Though May was a pretty small viewing month for me in terms of film, I still managed to watch 16 movies, a handful of which were non-classics. Let’s take a look at those modern movies!
ExTerminators (2009) – Alex (Heather Graham) is an accountant. She loses her job, and on the same day finds out that her boyfriend has been cheating on her. Resorting to retail therapy for comfort, she ends up punching a man at the store and is forced to attend group therapy with other women who have been charged with assault. She meets and befriends Stella (Jennifer Coolidge) and Nikki (Amber Heard). Things get a little complicated for these new friends when they cause an accident that kills the violent, drunk boyfriend of one of the women from their therapy group. Stella and Nikki turn the accident into an idea for a new business! The pace is slightly slow at times, and with such a great “black comedy” premise the film feels a bit restrained, but it’s still a fun watch. Amber Heard and Jennifer Coolidge are great in their roles. Bonus points for Cary Grant/Arsenic and Old Lace references!
Hot Pursuit (2015) – My expectations for this film were very low. Before watching I’d heard a lot of negative things about it — that it was too formulaic, poorly acted, and one of the worst films of the year so far. Perhaps it is because my expectations were so low, but I walked out of the theater pleasantly surprised! It’s not a great movie, but it’s certainly not the worst comedy I’ve seen this year. It has its moments of cheese and it is very formulaic, but I laughed a lot more than I thought I would.
Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) – While enjoyable for its character dynamics and musical performances, this film suffers from heavy reliance on bad-taste humor. Chrissie Fit, for example, appears as Guatemalan immigrant Flo and is given barely anything to do other than make jokes about her immigrant status, including tired lines about poor water quality and illegal border-crossing. Perhaps problems such as this were intended to be satirical or spark thought, but is the average movie-goer going to hear Flo’s dialogue and leave the theater thinking about immigration reform? Not likely. John Michael Higgins’ commentator character is very clearly meant to be satirical (in this film, and in the first), but some of the other jokes walk the line between satirical and genuinely hurtful. It just didn’t sit well with me. That being said, there are some laughs to be had (Becca’s inability to insult intimidating-but-attractive Kommissar, for example, and the campy scene where Amy sings Pat Benetar’s “We Belong” to Bumper while attempting to paddle a canoe). The camaraderie between the Bellas is also nice to watch.
Woman in Gold (2015) – Based on the fascinating true story of a woman’s quest to retrieve art stolen from her family by the Nazis, Woman in Gold isn’t quite as compelling as it could be, but it’s still a pretty good watch and is definitely a well-made film. Helen Mirren gives a very good performance as Maria Altmann. I also really liked Daniel Bruhl’s performance/character.