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Month in Review: 6/12/16

Movies I Watched in the Last Month

1) Minions - I don't know, guys.  I don't hate them as much as the Internet thinks I should.  Is that a sign that I'm getting older, or just that I'm mellowing out?  Or are people just overly sensitive to kiddie icons?  Remember back when a bunch of people were irrationally angry toward Barney the dinosaur?  That's how the entire world has been to this movie, but it's just kind of an average kids' movie with a few fun moments.  I guess I'm lame now since I still kinda find the minions cute.  C'est la vie.

My Rating: 3.5 / 5

2) Hot Tub Time Machine 2 - It's as bad as you expect it to be.  See my full review for more detail.

My Rating: 1 / 5

3) Cooties - This is one of those movies that has a mildly funny premise and thinks that's enough to sustain it for the entire run time.  It doesn't actually start to get very good at all until maybe halfway through, and even then, it feels anemic.  But worst of all, it ends arbitrarily.  The least you could've done was give us a complete arc, guys.

My Rating: 2.5 / 5 (Shitty Ending)

4) Trainwreck - I'll say this for the Internet - folks are totally on point when they call out Apatow for making his movies too goddamn long.  There's a great 100 minute comedy buried in here. What you have is still good, though.

...with one exception.  I hate that Amy Schumer's character pretty much just has two sides to her personality.  One is the abrasive, gregarious drunkard / sexpot, and the other is the gentle, stable woman who just wants a nice companion.  If you're already trying to break barriers by presenting your female protagonist as a sex-loving rascal, why not make that the whole point?  Why not make it a thing where she is who she is, and although she's willing to adjust to make a partnership work, everybody else has to accept that she's still going to be a sex goddess?  The ending feels like a bit of a cop out.

My Rating: 4 / 5

5) Ant-Man - I don't want to go crazy and say that this is the best Marvel movie since Iron Man, but I really liked it a ton.  I appreciated that they had high stakes without turning it into a "save the world" scenario, and I dug the lightheartedness of the story.  Ant-Man is basically exactly what I'd like to see whenever I tune into a comic book movie.  My only complaint, I hate to say, is Evangeline Lilly.  She's a fine actress, but her performance doesn't belong here.  She has too much gravitas.  It's a movie about an ex-con with a shrinking suit, not an Oscar bid.

My Rating: 4 / 5

6) Moonwalkers - I'm really not sure what to think of this one.  It's just bizarre and clever enough that it stands out, but at the same time, it seems kind of poorly thought out and not as funny as it thinks it is.  Somebody smarter than me needs to explain whether it's good or bad.

One thing I can say for certain, though: Rupert Grint has rapidly become my favorite post-franchise Harry Potter kid actor.  Watson tries too hard to be taken seriously and Radcliffe tries too hard to be weird, but Grint is just comfortable being a schlub.  Dude needs to be in more stuff.

My Rating; 3 / 5

7) Maximum Overdrive - As much as I had fun with this movie, it also irked me.  I think I have some issues to work out before I can comment on it again.  I might have some long-standing beef with Stephen King I need to figure out.

My Rating: 3.5 / 5 (Novice Bad Movie)

8) Let It Ride - Ooh, this is another hard one for me to rate.  I'm pretty sure I liked the movie.  It's a series of incidents in the life of a gambler and his oddball friends as they hang out at a race track.  Most of them are charming enough to carry the movie forward, so you can overlook or forgive some of the grimier aspects.  (And boy, is there ever grime.  Half the cast looks like they've been rolling in dirt.)  I think a lot of it is lost on me, though.  A good third of the movie feels like an inside joke for people who've battled gambling addictions.  If you can handle that, check it out.

My Rating: 3.5 / 5

9) A.C.O.D. - About once every twenty minutes this movie feels like it has something poignant to say about divorce and family,  That's enough to sustain my interest, so I'll give it a passing score.  Ultimately, it's disappointing - I don't think I came away with anything more than, "Gee, relationships can be tough." On the plus side, I appreciated that Adam Scott's character doesn't get away with any easy solutions.  It may not have gone as far as I'd have liked, but it wasn't lazy, either.

My Rating: 3 / 5

10) Looney Tunes: Back in Action - There's three good things I'll say about this movie: 1) I love that Brendan Fraser never backs down from what's asked of him, no matter how humiliating or stupid, and he's terrific because of it.  2) I love that they openly acknowledged that Daffy Duck is pretty much the only reason to watch a Bugs Bunny cartoon.  3) When the movie lets the characters be the nutball cartoons they are, it's fun.  The rest of the movie, unfortunately, is kind of just an unfunny mess.

My Rating: 2.5 / 5

11) Nintendo Quest - When I wasn't seething with jealousy at the main subject's disposable income and free time, I was feeling ambivalent about the subject matter.  It's a documentary about that bitter and strange crossroads where nostalgia, consumerism, and passion all intersect, and instead of trying to dig into that crazy, bittersweet jumble, it feels like it's constantly side-stepping a hard question.  A movie like this doesn't have to answer the question, but it should at least ask, "Is it worth it?"

My Rating: 3 / 5

12) Jupiter Ascending - File this one under "better than expected."  It's definitely got its weak points - Eddie Redmayne is absolutely atrocious, for example - but I really enjoyed a good chunk of it.  I think a little bit of editing would turn this into a fantastic 4-star comedy.  It's most of the way there already, and I think that's part of the reason people have turned on it so sharply.  Jupiter Ascending is almost a great satire on class and bureaucracy - the parts where Jupiter literally has to wait in line at the DMV to prove her worth strike home and are actually brilliant.  But that's not the movie the studio thought they were bankrolling, so unfortunately there's also all this bullshit action that keeps getting in the way.  Cut a good forty minutes out of this and you'll practically have Being There in space, which is one of the most amazing things I've ever heard of.

My Rating: 3 / 5 (Hollywood Punching Bag)

13) The Do-Over - I'm going to write a bigger review about this later.  The short version: it's Sandler as usual, so it's mostly garbage.  But David Spade is a bright point.

My Rating: 2 / 5

Total: 13 Movies

Minutes I Spent Writing in the Last Month

1) Untitled Revenge / Horror Story - About two hours of planning and outlining.

Total: 2 Hours

The Winner: Movies...

Unsurprisingly, I didn't get very much work done in the immediate aftermath of a newborn.