Movie – The LEGO Movie: A+

lego movieA+
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kids movie so consistently funny and purely entertaining. Every character was distinct and I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite. I was pleasantly surprised by how many LEGO franchises made cameos. And the animation blew me away. The dedication to keeping everything 100% LEGO produced astounding cohesion and immersion. A definite candidate for best film of 2014.

Movie – White House Down: C-

white house downC-
I was tempted to just copy/paste my review of Olympus Has Fallen, as they share so many faults. The forced plotting. The occational decent action in a sea of dumb decision-making. Though this one had Emmerich’s awful attempts at silliness to punctuate the badness. He also decided to make it more politically biased. Jamie Foxx (as a not-at-all disguised Obama) and Tatum worked fairly well together, but not enough to distract from the rest of the astounding ridiculousness.

Movie – G.I. Joe Retaliation: B+

gi joe retaliationB+
I never saw The Rise of Cobra, opting to wait for The Rock’s introduction as the franchise-fixer he seems to be now. I also wasn’t a fan of the G.I. Joe cartoon as a kid, though I did enjoy the toys, especially the ridiculous vehicles, and of course, the ninjas. Those two things played prominently in my enjoyment of Retaliation. There’s a ninja fight on the side of a mountain that was particularly entertaining. Naturally, the plot is a mess of nonsense and cliche character arcs, but there’s a truly bold move early in the film that instantly warmed me to the rest. Though there’s also a pointlessly bold move late in the film, only there to spice up the trailer.

Movie – Side Effects: B+

side effectsB+
This thriller did everything I expected of it. It had the requisite shocks and plot twists without getting ridiculous. It was suspenseful without over-doing it. The acting and cinematography were on point without drawing attention to themselves. But it was too meticulous, doing everything right but nothing outstanding. That sounds really pretentious doesn’t it?

Movie – Haywire: A

On the surface it’s just “Bourne as a Girl”, but it was filled with scenes I loved, though it slowed at times. Gina Carano, the MMA fighter making her acting debut, was truly awful, but the astounding actors filling out the rest of the cast more than made up for it. And she certainly performed the action scenes flawlessly.

Movie – The Eagle: D

Started off with a couple barely exciting battles, then descended into a quagmire of stagnant conversations alternating between glorifying and lambasting Rome, which was never really resolved. After an eternity of looking at neat landscapes, things start happening again with a few more barely exciting battles and then the stoic hero and his slave-turned-best-friend emerge triumphant, of course. Also of note: not a single female had a speaking role.