Christmas Cupid (2010) – ABC Family has made some real… gems over the years, but this one may just take the cake as the worst of them all! With a story that is 110% predictable, a main character that makes terrible life decisions, and performances that seem deliberately bad, it would take a special type of viewer to enjoy this one. Even I, the ringmaster of the Classics of the Corn Hall of Shame, almost found it to be so-bad-it’s-just-plain-bad rather than corny-but-enjoyable.
Horrible Bosses 2 (2014) – Some of the humor in this one is not my taste (as is quite common with new-release comedies), but it did get quite a few laughs out of me. The cast is full of charisma, which makes the film enjoyable to watch. Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine are nice additions to the cast. If you liked the first film, you’ll like this one.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I (2014) – Two major takeaways from this newest installment in the Hunger Games series. The first is that I’d definitely need to live in the logging district if I were a resident of Panem. THOSE BEARDS. The second is that it was a terrible idea to split the third book into two films — something a lot of us suspected, but has now been proven. The film is still good, at times very suspenseful and tense. The performances are for the most part solid and emotionally effective. But it feels very much like a “Part I,” like the central conflict hasn’t even begun by the time the credits roll, whereas the two previous films felt like parts of a series that could be standalones, if they needed to be. On a brighter note, I liked the new additions to the supporting cast, namely Natalie Dormer as Cressida and Elden Henson as Pollux.
Interstellar (2014) – I went into this one with somewhat low expectations. I’d read a couple of reviews that expressed disappointment, even one that straight-up called it a “bad film.” I’m not sure those reviewers and I watched the same film, because I ended up loving it! In a fashion we’ve come to expect from Christopher Nolan, a lot of big ideas are explored here — interstellar travel, the future of Earth, the future of the human race, the complexity and depth of the parent-child relationship, the power of love. It’s a lot for the viewer to take in, and I can see why some people have had trouble following it. While it’s certainly a film that required my full attention, I didn’t find it too difficult to follow. I loved all of the performances (Jessica Chastain can do no wrong!) and found the emotional elements of the story to be very effective. I also appreciated the fact that it didn’t feel overlong, even with that 169-minute running time. My only issue was the sound — it is incredibly overwhelming and distracting at times. But Interstellar is a spectacular piece of work.
Nightcrawler (2014) – Fascinating look at the sensationalism of television news and one demented man’s quest to make his name in the field. Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance is fantastic, and the film takes a couple of crazy turns, making it a gripping watch. Rene Russo is also amazing as news director Nina, who works with Gyllenhaal’s character despite his questionable journalistic ethics.
Pitch Perfect (2012) – A fun popcorn flick. The cast is likable. It reminds me a lot of early-millennium wonders like Bring it On (one of my childhood favorites). I don’t think it lives up to the hype at all, but I did enjoy it and will give the sequel a shot.