Movie Wrap Up: July 2018

Since I got Movie Pass, I’ve made a huge effort to see new movies in the theatre. I like most genres (really anything other than horror/thriller) so it isn’t hard to find something that attracts my attention. But I’ve also missed a few either because they weren’t in theatres very long or because I was busy. And so I’ve been renting the DVDs as they become available from the library and watching those, too.

I decided to do a mini wrap up of my July movie picks in a similar way to how I’ve been doing my book reviews. I used to write a lot more on here about my favorite TV shows or movie adaptations, but I haven’t done that recently. Just like with my books, I stopped engaging with what I was watching. Writing it out seems to help me stay present.

So let me know down in the comments if you like these reviews. I don’t always watch quite this many new-to-me movies in a month, but I could just combine the light months into a single post so they’re not too short if you enjoy them. Also let me know if you’ve seen any of these movies and what you thought of them!

Girls Trip (2017)
This was not a “good” movie, but it was very fun to watch. Perfect for a midweek laugh when you’re spending an evening with friends or even just enjoying some comedy by yourself. In general I really liked this fun loving squad of girls, though I did find the subplot of Ryan’s marriage problems to be far less enjoyable then the rest of their reunion. There were enough serious moments to give the movie some backbone, but it mostly stuck to the fun hijinks of old friends. I don’t think I”ll watch this movie again – most comedy loses its fun through repetition – but I would recommend it to others.

Wonder (2017)
Fair warning, I teared up many times while watching this movie. I’m not really an emotional person, but touching family moments really hit home for me and this movie was almost entirely heartfelt family scenes. I really enjoyed the book (even though it was middle grade) and so I’m glad that I got a chance to see the adaptation. It was very faithful to the content of the book as well as the moral and emotional takeaways. Even if I hadn’t read it though, I still would have liked this movie. It was heavy, but also filled with fun and laughter where it counts. I would suggest taking the time to read the book first, but it isn’t necessary to understand the film; just recommended.

The Big Sick (2017)
I did not realize until the end of this movie that it was based on the real lives of Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. I simply never bothered to look it up the same way I never bothered to watch a trailer. Sometimes going in blind works for me; I like not having expectations. And this movie definitely surprised me in the best way and proved that there are still a few corners left of the Romantic Comedy genre left for those who are willing to work on the right script. It is both funny and poignant while still allowing it’s characters to grow and develop. Also A plus performances by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano. This small little movie makes a big impact and I truly enjoyed it.

Call Me By Your Name (2017)
I saw a lot of phenomenal Oscar-nominated movies last year, but I wish I had seen this one because it would have been my top pick. It deserved every nomination it received, hands down. This film was beautiful. That’s the only word I can use to describe it because every part felt breathtaking to watch. The cinematography was casual, but lingered on the Italian countryside settings and on the emotions of the actors, giving dramatic pause through the filming itself. The music too was a perfect fit, drawing you in with a mix of new and old that fit the tone. But what I really loved was the fluidity of the language and the way that the movie effortlessly incorporated French and Italian into the film, as well as English. It felt natural and smooth, the way multinational families blend their languages without thought. I liked Oliver well enough, but Elio was a truly captivating narrator and Timotée Chalamet was magnificent. He was moody, but effervescent; sarcastic, but vulnerable. An amazing performance. I won’t comment on the plot because I don’t want to give anything away accidently, but I will say that if you missed this movie then in my humble opinion you should rent it immediately.

Lion (2016)
I love based on true story movies. It’s probably my favorite category of films, if one could even give them their own subgenre. I had meant to see this movie a while ago, but kept putting it off because it felt too heavy just to watch casually. And I was right; it is heavy. But it is also captivating and joyous and miraculous. According to the end credits, 60,000 children go missing annually in India alone. Saroo’s journey and eventual return home were no short of a miracle. I think Dev Patel was a good casting choice, but I have to give my award nomination to Sunny Pawar who was absolutely phenomenal in the role of young Saroo. You’ll understand why when you watch the movie.

Ant Man and the Wasp (2018)
I struggled to get through the first Ant Man movie. It was really terrible, and when you’ve made it through both Hulk movies already, that’s definitely saying something. Thankfully the sequel far surpassed its predecessor in quality (though it was a low bar to begin with). I think that it could have used a stronger or more complex villain, but the plot itself was definitely better and it was smoother overall in terms of pace. Hope and Hank were their usual serious selves which, while not my favorite, is at least something to be relied upon to foil Paul Rudd’s accidental superhero take on Scott Lang. Would I say this was a favorite Marvel movie? No. Did it have some of the same awkward riff humor that Thor: Ragnarok had? Yes. So maybe that’s enough to make it worth watching. It was for me, at least.

Whip It (2009)
I vaguely remembered seeing an advertisement or two for this ages ago, but for some reason I never saw it. Always remembered the cover image though; it’s distinctive. I had no concrete idea of what this movie was about other than women’s roller derby, but it’s actually a coming of age story and one I really liked. It had Friday Night Lights vibes because of the small town Texas setting, but I think I enjoyed the cast of weirdos most. Everyone from Kristin Wig to Drew Barrymore to Jimmy Fallon is in this kind of eccentric film and I loved them all. If only I could skate!

Victoria and Abdul (2017)
I’ve been watching Victoria on PBS lately, so I think that may have skewed my impression of this movie. Judi Dench was good, but I’m so enamored of Jenna Coleman’s take on Queen Victoria that it’s hard to separate my expectations. Still I liked this movie. Parts of it were quite funny and it was interesting to see the cultures clashing, even if I do think Abdul was more eccentric than most of his fellow countrymen. Or perhaps they styled him that way for the film, I’m not sure. There’s a lot I don’t know about the end of the Victorian era. I don’t think this will in any way become a favorite film, but it was engaging to watch and I don’t feel like I wasted my time with it. I would recommend Victoria over this, though. Boy is that show good!

Mama Mia: Here We Go Again (2018)
Ok, plot wise this movie was not good. There were a couple of loose threads and the flow from scene to song was pretty rough most of the time. But it was so fun to watch! I grew up listening to ABBA and I still enjoy it today. I even sing it in the shower from time to time. I also thoroughly enjoyed the new additions to the cast, especially Lily James as young Donna. She was fantastic. You’ll probably remember her from Cinderella, though she’s been in a few other things, too. A lot of the songs were repeated from the first film, but one of the new additions that I really liked was “Andante, Andante.” I don’t think of it as one of their top hits so this is a good way for casual fans to hear something new. Also thank goodness Pierce Brosnan did less singing in this film; he’s really not a singer, LOL.


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