April was a surprisingly disappointing month. Maybe this is becoming the norm for me? I can’t account for why I’ve watched so few movies or why I feel like I should shoot for a minimum of 30 a month, apparently. Luckily I managed to spend considerably less money than usual. So that’s something.
- Total Viewings: 16
- First Viewings: 8
- Theater Viewings: 3
- Money Spent on Movies/TV: $63.47
Below you’ll find a breakdown of my money spent in April on movie and TV related expenses.
Money Spent on Movies/TV
- 4/01 12:25pm – DVD: Tales from the Crypt: The Complete 3rd Season at Best Buy: Avon – $9.99
- 4/01 12:25pm – DVD: Tales from the Crypt: The Complete 4th Season at Best Buy: Avon – $9.99
- 4/05 09:30pm – Movie Ticket: Captain America: The Winter Soldier at Regal Theater: Shiloh – $10.00
- 4/12 5:15pm – Movie Ticket: Bad Words at Regal Theater: Shiloh – $10.00
- 4/13 12:00am – Rental Service: Netflix Streaming Service: Auto Renewal – $7.99
- 4/26 10:22pm – Movie Ticket: Transcendence at Regal Theater: Shiloh – $10.00
- 4/26 10:25pm – Concession: Medium Orange Crush at Regal Theater: Shiloh – $5.50
Money Spent on Movies/TV in April: $63.47
Running Total for 2014: $394.26
If that’s not enough for you (just how could it be!?) you’ll of course find my best and worst (and other) designations for the movies I watched last month. Enjoy and let me know what stood out in your own month in movies for April.
The Month in Movies: April, 2014
Best First Viewing: The Kings of Summer (2013)
I am kind of glad I didn’t get around to seeing this movie last year. Had I watched it in 2013, it would have wreaked havoc on my ranked list of first viewings last year.
The Kings of Summer is a movie that stuck to me and generated a very strong nostalgia for adolescence and the feeling of losing your childhood to the venomous snake of adulthood. The performances are great and the script is terrific.
It’s not often that a movie can resonate with me consistently throughout its runtime and stick with me for weeks after seeing it. The Kings of Summer is one that I’m not likely to forget. I plan to use my desire to write a full review of it as an excuse to watch it again. And then maybe again after that. And again. And again.
Honorable Mention: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Captain America 2 was covered at length in an episode of The Obsessive Viewer Podcast. Suffice it to say, I think it was one of the strongest Marvel Studios offerings yet. The movie’s twists carry heavy implications for the Marvel Universe and it’s something I respect Marvel for introducing in this movie.
I’ve heard the plot ripples are occurring in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but I dumped that show long ago. Make no mistake, however, I still love me some Chloe Bennet. It was just a chore to watch that series.
Worst First Viewing: Dare (2009)
Emmy Rossum plays a rebellious teen in this indie drama. That was the draw for me to load it up on Netflix. But it was a tough watch. Alan Cumming plays an amalgam of pretty much every pretentious drama teacher in poorly written indie flicks as he urges his teenage student to get herself into compromising positions for the sake of her art.
There are other characters and other motivations in this movie. Given the fact that I can’t be bothered to confirm if Alan Cumming did in fact play the drama teacher, I think I’m going to keep this concise. Avoid it.
Dishonorable Mention: Octopussy (1983)
I threw in Octopussy because it had been several months since I watched a Bond movie. The one year mark has passed for my Bond 50 project and I feel an urge to reconnect with the blu-ray set I have every intention of finishing reviewing.
Octopussy didn’t do much to reinvigorate my Bond 50 fervor. It wasn’t horrible. Hell, it wasn’t even bad, per se. Octopussy was just highly forgettable and the biggest culprit yet of rehashing past Bond films yet. Several elements of the movie seem to be copy and pasted from past outings, more notably Goldfinger. It led to a dull viewing experience that left no mark.
Biggest Surprise: God on Trial (2008)
I talked about God on Trial at length in the Religion in Movies episode of the podcast. I was very impressed, even blown away, by this movie. It’s about a group of men at Auschwitz who hold a mock trial to determine if God has broken his covenant with the Jews by allowing the Holocaust to happen to them.
Unlike that other mock trial religious movie I saw recently, God on Trial presents both sides of its character’s arguments in an intense and organic way. Every line of dialogue spoken by the characters builds upon the last and every point made by either side in the trial is heavily scrutinized with reason, logic and personal experience.
God on Trial is very much an actor’s movie as well as a writer’s movie. The performances are spectacular. The actors bring to life an extraordinary screenplay. At times, it feels as though the viewer is a witness to the screenwriter working out his own feelings about faith and God through the characters. This gives a much more personal tone to the movie.
I could gush about God on Trial for much longer here. I’ll leave it with this, however. No matter what side of the greater religious debate you’re on, if you’re looking for an intense, honest portrayal of people questioning the most important part of their lives while experiencing the most unspeakable thing humanity has ever been proven capable of, please seek out God on Trial.
Biggest Letdown: Transcendence (2014)
I had high hopes for Transcendence. It’s no secret that I am a big fanboy for Christopher Nolan. So knowing that Wally Pfister, Nolan’s frequent Cinematographer, was graduating to the director’s seat had me very interested. Couple that with the fact that the movie dealt with the singularity, and my ticket is purchased.
The finished product, however, left a lot to be desired. The script works fine but is still pretty dry, for the most part. The plot sustains itself through the runtime well enough but isn’t without its share of dragged out, dull moments.
The direction was pretty uninspired. I think Pfister is a really talented cinematographer and could, in time, become a talented director. The issue I had with Transcendence’s direction was that it lacked focus. Pfister sacrificed pacing for style and flair.
The result is a product that lacks focus and cohesion in the storytelling. While the movie isn’t wholly generic, more often than not I felt like I was watching the work of someone who was borrowing from a more seasoned filmmaker’s style, rather than cultivating his own voice.
Returning Favorite: 12 Angry Men (1957)
God on Trial really lit a fire in me to revisit strongly scripted, superbly acted, argumentative movies. What movie better fits those criteria than 12 Angry Men? I hadn’t seen the Sidney Lumet classic in a long time, so it was a real treat to revisit it.
I don’t really know what there is to say about 12 Angry Men that the title and the movie’s iconic status don’t already say. The movie is timeless and the chemistry between the actors is simply magnificent.
Given that it’s a movie about 12 men confined to a room, it’s awe-inspiring to see how each individual character’s quirks, traits and backstory are fleshed out. The script is a beautiful study of the depth that can be gained from brevity in both exposition and characterization.
It’s one of the best.
Well, that does it for April. Funny, while writing this, I felt like I could easily convert three of these titles into full-fledged reviews. I may end up doing that. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts on my Month in Movies in the comments section and follow me around the Internet.