Monthly Archives: February 2018

The Best Movies of 2014

The Best Movies of 2014


Below is my list of the best movies that I have seen that were released in 2014 (even if some were made in 2013).  I have included trailers for each movie.  I would love to eventually write a review of each of these films and talk about why I enjoyed them so much.  But for now, just know that I highly recommend all of these movies.  I will continue to add to this list if I see any more movies from 2014 that are worthy of this list.


American Sniper (2014)

Fury (2014)

John Wick (2014)

Gone Girl (2014)

Nightcrawler (2014)

Interstellar (2014)

Still Alice (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

The Imitation Game (2014)

Unbroken (2014)

Exodus: Gods & Kings (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Dumb and Dumber Too (2014)

Neighbors (2014)

Non-stop (2014)


Good movies that did not make the cut were:

This is Where I Leave You (2014)

The Equalizer (2014)

The Judge (2014)

The Gambler (2014)

Sex Tape (2014)

Let’s Be Cops (2014)

22 Jump Street (2014)

Sabotage (2014)

3 Days to Kill (2014)


Wonder (2017)

Wonder (2017)

I think you have to be in the right mood to watch this kind of movie.  You know that you are going to feel bad for the main character.  In a way, you feel their pain, so to speak.  It’s the kind of story that makes you appreciate your life more because you realize that no matter how hard you may feel like you have it sometimes, there is always someone out there that has it way worse.  This I could grasp just from watching the trailer.

Wonder is about a previously homeschooled boy with a facial disfigurement who faces the challenge of going to a normal school for the first time.

You have to prepare yourself mentally to watch this movie, because you know it is not going to be fun, exciting entertainment.  It is going to be blunt and in your face honest.  It is going to evoke emotion and make you think.  It is not necessarily an escape from the outside world, like most films are.  Instead, it is more of a reminder of what things are really like.  That makes this a solid movie because it is more real.

The movie was directed by Stephen Chbosky and the noteworthy cast includes Jacob Tremblay, Owen Wilson, Julia Roberts, Izabela Vidovic, Mandy Patinkin, Noah Jupe, Bryce Gheisar, Elle Mckinnon, Daveed Diggs, Ty Consiglio, and Danielle Rose Russell.

The story of Wonder was told in chapters.  Each chapter is a different characters perspective.  I like that because it allows you to get into the mind of each character in a way that you otherwise might not be able to.  It makes the storytelling more interesting

For those of you who have ever been an outcast, this film is for you.  Childhood is hard.  School is harder.  Now, imagine that your face is deformed.  Kids are mean.

Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts played their parts well as loving parents.

Jacob Tremblay did a wonderful job as the boy with a disfigured face.  He is pretty talented for only being 10 years old when this movie was being made.  This kid is only 11 years old and has already been in 8 films and has 3 more on deck.

The movie is pretty predictable at times, but it does tug at the heartstrings.  The film is rated PG, so it is a pretty wholesome and clean movie.  A nice one to watch with the family.  It is a warm-hearted movie about how the struggles of life bring us closer together when we overcome adversity.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.


If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

The Cure (1995)

Rudy (1993)

Stand By Me (1986)

The Man Without a Face (1993)

24 Hours to Live (2017)

24 Hours to Live (2017)

Ethan Hawke in a shoot ‘em up, no holds barred action thriller is just the type of movie that I would want to see.  So I did.  It appeared like it would have a lot of similarities to Crank (2006).  Crank is off the hook in all senses of the word, so 24 Hours to Live sparked my interest.

The film is about a hired killer out for revenge after he is brought back to life after being shot.  The medical treatment he received is only keeping him alive for 24 hours, so he must seek his revenge in a hurry.

The movie was directed by Brian Smrz and the noteworthy cast includes Ethan Hawke, Liam Cunningham, Rutger Hauer, Paul Anderson, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Tanya van Graan, Qing Xu, and Jenna Upton.

The movie was fun, but convenient at times.  The action was sometimes a little choppy.  Lots of good ruthless ideas.  Some worked and some fell flat.  Not enough follow through.  The film was a bipolar rollercoaster of really good sometimes, followed by a sort of fizzle and then back to better again.  In a strange way, the film felt like a financial rollercoaster also.  Sometimes it felt a little cheap and B-rated, while other times really expensive and classy.  It just could not hold its momentum.  Along with that problem, it was occasionally a bit hard to follow.  Overall, it just felt like it was lacking something.

Hawke is dual-wielding and he’s got nothing to lose.  His role was awesome and he pulled it off well.  He is the same old slick, and smooth likable guy.  His character developed well, but the supporting cast, not so much.

Cunningham was very enjoyable, but could have been better.  He just was not used enough.

The film was reminiscent of Crank (2006), minus the extreme intensity throughout and not near the same caliber film.

24 Hours to Live was a fun concept.  It was an entertaining flick, but a bit disappointing because it did not reach its full potential.  However, it was nice to see Ethan Hawke carrying an action movie by himself again.

I rate this movie a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10.


If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

Crank (2006)

Crank: High Voltage (2009)

Running Scared (2006)

Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)

Training Day (2001)

Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

I got to enjoy a special showing of this film in the theater recently.  I love to go back and watch the classics.  Especially, the way that they were meant to be seen, on the big screen.  Usually you cannot go wrong with Cary Grant, James Stewart, or Katharine Hepburn.  The Philadelphia Story gathers the trio together in the same film.  Talk about star power.  Now, the three are silver screen legends.  At the time this movie was released, all of these actors were in their prime.  That is easily why 78 years later, the film is still being played in the theater.  Can you imagine very many movies that were made in our time that will still be played in theaters 78 years from now?  That is, of course, if theaters still exist in 78 years.

The movie is about a wealthy woman who is about to get married for the second time.  However, her ex-husband and a reporter show up shortly before the wedding and stir things up.

The film is based on the play by Philip Barry.  It is directed by George Cukor and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Ruth Hussey, John Howard, Roland Young, Mary Nash, John Halliday, Virginia Weidler, and Henry Daniell.

This movie feels almost more like a play, because it is all about the dialogue and timing of acting.  It is the conversations and connections between the characters.  The setting does not change much and the audience is more focused on the people instead of the place anyway.  This is all understandable of course, because it is based on a play.

The film is filled with grace, wit, humor, life, flawlessness, class, elegance, and charm.  Those characteristics all together in one movie in today’s world hardly exist.

Hepburn, Stewart, and Grant play off of each other perfectly.  They seem to all equally contribute, which is especially rare in today’s movies for three such big names to carry the film equally.  The dialogue is very amusing throughout.  In a way, I feel like the film captured a little piece of their heart and soul for your enjoyment.  A timeless classic.  Like a fine wine, The Philadelphia Story is aged to perfection.


I rate this movie a 10 on a scale of 1-10.

To achieve this 10 rating, you have to understand that the film truly has stood the test of time.  For what it is, it is a 10.  To truly appreciate this however, you have to have an appreciation for old movies.  You have to step outside the box that is the film industry of the present.  Take out the action.  Take out the special effects.  It is heart and soul during the golden age of Hollywood forever captured and preserved for your viewing pleasure.  A taste of the past held onto for so many years.  We held on to it so tight because it is historic and beautiful.


If you liked this film, than you might also enjoy:

My Favorite Wife (1940)

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Holiday (1938)

It’s A Wonderful Life (1939)

His Girl Friday (1940)

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

Mr. Lucky (1943)

The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)

I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Monkey Business (1952)

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Houseboat (1958)

Adam’s Rib (1949)

The Best Movies of 2015

The Best Movies of 2015


Below is my list of the best movies that I have seen that were released in 2015 (even if some were made in 2014).  I have included trailers for each movie.  I would love to eventually write a review of each of these films and talk about why I enjoyed them so much.  But for now, just know that I highly recommend all of these movies.  I will continue to add to this list if I see any more movies from 2015 that are worthy of this list.  2015 was a particularly good year for movies.


The Revenant (2015)

Black Mass (2015)

Southpaw (2015)

No Escape (2015)

The Martian (2015)

Run All Night (2015)

Ted 2 (2015)

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015)

The Gift (2015)

Room (2015)

Spectre (2015)

Creed (2015)

The Hateful Eight (2015)

Bridge of Spies (2015)

Good Kill (2015)

Game Night (2018)

Game Night (2018)

If you are a fan of games like I am, then this movie probably looks like fun to you.  The concept of diving into the unknown and stirring up your plain everyday life sounds great, doesn’t it?  Of course it does.  That is why I had to check this movie out.  Because, it is about exactly that.  It is about a game night filled with endless possibilities, mystery, and excitement.  Also, the trailer for the film is pretty funny and I wanted to see more.  The next best thing to playing a game is being a spectator.

This movie is a comedy about a group of friends that get together for a regular game night.  Their most recent game night gets a huge upgrade when one of the friends surprises the others with a real life puzzle.  One of them will be kidnapped and it is up to everyone else to find that person by following the clues left behind.

The film is written by Mark Perez and directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein.  The noteworthy cast includes Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Jesse Plemons, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Michael C. Hall, Jeffrey Wright, Danny Huston, and Chelsea Peretti.

There have been a lot of comedies in recent history that have fallen flat.  The humor often is just not there or it is not consistent enough to warrant the genre of a Comedy.  Game Night is not one of those movies.  It is all kinds of funny.  It takes a little while to get going, but then it does not stop.

This film feels like a fun game.  The title is fitting, but for a couple of reasons.  The obvious reason is that it is about a game night, but more importantly the movie itself actually feels like a game night.  It is a great movie to see in the company of others (as comedies often are).  See this movie on movie night and it will feel just like a game night.  All the ingredients are there.  The excitement, the fun, the laughs, and the good time are all a part of it.  Buy some snacks at the concessions and you got yourself some good old-fashioned entertainment.

There is a comfortable assortment of humor in this movie; witty, dark, sarcastic, situational, and stupid.  It is a tasteful variety that is sure to make anyone laugh.

The film had a bit of a The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997) feel to it.  The characters think something is fake when it is actually real and hilarity ensues.

I felt like the cast all did a superb job in their roles.  The casting department compiled an enjoyable bunch of characters.

Bateman continues to prove his versatility between comedy and drama.  Not a lot of actors are capable of drama and humor at the same level.  Jason nails it!

McAdams, who is not known for her comedy, manages to pull it off because there is also just the right amount of drama in this film.

Chandler keeps up the trend of being always likable no matter what part he is playing in an acting role.

Michael C. Hall had a great cameo performance.  I think it worked well in this film because of his excellent history as the phenomenal Dexter in the well-known Dexter (2006) TV series.

Plemons continues to prove himself as a solid actor every time that I see him in a movie (which has been a lot lately).  In this one, he hysterically steals the show.

If you are looking for an exciting comedy, Game Night is totally worth it!

I rate this movie an 8.5 on a scale of 1-10.


If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:


The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)

The Hangover (2009)

Horrible Bosses (2011)

Wedding Crashers (2005)

The Post (2017)

The Post (2017)

Steven Spielberg directing Hanks, Streep, Odenkirk, Greenwood, Plemons, and Brie should make a lot of money and be a high quality movie, right?

The film is about The Washington Post Newspaper it 1971.  It chronicles how the press defies the government as they want to release loads of classified documents pertaining to the Vietnam War.

The movie was directed by Steven Spielberg and the noteworthy cast includes Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Bob Odenkirk, Bruce Greenwood, Jesse Plemons, Alison Brie, Sarah Paulson, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, David Cross, Zach Woods, and Michael Stuhlberg.

The Post is dry as the desert sand.  Bright, but also burned out.

The movie was a little hard to follow in the beginning.  It has a slow start.  Almost every scene seemed drawn out.  Because some of the scenes drag on, it takes away from the storyline.  You either lose interest and it makes it harder to remember small details that do not matter until later on.

Like many political dramas, the stars come out to play.  However, often there are too many stars in the sky, so to speak.  There is not enough movie to go around.  That is exactly the case with this film.  There was this kind of detachment from the main characters.

Odenkirk was probably the most entertaining part of the film and it felt like he was hardly in it.  Hanks was likable, but his performance was nothing special.  Streep’s character started to develop about halfway through.  I feel like the movie had plenty of time for us to become attached to the characters, but it just never gets there.

The entertainment value that we have come to expect from a Spielberg directed film, was hard to find.  The spark was just was not present.  The scenery was great.  It felt like the right time and place that it was depicting.  There was not a shortage of acting ability.  The Post just falls short of all expectations.

It is a likable overrated, underachieving, sluggish, and detached film.  It is worth a one-time rental.


I rate this movie a 6 on a scale of 1-10.


If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

Bridge of Spies (2015)

Lincoln (2012)

Bobby (2006)

Doubt (2008)

Lions for Lambs (2007)

JFK (1991)

All the President’s Men (1976)

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Dark humor in an edgy looking story jammed packed with character actors galore.  Why wouldn’t I want to see this film?

The movie is about a broken woman whose daughter had been raped and murdered less than a year earlier and the crime is still unsolved.  She decides to purchase advertisements on three billboards outside of Ebbing, Missouri, essentially publically calling the police out for not doing their jobs.  This gets the attention of the police station and stirs things up around town.

The film was written and directed by Martin McDonagh and the noteworthy cast includes Frances Mcdormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage, Caleb Landry Jones, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Zeljko Ivanek, Christopher Berry, John Hawkes, Clarke Peters, and Darrell Brit-Gibson.

The casting is superb.  The characters are excellent.  Rockwell and Harrelson are likable jerks (as they often are).  They play their parts well.  Mcdormand steals the show with her best performance in years.

The multiple characters stories join together well in a web of darkness.  The movie allows its cast to take their time to develop their characters in an overly dysfunctional drama.  They really did not disappoint.

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is a blunt force.  It has the right amount of dark humor carefully thrown into the mix to break up the brutal honesty of the film.

This film is a miserably twisted tale that goes to some dark places.  You can really feel the pain and anguish on screen.  However, it leaves those places leaving you feeling better about the whole thing afterwards.

There is more cussing in this film than I have heard in a newer film for a while.  The dialogue and writing are top notch.  I enjoyed how the film did not really edit itself.  It may not be much for the politically correct crowd.  If you cannot handle harsh language, this movie is not for you.  Given some of the horrible situations in this film, I feel that the language was justified and also more realistic.  It served as another tool to get the point across.

The movie pushes the boundaries on what you expect.  Lots of surprises keep you guessing throughout.  It’s witty and charming, but in a dysfunctional, hellish way.

I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

Fargo (1996)

North Country (2005)

The Way, Way Back (2013)

Mr. Right (2015)

Choke (2008)

Matchstick Men (2003)

Out of the Furnace (2013)

Triple 9 (2016)

Zombieland (2009)

Emagine Willow Creek Theater in Plymouth, MN

Emagine Willow Creek Theater in Plymouth, MN

Gone are the days of the singing candy boxes dancing across the screen along with the trailers before the feature film.  Gone are the days of the Cineplex Odeon Cinema.  Muller Family no longer owns this theater.  Emagine has redefined what I call my “home theater.”  The Willow Creek Theater has come a long way, and I’ve been along for the whole ride.

This movie theater opened in 1989.  It is the first theater that I remember visiting as a child.

I visited the nearby General Cinemas Shelard Park Theater in St. Louis Park since I was in the womb up until near the time that theater closed.  However, I’ve kept coming back to Willow Creek.

Willow Creek has always been more memorable and it has stood the test of time.  The evolution of this theater has been a sight to see.  Emagine has made some very tasteful upgrades that has transformed this movie house into a new kind of awesome.

These days, theaters need the cushy recliners in order to compete.  A bar and restaurant is also becoming the norm.  Willow Creek has all of that and more.  The popular film themed paintings on the walls are a nice added touch.  It classes the joint up, along with the chandelier in the entryway and the weeping willows.

This place is almost a classic.  I have spent many a bag of popcorn exploring the movie world here.  The movies change, but this theater still feels like home.

The Best Movies of 2016

The Best Movies of 2016


Below is my list of the best movies that I have seen that were released in 2016 (even if some were made in 2015).  I have included trailers for each movie.  I would love to eventually write a review of each of these films and talk about why I enjoyed them so much.  But for now, just know that all of these movies were awesome in their own way.  I will continue to add to this list if I see any more movies from 2016 that are worthy of this list.


The Accountant (2016)

The Nice Guys (2016)

Deadpool (2016)

Hacksaw Ridge (2006)

The Free State of Jones (2016)

Bleed for This (2016)

13 Hours (2016)

Passengers (2016)

Triple 9 (2016)

Demolition (2015)

Hardcore Henry (2015)

Arrival (2016)

Deepwater Horizon (2016)

Sully (2016)

Mr. Right (2015)