Aaaaaaaand summer’s over. Fuck.
Soon, bugs will die by the truckload. Leaves will bail from their trees at the first sign of chilly weather like the unfaithful bastards they are. Children and most teenagers will be back in school (Hah, losers!), and the other teenagers and young adults, if they’re not working full-time, will be back in university (Aw, nuts).
Since September is looking of be a real dumpster fire of a month when it comes to movies (Which suits me well, since I’m trying to focus more on other stuff, anyways), let’s take a quick, extremely half-assed look at some of the movies from earlier in the year that I got around to seeing last month instead of going to the cinema, because aside from Straight Outta Compton, August 2015 can go fuck itself.
Fifty Shades of Grey
Directed by: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eloise Mumford, Jennifer Ehle, Marcia Gay Harden
Plot: Plain (You know, for Hollywood) college student Anastasia Ste- Wait. ANASTASIA STEELE?!?! BAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!
Okay, okay. As a writer myself, I get it. Names can be tough. You want a name that fits and/or says something about your character, but you don’t want it to be too obvious, and yeah, a name like “Jane Smith” would be boring, but “ANASTASIA STEELE!?!?!?!”
Fuck off, E.L. James. Just for that, I’m skipping the plot summary and short blurb. You gave up all hope of that semblance of dignity when the thought of naming your protagonist/Avatar ANASTASIA FUCKING STEELE, and I’m not going to encourage you.
Besides, it’s not like anybody doesn’t doesn’t know the premise of the book. It’s a Twilight fanfic minus vampires and werewolves and plus bondage. I don’t know what part of that is screaming “make me a fucking movie”, but silly me thinking that Hollywood cares about the quality of the source material it adapts.
- + The two leads actually to a pretty solid job with what little worthwhile material that they’re given. They don’t stand out or anything, and everyone else is fairly terrible, but they don’t embarrass themselves, and that’s a small mercy in this movie.
- + The cinematography and direction in general are also quite good. It’s very cold and clinical, which can work with the tone sometimes. It’s not Kubrick, but it’s alright.
- – Unfortunately, this same coldness makes the movie about as erotic and emotional as Spock and the T-800’s sextape.
- – This movie should’ve embraced the fact that everybody thinks the book is terribly written trash. At least that would’ve been more entertaining.
- – If you want to learn absolutely nothing about BDSM culture except that there’s dominants, submissives, and sometimes, a metric shitton of leather is involved, then have I got the movie for you!
Shaun the Sheep Movie
Directed by: Richard Starzak and Mark Burton
Starring: Justin Fletcher, John Sparks, Omid Djaili
Plot: Growing tired of the same old routine at their farm on the countryside, a flock of sheep, led by the one apparently known as Shaun (Although you wouldn’t know without the title. This movie has little to no dialogue whatsoever) decide to take a day off from the daily grind. Unfortunately, through various hijinks, their actions result in the Farmer getting lost in a nearby city. Accompanied by the loyal sheepdog, Shaun and the flock must venture into the city to bring him back home, all while evading the local Evil Animal Control Guy.
Shaun the Sheep is the latest movie from Aardman Animations, the British stop-motion animation studio who brought us Wallace & Gromit and Flushed Away, among other stuff. This latest movie is based off of a TV show (Also made by Aardman), and as far as kids’ show adaptations go, it’s probably one of the better ones we’ve seen in a while. That last sentence should most definitely not be seen as high praise, by the way.
- + Stop-motion animation looks like hell to create. That said, when done right, it can rival CGI and hand-drawn animation. I don’t think Shaun the Sheep quite attains that level of greatness, but it’s still really good, regardless.
- + Shit, I dunno, it’s funny? I have literally nothing to say about this movie, you guys.
Directed by: Judd Apatow
Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton, Colin Quinn, John Cena, Mike Birbiglia, Vanessa Bayer, Ezra Miller, LeBron James
Plot: Amy Townsend (Amy Schumer) is not the most responsible person you will ever meet. Devoted to a lifestyle of drinking, partying, smoking pot and sex with multiple partners, she had it drilled into her head by her father (Colin Quinn) that monogamy is not a realistic ideal. However, this lifestyle of her is challenged when she meets funny, charming sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), and hijinks ensue.
Aside from the gender/role reversal and a few wrinkles here and there (Amy can be straight-up cruel and unlikable a lot of the time), Trainwreck plays out more or less like your average rom-com, except much cruder. Which is awesome, because the romcom genre and its many cliches are getting fucking unwatchable at this point, and if we can’t expect an original storyline, the least we can hope for is really good comedy, and Trainwreck delivers on that front.
- + WHO IS BRIE LARSON, AND WHERE THE HELL HAS SHE BEEN ALL MY LIFE!?!?
- + All the performances in this movie are great, but LeBron James gives us a candidate for the best athlete/actor double threat to ever appear on screen.
- + Also, John Cena, because why not?
- – As is par for the course with a Judd Apatow movie, it probably goes on a little longer than what is needed. Ah well, at least it’s not as bad as Funny People in this respect.
Directed by: Ken Scott
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco, Sienna Miller, James Marsden, Nick Frost
Plot: No. You can’t make me.
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death
Directed by: Tom Harper
Starring: Phoebe Fox, Jeremy Irvine, Helen McCrory Adrian Rawlins, Oaklee Pendergast
I have said before before that I hate horror movies, and while my sentiment on them still hasn’t changed (Give me Wet Hot American Summer over even the most highly-touted horror movie any day), even I realize that there are plenty of good scary movies out there, like The Babadook, The Exorcist and pretty much any foreign horror flick.Hell, I may not enjoy Nightmare on Elm Street, but I can still recognize that it’s a well-made horror movie, technically speaking.
So, why do I still profess to hate the genre? Well, it’s precisely because of dogshit like this movie. If I wasn’t already ambivalent enough towards the genre, I would be insulted that this movie was even considered a horror movie. What this movie is is part of a near-universally despised subgenre of horror that I hereby dub “StartleCore”.
What is StartleCore, you ask? Well, without going into detail (Maybe some other day), it’s any movie that tries to sell itself as a horror movie, but then spends the entire runtime trying to startle the audience with shitty jumpscares instead of focusing on creating an actually scary atmosphere and leaving an impact on the audience.
To summarize, this is one of those movies. There, I just saved you 98 minutes. You’re fucking welcome.
- + Phoebe Fox is actually legitimately good in the lead role. Way to do one thing right, movie!
- – There is one jumpscare that is just a bird flying into a window. Ya done fucked up, movie.
- – At least this movie makes sure to make sure that a lot of time passes between the jumpscares… Too bad it’s wasted on terrible dialogue and story development that interested me less than try to follow the squiggly lines floating across my eyeballs until the next bullshit jumpscare.
Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation
Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Jens Hulten, Simon McBurney, Alec Baldwin
Look, just watch it. It’s a really good time, and if this movie is any indication, Tom Cruise isn’t going to be alive or not horribly crippled for much longer. You know, unless Scientologists are hiding some kind of cure-all/anti-aging formulas in their churches or whatev- that’s totally it, isn’t it?