The 2014 Halftime Report

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As hard as it is to believe, we now find ourselves six months into another year. Of course, we should use this time to reflect. Not on our lives, of course. Who cares about that? We should instead turn our attention to the various movies that have been released so far in 2014, and this has probably been the best January-to-June stretch we’ve seen in several years. Normally when I do a mid-year post, I have trouble coming up with five movies that I really liked. This time around, I quite easily came up with a list of 10 movies I really, really liked, and the even greater miracle is just how strong Hollywood has been so far this year. We didn’t get our first genuine stinker of the summer movie season until a certain Michael Bay arrived last week to muck things up. 2014 is off to a rousing start, and we still have six months ahead that are full of new movies from Paul Thomas Anderson, Ridley Scott, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan and more. Continue reading

Viewing Diary (6/30/14)

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I know you have missed the Viewing Diary the last few weeks, and that you have constantly been sitting at your computer, hitting refresh, and hoping that one materializes. Well, our long national nightmare has come to an end. After a couple busy weeks without much movie-watching, I return with looks at Transformers: Explosions in Financially Advantageous LocationsThe Rover and Obvious Child. For the old stuff, how about some praise for A Hard Day’s Night? Those Beatles have had a rough go of it, haven’t they?

What to look for later this week: A review of Deliver Us From Evil, as well as a mid-year look at the best and worst movies I’ve seen so far in 2014. It should be fun! Or mildly diverting, at the very least! Continue reading

Check this out: “Transformers: The Premake” explores the making of a blockbuster from outside the barricades

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These days, blockbusters aren’t simply big movies, but unstoppable behemoths. Hundreds of films are released every year, but it’s the $100-200 million mega-projects that make up the sun around which the rest of the movie universe orbits. We may not like it, but that is the truth. The critical community has grown to, by and large, despise Michael Bay’s Transformers films, but they are so huge and so successful that many of the films’ harshest critics will still find themselves sitting through another 150 minutes of Bay’s incoherent toy commercial explosions when Age of Extinction graces us with its presence next week. Ignoring a new Transformers movie is like ignoring a giant zit on the face of our cinematic landscape. We may not like it, but it must be dealt with. Continue reading