At the end of March, I wrote a post about the movies that I had watched for the first time that month. I did it because I felt that they all deserved attention. Whether that attention was just me writing about them or somebody reading about them, the attention was deserved. I did that again at the end of April (though the post just came out because I was late on finishing it). Now I’m going to write up a post for May. Hopefully this one comes out quicker.
Like I already said, my reason for making these posts is twofold. I want to write about the movies to better understand why I did or did not like a movie. I can go back to these posts and see what helped to form my opinion. It’s a record for my own memory. The second reason is so that other people can see what I thought. With a quick little blurb, you can see whether or not I like a movie and whether or not I think you should watch it. I might have a weird taste in movies, but if you agree with my opinions at all, there might be some sort of reason for you to take my thoughts into consideration.
I’ve taken up enough time writing about why I do these posts. I should get on to actually discussing the movies. Here’s a brief summary of this past month of movies. In May 2016, I watched fifteen movies for the first time. Seven of those were movies that I was going to write about outside of this post. Some were reviews, some were my blog, and one was me adding my two cents to someone else’s column. That leaves the other eight movies as only being written about here or on Twitter. (I don’t count letterboxd because I’m usually just filling blank space there) Eight movies will have their written debut in this post. What were these fifteen movies?
This was a first person point of view in the zombie apocalypse. The whole movie was shown through one character’s eyes as he experienced the beginning of a zombie outbreak, the early isolation involved in keeping safe, the forming of groups in order to survive without going insane, and his eventual infection. There were moments that were great, though the lesser moments kept them from shining like they deserved to. It had the potential to be a classic but got lost somewhere in the execution.
Captain America: Civil War
This could have been called Avengers 3, since it was basically an Avengers movie. It was better than any of the Avengers movies that came before. The fighting involved teamwork. The different characters had to play off of each other to succeed in a fight. This hasn’t been depicted too often in the earlier movies. Sure, the Avengers had been in fights together in the other movies, but they tended to be fighting their own battles within the bigger fight. This time around, they were working as a team instead of simply fighting on the same team. It’s a slight difference that improved the fights. The story was okay. The whole point of the movie was to get the superheroes fighting each other. The spectacle and fight scenes were the reason to see it, and they delivered. Good stuff.
Linklater is a director whose movies I could put on at any time and be entertained. He finds the right mixture of cinema and realism, and complements it with great soundtracks. All of his movies are like this. He captures the most relatable aspects of any situation so that viewers feel themselves a part of what is unfolding. He shows life, and turns that life into movies. Boyhood is a prefect addition to his filmography. It captured what it is like to grow up. There wasn’t much of a story, but there isn’t much of a story to a person’s life. The movie just brings you along for the ride as the family grows and figures out what their lives are going to be.
Funky Forest: The First Contact
This is one of the strangest movies that I have ever seen. It came from Japan and there are cultural differences between that country and my country of Canada. It was a very strange surreal comedy that didn’t always land. It was always interesting, though. It’s hard to describe this movie without actually letting you see it. I watched the entire thing on YouTube. You should find it and watch it too.
Where do I even start? This is a terrible movie. A talking dog (voiced by Jon Lovitz) named Ranger, who never talks to people, goes on a journey with his child owner and the kid’s girlfriend to find treasure. Two bumbling idiots try to stop them. It ends up being The Goonies, only with fewer kids and an annoyingly jokey dog. I own this. I bought it solely to write about it in my bad movie blog. This is a decision that was made when I saw the title Bark Ranger. For some reason, I thought it would be better than it was.
Magic Mike XXL
The word is right in the title. This movie is magic. It’s all about being friends and being good people. It is about finding the good things in life and having a great time. It’s about making your dreams come true and helping other people fulfill their dreams. This is one of the most positive movies of the past few years. In a cinematic landscape where everything has to be dark or snarky, where all of the characters have to be brooding or dicks, Magic Mike XXL is a ray of light, bringing positive vibes to everyone. The dancing is pretty damn great too. If I were to choose one scene to encapsulate everything, it would be the gas station scene. It has dancing. It has one character picking up his own mood while cheering up the clerk. He’s makes her happy by realizing his dreams. Great stuff.
The Hateful Eight
There is an online game that I sometimes play called Town of Salem. The Hateful Eight is very much like that game. You get eight people in a room together. Technically nine, but one of them doesn’t really matter too much. They’re all “strangers.” The characters spend the entire first half of the movie in the Town of Salem type situation, trying to determine who is good, bad, or in between. The whole point is to get rid of the bad guys before they get rid of the good guys. Much like the game, people die in the process as the eight get whittled down in the battle between good and bad. With stellar performances, the way the game played out was entertaining the whole time. The only off bit was the accent of one particular character. Tarantino made another good movie.
Japan is knocking it out of the park for me this month with some of the most memorable movie watching experiences. Dead Sushi is a martial arts horror comedy about a bunch of people at an inn being attacked by sushi. The sushi were reanimated to kill the people. It was insane, but heaps of fun. There wasn’t a lot of depth to the movie. It was crazy scene after crazy scene, getting more batshit insane as it went on. It had a great sense of escalation and should be watched by anyone interested in horror comedies.
God’s Not Dead
I have a lot of problems with God’s Not Dead. It told a story that should have been about a kid sticking up for believing in whatever you want. His college professor wanted the class to say that God is dead, and the kid wouldn’t. The professor wanted to take away a whole religious belief system. The problem is that this story, which the movie does hint at multiple times, gets so bogged down in religious propaganda that it became less about tolerance and more about God being the right thing to believe. By the end, the movie told the audience to believe in God. That’s as bad as saying that people can’t believe in God. Other problems included side stories that didn’t affect the core story at all. They felt like filler.
It’s a movie about good investigative journalism. It followed the Spotlight division at the Boston Globe as they uncovered a molestation scandal in the Catholic Church. The movie was solid. There wasn’t a bad performance and the story was very captivating. This is a movie that should be seen by everyone. There isn’t much more to say about it than that.
Kindergarten Cop 2
I saw a poll online asking what new release should be covered in the Two Cents column for Cinapse. Kindergarten Cop 2 stood out to me, so I picked it. In order to not be killed by the guy who runs the column, I watched the movie as well. That didn’t bother me. I grew up watching Kindergarten Cop. How bad could the sequel be? It didn’t have the charm of the original, though it had many of the same story beats. Dolph Lundgren doesn’t have the same charm as Arnold Schwarzenegger. The modern schooling/parenting style is more annoying than entertaning. It wasn’t the worst movie ever, but it was pretty bad.
There are some movies that I’m meant to review that are difficult because they aren’t particularly good or bad. This one falls in that camp. There’s some good stuff in a purgatory/Hell world that is created. But the main character is just plain dull. There is nothing to latch onto in her personality. She is as bland as stale bread. It’s not tough to sit through the movie. It’s also not memorable, so there won’t be a single thing that sticks with you.
Most people have it out for Adam Sandler and Happy Madison productions. They don’t have a good track record. Most of their output falls right in the 50% range for me where half of any specific movie is good and half is bad. The Do-Over fits into that same camp. I was hopeful because David Spade took on the straight man role. Sandler has been doing that himself lately and it doesn’t work all that well. That part of the movie was pretty good. Spade being the straight man to Sandler’s wacky was entertaining. It’s the Adam Sandler humour (sweaty nutsack during a threesome) that brings the movie down. This could have been great. The Sandlerisms stop that from happening.
Donald Glover: Weirdo
Sometimes I feel like watching stand-up specials. This was one of those cases. I’ve always appreciated Donald Glover’s screen presence and I thought I’d give his comedy stylings a chance. He fit pretty well into my wheelhouse. He told funny stories. That’s the kind of stand-up that I’m more interested in. I like funny stories more than one liners or simple jokes. He did a good job and I enjoyed myself the entire time. The Home Depot story that closes it is not necessarily one of the greatest closing stories, but I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.
I finished the month with a movie about people being harassed by a ghost that came through a landline. It was a poorly made movie that was strangely watchable. I’ll probably see it again at some point. The filmmaking itself is bad but the movie is kind of entertaining. I want to figure out where that strange enjoyment came from.
Thus ends my May of movie watching. It was a month that brought me a variety of movies from different genres. If whatever I wrote about a movie got your interest up, you should check it out. Except for Bark Ranger. That’s not something I would wish upon most of my enemies. The worst enemy would still get it.
With the end of one month of movie watching comes the beginning of another. June is a new month and will have new first time watches that I haven’t written about yet. As I’m finishing this post, I’ve already seen The Scorch Trials, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. I’ll have another post up next month where I write about how I felt watching those movies. Until then, you get this post. I hope you liked it, and I hope you like the good movies.