Awkweird Me
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
I’ve liked X-Men since I was a kid and I still have a vivid memory of seeing X-Men (2000) in the cinema, and as such, I have a soft spot for this franchise. After X-Men: First Class (2011), I figured that was it for the original cast (excluding Wolverine, of course), so this movie kind of came out of nowhere. I thought it was pretty good, overall. It was cool to see the two casts in one film. There are so many characters that some of them are reduced to more or less cameos, but I enjoyed that. There were even a few very welcome surprise ones. Having director Bryan Singer return to the franchise was also a plus. I love time travel films too, so I was pretty much guaranteed to like it somehow. It’s certainly not without its flaws, though. The plot’s quite convoluted, and is probably filled with plot holes, but if you can ignore that, it’s quite enjoyable. Most of the cast are good. However, Peter Dinklage’s character isn’t very interesting and, I’m sad to say, Jennifer Lawrence looks bored. Evan Peters’ Quicksilver was silly, but a lot of fun. It doesn’t really measure up to a lot of the other comic book movies coming out these days, but I liked it and thought it was a great entry in the series. Bring on X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)!

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

I’ve liked X-Men since I was a kid and I still have a vivid memory of seeing X-Men (2000) in the cinema, and as such, I have a soft spot for this franchise. After X-Men: First Class (2011), I figured that was it for the original cast (excluding Wolverine, of course), so this movie kind of came out of nowhere. I thought it was pretty good, overall. It was cool to see the two casts in one film. There are so many characters that some of them are reduced to more or less cameos, but I enjoyed that. There were even a few very welcome surprise ones. Having director Bryan Singer return to the franchise was also a plus. I love time travel films too, so I was pretty much guaranteed to like it somehow. It’s certainly not without its flaws, though. The plot’s quite convoluted, and is probably filled with plot holes, but if you can ignore that, it’s quite enjoyable. Most of the cast are good. However, Peter Dinklage’s character isn’t very interesting and, I’m sad to say, Jennifer Lawrence looks bored. Evan Peters’ Quicksilver was silly, but a lot of fun. It doesn’t really measure up to a lot of the other comic book movies coming out these days, but I liked it and thought it was a great entry in the series. Bring on X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)!

American Hustle (2013)
I think David O. Russell is a talented director, but since The Fighter (2010) (which had its biggest strength in the actors, not the direction), he’s been steadily declining in my eyes. I thought Silver Linings Playbook (2012) was vastly overrated, and it’s pretty much the same case here. This film was just lifeless. I was never emotionally involved and I never really cared where the story was going or what happened to the characters. I don’t even really remember what the plot was now. Again, its highlight is the actors involved - all of them, barring Bradley Cooper, put in solid performances. Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence are very good, in particular. I wasn’t sure if the plot was convoluted or I just wasn’t paying attention, but I think it was both. I just didn’t care. The film didn’t make me care. Oh, the soundtrack was decent. So there’s that.

American Hustle (2013)

I think David O. Russell is a talented director, but since The Fighter (2010) (which had its biggest strength in the actors, not the direction), he’s been steadily declining in my eyes. I thought Silver Linings Playbook (2012) was vastly overrated, and it’s pretty much the same case here. This film was just lifeless. I was never emotionally involved and I never really cared where the story was going or what happened to the characters. I don’t even really remember what the plot was now. Again, its highlight is the actors involved - all of them, barring Bradley Cooper, put in solid performances. Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence are very good, in particular. I wasn’t sure if the plot was convoluted or I just wasn’t paying attention, but I think it was both. I just didn’t care. The film didn’t make me care. Oh, the soundtrack was decent. So there’s that.

Catching Fire (2013)
I refuse to call this “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”. If you’re too stupid to know it’s the sequel to The Hunger Games (2012), then you deserve to be confused. It’s the same thing they did with adding “The Twilight Saga” to those films and I hate it. Anyway, onto the film. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first film, as I pretty much went in cold. I thought this was a great sequel. In a lot of ways, it’s better than the first one. One of my disappointments with the previous film was the lack of world-building and while it’s not massive, the development that they do show in the first half of the film was much appreciated by me. When we actually got to the games, however, I was a bit underwhelmed. I really didn’t like how they had most of the threat to the characters in the form of the environment, rather than the other people. Humans are a much more interesting and dangerous threat, and despite building a few of them up as tough adversaries, they were hardly used. Very disappointing. Other than that, I was pretty happy with the movie. Jennifer Lawrence is great, of course, and so are Stanley Tucci, Jena Malone and the rest of the cast. I don’t know what’s going to happen in Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014) and Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015), but I sure hope it’s worth splitting them into two films.

Catching Fire (2013)

I refuse to call this “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”. If you’re too stupid to know it’s the sequel to The Hunger Games (2012), then you deserve to be confused. It’s the same thing they did with adding “The Twilight Saga” to those films and I hate it. Anyway, onto the film. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first film, as I pretty much went in cold. I thought this was a great sequel. In a lot of ways, it’s better than the first one. One of my disappointments with the previous film was the lack of world-building and while it’s not massive, the development that they do show in the first half of the film was much appreciated by me. When we actually got to the games, however, I was a bit underwhelmed. I really didn’t like how they had most of the threat to the characters in the form of the environment, rather than the other people. Humans are a much more interesting and dangerous threat, and despite building a few of them up as tough adversaries, they were hardly used. Very disappointing. Other than that, I was pretty happy with the movie. Jennifer Lawrence is great, of course, and so are Stanley Tucci, Jena Malone and the rest of the cast. I don’t know what’s going to happen in Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014) and Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015), but I sure hope it’s worth splitting them into two films.

Post-Oscars Thoughts
  • I liked Seth MacFarlane as the host a lot. I’d be happy if he hosted again sometime.
  • Argo was a bit of a surprise, but nice. I can easily understand why it won.
  • We all knew Daniel Day-Lewis was going to win, and that’s great.
  • I like Jennifer Lawrence a lot, but I didn’t really think she should’ve won for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook.
  • I’m happy about Christoph Waltz. He’s awesome. Same with Quentin Tarantino.
  • Ang Lee winning was a bit of a surprise too. Life of Pi isn’t my favourite film from him, but he’s still a great director.
  • I didn’t do that well in predicting the major awards, but I guessed a lot of the others. It’s nice that it can be surprising though.
  • I’m already looking forward to next year’s awards!
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
I wasn’t too interested in this film from the trailers, and I got pretty much what I expected. It was alright. Not entirely a typical romantic comedy, but still largely conventional in the end. It had some funny moments. I don’t really care for Bradley Cooper, but this was probably the best performance I’ve seen from him. Jennifer Lawrence was good, even though she was mostly playing the manic pixie dream girl trope. The plot wasn’t all that interesting, and kinda all over the place. The football/dance thing was pretty bizarre. I was slightly bored sometimes, to be honest. It’s far from an awful film, but I hardly think it’s Oscar-worthy.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

I wasn’t too interested in this film from the trailers, and I got pretty much what I expected. It was alright. Not entirely a typical romantic comedy, but still largely conventional in the end. It had some funny moments. I don’t really care for Bradley Cooper, but this was probably the best performance I’ve seen from him. Jennifer Lawrence was good, even though she was mostly playing the manic pixie dream girl trope. The plot wasn’t all that interesting, and kinda all over the place. The football/dance thing was pretty bizarre. I was slightly bored sometimes, to be honest. It’s far from an awful film, but I hardly think it’s Oscar-worthy.

The Hunger Games (2012)
First off, I haven’t read any of the books, just so you know. Up until recently, I wasn’t really interested in seeing this. It’s being called the new Twilight (2008) franchise, but that’s really only because it’s a new series of films based on popular young adult books. This is leagues better than Twilight, to be sure. The other reason I was hesitant was that it just seemed like a rip-off of Battle Royale (2000). While similar in plot, they’re definitely not the same thing. Anyway, I actually ended up liking it a lot. I was afraid it would be too ‘Hollywood’, but it wasn’t. I wouldn’t call it “edgy” or anything, but it didn’t stick to the conventions I expected. For example, minimal music is used in the film. There were several moments where I expected big orchestral swells and there weren’t any. I liked that a lot, though they went a little far with it a couple of times. The use of the ‘shaky cam’ was a little much at times too, but mostly it didn’t bother me. It wasn’t really gory or anything, but there was enough violence that it didn’t feel cheapened. I thought Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role was really good, and Stanley Tucci was a lot of fun. I was really happy with the length of the film, too. It’s over 2 hours and I was glad because it really felt like it needed to be and it didn’t drag. I almost think maybe it would’ve worked even better as a cable TV show instead. Despite all this praise, I’m not saying the film was without flaws. There were a few things that were just plain stupid and took away from the film’s strengths. One part that has pretty sub-standard CGI was particularly bothersome. I don’t think they explained the ‘world’ of the film enough for my liking, either. Overall, though, I quite enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the next films in the series.

The Hunger Games (2012)

First off, I haven’t read any of the books, just so you know. Up until recently, I wasn’t really interested in seeing this. It’s being called the new Twilight (2008) franchise, but that’s really only because it’s a new series of films based on popular young adult books. This is leagues better than Twilight, to be sure. The other reason I was hesitant was that it just seemed like a rip-off of Battle Royale (2000). While similar in plot, they’re definitely not the same thing. Anyway, I actually ended up liking it a lot. I was afraid it would be too ‘Hollywood’, but it wasn’t. I wouldn’t call it “edgy” or anything, but it didn’t stick to the conventions I expected. For example, minimal music is used in the film. There were several moments where I expected big orchestral swells and there weren’t any. I liked that a lot, though they went a little far with it a couple of times. The use of the ‘shaky cam’ was a little much at times too, but mostly it didn’t bother me. It wasn’t really gory or anything, but there was enough violence that it didn’t feel cheapened. I thought Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role was really good, and Stanley Tucci was a lot of fun. I was really happy with the length of the film, too. It’s over 2 hours and I was glad because it really felt like it needed to be and it didn’t drag. I almost think maybe it would’ve worked even better as a cable TV show instead. Despite all this praise, I’m not saying the film was without flaws. There were a few things that were just plain stupid and took away from the film’s strengths. One part that has pretty sub-standard CGI was particularly bothersome. I don’t think they explained the ‘world’ of the film enough for my liking, either. Overall, though, I quite enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the next films in the series.