Kicked off my 2014 movie theater experience with this Snowpiercer, a thought-provoking futuristic action/drama/thriller with a stellar cast and a fine Korean director (Boon Joon-ho) who clearly knows how to tell a story and have audiences care about his characters. Some scenes might have been unnecessary, but those 5-10 minutes are overpowered by an intense two-hour train ride that presents so many “what if” situations that it leaves you wanting to start a conversation with others. A very good, intellectual watch and it’s too bad it went by the theaters without much noise. GRADE: B+
#458: Lego Movie
Saw this with friends and we had a good time. It has better depth, voice acting and animation than most but it doesn’t boast laugh-a-minute gags that Rotten Tomatoes claims it has. I did have some issues with the speed of the action (the frame rate specifically) as well as some “meh” parts in the third act, but everything else was awesome and I wish I could give it a grade higher than B just for its entertainment value. It wasn’t the sell-out I expected it to be, so kudos to the makers.
With striking block-animation, great voice acting and likeable characters, Warner Bros. has managed to assemble a massively enjoyable film that isn’t just a marketing ploy to sell toys (though after seeing this, I kind of wanna buy a Lego set!). It has a sensible story and a message that will surely resonate to kids and adults alike. And as long as you can accept some of its flaws you’ll have no problems sitting through it. GRADE: B
#459: Captain America – The Winter Soldier
This was a solid stand-alone Marvel film. It had less CGI, more physical action and I liked it. While sequelitis has worn down some of its novelty, I liked its techno-thriller vibe and I felt that the stakes were much bigger here than in Thor: The Dark World. But at the end of the day it’s still within the bounds of normalcy but maybe just a tad grittier than the average installment. Not much closure due to the forthcoming Marvel titles, but the preview at the end-credits means that we’re inching ever so closely to the reportedly dark and dry Avengers 2. GRADE: B