An increasingly busy schedule this year has once again put me behind on the movie reviewing, so I’m here with four movies that you’ve probably already seen and/or forgotten even came out at some point in July.
STAR TREK BEYOND
Alternate Titles: The Vast and the Furious; Star Trek: Romulus Drift
Yell Some Keywords To Create Interest: SPACESHIPS. ALIEN CHICKS. MOTORCYCLE STUNTS. IDRIS ELBA IS A SPACE LIZARD. SABOTAGE. NO LINDELOF. CGI.
What Worked? I liked the swarmy space ship battles. Simon Pegg’s script was more fun than Into Darkness. The Beastie Boys thing was a great combination of goofy and awesome. As someone who has no long-standing, deep-rooted investment in the Star Trek universe, I was actually hoping that this movie would be more Guardians of the Galaxy-esk than feeling like a Star Trek TV episode. And, ya know, it kind of was more like the former. Mindless summer fun, in a good way.
What Didn’t Work? I don’t think the crew had as great of chemistry as in the first two reboot movies. I forgot how long ago I saw this (two weeks? three weeks?), but I don’t remember seeing some of the crew members in this movie. Was Uhura even in this sequel? Looking back at this trilogy (so far), I feel like I don’t have a real emotional connection to them in any way. They are fun and they look pretty, and that’s about it. I haven’t gotten anything deeper out of these movies, I’m saying. I don’t even know if I’m supposed to, but I just assumed that they were trying.
Alternate Titles: ParaBOREmal Activity; An Electrician’s Nightmare
Yell Some Keywords To Create Interest: GHOULS. LIGHT SWITCHES. JUMP SCARES. SHADOWS. FINGERNAILS. LOUD NOISES. CLOSETS.
What Worked? This shell of a movie, which was based on a decent YouTube short, is really only good for the gimmick of seeing the ghost disappear and reappear as lights go on and off. Which, honestly, is a pretty terrifying sight. Most of the clever techniques they use can be seen in the trailers, with the exception of one particularly cool scene where a cop unloads a gun at the ghost and it disappears/reappears with the brightness of the gunshots. The third act is, at the very least, pretty entertaining.
What Didn’t Work? The plot of the movie is stupid and cliché. Full of questionable holes. Like, why does a brilliant, millionaire architect have an office in a dimly lit mannequin warehouse? Or, why is the ghost such a jerk? Or, why is the ghost an adult woman, if she died when she was a kid? Wait, do ghosts age…? These are, of course, all stupid things to think about in a movie about a light switch ghost, but I couldn’t help but think them. Also, the acting wasn’t great. I wouldn’t be surprised if this movie wasn’t funded by Big Lightbulb.
THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS
Alternate Titles: DOGZ; Illumination Studios Presents: Easy Money
Yell Some Keywords To Create Interest: DOGS. CATS. PETS. CARTOONS. MINIONS. BUNNIES. DOODIE HUMOR. NEW YORK. ANIMAL JOKES.
What Worked? It’s a cute movie about talking cartoon animals that kids will love. Adults will enjoy hearing Louis C.K. voicing a terrier?
What Didn’t Work? I’m not sure what I hated more… Kevin Hart’s obnoxiously loud performance as a little bunny with an attitude… or the Minions short film that preceded the feature, that literally gave me a headache?
Alternate Titles: Bourne to Run; The Bourne Redundancy
Yell Some Keywords To Create Interest: MAAAAAAATT. DAAAAAAAAMON. EXPLOSIONS. FAST CARS. PUNCHING. SPIES. HACKING. GUNS GO BANG BANG.
What Worked? I saw the first three Bourne movies several years ago (probably around the time when Ultimatum came out), and I found out pretty quickly that I forgot everything that happened in them. THAT BEING SAID, by the 1/3rd point of this new movie, I was pretty much up to speed on everything I needed to know and I kind of enjoyed the fun/basic plot of this movie. And then by the halfway point, I found it pretty thrilling and I was fully engaged. Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Riz Ahmed (from Four Lions, Nightcrawler and The Night Of), and Vincent Cassel make up a really good supporting cast.
What Didn’t Work? The shaky cam fast cutting in the action scenes is pretty ridiculous. I acknowledge that it takes great skill to cut this together, but this movie *maaaaaaaybe* takes it too far? There was a one second shot during the riot scene that was just someone’s waist, and then the ground. Like the cameraman dropped the camera. I couldn’t even pay attention during the final car chase, because the editor in me was just counting the amount of cuts it took to splice together every single action. I hope someone times the shots in the movie at some point, because I’d be interested to hear how long the longest shot was. It’s gotta be three seconds. MAX. Other than that, I found Bourne to be too invincible to worry about his safety, and the climax of the movie happens and THEN they spend 15 more minutes showing Bourne chase a henchman. Oh, and at one point, someone says “Enhance” on a blurry image, someone presses a button, and it instantly gets clearer. I laughed.