Reviews & Recommendations

August Movies

I didn’t watch many movies in August because I made the terrible decision to not bring a laptop with me when I went on vacation. That said, here are the movies I did watch:

Pixels — Disclaimer: I watched this movie in Ukrainian dubbing, which totally saved it from being a complete waste of my time.
Make no mistake about it — this is 100% and “Adam Sandler movie”. I remember thinking Big Daddy was funny; Happy Gilmore was pretty good; and then I saw Click and realized why everyone would say “Adam Sandler movie” with a sigh. Having watched Pixels I think it’s on the good side of the Sandler-movie spectrum. The scenes of fighting pixilated aliens are great and exciting, but everything in-between is awkward, and not in the good Little Miss Sunshine type of way. 5/10
This movie’s Ukrainian dubbing was absolutely hilarious though. For that I give it an 8/10

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.  Disclaimer: I watched this movie in Ukrainian dubbing, which may have somewhat ruined it for me (although I’m fairly certain it really didn’t make a difference).
It almost feels like this movie was trying to do what Kingsman did, but didn’t quite manage to. I was really excited when “Directed by Guy Richie” text appeared on the screen, but, save for a grand total of 10 or 20 minutes worth of scenes/montages, this really didn’t seem like a Guy Richie movie. The pacing was all over the pace, and I feel like if a good 30 minutes of this movie were cut out it could have been much, much more exciting. 6/10

Dear White People — The trailer for this movie was enough to get it double the money it needed on Indiegogo, and, unfortunately, the trailer is kind of the best part of this movie. Pretty much every funny and important line of dialogue from the movie is in the trailer, making other scenes from the movie seem like filler between scenes that actually matter.
The subject matter of the film is explored really well, though. You might not be fully invested in the story (because of all the filler scenes), but if you pay attention to the subject you can get a great crash-course in the subject of racism in America: Institutional racism, internalized racism, racial ignorance, you name it — it’s covered.
I just wish there were more “Dear White People” phrases in this movie, because the scenes where the subject of racism is tackled through comedy are usually the strongest, most memorable scenes.

American Hustle — I ruined this movie for myself. I wish I knew it was a comedy before I started watching it, or at least figured that out half-way through. All the signs were there: psychotic characters, growing tension followed by comic relief, actors in ridiculous outfits (balding Christian Bale is hilarious as a concept, not to mention how “out there” his character is), et al. But no, the whole time I was waiting for a Lucky Number Sleven or Ocean’s XX style con-job movie with a huge twist.
All of this aside, this movie is great. Without reading it’s IMDB page you can tell that this is a David O. Russel movie. If the cast doesn’t give it away (Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro), then the fast dialogue, editing, or pacing will. The movie is a little on the “way too auteur” side, because I feel like it’s too obvious that the success of Silver Linings gave Russel a lot of freedom in this movie. Some of the scenes are a little long-winded, and some are straight-up unnecessary.
It’s a solid 7/10, and maybe if I knew it was a comedy while I was watching it I’d give it a 9/10.

Frank — This is one of those movies (like Wristcutters: A Love Story) that I will really enjoy re-watching and showing to other people, but I would never be able to tell you exactly why it is that I enjoy it so much. It’s quirky, it’s funny, it’s sad, it looks great, the soundtrack is great. X/10

Inside Out — I saw this way back when it came out, but I still think about it every once in a while. It’s just so good. I really like the way Pixar presents the complexity of human emotion, and if it wasn’t for several of the plot developments this movie would top Toy Story 3 as my favourite Pixar cartoon. 9/10

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