Big (1988): Funny, playful, entertaining. This loveable and humourous story is beautifully brought to life with clever dialogue and its childlike, but not juvenile approach, even where efforts in the editing department failed. Recommended? A good laugh, especially for those who need to remember to stay young at heart.
V for Vendetta (2005): Exciting, scary, engaging. This film creates an unsettling plot by using relative simplicity in its production and an intricate but accessible story with mysterious characters and plot twists around every corner. Recommended? For those looking for a thrill.
Armageddon (1998): Entertaining, funny, emotional. What begins as a fun action/adventure flick evolves into a deeper statement about love and friendship with some appealing visual effects throughout. Recommended? Pretty good for an apocalyptic film.
Top Gun (1986): Cheesy, light, fun. The flight sequences are very well filmed, especially for their time, and the soundtrack adds even more to this testosterone-fuelled journey through this elite flight school. Recommended? This movie is more or less a masculine and funnier version of An Officer and a Gentleman.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012): Stunning, quirky, fantastical. Even though this movie feels quite long at times and the story abuses the concept of “Deus ex Machina”, the beautiful imagery and consistent development of the fun characters make this overlong prequel fun to watch. Recommended? This film is worth a chance for both fans and skeptics of The Lord of the Rings series.
Once (2006): Unique, engaging, simple. This film really makes the most out its low budget, adding to how little the main characters have and focussing more on the beautiful soundtrack that was written by the actors themselves for the movie. Recommended? While it may be difficult to understand for anyone who is not attune to heavy Irish accents and dialect, this indie film has a lot to it and should be seen, even if only just for the music.
Oz the Great and Powerful (2013): Cheesy, adventurous, beautiful. This overly modern and partially miscast prequel does have well-executed imagery and visual effects to its claim, as well as some meaningful underlying themes. Recommended? This movie may have been easier to take seriously if it had either not been directly associated with the original film or felt less like Oz was travelling through Tim Burton’s Wonderland in the daytime.
Capote (2005): Informative, interesting, simple. Philip Seymour Hoffman drives this film with his stunning performance as the classic American author, though the general film plot is not as strong as the story of the characters within it. Recommended? This is a must-see movie in the Philip Seymour Hoffman filmography, though some may find it bland or boring.
21 Jump Street (2012): Humourous, fun, questionable. For every funny gag or enjoyable character, there is an equally unfunny and unenjoyable one as well, though the story is quite relevant, especially for a remake. Recommended? A reputable comedy, but not a masterpiece.
Gravity (2013): Intense, different, entertaining. There is no major storyline in this movie, just a surprising amount of character development and a triumphant production effort. Recommended? A beautiful work of art, though more experimental than a feature film.
Dallas Buyers Club (2013): Interesting, emotional, entertaining. This film has great acting and production, all while building on the underlying development of the main character and showcasing a part of history probably unknown to most. Recommended? This movie is proof that there is no such thing as being set in your ways and that it is never too late to embrace a more positive side of yourself.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013): Chaotic, explicit, funny. While this seems like an overlong and overly inappropriate biopic at first sight, Scorsese takes audiences inside the mind of antihero Jordan Belfort and poetically shows the side effects of his destructive lifestyle and ambitions. Recommended? A crazy ride and fascinating journey, but it is definitely not meant for everyone.
Zero Dark Thirty (2013): Heavy, dramatic, relevant. As the only real action was during the last half hour of the movie, it feels quite long and arduous at times; nevertheless, this film tells a passionate and somewhat exciting story about one person’s drive to get her job done. Recommended? Bigelow and Boal’s respective talents are reflected well in this film, but if interest in this film is sparked only for its historical relevance, it is noteworthy that a great deal of it is fictitious.
The Lego Movie (2014): Fun, hilarious, unique. The animation that went into this movie is stellar, the humour and references are well thought out, and the story manages to encompass both depth and personal empowerment while being a parody of absolutely everything, even including an unexpected ending that changes everything an audience may have thought about the movie before. Recommended? This movie provides a good laugh, a decent story and a nostalgia trip for Lego lovers.
American Hustle (2013): Vintage, wordy, humourous. This film has great acting and a vibrant, well recreated 70s vibe; it is also noteworthy that this movie about a conman is set apart by its lack of excessive violence, bad language, nudity and drug abuse, and that which is here is either intended for artistic or comedic purposes. Recommended? This movie can be a bit slow at times, and the motives unclear; anyone could enjoy this movie, but not everyone will.
The Croods (2013): Funny, heartwarming, entertaining. The beautiful animation is the focus of this film, bringing a colourful and fresh look to the Stone Age, and while the characters can be a little annoying and inconsistent at times, the overall story is relatable and fun. Recommended? This movie is quite fun and should be taken open-mindedly.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003): Graphic, artistic, exciting. Different cultural elements clash throughout the movie, usually successfully, and other than a few questionable moments, the story is quite intriguing, leaving enough mystery to keep viewers hooked until part 2. Recommended? This action flick comes off as indirectly comedic most of the time, but it is overall a fun mystery.
The Conjuring (2013): Intense, frightening, artistic. This horror film has a strong premise and high production value, and the fact that it is based on a true story only makes it more thrilling. Recommended? Not for the faint of heart; director James Wan does not rely on cheap thrills and uses suspense and surprise to spice up his 1970s style horror film.
Divergent (2014): Emotional, fascinating, intense. Where book to movie adaptations often try to replicate characters and major events, this one focuses on creating the world and animating sentiments and themes; in addition, the story is very forward in regards to gender roles, allowing ability and mentality to drive actions as opposed to superficial physical stigmas. Recommended? This adaptation was far from perfect, but the last half hour alone shows a great amount of character growth and strength.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): Mysterious, exciting, emotional. With its numerous plot twists and exciting action sequences, Marvel’s latest cinematic story is much darker than some of the others, but manages the perfect balance of action, humour, drama and his classic juxtaposition of an old fashioned man in a new and changing world. Recommended? This movie has both fun action and an interesting story; it will be interesting to see where Marvel’s Cinematic Universe goes from here.