Uneven Cinematic Landscape in 2014

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January 7, 2015 by bck1402

Over the last week  or so, Ive been pondering how to approach writing my end of year review for movies, something I’ve done every year for a long while now. I tallied my collected ticket stubs (40 this year, 52 last year) and reviewed the posts put up throughout the year. I also noted I didn’t review a number of movies caught in the cinemas. What happened there?

The major studios putting out these movies are not in the business of making movies, they’re in it to make money. Their product are the movies. They get a movie out there and try to hit the largest market as possible, make their quick buck and… that’s it. The movies come out, preferably hitting number one at the box office and that’s all there is. The movie doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be hyped. A bad movie can make it’s money back in one weekend, and still be considered a success. The cinemas are equally complicit in this, particularly over here. The movies screen are often part of some arrangement with the international distributors and the local distributor (singular). What comes to our screens are often aimed at the lowest common denominator with the occasional ‘smaller’ movies pushed to the bigger multiplexes with tiny halls that are maintained the least and accommodate no more than 150 viewers… because these little gems don’t sell. There are no big stars, no action, all talk and drama, it’s not scary and they can’t be marketed. Most end up being ‘critic-proof’ – you can’t write about them because there is nothing you can or have to say about them.

That’s not to say that the movie-viewing public around here are not cinephiles. There are a handful who appreciate a good movie, but it’s a minority. Put against major “blockbusters” – often the case in terms of release – the smaller movies are doomed to be ignored. Admittedly, this has affected my viewing habits. If I want a good drama with solid performances, most aren’t on the big screen anymore. Matthew McConaughey best performance in 2014 didn’t come from the epic Interstellar, not for the lack of a solid and emotional performance, but from the small screen epic, True Detective.

There seemed to be a political slant in the movies over the year. Perhaps some were intentional, or just happen to coincide with some real-world situations. Captain America: The Winter Soldier had a master-plan that carried over to Marvel’s TV series, Agents of SHIELD, while Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit reminded us of how fragile an economy could be. Then there was Kill The Messenger which seemed like an important movie no one wanted to pay attention to. China was obviously given a lot of preference, not necessarily from good movies (see RoboCop, Transformers: Age of Extinction, X-Men: Days of Future Past for examples). After all, China is regarded as a major market for profits.

2014MoviesStill, it felt like an odd year for movies. I didn’t catch everything, passing on movies for one reason or another. I missed on The Amazing Spider-Man 2, still haven’t seen it at this time of writing, and if the critics are to be believed, I didn’t miss anything there. If my few friends are right about what’s in it, I can guess the entire movie without watching it. Also passed was The Giver, based on a classic sci-fi from decades past, which should have enticed me if the trailers weren’t hyping it to cash in on another supposed utopia hiding a dark secret leading to several teens fighting against the system and bringing it all crashing down… or is that not what happened? I don’t know, haven’t seen it. Not sure if I want to.

A couple of movies I wished made it to our screen, but didn’t, include The Raid 2: Berandal, The Babadook, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, The Guest, Automata, The Zero Theorem and Veronica Mars would have been so welcomed. I would have loved to watch these on the big screen, but instead, will have to wait until I can get my hands on the discs.

Off to the right are the movies I enjoyed this year, in no particular order. There are a variety of reasons and I expect not everyone will agree. I’ve learnt that what I look for in movies is beyond what a casual viewer would see. Yes, some are pure entertainment, and others are about the ideas, the presentation, the design, et al.

Here are the links to the reviews, again, in no particular order:-

 

So, on to the next write-up: looking forward to the movies of 2015, and what a selection we have.


 

bannerr_big

Amazon (US) / Barnes and Noble / Amazon (Ca) / Amazon (UK) / Amazon (Jp) / Book Depository / Best Deals (ISBNS.net)

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