My last movie review was back in November when I shared my two cents on Ben Affleck's The Accountant. I actually thought that film was pretty solid. But in that post, I mentioned a few other movies that I had recently seen. I'm going to add the quick recaps of those movies to the end of this post too since it's the big end of year review. But I'm mainly sharing the December releases that I've seen (and maybe even that I think you should see). So enjoy and happy New Year!
Nocturnal Animals - opened 12/9: I hope you've heard of this movie that was directed by fashion designer Tom Ford. The reviews for it might be all over the place, but I must admit, it was one of the coolest films I've seen this year. It's weird; it's random; it's funny; and it's scary. It's also based on a book that I'm thinking about reading, although it's tough for me to read books after I've already watched the film versions. Nocturnal Animals stars Amy Adams -- who receives a manuscript written by her ex-husband, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. The manuscript tells a vivid and terrifying story, and the movie itself, weaves between real life and the life of the characters in the novel. And at the end, dark truths are revealed. Rating: ♥♥♥
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - opened 12/16: Going into this movie, you should be aware that I'm well biased. To me, Star Wars is the ultimate franchise. Darth Vader is my favorite fictional character of all time, and I own way more SW gear than one might think (beanies, socks, jammies, glasses, action figures, costumes, movies, bath towels, etc). I did a mini review of last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Episode VII) and gave it a review of 4 hearts. And even though Rogue One is not in the SW saga (the reason why the movie doesn't start with the typical SW crawl) it's obviously still a part of the franchise, and quite honestly, is one of the best Star Wars movies ever. You won't fall in love with any particular character (except maybe K-2SO), but you will love the believable visuals, the stunning CGI and the wonderful story. Rogue One is basically like a prequel to A New Hope (Episode IV). I don't want to give too much away, but I will tell you that there's a planet called Scarif that was filmed in the Maldives and features a ton of AT-AT walkers. If you're a SW fan, then you can only imagine how beautiful that sounds! And don't get me started on that Darth Vader light saber scene! #ItWasEverything (#RIPCarrieFisher) Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥La La Land - opened 12/16: If Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are in a movie together, then you know I already bought my ticket (examples being Crazy, Stupid, Love and Gangster Squad). With Gosling being more particular about his roles these days, it's nice to see him in a film as unique and darling as La La Land. The movie stars Gosling, a budding jazz pianist, and Stone, a struggling actress, who meet each other randomly and, essentially, act as each other's muses to help jumpstart their flailing careers. All of this is done with fun musical numbers (yes, both Gosling and Stone sing!), nostalgic dance segments, and old Hollywood references against an L.A. backdrop. Rating: ♥♥♥♥
Assassin's Creed - opened 12/21: I never played the video game that Assassin's Creed is based on, but I generally like action movies, especially if they include good actors like Michael Fassbender. But sweet Jesus, not even Fassie could save this ridiculously convoluted plot about a man who uses a machine to re-live the memories of his assassin ancestor from the Spanish Inquisition. Was that sentence long winded and annoying? Well, so was the movie! And why did the director choose to "stylize" it with a blurry bluish gray haze for the entire two hour stint? The story was hard enough to understand, but I also had to deal with the fact that I could hardly see what was going on the majority of the time. The only good thing about the film were some of the acrobatic fighting scenes -- at least the few that I could make out through the fog. Rating: ♥
Passengers - opened 12/21: Jennifer Lawrence made a movie that wasn't directed by David O. Russell? Oh, happy day! I enjoy when they make movies together (example: JOY from last December?), but I really wanted her to branch out of the Russell rut. In Passengers, there are more than 5,000 people in hibernation pods on a spaceship that's taking a 120-year journey to a new planet. So what happens when a hibernation pod malfunctions and accidentally wakes up its passenger (Chris Pratt) 90 years too soon? How does one cope with being the only person awake in space, especially knowing that it's fairly impossible to live for 90 more years? And can the hibernation pod issue be fixed? Would you do the unthinkable to combat loneliness? And you'll love the swimsuit that JLaw wears in the film! Rating: ♥♥♥
Hell or High Water.........one of the best movies I've seen this year: ♥♥♥♥
Don't Breathe..........not nearly as scary as I'd hoped: ♥
Suicide Squad..........not worth your theater money: ♥♥
The Light Between Oceans..........still haven't seen!
Arrival...........I saw this movie, but I was drunk and it was midnight so I fell asleep.
Snowden..........I now cover my webcam because of this movie: ♥♥♥
The Magnificent Seven..........a fun from start to finish film: ♥♥♥
The Girl on the Train..........well done and just like the book: ♥♥♥♥