Movie – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: A-

catching fireA-
Catching fire is a true rarity: a film that’s significantly better than the book. The book bored me nearly to the point of giving up, while I felt the film was even more entertaining than the first. Gone were all the unnecessary detail and tedious filler scenes. Even more impressive, I liked it better than the first film, which I liked more than the first book. The focus shifted to the places it needed to, and thankfully we’ve moved away from shaky cam. After my disappointment with the Catching Fire novel, I never bothered with Mockingjay. Now I find myself wanting to see the end on film. (Though, lamentably, it’s being split in two. Hopefully that’s the next trend we can escape.)

Movie – The Master: C

With all the competent film technique and acting prowess this film flung at me, you think I’d like it more. But alas, nothing significant caught my attention. I think I wanted a harsher attack on scientology. Not that it portrayed the subject lightly. It just meandered a bit too much for my tastes.

Movie – Mary and Max: A-

Mary and Max was definitely different and different is interesting. It was certainly well made. The claymation was superb (as it usually is) and I loved the two different styles depicting New York and Australia. I even enjoyed the music despite it not being within my genres of choice. The story was decent enough. It’s “true story” depiction hindered it somewhat, but I enjoyed its effort to depict Asperger’s in a quirky comedic manor without trivializing it.

Movie – Moneyball: B-

All sports movies should be underdog stories, and most are. They make the films easier to watch for those not incredibly interested in the sport. Additionally, if they’re using the sport as a backdrop for a more important issue, it’s even more poignant. (Especially racism a la Remember the Titans and Invictus.) Moneyball was a baseball movie about stats and economics. Baseball, stats, and economics are each far from exciting. The screenwriter and actors put up a valiant effort to make these subjects interesting. They didn’t quite succeed.

Movie – Ides of March: A-

Though not a lot happened per se, the expert plot progression engaged me throughout. Gosling played his familiar emotionless protagonist, but played it well. Clooney’s character’s political positions were distractingly exaggerated to a cartoonish level. Hoffman and Giamatti excelled.