Friday, January 2, 2015

Movies I Saw and Didn't Write About in 2014

So I’ve been pretty busy the last three months getting married and stuff, and I’ve let my blogging slide terribly. On the other hand, I have to admit that I also haven’t seen many movies lately that made me want to write about them, let alone need to write about them. Bummer. Even so, in order to make up for my egregious neglect of this space, I offer penance: a big ‘ol roundup of movies I’ve seen in the last few months, along with some very concise reviews. For even more succinctness, I put the movies I highly recommend in red.

Enemy. This was, plain and simple, a surreal mindfuck. I went into it knowing nothing, and left it… still knowing very little. It definitely intrigued me enough to want to watch it again and try to figure it out a little more. Great performance from Jake Gyllenhaal in two distinct roles.

The Babadook. Okay, I lied. When I watched this movie, I was completely inspired to write a glowing review of it, but then wedding stuff and life stuff got in the way, and that review never happened. Sadly. But I’m here to tell you now – go see The Babadook! Seriously, go now! It is a creepy, poignant, intelligent gem of a story with moving performances from Essie Davis and (7 year old!) Noah Wiseman, with great visuals to boot. (Note: it's not an animated film, that's just a screen cap of the children's book that's central to the story.) I really recommend it.

Tusk. Umm… well, it was different than anything else I’ve seen this year. So that’s something. And its sheer bizarreness was enough to make me want to keep watching until the end. So that’s something else. If you’re intent on watching a Kevin Smith movie, though, I’d recommend Red State first.

The Canal. This did nothing for me. It seemed like a vague rip-off of The Ring with a predictable twist. But a lot of people seemed to like it, so maybe it’s partially due to my bias against ghost movies and never finding them scary anymore.

As Above, So Below. Another found footage movie (I really need to instate a “no found footage” policy on this website or something, because you’re all probably tired of hearing me complain about it). Blah. This one had a grain of an interesting story in there, but I feel like the filmmakers came at it from all the wrong angles. I felt like I was watching National Treasure: Home Movies.

Only Lovers Left Alive. Okay, this is another one I loved and failed to plug. Jim Jarmusch’s tale of vampire lovers living out the end times (a.k.a. “culture” as we know it today) is quiet and moody and gorgeous, sad and funny and ironic. Add in Tilda Swinton’s androgynous albino good looks and Tom Hiddleston’s depressed mug, and you’ve got a movie I’ll be rewatching on slow nights for years to come.

Zombeavers. From the sublime, to the ridiculous. Though it was nothing particularly special, this horror comedy actually made me chuckle.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. I’m not a big fan of the Paranormal Activity movies, and this slightly remixed entry into the franchise didn’t change my mind. At least it was a little different than the last however many sequels. I don’t think I could handle many more slightly rustling blankets as scares.

Starry Eyes. This movie surprised me in a lot of good ways. Truly horrifying body horror with an excellent performance behind it (Alex Essoe in the lead). There weren’t a lot original ideas at its core, but it was the execution that left me stunned.

Honeymoon. This didn’t blow me away, but it was intriguing. I would probably watch it if I were you, but… that’s about all I have to say about that. I did briefly think of this movie when I saw Gone Girl the other day, which brought up similar, disturbing questions about the relationship of marriage. Those ominous last lines: "What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?"

Proxy. Weird, disturbing, occasionally morbidly hilarious. There’s a huge POV switch in the middle, which always throws me off. This kept me on my toes in a great way, and I liked it a lot, if only because it was so tonally strange.

There you have it. Turns out there were some hidden treasures I'd forgotten all about! I shouldn't be so cynical. And sorry about the lateness; I hope to be much better about posting in the new year. Have you seen any great movies in 2014 that you failed to mention? Tell me in the comments.

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