Every once in a while I get a little swamped with everything in my life and I get behind on reviews. This is when I need to do one of my mini review posts where I cover a bunch of films in a paragraph or two. Some of these I really loved so I hope to be able to do them proper justice in the future but at least this will give you some clue into what is or isn’t worth your time.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
This was my introduction to the Wimpy Kid series, so I have no attachment to the previous movies or casts (which I see on social media evidently is a thing of contention). What we have here is a basic family road trip comedy. I laughed a little bit and little kids will probably enjoy it. However, the gross out gags became a little bit too much for me. There were also some really strange jokes for a kids film like an extended Psycho shower scene gag that kids won’t understand. Also the parents participate in distracted driving like texting while driving and it’s not part of a joke, which I thought was kind of odd. Still a few laughs. Probably best to watch on cable with the fam.
Overall Grade- C
An adorable documentary about the cats of Istanbul. It sounds weird and boring but it’s really quite charming and I’m not a big animal person. You get to know 7 different cats and the various people who feed and care for them. The heart of the movie lies in the attachment the humans have to these mangy cats. One baker gives all his tips to the vet to take care of a cat. The entire family can watch this documentary and enjoy it together.
Overall Grade- B+
XXX: Return of Xander Cage
This movie starts with a scene of Xander Cage skiing through the jungle and I thought ‘this is going to be a blast’. I was hoping for a big over the top ridiculously fun movie. Unfortunately, the action sequences aren’t enough to prop up unlikable characters, the horrible way it treats the female characters and a self-seriousness that drags the movie down. I started to get annoyed by it when it should have been fun. Also I found it kind of shocking how hostile the movie was to soldiers who are bystanders. They are often mowed down for no reason. All that said, I thought this was more entertaining than the recent Fate and the Furious.
Overall Grad- C-
They had good intentions with this movie but it really annoyed me. The main flaw is the dichotomy presented to us is false. The girl is given two options she can go to public school and be socially adjusted (although a bully comes first day so don’t know about that) or she can go to a school of gifted and talented that is painted as some kind of prison. Bologna. There are so many options open to kids today to get a good education.
This movie reminded me of Patch Adams where they show one option as being perfect and another as evil when the truth is always in between.
The courtroom scenes are uninspired and boring. The whole thing just super annoyed me.
Overall Grade- C-
A film about the making of a film is always interesting to see and Their Finest has a lot going for it. Gemma Arterton is great as a young writer trying to figure out the ins and outs of screenwriting. However, Bill Nighy steals the show as a foppish seasoned actor. He’s hilarious and the movie is worth watching just for him. It took me a while to get into it but once I did I enjoyed it. It went a few ways I wasn’t suspecting and has a nice heart to it.
This is rated R but it is pretty tame. There is a little bit of nudity and 3 uses of the f word.
Overall Grade- B
I appreciated they tried something different with this documentary but I’m afraid it ends up coming across as more of a gimmick than a success. They have the actors auditioning for the parts of John and Patsy Ramsey (as well as other parts) talking about the case instead of any photos or talking heads.
My main problem is I felt like the movie was mocking its subjects especially the actors. This seemed unfair. Plus, you are dealing with the horrific death of a child and sometimes the tone didn’t address that. Also, I’m not convinced they didn’t coach or even write some of the comments from the actors. It sometimes felt a little bit too on the nose and perfect to just happen organically.
Overall Grade- C
A brilliant movie about a girl who works for a celebrity buying clothes and accessories. The problem is she is haunted by the ghost of her twin brother and a mysterious person begins to text and follow her. It is spooky, spiritual, heart wrenching, different, tightly written, and surprising. Kristen Stewart is wonderful and is able to carry the movie almost by herself. It reminded me a little bit of The Others, which I also love. The music and cinematography are perfect. I can’t wait to see it again and figure out even more I missed the first time.
There is pretty strong nudity in this one as she is trying on clothes and some blood.
Overall Grade- A
Baahubali 2: The Conclusion
I watched both Baahubali films this month and thoroughly enjoyed them. They are loud, crazy and true spectacles. I wish that the major blockbuster studios were half this fun. It’s a little hard to explain but basically they are epic stories of 2 generations of a royal family in India. In this second one we take off from the battle at the end of the first and follow Amarendra Baahubali and his son as the evil Prince Bhallaladeva fights for power. The musical sequences, dancing, battles and everything else are magnetic and wonderful. The only downside to this film over the first is there isn’t quite as many musical sequences but it is a little easier to follow than the first. Still, you get action, battles, special effects, romance, and everything else. Sure they are over the top but that’s what I like about them.
It is pretty bloody so not for everyone but again it is so fantastical it didn’t bother me. No gritty realism here!
Overall Grade- A
Alive and Kicking
A fairly standard documentary about the history and performers of swing dance. I loved watching all the dancing and that’s really where the joy of this film is. It is fast and exciting and I could watch it all day!
Overall Grade- B-
So there you have it. What sounds the most interesting to you of these films? If you’ve seen any of them let me know what you think in the comments. And if there is one you would particularly like me to write a full post on let me know. Thanks!