2014 So Far in Most Anticipated Part 3

Five more movies that are worthy of your time. While I did enjoy these movies, I don't think they're going to land on my best of list at the end of the year. There's nothing particularly bad about these movies, they just didn't grab me like some others did so far this year!

4. Noah
I wouldn't necessarily call this movie bad, but it's more of a disappointment. I had really high expectations for Aronofsky's take on the biblical flood. And while the movie had an amazing scope and epicness to it, I thought the more intimate, character-driven moments in the film to be lacking. Aronofsky sprinkles in his own fairy dust when re-telling the tale - I really dug the set up with the angels turning into rock and the mythology of it all. The movie was gorgeous - from the first quiet moments of Noah walking around a desolate wasteland and the animals flocking in to find solace in the ark to the mass destruction of the flood. But aside from all the spectacle, I think the idea of Noah coming to terms with humanity's own sinful nature was an interesting idea, it just didn't play out as beautifully as the rest of the film. I did connect with Noah's son, played by Logan Lerman - who tries to rescue a girl to take on the ark, but is denied by his father. I'm really conflicted - I think this is a movie that might need to be appreciated on second or third viewing. I just remember walking out of the theater feeling a little numb by the whole experience. However, I do think this was a good movie, just not Aronofsky's best work.

7. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
I don't understand the hate for this movie. I think it's really easy to tear down a movie because you didn't like X or Y. But I enjoyed the movie for being campy and fun. I honestly think it depends on how you see Peter Parker. Is he just some douchebag smart ass? Or is he just a wise-cracking goofball with a lot of charm? I think the latter and if you come into the movie with the expectation that the movie isn't going to take itself too seriously, you'll probably enjoy it more. And can we talk about Gwen Stacy? What a breath of fresh air - she's not a damsel in distress, but an equal partner when it comes to Spider-Man's identity. She's willing to stand her ground and break up with him and go to London, she's the one who decides to not stay back while Spider-Man saves the day, but instead to help. And what a really bold move for the studio to kill her character at the end. I mean, it's canon for the franchise, but Emma Stone is a big deal and to not have her in the next movie certainly won't help fill seats in the theater. I thought they nailed it at the end with her death - quite tragic and somber like it should be. And I think Garfield has got Peter Parker/Spider-Man down - he's equally charming and knows how to let loose when dealing with the bad guys. There's a lot goofiness and camp, but to me that's a bit refreshing when we have brooding superheros like Batman sucking out all the joy in our superhero movies (not that I don't mind brooding). The movie is far from perfect (especially most of Electro's character), but I really did enjoy this one from start to finish.

15. The Grand Budapest Hotel
I don't really know if there's much to talk about for this movie. Do you like Wes Anderson? Yes? Then you'll really enjoy this movie. It's every bit as quirky and fun as the rest of his movies. At times it does come off as an insufferable mess - but thanks to the charms of the cast, including the brilliant Ralph Fiennes - it manages to suck you in. You can't help but enjoy yourself - the movie moves along briskly and quite fast - there's a sense that Anderson wanted to squeeze as much as he could with visuals and dialogue into a tight 100 minutes. It's funny, witty and quite beautiful with all that dollhouse-like elegeance Anderson perfected in Moonrise Kingdom. While not my favorite Wes Anderson flick (I think that goes to the very underrated The Darjeeling Limited), Grand Budapest is a fun adventure. If you blink too much, you might miss out on all the cameos and fun little jokes. Anderson is a great visual storyteller and this might be his masterpiece in that regard. But if you don't like Wes Anderson (and there's quite a few of you) then stay away from this movie! I understand if you don't like him, just don't call him a bad filmmaker.

33. Divergent
I have not read the books. Maggie really, really wanted to see this movie. A) because she's read the books and B) it has Shailene Woodley in it, who seems to be on a roll lately with being the new hotness. I did enjoy this movie quite a bit - maybe not enough for me to sit down and read all three books, but I definitely want to see the next installment. The set up is a utopian society with factions - the nerds, the hippies, the jocks and a few others. Each serves there own purpose after some sort of apocalypse that happened. Everything is fine until Woodley becomes some sort of divergent - a person who doesn't fit into any faction. This is scary to the people who actually control the city. And there's some great fun when this all gets unraveled. But at the core this is a coming of age tale - Woodley goes to hang out with the jocks (she grew up being a hippie) and she has to learn how to deal. It's pretty fun and the climactic ending was pretty entertaining and certainly sets up the rest of the story. So I'm psyched to see where this goes and as long as Woodley is in it along with Kate Winslet as the crazy-ass evil lady, count me in. This series isn't going to be the next Harry Potter (or Hunger Games for that matter) but I do like the fact that more and more of these movies are featuring strong female leads. Yeah, sure there's love interests, but it's not the primary focus of the film like some other franchise (coughTWILIGHTcough).

23. The Fault in Our Stars
I think Maggie thinks that I hate this movie. I just didn't LOVE this movie. OKAY? Okay. (see what I did there?). I'm a big know-it-all who had cancer so of course this movie is up my alley. And of course I read the book and really enjoyed the book. And I really did like the movie - it's just, I don't know - I really don't like Augustus Waters that much. As a character and the actor who portrayed him. I think in the book he comes off a little too ideal and fake. And it's just too much charm for me. And while the movie didn't seem inauthentic, my childhood cancer experience was way different. I didn't hook up with some blue-eyed, sweet-talking dude on my way to remission. Nor did I go to group therapy or Amsterdam (I had cancer camp and I got to go to Aspen!). Which is cool - I just didn't connect like I thought I would with the book and with the movie. That being said - the really sweet moments are fantastic and Shailene Woodley is once again, fantastic. I wasn't a robot - I shed some tears (maybe more than some). It's a good story and a good movie, just something I don't think I'll be watching over and over again.

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