July 2014 in Review

July has left us, meaning it's that time again. So, let's see the films I saw over the month that was July.

The Fault In Our Stars (rewatch) - 4/5 - Second viewing, and I still didn't cry. I know, i'm soulless.

Transformers: Age of Extinction - 0.5/5 - Did Michael Bay ever give a damn about this franchise? It's clear he doesn't now from interviews, but did he even care a little when he came onto the first film? I don't know whether it was the uninteresting new characters, the lack of anything resembling logic, the underused Dinobots, the unlikable Autobots, the overlong running time but somehow, Bay managed to hit a new low in his franchise.

Raising Arizona - 4.5/5 - The Coen's deliver a tale of crime and family, packed with fantastic lines and moments which provide wonderful laughs and moments of joy. Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter are fantastic as the leads, sharing a beautiful chemistry that makes it easy to buy into their romance.

Need For Speed - 1.5/5 - It's hard to not think of this as little more than Dreamworks' attempts to cash-in on the box office earnings The Fast and Furious franchise receives. It doesn't help how poor and illogical the script is.

Boyhood: Best film of the month and Best film seen in cinemas

How To Train Your Dragon (rewatch) - 5/5 - Second viewing, still an amazing feat.

Despicable Me - 3.5/5 - Every time I rewatch this, my rating for it seems to drop. The cracks are more evident with each viewing, especially in the humor, but the voice acting is worth praising.

101 Dalmatians (1961) (rewatch) - 3.5/5 - This animated Disney film certainly feels dated, and doesn't succeed with all of its characters, but manages to be heartwarming and well animated.

Chef - 4/5 - Jon Favreau does great work both behind and in front of the camera, while Emjay Anthony is charming and wonderful as the onscreen son. The thinly veiled jabs at the film industry don't always hit, sometimes feeling bitter, and the romance subplot lacks pay-off by the end, but Chef remains a fantastic piece of food porn.

Best film rewatched: Robocop

This Boy's Life - 3.5/5 - A devastating and moving story, knowing when to hit the powerful moments at the right times, but suffers from leaving many things unresolved and having other characters fall by the wayside in order to tie everything up in a neat bow. But De Niro and DiCaprio are utterly outstanding.

Robocop (1987) (rewatch) - 5/5 - Paul Verhoeven takes a typical B Movie plot, and turns it into a blackly comedic, satirical masterpiece with magnificent dashes of gore and blood. Watching this just emphasizes what the remake got wrong.

Raising Arizona (rewatch) - 4.5/5 - Yes, I did see this twice within one month. Yes, it was just as amazing. Yes, we do still need more Raising Arizona Nic Cage in our lives.

John Dies At The End - 2.5/5 - Don Coscarelli mixes many ideas and genres, but ultimately fumbles the ball, resulting in an uneven mix with a bland lead, but one you won't forget anytime soon.

Biggest Disappointment: Watchmen
The Raid (rewatch) - 2/5 - Time for an unpopular opinion: I find this to be one of the most overrated films in recent years. The action is definitely impressive, but it's pretty much everything else that lets it down. The poor techno soundtrack, the weak script, the lack of character development, the generic villains, I just do not see the hype.

Silver Linings Playbook (rewatch) - 4.5/5 - Powered by fantastic performances from Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, David O'Russell strikes a good balance between comedy, drama, romance and the topic of mental illness, to deliver something utterly heartfelt and delightful.

Bad Words - 3.5/5 - Jason Bateman unleashed remains a joy to watch, especially with the tremendous cast. Things could be more consistently funny, and one moment seems a forced way to add antagonism to things, but a good directorial debut from the Arrested Development star.

Biggest Surprise: Raising Arizona

Knights of Badassdom - 2/5 - Joe Lynch's film takes any promise that was held for the cult crowd, and squanders it in favour of a poor script, dull moments & weak lead performances.

Justice League: War - 3/5 - DC unleash their animated answer to 2012's The Avengers. It holds a good focus over most of the group, Shazam feels unneeded and more Flash could have been used. It's well animated, but the plot seemed to be forgotten about regularly in favour of the action.

Boyhood - 5/5 - No matter how much ambition you'll find in the films of this year, it's unlikely any of them will top a film that took 12 years to complete. Richard Linklater hasn't created a story here, he's captured a life that reflects our own, one that's easily relatable, packed with nostalgia and one hell of an experience. A fantastically poignant representation of life that deserves to at least get many an Oscar nomination.

Worst film of the month: Transformers: Age of Extinction

Pixels - 4/5 - Patrick Jean utilizes some impressive visuals to bring to life a creative idea in this well made short. Now let's wait and see how Adam Sandler and Chris Colombus' big screen adaptation of this does next year.

Watchmen (rewatch) - 3/5 - When I first saw this, I felt it was near-perfect. Oh how times have changed. The acting is still really good (barring Malin Ackerman), but the slow motion gets tiresome to watch, the running time feels laborious and it doesn't feel like any of the topics or themes are explored enough to be effective. But the soundtrack, cinematography and costume design are fantastic.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 - 4.5/5 - It may not top it's predecessor, but this proves to be a worthy sequel to the best film from Dreamworks. The visuals are stunning, the voice work is stellar and the relationships hit perfectly, which makes it all the more a shame that the villains are so weak.

The Purge: Anarchy - 3/5 - James DeMonaco manages to succeed in fleshing out the world of this film, expanding on the basic premise and the world these films inhabit to an intriguing degree. However, the weaknesses lie within the poor writing, which brings us undeveloped characters, a lack of logic and ridiculous clichés which could have been easily avoided.

Best film of the month: Boyhood
Best film seen in cinemas: Boyhood
Best film rewatched: Robocop
Biggest Disappointment: Watchmen
Biggest Surprise: Raising Arizona
Worst film of the month: Transformers: Age of Extinction

Number of films watched: 22