January 2014 Mini Reviews

Devil’s Due – 0.5 out of 5
Probably the laziest and an early candidate for worst movie of 2014. Every bit of so called horror this movie tries to shove in your face has been seen before in the “Paranormal Activity” series. On top of that, the plot just stumbles along without ever really having a structure making for a confusing story that in the end never really goes anywhere. On top of that, the performances were terrible.

Labor Day – 2 out of 5
A movie that felt like a rather hollow shell, “Labor Day” just never had much emotion going on in it. Everyone just has stern looks the entire run time and it results in never feeling the true feelings that are suppose to be delivered. The movie shows Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin’s characters falling in love but doesn’t show really why or how besides Brolin just being there.

On top of that, the story includes the young character Henry developing a father son relationship with Brolin’s character. The problem is it’s only material ways that the two bond. Brolin’s character Frank shows Henry how to fix a car, he shows him how to throw a baseball, but he never really teaches him life lessons.

The film never pushes the emotions it should and it fails as both a romance and a coming of age film.

That Awkward Moment – 3 out of 5
The film came off as a basic rom-com, except this time it was told through the vantage point of a guy rather than a girl. The movie falls into a lot of familiar tropes that keep it from being anything really special, however, the movie does have a couple of really funny moments.

Plus, the three lead actors, Michael B. Jordon, Zac Efron and Miles Teller all have a very believable friendship and the rest of the relationships feel real, which helps the viewing experience.

Gimme Shelter – 1 out of 5
The biggest problem with Gimme Shelter is how the story moves along. In each of the film’s three acts, it seems like it is trying to be a different movie. Instead of having a beginning middle and end, the film instead just keeps opening up new subplots and introducing characters way too late to have any real impact

Vanessa Hudgens really does put effort into the movie and the acting is alright, but for the most part it’s nothing memorable.

To make matters worse, the film seemed to be more focused on an agenda and getting a point across, which is probably why the story structure suffered.

The Monuments Men – 2 out of 5
For such an interesting concept, this movie for the most part felt really boring.
The reason for this is the pacing, as the movie takes forever to really allow the plot to thicken. And by forever, I mean over an hour.

It must have been nearly 70 minutes, or more, before the Monuments Men make their first big discovery. Before that the movie just plods along.

What’s worse is that the movie splits up the crew, so there isn’t as much time for everyone to interact and get to know each other, which doesn’t allow a sense of camaraderie to be built.

The humor didn’t work for most of the film either, it just fell flat for the most part and made it more difficult to take seriously.

The acting was OK in the movie, but for a good portion of the movie it just felt like watching actors on stage instead of characters.

The Lego Movie – 3 out of 5
There is a lot to enjoy about “The LEGO Movie,” it has really great, vibrant and most of all creative animation and design work, an expansive voice cast that does a good job and a really nice message to tie everything together at the end.

The problem is that the first 80 percent of the movie has a rather familiar plot and the jokes didn’t work for me at all times. The main character was also a bit too clueless at times.

The part that’s probably going to divide audiences a bit is the twist near the end of the film. It’s not a bad twist, in that it does help with the message of the film, but it’s not done very seamlessly.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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