Another month, another post recapping every new movie I’ve seen! Once again, with it being summer, I’ve made it out to see quite a decent amount and with the year now HALF OVER (man…), I’m tracking just ahead of where I was at this time last year with 34 movies down and about 65 to go (a normal 1:3 ratio from first half of the year to second). But with that all said, let’s briefly chat about what I’ve seen these last 30 days!
Godzilla: King of the Monsters – I was expecting to not like this since none of the trailers really wowed me. I wound up thinking it was just alright, with some quite nice visuals, a great throwdown in Boston (which I’d obviously love even if it wasn’t great), and some alright characters. It felt overlong and drawn out, but as a sequel I’d say it’s almost as good as the 2014 original and has even better visual flair.
Dark Phoenix – I SO see what they were going for. Had this been two movies, I think it would’ve been so much better and reading all of the post-mortems on this thing and its crazed production, it sounds like that’s what they wanted. Unfortunately, the one movie that we got just felt thin. It felt like it had this material that could’ve made for two movies, but none of the depth that really would’ve made the audience care about a second one (or this one, for that matter). Professor X was TERRIBLE and they completely did away with everything his character was built to be. Performances were fine, Sophie Turner TOTALLY steals the show though. I wish they utilized her perspective more because it was the most relatable one and felt so personal in scale. A lot of the shots and edits felt choppy too, clearly a first time director at the helm, but all of the focus on Sophie Turner saved what I thought could’ve just been a thin and sad send-off to the X-Men franchise. It still wasn’t ideal, but could’ve been far worse. (Maybe I’m just easy on it because Days of Future Past and First Class are my two favorite comic book movies?).
Men in Black: International – for as bright and action-packed as this movie was, I just didn’t connect with it. Tessa Thompson’s story felt rushed, Chris Hemsowrth’s backstory was uninteresting, and the visuals just felt way cheesier than ones in the original movies. I’ve been waiting for a Fourth MIB since 2012 and because of my interest in the franchise and F. Gary Grey’s somewhat stylized flavor, I didn’t totally hate it, but just walked away disappointed.
Late Night – had this come out in 2003, it would’ve been like an instant classic. But since it’s coming out in 2019, it feels massively out-of-place. A lot of the jokes are very simply set up and don’t feel clever. Mindy Kaling’s character would’ve been far better served as a publicist instead of a writer considering how inclusive writers’ rooms have become in the last 5-10 years. Emma Thompson was excellent though and, had the movie been about her scrutiny and sexism that comes with being a female late night host, I would’ve been more into it, but instead I just thought it felt very baseline and standard for a premise that could’ve said so much more.
Yesterday – the trailer had me SO hyped for this and I wound up liking it just fine! It wasn’t GREAT because the themes of it weren’t super fleshed out, but Himesh Patel and Lily James were GOLDEN together. Seeing Himesh’s internal turmoil was fascinating and his rise to fame was also intriguing. Danny Boyle’s direction also has this very crisp and professional sense to it and that’s always excellent to see.
Toy Story 4 – I was one of the naysayers. “Why do we need this movie??” Toy Story 3 is my favorite animated film EVER and the Toy Story trilogy may just be the most consistent franchise in the last 25 years. Well. Add 4 to that franchise because it stays as consistently great. I took a class on Pixar at school this past Spring and we talked a lot about how the company’s sequels have felt…maybe a little too contained? Inside the box? Ya know, stories that are just similar to the originals? Having seen the first trailer to Toy Story 4, I thought the heart would be there, but that my class was right in predicting storytelling shortcomings. WRONGGGGGG. The animation was SUPERB. Perhaps the best I’ve seen in the last ten years. There is a sequence at the very beginning of this movie in the rain that is STUNNING. The proportions of these characters also never looked more real. It’s magic at this point, I don’t know how modern technology can be this good. The ending still has me a little mixed. I think it makes sense, even though I didn’t want it to happen per say, yet I think I’ll like it more on a second viewing. The character relationships were awesome, the humor was spot-on, the heart was totally there. Aside from maybe Inside Out, this is Pixar’s best effort since Toy Story 3 (and it may even trump Inside Out…but get back to me after that second viewing). Also, if you ask me, this is by far the most satisfying fourth installment in a franchise to be released in 2019 so far and we’ve had a LOT of them.
Annabelle Comes Home – a very different toy movie! The actors were all good, with Madison Iseman and McKenna Grace destined for future stardom. The idiot friend character consistently got on my nerves, but the ‘70s style was great and kept me entertained. This missed the central theme of family that made the two Conjuring movies (especially number 2) so special to me, but as a straight possessed toys movie, it worked. LOTS of jump scares, but they all had creepy purpose backing them up, so I can get into it. Also, the movie like FLEW by. I couldn’t believe how tightly paced it was. Plus, even if the script wasn’t the greatest or deepest in the whole world, writer/director Gary Dauberman has a VERY bright future ahead of him. Not only was hit IT script phenomenal, but he’s adapting my favorite Stephen King property ‘Salem’s Lot next and what he did with the atmosphere in this movie is EXACTLY what ‘Salem’s Lot needs. As a directorial debut, this gets me excited to see how Dauberman will continue to evolve as a horror talent.
But guys, those are just MY thoughts on everything I’ve seen this month! I missed Child’s Play and Shaft but still hope to see both sometime soon. It’s insane (and frightening) to think that the year is already half over, but there are so many great movies coming this fall that I will not be one to complain. Let me know all of your thoughts on what you’ve seen this month in the comments section down below and, as always, thank you guys so much for reading! J