Modern movies in July

Seven Psychopaths (2012) – My sister won a free Redbox rental and we decided to use it on this. Tom Waits holding a bunny in the preview, Colin Farrell teamed up with the director of In Bruges again… there were a number of reasons we chose Seven Psychopaths. I’d also read quite a few positive reviews of it last year. There is some truly gritty crime drama to be had here, but a lot of dark comedy as well. Plus, lots of bunnies and puppies. (BONUS!) It’s a great film! The score: 4/5

The Heat (2013) – This was a lot funnier than I expected it to be. I still don’t think we’ve had a great comedy so far in 2013 but The Heat is enjoyable enough. The script is predictable and doesn’t provide constant laughs, but there are a few kickers thrown in. Bullock and McCarthy play very well off of each other, and I liked how their characters were given more dimension as the film moved along rather than remaining the stereotypical “good cop” and “bad cop” they were at the beginning. The score: 3/5

White House Down (2013) – Another new release that exceeded my expectations (which were very low). It’s very buddy cop-ish (though the “cops” in question are a ex-military security man and POTUS), which I wasn’t expecting. Foxx and Tatum are a fun pair to watch. Though the film is fast paced and full of action sequences, I appreciated the attempt to give it somewhat of a plot too, by keeping the audience guessing who was behind the whole scheme. Though it did exceed my expectations, I can’t say I loved the film. The ending was corny as hell and throughout most of the movie’s run time I felt that the filmmakers were unsuccessfully trying to portray a “deep” message about war and government. Highlights: Joey King’s performance (I’ve seen her in a few films and always enjoy her performances. I hope she goes far!) and TCM host Ben Mankiewicz making an appearance as a news man! The score: 2/5

State of Play (2009) – A successful political thriller with a cast of big names. Russell Crowe stars as a journalist investigating the death of politician Ben Affleck’s assistant. Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, Jason Bateman, Robin Wright and Jeff Daniels also appear. Crowe and McAdams carry the film and make a surprisingly great screen team, with Crowe as your typical sarcastic, smart, experienced journalist and McAdams as a political blogger looking for her first huge scoop. The plot is sometimes a bit heavy-handed and full of conspiracies, but it’s very engrossing and the performances are top-notch. The score: 4/5

The Go-Getter (2007) – Randomly selected this on Netflix one day and wasn’t impressed with it. I found Mercer, the central character, to be incredibly irritating and as a result I couldn’t get into the story as a whole. This seems to be a “love it or hate it” type of movie based on the reviews/opinions I’ve read, and I’m sorry to say that I fall on the negative end of that spectrum. The score: 1/5

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) – I loved this film. LOOOOVED it. It reminded me a lot of Happy Accidents, which is one of my favorite films. The story is quite simple, but the performances are all very effective (Jake Johnson and Mark Duplass in particular). I like the fact that it leaves a lot of wiggle room for the viewer to fill in information about the characters and their journeys, including the somewhat ambiguous ending. I will definitely be adding this one to my DVD collection eventually. The score: 5/5

Grown-Ups 2 (2013) – Meh. Not even good on a “stupid funny” level. Chose it based on the time that it was playing — we visited the theater at random while traveling. On the bright side, I got to visit a Cinemark theater for the first time! The score: 0/5

Drop Dead Fred (1991) – Enjoyably zany ’90s comedy. A woman loses her job (she’s fired), her husband (he decides to leave her), her car and her purse (they’re stolen by two different crooks) — all in one day. Understandably, she goes a little looney after all of that tragedy. Moving back into her childhood home, she begins to see her old imaginary friend again. It’s every bit as odd as the premise makes it sound, and sometimes goes a bit too over-the-top, but overall it’s a fun one. The score: 3/5

Spilt Milk (2010) – This is a tough one to score. It is lacking in major developments and super-meaty characters, and though it’s billed as a comedy I found its overall tone to be melancholy… but it somehow managed to capture and hold my attention for its full running time. I was once again impressed with Jake Johnson’s performance. I wouldn’t consider it an instant favorite but it was a very interesting watch.

The Conjuring (2013) – I really enjoyed this. I love paranormal horror films that don’t rely on tons of gore for their fright factor. The Conjuring has a decent amount of suspense and is a real throwback to some of my favorites from the ’70s, like The Amityville Horror. From the shot styles to the font used in the film’s opening, the film does a great job of paying homage to the horror films of the period in which it is set. I heard many complaints while leaving the theater about the lack of super-scary, punchy moments and while it could have used a couple more of those, I personally had a lot of fun watching it and would gladly watch it again. The score: 4/5

Drinking Buddies (2013) – This is available on VOD now but I don’t want to say too much about it since it doesn’t get a theatrical release until later this month. This was my third Jake Johnson film of the month, because after loving him as Nick Miller on New Girl I decided that I should probably finally get around to seeing some of his other roles. He has consistently proven himself as an extremely talented actor and this film is no exception. This one’s getting a lot of buzz over the fact that it literally had no script at all and was improvised by actors drinking real beer over the course of a 17-day shooting schedule. At the very least it’s worth watching for this unique process. I enjoyed it a lot. The score: 4/5

14 thoughts on “Modern movies in July

  1. Well, we agreed on all three films I was asking you about: Seven Psychopaths, Safety Not Guaranteed, and The Conjuring. I loved Seven Psychopaths, and bought it the day it was released on DVD, and SNG was a neat by-chance find on Netflix (I’ll have to check out Happy Accidents now), and with The Conjuring, I just wish the entire film was centered on the ghost-hunting couple, and not just the second half…but I did like some of the scares, and the look and feel of the early-70s.

    And since Grown Ups was in my Top 3 worst list of 2010, I thought I’d better pass on Grown Ups 2.

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    1. I’m debating skipping my WP custom design renewal next month so I can get Seven Psychopaths and Safety Not Guaranteed on DVD, haha. September is textbook-buying month as well so I won’t be able to afford the DVDs otherwise. To keep the blog looking pretty or to fill the DVD shelves.. that is the question!

      I’ve been reading a bit about the Warrens since I saw the film and they’re pretty fascinating people. I hear there may be a sequel in the works or a series of films based on some of the other cases they worked on, which I would definitely be interested to see. Horror sequels are always very hit-or-miss for me though, so I’ll be going in with a high level of skepticism if they do end up getting made.

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      1. I’m tempted to say, fill the shelves! But your site does look pretty cool, so maybe use the cash for a renewal, then send one of your robotic minions into Target to steal the two discs!

        I read up on the Warrens after the movie, too, and thought it was cool that the opening scene was not only based on a real case, but the doll does actually reside in their museum! And if there are sequels, I hope it’s the same two actors playing the parts. Otherwise, forget it!

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        1. The layout would stay the same if I didn’t renew the upgrade – the colors would just change to plain b&w and the fonts would go back to the standard ones for this theme. That’s the only reason I’m considering dropping it — $30 seems like kind of a lot for two fonts and a blueish gray background, as much as I like the look of ’em.

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          1. Here’s something weird: on my way home from work just now, I was going to ask you what you were able to do to your site with the upgrade, because I’ve thought about upgrading, too…but I like the font on my movie site, and the colors, too. All that I would use it for, I think, would be to eliminate a sidebar, so my posts would be wider.

            But like you said…$30 seems like an awful lot for one or two changes. The colored fonts really do looke nice, but were you aware you can pick up backgrounds on-line for free? That’s how I got mine, and I’m sure a solid color would be readily available (as are patterns, like mine). Maybe those two movies aren’t such a bad idea after all!

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            1. I have snagged backgrounds for other sites before (tumblr, etc) but I didn’t think you could use them on WP without the upgrade. Letting it expire is looking very appealing now! Haha thanks for the info!

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    2. Also you must let me know what you think of Happy Accidents if you end up watching it before your site is back up and running! That’s another one I discovered at random through either Netflix or some other streaming service. Marisa Tomei and Vincent D’Onofrio give wonderful performances.

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      1. Well, now that I know Marisa Tomei is in it, I’ll definitely be watching it soon. And here’s something dumb: I just now checked Netflix to see if it was available to stream, and discovered it’s already in my queue! Derf!

        And yes, I’ll let you know what I think about the film…I’ve been working on the site, and coming up with a few ideas, so I should be on track for another month or two of work, then a grand re-opening, to be attended by Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg, Marisa Tomei, Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr, and my 58 followers.

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  2. Safety Not Guaranteed was a pleasant surprise that I saw about a month ago, so I’m glad it’s getting some positive attention. Happy Accidents was good also but that was several years ago. In other words, it’s time for another viewing!

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  3. Great recap Lindsey, I love your mini reviews! Glad you love Safety Not Guaranteed too, it was such a pleasant surprise for me too, I dug the ending too.

    This is the second time I heard about Drinking Buddies, I’ll give that a rent eventually. Curious about Happy Accidents too now that someone’s mentioned it :D

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    1. It kind of pained me to rent Drinking Buddies because it’s so expensive on VOD, haha. $10 for a 48-hour rental! I considered waiting for it to come to my local indie theater (which has cheap matinee prices) but I’m going to be out of town when it plays there, so I went ahead and spent the ten bucks.

      Happy Accidents, on the other hand, is free on Netflix streaming and on Amazon Prime!

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  4. Great that you liked The Conjuring so much, cool to see James Wan getting the recognition he deserves. Not delivered a bad film yet. And sadly, I may be the only Grown Ups 2 fan, I quite liked it :)

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    1. I’ll have to seek out more of Wan’s work. The Conjuring was only the second film of his I’ve seen. The first was Dead Silence, which I haven’t seen again since it came out but I remember enjoying in the theater. Time for a re-watch!

      And fear not, you aren’t the only Grown Ups 2 fan! The person I saw it with liked it a whole lot more than I did. :)

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