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2016: The Year in Reviews (August)

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 August:

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.)

August

Suicide Squad

What I said about it back in January:

“I trust David Ayer.”

“Yes, I know this is a superhero movie, but this looks like a gritty version of Guardians of the Galaxy, with misfit characters doing their thing mostly separate from the rest of the stuff.”

“I’m thinking I’m getting 3.5 stars here. Maybe even 4 stars. And you know what? Fuck it, 4 stars. I don’t think I’m getting less than 3.5 here.”

What I thought about it:

“Put this one down as the single biggest disappointment of 2016.”

“Holy shit… This movie is a giant mess. There’s something good in here, but I’m not sure what happened to it and at what point it got lost.”

“D.C. has some major, major problems on their hands and I don’t know if they’ll ever be fixed.”

“I’m so disappointed by how this all turned out. Now I have to go into every D.C. movie with dread.”

“Damn shame what they did to this universe.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It hurts me to even talk about how disappointing this was. How could they fuck this up? This… this shouldn’t have happened. This was disgraceful, how bad this was. The single biggest disappointment of 2016. What a waste of everything.

* * * (3 stars)

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

Nine Lives

What I said about it back in January:

“Kevin Spacey gets turned into the family cat.”

“Oh and Christopher Walken is in this too.”

“Tell me you’re not immediately excited by how insane this sounds.”

3 stars. I need it to go higher, but I’m willing to be way wrong on this rating if it means a good movie.”

What I thought about it:

“Yeah… we knew this wouldn’t be good. But as bad as the movie was (and it wasn’t good), I can take solace in the fact that at least it was Kevin Spacey and Christopher Walken and not other people.”

“Definitely not one of Spacey’s prouder moments, I’m sure.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

There’s a moment where Kevin Spacey, as the family cat, is getting bathed, and says, “Just kill me.” I feel his pain.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

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

Little Men

What I said about it back in January:

“Directed by the guy who did Love Is Strange. So based on that, New York indie, 3 stars.’

What I thought about it:

“This didn’t do a whole lot for me. Like that the kids were the protagonists, but I wasn’t much drawn to the story and found myself detached throughout the whole thing. Oh well. They can’t all be winners.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It was okay. Nothing special.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Five Nights in Maine

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“Ehh. It was okay. Didn’t do a whole lot for me, even though the performances were good. Overall just another one of those standard indie movies for me.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Meh.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Pete’s Dragon

What I said about it back in January:

“This should be cute.”

“It’s Pete’s Dragon. 3.5 stars. I’m gonna enjoy this.”

What I thought about it:

“I’m not sure why I had higher expectations for this.”

“The result was fine, and pleasant, but it wasn’t much of anything special.”

“Nice to see Redford, and it’s a perfectly acceptable family movie, but not something that I think will really appeal to most people past a superficial sort of admiration.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s nothing more than a respectable family movie. It doesn’t have the charm of the original, but it’ll do all right for the under 10 crowd. I’m okay with this.

* * * (3 stars)

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

Florence Foster Jenkins

What I said about it back in January:

“I heart it’s not great. But Meryl usually makes movies that are at least 3 stars. So let’s stick with that.”

What I thought about it:

“It’s charming.”

“You watch this trailer and think, ‘Oh, it’s just Meryl doing Meryl stuff,’ and it’s somewhat that. The film wants to be that. But really the star of this movie is Hugh Grant. He’s really good here.”

“It’s a really tender performance and one that elevates this movie from potential schlock to an actually pretty affecting little film.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s honestly not even the Meryl performance. It’s Hugh Grant. He makes this utterly worthwhile. Otherwise it’s a movie that intellectually appeals to me, but doesn’t do a whole lot. Hugh Grant makes me like this more than I would have.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

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

Sausage Party

What I said about it back in January:

“This is supposed to be filthy.”

3.5 stars. I hope this is hysterical.”

What I thought about it:

“This movie is glorious.”

“From concept to execution, to the food puns, to the actual message of the thing, the cultural and religious overtones, I fucking loved this. I almost don’t want to say any more so as not to spoil any of it for other people, but shit, this was right up my alley for reasons that not even I was expecting.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I loved this. So much fun. The anti-religion message and the food puns were more than enough to carry my enjoyment for 90 minutes. I’m not gonna rewatch it a whole bunch, but this was enjoyable as shit.

* * * * (4 stars)

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

Anthropoid

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“This went from me knowing nothing about it until like a month before it came out to me really wanting to see it because the subject matter intrigued the shit out of me to me getting really excited for it, to then me seeing it and going, ‘Oh, this is largely forgettable and not that great at all.'”

“If this were really good, it wouldn’t have been quietly dumped in August on eight screens.”

“A solid three is better than nothing.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Solid war drama. Doesn’t amount to a whole lot, but it is a solid three-star movie that I enjoyed. Some people will really like this. Worth seeking out if you like war movies.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Joshy

What I said about it back in January:

“This is by the guy who did Life After Beth and co-wrote I Heart Huckabees.”

3 stars. These rarely rise above 3 stars, and if they do, they don’t go much higher. Rooting for it, though.”

What I thought about it:

“It’s a laid back affair with a lot of improvisation. These movies typically end up at 3 stars for me, and this is no different.”

“This is definitely a very solid 3 star movie. If you like Joe Swanberg, you’ll like this.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I did like this. The same indie comedians who are in all these movies, but overall a fun 90 minutes.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Hell or High Water

What I said about it back in January:

“The director made Starred Up. +”

“The writer wrote Sicario. ++”

“It stars Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster.”

3.5 stars. I don’t think we need anything more than that, do we?”

What I thought about it:

“Loved this. This is old school filmmaking.”

“Take a simple story and make it work because of a good cast, strong characters, and a sense of community.”

“This movie deserves much more of an audience than it got.”

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Loved, loved, loved this. I’m so happy everyone else loved it too. I thought I’d be talking about how cool this was and no one knew about it. This legit is gonna get a Best Picture nomination, it looks like. Which is cool. So much fun, well-written, well-acted and just a joy to watch. One of the best movies of 2016.

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

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

Ben-Hur

What I said about it back in January:

“We know what this is.”

“Timur Bekmambetov is no William Wyler, so my hopes aren’t overly high.”

“My response to this is going to be directly related to how much unnecessary CGI is in it. Also how long it is.”

“Right now, this is looking to be one of those movies where it’s too serious, too action heavy, and too modern to really work. This is before I’ve seen a trailer or anything. So that, with the date, makes me think 3 stars. 3.5 stars is max here, I’d wager. I hope we can get there.”

What I thought about it:

“Come on, buddy. We all knew what this was gonna be.”

“It’s capable, and it’s hard not to at least get somewhat excited by the chariot race, which is the centerpiece of the film. Story-wise, this is just a truncated version of the 1959 version, with less Jesus and a tweak on how he ends up racing chariots. Which basically means more Morgan Freeman.”

“There have been three film versions of this story: 1925, 1959, 2016. Each represents the type of filmmaking prevalent in that era. This one is heavy on the CGI, and the cinematography, editing and music all scream ‘generic studio filmmaking.’ (When will people realize — it’s the score and the pacing. I bet if you took this movie and put a less assembly line score on this and slowed it down a bit in the edit, this would come across as a much better movie.)”

“There’s no need to ever truly put this on a ‘worst of’ list because the film has already failed on just about every level a film could fail on. It failed, but it’s not a blight upon cinema. It just reflects the weaknesses of today’s studio filmmaking.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s generic, but it’s not awful. People will say it’s awful because it has that stink of “box office bomb,” but it’s really not the worst movie of the year, nor is it anywhere near it. It’s just not great. The fault’s on them for making a $100+ million religious epic and thinking people would give a shit.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

War Dogs

What I said about it back in January:

“I know I’m gonna regret this, but 3.5 stars.”

“The two of them should make a worthwhile movie. I’m okay with Todd Phillips in this case, since it’s not a straight comedy. I think this can be solid.”

What I thought about it:

“I lost a lot of faith in Todd Phillips after those Hangover sequels. And Due Date. But this is a solid return to form for him.”

“I really enjoyed this on a lot of levels. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t need to be or want to be.”

“It’s totally enjoyable and never veers too far off course from the tone it sets forth. Which I appreciated. There are no unnecessary scenes of action or scenes of stupid comedy… It’s actually impressive how restrained this was in the storytelling.”

“I thought for sure this would let me down, but it didn’t. Good on them.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed this. It’s a pretty solid movie. Jonah Hill’s laugh in this is fantastic. Todd Phillips may be back on track.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Kubo and the Two Strings

What I said about it back in January:

“This is Laika. Stop-motion. Their movies are gorgeous.”

“The trailer for this makes me think it could be my favorite animated movie of next year.”

4 stars. Very excited for this.”

What I thought about it:

“I dare you not to be enchanted by this movie.”

“This will be the best animated film you see this year. This might be the best film you see this year.”

“Every inch, every frame of this movie is perfect, and I loved every stop-motion second of it.”

* * * * * (5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

This is still one of my favorite movies of the year. I fucking loved this. Still the best animated movie I saw this year.

* * * * * (5 stars)

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

Morris from America

What I said about it back in January:

“Sundance movie. Call it 3 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“It took me ten minutes to fall in love with this movie.”

“It’s a standard coming of age movie, but from a very unique vantage point.”

“You don’t get your standard scenes of him ‘acting out’ and his father yelling at him. It’s all very low key and feels utterly realistic.”

“This really surprised the hell out of me and is one of my favorite films of the year.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I really liked this a lot. The leads are fantastic and it’s just a great movie. Definitely top tier of 2016 for me. Gonna be a real hidden gem for years to come.

* * * * (4 stars)

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

Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“I can listen to Werner Herzog narrate anything.”

“The documentary itself was fine. Not entirely my cup of tea, but interesting. But it’s Herzog doing it that made it something I wanted to see. His value to a documentary cannot be undervalued.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I wouldn’t have liked this if it weren’t Herzog. But it is, so it’s fine. It has its moments.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Imperium

What I said about it back in January:

“First time director. A lot of these. I guess it’s easier to trust first time directors now with these genre VOD type movies.”

“No idea what I’m getting here, but I’m feeling 2.5 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“Harry Potter and the White Supremacists.”

“This is a capable movie with a guy going undercover with some skinheads. It avoids many of the cliches you tend to see in movies like this, while also feeling pretty generic the whole time.”

“It’s probably 3 stars for most people. I just wasn’t particularly engaged by it. Neo Nazis don’t move the needle for me.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Not a bad movie, it just didn’t do much for me.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Spaceman

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“Serviceable. I enjoyed it, but it’s not particularly great in any regard.”

“Duhamel is spirited, and I like baseball movies. You could do worse for 90 minutes.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It worked well enough. Not great, but I admire the effort.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

A Tale of Love and Darkness

What I said about it back in January:

“Natlie Portman’s directorial debut.”

“If you thought it would have something to do with Israel and Judaism, congratulations, you win.”

2.5 stars.”

“Don’t wanna be negative, but quite honestly, I just don’t care.”

What I thought about it:

Haven’t seen it yet. For those paying attention, late August is usually the first time we get to a movie I wasn’t able to find before the year ends. If I get to this before the cut off point, I’ll update this article. Otherwise this will have to be watched next year.

Final Thoughts:

How close was I?:

Hands of Stone

What I said about it back in January:

“They’ve held this over since 2014.”

3 stars. I like boxing movies, but you gotta release this. Holding it back makes me think it’s not great.”

What I thought about it:

“Yeesh.”

“This doesn’t amount to anything other than a hill of cliches.”

“Very generic boxing movie that doesn’t even appeal to people who are fans of boxing movies.”

“This is just failed Oscar bait that has a lot of talented people trying, but ultimately not succeeding.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

This was not good. It’s a shame, too, because there was talent here. Oh well.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Don’t Breathe

What I said about it back in January:

“Don’t particularly care about this, and there’s not really anyone in the cast I care about.”

2.5 stars. If I even see this.”

What I thought about it:

“This might be the horror movie of 2016 that a lot of people loved that I just didn’t give a shit about.”

“The premise sounded moderately intriguing, but I just didn’t care. But at least I’m consistent, right?”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

This has everything to do with me. I did not care for this. But at least you know it’s because I don’t like horror movies, so you can gauge accordingly

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Hollars

What I said about it back in January:

“Oh, wow, a Sundance movie where a guy goes back to his hometown. Never seen that before.”

3 stars. The cast would normally make me say 3.5, but the set up is so generic I don’t want to be let down when my gut tells me there’s a good chance that it will.”

What I thought about it:

“Generic indie made slightly more interesting because John Krasinski directed it and got a big cast on it. Otherwise this would be your standard ‘guy comes home to his family when a parent gets sick’ movie.”

“You’ve seen this a dozen times… It’s not good or interesting in really any way. But the cast makes it watchable for me. Not very. But enough.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

The cast is the only reason to ever think to see this. It’s generic up and down. Not a single interesting thing about it.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Complete Unknown

What I said about it back in January:

“Interesting premise. I want to see how this movie plays, especially if it’s a drama and not a thriller.”

“It’s a Sundance movie, so my expectations are not too high.”

3 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“I just love the set up of this movie. Rachel Weisz and Michael Shannon were dating. They were in love. Then one day she disappears from his life. Just gone. Cut to twenty years later, and he’s having a birthday party with his wife. His friends come over, and one of his coworkers brings a woman with him — Rachel Weisz. He sees her and says, ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ And she goes, ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about,’ and pretends like she has no idea who he is.”

“The entire films takes place over the course of this one night, and you have this interesting dynamic of a woman who is constantly changing identities and deep down would like to stop, and a man who is very stable in his identity who desperately wants something more.”

“It’s a really interesting movie. I don’t think it’s perfect, but I think it’s definitely very interesting.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Really liked the premise, really enjoyed the film. Solid all around. Nice little gem of 2016.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

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

Kate Plays Christine

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

I liked it. I thought it was a documentary for the longest time. It wasn’t until I was about 80% of the way through that I realized it was just shot to look like a documentary. It’s way different knowing it was fictional. I’d have liked it way more if it were a straight documentary. But I appreciate the effort.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Solid. A nice little companion piece to Christine. Weird how two movies about the same obscure topic both came out in the same year.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Blood Father

What I said about it back in January:

“Mel Gibson movie.”

3 stars.”

“I like his stuff. I hope I get 3.5 out of this.”

What I thought about it:

“I was raised on movies like this. I am predisposed to loving them.”

“I love Mel Gibson as an actor (and a director, for that matter). I haven’t seen him make a bad choice (as an actor) in a long time. His movies are always entertaining, even when they’re B movies like this.”

“What’s not to like about this? Give me this over practically any movie that came out this summer.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Watched this again a few days ago. Still love it. Pure B movie. These are my jam. Straight up fun. Love me some Mel movies. More of these, please.

* * * * (4 stars)

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

XOXO

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“This is everything I hate in a single movie.”

“Millennials going to a music festival, dressing and acting like assholes, talking about how music is going to change their lives and how ‘this is our time/we’re young.’ Fuck all of that.”

“This whole movie is icky to me.”

“I didn’t hate the filmmaking, I hated the subject matter, the writing and all the characters.”

“This is an ensemble movie that hits all the cliche beats and builds to a climax where shitty EDM music transcends everybody’s problems and everyone thinks it’s the greatest shit they’ve ever heard. No. The answer is no.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

No. A thousand times no.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

The Intervention

What I said about it back in January:

“Sundance movie. Written and directed by Clea DuVall.”

3 stars. It’s an indie, so I can’t assume too high. But I want to see this more than I did a second ago, so that’s promising.”

What I thought about it:

“This was good. Really solid indie that overcame a lot of cliches at the beginning to stick the landing. Better than my rating for sure, and something that should be seen, because the cast is very solid.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed it. Not something I’ll have on my “best of” list. But it was solid, as far as indies go.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Sea of Trees

What I said about it back in January:

“Ever have a Cannes preview so bad you couldn’t have your film come out that year?”

“How bad can this really be?”

3.5 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“I can’t be too sure, because I have no first hand experience, but I’m pretty sure this movie is the equivalent of what being on anti-depressants is like.”

“You just kind of drift through the whole thing, without much feeling or animation, and you’re okay with it all.”

“I was barely okay with this, because it was really boring at times, but ultimately I gave it the benefit of the doubt because of the cast.”

“I’d say this was disappointing, but this was expected once it came out of Cannes the way it did and stayed on the shelf for as long as it did. Oh well. Can’t win ’em all.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

The less said about this, the better. What a major disappointment.

* * * (3 stars)

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

Southside with You

What I said about it back in January:

“Damn, already?”

“The director is 30.”

3 stars.”

“I’m sure it’s gonna be all right, but the director is 30.”

What I thought about it:

“This is the Obamas first date movie. It’s cute. It’s fine. Nothing great. It is what it is. Not something that’s gonna be overly remembered, but not offensively cloying either.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s fine. It just feels like “too soon.” We’ll get to this on the second Obama movie. All the stuff feels superficial. I get that it’s meant to be largely fictional, but you gotta have some time pass before you do this.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Mechanic: Resurrection

What I said about it back in January:

“Another weird Jason Statham reboot at the end of the summer.”

“This will either be 2.5 stars or 3 stars. Statham usually makes worthwhile movies, so let’s say 3 stars. That seems easy.”

What I thought about it:

“Yeah… I like Statham movies, by and large, but this one was just generic.”

“The only fun part about this was the assassination scenes. As it always is. Watching him kill people to make it look like an accident is fun. The rest is a snoozefest. Also, what the hell is with Tommy Lee Jones’ look in this movie? He must have thought that would be amusing. There’s no other way to explain it.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

You know it’s generic when a Jason Statham movie can’t get to 3 stars. I just did not care about this at all.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

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

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is September.

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2 responses

  1. Kubo and the Two Strings:

    “This is Laika. Stop-motion. Their movies are gorgeous…The trailer for this makes me think it could be my favorite animated movie of next year…4 stars. Very excited for this…I dare you not to be enchanted by this movie…This will be the best animated film you see this year. This might be the best film you see this year…Every inch, every frame of this movie is perfect, and I loved every stop-motion second of it.
    ..This is still one of my favorite movies of the year. I fucking loved this. Still the best animated movie I saw this year.”

    =====
    I’m happy that you adore Kubo & The Two Strings, but my goodness do I have **serious** issues with its story, especially the second half, and the excellent animation barely does enough to keep me from rating it less. I do plan on re-watching ASAP to see if the experience will be different, but I can safely say that it would take a Christmas miracle for me to go from my 3 1/2-star rating (solid, but severely disappointing) to a 5-star or even a 4 1/2-star rating. For now…I’m firmly rooting for Zootopia to claim that Best Animated Feature Oscar. I’m firmly rooting for Your Name (which you barely gave a chance) to at least get nominated.

    December 23, 2016 at 1:48 pm

  2. Matthew

    Hey there, Mike! I know I’ve never been on this site before, but I have to wish you Happy Holidays! By the way, I’m just curious what your favorite television show of all time would be.

    December 23, 2016 at 7:27 pm

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