1. Ghostbusters - I like the original Ghostbusters movie just fine, but I don't hold it to such high esteem as others seem to. It's a fun, silly, 80s movie that can definitely benefit from a modern take. I like Paul Feig and what he is doing for women in comedies. So, I expected to enjoy this movie even though the trailer was a bit iffy. And I did to a certain degree, however, I think it could have been A LOT better. It was all sort of "meh" and forgettable. The jokes were super cheesy, and didn't even make sense (the whole Chinese food thing was dumb; there are literally hundreds of Chinese food places in NYC, why would one keep ordering from the same place if they are not happy with the service?), or they were repetitive (how many times do they test out a new "ghost weapon" only to have it backfire?). The only time I actually laughed out loud is Kevin wearing glasses without the lenses. And speaking of Kevin, how in the fuck did Chris Hemsworth outshine these four incredibly talented and hilarious women? Like, what the actual fuck!? Even in the poster, he is outshining them with his finger guns (LOL). I am a big fan of Kristen Wiig (not on SNL, though. I don't get her sketch comedy, but as an actress I think she is aces) and Melissa McCarthy is hit-or-miss (better in small doses like Bridesmaids). I'm not really familiar with Leslie Jones or Kate McKinnon because I don't watch SNL anymore (it hasn't been funny since probably the late 90s). They both were mediocre in this (I don't get the praise for McKinnon in this role - she seemed unnaturally awkward to me). The original cast cameos put a smile on my face and were utilized appropriately except for Sigourney Weaver - way to leave it for the last possible second. The absolute worst part of the movie is definitely the updated theme song. I mean, it's so bad I thought my ears might bleed.
2. Everybody Wants Some!! - It's a very typical Richard Linklater film, which, in a way, is a good thing (I adore most of his movies), however, in this case, it feels a little bit forced. It's still a very good, well-acted film, but I just didn't find anything special about it. I don't really relate to it either, but obviously I am not the intended target audience, so I didn't really expect to (it would have been a nice surprise if I did, though...). The cast is fantastic - Blake Jenner is bound to be a huge star. He's perfectly charming and introspective while still portraying that cocky frat-boy athletic star vibe. Ditto for Glen Powell (I barely even recognized good ole Chad Radwell from Scream Queens - aka, the best part of that dumb-ass show). It's also a super nostalgia induced late 70s/early 80s retro story (1980 to be precise), filled with fantastic music, hilariously short shorts, and free-spirit ideology. The gist of the movie (if there is one) is finding where you belong - the group finds themselves partying with the disco crowd, the drama kids, and the country line-dancing crew all in the name of having a good time. It's all very crowd-pleasing and fun to watch, even if it goes nowhere.
3. The Shallows - *Spoilers ahead* I thought this was going to be a trashy B-rated shark movie (in the same vein as Piranha - don't judge me; I totally like that movie), but it's not. It's actually really good. The premise is pretty terrifying (sharks don't scare me, but they are super scary in movies!), and Blake does a terrific job. I thought it might get dull with the story just focused on her sitting out on a rock by herself, but they smartly added a scene-stealing seagull to keep the audience interested. I think it's pretty dumb for someone to go out surfing by themselves, but people do it all the time - I guess it's part of the whole adrenaline rush that some people yearn for. When I was a kid, my cousin used to take me out surfing with him before the sun would rise and it was terrifying. I just remember the waves hitting me so hard and not knowing which way to swim because there was no light. I have a lot of respect for surfers - it's a lot harder than it looks and the waves and rocks just beat your body to shreds. It's super weird that she's a Texas surfer because I literally had a conversation with my boyfriend about Texas surfers the day before I watched this movie (he brought up something about someone surfing in Texas and I laughed because that seems so unnatural but I looked it up and it's totally a thing!). Anyway, back to the movie, I love that the main character (although dumb for surfing alone) does some pretty smart things to try to save herself. Ultimately, she is saved by someone else, but it's only because she did something smart. I knew from the beginning that the guy that drove her there would be the one to rescue her (when he says that he lives nearby - ultimate foreshadowing moment). There are some very effective moments - the image of the shark inside the wave is super cool, and the fact that we don't really see that much of the gruesome shark attack - just Blake's reaction to it, and the aftermath. The only thing that ruins the movie a little bit is the cheesy ending - she's the witness to a horrific tragedy of watching three men brutally die, suffered a trauma herself, but sure, a year later, she's a doctor and ready to get back into the ocean. It just doesn't work.
4. Sing Street - There is massive amounts of praise for this movie (97% RT score)....and I...I just don't get it. There is always one movie every year that is universally praised that I don't like, so I guess this is this year's gem. A lot of people compared it to Begin Again (same writer/director), which is a movie that I enjoyed, so I am surprised that I didn't like this. It's not a bad movie, by any means, but it's just really dull and cliched, and the acting is a bit off, and the wardrobe department had a freaking field day with over-the-top 80s outfits, and the main couple have zero chemistry, and the songs are pretty awful, and...I'll stop now because I think I've made my point. The plot is pretty idiotic - he starts a band just to impress a girl he *just* met (not because he's passionate about music). Sure, it can be argued that he is using this whole band idea to avoid real-life problems like his parents separating and being bullied at school, but that feels like an afterthought, and some of it is dropped altogether - like, what happened to the whole "black shoes only" thing? Product of some choppy editing issues, perhaps? Or did I miss something? I admit, I was bored, and when I'm bored, my mind wanders. Anyway, the most mind-blowing part of the movie is that the brother is played by Jack Reynor - yes, *that* guy from the last Transformers movie who was the worst part of the movie (and that's saying a lot). HOLY HELL, he's not actually *that* bad.
5. Amanda Knox - Fascinating documentary. I'm not really a fan of the genre because I feel like the stories are all a bit skewed propaganda by the filmmakers masquerading as "truth". I think we are going to see a lot more of these types of stories with the popularity of Making a Murderer and the resurgence of interest in the O.J Simpson case, etc. This wasn't a story that I followed very closely - it seemed like a tabloid story - young women are murdered all the time, I didn't get why this one was so heavily publicized. I understand it a bit more after watching the documentary. It's fascinating that the Italian investigators participated in this so willingly, and still seem to fully believe that what they did was right. They really slut-shame this girl to submission, right? She *might* like kinky sex, so she *must* be a murderer, seems to be their line of thinking and it's quite disturbing. It's also disturbing that a journalist would admit ON CAMERA that he did not fact-check his sources. His excuse is that he didn't have time and someone else would scoop him. JESUS CHRIST. Although, I do feel like Amanda still has some mental issues, and may in fact, be a bit psychotic. If it's true that she was making out with her boyfriend at the crime scene and did cartwheels during the first interrogation (both of which she doesn't deny), that's a bit mental, right? She describes herself as "awkward", but that's beyond awkward. It doesn't make her a murderer though. And there seems to be very little evidence of her guilt - her DNA would be all over the murder scene unless it was sterilized, and it wasn't. It's still kind of hilarious that the United States would criticize Italy's mishandling of the evidence (I mean, we've fucked up murder investigations since the beginning of time). The documentary is certainly enlightening, but it is very one-sided - pointing to Amanda's innocence (which according to the courts, she is), which is exactly what I expected.