Red Rental Summer Reviews

Redbox_Free_CodesOh how I love me some RedBox movie rentals. So many choices, so little money. And I’ve seen my share of their selections over the summer months. Here are some quickee reviews to get you moving in the right direction as the summer starts winding to an end…

300: Rise Of An Empire (R)

Oh I dunno. I really liked the first one and I thought Gerard Butler was phenomenal as King Leonidas however in this follow up, Butler is replaced (because he was killed in battle…remember?) with Sullivan Stapleton as Themistocles, a warrior of the sea. It’s nowhere near as good as the first one but despite that…I wouldn’t rule it out as a rental if you’re into this type of film.

Rating: C

Divergent (PG-13)

Based on the novel of the same name, this film piggybacks on “The Hunger Games” by appealing to the teen audience. Overall it’s not a bad film and I liked Shailene Woodley as the lead, but the love interest (played by Theo James) is kinda wooden and I never really fell for the characters. That being said, my daughter LOVES this film and so…if you have kids who are of sound mind and can follow a storyline that very much centers around societal selection & oppression, then by all means….RENT IT!

Rating: B

The Lego Movie (PG)

Despite the obvious comparisons to “Wreck It Ralph,” this film has it’s own style. I wasn’t as happy with the storyline but everyone else in my family enjoyed it so…I’ll say give it a go. By the way…Batman steals the movie…

Rating: B-

Under The Skin (R)

What can I say about this movie? It’s an homage to Stanley Kubrick? Obviously. It’s weird and slow? Yes…it is. It’s got an odd soundtrack that is somewhat annoying at times. Yep…got that. It stars the hottest actress on the planet right now? Yes….Scarlett Johansson is in it and she’s very good. It’s about an alien on Earth who lures men (and possibly women) back to her lair to be used for…something but we don’t know? Yeah…got that. Sooooo…what do I think? I think it’s awesome. But ya gotta be in the right mood for it. And it’s DEFINITELY not for kids.

Rating: A

Her (R)

I don’t know what to say about this movie other than this….I tried watching it 4 times and could never get more than 20 minutes into it at a time before falling asleep. How it was up for Oscar consideration is beyond me but hey…maybe I was just sleepy. But to me…the main character is a bore (which I think is part of the point) and the idea of falling in love with your cell phone is kinda dumb. Just sayin’. Also not for kids…

Rating: D

Adult World (R)

A young woman needs to grow up after college so her folks tell her that her time has come….get a job or else. Unfortunately, Amy (Emma Roberts) is a wannabe poet with a penchant for screwing things up. So…she gets a job working at a mom & pop porn shop. In steps her mentor and favorite writer (John Cusack) to tutor her in the ways of the world…and writing. It’s not a great movie but it passed the time. I’m always gonna like Cusack (except for The Crow…which sucked) so it’s got that going for it. Eh…you could do worse.

Rating: B-

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (PG)

I dunno what it is about this movie but I liked it. Walter (Ben Stiller) works for Life magazine as a photo developer. When it begins to fold and Walter is set to lose his job, he sets out on an adventure to find the one photographer who has always treated him with respect and honesty. Its not an exciting premise but the leads (Stiller & Kristen Wiig) squeeze a lot out of a little. And the soundtrack is excellent also. A good family flick!

Rating: B+

Friends With Kids

20120720-120718.jpg

What would happen if Harry & Sally had a baby BEFORE they decided to become a couple? This is the premise of this little rom com that was written and directed by its star player, Jennifer Westfeldt. No where nearly as engaging as “When Harry Met Sally,” this film is stuffed full of awkward moments and throughout the entire movie, I was hoping something would happen at the end that might pull it out of the pile of other fluffy films based on similar premises but alas…no.

Julie & Jason have been best buds since college (or maybe high school…whatever) and, as the years have gone on, neither have found their “other.” Meanwhile, their friends have begun to procreate and, with the new cuddle bugs running and screaming and pooping everywhere, their relationships seem to be taking a turn for the worse. This sets the wheels in motion. Why don’t Julie (Westfeldt) and Jason (Adam Scott) have a baby without getting married? They’re already best friends, they already know everything about each other and, in this way, they don’t have to deal with the lack of romantic spontaneity that seems to come with being married! It’s a great idea! Or is it?

I don’t know what to think of this movie. There are certainly parts of it that are fun and interesting. However much of it is spent spinning its wheels with much wasted talent (Kristen Wiig is simply a name on the marquee in this movie) and very little plot to go on. So much of it is spent trying to over-evaluate if Julie & Jason are making the right decision, could they be good as a couple, yada yada yada, that eventually it wore me down and I found myself just wanting it to end. It’s one thing to be a romantic comedy about friends falling in love. But it’s another thing when the friends are dead set on NOT falling in love and then having to go through the motions of every OTHER rom com in order to get to the end of the movie.

There might have been a decent premise here if they had cut it short by maybe 25 minutes, but as it stands, “Friends With Kids” is simply a retread of several other bad romantic comedies that have been made over the years. With as much talent that was involved (Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd), this should have been a good movie. As it stands, it’s mostly a lot of wasted opportunity with a few cute moments but hardly worth the almost 2 hour running time.

Overall Rating: C-

Bridesmaids

“Annie is in a rough stage of her life right now and when her best friend decides to get married, it only makes matters worse. Hilarity ensues.”

I imagine when Kristen Wiig pitched this movie, this was the sell. But what it doesn’t say is the KIND of hilarious situations Annie would find herself in and even though there aren’t as many funny moments in this movie as I would have liked, the ones that ARE funny are very, VERY funny. Kristen Wiig & Maya Rudolph, 2 Saturday Night Live alums, team up for this buddy movie for chicks and they are obviously used to working with one another. Wiig as the down-on-her-luck Annie, and Rudolph as Lillian, her best friend who is heading down the aisle. Together they make a great team even though this particular movie gives most of the funny moments to Wiig and her bridesmaids crew and Rudolph really plays the straight (wo)man for most of the movie. But together they are a likable couple and you can tell offscreen they are probably best of friends as well. Their chemistry comes easily and for most of the movie you can see that they could very much be like their characters except for the fact that Wiig is hot right now (much like another SNL alum, Tina Fey) and not so downtrodden as Annie. Either way, this is a movie in the same vein as “The Hangover” or “Hall Pass” and it has much of the same elements as those great flicks…funny characters, ridiculous situations and at least one moment where the characters express their love for one another.

If there is one thing wrong with this movie (which is very much catered towards a female crowd and I don’t care WHAT anyone says…this IS a chick flick) it’s that it doesn’t have enough of Melissa McCarthy. She alone is the best reason to see this movie and just like Zach Galifianakis in “The Hangover,” she pretty much steals every scene she is in. She plays the sister of the future groom and her character, Megan, is obnoxiously over-the-top and carefree. She is worth every bit of the cost of admission and then some. I wish she was in more of the movie because, quite frankly, with about 40 minutes left it turns into your typical “friends have to make it right” sort of film when I would have rather it continued down the distructive path it was heading. It would have been funnier to some degree. But even that doesn’t ruin the films best moments, it just slows it down a lot. But once again…this IS a chick flick and so there has to be the “happy ending” that we’ve all come to expect in these movies whether they are warranted or not.

Will “Bridesmaids” be considered one of the best comedies in the last decade? Nah. It’s funny…but not THAT funny. But the funniest scenes do rank up among some of the raunchier and funnier things that I have seen in a long time and that alone makes this a better than average flick. However I would recommend it as a matinee or a possibly a future rental. It will be funnier if you’re not paying $9 for the ticket and that is why I let my brother pay for mine at a cost of $4.50. Gotta love half price Tuesdays in my hometown!

Overall Rating: B-