a) Table 19
My wife and I recently had our first date night without the kids in like a year when my mom was visiting and babysat for us. And there were some good movies playing, but she suggested this Anna Kendrick movie which I hadn't even heard of, and I'd almost always rather see a comedy than anything else, so we went with Table 19. Turns out the movie was a flop that got terrible reviews, but I really enjoyed it, it's one of those movies that all takes place in the space of a few hours and throws a few characters together to meet each other and have an odd experience with each other. There were a few eye rolling elements but it got the balance of funny and sweet pretty well.
b) Lights Out
I hadn't heard of this movie either when I decided to put it on one day, but apparently it was a giant success? A horror movie where the monster only attacks in darkness is a nice simple, potent premise, and there's a few pretty good visuals there, and I liked how abrupt and sad the ending was, it really kind of packed a surprising punch. But I didn't think much of it, I'm surprised that it was a big deal.
Seth Rogen and his little crew have been making hit comedies for almost a decade now, but for better or worse they're usually one-offs with no real sequel potential. But they've finally hit upon a formula for franchises, based on the 21 Jump Street movies and now the Neighbors movies: pair up one of their schlubby guys with some muscular heartthrob dude. The first Neighbors was a decent if forgettable little comedy, this one hits a lot of the same notes but is mostly missing what I liked about the original, the sorority cast was just not very funny.
d) The Boss
Spy hit the mark so perfectly as the best Melissa McCarthy vehicle to date that I think I'm doomed to now compare all her other movies to it. This one was pretty fun, though, Kristen Bell and Peter Dinklage were a good supporting cast.
I've enjoyed almost everything Tina Fey has ever done so uniformly that I watched this reflexively, but I kinda knew before I even watched it that it was probably a dud and barely paid attention to it.
f) The 5th Wave
Another movie I kinda put on as background noise while listlessly working on a writing deadline, seemed okay as Young Adult adaptation dystopia movies go, I liked the premise.
I think of Quentin Tarantino movies as always being worth watching, but the more I think about it, the more I kinda place his first 3 movies (first 4 if I'm feeling generous toward Kill Bill that day) on a pretty high platform above the others. And the one really just felt like he didn't get the N-word out of his system enough in Django Unchained and came up with a post-emancipation era story that hits a lot of the same notes. I loved Jennifer Jason Leigh's performance in spite of how much it gratuitously relied on her saying the N-word in every scene, and Walton Goggins and Samuel L. Jackson have some great moments, but the whole thing felt like a curdled collection of Tarantino mannerisms unnecessarily narrated by Tarantino himself. Also, it kind of bummed me out to hear a White Stripes song in a Tarantino movie, he used to really dig in the crates.
h) G.B.F.A pretty fun new school teen movie that turns the cliche "gay best friend" character into both the protagonist and the satirized concept at the heart of the movie. Not quite as funny as it could've been, but pretty charming.