On the face of it, Dog Days is just another romantic comedy/all lives are connected type movie. It's the type of movie that gets a bunch of your favorite random TV stars and gives them a cinematic vehicle in which they can show Hollywood that they can do movies too.
I'll be honest. Knowing that I was only going to get to see one movie in the theater this weekend, made me want to see BlacKkKlansman. Unfortunately for me, my usual movie going partner didn't want to see that one. So Dog Days it was.
One pleasant surprise was that Dog Days was directed by Ken Marino. Marino is by far one of the funniest character actors in the business and I was excited to see what he would do with such a mainstream movie.
There are a few different storylines occurring that are interwoven throughout the film:
Sure, there's a lot going on. It works though. If you took out any one of the storylines, the movie probably still would have been pretty good. It's really the casting that makes this one work. With plenty of names and faces you will recognize, there's something for everyone.
And who could turn down watching a movie with so many cute dogs in it?
Other highlights include:
While there was one relatively sad portion of the movie, overall it was completely delightful. Not too heavy, not too light. There were a good number of jokes of the sly and some outright laugh out loud moments. If you're usually into this type of movie, but were a little on the fence about it, I would recommend you see it. Maybe not in an actual theater, but you should see it nonetheless.
A few years ago when Lost River was being made, I was really into it. I was tracking its progress, I was following when it was going to come out…and then it got critically panned. Frying pan upside the head panned. I couldn't find one person who enjoyed it. Unfortunately I lost interest after that. There were too many other things to watch and not enough time.
Here we are years later and I finally got around to watching this movie. I was originally excited because it was written and directed by Ryan Gosling. It stars Christina Hendricks, Matt Smith (Doctor Who), and Iain De Caestecker. The trailer itself doesn't do the movie itself any justice. In fact, you should probably avoid the trailer altogether because it tells you literally nothing.
The premise is that a young single mother gets swept into a dark underworld in order to save the family home. Meanwhile, her teenage son is roaming around their ghost town trying to find scrap to sell which attempting to avoid the local gang/bully.
The movie itself is shot in a stark sort of way. Everything is raw and real. This really lends itself to the movie, otherwise you'd be sitting there wondering what the hell is happening. And maybe you still will be.
I can't tell you that I enjoyed it. I appreciated it. I can see what Gosling was trying to achieve and I think that he did so. The movie didn't resonate with me like I had hoped it would. It's a movie that looks towards the art of making movies in general rather than selling you on plot or dialogue. It's visual, occasionally visceral, and hard for me to recommend. It's part fairy tale and part real life.
It may even have been part enjoyable.
Usually during the family summer vacation, we don't venture out too much. Typically we are there to spend time together in the woods and just relax and enjoy each other's company. This year it was too hot. Just, too hot. One of my sisters and I decided to beat the heat by going to a very specific museum. Apparently this museum is only open in four hour increments, two days a week.
Not to be deterred from getting out of the summer heat, we decided to go to the movies instead. Enter Jurassic World.
The movie itself overall is about what you'd expect from the franchise. Humans thinking they know better than mother nature and bad things happen. In this iteration, the dinosaurs that were left on the island is Jurassic World are going to die because of an erupting volcano. Claire and Owen are recruited to go and help catch Blue (who is apparently a super raptor this time around), in order to ensure the continuation of the species.
Turns out (gasp) that the people who hired them are actually nefarious black market dealers who are going to sell off the dinos to the highest bidder. This includes a genetically modified hybrid raptor that is literally laser trained to kill and can be used as a weapon of war.
If you're rolling your eyes at this point, I don't blame you. The whole premise is ludicrous. But you didn't go to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom for its scientific accuracy or believability.
Overall this is a decent action movie. The effects are what you've come to expect and even though technology has certainly evolved over the last few years, it's amazing to me how similar the feel of the dinosaurs are to the original dinos in the first Jurassic Park movie all those years ago.
They didn't redesign the wheel with this one, but it's an enjoyable couple of hours. If you liked the others, you'll enjoy this one as well. Sometimes sequels are a little difficult to get through, but that's not the case here.
And they've totally set us up for the third movie which should be very interesting to see how they pull it off.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to get into the theater in person for the first time in weeks. Now that I've moved to a smaller town, my options are a bit limited when it comes to the quality of the theaters in the area. That being said, the one that is relatively close to my home gets most of the more mainstream titles so I will at least get to see those.
I've been seeing the previews for the Spy Who Dumped Me for a while. It stars Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon as two best friends who are swept up into a spy vs. spy scenario. The two run to Europe which is where the majority of the action takes place. They find themselves in multiple ridiculous scenarios in order to attempt to save the day.
Here's the deal guys, this movie isn't the best. It's certainly not the worst though. If you're a fan of either of the two main stars, you'll probably enjoy it.
Several things stood out to me in the movie. The first was the dialogue. Most of the time, the dialogue felt flat and even a little mundane. There were some shining moments when it felt like the actors were allowed to riff a little more. One quote from McKinnon's character elicited an extra hearty laugh from me. When addressing the CIA director and the fact that she is a feminine woman in a position of power: "I have so much respect for you that is has circled back around to objectification." When said with McKinnon's wide eyed wonder stare, it quickly became my favorite line of the movie.
I think one of the things that this movie did best was show women supporting women. The two main characters are clearly close. Best friends for over a decade. They lift each other up and help each other out. Typically in these types of movies there is some lie or catalyst that will break the team up only to have them come back together at the end in order to save the day. There is that kind of moment in this movie, but when one of them wants to quit and go home; the other supports the decision with love and kindness…even though she's clearly disappointed. What starts out as a spy movie turns out to be a movie about the power of female friendships.
Spiderman is not typically my favorite superhero. For some reason it feels like the character has been overdone. He, along with Batman were the first two superheroes to really start pushing us into the age of comic book movies we have now. Tobey Maguire was a decent enough version and I really liked Andrew Garfield's iteration of the character as well. That being said, I feel like Marvel has finally found something special with Tom Holland. With John Francis Daley as a co-writer on this movie, I knew I was in for a treat.
This movie doesn't bother with the fluff of finding out how Peter became Peter. We pick up after he helped the Avengers in Civil War and Tony Stark has taken him under his wing. He's trying to be the best hero he can be but is struggling. He's making video diaries, he's calling Happy every day just to check in to see if there's something he can do to help. He's mooning over a girl named Liz.
Holland is a believable high school student for the most part. He certainly looks more the part than the other actors to have played the role. Despite the fact that he is the same height as his predecessor Tobey Maguire, he seemed smaller. Holland also has a physicality about him that the others didn't possess. As a trained dancer and gymnast, the fluidity of his general movement lent a much needed juxtaposition of grace and clumsiness to the character. Plus, it's kind of nice to know that for some of the acrobatics he didn't need CGI or a stunt double.
The villain in this movie is being played by Michael Keaton and he was a great pick for this role. He starts out as a regular guy, just trying to do honest work to support his family after the events of Avengers 1. His construction bid for clean up is usurped and he changes course in order to survive. What you find in this villian is someone who isn't inherently evil, but takes some wrong turns along the way in order to survive.
There are some fun and unique situations that Peter/Spiderman finds himself in. The whole scene at the Washington Monument being a notable one.
The movie hits you over the head hard with learning to find your inner strength. In any other movie it would be too much, but with this one, they've spent so much time portraying Peter and Spiederman as two different people that watching the character finally become one with itself through this fashion ends up feeling less forced than one might imagine.
I saw all the Maguire versions and the first of the Garfield versions of this character. I have to say that this one is my favorite. They didn't rehash the origin story because we already know it. We were given a somewhat insecure hero who ends up finding his inner strength. I don't need more than that. Do you?
What did you think of the movie?
The soft spot I have I my heart for Ryan Reynolds will never go away. Ever since I saw him in Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place, I realized my "type". Reynolds has basically been playing the exact same character for the last twenty years. For the most part his niche is snarky and sarcastic and I don't even care that it's almost always the same.
The Hitman's Bodyguard is no different. This time, he's joined by Samuel L. Jackson. It seems as though these roles were written specifically for these two actors. Both fill them so perfectly. It's like someone just came up with a basic concept and then told the two to just go and have fun with it.
Reynolds plays a disgraced bodyguard who has to help get Jackson to court on time to testify against a war lord played by Gary Oldman. Oh, did I mention that this comes off as a comedy? It's yet another in a long line of cross-genre films in which we get both action and comedy in one. Hitman's Bodyguard is vaguely reminiscent of the Lethal Weapon franchise. Reynolds is straight laced where Jackson is carefree. Both play off each other in the best ways.
One of my favorite scenes involves Reynolds ranting about Jackson's character while the world explodes behind him. He doesn't flinch once.
It's hard to talk about this one without giving too much away. I lef the theater feeling like a hadn't wasted my money, which is always a good feeling to have. There were a few problem areas but nothing that can't be ignored.
Has anyone else seen this one? Did you enjoy it?
I went in to see Logan Lucky completely blind. I had seen brief pieces of the trailer, but only enough to where I could see the cast that was in it. I had no idea as to what the plot entailed or even if it would be any good. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't end up hating it.
The story centers around the Logan family and the down on his luck Jimmy Logan, played by Channing Tatum. After being let go from his job doing construction at the Charlotte Speedway, he hatches a plan to rob the place with his brother and a rag-tag cast of characters. Logan also has a daughter who participates in beauty pageants who he is trying not to disappoint.
Jimmy and his brother (played by Adam Driver) come up with seems like a relatively simple plan. Break into the speedway, grab the money, and then go. What I loved about the movie was that even though you thought you saw the entire plan, there was much much more to it.
I'm not really sure how to classify this movie. It's not a drama, but it wasn't really a comedy either. I guess it could be called a "heist" movie? But that's not really a genre…yet.
The characters are likeable even though they are robbing a place. Daniel Craig plays a serial robber and bomb maker with a spot of American Accent and a weird nearly neo-nazi look to him. While I enjoyed seeing him in the role, I spent most of the time I saw him on screen thinking to myself…"that's James Bond". It was a little bit off-putting.
I wasn't as happy with the ending. I felt the entire movie could have done without it. The appearance of Hillary Swank at the end as the FBI investigator was an interesting surprise but the way she spoke was incredibly odd. I didn't understand it as a choice for the character.
I enjoyed the movie overall. If you're a fan of Tatum or Driver or Craig, you'll likely enjoy the movie. There isn't a ton of character development that occurs, these people are who they are and that's it.
There are worse ways to spend a couple of hours.
Everyone raved about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I went in incredibly excited. I ended up feeling meh about the entire thing.
The whole gang is back and this time they are busy irking an entire planet of people. While running from them, the group crash lands on a deserted planet where they end up meeting Star Lord's real father as played by Kurt Russell. Turns out dear old dad is a Creator God and that's why Star Lord is so special. Daddy Quill apparently knocked up half the universe but Peter is the only one who survived. Guess what? He's not a good God and he wants to wipe the slate clean and start the universe from scratch. He needs Peter's help to do it. Surprise!
I don't know what it was about the plot that irked me. It was well written and acted. I have no complaints there. It was beautifully made. The CGI and the backgrounds were unbelievably gorgeous. There was just something missing this time around. A little bit of the charm maybe? Maybe is was the juxtaposition of being midway through a Parks and Recreation binge that threw me off.
There's a ton of great battle sequences and the dialogue is quick and comedic just like the first one. I guess I felt like they made it the Kurt Russell show. Don't get me wrong, he was perfectly cast as Peter's Dad, but it seemed like such a waste to have built up to this big reveal, only to have It end the way it did.
Of course, the revelations of to Peter's upbringing had me crying towards the end of the movie. I'm a big 'ol sap. But you already knew this. I wanted the movie to be more of a group adventure like it was in the first vilm. This one was more of an exploration of the characters themselves. I enjoyed that, I just wanted more teamwork.
Don't let my somewhat negative review get you down though. I really did like the movie. I just found myself wanting a bit more from it. What did you think?
To anyone who knows me in real life, they know that I absolutely love Disney movies. There's just something about happy endings. In a world where there is so much unhappiness, it's wonderful to escape to worlds where people fall in love and everyone lives happily ever after.
When I was growing up (and still today), I loved to read. Other than the occasional Disney movie I wasn't allowed to watch a lot of TV. I'm grateful for that now but I hated the rule at the time. Reading was my escape. It took me to the worlds in which magic was real and people were happy. I grew up pre-Harry Potter. My role models were Elizabeth Wakefield and Nancy Drew. I was obsessed with the Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High. Reading the same editions of Nancy Drew that my mother did connected me to the past in a way I couldn't put words to at the time.
When Disney released Beauty and the Beast, I wasn't quite in middle school yet. I fell in love with it as soon as the opening number began. Belle was singing about being the odd one out in a small town. She was singing about reading! My little heart latched on and to this day has yet to let go. Here was a princess who wasn't a princess. She was a real girl who just wanted to get out into the world and have an adventure. It's all I ever wanted as well.
When the remake was announced, I was in. Didn't matter who the cast was, I was going to see this new movie. During their marketing campaign I watched no interviews, no trailers, nothing. I didn't read any of the articles about it at all. I usually do. If I'm excited about a movie I'll do all those things and take the time to learn everything I can about the movie before I go see it. This time there was no point. My viewing was a foregone conclusion.
I cried a lot during the movie. It was so incredibly well done. I connected even more with Belle than I did the first hundred times I saw the original. Emma Watson was perfectly cast. Dan Stevens, who I have loved since Downton Abbey was also perfection in the role of the Beast. Luke Evans and Josh Gad as Lefou and Gaston couldn't have been better choices as well.
If ever there was a case to be made in favor of CGI for purists about CGI vs. practical effects, this would be the movie. Of course there's the amazing technology that can capture Steven's facial features and transform them into the Beast. Then there are the household items that are alive as well. It truly shines during the Be Our Guest number.
When it came to the podcast we decided it was a must see. It was Teresa's pick but everyone was excited to see the movie. We discussed all of what I mentioned above plus our favorite spoiler-y parts. I can't wait to watch the movie again.
I just left the theater after watching Ingrid Goes West and I'm crying. This movie affected me in ways I'm not fully comfortable admitting to and I doubt that I'll be able to accurately express.
Ingrid is a troubled girl whose mother has recently passed away. She finds herself obsessed with another young woman from following her on Instagram. When Charlotte gets married, Ingrid attacks her on her wedding day and ends up in a mental institution. After "graduating" her program, she goes back to her old life where she is still alone and depressed. Ingrid happens upon an article about an Instagram "It" girl named Taylor and quickly becomes obsessed. Ingrid moves to California and begins systematically stalking Taylor, eventually ingratiating herself into Taylor's life little by little until the inevitable discovery of her obsession.
I wanted to see this movie because of Aubrey Plaza. Plaza is one of those actors who gives everything to the roles that she plays. Every nuance of Ingrid's obsession with Taylor is played out on Plaza's face. Her eyes suck you into her intense portrayal. From moment one to until the very end when she is delivering her self-realization monologue backlit by candles you are drawn to Plaza and subsequently Ingrid. The awkwardness that Plaza radiates so naturally was a perfect fit for this character I wouldn't be surprised if you were to tell me that the role was written for her.
Underscoring the entire film is a commentary on the dangers of social media obsession. It shows a more dangerous side of the need for validation that so many feel. Getting posts on social media noticed or liked has become big business and for many it helps them feel cared for even when they are alone in the world. The idea that our online persona has to be well liked is a new-ish concept of the last five years or so. I'm old enough to remember life without the internet and social media. It's been fascinating to watch it grow over the years into the juggernaut that it currently is. Even this blog's existence is tied into the idea that people will want to hear what others have to say.
The movie was both sad and lovely. Funny and off kilter. It makes you want a deeper connection with those around you. It points out the loneliness of the world while trying to include you in it. It reminds you that there are people around who do care about you, if only you'll give them the chance to do so.
I can't recommend this movie enough.