Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothee Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Odeya Rush, Jordan Rodrigues, Marielle Scott
Plot: In 2002, an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California (IMDB.com).
Overall: Honestly, this movie was amazing. I had been wanting to see it for so long and I finally saw it — it’s a beautiful coming of age story and I think it was hilarious that the story was premised around a girl attending Catholic school (that’s new for me!). There’s a lot of great humor, and it definitely hits you in all the feels — between feeling the need to “fit in”, the stubbornness and rebellion during teenage years, first loves and relationships, applying to college, etc. It was beautifully written and I remember at one point during the film, I found myself asking, “What’s the point of this film?” As in, I didn’t really understand the whole “coming of age” concept generally speaking, but I definitely think it nailed almost every aspect of it. I loved Saoirse Ronan. Her character is absolutely hilarious and lovable and honest, and I think Saoirse did an amazing job! She’s brilliant and wildly talented. I’m excited to see where she goes from here.
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Bobby Cannavale, Nick Jonas, Alex Wolff, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Morgan Turner, Colin Hanks
Plot: Picking up where it left off back in 1995, Jumanji returns with an upgraded way for the kids to play. After Alex is brought into the realm of the game, nearly twenty years later, four teens serving detention in their school’s basement find themselves in the jungle. They soon discover that they must release a curse in order to be released from the game.
Overall: It’s definitely not the original film and there seemingly seems to be too much computerized/animated scenes (common in today’s film, but to the point where everything seems very fake). However, with that put aside, I think the humor really carried the film. It was fun to see the take on teenagers being placed in the shoes of their avatars, which I might add was also brilliant in that it seemed like a very well-thought out character development and premise. It also added some flair for the laughs. While I don’t think it’s necessary to see the first film to understand this one, it would definitely help in all the references made and hidden gems from the first film they place throughout this one.
Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy
Plot: Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German Army, and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II (IMDB.com).
Overall: For starters, I love war films and so when this film was released, I wanted to see it. However, I’m not well-versed in history (I know, shame on me), so I had no idea what exactly Dunkirk was or what the film was depicting. After first watching it (before I knew the story behind it), I thought it was okay. It wasn’t great because I found it extremely difficult to follow. And despite the film offering a brief synopsis at the beginning, I just couldn’t keep up. After reading about the film and what exactly it was depicting, though my critique didn’t change much, I came up with a cohesive criticism. I think it was hard to follow because it bounces from different perspectives. While that might work in a book or written medium, I think it was poorly conveyed in film. I think if Nolan stuck with perhaps two (but preferably one) perspective, I think the film definitely would’ve been more successful. Also, while I respect that Nolan wanted to add suspense through the cinematography and music, and little dialogue, I don’t think it benefited the film much. And quite frankly, when you have an audience that may or may not know what Dunkirk is, it’s frustrating to sit through it not knowing who people are or why they’re doing what they’re doing.
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Chrissie Fit, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, Kelley Jakle, Shelley Regner, Hailee Steinfeld, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, John Lithgow, Matt Lanter, DJ Khaled, Alexis Knapp, Moises Arias
Plot: The Bellas reunite for one last competition on the USO Tour.
Overall: Okay, so it was not as good as the first, but definitely better than the second one. The two reasons I didn’t give it a 10 was (1) it wasn’t as good or better than the first one, and (2) there’s this mini subplot within the plot and it just ruined the movie. I feel like if the film stayed true to what it was about (singing), I think it would’ve made such a stronger, more coherent film. However, with all of that being said, it was still SO funny and of course the musical numbers were outstanding. I definitely think the humor matched the first and it was fun to see the other sides of all the Bellas. You definitely get to know them better in this last installment because they’re all leading such different lives and their careers are in vastly difference places, yet they’re still closely bonded by the love they share for making music and competing acapella style. On a side note, I think DJ Khaled and Evermoist were given far more credit than their talent conveyed.
Starring: Ellen Page, Nina Dobrev, Diego Luna, James Norton, Kiersey Clemons
Plot: After losing her younger sister in a car accident, Courtney (Page) is now in med school and recruits some of her classmates to try an experiment as a means to truly gain a perspective of what an “afterlife” entails. While indulging in the “high” the students experience afterwards, they soon realize there are haunting repercussions to their actions.
Overall: So, I really wanted to see this film as I was curious to see what they made of the “afterlife” concept. And…I was utterly disappointed. While there are some decent parts of the film, I think I was upset that they took a cliche route — the whole moral compass and past haunting — approach to it. I definitely thought Courtney’s story was the most interesting and would’ve liked to see more on that. I wanted to see her journey from the tragedy to med school to the formulation of the idea of essentially killing herself “just to see” what the afterlife holds. Like most films, this one had great potential and it turned out to be such a dud. All the other subplots (other characters’ pasts) were so cliche that you just didn’t care what happened to them. I feel like what happens to Courtney in the film should’ve happened to the rest of the characters instead. I gave it a 4 simply for the concept of the film.
Starring: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran
Plot: Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares for battle with the First Order (IMDB.com).
Overall: I can’t say that I’ve been very impressed with the new Star Wars films. While I enjoyed The Force Awakens, I haven’t enjoyed the two most recent films. I realize I’m saying this as someone who is not particularly a “fan” of Star Wars, but I went with my boyfriend who is. I think there are too many stories going on that it’s hard to actually pinpoint an actual plot for the film. Is it the Resistance vs. the First Order? Or is it Rey’s internal battle and establishing the strength of her jedi powers? Or is it Luke’s internal battle to embrace his “last calling” as a jedi, deciding whether or not to help Rey control/discover the true strength of her powers, or mending his relationship with Leia? Or was it Kylo Ren’s struggle between dark and jedi forces? Personally, I found Rey’s storyline the most interesting. But it was really hard to delve in to any of them. Oh and don’t even get me started on the fact that everybody is freaking out about this one scene where there’s no audio for barely 10 seconds. Quite frankly, I didn’t even notice until someone pointed it out to me. I also didn’t even remember the scene it was in. I don’t know. I honestly don’t even know what to say about this film. It was okay. It wasn’t great, but it didn’t tank.
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Marcus Henderson, Betty Gabriel, LilRel Howery
Plot: An interracial couple goes to her parent’s house to introduce her boyfriend to her parents. He has some hesitations about her family’s reaction to him being black, but decides to go anyway. After some strange events occur, Chris becomes suspicious that something “weird” is happening, which he conveys to his TSA friend, [name]. What turned out to be a suspicion, eventually turns into the fight for his life.
Overall: First of all, I laughed at Jordan Peele when he said that this was a “historical documentary.” I laughed even harder after I watched it. I think from a “historical” standpoint, I could kind of understand what he was trying to get at, but at the same time, I think it was very poorly executed. I think from a psychological thriller/suspense perspective, it was decent. I definitely think there were a lot of problems with the character development and some loopholes/weak points in the plot. Overall, I think it was an intriguing film and I watched it simply because of so many mixed reviews — it was one of those situations where I said to myself, “I have to see this for myself!” I can’t say I’d watch it again or even recommend it to anyone, but I suppose if you’re into sort of the cliche “horror” films, this might be for you.