1. The Raven - I can appreciate the high concept script, but it failed to be a memorable movie. Not bad at all, but it's all very mediocre and never reaches any kind of peak. It would have been a better movie if it went into full-on horror mode, instead it teetered between horror gore, historical drama and an oddly placed love story. The plot is about a serial killer who is inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, so naturally the investigators recruit Poe to help them solve the identity of the killer. It's both genius and absolutely ridiculous. You will probably enjoy it more if you are actually familiar with Poe's work (I, myself, am not well-versed. I think I read "The Raven" but I'm honestly not entirely sure. I do own a gigantic book that contains most of his work, so I have no excuses). I'm not sure that John Cusack was the best casting choice (as I've never been convinced that he can play anyone but John Cusack). However, he did a great job during the whole "confrontation/realization scene". I would have preferred for Alice Eve's character to have more depth than the typical "damsel in distress".
2. Moonrise Kingdom - What the fuck. I totally don't get the love for this movie. I'm not a huge fan of Wes Anderson films, but most of them I would rate as above average (my personal favorite is The Royal Tenenbaums and my least favorite is The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou). All of his films are quirky, stylish and engaging. I would say that Moonrise Kingdom is still quirky and stylish, but it is hardly engaging. It lost me at the whole 12 year old kids "in love" plot. I far more prefer a cynical view of love (or what I like to call "realistic". Ahem.), so it's hard for me to care about kids falling "in love". There is also a scene in which these two KIDS explore their sexuality in their underwear, which is highly disturbing. It's not sweet, heartwarming, charming or compelling - although most critics seem to disagree with me. It doesn't help that the two kids are horrible actors - everything they said felt really forced and unnatural (which is in typical Anderson style, but it's harder to pull off with child actors because I don't think they understand things like "tone"). I didn't laugh once through the whole thing, or even smile. I just sat there, baffled by the whole experience. The more I think about it, the angrier I get. So, I am going to try and never think about it again.
3. The Lucky One - Not my type of movie at all, but every once in a while, if I'm in the right mood, I can enjoy a good romance. I fully admit that I saw The Notebook in the theater and I enjoyed it (although I own the DVD and it's still in the plastic wrap; never had any inclination to watch it again). The Lucky One doesn't come close to the "epic love story" that it pretends to be, instead it is rather dull - mostly due to the fact that there is a distinct lack of chemistry between the two main actors (Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling). Although Zac Efron is technically an adult, he still seems 17 to me (probably always will) and I really like Taylor Schilling as an actress (she was fantastic in the cancelled television series, Mercy), but she is far too mature for Zac Efron (yes, I realize they are only 3 years apart). The story is more stalker/creepy than it is romantic. I never really felt like they had any real connection. He is more obsessed with the idea of her as his "savior" and she is more obsessed with herself (she is also a raging bitch to him, but I guess that is supposed to be "love"). Plus, the emotionally abusive ex was unnecessary (and under-developed). It will probably end up on my "worst list" for the year; it's definitely the most boring and pointless film of the year.
4. Battle: Los Angeles - I didn't hate it, but I found it terribly exhausting to watch. The term "exhausting" should never really be used to describe an action movie, so it pretty much failed on every level. The characters had no discernible personality (even the main actor, Aaron Eckhart, and the usually amazing, Michael Pena, faded into the background), the shaky action scenes were repetitive (kill the aliens!!) and the dialogue could have been cut altogether. I'm not even sure how it maintained my attention, but I guess I went in thinking it would be stupid and it was, in fact, stupid. So, nothing gained; nothing lost.
5. The Deep Blue Sea - Absolutely beautiful film from beginning to end. Just stunning. Rachel Weisz is superb as a woman torn between two relationships - one provides passion, the other provides stability. However, the more interesting part of of the story is the internal struggle of a woman who simply loves too much without getting enough love in return. I can relate to her downward spiral, isolation and loss of self-worth. It's certainly a depressing story, but melancholy is often beautiful to watch on-screen.