I did a whole lot of movie-watching in December and January, but never got around to making a Modern Movies post for the December viewings, so today and tomorrow I’m combining the months into one big recap! Here’s the first half of the post-1970 flicks I watched in December and January.

(Image via The Media Bee)

Creed (2015)
My sister has been raving about this film since she saw it in the theater, and now that she owns it on DVD, I took advantage of the opportunity to watch it with her during a December movie night. I haven’t seen all of the previous Rocky movies (just the original), so this wasn’t as special to me as to those who’ve watched and loved the series for years, but I did enjoy it. It’s a well-crafted film, deserving of the hype my sister gave it!

(Image via Novedades Disney)

Inner Workings (Short, 2016)
This is the short that accompanied Moana in theaters. I typically don’t watch short films very often, and even more rarely review them, but I thought this was worth a mention. It’s a fun little watch, with a somewhat-paranoid brain considering all of the potentially-deadly dangers faced in a given day, and controlling the rest of the body’s “inner workings” in attempt to avoid such a fate. I found it very amusing.

(Image via Ace Showbiz)

Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
My sister keeps insisting that we’re going to see the sequel together on Valentine’s Day (#singlelife, #sisterdate, etc.) and I can’t watch a sequel without seeing its predecessor, so against our better judgement we rented this on Amazon during one of our sister movie nights. As expected, it’s fun to make fun of. The performances and story are more than a little bit ridiculous, but not enough to push the film into “corn classic” territory. We got a few good laughs (and lots of cringes) out of it.

(Image via Ryan Gosling Addicted)

La La Land (2016)
I was greatly looking forward to La La Land. Gosling and Stone are no Bogie and Bacall, but I did like them together in Crazy, Stupid, Love., and I was happy to see an original musical being put into theaters in 2016. In the end, I enjoyed the film, but it wasn’t my favorite of the year. I appreciated its commentary on the pursuit of dreams, enjoyed several of the songs, and thought it was visually very beautiful.

(Image via Festival Reviews)

Lion (2016)
Whereas I found La La Land to be ever-so-slightly overhyped, I found Lion to be incredibly underhyped! Saroo’s story is incredible (definitely a “truth is stranger than fiction” tale) and Lion portrays it beautifully. The storytelling is delicate and respectful, and the performances of both Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar are powerfully moving. I very rarely cry while watching movies but this was a total tearjerker for me. It captured my usually-cold heart.

(Image via Krizza and Happiness)

Love, Rosie (2014)
I didn’t really care for Cecelia Ahern’s book, on which this film is based, but had some hope that the adaptation would make a few improvements to the story. Changes were made (the timeline condensed, for example), but not necessarily for the better. While I thought Sam Claflin and Lily Collins were fine choices for the leading roles, and liked their chemistry, I feel basically the same way about the film as I did about the book — underwhelmed.