Hot Time, Summer at the Movies

31 Jul

Trainwreck-movieWe’re more than halfway through the summer, and while my pace has slowed (other aspects of my social life have taken priority in recent weeks), I still saw a good handful of movies during the month of July — bringing my grand total for the year so far to 40.

So, without further ado, here are movie reviews of everything I saw in the past month.

35. Infinitely Polar Bear. Mark Ruffalo stars as a father in Boston with bi-polar disorder taking care of his two daughters when his wife (Zoe Saldana) moves to NYC to earn her MBA at Columbia. The film was written and directed by one of those daughters, and it’s based on her experience growing up, so the family portrait is less dramatic than it is sweet and quirky. Not a bad movie, just nothing spectacular. B

36. Self/Less. Predictable. And I just didn’t believe that when Ben Kingsley’s character’s consciousness is imported into Ryan Reynolds’ body, that I was watching the same character. Would much rather have seen the reverse. So overall, a big meh. C

37. Amy. Heartbreaking. Asif Kapadia’s documentary about Amy Winehouse shows the singer as a young girl, full of talent and potential, and then we watch as the destructive powers of fame, love, and drugs completely overwhelm her. Predictable story, given the formula, but the film’s brilliant use of home movies and interviews with those who knew her before and during her rise and fall make this an intimate look at a world-famous singer who never wanted the celebrity she received. The joy you feel in the first half is the sadness and loss you feel in the second. Still, what a talent Winehouse was. This film made me appreciate her gifts and her music even more than I already did. A–

batkid begins38. Batkid Begins. A very special day is now a truly wonderful film. Dana Nachman’s unabashedly sentimental documentary tugs on the heartstrings from the very first frame, showing how a six-year-old leukemia patient’s wish to be Batman played out on the streets of San Francisco and became a worldwide phenomenon thanks largely to the power of social media. What could have been a cloying infomercial for Make-a-Wish is instead a celebration of the very best of human nature, a tribute to the creativity that turned a simple wish into a day of play with cinematic grandeur, and a sweet movie that made me want to make a big donation to Make-a-Wish (which I did) … and restock my supply of tissues too. B+

39. Trainwreck. (2X) Too long romcom, and the Amy Schumer rude shtick gets kinda old kinda quick, and the ending is really kinda lame and cliché, but like so many Judd Apatow movies, this one has a sweetness that creeps up on you and plenty of great laughs — many supplied by LeBron James, of all people. (Can’t wait to see the blooper reel/deleted scenes.) Schumer’s got great screen presence, Tilda Swinton’s unrecognizable, and Brie Larson … why isn’t she in more movies? I liked this one, but didn’t love it. Actually, I liked it a little more the second time than I did the first. B/B+

40. Ant-Man. Paul Rudd is not the first person you’d expect to play a superhero, but that’s just one of the many offbeat and unexpected touches that make this latest Marvel superhero pic so much fun. Rudd makes for a naturally charming and “regular” hero. He’s easy to root for, and doesn’t take it all so seriously. Oh, and the presence of Evangeline Lilly doesn’t hurt either. At all. B+

What was YOUR favorite movie of the last month? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

8 Responses to “Hot Time, Summer at the Movies”


  1. 47 Things I Will Remember About the Summer of 2015 | Martin's Musings - September 4, 2015

    […] 38. Amy Winehouse’s music was even better than we all thought it was. […]

  2. The Dog Days (and Dog Movies) of Summer Have Come and Gone | Martin's Musings - September 8, 2015

    […] we look forward, though, let’s look back on all the movies I’ve seen since my last movie reviews roundup blog post — some really good ones and some pretty awful ones too. As always, the numbers reflect the total […]

  3. These Are the Movie Reviews You’re Looking For | Martin's Musings - December 22, 2015

    […] who is wasted in a wordless cameo). John Cena gets some of the best laughs, just as he did in Trainwreck. Essentially, this is a fun movie about some 40-somethings cutting loose for a change, and the mess […]

  4. My 2015 Soundtrack Was a Real Head Trip | Martin's Musings - December 28, 2015

    […] & Mofro, makes me think of the final episode of House of Cards season three. The documentary Amy had me listening to and appreciating Amy Winehouse’s songs, particularly “Back to […]

  5. What Fun It Was to Go to the Movies This Year | Martin's Musings - December 29, 2015

    […] films were pleasant surprises, like The Peanuts Movie, Ant-Man, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. — and I mention that last film not just because it featured Alicia […]

  6. Wrapping Up a Decade at the Movies with 20 Favorite Films | Martin's Musings - December 10, 2019

    […] a number of fantastic documentaries over the last decade that surely merit a mention, including Amy, Gleason, Free Solo, Searching for Sugar Man, and of course, Life Itself. Excellent films all, but […]

  7. Life, Loss, and a Few Laughs on Staten Island | Martin's Musings - June 8, 2020

    […] is, too). So on that level, KOSI feels somewhat derivative of the writer/director’s other films (Trainwreck, Knocked Up, etc). Here, though, in a nice change of pace, it’s not always played for laughs. […]

  8. Intimate, Entertaining “Still” Lets Michael J. Fox Share His Story, in His Own Words | Martin's Musings - May 9, 2023

    […] of these films follow all too well. Every now and then, one rises above the rest (Gleason and Amy are two of the better examples), but it’s easy to be cynical since so many of these films adhere […]

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