April 2014 in Review

This month, I managed to rewatch two-thirds of a certain trilogy which I have loved since I was a kid, which had had both entries make their way straight into my top 10 films of all time, and have seen 2 of the worst films 2014 has spewed out as far. A lot of rewatches this time around, mainly thanks to my girlfriend. So enough jibber-jabber, here's the films I saw in April.

Star Wars (rewatch) - 5/5 - A film I have held dear in my life since my childhood. One of the best examples of a film that anybody can love regardless of age, and it certainly made this 21 year old feel like a 4 year old once more, being whisked away to a Galaxy far, far away.

The Empire Strikes Back (rewatch) - 5/5 - This sequel builds upon what made the original tale so great, and somehow, somehow, one-ups it's predecessor in every conceivable way. Need I mention this is responsible for one of cinema's greatest ever plot twists?

I, Frankenstein - 0.5/5 - Look everyone, another well known tale that doesn't need to be turned into something gloomy and bigger than it needs to be, but is anyway.

The Empire Strikes Back: Best film of the month
and Best film rewatched

You, Me and Dupree (rewatch) - 1/5 - Owen Wilson bumbles through simplistic attempts at humour, while Matt Dillon barely tries to redeem his unlikeable character. This was from the directors of one of the best recent Marvel films?

Party Central - 4/5 - A fun, unexpected short which continues the story of the Monsters University characters, with Squishee's mum stealing the show.

Muppets Most Wanted - 3/5 - It's fantastic to see The Muppets return, especially with scene-stealers in the forms of Tina Fey and Ty Burrell.. It's just a shame they're let down by forced cameos, unmemorable songs and weak attempts at humour.

Life As We Know It - 1/5 - Katherine Heigel and Josh Duhamel make a competent couple, but do nothing special to make you buy into their predictable relationship. It doesn't help how the weak material resorts to formulaic, generic and predictable moments.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier:
Best film seen in cinemas

School of Rock (rewatch) - 5/5 - A loving tribute to Rock, empowered by a fantastic ensemble cast, a brilliant soundtrack and touching moments which avoid going into melodramatic territory.

Noah - 3.5/5 - Aronofsky doesn't shy away from the difficult material, witrh Russell Crowe's fantastic performance leading things. However, things falter in the final act, undermining the tension from a shocking direction taken, with a storyline that doesn't need to carry on.

Divergent - 3.5/5 - Well now that was a surprise. The trailers had me dreading this one, but I ended up enjoying it a hell of a lot more than I thought I would. Granted, the third act is a rushed mess and things get a bit too derivative, but I look forward to seeing where this franchise will go.

Mighty Joe Young (rewatch) - 3/5 - An overly sentimental, generic and painfully predictable tale that gets points for the talented cast who sell the creaky lines and Rick Baker's fantastic effects, which helps to sell how massive Joe is.

Muppets Most Wanted: Biggest disappointment

The Silence of the Lambs (rewatch) - 5/5 - No matter how many times I rewatch this, I cannot find anything which can be described as less than masterful. From the outstanding performances to the tense direction, this deserved every single Oscar it won.

Batman: Strange Days - 3.5/5 - A fantastic way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Batman, with Bruce Timm crafting a pulp adventure for the character, with a typical simplistic story and extra-long ears on the costume. Would've been nice if it was a few minutes longer, but it's still a worthwhile watch.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - 4/5 - The latest film about everybody's favourite arachnid-based superhero escapes the origin trappings of the first film in order to be a better instalment. There may be some clunky lines, a bit too much focus on world-building and some scenes played a bit too broad, but the action has stepped up a gear, the actors all give good performances in their roles, and all the right emotional notes get hit throughout, especially in the final act.

Hop - 0.5/5 - Nonsensical rubbish that left me embarrassed for poor James Marsden, one of the more under-appreciated actors I have seen. Russell Brand proves voice acting isn't for everyone, while Hank Azaria loses any credibility he had left with his faux-Spanish accent.

Divergent: Biggest surprise

Darwyn Cooke's Batman Beyond - 3/5 - This minute long short is another entry into the 75th celebration of Batman. It makes for a great visual to see Terry McGinnis facing Batman, and pays homage to much of The Dark Knight's history, but the length really hurts it, as it leaves you clamouring for much more.

The Other Woman - 0.5/5 - Female Empowerment, thinly veiled as petty misogyny that's full of cheap laughs and Nicki Minaj's failed attempts at acting. Can we pretend this doesn't exist?

Calvary - 4.5/5 - After a strong debut with The Guard, John Michael McDonagh returns with another fantastic offering. The script and dialogue are among the best so far from 2014, tackling difficult topics, while the fantastic cast do a brilliant job. I do think this could raise to a 5 after a rewatch.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (rewatch) - 4.5/5 - Still one of Marvel Studios' best efforts, and a fantastic game-changer for the franchise.

The Other Woman: Worst film of the month
Cheap Thrills (rewatch) - 4.5/5 - Showed this to my girlfriend before our roast chicken dinner, and the films own "dinner" scene put her off eating a bit.

Toy Story 3 (rewatch) - 5/5 - Still tugs at my heartstrings :'(

Frozen (rewatch) - 5/5 - I still reiterate this is a new Disney classic.

Pompeii - 2/5 - A film about Pompeii should be made, but sadly, it's not this overblown toss with needless CG and enough scenes that'll remind you of the Spartacus TV series that ended last year.

Best film of the month: The Empire Strikes Back
Best film seen in cinemas: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Best film rewatched: The Empire Strikes Back
Biggest Disappointment: Muppets Most Wanted
Biggest Surprise: Divergent
Worst film of the month: The Other Woman

Number of films watched: 23