Bad Blood (2015) – As one of the latest releases from the notorious Lifetime Movie Network, Bad Blood was neither as sinister nor as corny as I expected it to be. The script is predictable and somewhat anti-climactic. That being said, all is not lost. The acting is mostly better-than-average by LMN standards. It was also fun for me to see Jeff Kober in a role more serious than his hilarious turn as landlord Remy in New Girl.
Dawn (2014) – Discovered this short film through Rhino’s Horror on my WordPress Reader. It’s the directorial debut of actress Rose McGowan (Charmed, Planet Terror) and is set in the ’60s, so my interest was piqued. The eponymous character of Dawn is a sheltered girl who falls into a downward spiral after striking up a friendship with a gas station attendant. The performances are awkward, but appropriately so given Dawn’s upbringing/personality in contrast with her new “friends.” This is an unsettling and thought-provoking little film that explores the impact outside influences (friends, parents, magazines) have on our lives. If you’re interested in watching, it’s available for free on Rose McGowan’s YouTube channel.
Inside Out (2015) – This imaginative animated film is worth a watch for both children and adults. While I think it’s becoming slightly over-hyped (Don’t hate me!), it’s a very good film with a very good message, exploring the complexity of our emotions and the importance of accepting them all. On more of a surface level, there’s also a sense of adventure as Joy and Sadness trek through the mind to make their way back to headquarters. The voice performers are all well-cast, making the film even more enjoyable to watch.
Jurassic World (2015) – DINOSAURS! GYROSPHERES! CHRIS PRATT! JAKE JOHNSON! CHILDREN IN DANGER! Jurassic World has all of the makings of a great summer blockbuster. It is both more violent and more cheesy/campy than I expected it to be. (That Jimmy Buffett cameo! Hilarious!) I laughed, I gasped, I got teary-eyed at some of the cutesy sibling moments, and I became way too invested in the survival of the raptors. It’s a fun watch, though much lighter than the original Jurassic Park on plot and character development.
San Andreas (2015) – An insanely tense disaster film with a sensitive side. I spent the entire run-time with sweaty palms, and a portion of the run-time covering my eyes. I liked it! Admittedly, I’ll watch just about anything with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in it. As is the case with all of the most thrilling action movies, some of the stunts in San Andreas require suspension of disbelief, but that doesn’t make the movie any less enjoyable.
Spy (2015) – I didn’t think this movie looked very good based on the trailer, but my interest grew when I saw that it was getting pretty great reviews. I was pleasantly surprised by it. Quite a few laughs to be had. Jason Statham is hilarious in a character that is a clumsy parody of his usual intimidating “tough guy” roles. (Who knew he could not only do comedy, but do it well? I’m impressed!) The whole cast is great, really. And I love Melissa McCarthy’s character — another unexpected delight of the film. She goes from a starry-eyed, desk-bound agent to a self-assured field agent who recognizes her own talents and smarts.
You Belong to Me: Sex, Race and Murder in the South (2015) – Heartbreaking documentary. On the surface, it is a true-crime exploration of a case involving a black woman named Ruby McCollum who killed a white, male doctor in Florida in the 1950s. More than that, this documentary is a condemnation of the horrifying treatment of black women in the South, from the pre-Civil War era through the mid-to-late 20th century. Questions are raised about corruption, consent, supremacy, and the American justice system. A couple of other documentaries have been made about this case, but this is apparently the first to include interviews with members of the two families involved. If you have access to Hulu Plus or can find a copy elsewhere, I strongly recommend watching this.