I saw this at the Cinemagic Theater in Hooksett, NH with Ann, Pat, and Al. I didn’t really know what to expect going in. I had read a description saying that the movie was a science fiction comedy, a genre I had never heard of before. I don’t want to spoil anything about the movie because the surprises are so surprising and are what make the movie the most creative, innovative movie I’ve seen in a long time. Seeing the movie made me follow the director, Boots Riley, on Twitter. I’m not sorry about that decision. Go see this movie! I don’t think I can rate the movies in this short post individually so I’ll just say that the five star rating on this post is because of this movie.
I saw this at Smitty’s in Tilton, NH with Ann. I didn’t expect to like this movie as much as I did. There are many laugh out loud moments and the stars, Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon, clearly enjoy each other’s company. McKinnon in particular is a delight. A scene with her and Gillian Anderson (who I love!) is so surprisingly feminist in a movie focused on being dumped by a guy. The movie isn’t deep and is totally ridiculous in a lot of way but it’s good summer fun. I’d give it 4 stars.
I saw this at Red River Theaters with Ann, Pat, and Al. Just wow! My friend Liz called this movie “quietly brutal.” Written and directed by Bo Burnham, the movie tells the story of Kayla (played by the amazing Elsie Fisher) and her last few weeks of eighth grade. Burnham was a YouTube star when he was 16 and he wanted to tell the story of what it is like to be in eighth grade today. Kayla has a YouTube channel with few followers and few friends in school. This movie is so painful and real and hopeful and awkward. Although the social media aspects of the story make it unique to today, the story feels universal and is a reminder that I, for one, never want to go back to being an eighth grader. A big 5 stars.
The latest movie from Spike Lee tells the story of Ron Stallworth, the first black Colorado Springs, CO, police office. Stallworth infiltrated the local chapter of the KKK in 1972 and this story is based on his memoir of those experiences. I really wanted to like this movie. The “true” story is fantastical and interesting. The director makes good, provocative movies. And the cast looks promising. But the movie is kind of a mess. I enjoyed most of the first 2/3 (although there are stylistic as well as plot choices that really bothered me). But the last 1/3 of the movie just didn’t make sense. There were so many mood changes so quickly in that last third that I felt like I had whiplash. And I think Lee couldn’t really decide on what he was trying to say with this movie. From my perspective, I don’t feel like he needs to “say” something with every movie he makes. But with some of his stylistic choices, I think Lee was signalling that he had a bigger message to convey. But what was that message? It’s not clear to me but to reveal more about the problems I had with the plot and stylistic changes involve too many spoilers. I saw this at Red River Theaters with Ann and Matt. I would give this movie 3 stars.
I saw this movie at Regal Cinemas in Concord with Ann and Pat. This is a pretty movie. The visuals made me want to visit Singapore immediately although the plot of the movie makes me wonder whether I can afford it. I sometimes get really annoyed at the heteronormativity of the typical rom-com and this movie contained plenty of those tropes, this movie was full of likable, complicated characters that kept my annoyance at bay. There are a few false notes that normalize stalking and portray teaching in a really bizarre way. But mostly, this is a big tub of fully butter popcorn–enjoyable summer fun that leaves you satisfied but won’t stick with you too long after the end of the movie. I give this film 4 stars.
Go forth and enjoy the Fall slate of movies. I know I will!
I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.