a) The Witch
This was well made and, like any worthwhile horror movie, had a tense score that elevated a few tense scenes from eerie to spine-tingling. But I felt like the movie's restraint and dedication to realism and historical accuracy ultimately didn't serve it that well as horror, and it ultimately felt kind of dry and bleak and uncomfortable in its violence, which I'm sure was deliberate but just didn't work for me.
b) How To Be Single
This is one of those breezy romantic comedies that is far too aware of rom-com conventions but ends up simply cataloging them more than inverting or satirizing or commenting on them. Probably the closest thing it gets to being funny is the Anders Holm/Alison Brie plot, but even there Holm basically plays Barney Stinson.
A pretty charming dramedy with Rebecca Hall as the widow of a beloved folk singer and Jason Sudeikis as a guy writing a book about her husband. The movie dealt pretty interestingly with the intellectualized cult of death in popular music and how fucked up it is for the people who have to actually deal with such a death, but it also managed to be fairly light and charming, with Joe Manganiello doing a terrible Australian accent.
I've never been a huge Cate Blanchett fan but this was definitely a movie that she carried with considerable force (and wasn't in service of an otherwise shitty movie like Blue Jasmine). After a while it kinda felt like a rambling melodrama, though, I admired it more than I really felt it.
I feel like I will forever be watching David O. Russell movies and trying to figure out if he's talented or a hack or something in between. But I think what I realized watching this and (the much better but still not worth its acclaim) American Hustle is that he's a filmmaker who loves the sound of people arguing but doesn't know how to write dialogue that actually justifies or redeems all the loud yelling scenes. The fact that this was kind of a lavish biopic about a lady who sold a mop on QVC kind of made it intriguing and unique but I felt like the movie's marketing that tried to vaguely sell it as a more generically inspiring story really flattened the best parts, which actually got into the nuts and bolts of her success.
f) Shaun The Sheep
I just love everything Aardman Animations does, my son has watched the "Shaun The Sheep" series a ton and the movie did a great job of kind of stretching out the show's charm over a feature-length story.
g) Everyone's Hero
Really weird movie my kid watched on TV that I never remember coming out in theaters, where a kid befriends a talking baseball (voiced by Rob Reiner) and a talking bat (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg). Who gave this the green light?