The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014, USA) | Rating: 4.5/5
Out of the recent hoards of teen novel adaptations trying to cash in what Twilight and The Hunger Games have ignited, thi series has been treated better than any other: The Host, Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, etc. As much as splitting the final part into two like Harry Potter is annoying and a bit of an obvious cash grab, it's hard to complain when this movie has been executed so well. There's great emotional dilemmas, character development, and pacing. I'm looking forward to this year's final installment and delving into the universe again when I begin reading the series.
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies (2014, USA) | Rating: 4/5
Similar to the final installment of Lord of the Rings, this is where the bulk of the action lies. The movie's beginning does not waste any time dropping you into the story, picking up immediately with Smaug causing massive destruction. Reiterating that I am not a die hard Tolkien fan, I enjoyed every facet of this movie. The visuals and soundtrack were unsurprisingly stunning and the acting and pace were very impressive. There were a couple visual hiccups where the CGI was a bit distracting, but not terrible overall. I still wish Legolas did not exist as most times I kinda want to cringe or roll my eyes. His presence feels obviously unnecessary and I felt that way when he appeared in The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. Whether Tolkien fans will be pleased with this now completed adaptation or not, I'm not sure, but I was thoroughly entertained.
Unbroken (2014, USA) | Rating: 4.5/5
This isn't a typical movie I would watch as I'm not into historical war stories, but I wanted to show my support for Angelina Jolie and Takamasa Ishihara (a.k.a Miyavi). When I posted about this news, I was very interested in how this would go. The Miyavi I knew 9-10 years ago in Oresama is definitely a different Miyavi that we know now. I heard that the musician has received a lot of well deserved praise and as a fan I'm very proud of his growth. He was truly intimidating and very convincing. Jolie's directorial debut, despite some viewers' opinions, was amazing. The cinematography and pacing was well thought out and executed near perfectly. For someone who doesn't watch this genre of film, I was thoroughly invested in this man's life and felt his pain and triumphant. Jolie definitely put a lot of care into the story and casting and I strongly commend her for her excellent efforts. Say what you will about actors turn directors, but I look forward to another Jolie film in the future.
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014, USA) | Rating: 4/5
I've always enjoyed the Night at the Museum movies. I find them highly enjoyable and family friendly. After the unfortunate passing of Robin Williams, seeing this hopefully final installment of the franchise was mandatory. Seeing these characters come to life one more was very satisfying and I had the same feelings as I did when I watched Toy Story 3 from beginning to end. Night at the Museum has always had a very simplistic plot to it and this third installment is no different. The chemistry among the characters is still entertaining and fun, the sub stories continue on from previous installments, and the comedy is great for all ages. Although, I still don't think Rebel Wilson is very funny at all, so a lot of her jokes fall completely flat. For all those who enjoyed the previous films as much as I have or a Robin Williams fan, prepare to break out the tissues toward the end.
As Above, So Below (2014, USA) | Rating: 1.5/5
When I saw the previews for this, I wasn't expecting it to be any good. Honestly, I watched this out of shear curiosity as I know current audiences would enjoy stuff like this. My prediction for this was mostly spot on as I thought it was just a slightly more modern day version of The Descent. I know a lot of people love The Descent and thought it was suspenseful, scary, and unpredictable; I, on the other hand, thought it was alright. I know, I know~ Some of you are going start throwing tomatoes at me for that comment, but it wasn't a bad movie at all. It was creative and different and played on the fear of claustrophobia, which isn't something most movies would use. As for this movie, it has very similar elements to The Descent, except it involves cults and magic and whatnot. I don't really know. The movie barely held my attention and I didn't care about any of the characters. A lot of the time I was confused whether this was supposed to be a first person point of view type of movie like [REC] or not as the camera perception constantly switched throughout the movie. In short, I think I would stick to re-watching or watching The Descent over this movie, but if you really want to see it, I suppose it's harmless.
If there's something you want me to review (or want a more in depth review of the movies above or previous ones), check out this post on how you can submit requests.