The Month in Theaters May 2022
Only six movies in theaters in May, largely due to two wide releases not interesting me, Family Camp (a movie I never even saw a trailer for) and the Downton Abbey second movie. As for the latter, my only experience with that franchise is the first movie. I just didn’t care. Beyond theaters, I watched an additional sixteen movies, with one repeat showing from the theater six, for a total of twenty-one reviews. Let’s start it up.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
This is the movie I saw twice. Didn’t get to it a third time, mostly because, while fun, it didn’t rock my socks. I reserve thrice in a month for a movie I absolutely love. Strangely, the first movie I saw this month and last month are both films I wrote full article reviews for. You can read my further thoughts here. This is a B+ to A-.
The only major wide release the weekend after the previous movie released (other than the aforementioned Family Camp) and one that is likely not to make Jason Blum much money. It was largely terrible, but I have never read the Stephen King book this adaptation is based on nor the previous adaptation. The conclusion felt rushed, the middle slow, and the exposition both too much and not enough information. Kurtwood Smith (Red Forman or the main antagonist in the first RoboCop) is in the movie for one scene outside of the stylized opening credits. I will never watch it again. The main villain was blatantly terrible and underdeveloped. The secondary villain had very little buildup and got redemption he didn’t deserve. F.
This movie is incredibly weird. Since it was written and directed by Alex Garland, writer/director of both Ex Machina and Annihilation, the weirdness is not surprising. The ending is so strange and off-putting, how much of the movie actually happened and how much of it was in the head of the main character, I have absolutely no idea. Every man in the movie that is not the deceased husband of the main character is played by the same actor. This strangeness is never remarked upon in a real way by the main character and is just odd. The special effects to graft that actor’s face onto a child was also Uncanny Valley in its off-putting nature. Much like Ari Aster (director of Hereditary and Midsommar,) Alex Garland makes movies that are so weird, you wanna talk about them with other people. The problem? They’re not great movies. Robert Eggers (director of The Northman and The Witch,) although I have yet to see his other movie, The Lighthouse (I’ll get to it eventually,) seems to have reined in his weirdness enough to make great movies. His movies are excellent but very strange. This is C+ to B- as I don’t know if I’ll ever watch this insanity again, but I might.
Top Gun: Maverick
This is movie of the month for the films I saw in theaters. Of the movies I saw on streaming or otherwise that I’d never seen before, two movies beat it. I’ll get to that shortly. This was so much better than the original Top Gun, a movie I don’t actually like very much (a C or so.) The stakes are better, the soundtrack doesn’t repeat the same two songs half a dozen times each, the acting is better (Val Kilmer and Miles Teller especially,) and the action is so much higher octane. That third act just keeps going. I’d give this an A to A+. Depending on the release schedule the first weekend in June, I may see this again. The last third act that kicked this much ass in a similar fashion was Ford v Ferrari. I didn’t expect to enjoy this movie as much in the run up to its release, but the reviews were strong, from both critics and audiences. Pleasantly surprised isn’t the half of it. Is this Tom Cruise’s best movie as the lead actor? Maybe. One of the Mission: Impossible films might have the crown, although I still need to see a few of his early films. Tropic Thunder is probably my favorite movie that he was in, although that was largely a glorified cameo.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie
I thought I would like this more than the last one when I started the day I saw both of these movies. That is not what happened. The movie isn’t awful, but it randomly has three song and dance numbers out of nowhere. I was honestly bored and just wanted it to be over. The issue is the plot is largely awful. And the main inciting incident of the plot is resolved as an afterthought in the final minutes of the film, which makes where the plot goes once the writers seem to get bored with Bob (his involvement with the plot is secondary to his children) strange, and is not the plot I expected but not in a good way. The three children all have issues that are largely unresolved in a satisfying way before the end of the film except for Tina. Her issue was resolved in a sweet way. The set pieces that make up the final act are fun, but the movie is both not as funny as it should be (I haven’t watched this show in a decade or more) nor as crazy as it could have gotten. There are loads of references to past episodes that went completely over my head. I think super fans of the show would enjoy this movie more than I did. As it stands, this is a C for me.
The ending of Bosch: Legacy was excellent. I am super excited for the already announced second season. The Boys returns the Friday of the week I’m writing this. Can’t wait for that. Stranger Things returned but I have yet to watch it. The third season, which was ages ago, just didn’t impress me much. Maybe I’ll watch it much later. I just have very little interest. Beyond that, since I got this article written much faster than last month’s breakdown (I actually started writing this on the last day of May,) I didn’t watch many other shows worth talking about. Mostly because I watched a ton of movies outside of theaters in May.
I had somehow never seen Some Like It Hot, but I’m glad I did. It was a deeply enjoyable movie. The middle drags a bit, but the third act is excellent as is the acting, writing, and humor. I think this is my first Marilyn Monroe movie… This is a solid A.
The Shadow is not a good movie. Some of my Twitter mutuals raved about it, but the movie sucks. The action is mostly terrible, the plot is awful, and the turn to good for the main character, who might as well be a genocidal tyrant when we first come upon him, is not believable. F. Don’t waste your time.
Another terrible movie. My fiancée wanted to watch The Ryan White Story, about a boy with hemophilia who got HIV and died of AIDS due to a blood transfusion, like that one tennis star. The movie is largely just depressing. The legal drama part of it is not enough to make up for the ignorant fearmongering and guilt that make up most of the plot. F. Even though it is based on a true story, maybe make the story interesting.
My favorite comedy of all time and my second favorite movie overall, Animal House is an A+ without a doubt. If you’ve never seen this movie, do it. It’s excellent.
David Cronenberg made a movie called Scanners in 1981. You can skip most of the movie. After the infamous head exploding bit everyone knows the movie for, which is in the first fifteen minutes, the next bit of fun practical effect body horror isn’t until the last like five minutes of the movie. The effects are great. I just wish there were more of them or the plot made the waiting better. The intrigue of the sort of thriller parts of the plot are just kind of terrible. The big twist is not exactly deserved nor really built up in any way. Michael Ironside is good as the villain, but the main character is not a good actor. This is a C-, only because those practical effects are awesome. John Carpenter’s The Thing, this is not.
The movie that broke up a marriage, Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a fun ride. Didn’t blow my socks off, but I had fun. The action is very well done. B+. Vince Vaughn rockin’ that Holy Cannoli T-shirt. The chemistry is definitely there between the leads.
The best movie I saw in May was Yojimbo. The best of the three Akira Kurosawa films I’ve seen by a wide margin. A+. It was remade without permission by Sergio Leone into A Fistful of Dollars, the first of the Dollars trilogy that concludes with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and an authorized remake in Last Man Standing. By the plot only having one gun and in the hands of one of the bad guys, the action scenes are more fun. As anime proved a long time ago, sword fights are more fun to watch than gun battles.
Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers was fine. The true-life story of the actor who voiced Peter Pan in the original movie is messed up. Using that for Peter Pan’s motivations in this was depressing. Sort of soured the whole thing. They just as easily could have made Pete from Goof Troop the bad guy. He’s usually a bad guy, even in the Kingdom Hearts franchise. Instead, he gets a tiny cameo. PJ could have been a good villain as well. He was created for Goof Troop and hasn’t been used much since the two movies they did for that show. Jealous of the love Chip and Dale engender in the general public in a way he never achieved. The references are great, the cameos are insane and not just limited to Disney properties (that must have cost a fortune in licensing,) and the overall vibe of the movie is fine. It is weird that Gadget and Zipper got married and had nearly four dozen horrifying fly-mouse hybrid children. This is a B.
A movie I thought I would hate that my fiancée raved about. I didn’t hate it, but I did not love it. Acrimony is stuffed to the gills with plot holes, but the manic insanity of it all kept my interest. I kept pointing out the copious plot holes. The game became fun. C.
This movie is not great. A not good enough sequel to a stone-cold classic, Ghostbusters II is a movie I avoided for years because everyone said it sucked. It mostly did. It gets a C as some of the scenes are fun. The villain just ain’t good, the retread of the plot of the first one is nearly beat for beat in some instances, and the worldbuilding in the in-universe five-year absence (and in reality, this sequel took five years to get made) after the end of the first one is mostly stupid. The public accepted that ghosts aren’t real after what happened in the first one? That’s really dumb. There are tons of different directions they could have taken. And that’s what they decided on? Stupid.
One of my favorite movies of 2016, The Edge of Seventeen is a delight. I had not seen it since my initial theater viewing six years ago, but it still holds up. This is an A to A+. Essentially Napoleon Dynamite if it was a dramedy instead of a wacky comedy. There’s even a reference to that movie in this. Heartfelt drama and biting comedy, especially from Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson.
When the trailer dropped for the Disney+ sequel series, I decided to catch Willow for the first time. It’s fine. It drags hard in the middle. The plot sort of sucks at times, as you’d expect from a fantasy movie from the late ‘80s without much of a special effects budget. The main villain is the creepy queen from Return to Oz (which I love more than The Wizard of Oz.) It’s a C+ to B-. I’m excited for the sequel series, although Val Kilmer will probably not be showing up beyond a cameo (if that) due to his health problems, but more on that shortly.
Beetlejuice is a fun movie. My fiancé picked it, as she had never seen it. Is the inciting incident of the plot stupid? Yes. But Tim Burton knows how to craft a creepy gothic-centric film. Michael Keaton shines, as per usual, playing the titular character who actually isn’t in the movie all that much. The quirk that those who commit suicide end up as civil servants in the afterlife is hilarious. The effects, both special and practical, are fantastic and have aged well outside of some really obvious green screen. The Day-O scene is still a classic. This is a B+.
Baby Boy sucked. Ving Rhames is the only good part of the movie, largely because he gets an extremely hilarious and cringe sex scene, one of the funniest in movie history. Does not save this movie from F status, though. The first movie for both Taraji P. Henson and Tyrese Gibson. One of those people is actually a good actor when given a good script. Snoop Dogg and Omar Gooding are also in this. The plot is just awful and doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do for most of it. The ending is also way too happy for what preceded it. Again, the only actor who really shines is Ving Rhames. A scene near the end where he may not even talk once again proves he was too good for this movie.
What must be considered movie of the month due to it being a recent release, Val is one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen. A+. I did not know until I saw Top Gun: Maverick that Val Kilmer had throat cancer. I read about it after the news stories about him came out due to his cameo in that movie. Seeing three Val Kilmer movies that I’ve never seen before in one month will probably not be repeated. The chemistry between his love interest in Willow made a lot more sense since they got married during production of that movie, even if she divorced him some eight years later. This documentary is a rare gem. Few people, especially of Val Kilmer’s era, would have so much B-roll of their entire life on film. Such a unique beast of a documentary. An insight into an actor I didn’t really respect much until recently.
The most recent Best Picture winner, Coda, was fine. I don’t think it deserved Best Picture, but that dude who won Best Supporting Actor definitely did. I give this a B to B+. It’s a heartfelt family drama surrounding a family where only one member isn’t deaf and her journey of love and discovery into her destiny and passion. That dude from How to Be a Latin Lover gives the best performance of his I’ve seen. The fish dock plot is interesting, although they don’t give it enough breathing room to really get to the meat of it. The performances are all good, although the love interest side plot also gets short shrift.
And that’s yer lot. Since starting writing this article (I wrote it over two non-sequential days,) the showtimes for the coming weekend have come out. Outside of the local indie theater, there are no new releases in my area. I will probably see Everything Everywhere All at Once again, as my fiancée has yet to see it.
Until next time, everyone.