Sunday, March 29, 2015

First Quarter of 2015

Well, it's pretty much the end of the first quarter and therefore it's time for my quarter end review.  Long time readers surely have noticed I skipped going to see a lot of the wide releases in theaters but, according to mass critical and audience consensus, it doesn't sound like I missed much.  In general it was a pretty terrible quarter for wide theatrical releases (even for the first quarter of the year, which is traditionally the worst quarter.)  Almost all of the movies worth seeing were released on video on demand at the same time as or even before their very limited theatrical runs.  So you can get caught up on the best ones without even leaving home.  Love it! 

Below is a summary of my grades for the 61 films I saw that were released in the U.S. this quarter.  If I wrote a review, links are included for your convenience.  (So be sure to click on the film titles!)  As always, I welcome your feedback, whether it be on here, on my Flieder on Film Facebook page, on Twitter @FliederonFilm, shoot me an email at, or just yell really, really loudly.

  1. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (HBO)     Grade: A+
  2. Match      Grade: A
  3. It Follows      Grade: A
  4. Faults      Grade: A
  5. Predestination      Grade: A
  6. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (HBO)     Grade: A-
  7. The Salvation      Grade: A-
  8. The Immortalists      Grade: A-
  9. Bluebird        Grade: A-
  10. Maps to the Stars      Grade: A-
  11. Digging Up the Marrow      Grade: B+
  12. Wild Card      Grade: B+
  13. Wild Canaries      Grade: B+
  14. Road Hard      Grade: B+
  15. The Rewrite      Grade: B+
  16. The Wedding Ringer      Grade: B+
  17. An Honest Liar      Grade: B+
  18. Black Sea      Grade: B+
  19. '71      Grade: B+
  20. Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere      Grade: B+
  21. Son of a Gun      Grade: B+
  22. Focus      Grade: B+
  23. Kingsman: The Secret Service      Grade: B+
  24. These Final Hours      Grade: B+
  25. Still Life      Grade: B+
  26. Buzzard      Grade: B+
  27. Welcome to New York      Grade: B+
  28. The Phoenix Project      Grade: B
  29. Spring      Grade: B
  30. We'll Never Have Paris      Grade: B
  31. Kidnapping Mr. Heineken      Grade: B
  32. The Cobbler      Grade: B
  33. Zombeavers       Grade: B
  34. Everly      Grade: B
  35. October Gale      Grade: B
  36. Vice      Grade: B
  37. What We Do in the Shadows      Grade: B
  38. RPG      Grade: B
  39. Cymbeline       Grade: B
  40. Little Accident     Grade: B
  41. Mortdecai      Grade: B-
  42. Run All Night      Grade: B-
  43. The Duke of Burgundy      Grade: B-
  44. Voices      Grade: B-
  45. Kill Me Three Times      Grade: B-
  46. The Last Five Years      Grade: B-
  47. Seymour: An Introduction      Grade: B-
  48. The Infinite Man      Grade: C+
  49. Out of the Dark      Grade: C+
  50. The World Made Straight      Grade: C+
  51. Alien Outpost      Grade: C
  52. Blackhat      Grade: C
  53. Jupiter Ascending      Grade: C
  54. Fifty Shades of Grey      Grade: C
  55. Veronika Decides to Die      Grade: C
  56. Hits      Grade: C
  57. Preservation      Grade: D
  58. Serena      Grade: D
  59. Chappie      Grade: D
  60. [REC] 4: Apocalypse      Grade: D
  61. All the Wilderness      Grade: D
Films Not Reviewed:
Accidental Love
Against the Sun
Amira & Sam
Appropriate Behavior
Ballet 422
The Boy Next Door
Dark Summer
Deli Man
Divergent: Insurgent
Do You Believe?
The Duff
Enter the Dangerous Mind
Get Hard
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
A Girl Like Her
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
The Gunman
Home Sweet Hell
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Kung Fu Elliott
The Lazarus Effect
The Loft
Love, Rosie
The Lovers
McFarland USA
My Life Directed
Project Almanac
Queen and Country
The Riot Club
The Search for General Tso
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Seventh Son
She's Beautiful When She's Angry
Song of the Sea
Song One
Spare Parts
SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
Strange Magic
Taken 3
Three Night Stand
Treading Water
Unfinished Business
White Rabbit
Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death
The Wrecking Crew
Zero Motivation

Friday, March 27, 2015

In Theaters Now - 3/27/15

(new releases in green)

A Most Violent Year        Grade: A  (also available on Video on Demand)

It Follows      Grade: A

The Imitation Game        Grade: A   (also available on Video on Demand)

Wild Tales        Grade: A-

Still Alice        Grade: B+

'71       Grade: B+

Focus       Grade: B+

Kingsman: The Secret Service        Grade: B+

Merchants of Doubt       Grade: B+

Two Days One Night        Grade: B  (also available on Video on Demand)

American Sniper        Grade: B

What We Do in the Shadows        Grade: B

Run All Night        Grade: B-

Seymour: An Introduction       Grade: B-

Fifty Shades of Grey        Grade: C

Serena       Grade: D  (also available on Video on Demand)

Chappie        Grade: D

Additional Films Not Reviewed:
Deli Man
The Divergent Series: Insurgent
Do You Believe?
Get Hard
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
A Girl Like Her
The Gunman
The Lazarus Effect
McFarland USA
Queen and Country
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
The Wrecking Crew

It Follows

Last year this horror movie made the rounds at a variety of over 30 film festivals.  I caught it last September at Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX.  It was my 2nd favorite out of the 37 genre films I saw at that festival.  It was #5 on the list of films I told you to look out for in 2015.  And, as many other critics have also stated, it's simply one of the best horror films in recent history.  Many have already invoked comparisons to classic John Carpenter.  I'm admittedly not a Carpenter expert, but I enjoyed It Follows more than any Carpenter film I've seen.  And I will say no more except you should see it.  It's your best option in theaters now.

Grade: A

Who is this movie for?  It's a must see for any fan of horror movies.

Seymour: An Introduction

For the last 15 years I've increasingly become a huge fan of Ethan Hawke.  And he just wowed critics and audiences alike with his one-two punch of Before Midnight and Boyhood.  And besides being a hell of an actor, he just seems like a really interesting and nice guy.  I'm a fan of how introspective he is.  So when I heard he met a pianist named Seymour Bernstein at a dinner party and became so enthralled by him, his work, and his views on life that he felt compelled to make a documentary about him as a labor of love, I knew I had to see it.  Furthermore, critics have been raving about it.  Unfortunately, I wasn't as enamored.  Bernstein definitely seems like an interesting man, pianist, and teacher, with interesting views on life.  But at the end of the day, this doc just didn't enthrall.  Not even for its scant 82 minute runtime.  It may be worth seeing on the small screen, where it might even seem more intimate.  It's simply not big screen worthy in my opinion.

Grade: B-

Who is this movie for?  Fans of documentaries, Ethan Hawke, introspection, and classical piano might get enough out of it.  But I'd personally wait for VOD.