June’s Picks!

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Summer is here!  So, I saw a fair number of movies this month.  Here are my grades-

First Reformed:  D+

This story involves a priest who is wrestling with the environmental issues of our day; as well as various levels of faith crisis.  It is slow.  It is plodding.  It meanders.

I can usually deal with all of that if there is some good dialog sprinkled in (there wasn’t) or if there is a satisfying conclusion (there REALLY wasn’t).

I don’t consider too many movies a waste of my time, but this one was.  Too bad, because it posed some good questions.

Upgrade:  B+

I was pleasantly surprised by this movie.  I hadn’t heard much about it and it just quietly dropped into our local theater.  I assumed it was going to be some late night, SyFy channel quality future flick.  Instead, it was a well-done combo of The Crow and Robocop with the tone of a Black Mirror episode.

Hereditary:  B+

I haven’t had a movie creep me out this much since The Babadook.   So many horror flicks go for the cheap pop-outs to make you jump.  Hereditary takes time through story and character development to unnerve and unsettle you before it goes to the real work of scaring you.

Tag:  B

A very fun comedy (based on true events) about a group of middle age friends who are continuing a game of tag started in childhood.  A lot of funny moments and worthwhile laughs.  It did seem to struggle with how seriously it wanted to take itself and I found that occasional indecision distracting.  Overall though, they landed the story well.

Hotel Artemis:  B-

I was probably affected by all of the bad press I saw about this movie before seeing it.  I had low expectations walking in but I ended up rather liking it.

I can understand some of the complaints.  There were a number of absurd and/or contradictory plot points.  The story sometimes lacked flow.

However, I really like a lot of the actors in this movie and I found I enjoyed their characters as they worked through the story.

When I zoom out, I see the problems.  When I zoom in, I enjoy the performances.

Incredibles 2:  A-

A worthy successor to the first movie.  It was enjoyable from beginning to end.

It only needed one more element to really push it to the top tier – an engaging villain.  The villain in this movie was not bad… but was bland.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor:  A-

Thoroughly enjoyable documentary about Fred Roger’s PBS show.  The man was the Gandhi of children’s television.  I was inspired, I cried, and was shocked to find out that he had critics.

Jurassic World- Fallen Kingdom: C-

In an earlier review, I described Death Wish as cinematic fast food – sometimes you want something quick and satisfying.  Fallen Kingdom is like fast food… that you have had for the past five days in a row.  There was nothing new or original in this movie.  Jurassic Park has hit its Pirates of the Caribbean stride.  They will churn these out as long as people keep buying tickets but don’t expect any story effort from here on in.

Also, be aware that this one is more gruesome than previous Jurassic offerings.

Uncle Drew:  C

Well… I wasn’t bored.  It just rarely made me laugh.  If you saw the preview, that is the movie.  It was the Blues Brothers for old basketball players.  They spent most of the movie getting the team back together, but with none of the memorable one-liners.

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