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