Thursday, December 25, 2014

2014 Movies

I haven't written a blog post in forever, but I have found myself talking a lot about movies lately, and since I have a bit of free time, I thought I'd write a little something about it.

I didn't give myself a movie goal this year - good thing because I am NOT on pace to match the last two years at all. But just in case you were looking for something to watch during some free time in these last few days of the year, or were wondering what my thoughts were on some 2014 releases, or like to see me make lists, I've jotted down my thoughts on the non-Hallmark/Lifetime movies I've seen this year. My favs are highlighted. (I have linked to the trailers for all, in case you're interested.)

  1. A Long Way Down not my favorite Nick Hornby book, but as I will be doing quite a bit in this list, I recommend the book over the movie. (Although I have to say, likeable cast.)
  2. A Most Violent Year  I was a test audience member for this. Solid acting, but seeing a rough cut of the movie really reminded me what a difference score and sound make in the overall movie watching experience. I will have to watch the final version, and see if I can notice any changes.
  3. Anchorman 2 it was on cable. I did not laugh once.
  4. Begin Again Mark Ruffalo's beard = good; Adam Levine's beard = evil. Didn't like it as much as Once (which I read reviews comparing it to), and I don't think this one will become a Broadway musical. Still, it's sweet, and Keira Knightley isn't a bad singer.
  5. Birdman weird and darkly funny with some great performances. 
  6. Camp Takota a fun little indie romantic comedy/coming-of-age-as-an-adult movie, starring two of my favorite internet funny ladies, Mamrie Hart and Grace Helbig
  7. Cesar Chavez I like the actors involved, really wanted to love the movie, but it felt a little made-for-TV-ish.
  8. Chef left me craving a good Cubano sandwich. First food porn movie on this list...there are a couple more. I enjoyed them all.
  9. Cuban Fury I love a good dance competition movie, and this one was frothy fun.
  10. Divergent the book was better, but I did appreciate seeing Four's tattoos. ;)
  11. Goodbye to All That I feel I was sold a bill of goods on this one - it was not the sexy romantic comedy I was expecting from a review I read. More like an awkward and sometimes painfully real movie about relationships, with some funny bits. Not bad, but don't watch this on a date night.
  12. Guardians of the Galaxy Loved it. Of course I bought the soundtrack. One of my favs of the year.
  13. Maleficent - I recently read that this movie fails the reverse Bechdel test: no two named male characters have a conversation with each other that isn't about a woman. Don't remember if that's actually true, but if it is, it's about time.
  14. Maze Runner better than Divergent, but once again, the book was better. (Spoiler alert: the fact they totally removed the telepathy between Thomas and Teresa REALLY bugged me.)
  15. Million Dollar Arm schmaltzy, but enjoyable
  16. Neighbors silly fun. 
  17. Pride - I laughed, I cried, I cheered. One of my favs of the year. (I have a weakness for movies featuring sassy older British ladies.)
  18. Rosewater - Gael Garcia Bernal is tiny. And extremely pleasant to look at. It was OK, but it left me wanting more - more background story, more character development. 
  19. The Fault In Our Stars - I laughed, I cried. Almost as good as the book. I bought the soundtrack.
  20. The Grand Budapest Hotel I liked it, but generally Wes Anderson movies are too quirky for me to really love. I feel I'm not enough of a hipster to be really into them or something.
  21. The Hunger Games: Mockinjay, Part 1 I actually enjoyed the movie MORE than the book. I know...shocking! The ladies in this movie bring their A game, but the guys... well, Gale is pretty to look at, but I can't be the only one who found him to be a little dead in the eyes, can I?
  22. The Imitation Game - Benedict Cumberbatch is getting all kinds of deserving accolades for this one, but if I'm being honest, I was there for Matthew Goode. Also, the movie really made me think of War Games. Was the fictional Falken character inspired by Turing? (One of my favs of the year.)
  23. The Lego Movie - fun. Awesome fun.
  24. The One Hundred Foot Journey I have a weakness for food porn movies, and this fits the bill very well. The story differs quite a bit from the book, but considering how meandering the book got at the end, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Cute.
  25. The Other Woman - frothy and fun.
  26. The Trip to Italy: warning: after seeing this movie, you will have an overwhelming desire to eat your way through Italy and perhaps dust off your copy of Alanis's Jagged Little Pill. (Side note: my favorite food porn movie is Eat Drink Man Woman. I dare you not to crave good Chinese food while watching.)
  27. This Is Where I Leave You - This one was just OK. I love most of the actors involved, but the book was better.
  28. Veronica Mars - as a fan of the TV show, this movie, which I helped fund through Kickstarter, did not disappoint. (Also inspired one of my favorite tweets of the year: "In the Veronica Mars movie Piz worked for This American Life. That means there's an alternate universe where Veronica solves Serial." Anyone want to talk about favorite podcasts?)
In summary: a lot of the 2014 movies I've seen were based on books I read. In most cases, I recommend reading the book over watching the movie.

Hopefully I'll get to squeeze in a few more of the awards-nominated films that just came out before the end of the year. Any movies you recommend seeing?

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