June 2015 in Review

So here we are, with half the year past us already. Feels just like yesterday we were ushering in 2015. I haven't been able to watch as many films this month, due to moving out of my parents house, and due to a need to binge-watch shows like Archer and True Detective. But thankfully, I still managed to watch a good portion. So, let's see what I managed to view over the past month that was June.

Kung Fury - 4/5 - This short is certainly unique. The overall homage to the 80's is well utilized all throughout, from the set design to the soundtrack, and even including a few goofy moments reminiscent of VHS films. The biggest benefit is the combination of a great sense of fun, and the wacky tone that's on play here. Where else will you see a Kung-Fu Hitler, a giant son of Asgard, Arcade killing machines, laser dinosaurs and David Hasslehoff as a talking car? The constant green screen does gets distracting though, but it's still a short worth the watch.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) - 3/5 - It's fascinating to know this romantic comedy was a product of master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard are a hoot to watch together, as they either showcase a couple very much in love, or verbally spar in the most entertaining ways possible. Other than that, it's very awkward to watch, and often dragged out quite painfully. Shame.

The Vow (2012) - 2.5/5 - While the pair could do better when on their own, Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams manage to share good chemistry when in the presence of one another. Unfortunately, they can't combat the sickly material, the underdeveloped supporting cast, or the tired and frustrating clichés which keep appearing.

Inside Out: Best film of the month, Best film
seen in cinemas & Best film new to me.

Man Up - 3/5 - The Simon Pegg/Lake Bell romcom is pretty uneven, only managing to come alive during its second act. Luckily the central duo are likeable enough that we want to follow them for the 88 minute runtime.

Jurassic Park (rewatch) - 5/5 - What Steven Spielberg has done with this film, is all-round brilliant. He utilizes groundbreaking effects, but rather than be enslaved by them, delivers a VERY well made flick, which packs tension and likeable characters into its intriguing story. Just about masterful.

Jurassic World - 4/5 - 22 years after the last entry, Colin Treverrow's entry had every reason to disappoint, considering this is a franchise where the track record for sequels is spotty, at best. The only real disappointment was the generic villain played by Vincent D'nofrio, and the undercooked subplot he leads. Everything else was wonderful, from the great characters, to the brilliantly realised scenarios, especially the finale.

Jurassic Park: Best film rewatched

Frozen Fever - 2/5 - Shown before Cinderella, this short serves no purpose than to capitalize on the popularity of 2013's smash hit Frozen. All we get are lazy gags and callbacks which'll leave those who haven't seen the film feeling lost. There's no attempt to expand on the characters or their world, just to bank on the Frozen brand, but at least the animation and voice work are done well.

Appropriate Behaviour - 3.5/5 - For her directorial debut, Desiree Akhavan crafts a romantic comedy focused on her character reeling from a bad break-up. It shifts between material that's been done better elsewhere, like her teaching kids, and items that feel fresh, like the scenes between our lead and her ex. The scenes of her past romance intercut with her single status in the present are effective, and much of the humor hits as opposed to misses.

Kung Fury: Biggest Surprise

Lava (2015) - 4/5 - The latest short from Pixar best showcases their creativity, telling the tale of a lonely Volcano who wants to be loved. The result proves to be sweet and adorable, with a charming song at the center of it.

Inside Out (2015) - 5/5 - After a number of disappointments and continuations, Pixar returns to their creative heights. The result is a film packed with imagination, humor, believable characters &, well, emotion. Easily one of their best.

Tangled Ever After - 3/5 - The short continuing the story of Tangled's lead characters focuses on Eugene & Rapunzel's wedding. It's a charming exercise in physical humor that's passable, but ultimately forgettable.

Frozen Fever: Biggest Disappointment
and Worst film of the Month

Minions - 3/5 - No matter how much I get annoyed by these yellow guys in promotional material, they become utterly charming when I actually see them in their films. Just a shame the plot focused on Sandra Bullocks dull character, while rushing through more interesting things.

My Brother The Devil - 3.5/5 - The directing debut of Sally El Hosaini largely works thanks to the strong performances on display, and the touching relationships which they believably craft onscreen. James Floyd and Fady Elsayed are the standouts. While the view into Egyptian culture helps the film to somewhat find a unique voice, this is almost entirely countered by the derivative nature witnessed throughout, such as the cliches of gang member trying to get out, while trying not to have his sibling follow in their footsteps. Shame.

Ex Machina (2015) - 4.5/5 - Alex Garland's delivered stellar script work for ages, so it's unsurprising his jump to directing would be just as stellar. What he delivers is a thoroughly engaging science fiction flick, which delivers fantastic ideas & topics, while never making it second to the wonderful effects. At the forefront of this picture is a trio of exceptional performances, helping to anchor the film and draw you into their story all the more, while wondering if anyone's who they say they are.

Best film of the month: Inside Out
Best film seen in cinemas: Inside Out
Best film watched for the first time: Inside Out
Best film rewatched: Jurassic Park
Biggest Disappointment: Frozen Fever
Biggest Surprise: Kung Fury
Worst film of the month: Frozen Fever

Number of films watched: 14