What’s with movie producers putting Blake Lively in danger? First, Ben Affleck turned her into a drugged-up townie in The Town. Then, she got kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel in Oliver Stone’s Savages. Now, the erstwhile Serena van der Woodsen is being hunted by a hungry shark in The Shallows.
My girl just can’t catch a break!
Unfortunately, the same can be said for moviegoers. Based on the films I’ve seen in the past few weeks, there’s not a breakout that screams “must-see.” So, with that spoiler aside, I figured I’d share a bunch of recent reviews, starting with a review of Blake Lively’s latest.
23. The Shallows. Blake Lively, the poor thing, is stuck on a rock in a bikini and skin-tight surf suit while a hungry shark waits for his chance to eat her. Will she survive? What do you think? This swiftly plotted thriller has its scary moments and not as many ridiculous lines of dialogue or silly scenes as one might expect. Yes, aspects of it are kinda ridiculous. But the film looks great — kudos to the cinematographer and, especially, the costume designer — and let’s be honest: That’s all we really want from this movie, right? If you want a good shark movie, stick with Jaws or Open Water. B–
22. Finding Dory. A rare Pixar disappointment. Essentially the same movie as Finding Nemo, but not as good, this film is like one of those direct-to-DVD sequels Disney used to release before it realized it could make more money by making them better and releasing them theatrically. Sweet and warm hearted, but not as substantial and emotional as previous releases, Dory is good for the kids but not as satisfying for adults. Pixar can do better. B
21. Central Intelligence. Better than it should have been, this buddy comedy features The Rock in one of his funniest roles as a former fat kid turned rogue government agent. His dopeyness makes a better impression than Kevin Hart playing the same ole in-over-his-head character again. I laughed and, thankfully, didn’t hate myself when the film was over. B
20. Weiner. What kind of an egotistical jerk lets a documentary crew keep filming while his political career is imploding and his marriage is on the skids? The same one who thought it was perfectly acceptable to send a random person a picture of his crotch — twice (at least). That’s the essence of this alternately entertaining and cringe-worthy film, which documents how “Carlos Danger,” the former Congressman, tried to run for New York City Mayor but found old habits too hard to break. Like driving by a car crash: You just can’t look away. B+
19. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Predictably silly but often funny mockumentary about a Justin Bieber–esque popstar’s rise and fall. Catchy songs, fun cameo appearances, and good laughs. Nothing to run and see, but it’ll make for a fun watch when it’s rerun endlessly on cable soon enough. B
18. The Lobster. Let’s say you were single and unable to find a mate. What animal would you want to be turned into? Colin Farrell decides he wants to be a lobster, then gets second thoughts once he meets Rachel Weisz. (As you do.) Interesting concept, mixed execution. The first half is better than the second, and the ending is a bit of a letdown. B–
What movies have YOU seen lately? Anything good? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.