Couples Retreat (2009) – I confess, I only recorded this film because I liked the opening credits, which I caught while channel-surfing. The rest of the film doesn’t live up to that sequence of archival footage, but it isn’t as terrible as, say, Grown Ups 2 (one of TMP’s few 0/5-rated films). The cast is quite likable.
Expendables 3 (2014) – Bam bam, boom boom, pow pow, pew pew… *faint snoring from Lindsey’s direction* (How adorable is Statham’s goofy smile in the poster, though?)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – I enjoyed this film as light entertainment, but I’m not as taken with it as everyone else seems to be. It’s a fun watch with great music and special effects. Groot is freakin’ adorable. Chris Pratt leads the film very well, and his chemistry with Zoe Saldana is on point. I’m glad this film has been such a success since it’ll likely mean more leading roles for the charismatic Pratt in the future. But the plot wasn’t incredibly interesting and with all of the hype surrounding the film, I found myself underwhelmed. I’ve never been an avid viewer of Marvel universe films, so perhaps that’s a contributor to my lukewarm attitude toward this one. I’m sure those who religiously follow the string of summer blockbusters ate it up and have already reserved their spots in line for the first screenings of the sequel.
Hercules (2014) – Silly fun. This film doesn’t take itself seriously, which I appreciate. I loved Ian McShane as Amphiaraus. Also enjoyed the angle that the story took on the myth-building of Hercules, with his nephew bolstering his reputation through exaggerations of what really happened. (Example: the scene where the nephew tells the soldiers that no man can survive Hercules’ fists, which proves to be true… but only because Hercules is hiding an arrow in his fist. Good stuff.)
Let’s Be Cops (2014) – Not as funny as I expected to be, since I’m a fan of its two stars in their roles on New Girl (and a fan of Jake Johnson in just about all of his previous films). But the problem is the script rather than the actors. In fact, Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. did a good job in this film of not making me feel like I was watching an extended episode of New Girl. I was able to see them as Justin and Ryan rather than Coach and Nick, which was a pleasant surprise. The two actors have great chemistry, but their potential as a screen team isn’t taken advantage of by the screenplay. The film is at times amusing, but nowhere near as consistently funny as I expected it to be.
Maidentrip (2013) – Interesting documentary about Laura Dekker, the youngest person to circumvent the Earth alone on a sailboat. Laura herself is not incredibly likable — she has the usual “no one can tell me what to do” teenaged attitude. Though she obviously loves sailing, she seems equally driven by her wish to gain independence. On the sea, there is no school. There are no parents. She accomplished an amazing feat, and though I found her to be kind of obnoxious, it’s refreshing to see a documentary that tells a story like this from an angle that is not syrupy and inspirational. She’s not a whiz kid with maturity beyond her years who met an amazing goal. She’s an average, moody teenager who happens to enjoy hanging out on boats.
Pipe Dream (2002) – I watched this because 1) Netflix recommended it to me and 2) I was in the mood to watch something set in New York. I went in with no expectations, just a rom-com to waste an afternoon on when I wasn’t feeling well. (Personal side note: Why do I always have a cold for pretty much the whole month of August?) It’s a pretty good flick. I really enjoyed Mary-Louise Parker’s performance. I enjoyed the story a lot more than I expected to, too. It offers a satire of the movie business as well as a screwball romance. I won’t be adding it into the rotation of romantic comedies that I frequently re-watch, but it’s certainly not a bad way to spend an hour and a half. I wasn’t blown over, but I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.
The Purge: Anarchy (2014) – I’m apparently breakin’ all the rules this year, living on the edge as a viewer… because this is the third sequel I’ve seen in the past two months without having seen the first film! I think my lack of experience with the first film helped me enjoy this one more. (The reviews I’ve read of the first film have pretty much universally expressed disappointment.) And enjoy it I did! Are the characters idiots? Yes. Are the performances great? No. But the film does a great job of building tension. My attention was easily held, and I may have even jumped once or twice. My enjoyment was also bolstered by the fact that I attended the screening with my sister, who spent the majority of the film’s run-time fanning herself, whistling cat calls and making objectifying comments every time Frank Grillo was on screen.
I also saw The Hundred Foot Journey and The Giver while I was on my camping trip, but I didn’t write down anything about them and now I can’t remember a single thing I wanted to say! The Giver is quite different from the book, but decent overall when judged separately from its source material. The Hundred Foot Journey was cute, and a lot more enjoyable than I expected it to be.