With the newMaltin Guidecomes the addition of new names to the star/director index (and axing of others). Last year 21 people were cut and 12 added. Oddly, this year, no one was cut and there were but 3 additions (all new Oscar nominees)! I have no idea what this means. It sounds as if the editors have just thrown in the towel on the index though, knowing the power of such searches online— at this point between smart phones and WiFi I guess the theory is: who really looks at the index. But in a way it starts to relegate the book itself to a shelf ornament. This was the first time that I really started to think that the print Maltin may be heading the way of the dodo bird. Cutting them some slack though— maybe, just maybe, they didn't need to do much in the way of changes because of the wholesale work done last year. Here are the few "graduates" of the class of 2009/10. New "Faces" added to theLeonard Maltin Guide 2011Index: STARS—
Every year I greatly anticipate Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. His capsule reviews and ratings set the standard for how a film will be seen by future generations. As I've reported each year, the last several Maltin Guides have been VERY sparing in giving out the **** rating— practically unattainable for new releases, last year I noticed but three films were **** rated: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, and Slumdog Millionaire; this year I didn't spot ANY **** additions!
Here's how my top ten 2009 stacked up against the Maltin Guide's ratings:
Inglourious Basterds (d. Quentin Tarantino) (** 1/2) [my #1, rest alpha]
Capitalism: A Love Story (d. Michael Moore) (***)
District 9 (d. Neill Blomkamp) (*** 1/2)
The Hurt Locker (d. Kathryn Bigelow) (*** 1/2)
I Love You, Man (d. John Hamburg) (** 1/2)
Julie & Julia (d. Nora Ephron) (***)
Nine (d. Rob Marshall) (***)
Paranormal Activity (d. Oren Peli) (***)
Up (d. Pete Docter, Bob Peterson) (*** 1/2)
World’s Greatest Dad (d. Bobcat Golthwait) (***)
Here is a list of the 2015 films I've seen, and my opinion of them. Filmmakers who toil on the almost-impossible mission of making a feature length film should not have their work dismissed on a pass-fail basis so easily. That being said, this is just one man's opinion, and on a blog at that, and the savvy moviegoer will read enough of the reviews of professional film critics to allow a blog here and there to "list" favorites and least favorites.
Ant-Man. The best summer movie; a surprise hit that gets the humor right and manages to cover the origin story without getting dull.
Mad Max: Fury Road. I'd love to see the storyboards!
Avengers, The: Age of Ultron. Exciting start to the summer movie season.
Bridge of Spies. Good story and production all around.
Clouds of Sils Maria. Pretentious as all out, but intriguing and well played by its two leads.
Creed. A solid shot for a sentimental Oscar for Sly.
End of the Tour, The. Easy to overrate, but nonetheless watchable; Jason Segal is quite good.
Ex Machina. Keeps you engaged and not just with its ample nudity.
Get Hard. Hart and Farrell make a good team and Ferrell's character is funny, but it does get repetitive.
Hateful Eight, The. Violent western-cum-mystery with a great Morricone score is exactly the kind of Christmas present you'd expect Tarantino to put in your stocking.
Hunger Games, The Mockingjay, Part 2. Slick, if not too frequently inspired.
Maggie. Somber and depressing and not much happens but not without merit; probably would have been better as a book.
Martian, The. A plotline that's a string of "problems" and "fixes" with music cues, but a nice commercial for Mars exploration.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Quirkier than thou, but pulls it off.
Mr. Holmes. Pleasant mystery befits both Sirs Arthur Conan Doyle and Ian McKellen.