What do our movie-reviewing dogs make of this week’s big releases? Let’s find out!
Out July 19, Rated R
Photo Courtesy of The Weinstein Company
“Paws up who here liked Drive? Pretty much everyone, right? Well, the director and star are back with this grisly movie revolving around a family of drug dealers living in Thailand. Not that you’d know they were drug dealers until the movie’s half over, of course, because like most other stuff in this movie, no one thinks to tell you that for the first hour. This is gonna be a bit of a weird one for fans of Drive: It’s moody, it’s violent, and it’s surprising, but I can’t honestly say I had a clue what was happening most of the time, since hardly anyone actually says anything. I dunno. I think I’m gonna drop some hardcore shrooms and watch it again. It’ll either make sense, or I’ll freak out and jump off a building. Either way, it’ll be more satisfying closure than what I got the first time around.”
“You know, I have to say, I was looking forward to this one. Like most people, I enjoyed Drive, but I also really dug director Nicolas Winding Refn’s earlier work, especially Valhalla Rising, his eerie, existential Viking flick. Only God Forgives definitely leans much closer in style to Valhalla Rising than Drive, with minimal dialogue, a trippy color palette, and the plot itself left very much up to the audience to try and figure out from the hints and symbols on offer. On the surface, it’s about Julian (a somnambulant Ryan Gosling), whose brother just decides to rape and kill a girl one night, then inexplicably waits around to be caught and killed by the cops. When the pair’s mother arrives (an awesomely offensive, foul-mouthed Kristen Scott Thomas, who steals the show), she goads Julian into killing Chang, the cop who took her son. Julian seems morally opposed at first, but then decides, for no apparent reason, to go after the cop anyway. Chang, meanwhile, is busy beating other bad dudes with frying pans, chopping their hands off with swords, and driving increasingly large pairs of chopsticks into various body parts, all of which he follows by performing very impassioned karaoke. It’s quirky, y’all!
“The violence in this movie is frequent, but despite the thudding score’s attempts to wring tension from it, it mostly feels too absurd to be truly nasty. I’m pretty sure Refn wasn’t intending to make a comedy, but the audience where I saw it was laughing out loud during some of the more bloody moments. All in all, it’s a beautifully shot, exquisitely crafted piece of eye candy (loving homages to David Lynch abound, with everything bathed in shadowed, Twin Peaks tones of deep red and black), but there’s just not much happening under that alluring exterior. By the end, I felt that maybe I’d just seen a cop movie that was shot from the villain’s point of view, but I still wasn’t really sure why.”
“WATCHING THIS MOVIE WAS THE MOST FUN THING EVER! ALTHOUGH THAT’S PROBABLY BECAUSE I WAS HAVING A TICKLE FIGHT ALL THE WAY THROUGH IT.”
Out July 17, Unrated.
Photo Courtesy of IFC FIlms
“This one might take a while to track down at a theater, but you should be able to stream it, and honestly, it’s perfectly suited to a lazy afternoon watch at home. It’s about a comedian who’s considering making a movie based around the collection of awful parents that attend his son’s Little League games, and in doing his research, gets to know all of them a little better than he wanted. It’s gently funny throughout and sometimes hilarious – pretty much exactly like a Little League baseball game.”
“Man, is there anyone in comedy as likeable as Jeff Garlin? The guy just radiates affability. His new movie – which he wrote, directed and stars in – is a perfect showcase for his improv-heavy, laidback style. The cast he’s surrounded himself with this time is incredible – Christopher Guest, Fred Willard, Bob Odenkirk, J. B. Smoove, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Timothy Olyphant, Richard Kind, Nia Vardalos, and many more, all of whom nail the tone perfectly. It’s definitely one you’ll want to watch when you need something feel-good but just a little bit weird. Speaking of weird, I don’t even pretend to understand the rules of baseball – I mean, who the hell catches a ball with their hands?”
“I LOVE BASEBALL! IT’S A SPORT THAT INVOLVES STICKS, BALLS, AND RUNNING IN CIRCLES. THAT MAKES IT THE BEST SPORT EVER!”
Out July 18, Rated PG-13
Photo Courtesy of Universal Pictures
“Going by the trailer, this movie is basically Men In Black, but with ghosts instead of aliens. Aaand…that’s it. If you liked Men In Black, but thought it could be improved by having everyone having undead super powers, this one’s for you. By the way, that whole thing about dogs being able to sense supernatural spirits? Not true. When we pull that freaked out, alert face and stare at something in the corner, we’re just trying to cover up the fact we sharted on the curtains.”
“I don’t even remember the last time I saw the awesome Jeff Bridges heading a big, goofy summer blockbuster. Pairing him with Ryan Reynolds – who’s generally likeable, even if his films aren’t always great – seems like a solid move, and while I’m not particularly interested in seeing a flick about a department of ghost cops who try to banish undead spirits, it’ll probably be fun if you have young-ish kids you need to distract this weekend. That whole pretending-to-throw-the-tennis-ball trick will only keep them entertained for so long.”
“GHOSTS ARE FUN! ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU SMOOSH THEM ONTO THE BOTTOM OF YOUR FEET AND THEN WALK THEM INTO SOMEONE’S BRAND NEW CARPET! OH, WAIT…NO, I’M THINKING OF POOP. SORRY.”