The Hurt Locker (2008)
One Line Description: A daring military bomb defuser butts heads with his new squadmates.
Winner of six Oscars including Best Picture, but it took me a while to see this one. Like many movies, if I miss it’s run on premium cable it takes me a while to see it. Unlike a lot of war movies around the same time, this movie has a very small cast and Jeremy Renner basically carries the whole thing himself. It’s also different because it focuses on a unit of bomb defusers rather than a typical platoon of infantry, although there are a couple of firefights. The movie counts down the time the team has left in their deployment, and jumps ahead considerable chunks at a time. That hurts the continuity just a bit, but does make the bond that forms more believable than if it had taken place over just a few days. Jeremy Renner is rock solid and the movie has enough suspense and excitement to make it fun. The suspense isn’t forced with lots of countdown timers on bombs, which would have been the easy way out. And that makes it feel more real. Would definitely see it again.
Django Unchained (2012)
One Line Description: A freed slave searches for his still captive wife with the help of a bounty hunter.
More Oscars in this one. I am typically pretty naive when it comes to identifying and understanding a director’s style, but Tarantino’s has always been noticeable to me. This one feels like one of his movie from top to bottom, and in all the good ways. The story is engaging, and it’s very different than the kind of topics people cover. Obviously slavery is a sensitive thing to address, and Tarantino doesn’t shy away from being graphic at times. But in typical Tarantino fashion, It’s also very over the top at times. The movie drags a little at times where the buildup doesn’t satisfy the result, but there are a few times where that it is and they are worth it. I would see it again though.
Pitch Perfect (2012)
One Line Description: A college freshman joins an all-girls a cappella group as they try to win a national competition
This movie got a lot of buzz, and had some funny moments, but was ultimately a bit of a letdown. It seems that a cappella has gained some steam over the last few years, likely do to things like YouTube. The comparisons to Bring It On seem very spot on for this movie. So much so that I was shocked the same people weren’t involved. Rebel Wilson is hilarious, and it’s easy to see why she got her own show after this. Anna Kendrick was OK, but didn’t seem to have to do much acting. It felt like that kind of movie though, and while some of the singing was entertaining, a lot of the efforts seemed more cheesy than funny. I am willing to accept that I am just a bit too old to appreciate this movie, but I am shocked so many of my peers loved it. I am not shocked, however, that a sequel is planned for 2015. Probably won’t ever see it again.
One Line Description: A story about oil industry from the multiple perspectives of people involved.
It’s crazy that it took me so long to see a Matt Damon/George Clooney movie, but it did. This movie is just OK, and felt very familiar. It reminded me some of The Kingdom and Body of Lies, even though both those movies came out after. Clooney was credited with putting on weight to play this role, but it doesn’t really seem like he needed to. There are some interesting twists and turns in this one, but overall it was just OK. There are definitely a few times where I was confused about who was who, and what side people were one, and maybe that was intentional, but when viewers get lost, it’s not as enjoyable of an experience. I’d probably watch it again just to see if understanding who is who makes it more enjoyable.