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Monday, February 02, 2015

The Nicsperiment's End of Winter Break Movie Mini-Reviews, 2015

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This was kind of a loony break. A lot of time to reflect and relax, but then at the end it got crazy and chaotic to the point that I hope I am not forgetting to review anything I saw back when life was easy.

Boyhood -- 10/10
Deserves all of the accolades, not because of the filming over 12 years thing, which is a gimmick, but because maybe no film has ever captured the strange rhythms of life and its everyday trials and joys quite as accurately. Easily one of the greatest films I've ever seen, though I haven't seen all four of the Transformers movies yet.

Gone Girl -- 9/10
At first I was like, "what is this thing?", then I was like, "oh," but then I was like "ooooooooohhhhhhhh!" Gone Girl is the best thing Fincher has done since Zodiac, and its dark, difficult commentary on marriage and how difficult it is to ever truly know someone hits harder than Neal Patrick Harris losing an appendage.

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies -- 7/10
It's infuriating in a way: those Star Wars Prequels have such awful acting and character work, but these Hobbit films have both great acting and excellent character work...buried under an orgy of special effects that would make even George Lucas beg for a left turn on the volume dial. The second film set up a film that could have been far more moral and theme-focused than this.

In a World -- 8/10
Before In a World, my only experience with Lake Bell was watching her tell a joke on the Internet, but now my experience with Lake Bell is vastly enjoying a film she wrote, directed, produced and starred in, as well as having watched her tell a joke on the Internet. In a World is funny, insightful, and offers an original perspective, which happens in a movie just about never.

Interstellar -- 6/10
Almost unbelievably immense in the scope of how absolutely empty it is. Some of the best special effects ever put to film, coupled with solid performances, and the start of big ideas that add up to nothing--the film means nothing, and falls for the most oh crap, I have to write an ending ending of "The power of love did it somehow, and black holes, too, I guess."

The Lego Movie -- 8/10
I have no idea why it took me so long to watch this insanely creative film, but considering the sheer amount of literal invention going on in every shot, I don't think this will be my last viewing. Unless Jurassic World turns out to be utter crap (as opposed to udder milk), Chris Pratt seems to be on one heck of a run.

Paddington -- 9/10
It's not fair that a children's book about a clumsy bear who eats marmalade has been adapted into a far better film than J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit has. Paddington is a nearly staggering work of creative genius as far as filmmaking goes, with every shot so lovingly crafted and creatively staged, it's a wonder that it is all in service of a simple tale of family and acceptance.

This Is Where I Leave You -- 4/10
I watched this. It was a movie.

Under the Skin -- 8/10
In college (the first time through), I had a poster of Scarlett Johansson on my wall--it wasn't like some kind of dirty thing--it was a poster for Lost In Translation featuring Johansson in a raincoat, holding a translucent umbrella in the foreground of the alien landscape of Tokyo; I loved Lost in Translation and I loved Johansson in it, but lately she's gone through the romantic-comedy and superhero film wringer to the point that she doesn't even resemble the actress from Lost in Translation anymore. The art film, Under the Skin, brings back the old Johansson in what is essentially what a sci-fi movie would look like if it was written and directed by Ingmar Bergman--it seems Johansson is best when she is acting as an outsider looking for her place, and the sad alien she plays here is the best role she's inhabited in 12 years.

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