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Sunday, December 13, 2015

More Movie Catching Up...

I actually wrote this on my phone, the same way I took notes at the doctor's office the other day. I actually wanted to just post the note itself, but I haven't figured out to get a full image of it because it's so long.

So some of these movies are more recent than others, obviously. When I went back to work my movie attendance dropped off, but I got to see a few during my recovery from surgery before I went back to work. The older ones...well, they're probably available in some format or other.

The Visit - M. Night Shyamalan with a scary movie...with a small budget and cast with no real "name" actors? But the story of 2 teenagers spending a week with grandparents who turn out to be really creepy is very effective. My grade: B-plus.

The Intern - Robert DeNiro plays a magical elf who shows up and fixes everyone's lives. Well, he's not really an elf but basically that's what happens when this bored, retired widower applies for a senior-citizen internship at a growing e-commerce firm owned by Anne Hathaway. Advice on whether to hire a CEO? Bob's on it. Help young coworkers with dating advice and getting more appreciation from the boss? Bob's on it. Help fix his boss's marriage and even an afternoon babysitting? Bob's...you get the idea. It's not a bad movie but the lack of significant dramatic tension (even comedies need a little of it) doesn't help. My grade: B-minus.

The Martian - It was visually great, well-acted, had some nice character touches...but ultimately lacking a bit in real intensity. There was no doubt WHAT would happen to Matt Damon's astronaut, stranded on Mars and presumed dead after his fellow crew members are forced to prematurely return to Earth. The only question is HOW it would happen. My grade: B.

Spectre - The latest Daniel Craig-as-James Bond outing followed up on events in Skyfall, with a much talkier villain and more backstory for Bond. Neither trend is great. Craig is under contract for one more Bond flick but is said to want out. Kinda hope he gets his wish unless they can come up with a better plot and villain. My grade: B-minus.

The Peanuts Movie - It's basically a greatest-hits collection with modern-day animation, frantically racing through recreations of, or at least winks and nods to, just about every famous joke or scene they've done over years of TV specials and previous films, all serving an updated plot in which Charlie Brown tries to overcome his Charlie Brown-iness and win the heart of the Little Red-Haired Girl. But they did it so well, even if I saw the ending coming from miles away. My grade: A-minus.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 - Upon some reflection, it's good this is ending so Jennifer Lawrence can return to the rest of her increasingly fine career. This was kind of meh, rather bleak, and the split of the final book into 2 movies was poorly executed. My grade: C-plus.

The Night Before - I walked out about halfway through. Unfunny, especially Seth Rogen. And a movie that makes me NOT like Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Unforgivable. My grade: F.

Creed - Superb. They rebooted, or restarted, or whatever you want to call it, the Rocky franchise almost perfectly. Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), son of the late former heavyweight Apollo, determined to follow in his father's footsteps, moves from LA to Philadelphia and sells Rocky Balboa on training him. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone are brilliant - well, just about everyone is, really. With acknowledgments to the original films and updates to reflect the current day, parallels between young Creed's journey and that of Rocky, the way Philadelphia looks, the diversity...just one or two minor quibbles keep me from a perfect grade. My grade: A.

Krampus - I was a little tired and briefly fell asleep early on, but didn't really miss anything important. Family tensions two days before Christmas causes a boy to lash out at everyone; when he tears up his letter to Santa. Enter Krampus, the anti-Santa, a demon who punishes the naughty at Christmas. Krampus has minions (no, not those Minions), and that aspect gave it a "Gremlins" vibe, which really helped. My grade: A-minus.

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