Draft Day (2014) – Decent flick. Nothing too spectacular, but the performances are sincere. I’m not a big sports film person, and I tend to judge all sports films against my favorite, the eternally-enjoyable nostalgia-fest known as The Sandlot. Draft Day is nowhere near as fun and wonderful as that film, but I learned a little something about how the draft works, and my attention was decently held.
In the Grove (2012) – Since embarking on the Slapstick Encyclopedia project I’ve had a renewed interest in short films and have been making an effort to watch more of them — at least a few each month. This was one that I watched in April. It was written, directed and edited by a woman named Datev Gallagher, who posts daily vlogs on YouTube. Since this is a film by a vlogger and the cast is mostly made of a bunch of other vloggers, my expectations were a bit low. The performances aren’t stellar, but overall In the Grove was much better than I expected it to be — a very quiet and slowly-paced film, but with an interesting central character (a recluse who spends all of her time with bunch of dogs) and sequence of events. Recommended for fans of independent shorts.
Noah (2014) – I can’t quite collect my thoughts on this film. It was certainly entertaining (especially since I saw it with my dad and sister, who both delivered excellent commentary throughout the film). Noah often feels more like a strange fantasy film than a biblical epic when the talking rocks are involved, later shifting to a will-he-or-won’t-he thriller of Noah’s potential for becoming a homicidal maniac. Adam Ross of The Aristocrat wrote “We now have the world’s first $125 million stoner film,” which pretty accurately sums up my feelings.
The Other Woman (2014) – I’d like to first address the assertion by multiple reviewers that this film was incorrectly marketed as a “female empowerment” film. In what universe did the trailers for it scream empowerment? To me, it always seemed to be a simple revenge comedy — John Tucker Must Die for the non-teen set. That being said, this film was a lot funnier than I expected it to be. I went into it hoping for a “turn off the brain” diversion after a rough week of final exams, and that’s exactly what I got from it. Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann have great comedic chemistry. Some of the film’s humor wasn’t my style (toilet humor, the jokes about the dog) but it did get a couple of laughs out of me. One of the more tolerable new release comedies I’ve seen in recent years.