem, if not a particular masterpiece.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

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

Everybody Wants Some!!

What I said about it back in January:

“This is Richard Linklater’s spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused.”

“Hmm… this is tough. I guess I have to go 3.5 stars, because it’s Linklater. The trailer made me think it could be closer to 3, but sometimes you gotta trust the director.”

What I thought about it:

“I fucking loved this.”

“If you liked Dazed and Confused, you will like this.”

“Completely plotless, and any time you think a scene is gonna go somewhere, it doesn’t. And that’s what’s great about it.”

“Richard Linklater is the best.”

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I really, really loved this. I didn’t think this would hold up as one of my favorites of the year, but it’s still holding steady. Let’s see what happens in two weeks.

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

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

Kill Your Friends

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“I didn’t care. That’s pretty much the long and short of it.”

“It’s American Psycho meets Vinyl.”

“I like that it wildly didn’t give a fuck, but I too also didn’t really care about what was going on. It happens.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Really didn’t care. But this wildly did not give a fuck, so that was nice.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

April and the Extraordinary World

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Was shortlisted for Animated Feature.

What I thought about it:

“This is an old-fashioned kids novel plot.”

“It… it gets pretty weird, but it was enjoyable.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I liked it well enough.

The lizard people were weird.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

One More Time

What I said about it back in January:

“Starring Christopher Walken.”

“So, so in.”

3.5 stars. Maybe it’ll be 3. But Walken!”

“This is his Danny Collins.”

What I thought about it:

“It’s good enough. Dialogue is lively enough to not suck, not too indie, the performances are fine. Walken. I had no problems with this.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Christopher Walken will pretty much always be one of the reasons why I was okay with a movie.

* * * (3 stars)

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

The Boss

What I said about it back in January:

“Starring Melissa McCarthy.”

“Written by Melissa McCarthy and her husband, who also directs.”

“In case you weren’t sure, they also made the masterpiece known as Tammy together.”

1 star.”

“Did you see the trailer? This is practically Unforgivable NOW.”

What I thought about it:

“Why? Why are we doing this?”

“Melissa McCarthy had one breakout role, and she’s been doing that same role for five years. And every single movie has been shitty.”

“These movies are awful on so many levels, and they’re just mean. There’s nothing redeeming about the movies or the characters in them. It makes me wonder why they think people are going to enjoy them.”

* ½ (1.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

That first sentence up there about covers it.

* ½ (1.5 stars)

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

Hardcore Henry

What I said about it back in January:

“This is that POV action movie. I was in from the minute I heard about it.”

4 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“This was just fucking chaos. And I loved it.”

“Honestly, my only problem is how edited a lot of it looked. I’d have liked them to try to extend sequences to look like continuous shots.”

“Other than that, what more could you ask for? So much goddamn fun.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I loved it, but I won’t pretend like everyone else will. This was just great chaos, the likes of which I haven’t seen really since Shoot ‘Em Up.

* * * * (4 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Demolition

What I said about it back in January:

“This got bumped from the fall.”

“I have to assume a minimum of 3.5 stars. Even if this is disappointing, it’s 3 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“This felt misguided.”

“Movies about grief are supposed to resonate with people, but this felt so specific to this strange character that it was hard for me to get into it.”

“I get the metaphor, but, you know… engage me with it. Parts of this were bordering on interesting, but it never quite went there.”

“It’s a story of a rich white guy pretty much being able to do whatever he wants in order to feel something in his dull, privileged existence. There’s literally a scene where he stumbles upon a construction site and pays them $200 to help destroy a house.”

“I like the cast, but it feels like a misfire. Completely understand why they pushed this.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Think about that — a rich white guy shows up at a construction site and says, “I’ll give you $200 to let me help you knock down this wall.” How am I supposed to feel anything about this moment?

* * * (3 stars)

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

Louder Than Bombs

What I said about it back in January:

“Uhh… 3 stars? No idea.”

What I thought about it:

“I thought this was going to be more pretentious than it was. It was actually a nice little drama about people.”

“Not something most people will ever see, but considering I expected something groan-inducing, and found myself more than twice going, ‘Oh, wow, they didn’t go down that route,’ I was pleased with this.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Fair.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Mr. Right

What I said about it back in January:

“If this sounded to you exactly like the kind of movie Max Landis would write, congratulations.”

“Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell star. And for them alone, I will stick with 3 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“It works because Kendrick and Rockwell are great. Otherwise, it’s a Max Landis film.”

“It’s like American Ultra. Great premise, shoddy execution.”

“There are moments that work and moments that really don’t. But the leads are charming, so you get through it all right.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Without Sam Rockwell and Anna Kendrick… well, I would say this is straight to VOD, but this was already straight to VOD. So I guess it’s a VOD movie that no one ever sees.

Basically they’re the only good things about this, is what I’m saying.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Invitation

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“I was bored. People at a dinner party, drinking wine, and it turns into a thriller/horror movie. Not my kind of thing at all.”

“Arthouse/horror fans will like this. Didn’t do anything for me.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Yawn.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?:

Barbershop: The Next Cut

What I said about it back in January:

“I don’t even remember the first two Barbershop movies.”

“I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

“But because Nicki Minaj is in it, I say 2.5 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“These movies were never for me. They’re amusing, but I’m not the audience for this movie. So I won’t begrudge them for it at all.”

“It is what it is.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s not rocket science. I didn’t give a shit about the first two, and I didn’t give a shit about this. Sometimes it’s that easy.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Criminal

What I said about it back in January:

“This is the same director as The Iceman, which was fair. The writers made some movies in the 90s. Which means that either this is a throwback or really dated, doesn’t it?”

“Okay. Based on the cast alone, this can’t be less than 3 stars. This seems like it’ll end up like Self/less. Which is also Reynolds. Is there a high concept sci-fi movie he’ll turn down?”

What I thought about it:

“It’s fine. Generic action movie. Has its moments. The cast keeps it afloat. Otherwise not something I’m going to remember all that much.” The premise isn’t even all that great.

“Feels like a paycheck movie for all involved.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I have an idea for a high concept sci-fi body swap movie about a time traveler. Pretty sure Ryan Reynolds and Rachel McAdams have already signed on for it.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Jungle Book

What I said about it back in January:

“It’s Favreau. It’s The Jungle Book.”

“I’m saying 3.5 stars. I hope it’s 4. 3 would be somewhat disappointing. But Favreau is a good director, and he’s assembled a hell of a cast here. So I’m thinking this will be worthwhile.”

What I thought about it:

“This was awesome.”

“It’s exactly the same as all the other remakes. Like Cinderella. A retelling of the animated film, with no real changes to it.”

“Except the effects are great, and the voice acting is good too.”

“Can’t ask for much more than this.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Looked fantastic, even though there wasn’t a whole lot of substance to it. In terms of a Disney remake, you can’t ask for much better than this. Plus the whole movie was shot in a warehouse in Downtown LA. That’s too incredible to ignore.

* * * * (4 stars)

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

Colonia

What I said about it back in January:

“Seems generic.”

2.5 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“It’s well-made. Looked good, seemed well-directed and all. I just didn’t care.”

“This is ultimately one of those ratings where I just wasn’t the audience for it, which means nothing toward the ultimate quality of the film, only my reaction to it.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It was fair enough, but I really didn’t care all that much. I wish I did, because there could be a decent movie here. But it didn’t reach me.

* * * (3 stars)

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

The Trust

What I said about it back in January:

“Starring Nicolas Cage.”

“Done.”

3 stars.”

“Oh, and Jerry Lewis is in it. Which is pretty cool.”

What I thought about it:

“What the fuck was this movie? Was it a heist movie? Was it a comedy?”

“Nicolas Cage is completely off the wall in this, and I have no idea what they were going for. But any Cage I can get is fine by me.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

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

Green Room

What I said about it back in January:

“I hear this is badass. So automatically, this gets 3.5 stars.”

“Plus I hear it’s single location, which is also very promising.”

“Really excited for this one.”

What I thought about it:

“This was great. Simple, effective.”

“The real key to this movie was how grounded it was. All the violence was realistic, and punctuated. Any time a knife, or a box cutter, or a gun was used, the repercussions were graphic and had consequences.”

“A very solid second effort from Saulnier.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Patrick Stewart basically plays Professor 卍.

Thank you very much, guys, I’ll be here all week.

* * * * (4 stars)

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

I Am Wrath

What I said about it back in January:

“It’s another John Travolta genre movie!”

“He loves these. And they’re almost always 3 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“Straight to VOD, B movie John Travolta release. He’s been doing these pretty exclusively lately, and they’ve all been fine.”

“The whole thing is ridiculous, but who gives a shit? It’ll kill 95 minutes.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

That last sentence about covers it.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Adderall Diaries

What I said about it back in January:

“I’m staying with it for the cast.”

3 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“This is a James Franco movie that was held back at least a year and dumped on VOD. Was there any doubt that I’d be completely indifferent to this?”

“I didn’t particularly care about anything that happened. Nor was I really following half the shit that I saw.”

“You likely haven’t heard of it and will never see it, and that’s fine, because you don’t need to.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Really didn’t care at all about this.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

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

Sing Street

What I said about it back in January:

“John Carney wrote and directed. He likes music, doesn’t he?”

“This seems like more of the same. The only question is whether or not I’m tired of that same thing.”

3.5 stars. I’ll say not yet. But we’ll see.”

What I thought about it:

“Well this movie was fucking lovely.”

“If you like all those movies like The Full Monty, those lovable UK films with misfits doing stuff, then you’ll love this. It’s just so goddamn charming.”

“This was a real joy to watch.”

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I really fucking loved this movie. How does this not make you happy? Just thinking about it makes me want to watch it again. One of the best films of the year.

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

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

The Huntsman: Winter’s War

What I said about it back in January:

“‘That Snow White movie made money. We should make a sequel. But the star had sex with the director. Okay, so we’ll just do a prequel. Bring back the two characters who aren’t Snow White. That way people can’t complain that we fucked up the story again.’ That’s basically how this went.”

“Did you see the trailer? This looks awful.”

2.5 stars.”

“Really not looking forward to having to sit through this.”

What I thought about it:

“So… you made a sequel to a Snow White movie without Snow White. Okay. Guess that’s what you have to do when Snow White is banging the director. Then you get rid of the director. And you decide, ‘No, it’s Chris Hemsworth that the people want to see. Just wait. That Michael Mann hacker movie and Ron Howard whale movie are gonna go over like gangbusters and we’ll look like geniuses.'”

“Then in order to combat the press saying you fired your star because she slept with the director (which you did), you say, ‘No, it’s because we’re doing a prequel and her character’s not in it.’ Which works… if you actually make a prequel. Which they didn’t do.”

“So basically they said one thing to shut everyone up and then didn’t even follow through on it. Really surprised no one got upset about that part. They’re treating you like idiots either way, but at least the other way, they didn’t outright lie to you.”

“This movie literally stops being a prequel after ten minutes… Then, to make it worse, since they had nothing but a bland huntsman character to work with, they went, ‘What can we put in this movie that will sell tickets? What’s popular now? Oh, Frozen. Bam, ice queen villain. Oh, but now we got this huntsman guy. He needs someone to sleep with. Bam, female warrior.” (Emeril Lagasse was the studio executive on this movie.) Then they put the whole thing through the studio movie shit generator and out came this movie.”

“I have no idea what the point of any of this is. An ice queen gets powers because her husband murdered a baby, and then she raises child soldiers, and then there’s the mirror, and then the warriors are dead, but they’re not dead, and then dwarves and CGI trolls and shit.”

“If you’ve ever wondered, ‘What if Princess Elsa was also into child slavery,’ then I have good news for you.”

“It’s basically Ice Ice Kony.”

“I don’t think the film and the thought process behind it could have been less coherent if you tried. Mostly you spend the run time of this movie wondering how the fuck they managed to get this cast together.”

“There is one good thing that came of it: because of the Sony hacks, it was revealed Charlize Theron was getting paid way less than Chris Hemsworth to be in this movie. In response, she demanded equal pay. So they paid them the same amount, $10 million. And then because this movie isn’t a prequel, Charlize Theron’s character is DEAD for the majority of the film. She literally shows up at the end for about fifteen minutes, through some stupid convoluted fucking logic that only exists because she has top billing. At the very least, I can feel good knowing she got paid $10 million for doing practically nothing due to the stupidity of everyone involved.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I…. think that about covers it.

That was so good I don’t think I can make this Unforgivable now because that’s probably better than anything I could think to write about it.

I’m also really happy Charlize Theron got over on these clowns.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Elvis & Nixon

What I said about it back in January:

“Did you see the trailer for this? It looks amazing.”

“Michael Shannon as Elvis and Kevin Spacey as Nixon. Tell me you’re not in on that alone.”

3.5 stars. On nothing else. Shit, I hope I get 4 out of this.”

What I thought about it:

“This was amusing as shit.”

“I got everything I wanted to get out of this. It’s not perfect, but it didn’t need to be.”

“This is a perfect little oddity of a movie and is exactly what it should be.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

This is exactly what it should be. It’s a weird little anecdote you catch one day and go, “I don’t know what the fuck that was, but it sure was interesting.” I’ll remember this better than I remember shit like Captain America.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Holidays

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Ended up being part of my Directors List. I wasn’t particularly happy about that.

What I thought about it:

“This should come as no surprise.”

“I don’t care about the horror genre, and then the anthology aspect makes it increasingly hit or miss, which is bad considering they’re more likely to miss with me.”

“Ultimately I was really, really bored during this, which has so little to do with the film itself than it does my complete lack of interest in the genre. So you know, indifference is where we are with this.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Not my genre. Shit happens.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

A Hologram for the King

What I said about it back in January:

“Weird to see a Tom Hanks movie get held over into another year.”

“Still…it’s Hanks. How bad can it be?”

3.5 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“I really enjoyed this.”

“It’s not great. It’s fairly by the numbers. This is a movie that your parents will like.”

“It’s designed to appeal to middle-aged people flipping through the channels on a random afternoon. And that’s fine.”

“Not something most people will particularly love, but it’s light and likable. I’m okay with that.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It is okay to enjoy this movie. You’re not admitting defeat by accepting that broad, middle-aged humor sometimes does work. Sure, this isn’t great, but if you’re laying in bed and have nothing to do, you can’t tell me this isn’t at the very least okay.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Meddler

What I said about it back in January:

“Lorene Scafaria directs. Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World were both really good movies.”

“Based on her track record, this is an easy 3.5 stars.”

“And based on that track record, I’m excited for this movie.”

What I thought about it:

“This is fun. I don’t like it as much as her previous films, but I did really enjoy it.”

“(It) plays out like a standard indie, pretty much, but it’s still engaging and well made. Definitely something you should check out if you liked her previous stuff.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s middle of the year solid, when you don’t have a whole lot else that’s great. Come the end of the year, this gets lost in the shuffle. Not quite hidden gem kind of status, but I did enjoy it. This will be a decent entry into her filmography as it keeps growing from here.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Tale of Tales

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

Okay, so taking away how gorgeously shot this was, and how captivating all the visuals are, here’s how this one went for me:

“They killed a sea monster in the first ten minutes, and now Salma Hayek is eating the heart of the sea monster, which was cooked by a virgin, so she could get pregnant. This is some Republican shit right here.”

“And now Toby Jones is talking to a baby and Vincent Cassel is having a threesome with two chicks. Honestly, what more could you ask for in a movie? And this was all on the way to a funeral.”

“Oh shit, Salma Hayek gave birth to Powder!”

“Oh shit there’s two Powders!”

“Vincent Cassel has so many bitches.”

“Aww, but he wants to fuck an old chick.”

“Toby Jones makes great crazy faces.”

“What is this demon baby?”

“I hate it when my twin’s mother tries to kill me in cold blood.”

“More movies can use a nice scene of titty gluing.”

“I wish I could have my problems thrown out of a window.”

“Damn, that witch’s tit took off a good sixty years.”

“Does that mean you gotta keep sucking on her tit to stay that way? I’d probably do that.”

“Is he gonna fuck that big dead thing?”

“Arguments in beautiful places are always more interesting. Especially when one person might throw themselves off of that beautiful thing at some point during the argument.”

“So what I’m getting from this is that all ogres are rapists.”

“Poor, poor Eddie Murphy donkey.”

“Oh good, a bat monster.”

“Tell her about the witch’s tit!”

“Nothing like watching your sister get fucked.”

“Throw the problem out the window so my country can be free!”

“Tightrope escapes are the best escapes.”

“Multiple homicide is always an appropriate anniversary gift.”

“That’s one way to ascend to a throne.”

“It would be great if they ended by revealing this all took place in like, Cleveland.”

“Those comments probably do a better job to make people interested in seeing this than any good review I could write about this movie.”

“I have no idea why the fuck this was made, or what it was really about, but goddamnit if it didn’t look great along the way.”

“It was made by the Gomorrah guy, which is kind of like if David Ayer decided to direct a Narnia movie.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I really do wish I could have my problems thrown out of a window.

* * * * (4 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Precious Cargo

What I said about it back in January:

“Another Bruce Willis paycheck movie!”

2.5 stars. Let’s not get expectations up. I usually am okay with these, but I don’t always like them. They’re just easy to watch.”

What I thought about it:

“The dialogue is trying. I’ll give it credit for that. The story’s not great though.”

“Still, I appreciate these B movies, even if they’re not very good. I got through it. It was fine.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

This will not be 3 stars for most people. It’s not good. But as we know, I am more tolerant of these movies than most.

* * * (3 stars)

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

Nina

What I said about it back in January:

“When a biopic sits on the shelf for over two years, something is very wrong.”

“What are they hiding?”

2.5 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“A lot of people are gonna comment about the makeup job in this movie. I’m not going to. Because that was their choice and they’re going to have to live with that. Just like how J. Edgar has to live with the makeup they chose. That’s not gonna affect my thought on the overall film.”

“One choice they made that is going to affect my thoughts on the overall film, because it’s inexplicable to me why they’d make it, is the fact that all the songs are sung by a voice that is most certainly not Nina Simone’s. There’s no soul to it, no power. And it certainly doesn’t sound like Zoe Saldana’s voice. If it is, then fine. That’s another choice you made. But again, maybe cast someone who can pull off the voice? Isn’t that the point?”

“Outside of that, I didn’t hate the movie. It just, had no direction. I don’t know the story it wanted to tell or what it wanted to say about Nina Simone.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I think that covers it. I just don’t see how this is the story they wanted to tell, and ultimately they’re gonna have to live with the choices they made.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Keanu

What I said about it back in January:

“I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say 3 stars, but I’m not feeling too confident about that 3.”

“UPDATE: A red band trailer has just been released and seeing exactly what this is going to be, 3.5 stars is now the guess.”

“It looks like the kitten is going to be the best part of this movie. In a good way.”

What I thought about it:

“The movie was good. A lot of the jokes are in the trailer. There’s a lot of story here, and ultimately, while it’s mostly an entertaining film, it doesn’t fully come together.”

“It’s mostly amusing, but it’s not a movie I’m gonna go back and rewatch a bunch, despite a hilarious premise.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Usually in comedies, my issue is not enough story. It’s just gags strung together with the smallest amount of story there to make it seem cohesive. This movie’s problem is too much story. They needed room to set some stuff breathe. It’s relentless with a story. It just doesn’t land as well as you want it to.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Driftless Area

What I said about it back in January:

3 stars. The cast is keeping this from 2.5.”

What I thought about it:

“They got an impressive cast on this movie, but I don’t know what the fuck its supposed to be about.”

“I’m watching stuff happen, but I’m not even remotely invested in any of it. Not even a little bit. It’s actually quite astounding how little I cared about everything that happened in this movie. Oh well.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s actually pretty amazing how little I cared, given the cast.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

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

Special Correspondents

What I said about it back in January:

3.5 stars. I trust Ricky.”

What I thought about it:

“It’s funny. It has its moments.”

“The thing that keeps it from being really good is that it’s too easy to telegraph what’s gonna happen and the characters are far too one-dimensional to really make the material truly interesting or really sing.”

“We’re left with a moderately entertaining movie that has enough laughs to get you through.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It never rises above its premise, ultimately. It’s fine, but you kind of wish it were better because it had the ability to be.

* * * (3 stars)

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

The Man Who Knew Infinity

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“Standard biopic stuff. Inspiring story and all, but the film is pretty much paint by numbers.”

“The cast is great and everything about this is completely fine, but I just didn’t get much more out of it than your standard inspiring biopic kind of fare.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

You’ve seen better, but if it’s on, you can get 110 minutes worth of interest out of this.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Ratchet & Clank

What I said about it back in January:

“This was a video game. I’ve never played it, but I recognize the title. Why not just make a Crash Bandicoot movie? That’s what I want to see.”

“I don’t care about this. I can’t imagine this will be any good.”

2.5 stars. I probably won’t care.”

What I thought about it:

“It’s not good, it’s not bad. It just is.”

“It has the humor and animation style of TV animation.”

“I really didn’t like it, ultimately, but it’s not like this was made for me. I’m fine with it, even though I could have easily skipped this and missed nothing.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I really wonder who the audience for this movie is. I’ve seen better video game cut scenes than this.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Term Life

What I said about it back in January:

3 stars.”

“Sounds solid.”

What I thought about it:

“Enjoyable. One of those movies I tend to enjoy more than most. Not much substance here, but fun action. Charming leads. Decent movie. Good enough.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I liked it enough to watch it the once. That counts for something, right?

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Family Fang

What I said about it back in January:

“Bateman, Kidman, Walken.”

3 stars.”

“No idea what I’m getting with this.”

What I thought about it:

“This movie will always be worth it purely for the fact that Christopher Walken says, ‘We saw your titty shots.’ Outside of that, it’s amusing.”

“This isn’t a movie with a giant twist at the end or anything. It’s more of a character study and watching the characters exist is more interesting than the actual story.”

“Bateman’s carving out a nice little directorial career for himself.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I liked this quite a bit.

Also, Christopher Walken saw your titty shots.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

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

Mother’s Day

What I said about it back in January:

“Garry Marshall, slowly working his way through all the holidays!” (Aww… he’s dead now.)

“And giving us mediocre ensemble films for every one.”

“I was gonna jokingly say, ‘Which one is this? Aniston? Julia Roberts?’ But it’s both. It’s actually both.”

“I don’t even care who else is in this.”

2.5 stars. Just let’s get this over with.”

What I thought about it:

“It’s like this movie was trying to make me hate it.”

“Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Garner. It’s like they knew everyone I don’t like seeing in movies and deliberately strove to put them all in the same one.”

“I won’t get into specifics, because I really don’t want to waste the brain power, so I’ll just leave it at a simple: no. Fuck no. This movie sucked.”

“Have fun with this, middle aged white ladies.”

* * (2 stars)

Final Thoughts:

“Have fun with this, middle aged white ladies.”

* * (2 stars)

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

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is May.

http://bplusmovieblog.com

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