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What I Watched in… August 2014

Favorite of the Month: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Favorite of the Month: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

In the interest of full disclosure (and to generate a little content here) I thought I’d present a regular tally of what movies I managed to see in the previous month. Some of them I’ve written about, most of them I haven’t. This list includes movies I saw for the first time, movies I’ve seen a thousand times, movies I saw in the theater, movies I watched at home, direct-to-DVD, made-for-TV and anything else that qualifies as a movie. I also choose my favorite of the month among those movies I saw for the first time, marked in red. Feel free to discuss or ask about any of them!

1. Dick Tracy (1990), B+
2. The Great Martian War 1913-1917 (2013), B+
3. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), A
4. Cabin in the Woods (2012), A
5. Planet Terror (2007), B
6. Doc of the Dead (2014), B+
7. Starship Troopers (1997), C-
8. Six By Sondheim (2013), B
9. Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941), C
10. Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014), D
11. Sin City (2005), A
12. Robocop (1987), B
13. Robocop (2014), C-
14. Happy Feet Two (2011), C
15. Gravity (2013), A
16. Evil Dead (2013), B
17.  Hollywood After Dark (1968), F; Film Crew Riff, B
18. Stripped (2014), A
19. Godzilla (1998), D; RiffTrax Riff, B+
20. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014), C+
21. Reading Writing and Romance (2013), C-
22. The Simpsons Movie (2007), B+
23. The Makeover (2013), C+
24. The Wish List (2010), D
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Reel to Reel ranks 2013 in movies

And once again, we reach the end of another year. And as usual, I didn’t get to see as many movies as I wanted to. I saw most of the ones I was really excited about, all but one in fact (which wound up not being made at all, sadly). For the record, the ones I didn’t see yet that are still on my to-see list are American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street and Her, all of which will be readily available after the holidays, what with being award bait and all.

So here, for the second year (here’s last year’s list if you’re interested), the list of movies I saw this year roughly in order of how much I liked them, along with brief comments on a few films. This list includes made-for-TV, direct-to-video, and streaming films, as long as they were feature length. The rankings are based purely on how much I enjoyed watching the movie, and no other criteria. I caution you, though, that my opinions on rankings and such change frequently, so if you ask me to make this same list tomorrow, it may well be slightly different:

1. Saving Mr. Banks. Simply a beautiful movie that hits me hard as a writer. I get where both the characters of P.L. Travers and Walt Disney were coming from, I sympathize with them both, and I found the movie deeply moving. I know that a lot of it was conjured up for the sake of cinema, but I’m kind of afraid to look up how much for fear it would ruin the film for me.
2. Frozen. Disney’s best animated movie in years. I particularly like that the film was undeniably a love story, but at the same time, broke every major rule in the usual “princess” formula.
3. Man of Steel. A controversial choice to be this high, I know, but I don’t care. As someone who’s loved Superman since childhood, I thought this film was a worthy jumpstart for both the character and for DC’s effort at a cinematic universe.
4. Pacific Rim. The most underrated movie of the year, in my opinion. Visually exciting and a hell of a lot of fun.
5. Monsters University.
6. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
7. Ender’s Game.
8. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
9. An Adventure in Space and Time. TV film about the original star of Doctor Who, William Hartnell, made in conjunction with the series’ 50th anniversary. I really liked it.
10. Evil Dead.
11. The World’s End
12. Oz, The Great and Powerful.
13. Star Trek Into Darkness.
14. Thor: The Dark World.
15. Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.
16. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part II.
17. The Rubber Room. Intriguing documentary about the New York public school system, specifically the practice that leaves teachers accused of assorted mistakes stranded without work for months or years without the opportunity to defend themselves.
18. Crystal Lake Memories:The Complete History of Friday the 13th. Good and terribly thorough documentary about the horror movie series. Make sure you’ve got the time to watch it, though – it’s SEVEN HOURS LONG.
19. Iron Man 3.
20. LEGO Batman The Movie: DC Superheroes Unite.
21. The Wolverine.
22. The Sound of Music. Live TV production of the classic musical.
23. Necessary Evil: The Villains of DC Comics.
24. Europa Report.
25. Superman Unbound.
26. Kick-Ass 2.
27. Warm Bodies.
28. Upstream Color. I really liked the director’s last movie, Primer, so I had high hopes for this one. I felt somewhat let down, though. The movie thought it was smarter than it really was.
29. Escape From Planet Earth.
30. Side Effects.
31. A Good Day to Die Hard.
32. World War Z.
33. Mister Scrooge to See You.
34. Jack the Giant Slayer.
35. Iron Man: Rise of Technovore.
36. The Purge. Intriguing idea – a world where all crime is legal for 12 hours a year – but the film is handled poorly, set up on a soapbox, has a horribly predictable ending and is so heavy-handed it’s impossible to enjoy as a thriller.
37. The Host. The only thing I have to say about this Stephanie Meyer adaptation is that I initially mistyped it as The Hose, and I couldn’t help but think that would have been a more interesting movie.
38. Riddick.
39. Oblivion. I challenge anybody to explain the backstory and plot of this film in a way that does not invite a six-year-old child to point out how outrageously stupid the aliens are. I DARE YOU.
40. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.
41. Sharknado. I know that this TV production was supposed to be bad, but I disagree with those who think it was both bad and fun. I just didn’t enjoy it.

What I Watched in… July 2013

In the interest of full disclosure (and to generate a little content here) I thought I’d present a regular tally of what movies I managed to see in the previous month. Some of them I’ve written about, most of them I haven’t. This list includes movies I saw for the first time, movies I’ve seen a thousand times, movies I saw in the theater, movies I watched at home, direct-to-DVD, made-for-TV and anything else that qualifies as a movie. Feel free to discuss or ask about any of them!

  1. Man of Steel (2013), A
  2. The Incredibles (2004), A
  3. Independence Day (1996), B+
  4. Brave (2012), A-
  5. Despicable Me (2010), B+
  6. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1984), B+
  7. Flash Gordon (1980), D
  8. Howard the Duck (1986), D
  9. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), A
  10. Star Wars Vs. Star Trek: The Rivalry Continues (2004), F
  11. Lockout (2012), B-
  12. Q: The Winged Serpent (1982), C-
  13. Warm Bodies (2013), B
  14. Fangs of the Living Dead (1969), D; RiffTrax Riff, B
  15. The Deadly Bees (1967), D+; MST3K Riff, B+
  16. Monsters University (2013), A-
  17. That Guy… Who Was In That thing (2012), B+
  18. Pacific Rim (2012), B+
  19. Peter Pan (1953), B+
  20. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001), B-
  21. Godzilla (1954), B+
  22. Lethal Weapon (1987), B+
  23. Little Shop of Horrors (1986), A-
  24. Cloverfield (2008), B+
  25. Gamera (1965), C; MST3K Riff, A
  26. The Invisible Maniac (1990), F
  27. Gamera Vs. Barugon (1966), D; MST3K Riff, B+
  28. YellowBrickRoad (2010), C-
  29. Gamera Vs. Gaos (1967), D; MST3K Riff, B
  30. Gamera Vs. Guiron (1969), D; MST3K Riff, B+
  31. Gamera Vs. Zigra (1971), C-; MST3K Riff, B
  32. Sharknado (2013), F
  33. Chopping Mall (1986), F
  34. Lilo and Stitch (2002), B+
  35. Lilo and Stitch 2: Stitch has a Glitch (2005), B-
  36. Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys (2005), B-
  37. Little Shop of Horrors (1960), D; RiffTrax, B+
  38. The Rubber Room (2013), B+
  39. The Dark Crystal (1982), B
  40. Dark City (1998), A
  41. Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013), A-