I saw 98 films released in the year 2014. Give or take a few titles. Most of them were pretty whatever, but some of them were pretty great.
It’s the middle of January 2015 now, everyone else published their top 10 lists weeks ago, and the Oscar nominations were announced this morning. I think the Oscars are dumb and bad, so here’s my best of 2014 and some super cool awards that I’ve decided these movies deserve.
I’ve only talked briefly of my love of all things D&D in a couple of reviews, but have never really spoken at length about it, never thought I’d really feel the need to since at 45 I’m not into the game anymore, haven’t been for decades, but just a few weeks ago while on Amazon I bumped into what appeared to me to be a new Monster Manual. The release date confirmed it was indeed new. What?! Without hesitation I hit up google, did some detective work and learned the makers of the game created a 5th Edition that started it’s official roll out this past summer.
Since this is the last movie Hayao Miyazaki is making, he’s retiring from movie making, I was expecting the best, but what I got was something less than that. I mean the animation as always was spectacular but the story this time out is rooted firmly in the real world, so to speak. I tend to be more partial to his fantasy-laden plots. The Wind Rises centers on an actual person from history, Jiro Horikoshi, who designed this airplane for World War II. The tale, however, as I understand is fictional, showing how he became inspired by aeronautics and how he met his wife who then died of tuberculosis.
Simply put Kiki’s Delivery Service (based on the 1985 novel by Eiko Kadono) is a G-rated movie about a 13-year old witch in training, now for a 45-year old man like myself, who nevertheless loves anime, was pretty much under the assumption this was going to be a hard watch, but as usual the quick assumptions I make about movies I’m about to review tend to always be wrong and you can certainly count this movie as one of them.
I’ve been a fan of Princess Mononoke (1997) ever since I first saw it. It’s hard to believe it’s taken this long for it to come to blu-ray. But here we are, so let’s begin.
Mononoke is an anime fantasy flick by renowned anime director Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Nausicaa In The Valley Of The Wind, etc) that focuses on the age old plight of mankind and mother nature, most times it’s a contentious relationship, has been lately, where Emishi Prince, Ashitaka (Billy Crudup), has the bad luck of being present when a “demon” attacks in the surrounding land near his village. This demon appears to me made up of writhing, black worms, but this is only a façade, a fatal one at that. The beast at it’s core is, or used to be, Nago, The Boar God, yes, a giant boar who has for all intents and purposes turned evil and striking out at anything human.
WARNING! THERE’S A GOOD CHANCE YOU’LL STEP ON MORE THAN A FEW SPOILERS! WARNING!
I never liked the first Expendables movie, and I even watched the Unrated version of it. For an action flick I remember being extraordinarily bored by it. Now the sequel was a major improvement. I could easily re-watch it countless times, and then the trepidation came back when I heard Stallone and gang were going to do another. Rule of thumb for any ranchise is that the first is good, the second one is better and the third one sucks. Well, they already trashed that rule from the get go so maybe the third wouldn’t suck. Still, for some reason, I was expecting a bad movie. But, all that was for naught, I saw it last night and it was incredible, dare I say better than the previous one.
(Warning! Huge amounts of spoilers contained within! Tread lightly!)
I think at this point it’s safe to assume Greg Weisman is as important to super hero toons as Bruce Timm is. And that’s saying a lot since Timm redefined DC entertainment on TV with his first super hero toon Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995). Since then he’s created, Batman Beyond, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and Green Lantern just to name a few. But Greg Weisman made an impressive debut with his own animated superhero toon, The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008-2009), that ran a very short but impressive two seasons, he then stepped up his game with Young Justice, and then stepped it up even more with Young Justice: Invasion (2012-2013), which I personally think is the better of the two seasons, but I’ll save my praise and extensive talk about that one when I eventually do it’s review.
I mentioned this movie in my Edge Of Tomorrow (2014) review, for both share the ‘Groundhog Day time loop angle’, and here I am reviewing it. I was hoping it would work out this way. I had seen the trailer for Premature this past spring and thought it looked absolutely hilarious. The movie is billed on the DVD cover as “Groundhog Day Meets American Pie” and I’d say that’s pretty damn accurate.
(Warning! There are spoilers in these woods! Be careful in your tread! You have been warned)
Maleficent is movie number five in the big budget, live action, Hollywood fairy tale reinvention series that’s currently en vogue. Other entries were Red Riding Hood (2011), Snow White And The Huntsman (2012), Hansel And Gretal: Witch Hunters (2013) and Jack And The Giant Slayer (2013). Maleficent is similar to Jack And The Giant Slayer in that its concept is to show the “real story” behind the fairy tale, with this movie it’s Cinderella, but told from the perspective of the perceived “evil witch.”
If it wasn’t obvious before it’s pretty damn obvious now Greed is the primary sin slowly killing our society. As sins go, it’s an awful one too because it destroys any morality you may have had and any prejudices you might carry, thus making sure you think of nothing else but it. Greed has even found it’s way into the fantasy world of Middle Earth. Barring any “special rings” among the various beings that inhabit the realm, it appears Dwarves are more susceptible than most to its corruption. They used to live in this great mountain called, Erebor (aka The Lonely Mountain), where they forged huge amounts of gold.