Rapid-Fire Reviews: Summer Movie Season So Far

Skipping beyond my usual excuses and apologies, I finally felt invigorated and inspired to write a little something about all of the movies I’ve seen lately. There was quite the lull for me in movie-going until recently, and by the time I was seeing a different new release every weekend, I couldn’t keep up!

First, I saw Avengers: Age of Ultron.¬†I thought it was enjoyable, perhaps even more so than the first film. But, like the first film, I found it forgettable– and I’m not just saying that because it’s been a while since I actually saw it. I also could have done without the romantic subplot that felt forced and awkward and rushed between Black Widow and Hulk; no complaints about Black Widow’s feminism, such as those that many other people seemed to have with the storyline, it simply didn’t feel natural and wasn’t given enough time to seem anything but hokey. I did love James Spader as Ultron’s voice– sassy and sarcastic and hilarious, albeit a little thin on motivation (a common problem, I think, for Marvel villains in the cinematic universe, anyway– but I will say Ultron and Iron Man have the ultimate Frankenstein story going on, filled with creator-god and creation-scorned angst). Dir: Joss Whedon

Avengers_Age_of_Ultron

Then, I saw Pitch Perfect 2. I did not stop laughing basically for the duration of the film. I was in pain, not kidding and not ashamed to say it. The musical numbers were greater in quantity and scale, the stakes higher but the plot simplistic and underdeveloped but it doesn’t matter– you get the point, you move on to the next song, you get a couple of one-liners in there, and you forget that movies ever have scenes with just dialogue in them. I loved the feminism of this film, with the Barden Bellas really looking to each other and seeking solace in their friendship as they face whatever is to come post-grad. But, mainly, this film is just a ton of fun, from Fat Amy’s solo to the hilariously stereotypical German team Das Sound Machine; I don’t know if I liked it better than the first, but I will say that with an audience full of hysterically-laughing people of all ages, I’ll need to see it again anyway to catch some lines I missed. Dir: Elizabeth Banks

Pitch_Perfect_2_poster

Speaking of feminism once again and once and for all, really, there’s Mad Max Fury Road. What can I even say about this modern action/sci-fi masterpiece? Charlize Theron’s Furiosa is a force to be reckoned with, a quietly intense badass saving a bunch of girls who’ve been sexually used and who just couldn’t take it anymore (and for the most part, they end up proving pretty badass themselves on their road to freedom). Sure, maybe some men’s rights activists thought it was feminist propaganda but if anything, that only made us feminists even more eager to see the film. Beyond this, it’s simply stunning to behold, especially in 3D. The film is really just one beautifully composed chase scene; it is intricate and unrelenting in its fierceness. It’s smart and singularly fantastic, like nothing else I’ve ever seen. Dir: George Miller

11110866_658246694280855_1682386295316885693_o

And, lastly, Ex Machina, a smaller sci-fi release with almost equally impeccable reviews from critics. This film exceeded my fairly neutral expectations. Oscar Isaac is a brilliant and fascinating actor, playing a character who is somehow intriguing and repulsive thanks to his intense and dynamic performance (that strange, almost disturbing dance scene cannot be unseen)– he’s a tech genius billionaire who created a massive internet enterprise, think Google or Facebook a few years from now, and who has now secretly created an artificial intelligence who is beautiful and increasinly manipulative. Cue Domhnall Gleeson, the young programmer meant to test her human qualities. The script unravels like a tightly would coil slowly and carefully coming undone, and there is a sense of dread that mounts, thanks to the setting’s inherent claustrophobia and the deliberate pace of the action. I loved it. Dir: Alex Garland

1-UK_Ava-AW__Close-Crop_28198-Ex_Machina

This has been your redhead rapid fire review session for the month of June, ladies and gentlemen! Thanks for reading and for being willing to go with the flow as I slowly but surely change up how, how often, when and what I write on here.

Advertisements

No Particular Order: Pop Culture Things I’m Thankful For

Hello all and Happy Thanksgiving! Since I’m not doing a whole lot to celebrate the holiday, I’d like to put forth a few recent (or in some cases, not so recent, perhaps) film and television events and items that I’m very thankful for, as random as some of them may seem. Enjoy!

The Knick 

The Knick (which I’m one episode away from finishing season 1 of, so no spoilers in the comments and no making fun of me for being a very slow and lazy bingewatcher, either!) is one of my favorite new shows. I know it caused some derision, with many questioning whether Steven Soderbergh’s talents were well used or if the show was just an aesthetically pretentious repackaging of familiar tropes and character types. But, I think the show is gripping, disturbing, darkly and drearily beautiful, sophisticated, and fascinating as a look at barbaric, turn of the century medicine, in all its corrupt and cocaine addicted glory.

-go1_-_1080The camera’s movement, the tones and colors, and especially that eerie synth music that seems so ill-fitting and yet somehow works so well, all make the show a cinematic masterpiece of a serial drama, and even if Clive Owen’s Thackery seems to be a cookie cutter male antihero at times, he also plays the part extremely well.

3rd Rock from the Sun on Hulu

I watched this show a lot as a kid but a lot of its double entendres and brilliant observations about humanity’s stupidity were lost on me until now. I’m marathoning it on Hulu and the one thing that is really blowing me away (besides how truly hilarious the show was in general) is the gender critique in much of it– Sally, played by Kristen Johnston, was not a “women” on their home planet, and when she asks why she had to be the woman coming to earth, Dick (John Lithgow) says that she “lost.”

6a00d8344b9ba753ef00e550848d218834-500wi

This is among many keen, critical observations of the social constructs surrounding gender that, logically, don’t fully make sense to these aliens, particularly Sally. She is forced to do “girly” jobs, is ignored by mechanics, and is denied simple soap by a cosmetic seller. She’s trying to understand gender and the differences between women and men by being thrown headfirst into the ridiculous regimes and expectations that (often unnecessarily) come with womanhood.”Why is my body so much higher maintenance than yours?” “The economy relies on it.” Indeed, it does.

The Pitch Perfect 2 and Jurassic World Trailer Premieres

I know I used to do Preview Review posts to talk about trailers, but these two deserve a place in this post while they’re fresh in my mind. I loved both trailers and know these two films will be my most anticipated releases of next summer.

PitchPerfect24

Pitch Perfect 2‘s trailer made me giddy and ready for more catchy, catty fun– the Bellas are back and competing in the world championships, which means… a German rival team! (And my favorite YouTube star, Flula!) The aca-remix of Cups was a great way of easing into the rest of the trailer, which of course, get’s more epic and fun as it goes on. I really hope this sequel meets all the high expectations out there, because I’m not the only one who is aca-excited for this movie.

Watch here

237F6FE300000578-2849202-Action_hero_Chris_Pratt_stars_in_the_brand_new_Jurassic_World_fi-3_1416938802758

Likewise, I think everyone is highly anticipating Jurassic World. Chris Pratt will no doubt be amazing in it, and the special effects look top-notch as to be expected– the shot in this trailer of the dinosaur leaping for his bait– a dangling shark– is just plain awesome. I’m such a fan of these movies and cannot wait for this one.

Watch here

And This Classic Fake Trailer Courtesy of Eli Roth

roth-thanksgiving

Ah, the Thanksgiving trailer from Grindhouse. I love this thing, and watch it every year on Thanksgiving– let’s face it, there are Christmas movies and Christmas HORROR movies. Heck, there are even slasher films that take place on Valentine’s Day and Prom Night. But no movies– not many of any kind– that are set around Thanksgiving. So logically, this hypothetical horror film is amazing. I don’t necessarily wish it were real, but I sure am thankful it exists.

Watch here

Well, thank you all for reading this random hodgepodge of pop culture stuff that I’m into right now and thus thankful for on a day like today! I am, above all else, thankful for you, dear readers and followers! Thanks as always for your patience and interest in my posts!