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The people who develop programs like Skype must spend considerable amounts of money trying to make sure that their products sound nice and look friendly, and now here comes the movie industry doing its best to make programs like Skype sound eerie and look sinister. Hollywood has kind of an uphill battle at this (that ringtone is just so bouncy!) and that shows sometimes, but at least they're trying something a little different from the standard horror movie fare.

The Skype default avatar. Not scary at all, right?


Technically the movie is called Insurgent: The Divergent Series, but that just feels awkward and doesn't actually keep the titles together alphabetically. Calling it Divergent: Insurgent is even more awkward, though, and Divergent: Allegiant won't be much better. Heck, my spell check doesn't even recognize allegiant, though it is a real word, just like all the faction names.

Tris crashes the party. I know, too easy, but I couldn't resist.

The Lazarus Effect

In retrospect I probably should have gone to the new Will Smith movie, but the previews really didn't make it seem all that exciting. So I gathered up my courage and went to a horror movie, which, as so often seems to happen these days, turned out to be not nearly as scary as I expected. I mean, it was scary while I was watching it, but it isn't the sort of scary that makes me think there's something evil under the bed for the next three or four nights.

Zoe with the gadget they use for their tests. Looks like an eggbeater, huh?

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Unlike last week, I know exactly where this movie went wrong, and at least it wasn't until the very end, but it is kind of a letdown when things go awry so close to the finish line. But it wasn't all bad news, which can happen all too often this time of year, so could have been a lot worse.

Galahad demonstrates why you should always carry your umbrella.

Jupiter Ascending

I wasn't too sure what to make of the previews for this movie, which makes sense since now I'm not sure what to make of the movie. It was fun and all, I wasn't bored, but it also never quite grabbed me like it should have. But let me try explaining a little of the plot and see if I can figure out where things might have gone a bit awry.

Jupiter with gun. She doesn't need any rescuing at the moment, thanks.

Project Almanac

What would you get if you gave five teenagers the plans and equipment to build a time machine? You'd get this movie, pretty much, though of course you'd have to make sure that at least two or three of the five are very good at the techy stuff. A bunch of English geeks like me wouldn't have gotten very far at all. But face it, any high school kid given the chance to fix past mistakes is going to start out doing exactly the same things this bunch does -- redeem the botched class presentation, get to see that missed concert, and of course try again to get the girl who got away.

The boys demonstrate the proper safety gear for time travel experiments.

Taken 3

So the good news is that this one was actually a little better than Taken 2, though of course that's not saying much. But they moved away from the initial plot this time, which helped, except that also leads us to the bad news: The title is now completely wrong, since no one really gets taken this time, unless they mean in the sense of being fooled, like 'taken for a ride', though the 'plot twist' at the end is hardly a shock.

Liam meets Kung-Fu Panda.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, 2014 Edition

It's still the decade of the comic book movie, apparently, given that they've almost entirely taken over both the Good and Bad categories this year. On the plus side, I had more options for Good than Bad, though there also seemed to be a lot more movies I just couldn't bring myself to care about one way or the other, which isn't exactly an exciting sort of trend. But without further ado, on to the list all my twelve loyal fans have been waiting for.

The Good:

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: 2014 Style.

Into the Woods

Once upon a time, etc. Okay, yes, I was kinda stuck for an opening line. I like fairy tale mash-ups, but I'm not much of a musical fan in general, so while I was mostly pleasantly surprised overall, I also went in with pretty low expectations. And while Johnny Depp (The Lone Ranger) only really had one scene, thank goodness, I can't remember it without cringing and I'm not sure I'll ever get past that.

The Wolf. Remember, kids, never talk to strangers or Johnny Depp.

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

I'm wondering just how annoyed that guy I overheard after the first movie is, now that the trilogy is done and it's pretty clear that they should have stuck with the original plan and made two movies instead of three. I hate to say it, I know people are enjoying them and all, but this installment in particular didn't really do a whole lot for me.

The Arkenstone. We wants it, my preciousss...
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