Big Screen: Furious 7

I’m in complete shock that I haven’t written about this movie here. Definitely my favorite movie so far this year although not the best technically made perhaps.

So I guess I had maybe seen one or two of these movies years ago when they first started coming out. Then you may remember in 2013, my dad going absolutely ga-ga for Fast & Furious 6. At the time, I also had a coworker who was absolutely nuts for these movies. I started watching them…and I don’t really know what happened but somehow they became the movies that I watched over and over. I mean I always have a few movies that I am rewatching, but for a while it was (one or the other of the) Fast & Furious every other night or so up in here. I went to Furious 7 the minute it came out, then I went again a week later, and if it was still in theaters near me, I’d have seen it a few more times by now!

The earlier movies are a bit so-so, so really if you haven’t seen these, START with #4 which was just called Fast & Furious (2009) (versus the first movie which was called The Fast and The Furious). If you become sucked in, as I did, what the earlier movies are worth watching for is the development of the relationships. How enemies become friends, how friends become family, how this person becomes introduced, when that person became indispensable, etc.

The awesome thing about these later movies, starting with 4 really, is they went back, gathered up every loose end or random plot idea from the earlier movies, and brought it all together. So Han being in Tokyo in F&F3 now slots itself between F6 and F7 and is very nicely brought in with the return of the Don/Lettie necklace to begin #7. Eva Mendes from 2F2F drops in at the end of F5 to deliver the news about Lettie (and rumor is she’s going to appear in F8).

Additionally, F7 does such a tremendous job of saying goodbye to Paul Walker, who unfortunately died mid-filming. The WHOLE movie turns into him coming to grips with the fact that he’s now a family man–that it’s time to step away from the cars, and the guns, and the team. It’s done completely seamlessly, and the last 10 minutes or so are basically the whole cast saying goodbye and Vin saying I’ll see you down the road, Buster.


Big Screen: Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Fine for what it is. Enjoyable even. (More enjoyable than, say, Mr. Holmes.) But these Mission Impossible movies really seem stuck in the cold war. The enemies all seem German or Eastern European, it’s all part and parcel of the old spy trade, MI-6 and the CIA and yadda yadda. Whereas a movie say for example Furious 7 feels very fresh and current–they go to the Middle East, the technology is just as cool and a little less hokey, etc. Even Kingsman: The Secret Service feels more modern than MI:RN and it’s deep in the MI-6 secret service milieu.

Also: What is up with Tom Cruise’s torso? He doesn’t actually have a 6-pack or a definable muscle area as you might expect when an action hero takes his shirt off. He has something…else. Weird. Weird lumps and bumps in odd places.

Also: What is up with Jeremy Renner’s fingernails? There are numerous closeups of him on the phone and his fingernails curve around the tips of his fingers like hooves. BIZARRE.

Also: I thought the point of having Jeremy Renner join the squad was he was going to take over the Cruise role. Instead he’s hanging around taking phone calls. Why? WASTED.

Big Screen: Iris

Fabulous!!! This movie was just full of interesting, beautiful things, and interesting quirky people, and so many great anecdotes and little moments. Iris Apfel is really a fascinating person. AND it’s from a great director, Albert Maysles, who did the Stones’ documentary “Gimme Shelter” as well. Sad to hear he died in May

Dad and I both loved it.

Big Screen: Trainwreck

The first Judd Apatow movie I’ve ever outright liked! Knocked up = NO THANK YOU.

It was really, really funny. And THE CAMEOS. Man, they got so many people to be SO GOOD in this movie. LeBron James and Jon Cena are not just cameos, they’re actually full-fledged roles and they throw their whole selves into it.

Tilda Swinton is so unrecognizably herself, at first I thought it was Emily Blunt!

Very worthwhile.

OnDemand: White House Down.

Channing Tatum = like. Jamie Foxx = like. Gutsy young girls = like. Jason Clarke = like to dislike. Maggie Gyllenhall = like. James Woods = like to dislike.

Fun, entertaining. Predictable? Sure. Unlikely? OK. Whatever!

Might put you in the mood for some other political thrillers like In the Line of Fire (I rewatch this one so much, my first DVD of it wore out!), or Shooter, or A Few Good Men (another movie I have seen approximately 94 zillion times).

Big screen: Magic Mike XXL

From the super high to the lowly low. Hey, that’s life, isn’t it.

This was a LOT of fun and about 9,685,432 times funnier and sexier and more enjoyable than the first one. BY FAR.

SO much more dancing, better dancing, more enjoyable little conversations between the dancing.

Some of the end of movie dances were more silly than sexy (which is fine). My overall favorite was the dance Channing did by himself at Rome’s house. V. sexy.

Big screen: Testament of Youth

This is just a truly lovely movie, from top to bottom and beginning to end. The story is lovely, and heart wrenching, and brutal–the sleeve of my hoodie was soaking wet by the end of the film from wiping my eyes. The sets, and costumes, and backdrops, were SO well done, so of their time and place. The acting was fabulous. I want to go see that lead actress in everything she ever does, including maybe Ex Machina which I really didn’t want to see.

I had been dithering about, sulking over there not being any movies to see, and Dad said “Oh, Testament of Youth! GO TO THAT! That’s based on Vera Brittain’s book, she’s fantastic.” And I’m so glad I did.

I’m obsessed with learning more about her, I’m obsessed with the clothing from this movie. I’m certainly going to see it again if it stays around long enough.

Big Screen: Inside Out

Maybe this was too overhyped for me. Or maybe I never like animated movies that much anyway. Or maybe I think movies that try to ride that middle ground between 1) kids will find this funny and 2) adults will still find it smart! tend to just annoy me. Why? Because there is no real middle between those two grounds. Most of it was over the heads of both the kids I went with while concurrently being too simplistic for me. We get only one positive emotional base versus four negative? Come on. Wouldn’t our global suicide rate be even higher if that were the case?

I see why other people liked it. I laughed at times. But I didn’t cry or feel all “OMG that was ME as an 11 year old girl” or any of the kinds of things my friends and reviewers have been saying. Sorry, it just wasn’t for me.