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2016: The Year in Reviews (October)

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 October:

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.)

October

The Birth of a Nation

What I said about it back in January:

“No, this is not based on the D.W. Griffith movie.”

“Sadly this is giving me flashes of Chris Rocks’ Haitian slave uprising movie in Top Five.”

“I hope this is great.”

“Can’t guess higher than 3 stars because Parker is an unproven entity to me.”

What I thought about it:

“I was dreading this movie all year. It was just one you could tell was getting unnecessarily overhyped, to the point where all it would do is hurt the movie.”

“They wanted to turn this into a Best Picture winner, and it’s just not that. This is an actor who wanted a role for himself, so he wrote one. You can call it a vanity project, but it’s more a showcase for him. It’s the first film he ever directed, and it’s really ambitious”.

“The things he does here are straddling the line between really pretentious and really ambitious. And it doesn’t fully work.”

“If this was given the room to be what it is, it would just be a really admirable effort that tries to do too much and doesn’t get there. Instead, this is looked at as a failure and with negativity. Which is a shame.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It wasn’t good. And I wish I could be more positive about it, but all the hype around this really just made me pessimistic about the whole thing. I admire what he tried to do here, but it just doesn’t really work for me.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Girl on the Train

What I said about it back in January:

“This is based on one of those Gone Girl type novels, it sounds like. Which means they’re gonna expect a lot of money and some awards attention out of this.”

 

“Sounds like it’s more of a thriller, so without a David Fincher here to elevate the material, I can’t go higher than 3.5 stars. This doesn’t sound like something that’ll go any higher than 4 for me.”

What I thought about it:

“I wanted this to be better, but I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be.”

“The ending you saw coming from a few stations away.”

“There’s really nothing of interest here. Especially since in the book she’s supposed to be a drunk who gave herself up. Emily Blunt does not look like she gave herself up.”

“It’s one of those movies that was trying to capitalize on the success of Gone Girl and forgot to get a David Fincher to make something other than a bland thriller that doesn’t amount to much.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Generic thriller. The only thing separating this from a VOD movie were the stars and the studio push it got. Otherwise wholly generic all the way.

* * * (3 stars)

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

Voyage of Time

What I said about it back in January:

“I was ready to give up on this, but apparently there’s some movement on this.”

3.5 stars.”

What I thought about it:

Haven’t seen it yet. Not looking likely that I’ll be able to. If I manage to see it before the cut off, I’ll update this section. Otherwise, next year it is.

Final Thoughts:

How close was I?:

The Great Gilly Hopkins

What I said about it back in January:

 

2.5 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“One of those coming-of-age kids movies that might have gotten a cult following if it were made 20 years ago. Now, this won’t even be an afterthought, since 95% of people won’t ever know this existed.”

“It’s not terrible.”

“Not something anyone ever needs to see, but I was amused enough. And you’ll probably never hear of this outside of me talking about it, so no need to get more complicated than that.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s not great, but I enjoyed it well enough.

* * * (3 stars)

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

The Siege of Jadotville

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“Netflix movie. Pretty okay. Lot of battle scenes, so that was good. Otherwise not something I particularly cared about.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s fine. Battle scenes made it worthwhile.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Late Bloomer

What I said about it back in January:

“Before you assume shitty comedy and Unforgivable — Kevin Pollak directed this. J.K. Simmons is the top listed cast member. I can hope he’s the main character, but I doubt he is.”

3 stars.”

“I’ll give Kevin Pollak the benefit of the doubt here. Plus it’s based on a book. It’s not some shittily manufactured Adam Sandler movie.”

What I thought about it:

“This amounted to nothing.”

“The premise sounded… but it didn’t do much of anything with it. It just felt… flat. Oh well.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I wish it did something more with the premise. Or that I cared even a little bit. Oh well.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

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

13th

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“This was fine.”

“I’m slowly allowing myself to be more open about watching documentaries. I tend not to go for the ones with important subject matter and prefer the more offbeat, entertaining ones. As such, this wasn’t particularly of interest to me.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s fine, but not for me.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life

What I said about it back in January:

“It’s a kids movie. So I don’t care.”

2.5 stars. Maybe 3 at best. It is what it is.”

What I thought about it:

This was kiddie shit. It had areas of interest, but ultimately didn’t do much of anything for me.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Not the worst kids movie I’ve seen, but also not particularly interesting either.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?:

Desierto

What I said about it back in January:

“I’m interested in seeing anything the son of Alfonso Cuaron wants to do.”

3 stars. I’ll figure this will be worthwhile.”

What I thought about it:

“This is a straightforward thriller made by a director who seemed to want to try to do more with it.”

“I like how he simplified it, cut out a lot of the dialogue and tried to tell the story in the most barebones way possible. That definitely helped out the finished product.”

“At the end of the day, it’s just a straightforward thriller, where the villain doesn’t really have any motivation and the protagonist just has to survive.”

“As far as B movies go, this does fit the profile. So in that regard, it’s effective. Otherwise it’s just a serviceable thriller.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Solid stuff. This is one of those movies that’s better than just a forgettable 3 star movie, but not something I loved. Well-made though.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Blue Jay

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“This was a really solid indie. Very simple. Two people, one long conversation. Well done. Great lead performances, a nice little gem of a movie worth checking out.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Solid, well-acted. Definitely worth a watch.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

The Accountant

What I said about it back in January:

“I can’t imagine this is going to blow me away, but I think we can get a solid 3.5 stars out of this.”

What I thought about it:

“It was exactly what I was expecting all along. That paperback novel kind of thriller. Where it’s interesting enough but not something you remember overly well a few months later.”

“This was engaging, Affleck did good character work, the movie kept me interested throughout, and it devolved into a boring shootout at the end. Exactly what was expected, and that’s all right, because I was hoping it would be pretty good.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Enjoyable, but of little substance. Mostly it’s Affleck’s work that makes this interesting. The rest is paperback thriller material

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Mascots

What I said about it back in January:

“Christopher Guest movie. ’nuff said.”

3.5 stars. I’m in.”

What I thought about it:

“It’s Christopher Guest. Which is what drew most of us in. And the subject matter sounded like it could work for what Guest does. But this felt pretty hollow.”

“It doesn’t have any of the humor that all of his earlier stuff had. It’s nice because non-Guest people can see something of his and know the genre he essentially pioneered. But really all this is for most is either a lesser movie that doesn’t compare to his earlier work or an entry way into his better stuff.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s not great Guest, but even subpar Guest is all right by me.

* * * (3 stars)

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

Good Kids

What I said about it back in January:

“I can’t go anywhere other than 3 stars here.”

What I thought about it:

“I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would.”

“It’s fun, and there’s enough smarts to the writing to overcome the really over the top and obvious moments that are illogical even by comedy movie standards.”

“Still, for a movie that I’m pretty sure no one saw, this was better than I thought I was getting. Good stuff.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I’ll stick with 3.5 because no one saw it and I want to say that I enjoyed this more than the average high school movie. It’s not reinventing the genre or doing anything outstanding, but I did enjoy it.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

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

Max Steel

What I said about it back in January:

Left a blanket 2.5 star rating.

What I thought about it:

“Do not care. Do not care.”

“I might be the only person who actually watched this movie.”

“Did you even know this came out? I bet even the hundred people who were fans of whatever this was beforehand didn’t even see this.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

As probably the only person who saw this movie, I can say that you don’t ever need to see it.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Little Sister

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“I almost completely skipped this, but something told me to see this. And I’m glad I did. Because now I get to tell people to check out the goth nun movie.”

“A girl getting ready to take her first vows has to go home to see her family. In high school, she was hugely goth. Like, full on goth. And her brother went to fight overseas and came back with his face completely burned up and disfigured. And her mother is a neurotic control freak, and it’s about her coming back home to be around the life she gave up for one of the habit. And it’s fucking fascinating.”

“There’s a musical scene in the middle of this film that’s just wonderful. You haven’t experienced cinema in 2016 until you’ve seen Addison Timlin wearing face paint and a pink wig and dancing around to a song about dead babies.”

“This is definitely one of the more interesting indies of the year. A lot of people are gonna recommend Swiss Army Man as the weird little indie to check out. I say check out this one. This is the one I think people are gonna like. It’s so weird and yet so interesting all the way through.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Really enjoyed this. Nice little indie I’ll recommend to people because it’s so offbeat and interesting.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Christine

What I said about it back in January:

“Hard to tell. Let’s stick with 3 stars and see if we can get more.”

What I thought about it:

“What a difference a year makes. I knew nothing about this in January when I previewed it.”

“Career best performance out of Rebecca Hall, who deserves a Best Actress nomination for this. (She won’t get it, but she deserves it.)”

“This is a really great movie that no one’s gonna see. And that’s a shame. But if you’re reading this, then there’s a chance. Give this one a shot. It’s very good.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Really liked this movie a lot. Great performance out of Hall, and well made all around. Definitely one of the top tier films of 2016 for me.

* * * * (4 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a ful lstar.

Miss Hokusai

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“Was really excited for this for some reason. I guess because I thought it was Studio Ghibli.”

“A pretty decent movie that didn’t do much to draw me in. Well made and all, just not something that did a whole lot for me.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s based on an anime, which might count for my reaction. It was fine, but ultimately I didn’t get drawn in as I usually do to the Ghbili stuff.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Certain Women

What I said about it back in January:

“Kelly Reichardt. Which is really all I need to hear.”

3 stars.”

“Here’s hoping for more than 3, but I’m gonna stick with the track record.”

What I thought about it:

“Kelly Reichardt. Her movies always end up three stars for me. I like them well enough, but they almost never do anything for me.”

“This was fine, but it didn’t particularly change my life in any way. Maybe one day her movies will go higher than 3 stars for me for real.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Kelly Reichardt doesn’t particularly do it for me, but at least she’s consistent.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

American Pastoral

What I said about it back in January:

“McGregor’s never directed before, and movies like this have a high tendency of not turning out that great. So I’m sticking with 3 stars and hoping the film can stand out.”

What I thought about it:

“I got a movie that wasn’t great but was trying very hard and actually was quite engaging.”

“I think the half a star is for effort. Because this is a flawed movie. But it kept me engaged throughout and I think there’s more that works here than doesn’t work.”

“I’m sure it can’t compare at all to reading the novel, but it’s two different things. I’m taking the movie on its own merits, and I think there’s a lot here to like.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s fine. Not overly memorable, but fine. A weak 3.5 that won’t be remembered in a year.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

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

First Girl I Loved

What I said about it back in January:

“I don’t know what I’m getting here.”

3 stars.”

What I thought about it:

Will see it before the end of the year, just haven’t yet. Will update this when I do.

Final Thoughts:

How close was I?:

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“This was amusing enough. Not great.”

“Just watch the original.”

“The problem they made with this was not filming it live. So it didn’t have the energy that Grease Live had. It felt overly processed. The music was so clearly edited in post and made to sound crisper than a live performance.”

“It’s fine in that it introduces people to the movie and the music, but overall it’s not anything but a nice one-off.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Just watch the original. But as far as its purpose, I’m okay with this.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Trumpland

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“I thought this was gonna be a documentary. This was actually a stand-up comedy special.”

“It’s not groundbreaking in any way, but it’s decent enough.”

“What I was most impressed with was the article he wrote when Trump got the nomination, discussing how Trump was gonna win the election. And then he was right. This was just an interesting little show he did that he put on tape.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s fine. You have to judge it on a comedy scale and not on filmmaking scale. And on a comedy scale, I’ve seen about the same or worse by established comedians. So I’m okay with this.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Keeping Up with the Joneses

What I said about it back in January:

“Remember that Ashton Kutcher/Katharine Heigl movie? It’s starting to sound a lot like that.”

3 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“No.”

“Another one of those action comedies. Bland couple finds out their neighbors are spies. They get embroiled in a conspiracy.”

“The movie’s not good.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Generic bullshit designed to make middle-aged people laugh. I’m assuming.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

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

In a Valley of Violence

What I said about it back in January:

“WESTERN.”

“Will see this, no matter what.”

3 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“Even the western bump couldn’t withstand two years of being on the shelf.”

“This is a simple western that tries to play with the western genre but amounts to approximately nothing.”

“There are interesting actors here, but the story is so simple that it barely even registers.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

The actors keep this interesting, otherwise it does nothing with the genre that I cared about.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

I’m Not Ashamed

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“Ha ha.”

“I mean… it’s a religious movie, which is its own thing for me. But this is not just a religious movie, but one about fucking COLUMBINE.”

“As soon as I saw they were trying to make a generic religious movie that was somehow related to Columbine, I had to see it.”

“I’ll save my thoughts for this, because I think you guys know where this is headed.”

* * (2 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Oh, no, this is not the spot for those.

* * (2 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Sky Ladder

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“Sure. Didn’t really care, but fine. It’s a documentary. Stuff like this doesn’t do it for me.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

3 stars was too much. I checked out for a lot of this documentary. Didn’t really care at all.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Boo! A Madea Halloween

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

Still waiting on this. Gonna try to skip this if I can, but if this is the only thing standing in the way of me and 100% completion, you bet your ass I’ll see this.

Final Thoughts:

How close was I?: N/A

Tower

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

The documentary about the Texas bell tower sniper. It’s well-told. Rotoscoped. INteresting watch.

Final Thoughts:

Liked it.

How close was I?: N/A

Fire at Sea

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“This is a really fascinating movie. It’s such a focused documentary that it almost comes across as a narrative feature.”

“A really fascinating look at the refugee crisis. It doesn’t hit you over the head with the issue and make you feel all important when you go, ‘I understand this now. This is a problem.’ The kind of documentary that makes you feel as though you’re helping solve the problem simply by watching it unfold.”

“Definitely one of the best documentaries I saw this year. Really terrifically made.”

Final Thoughts:

Really, really liked this one and wouldn’t be upset if this won Best Documentary.

How close was I?: N/A

The Handmaiden

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“I heard good things about this all year, and I know to expect good things from Chan-wook Park, but I didn’t expect straight up scissoring in this movie.”

“There’s like four lesbian sex scenes in this movie. Did not see those coming, and that was a nice surprise.”

“It’s a nice little mystery that plays out nicely and has some great twists and turns and Chan-wook Park-iness to it.”

“I definitely enjoyed this quite a bit and probably need to see this again somewhere down the line where I won’t be distracted by all the sex. But as it stands, a really solid movie.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I do need to see this again. But for the time being — scissoring.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Moonlight

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“After the failure of Birth of a Nation, this started coming on as the indie everyone was talking about. So I was nervous going in, but it looked good. So I had hopes. Mostly I didn’t want it to fall victim of too much buzz.”

“I forgot about that within fifteen minutes of this movie starting. This was tremendous. What a great movie.”

“Normally I like these movies but don’t love them enough to put them that high. But this one — this is a special film. This deserves all the acclaim it gets.”

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Really loved this. This was an incredible experience, and one of the best films 2016 has to offer.

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

What I said about it back in January:

“The first Jack Reacher was solid. I’m surprised it did well enough to warrant a sequel. Especially at a bigger budget. But sure.”

 

“Cruise cares, so at worst, this is 3 stars. The first one was 4. So I’ll split the difference and say 3.5 stars. They have enough faith in this to put it out in October. And I have faith in Cruise to make this movie worthwhile. He likes practical action, and there’s no sci fi element to this, so he’s gonna make this entertaining.”

What I thought about it:

“The beauty of the Reacher films is that they’re pretty grounded and much of the action is Tom Cruise beating the shit out of people. Which you can always turn into something watchable.”

“Problem is, I really liked the first one. This one didn’t have that spark.”

“It’s a passable action thriller that hangs somewhere between a 3 and a 3.5 because Cruise is clearly trying to make it work better than it does, but ultimately it’s a pretty forgettable story that doesn’t do a whole lot to make you remember it once you leave the theater.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Cruise tried to make this good, but it couldn’t overcome the generic action elements and bland storytelling. Just average.

* * * (3 stars)

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

Ouija: Origin of Evil

What I said about it back in January:

“Nope. Done. First one was forgettable, have no reason to see this one. This is a skip.”

What I thought about it:

“Only watched this to try to get 100% completion. “D

“id not like the first movie at all, and this one was unbearable. It’s just a mash of genre cliches. Just every single horror trope you can think of — here it is. Why would anyone watch this movie?”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Blumhouse is one of the worst things to happen to movies in the past decade.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

The Young Pope

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“This was DOPE.”

“Don’t worry, you didn’t miss it. It’s not coming out until like February in the US. You still have time.”

“Jude Law is so great here. It’s basically House of Cards in The Vatican. Only better, since you think he’s gonna be this lying piece of shit who schemed his way to the top, but the more you watch, the more it seems like he actually might be some kind of divine presence who belongs in this job and was made pope through the will of God.”

“Plus the idea that he got voted in, thinking, ‘He’s young. He’ll be progressive enough to keep the church relevant.’ And then he just does not do that. He goes fucking reactionary. And it’s awesome.”

“Could not recommend this more highly.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final Thoughts:

See this when it comes out. Trust me.

* * * * (4 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

The Whole Truth

What I said about it back in January:

3.5 stars.”

“The guy who wrote this wrote Matilda. (And other stuff. Like Frances, At Close Range, Reversal of Fortune, Mobsters, Fallen, and Bicentennial Man. But mostly Matilda.)”

What I thought about it:

“Trial movies are always engaging. That said, this one tried real hard to lose that 3.5 I’d been giving it for most of the film.”

“This one takes a third act twist that’s at first, ‘Ugh… seriously,’ and then becomes, ‘What the FUCK?!'”

“This was moderately interesting, even if the editing of the crime scene from different perspectives depending on the testimony made me wonder what exactly they were going for and only served to confuse me, and maybe if it didn’t end the way it did I’d like it more, but holy fuck. That ending.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Yeah, this definitely was not close to being worth a 3.5. I find myself drawn in by any and all trial movies, but this one… holy shit. The ending here is so bad that I’ve been telling people about it because it’s so out of left field that it’s actually funny that it’s so bad.

The movie’s okay, but outside of the ridiculous ending, the only thing interesting about it is the fact that I watched over an HOUR of the movie and then realized, “Holy shit, is that Renee Zellweger?” That’s… quite a different look.

Also, the dude who wrote Matilda wrote this.

* * * (3 stars)

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

Into the Inferno

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“This was interesting in that I thought it would be about volcanoes, but instead it randomly became about North Korea after a certain point.”

“Overall a movie I liked, mostly because of the visuals, but definitely a weird one.”

“I almost wish it had either stuck with volcanoes all the way or completely shifted to North Korea and been about that.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Enjoyed it, but it was really oddly structured.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Oasis: Supersonic

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“Music documentaries are usually moderately interesting.”

“I can’t say I ever really liked Oasis or cared about their music. So there was only so much I was going to get out of this. But I liked that they spent most of their fame drinking and doing drugs and partying. That was cool.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

They did do a lot of drugs.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Before the Flood

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“Don’t care. Sorry Leo, I really don’t care. I know the planet is fucked. I don’t need a documentary telling me that.”

“Especially since it’s so focused around Leo and his… journey, or whatever. I don’t care that he had a painting in his childhood bedroom that somehow makes him think of climate change. It all just feels like vanity to me. Not a huge fan of this.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I bet Leo thinks he accomplished something here. Isn’t that what matters?

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

I Am the Pretty Thing that Lives in the House

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“Straight up boring.”

“The framing was nice. I can say that. But this is just a really boring movie where nothing happens.”

“If you want something similar, then go for The Eyes of My Mother, which is much of the same, but at least has a few slightly interesting moments.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Was really bored during this. I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Inferno

What I said about it back in January:

“Okay, okay. Another Dan Brown. These usually go well enough. And I like the set up.”

“The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons were both 3 star movies, so why wouldn’t this also be 3 stars? I’m sure it’ll be perfectly entertaining, but not all that great.”

What I thought about it:

“Remember when The Da Vinci Code came out? That book made tons of money, and the movie was highly anticipated. And then people were like, ‘Well this isn’t very good,’ and ‘What the hell is with Tom Hanks’ mullet?'”

“And then Angels and Demons came out three years later and it was treated like a big movie, and it did okay, but it wasn’t particularly great either (despite being, in my mind, the best book in that series).”

“This one — no one cared about this, and you wonder why they even made it.”

“Hanks is back, and they somehow got Felicity Jones to be in this, and it was about (well… as much as it could be “about” anything) Dante’s Inferno, which I love. And yet even I didn’t care about this.”

“Pretty generic thriller all around, with little of interest anywhere.”

“It was watchable, but it certainly wasn’t good.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Utterly generic and part of diminishing returns on a franchise that didn’t have too many returns to begin with. Also, still no idea what the hell that third act twist was about. But whatever. I don’t care enough about this to do anything more than shrug.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is November.

http://bplusmovieblog.com

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