Sunday, March 30, 2014

First Quarter of 2014


Well, we're already one quarter through 2014 so it's time for my quarter end review.  Below is a summary of my grades for the 76 films I saw released in the first quarter of 2014.  Many of these are available right now on Video on Demand, so be sure to check out my What to See on VOD post for some lazy days at home.

There weren't very many wide release movies worth seeing this quarter, which is typical for the first quarter of the year.  But 'Sabotage', 'Non-Stop', '3 Days to Kill', and 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' are all much better than the consensus on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic would have you believe.  Don't listen to the fools on there.  In Flieder on Film We Trust, right?

However, there were a decent amount of great finds on Video on Demand this quarter.  Horror and crime dramas were particularly strong.  '13 Sins', 'Open Grave', 'Enemy', and 'In Fear' are four that any fan of creepy genre films should definitely check out.  'Blood Ties, 'Jamesy Boy', and 'McCanick' are three crime dramas worth your time if you like that genre.  And, if you prefer the lighter fare, try 'Better Living Through Chemistry', the heist film 'The Art of the Steal', the romance 'Barefoot', or two great documentaries 'Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me' and 'We Cause Scenes'.  All of these films are currently available on Video on Demand.  (I use Amazon and Xfinity, which are usually priced the same but occasionally different.)

However, while my focus on this blog remains films, I'd be remiss if I didn't highlight the best movie-like option, not just of the year, but of recent history.  Yes, I of course refer to 'True Detective'.  For those of you living in a cave, this is a new anthology series on HBO which will feature a different story and a different cast each season.  This season starred Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as two detectives on the trail of a satanic serial killer.  And it's my favorite movie or TV show I've seen in quite some time.  The acting, the dialogue, the cinematography, the direction, the opening theme/montage and really every aspect of it is just about perfect.  In my opinion, it's filmmaking at its finest and deserves nothing less than an A++, a grade I have not yet given out to anything else.  It's only 8 hours long, available on HBO on Demand, and will be released on DVD/Blu-Ray on June 10.  I hope you enjoy it nearly as much as I did, though I'm sure some will not, and will kindly offer me their "feedback".  Que Sera Sera.

  1. 13 Sins        Grade: A
  2. Open Grave        Grade: A
  3. Sabotage        Grade: A
  4. Non-Stop        Grade: A
  5. Blood Ties        Grade: A
  6. 3 Days to Kill        Grade: A
  7. Jamesy Boy        Grade: A
  8. Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me       Grade: A
  9. Enemy        Grade: A
  10. We Cause Scenes         Grade: A
  11. Better Living Through Chemistry       Grade: A-
  12. Le Week-End        Grade: A-
  13. McCanick       Grade: B+
  14. The Art of the Steal        Grade: B+
  15. Barefoot        Grade: B+
  16. Bad Words        Grade: B+
  17. Nymphomaniac: Volume I        Grade: B+
  18. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit        Grade: B+
  19. Chlorine        Grade: B+
  20. The Pretty One        Grade: B+
  21. In Fear        Grade: B+
  22. Veronica Mars       Grade: B+
  23. Big Bad Wolves       Grade: B+
  24. Grand Piano       Grade: B+
  25. Odd Thomas       Grade: B+
  26. About Last Night       Grade: B+
  27. The Bag Man       Grade: B+
  28. Journey to the West     Grade: B+
  29. The Monuments Men       Grade: B
  30. At Middleton       Grade: B
  31. Divergent       Grade: B
  32. Robocop       Grade: B
  33. Nymphomaniac: Volume II       Grade: B
  34. Just a Sigh      Grade: B
  35. The Lunchbox       Grade: B
  36. Cesar Chavez       Grade: B
  37. The Face of Love       Grade: B
  38. Cheap Thrills        Grade: B
  39. Alan Partridge      Grade: B
  40. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones       Grade: B
  41. Winter's Tale        Grade: B-
  42. I, Frankenstein       Grade: B-
  43. 7 Boxes        Grade: B-
  44. A Birder's Guide to Everything        Grade: B-
  45. Jimmy P.        Grade: C+
  46. The Best Offer        Grade: C+
  47. Noah       Grade: C+
  48. Adult World        Grade: C+
  49. Repentance        Grade: C+
  50. Reasonable Doubt        Grade: C+
  51. That Awkward Moment        Grade: C+
  52. Run & Jump        Grade: C
  53. Endless Love        Grade: C
  54. The Lego Movie        Grade: C/B/A * (see review)
  55. Patrick: Evil Awakens       Grade: C
  56. Cold Comes the Night       Grade: C
  57. The Grand Budapest Hotel       Grade: C
  58. In Secret       Grade: C-
  59. Maidentrip       Grade: C-
  60. The Rocket      Grade: C-
  61. A Field in England        Grade: D+
  62. Pompeii         Grade: D+
  63. Haunt        Grade: D+
  64. Ride Along        Grade: D+
  65. Devil's Due        Grade: D
  66. The Wait        Grade: D
  67. As the Palaces Burn      Grade: D
  68. Knights of Badassdom       Grade: D
  69. The Legend of Hercules        Grade: D
  70. A Fantastic Fear of Everything        Grade: D-
  71. Awful Nice      Grade: D-
  72. Back in the Day        Grade: D-
  73. Hide Your Smiling Faces        Grade: D-
  74. Almost Human       Grade: D-
  75. Maladies       Grade: F
  76. Summer in February       Grade: F


Films Not Reviewed:
300: Rise of an Empire
Afternoon of a Faun
Bethlehem
Ernest & Celestine
God's Not Dead
If You Build It
Kids for Cash
Like Father Like Son
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Muppets Most Wanted
Need for Speed
The Nut Job
Omar
Particle Fever
Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club
Son of God
Stalingrad
Stranger By The Lake
Vampire Academy
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