Directed By: Jonathan Liebesman Written By: Josh Applebaum, Andre Nemec, Even Daugherty Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Noel Fisher, Alan Ritchson, Johnny Knoxville, Pete Ploszek PG-13 1 h 41 min – Action | Adventure | Comedy
Directed By: Francis Lawrence Written By: Simon Beaufoy, Michael Arndt, Suzanne Collins (novel) Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland PG-13 2 h 26 min – Adventure | Sci-Fi
Directed By: Francis Lawrence Written By: Peter Craig, Danny Strong, Suzanne Collins (novel) Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson PG-13 2 h 3 min – Adventure | Sci-Fi
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy, John Lithgow, Michael Caine
PG-13 2 hr 49 min – Adventure | Sci-Fi
Directed By: James Gunn
Written By: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman (Comic book-Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning)
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista
PG 13 2 h 1 min – Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
Ever wondered where my numerical critique comes from? Wonder no more! I’ll break it down for you guys for future reference (with examples)
I base my rating off several criteria. Being that I’m somewhat technically inclined, camera work and effects play a big part in my reviews when it comes to ratings. Cinematography or lack thereof can make or break a flick on the meter. Likewise, if the movie’s story lacks in theme or power, and I lose interest, it drops down the peg board. I’ll give any movie the benefit of the doubt…if I know that I’m about to watch a Michael Bay film, I do honestly try my best to forget all the blasphemous work he’s given me prior. At the same time, if 10 minutes into I see all the flaws and errs I see in someone’s previous work, I don’t let it slide. I base my ratings on aesthetics, camera work, effects, story, plot development, character depth, theme, and dialogue. If a movie lacks in any of these areas, I drop its rating.
If any flick finds itself landing at a 10 on the meter, that means it’s a big fuckin deal to me. This is the kind of movie that on it’s release day I buy the Blu Ray/DVD/Ultraviolet combo at 24.99 AND the standard DVD, just because I need both cases in my DVD collection. It’s one of those movies that I’m telling everyone I know that if they don’t see it our friendship will be in jeopardy. It’s the kind of movie that I watch so many times I can recite it verbatim and never gets old. 10/10 means that story, characters, dialogue, aesthetics and camera work all align in perfect harmony.
Clearly if a movie lands on a 9, it’s the bee’s knees. Most likely there was one or two little hiccups along the ride that knocked it down a tad. Example: I’m watching Star Wars Return of the Jedi and I’m flipping out the entire time at how amazingly epic and badass it is, and then we get to the end and Hayden Christensen pops up CGI’d into the ending…NO! Damnit why!?! Had lucas left it, I’d have given it the 10 it deserved. It’s that situation where I feel in my heart I should give it a 10, but know in my mind that it only deserved a 9.
When something gets an 8, that I liked it enough that I am talking about it with all my friends, will probably buy it the day it comes out on DVD but found 3-5 little qualms with it. For instance, I loved “The Butler”, A LOT! However, Oprah is not my favorite and though she had blips of decent acting I felt like someone better could have been cast. Was the movie still totally awesome? Totes! I just didn’t enjoy that one aspect of the movie.
Here’s where we slip from the amazing to the “yeah, it was good” but nothing more than good. A movie will find itself at a 7 on the meter if it was a good movie, but nothing more than a “good” movie. It’s the kind of flick where I leave the theater, look at my girl (who isn’t a movie buff like me) and say “so, what did you think?” and she responds with “yeah, it was good” but that’s it! It’s the kind of movie that I buy on DVD/Blu Ray/Ultra Violet combo, but not until it drops 10 14.99 at Target. It’s the kind of movie that I’ll remember, and I’ll tell my friends to see it in theaters, but I won’t scream it from the mountain tops.
Now we’ve entered the territory of “It was alright”. A 6 on the meter means that I had no initial reaction to it. It wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad, it was just a movie that I went to. I walked out of the theater and when asked what my rating will be I respond with “I need to think about it”. These are the movies that could have been awesome, but fell short. They’re the movies that I liked, kind of, but didn’t LOVE. If I’m watching a movie in theaters or at home, and at any point check my watch, it gets nothing higher than a 6…that’s my rule. If at any point I am bored, or I lose interest, or I feel like it’s dragging, and I check the time, oh boy it’s tough to come back from that. It’s the kind of movie that I want to be good, but it just didn’t HIT me emotionally, it didn’t move me or surprise me. Shitty acting, I mean Megan Fox acting, that’ll land you on a 6 and unless the rest of the cast makes up for your terribleness, it’s hard to get higher.
Now we’re talking about movies that BARELY kept me in the theater. This is the kind of flick that I’m pissed about seeing in theaters, but wouldn’t be SO pissed if I had seen it on Netflix or Redbox. It’s that movie that you watch because the trailer made it seem like there was hope, and then you watch it and realize that EVERY awesome scene was IN THE TRAILER. It’s a movie that I hate reviewing because I don’t have much to say about it, I’m not so pissed that I tear it apart but I’m certainly not pumped about it either.
Now we’re in the “that shit sucked” category. It’s that movie that you’re definitely pissed about spending 12$ at the theater and wasting all that time. It’s a movie that you’ll recommend to someone, but ONLY if it’s on Netflix and ONLY if they’re somehow really into the genre or head over heels in love with the lead…otherwise, it’s a bust.
Here’s where a movie lands if I think it is a COMPLETE waste of time. These are the movies that I HATE. This is essentially everything from Michael Bay. Lens flairs, explosions, no depth, shitty acting, worse script and nothing flows. If it falls on a 3, don’t even waste your time.
WHAT!? This movie was actually screened in a theater? This is the movie that once those credits roll I’m mobbing up to the box office and I’m getting my money back. Call me an asshole, but I’m pissed my money went to such horrible film making and I cannot be one to support it. It’s that movie that you and all your friends just talk shit about endlessly, the kind of movie that you’re embarrassed FOR the poor saps in Hollywood who thought it was a good idea.
Shouldn’t have ever been a concept. The kind where I brand it “the worst movie ever” for weeks on end until I’m finally over the fact that I wasted so much of my life watching something so disgraceful to the industry.
Directed By: Dan Gilroy
Written By: Dan Gilroy
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Riz Ahmed
R 1 h 57 min – Crime | Drama | Thriller
A lonely and annoyingly eager to please Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal) who’s desperate for a steady job finally finds some solace tumbling down the rabbit hole of L.A. powered crime journalism. The film opens with Lou scrapping some pieces of fence for cash. He bombards the scrapyard manager trying to land a job and proves to us that we’re in for a long awkward ride. He’s of course turned down due to his wacky enthusiasm which he thinks is a plus point. On his way home he drives past the scene of a car accident. While watching creepily from the distance he sees a rugged camera crew roll up ready to film the carnage. As the crew is leaving he finds out what they were doing, and that it paid, which was enough for him. He went at the crew headstrong and the boss Joe (Paxton) brushed him off like the pest he was being. Lou then steals and pawns his way into a camcorder of his own and BAM! He’s in business! He starts off pretty rough, as you could imagine, but quickly forms a business relationship with Nina (Russo) who’s a washed up TV news producer who’s just as desperate as he is to make advances in the field. Right off the bat Lou’s dedication and willingness to put himself where few people with any shred of social know-how would, he starts getting some of the best footage of all the crews running. As his fix becomes harder and harder to satisfy, you see his rope of personal ethics start to unravel. He eventually takes on an apprentice named Nick (Ahmed) who’s pretty useless and equally desperate for work as Lou once was. Lou takes him on and starts teaching him the ropes and along the way throws the quirkiest management coaching at him I’ve ever seen. At any error or flub Lou would regurgitate some Tony Robins life skills shit all over him. Sadly, Nick didn’t catch on to the fact that Lou was just a spun out creeper until it was too late. Jake Gyllenhaal does a great job (as he typically does) of playing an awkwardly creepy yet somehow loveable maniac. As his relationship with Nina matures from a business relationship to a romantic one you really see just how creepy he can be. Several critics compared this performance to that of “Prisoners” yet I disagree. He was creepy in Nightcrawler, but he could have pushed it more. There were several times where it would build up to something totally abberated and twisted and what I got was disappointing. That didn’t go for the plot generally, just a few scenes specifically. When the movie finally started building towards the very end, I was totally satisfied at crescendo. One big bummer about this flick was that it was a Halloween release and NOTHING about it was scary. I understand that it’s JUST a thriller with a previously unexplored plot line and all but I felt it was advertised as more than that, especially with a Halloween release. Creepy? Yes. Intense? At times, sure. Scary? Nope. There were several scenes that were more intense than others, and most of them were done very well. The first hour of the movie was pretty slow going, which was fine as we were establishing a pretty slow going kind of character. I did, however, start to lose hope that it would pick up. It turned it around though towards the end. I really enjoyed the story as I haven’t really seen one like it before, especially with the gritty take this one had. It was pushing for a noir kind of flavor, and at times achieved it masterfully. Overall, it was a good flick, with one hell of an ending, which to me can absolutely make or break a movie. Keep yourself patient for the first 45 minutes or so and it will pay off at the end.
Directed By: David Dobkin Written By: Nick Schenk, Bill Dubuque, David Dobkin (story) Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D’Onofrio R 2 h 21 min – Drama