117- Everything Must Go [3.5]

The same day Nick gets fired, for falling off the wagon one last time, he returns home to discover his wife has left him, changed the locks on their suburban home and dumped all his possessions out on the front yard.

Though I’d prefer not to shove a film into a specific genre, Everything Must Go is so incredibly indie it borderlines on the offensive. From the fingerpicked guitar and electric piano-filled soundtrack to a talented comedic actor taking a dramatic turn, down to the
cute, troubled supporting child actor, the whole affair felt incredibly unbelievable. I kept waiting for Everything Must Go to take an unexpected turn but alas it was nothing but one boring scene after another. As oppose to say an Adam Sandler in Punch Drunk Love performance or Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Ferrell can’t seem to shake his comedic chops in spite of a handful of good scenes.


116- Chronicle [6.0]

Whilst attending a party, three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery underground. Soon, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.

Director Josh Trank seems as fed up with the found footage audience as most people are, so why does he opt for it? In the opening scene of Chronicle, one of his leads gives a fairly stilted reason for constantly filming that one can look past; however, all the other instances of filming are more forced and made me wish that Chronicle avoided the style all together. Though not providing anything new for the superhero genre, the film is nonetheless a mildly interesting look at the responsibilities of having super powers.

115- 21 Jump Street [7.5]

A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring.

Once again, Jonah Hill continues to surprise me. From Get Him to the Greek to Moneyball and now 21 Jump Street, Hill is turning in one stellar performance after another. Credit also goes to Channing Tatum (who was thoroughly impressive years earlier in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, who carries both the humorous and emotional scenes with ease. 21 Jump Street is frequently laugh out loud funny and though the third act gets a bit chaotic, it was certainly much better than I had anticipated.

114- Prometheus [4.0]

A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe.

Might as well get this out of the way first: Prometheus is a gorgeously shot movie. The opening sequence is jaw-dropping beautiful and one of the few things Ridley Scott’s film maintains from beginning to end is its interesting visual palette. Everything else is such a crushing disappointment. The biggest offender is Damon Lindelof’s awful script, which like his work for Lost, is all about setting up big themes and throwing enough shit at the wall to lead message board fanatics to hypothesize for days on end when in truth there’s so little substance onscreen to warrant anything more than a unsupported debate. Nothing is more offensive than the manner in which the film ends. It is no matter to me what relation this film has or doesn’t have to the rest of the Alien series. All that was necessary for me to enjoy was for it to work as a standalone movie. Unfortunately, Prometheus suffers under the weight of its own stupidity.

113- The Avengers [8.0]

Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. brings together a team of super humans to form The Avengers to help save the Earth from Loki and his army.

Despite an occasionally weak first act, The Avengers is a success in spite of all odds. For everything that could have gone wrong with a picture of this nature, Joss Whedon and company handle the source material with equal parts weight and humor. Hats off to ILM and Weta for creating the most realist hulking green monster yet put on screen in collaboration with Mark Ruffalo.

112- The Raid: Redemption [7.0]

A SWAT team becomes trapped in a tenement run by a ruthless mobster and his army of killers and thugs.

There were a handful of times throughout The Raid: Redemption that I found myself yelling “oh shit!” in the theater along with everyone around me. The Raid features relentless action as well as some of the most technically impressive fight sequences I’ve seen placed on film. Thankfully, director Gareth Evans has a good grasp on tension, and so the scenes in which action is absent are no bore whatsoever.

111- Cabin in the Woods [9.0]

Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen. If you think you know this story, think again.

Scream has been regarded as a film that both changed the horror genre while acknowledging all of its pitfalls. To some extent, I disagree. Scream stopped horror right in its track, causing a reactionary wave of filmmakers who decided that meta and self-awareness was akin to intelligent cinema. Cabin in the Woods, on the other hand, is a challenge to filmmakers to do something new with horror. It also has to be really damn entertaining. Featuring one of the better third acts I’ve seen in a while, Cabin in the Woods is one of the most refreshing films in quite some time, genres be damned.