1. Admission - This is a very odd movie. I'm not sure what it was trying to be. It certainly isn't the romantic comedy that it is advertised as; I would describe it more as a small family drama. It's jarring, considering the two leads, Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, are both hilarious and charismatic (and could probably make a really cute romantic comedy together). They are both stripped of personality for this movie. Instead, the movie is about this woman bonding with her mother, who is the complete opposite of her (played by Lily Tomlin - aka, the best part of the movie. Class act.) and possibly bonding with her son who she gave up for adoption, all while balancing a stressful time at work as a college admissions counselor. It's an interesting story, but it's unfortunately unbalanced, contrived and unconvincing. The movie is just filled with weird scenes - like them helping a cow give birth and then showering in outdoor shower stalls together - how can anyone relate to that?
2. Jobs - Ashton Kutcher is waaaay over his head here. He is not even close to being a serious actor, in my opinion. However, I think the movie benefits from his charmingly natural goofiness. The only aspect that I like about this movie is watching the technology being created. I was really young when all of this was happening, but I remember how fast everything seemed to be evolving. Now, it's amazing to see all of the technology we have at our fingertips and impossible to imagine how we lived without it! Steve Jobs was a visionary and obviously, a business genius, but instead of being inspired by a great man; this movie just reaffirms that he was kind of an asshole. I don't care how brilliant or imaginative someone is, if they don't treat people with respect and give credit where and when it is due; then I return the favor. The movie makes me happy about not owning hoards of Apple products (I have an iPod from 7 years ago that I rarely use) as they continually reference the fact that owning their products is part of a "social status". It's a status that I want no part of.
3. Ain't Them Bodies Saints - The movie is a little boring, but there are some extremely beautiful shots (just look at that poster for proof) and it is very well-acted. I love Casey Affleck so much, but the standouts are Ben Foster and Rooney Mara. I think I was expecting more of a western action movie featuring bank robberies and such, but this movie focuses on the aftermath of the action. It's all visual, poetic, and emotional. The best part of the movie is the music, which consists of rhythmic hand-clapping. It made for a really haunting and memorable experience - honestly, without it, the film would be forgotten already in my head.
4. Simon Killer - Brady Corbet really creeps me out and this film is no different. The story is an original tale of a confused and lonely young man who befriends a prostitute (that was sarcasm...), but there is an underlying feeling of dread. The audience is fully aware that something very bad is going to happen and we spend the movie just waiting. I absolutely love the dancing scene (the first one; the second one is pretty great too); the way it was shot is so weird, but it works and the song is perfect. The editing, including the sound, is a bit jarring, but it's supposed to be that way (to enhance the sense of uneasiness). I did find a lot of mistakes in the movie that distracted me, but otherwise I like it.
5. Insidious Chapter 2 - I don't know why I watched this, considering I am not a big fan of the first one. The biggest reason that I dislike the first one, though, is because it was hyped so much as the next great horror movie; my expectations were through the roof. Without those expectations, I can admit that it's a solid horror movie with a very bad ending. I appreciate that the sequel begins right where the first one leaves off - sort of redeeming the terrible third act. I love Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne, but they are wasted for this movie. As someone who isn't that into the supernatural horror genre, I try to overlook the ridiculousness of the plot and focus on the filmmaking. I absolutely love the opening credits of the first Insidious. Those black and white shots are stunning and haunting...and memorable. Similarly, this years The Conjuring, has some amazing moments that I will remember, even if I don't like it as a whole. Sadly, I can't find anything of value with this sequel. It's a waste of talent and time.