Saturday, August 22, 2015

Before and After: Movies from Fall/Winter 2014

Since I just posted about a week ago my thoughts about the upcoming movies for Fall/Winter 2015, I thought it would be fun to take a look back a year ago to what I thought about the upcoming movies and compare it to what I found.

I decided to start with a year ago, because there are a number of films from that time that I only recently got around to watching.

Below are my original anticipatory thoughts.  Following those are my Film Flash reviews if I saw it in the theater, or a quick summary of My Thoughts if I saw it at home.

I've also updated my ratings from some of my Film Flashes.  Looking back, I think I tend to give higher scores on many of my initial impressions.  But then over time, they slightly adjust downward.  This is not always the case, but I think I try as much as possible to see the good in a film.  But that good may not have as much staying power over time.

Scale of 1-5 stars my likelihood of seeing it in theaters (1 being “Not at all” 5 being “Cannot wait!”).

So here are some of the movies that are coming out along with my level of excitement.

The Maze Runner -
THEN - I find the trailer incredibly intriguing and I think I'm going to see this one in the theater if I can (****)
FILM FLASH - Cube meets Hunger Games.  Better than average teen dystopian future film.  ( 3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars)

Hector and the Search For Happiness
THEN- I like the look of this film and it reminds me of the previews I saw for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  I just hope its better than the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (***)
MY THOUGHTS - A movie with unnecessarily dark turns that doesn't go deep enough.
(2 out of 5 stars)

The Equalizer 
THEN- It looks like Denzel is trying to encroach on Liam territory.  And the trailers look like he pulled it off (****)
FILM FLASH: Denzel goes full Liam Nesson in Taken and maybe even outdoes him.  Graphically violent fun. (3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars)

Gone Girl 
THEN- I'm not sure why, but the trailers have me so intrigued.  And Affleck is currently in the full bloom of his Ben-aissance.  I'm there opening night (*****)
FILM FLASH - Expertly filmed movie with great performances about ugly people doing disturbing things.
(2  out of 5 stars)

THEN- I'm sure he's a lovely person, but I really don't like Miles Teller.  And I don't care for Jazz, so there isn't a big draw for me here in this story about a struggling Jazz drumming student.  (*)
 comeback (**)
MY THOUGHTS - Ambiguous themes and message don't dull the power of this film. (4 out of 5 stars)

Kingsman: The Secret Service
THEN- This feels like Kick Ass but in England.  Not a big selling point (**)
MY THOUGHTS - A little too violent for me and too much emphasis on uncharismatic lead. (2 and 1/2 out of 5 stars)

St. Vincent
THEN- I like Bill Murray, but this looks like nothing special (**)
FILM FLASH Like a vulgar version of Up.  One of Bill Murray's best performances in years.
(3 out of 5 stars)

THEN- Unfortunately this is not a movie about one of my favorite X-Men, but it is a movie about a creepy news reporter starring a creepy Jake Gyllenhal (*)
MY THOUGHTS - A mesmerizing dark satire with an amazing performance (4 out of 5 stars)

THEN- Christopher Nolan has not made a bad movie and I found the trailers enthralling. (*****)
FILM FLASH - Like 2001, but good.  Epic scope and emotional depth.  (Beware the chunky 3rd act) (4 and 1/2 out of 5 stars.)

Big Hero 6
THEN- Disney's digital studios have grown up a lot in the last few years and this is brought to us by Marvel who has a great cinematic track record (****)
FILM FLASH - A fun superhero cartoon, though not as nostalgic as Wreck-It-Ralph or as magical as Frozen. (3  out of 5 stars)

The Theory of Everything
THEN- This is pure Oscar-bait and I can't wait to see it (****)
FILM FLASH - Like A Beautiful Mind?  Then you'll hate this movie with a completely opposite theme. (1 out of 5 stars.)

THEN- I love Steve Carrel, but I can't get my head around this one (***)
MY THOUGHTS - Hated this film.  It wasn't that it was morally offensive or anything.  But it was completely dark, pretentious, and ultimately pointless.  Nothing in this movie made any sense. (1/2 out of 5 stars)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
THEN- I thought the last 2 movies were very good, so I will be there opening night (*****)
FILM FLASH - Best Hunger Games movie yet.  Refreshingly different, but incomplete.  Can't wait for part 2! (4  out of 5 stars)

The Imitation Game
THEN- I know the history behind this story and it is very sad.  I might wait for Netflix (**)
FILM FLASH - Fascinating story about secrets on top of secrets and lies on top of lies.  (3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars)

Exodus: Gods and Kings
THEN- If Ridley Scott can bring the same intesity that he brought to Gladiator, then this could be all kinds of awesome (****)
FILM FLASH - Come for the Biblical inaccuracy.  Stay for the not-so-bad sword and sandal epic.
(2 and 1/2 out of 5 stars)

December 19

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies
THEN- I am so excited to see this.  I can't wait to see all of the heartbreakingly powerful parts of the book come to life (*****)
FILM FLASH - A fond, fitting farewell to Jackson's Tolkienverse (WARNING: the character Alfred = Jar Jar) (4 and 1/2 out of 5 stars)

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