RSS feed for Leighton
  • The LEGO Movie 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 17 Feb, 2014

    That it's ingenious, ridiculous, and funny is beside the point. That it ends up being poignant and even meta in its own right is what surprised me. While it's not brilliant, it brings out its concept perfectly and has enough voice cameos to start its own spin off. Animation is already off to a better start this year than 2013.

  • The Price of Gold 2014

    ★★★ Watched 17 Feb, 2014

    Ultimately it ends up being a bit of sham story against Harding, but I don't think it's the filmmaker's fault. I think it's Harding herself; the film shows her personality: the no-costs, no-bull, no apologies, no culpability type woman she is. The film feels slightly manipulative in that sense, but we come to understand her and that we still don't really know (and never will) what happened is what makes this work best. So many facts and opinions are presented,…

  • Her 2013

    ★★★★½ Watched 16 Jan, 2014

    Spike Jonze has always pushed the boundaries of storytelling and he never ever does it just halfway. Her finds him doing exactly the same thing. A man falls in love with his operating system. Yes, by all accounts this premise shouldn't work. Neither should've Being John Malkovich, but here we are.
    What he always does is find a specific visual tone to work with his written one. If he didn't, his films would fall apart within the first hour. Instead…

  • Bo Burnham: what. 2013

    ★★★ Watched 04 Jan, 2014

    Burnham isn't just a comedian, he's an entertainer. His show is lively, meta, and ridiculous. His blend of regular stand-up, songs, voice interpolations, etc puts a lot of modern comics to shame, but it's also the idea that we need to be visually entertained, not just intellectually. Still, he's great at what he does.

  • American Hustle 2013

    ★★★ Watched 27 Jan, 2014

    The most overrated film of the Oscar nominees and really all of 2013 (considering all the love it has). This film feels like a rip-off of so many other, much better filmmakers. Thus, there's really no depth. Towards the end we do get to see the zaniness of his earlier works like Flirting with Disaster and I ♥ Huckabbes and while that and the firecracker that is Jennifer Lawrence are great, there's not enough to save it from mediocrity. Jeremy Renner is also terrific here, doing the only subtle work the film has going for it.

  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 2013

    ★★★ Watched 15 Dec, 2013

    I'd write a big long review, I mean God knows the length of Jackson's films should warrant it, but it's not worth it. Sadly, it's not much a film, just filler really between the first and third and it really didn't deserve to be its own entity. The inserted character, Tauriel, is fine and actually doesn't feel forced. The love triangle is silly though and I wish for Jackson's sake he'd never thought of this idea. The script just meanders…

  • Frozen 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 09 Dec, 2013

    It's not quite up to the early nineties Disney standards, but it's the best traditional musical they've had since The Lion King. It's filled with gorgeous visuals, lovely humor, and great songs - though they are a tad forgettable save for the showstopping song/scene, "Let it Go." It's ultimate theme of sacrificial love at the end is what makes it so strong. The best animated films carry resonating themes and what finally brings these two sisters together is what makes this story that good.

  • Saving Mr. Banks 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 28 Dec, 2013

    What is so surprising about this having the Disney label on it (well... only Disney would be allowed to tell this anyway) is that it's a script that is solely focused on Travers' story. Knowing the gluttonous tendencies of Disney I would think they would've solely focused or at least matched the involvement of Walt Disney within this script. But, I know they've probably wildly exaggerated or straight-up falsified some of the events that take place here, but, nevertheless, it's…

  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 10 Mar, 2014

    This is a marked improvement from the first, which felt extremely lackluster as a visual piece despite seemingly being tailor made for it. The one thing Jennifer Lawrence can do so well each and every time is reel you in, make sure she has you focused on her. She is nothing but a star, but the kind of star that makes it so easy to root for her/love her in every single film she stars in. Though I know the…

  • Nebraska 2013

    ★★★★½ Watched 03 Jan, 2014

    I'm still trying to figure out what Payne's point and purpose was with The Descendants. It never worked. It is a beautiful looking film with a lot of ideas that is messy, never really clicks or hits home. And here he comes with this, two years later, Nebraska. I was nervous, despite the good word I'd heard. I shoud've known he'd return to form. This is his most somber, emotional piece. It's an ode to life, maybe not well-lived, but…

  • Thor: The Dark World 2013

    ★★★ Watched 17 Dec, 2013

    While the kitsch element of the first one was certainly enjoyable, this one takes itself seriously and I can't tell if I like that better or not. Somehow mixing the darker elements, dark color tones with some of the quirky humor just doesn't seem to mix as well when it was vibrant colors and overall exuberance that made up the first. Yet, the first felt silly too, so I guess they just can't win here... I've learned not to take…

  • Ender's Game 2013

    ★★★ Watched 18 Feb, 2014

    It's beautiful visually but has all the character development of a Uwe Boll film. This is sad since the novel does such a great job of internally presenting Ender as well as the supporting characters around him. And since the ending is supposed to be very emotional, it makes the whole film feel somewhat cold and detached. Now, it does make it fun enough that you forget you're basically getting fed movie junk food, but there's nothing here but an empty place where its soul should be.