Saturday, June 28, 2014

Second Quarter of 2014

We're half way through 2014 and it's time for my quarter end review.   (And it's also a good time to refresh your memory on the films of the first quarter of 2014.)

Below is a summary of my grades for the 95 films I saw released in the second quarter of 2014.  Many of these (including four of my top 6) 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 of quality movie watching at home.

As usual, there weren't many wide release movies worth seeing this quarter, but there were certainly a few that got overlooked.  Edge of Tomorrow is easily the best big budget film of 2014 so far.  But it seems people REALLY don't like Tom Cruise anymore, nor are they interested in taking a chance on an unknown non-franchise.  It's a shame, because they are missing out.  A Million Ways to Die in the West is easily the funniest movie of the year so far (despite what other people may say.)  Yet Seth MacFarlane was given the cold shoudler, as audiences seem to prefer the same old shenanigans from Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, and Adam Sandler.  Million Dollar Arm and Draft Day were two pleasant sports dramedy surprises.  And probably the biggest surprise to me was how entertaining Captain America: The Winter Soldier was, being better than its predecessor, and than most Marvel films to date.

When it comes to limited theatrical releases, Chef is definitely the feel good crowd-pleaser of the year so far.  The Immigrant is the first film that feels like it could be considered for an Oscar, though it won't be as many others didn't feel the same, and it was released way too early in the year.  In addition, The Grand Seduction is a great date movie, Dom Hemingway features a terrific performance by Jude Law, and The Double is just plain bizarre, but in a good way.

If foreign films are your thing, Young & Beautiful, Chinese Puzzle, and Borgman are all totally different and all worth your time.

In the documentary category, Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago and The Unknown Known were my two favorites this quarter.

And, as with the first quarter, many of my favorite films were finds on Video On Demand before their very limited (if any) theatrical releases.   Trust Me, Anna, Lucky Them, Blue Ruin, Cold in July, Whitewash, Bachelor Weekend, and The Sacrament were all really enjoyable indie fare.

But my favorite movie of the quarter, and of the year so far, is Rob the Mob, a terrific mafia crime drama with a great cast.  Unfortunately no one saw it in theaters, but you can see it now at home on VOD.  You're welcome.

  1. Rob the Mob        Grade: A+
  2. Edge of Tomorrow       Grade: A+
  3. Trust Me         Grade: A
  4. Chef         Grade: A
  5. Anna       Grade: A
  6. Lucky Them       Grade: A
  7. A Million Ways to Die in the West       Grade: A
  8. The Immigrant        Grade: A
  9. Finding Vivian Maier       Grade: A
  10. Cold in July         Grade: A
  11. Blue Ruin         Grade: A
  12. Million Dollar Arm      Grade: A
  13. Draft Day       Grade: A
  14. The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz       Grade: A
  15. Whitewash       Grade: A
  16. Young & Beautiful         Grade: A-
  17. Chinese Puzzle       Grade: A-
  18. The Grand Seduction      Grade: A-
  19. Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago       Grade: A-
  20. Bachelor Weekend      Grade: A-
  21. Captain America: The Winter Soldier        Grade:  A-
  22. The Sacrament     Grade: B+
  23. Dom Hemingway        Grade: B+
  24. The Unknown Known       Grade: B+
  25. Borgman       Grade: B+
  26. The Double        Grade B+
  27. Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon       Grade: B+
  28. X-Men: Days of Future Past        Grade: B+
  29. Bright Days Ahead       Grade: B+
  30. NOW: In the WIngs on a World Stage        Grade: B+
  31. A Long Way Down        Grade: B+
  32. Oculus       Grade: B+
  33. Proxy       Grade: B+
  34. Ivory Tower       Grade: B+
  35. Dancing in Jaffa       Grade: B+
  36. The Fault in Our Stars      Grade: B+
  37. The Rover       Grade: B
  38. The Big Ask       Grade: B
  39. Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger     Grade: B
  40. Korengal     Grade: B
  41. Joe       Grade: B
  42. Decoding Annie Parker       Grade: B
  43. Devil's Knot       Grade: B
  44. Goodbye World       Grade: B
  45. God's Pocket       Grade: B
  46. Burt's Buzz       Grade: B
  47. The Final Member       Grade: B
  48. Sounding the Alarm       Grade: B
  49. Witching and Bitching       Grade: B
  50. Obvious Child        Grade: B
  51. Mobius     Grade: B
  52. Hellion       Grade: B
  53. Lullaby       Grade: B
  54. The Discoverers     Grade: B-
  55. Jersey Boys       Grade: B-
  56. Cuban Fury       Grade: B-
  57. The Quiet Ones     Grade: B-
  58. Normal Heart     Grade: B-
  59. Filth     Grade: B-
  60. Breathe In     Grade: B-
  61. How to Train Your Dragon 2       Grade: B-
  62. 22 Jump Street      Grade: B-
  63. The Amazing Spider-Man 2     Grade: B-
  64. Neighbors       Grade: C+
  65. Godzilla       Grade: C+
  66. Locke       Grade: C+
  67. All Cheerleaders Die      Grade: C+
  68. Under the Skin       Grade: C+
  69. Gambit       Grade: C+
  70. Fading Gigolo       Grade: C+
  71. The Railway Man       Grade: C+
  72. Tasting Menu       Grade: C+
  73. Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia       Grade: C+
  74. Palo Alto       Grade: C+
  75. Only Lovers Left Alive      Grade: C+
  76. Touch of Sin       Grade: C+
  77. Transcendence       Grade: C
  78. Afflicted       Grade: C
  79. Walk of Shame       Grade: C
  80. The Signal       Grade: C-
  81. Way of the Wicked     Grade: C-
  82. The Angriest Man in Brooklyn       Grade: C-
  83. Venus in Fur     Grade: C-
  84. Mr. Jones     Grade: D+
  85. Stage Fright    Grade: D+
  86. Hateship Loveship       Grade: D+
  87. Belle      Grade: D+
  88. A Night in Old Mexico     Grade: D
  89. We Are the Best!       Grade: D
  90. For No Good Reason      Grade: D
  91. Ping Pong Summer      Grade: D
  92. Words and Pictures       Grade: D
  93. I'll Follow You Down      Grade: D
  94. Garnet's Gold       Grade: D-
  95. Ida       Grade:  D-

Films Not Reviewed:
Brick Mansions
Child's Pose
A Coffee in Berlin
The Dance of Reality
Fed Up
Frankie & Alice
The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden
A Haunted House 2
Heaven is for Real
Island of Lemurs: Madagascar
Jodorowsky's Dune
La Bare
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return
Make Your Move
The Missing Picture
Mom's Night Out
On My Way
The Other Woman
The Raid 2: Berandal
Rio 2
Think Like a Man Too
Transformers: Age of Extinction
Walking with the Enemy
Wolf Creek 2

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