The Skinny: 6 Fall/Winter Films

star wars tfa

Oh yeah. They’re back.

Hi, guys! Well in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve fallen disgustingly behind on my movie reviews. Granted, I really haven’t seen a ton of stuff lately, but I’d hoped to keep up with my reviews better than this. Shame on me! Still, I thought of an easy way to remedy my lack of prompt review-writing. Why not do another Skinny post? So that’s what I’m gonna do! I’m counting down five fall/winter movies from my least favorite up to my favorite. So let’s get to it!

#6: Spectre

spectre 2

Synopsis: “A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.” –www.imdb.com

To Sum It Up: I’m very sad to find Spectre at the bottom of this list—especially given my love of some of Daniel Craig’s Bond films before it (see here), but the sad fact is Spectre doesn’t quite measure up. That said, it’s still a solid Bond installment that any fan of the franchise ought to enjoy. It’s just a bit formulaic, I guess. Plus, I didn’t find Christoph Waltz’s villain nearly as interesting as some of the villains of the past. Still, Craig is as great as ever, Léa Seydoux is a good Bond girl, the action is full-throttle, and Dave Bautista’s Mr. Hinx is a welcome return to the Bond henchmen. It’s not the best of the Bond films, but I very much doubt it’s the worst.

My Grade: B+

 

#5: Crimson Peak

crimson peak

Synopsis: “In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds—and remembers.” –www.imdb.com

To Sum It Up: I’d been pretty excited about this Guillermo del Toro flick for some time, and while it may not quite match the magic of Pan’s Labyrinth or The Devil’s Backbone, it’s still a visual treat and a pretty fun film—even if it isn’t particularly scary. Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, and Jessica Chastain are all great, so if you’re a fan of either of them then you’ll probably find this one well worth it. I found the resolution to the film came a little too abruptly, and I didn’t entirely love that resolution…but, again, it’s worth a watch.

My Grade: B+

 

#4: Krampus

krampus

Synopsis: “A boy who has a bad Christmas ends up accidentally summoning a Christmas demon to his family home.” –www.imdb.com

To Sum It Up: Completely silly yet also a fair bit of fun, Krampus is probably one of my favorite horrors of the year. Although I use the term “horror” pretty loosely in this case because, honestly, Krampus isn’t really scary. Maybe a tiny bit creepy at times, but the real goal of this film is clearly to have a good time, hence the inclusion of some familiar faces in comedy (Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, etc.). The film introduces us to Krampus—a sort of anti-Santa Claus—and his army of mischievous minions, who are there to punish those who have lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas. They do so with obvious glee, and, in turn, it’s pretty hard not to laugh along with them. The film as a whole doesn’t fully live up to the potential of the concept, but if you like your Christmas films with laughs, a little bite, and an important lesson or two, this might be the perfect one for you.

My Grade: B+

 

#3: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

mockingjay pt 2

Synopsis: “As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance.” –www.imdb.com

To Sum It Up: While, in my humble opinion, Mockingjay – Part 2 doesn’t quite measure up to the greatness of Catching Fire, I do believe it might be the second best movie in the franchise, and it’s definitely a fitting end for the series. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it since I don’t love the ending in the book, but I think the film takes the time to break down some of what happens in a way that the book doesn’t. Some heavy stuff goes down, and while the book just kind of skims over it, the movie lays it all out in a way that gives you more time to process things and helps you understand Katniss’s (Jennifer Lawrence) frame of mind. It was all executed very well. I do think the ending is just a tiny bit too sweet given the general tone of the series, but that’s a pretty minor detail. This was one of my favorites of the year.

My Grade: A

 

#2: The Martian

the martian

Synopsis: “During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.” –www.imdb.com

To Sum It Up: Ah, The Martian! This is one I wish I’d gotten around to talking about a long time ago because it’s also one of my favorites of the year. Based on a book that my mother has been talking up for about a year now (sorry, Mom—I’ll read it one day), the film follows astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) after he is accidentally left behind on Mars by his crew. It’s an absolutely fascinating survival story revolving around a protagonist who is as humorous as he is clever. I really enjoyed getting to know the character, and Damon brings him to life beautifully. It’s a unique situation, and it’s fun watching Watney puzzle out how to survive long term in a completely foreign environment—and to figure out how to let NASA know that he’s alive on top of all that. The film focuses on Watney, but it also shows teams of scientists on Earth coming together to figure out how to bring the astronaut home. I thought the film was accessible in a way that transcends typical sci-fi/space travel films. In fact, I went to see this with a friend who usually doesn’t go for this genre, but I think she loved it as much as I did. Basically, you should see The Martian.

My Grade: A

 

#1: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

star wars the force awakens

Synopsis: “Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a rag-tag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.” –www.imdb.com

To Sum It Up: Oh. My. GAWD. Guys. This…this was everything I was hoping it would be. That and more, actually. In fact, I’m a little ashamed that I’m cramming all of my thoughts and feelings associated with this film into one mini-review…but I’ll try to do it justice. The truly great thing about The Force Awakens is that it’s a nearly perfect balance of old and new. Yes, we get to see a lot Han (Harrison Ford) and Chewie (Peter Mayhew) and Leia (Carrie Fisher) and several other familiar faces, but we also get attached to newcomers Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac). Some people have argued that the film leans too heavily on the original characters, but I think it’s completely fair to spend time with these characters while we’re being introduced to the newbies. Because not only do we all want to see the old characters and know that they’re still important figures in the galaxy, but I also think it’s nice to have them kind of pass the torch to the new characters—or at the very least give us permission to like them. Because if Han is cool with Rey, why shouldn’t we be? While I will admit that the film treads some familiar territory plotwise, I will also admit that I did not give a damn about that because I was having way too much fun to care. If you are a Star Wars fan, I can say with assurance that you will enjoy this film, but even if you haven’t gotten into the franchise yet, there’s still a good chance you’ll have a blast. P.S. To shamelessly plug another feature on this blog, if you haven’t read any of the Schuster Sister Shenanigans but love Star Wars just go here for some giggles.

My Grade: A

 

Whew! Does that catch me up now? Haha. Sorry again for falling so far behind, friends. Maybe I’ll try to be better about that come the new year. Anyway, this will be my last post for the week, so I wanted to make sure to wish you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! Whether you celebrate with mountains of food and presents or a simple day of Netflix and chill, I hope you have a blast. I’ll be taking it easy the next week or so, but keep your eyes peeled for a little post before the year closes out. Much love to all!! ❤

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42 thoughts on “The Skinny: 6 Fall/Winter Films

  1. Great list Cara, you’re right – Spectre wasn’t the greatest Bond film but far from the worst. I was a big fan of the Martian also and very much enjoyed Star Wars despite some niggles (you can read my thought in full in my review).

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Great mini reviews! 🙂 Your thoughts are pretty much the same as mine. So glad to see Star Wars in the No. 1 slot–that’s exactly where it is on my list too. 🙂 Such a great film that did not disappoint. I wish Spectre had fully lived up to its potential, but you’re right, Daniel Craig is still great as Bond (and I loved his cameo in The Force Awakens). I liked Mockingjay — Part 2 better than the book, I thought the movie did the ending better justice. I wish they hadn’t done the flash-forward to Peeta and Katniss’ children, because it doesn’t quite fit with the film’s overall tone, like you said. But ah well. I’m so pleased with Star Wars I’m not really complaining about anything. 😉

    • Yaaasss to the Star Wars love! High five! Agreed on Spectre. And on Mockingjay. I’m with you on the flash forward–it was kind of out of place, wasn’t it? Still, great film. Gotta say, we’ve had a pretty good last few months of movies! 😀

  3. Man, I am kicking myself for missing Hunger Games this year. Not letting myself do a Top 5 Movies of the Year until I have got hold of a copy. And as for Star Wars… review out this week.

      • Let’s just say I reacted as someone that auditioned for Finn and didn’t get the part. LOL dw, I won’t let my opinion of Boyega’s stupid face get in the way of my review of the stupid movie and stupid director who didn’t pick me for the stupid part!

  4. You crammed an awful lot in! I am incredibly attached to the original characters so I was more than happy for them to still be there 🙂 You’re right about Bond. It was far from bad, but it had too many flaws. And isn’t Lorde’s song from the third Hunger Games film the best?

  5. Great round up! Alright – let’s start addressing some of this hahaha.

    Star Wars was excellent. Really. It was everything I was hoping it would be, and Adam Driver was freaking fantastic! The Martian was not my greatest film of the year. Damon was in fine form, but the Earth element was greatly lacking for me. Still, I enjoyed the whole Mars side, and again, Damon was super entertaining. I think Spectre is getting way more flak than it deserves. It was good, but certainly not as brilliant as we were hoping. I am glad to see you enjoyed it, even though you didn’t love it. Del Toro’s films are always WAY better for me when in his native Spanish – they just seem to carry so much more weight. That being said, I would still like to see Crimson Peak. Krampus is something I am really excited for. Hope we get it soon!

    • Yay! So glad to hear you liked Star Wars, too! Adam Driver is def a solid villain. Sidenote on him–have you seen the Emo Kylo Ren Twitter account? Cracks me the heck up. You must look it up if you haven’t already. I see where you’re coming from with The Martian–the Earth stuff was definitely lacking compared to the stuff on Mars, but I still really loved the film. Yeah Spectre was a little lacking, huh? Too bad, but still an okay one. I totally agree–del Toro films are better when he makes them in Spanish. I do hope he goes back to that someday. But, yeah, Crimson Peak is still worth seeing. And I think you’d really enjoy Krampus. Can’t believe you guys didn’t get it for Christmas, too!

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