Movies To Rent & Two To Skip

It’s the middle of December and I still haven’t been to the movie theater yet!  However, I’m planning on it this weekend and it’s not “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.  Yeah, I finally get to have movie popcorn!

popcorn

If you’re done with your holiday shopping and you’re going to rent movies, I have five suggestions and two to skip.

“TRAINWRECK”

I’ll admit upfront that I was not a fan of Amy Schumer and all of the press she gets.  The sad thing is that I had not watched any of her stuff and that’s where I was wrong.

In this comedy, which she wrote, the stand-up comedian, television star, and Madonna’s opening act, can now add movie star and Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice award nominee to her resume.

She had me laughing my butt off as a hard drinking, pot smoking, and lover of one-night stands.  Oh, she was a magazine writer that ends up falling for a subject of one of her stories, too.

Oscar winner Tilda Swinton is unrecognizable in this movie.  I’ve blogged about her appearance before and will share the amazing result again.

tilda-transformation

It’s also pretty cool that Swinton co-stars, again, in this movie, with her on-screen son in the incredibly insane, “We Need To Talk About Kevin”, Ezra Miller, which was my third favorite movie in 2012.

Another standout in “Trainwreck” is NBA basketball icon LeBron James, who is hilarious and definitely has comedic chops.

The movie also stars Bill Hader and Brie Larson, who’s garnering a lot of Oscar buzz now for her role in “Room”.

After seeing Schumer in this great comedy, I’m going to have to check out her Emmy-winning series, “Inside Amy Schumer”!

GRADE:  A-

“BEASTS OF NO NATION”

This war drama is already racking up nominations and is getting Oscar buzz.

Star Idris Elba recently got both Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild nominations as the leader of a rebel group fighting a civil war in Africa with child soldiers.

Teenage actor Abraham Attah, who plays Agu, has already won the Marcello Mastroianni’s Best Young Actor Award at the 72nd Annual Venice International Film Festival and could become one of the youngest actors nominated for an Academy Award.

Very powerful movie of a sad situation.

GRADE:  B+

“INSIDE OUT”

This 2015 summer blockbuster which earned $851.6 million dollars is one of the best recent Pixar/Disney movies.

It focuses on the emotions (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger) in the mind that manages the life of Midwestern-born 11-year-old Riley as her family moves across to the country to San Francisco.

Amy Poehler voices Joy, but it’s Phyllis Smith’s Sadness that steals the spotlight in the movie.

While a kid’s movie, grown-ups can definitely relate and enjoy.

GRADE:  B

“JURASSIC WORLD”

Full disclosure here — although the Jurassic Park series started back in 1993, I’ve never seen any of the movies.

The only reason I wanted to check out this fourth movie in the series is Chris Pratt in all of his hotness.  Okay, Bryce Dallas Howard is pretty cute, too.

I’ll keep this short because the movie has already brought in $1.67 billion worldwide and $652.3 million of that was here in the U.S. making it biggest movie of 2015!  So, everyone and their mother has likely already seen it.

A new theme park is opening on the Pacific coast of Central America and the park has been genetically modifying dinosaurs to make the park a bigger draw.  Of course, nothing could possibly go wrong! 🙂

“World” was rather entertaining until a scene toward the end with Howard’s assistant that made the movie feel very cheap like “Sharknado”! Because of that stunt, I dropped the final grade!

GRADE:  B-

“VACATION”

In my last movie review blog, I took a chance on Melissa McCarthy’s “Spy” and really enjoyed it.  I had low expectations and was surprised.

I went into the new “Vacation” movie with Ed Helms and Christina Applegate not expecting too much more than the funny scenes in the trailer.

It was enjoyable and risque, especially watching it with your 14-year-old daughter. 🙂

The real star of the movie was Kevin, Rusty Griswold’s annoying and mean youngest son, played by Steele Stebbins.

Also, for reasons I won’t write here, Chris Hemsworth’s NRA card-carrying Texas television weatherman was hilarious.  No, it’s not the fact that he is “People” magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive”.  Watching the trailer, the joke is rather evident — like, in your face!

WARNING:  THIS IS RED BAND TRAILER (DEFINITELY RATED “R”)

GRADE:  B

“SOUTHPAW”

If given a choice of movies, my first choice would not be a sports-themed motion pictures.  However, I love “Bull Durham” (baseball), “Wimbledon” (tennis), “The Cutting Edge” (ice skating), and a few more.

The main draw for me on this boxing movie was director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day” and “Brooklyn’s Finest”) and star Jake Gyllenhaal.

It’s a story of loss and redemption even though I won’t say what.

The movie also stars the amazing Forest Whitaker and the always entertaining Rachel McAdams.

GRADE:  B

“THE HUNGER GAMES:  MOCKINGJAY — PART 1”

This part will be short.  I enjoyed “The Hunger Games” and “The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire”.

Then, something happened.

Divergent came along and I switched teams!

I lost all interest in “The Hunger Games” series even though I love Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth.

I suffered through “Mockingjay – Part 1” and it definitely felt like filler. When “Part 2” comes out on DVD in 2016, I’ll watch it and I’m sure it will surpass this dud!

GRADE:  C

“RICKI AND THE FLASH”

I love Meryl Streep and can watch her all day.  As a matter of fact, I could watch “Mamma Mia”, “Julie & Julia”, “The Iron Lady”, and “August: Osage County” on repeat.

But, once was enough with this one.

Mamie Gummer, Streep’s real-life daughter, is the highlight of this movie.

Streep plays an aging rock singer that left her family with hopes and dreams of being a music superstar which never happened.

GRADE:  C 

Anthony

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