The Month in Theaters June and July 2022
As I had very little time in July, I didn’t manage to finish writing the June movie theater review before the end of the month. Due to this, I have combined both months into one article, truncating the reviews into separate sections. Please enjoy.
I got to the theaters seven times during the month of June. Two of those releases were repeats, since I saw Everything Everywhere All at Once for a fourth time and saw a movie I saw for the first time this month a second time. I saw sixteen other movies, for a total of twenty-one reviews. Fewer wide releases than I was hoping for this month.
Jurassic World Dominion
This movie just wasn’t good. It was not as bad as the previous sequel, but that’s not saying much. The ending of that movie was horrendous. I don’t know if the movie deserves an F, but it isn’t getting better than a C- from me. The problem is that while only four people died in the original movie, those four characters at least had names. Of all the human deaths in this movie (and there really aren’t that many,) I counted only two who had actually been given names. I didn’t really have any expectations going into this movie, but I thought they’d at least do a better job than this.
Well below the typical Pixar batting average, this movie was painfully average. Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, a show virtually no one remembers, could have acted as a great template but that didn’t happen. Buzz Lightyear stays on one planet for the entire movie. This just doesn’t feel like a space adventure. A parody of ‘80s and ‘90s action flicks and/or sci-fi could have been fun, but this movie took itself way too seriously for a kids’ movie. And that stupid twist. I give this a C.
Baz Luhrmann made an Elvis movie. I didn’t know about the very strange promoter of Elvis, the role Tom Hanks played. This is a B. The actor who played Elvis is an unknown and did a very good job. I suspect we’ll be seeing him a lot in the next few years. The costume design was fantastic. I would have enjoyed more time spent on how Elvis developed his sound, but otherwise a fine biopic.
The Black Phone
Technically a 2021 release (it had a premier last fall,) this is the movie I went to twice. I saw it first by myself, but then my fiancée wanted to see it. Of the movies I saw in theaters this month, this is the best one, although a movie I saw on streaming beat it for the best new movie. A well-done horror thriller with light supernatural elements. Ethan Hawke was delightfully scary as the kidnapper. B+ to A-.
Minions: The Rise of Gru
An animated movie I don’t have a lot to say about. It was fine, maybe slightly better than Lightyear because I had basically no expectations. Man, Lightyear should have been better… This gets a C. Interesting cameos in the voice cast, from Jean-Claud Van Damme to RZA to Dolph Lundgren.
The Boys season three was awesome, although the final clash in the last episode could have hit harder. I greatly enjoyed what they did there and am pumped for the next season. I did end up watching the newest season of Stranger Things, which I enjoyed. Although, let me tell you, those episode lengths are insane. The Old Man is a new show I only found out about because of a Twitter ad. It’s a sort of spy thriller that stars Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow. Fun times. Obi-Wan Kenobi was fine, and Ms. Marvel is enjoyable enough. I also got into Hell’s Kitchen, the Gordon Ramsay-hosted chef competition reality show. I don’t know why I enjoy cooking competitions, but I do.
A young Leonardo DiCaprio drama, The Basketball Diaries is not a particularly good movie. It doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. He’s a drug addict high school basketball star who ends up living on the street. Mark Wahlberg is also in the movie. The most noteworthy thing about the film is a dream sequence where Leo’s character commits a school shooting, which is completely tonally out of place. Seemingly in there for shock value alone. While this is an F, it didn’t fail by much.
A classic of the Disney animated catalogue, The Little Mermaid is an incredibly enjoyable film. Ursula’s villain song, “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” is one of the best in the Disney canon. Not much else to say. B+ to A-.
Mrs. Doubtfire is one of my favorite Robin Williams films, up there with Aladdin and Jumanji (guilty pleasure, watched it a ridiculous number of times as a kid on VHS.) The humor has something for both kids and adults, Robin Williams’ riffing is top notch, and the message that the film leaves the audience with is heartwarming and sad at the same time. A to A+.
It is not often that I see an NC-17 rated film. In fact, I cannot remember the last one I watched prior to this one. Someone on Twitter mentioned that Killer Joe had made its way to Amazon Prime. I was intrigued. The third act is brutal. Matthew McConaughey, the titular character, is devilishly evil. Sick and twisted. Oddly enough, the song “Strokin’” by Clarence Carter is in this movie. It’s one of my favorite comedy songs. Give it a listen. This is another A to A+.
Adventures in Babysitting is a movie I fondly remember from my youth. My fiancée had never seen it, so I decided to rectify that. What strings the plot together is actually very comical. An example of Murphy’s Law, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Probably the most memorable part of the movie is the “impromptu” blues number as the gaggle of kids are attempting to escape from some thugs. A.
It was free on YouTube, so my fiancée and I watched the 1992 film adaptation Of Mice and Men. Gary Sinise, who also directed the movie, and John Malkovich both do an excellent job, although the ending is one of the more spoiled endings. That ending has been parodied or referenced many times, from SNL to The Walking Dead. I give it a B.
National Lampoon’s Vacation is easily the best in the series. Never understood society’s collective fascination with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I actually think that one is the weakest of the first four entries. (I have not seen the reboot sequel with Ed Helms nor the weird Randy Quaid-centric National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2.) One of Chevy Chase’s best films, up there with Fletch and Caddyshack. This is yet another A to A+.
This is a movie I wouldn’t even know existed without my fiancée. The Ride is technically a 2018 movie, although it wasn’t released until 2020. It has a two sentence Wikipedia article, which is where I gleaned this information from. It’s about a troubled youth fostered by an interracial couple, where the father is played by Ludacris of all people, really playing against type. I didn’t expect much from this but it pleasantly surprised me a little. Trying to find a creative outlet, the troubled youth discovers BMX biking. This is based on a true story as well. C+ to B-.
While DC Comics direct-to-video animated films can be quite hit and miss, I very much enjoyed Injustice, an adaptation of the Injustice video game series and subsequent comic book. My boy Plastic Man gets some time to shine. Plastic Man is probably my favorite superhero. Lots of characters die and the initial inciting incident is very dark. B+ to A-.
Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler have great chemistry together, something they proved in The Wedding Singer and again in 50 First Dates. While not as good as the former, 50 First Dates is a fun time. B+.
Movie of the month goes to The Outfit, the fifth 2022 movie to score an A+ from me. It is streaming on Peacock. The best way I could describe this movie is Reservoir Dogs in 1950s Chicago. Mark Rylance really brings it, but pretty much everything from the acting, script, and plotting is executed excellently. Of all the movies I saw in June, this is the one to watch.
Get Him to the Greek did not impress me as much as I expected. A spin-off of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which is a better movie, this film just didn’t deliver the laughs. This seems to be par for the course of Jonah Hill-led vehicles outside of Superbad. C.
This is an odd duck. I saw this 1986 movie on HBO Max. I decided to give it a shot. Murphy’s Law is a Charles Bronson-led action movie. It doesn’t have the raw gut punch of Death Wish. Some of the action is good, but the plot is at times very off-putting. I give this another C.
Another Adam Sandler Netflix movie. This time it’s Hustle, a basketball-themed dramedy. Sandler plays a down on his luck NBA talent scout who discovers a new talent at a random outdoor basketball court on the streets of Spain and takes him under his wing. This player, Bo Cruz, is played by Toronto Raptors Power Forward Juancho Hernangómez, who has a much better acting talent than you’d expect. The other actors do a good job and I enjoy the repartee between Hernangómez and Sandler. Leaning more into the drama was a wise move. This is a B to B+.
The Man from Toronto is another Netflix movie and not as good. Woody Harrelson plays an international assassin while Kevin Hart portrays a hapless and down on his luck rando that due to one of the dumbest reasons possible ends up involved with said assassin. This is a C, mostly due to the action.
A movie I remembered liking a lot more as a kid, Hocus Pocus is a fun movie but suffers from being too much a kids’ movie. Childish is the word. And, occasionally, very dark. It’s still a B, though. I don’t know if the upcoming sequel will be any good.
And that’s all for June. One month down, one more to go.
Only five visits to the theater in July, mostly due to a lack of wide releases. That’s the lowest total of the year so far. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On has yet to get a wide release in my area. Outside of theaters, I watched eleven other movies, although one of those was rewatching Copshop for a third time, this time with family. That is a total of fifteen reviews. This is not the best month for movies. Outside of three movies I’ve seen before (one of which being the aforementioned Copshop,) I don’t think a single movie scored an A- or higher. New movie of the month is going to be a difficult task.
Thor: Love and Thunder
I said it would be difficult, but movie of the month ends up going to the first movie I saw in theaters this month. Which is sad, because this movie was slightly disappointing. It just happened to beat another movie I saw this month just barely. The key problem, outside of Thor seemingly losing intelligence, is that Christian Bale plays Gorr the God Butcher and we see vanishingly little god butchering on screen. A vast majority of it happens offscreen. There’s a scene in what is described as a haven for gods from basically every possible faith intergalactically. Sounds like the perfect place for some gratuitous god butchering. Nope. The movie wastes Christian Bale, although he is likely one of the highlights of the film when he gets to wax poetic. Beyond that, some of the jokes don’t land, the plot is slow in the middle, and I just wanted more. B. This is probably the lowest scoring overall movie of the month since I started doing this.
Where the Crawdads Sing
I thought this movie would be better. A murder is the core driving force of the plot, and the resolution as to who committed it just left me with more questions. The acting is inconsistent at times as well, although the world building is good. I just don’t have much else to say. C+.
The other movie that was in the running for movie of the month, this one also disappointed me. Get Out is an A+ from me, while Us is at least an A. This gets a B. Jordan Peele can do better than this. There is one truly horrifying scene that reveals what the alien is. There’s a side plot of world building that doesn’t add much to the movie, outside of padding the runtime. It didn’t really need to be there. The cast is good, including a hot minute cameo from Keith David. Always good to see him. But the plot really drags ass, which might be meant to add to the intrigue of exactly what the alien is but then we learn a bunch about it all at once. The third act is enjoyable although at times nonsensical. Damn, I wanted to like this so much more…
Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank
In one of the oddest unexpected movie viewing experiences I’ve had in a while, this movie is an almost beat-for-beat adaptation of Blazing Saddles, but made for kids. Mel Brooks even has a cameo. An animated children’s movie with anthropomorphized animals and samurai but using the plot of Blazing Saddles. Just so odd. Madeline Kahn’s character is the only thing stripped in the adaptation, outside of the copious fourth wall breaks. Just so weird. I give this a C-, but barely. The shock of seeing a kid-friendly Blazing Saddles pushes this ever so slightly into a passing grade.
DC League of Super-Pets
We got three animated movies in one month (technically, Minions: The Rise of Gru came out on the first day of July.) I wanted to like this one more. This is a C- to C. I enjoy The Rock in stuff, but the plot was a mess. Keanu Reeves as Batman was a massive bright spot in the movie. He just crushed the limited lines he had. There are things that could have been done here to build a better movie, but that’s not what we got.
I have continued watching Hell’s Kitchen, although I’ve taken a break on it for the time being. The Old Man finished without me realizing it. I thought it was gonna be a miniseries, but it is a full series getting a second season. Since I didn’t even realize it was the season finale, the finale was a little underwhelming. Good twist near the end, though. I also recently got into Criminal Minds. Fun police procedural.
The first of six Lifetime or Lifetime-adjacent movies my fiancée showed me in July, Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story is not a good movie. F. The acting is largely terrible, the motivations of the people who continue to support the murderer longer than they should are not believable, and the dragging out of the investigation is dumb. He’s the only suspect during the entirety of the thing. This is based on a true story, as I believe all six of these movies are.
Poisoned Love: The Stacey Castor Story is another F. This woman kills her second husband and then tries to frame her own daughter for it by attempting to murder her as well in what she tried to stage as a suicide. Not winning any mother of the year awards. Just messed up.
What saves this movie from failure is the performance of Rob Lowe as the titular character: Drew Peterson: Untouchable gets a C-. Another despicable real-life killer.
A really fun movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is likely the best combination of live-action and animation we’ve ever seen on screen. A terrifying villain, great characters and performances, and a well-structured plot. Probably the only time Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny shared the screen. This gets an A to A+.
Escape from Terror: The Teresa Stamper Story is, yet again, another F. This might be the worst of them so far. The acting is very hammy. I just don’t care for this.
The last of the six to get an F, Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret is not good. The chemistry between the murderer and her lover is just not there. This is a boilerplate jilted lover murder, with some insane stalker elements thrown in. Don’t waste your time, even though it is free on YouTube.
I have talked about it many times in other contexts, but I have finally rewatched my favorite movie since I started writing movie reviews here. Dirty Harry is the easiest A+ of all time. If you’ve never seen it, correct that oversight. It is on HBO Max.
The last and best of the six, Happy Face Killer stars David Arquette as a brutal serial killer trucker. This gets a C- to C. It’s no great piece of cinema, but it was OK. David Arquette is really terrifying.
Pleasantville is a movie I’d heard about before, but wasn’t as good as I expected. The resolution for one of the characters just doesn’t make sense. The acting and plot are both fine, but the best part of the movie might be the Don Knotts character. Lots of actors in this I recognize, but all have done better work elsewhere. This is a B-.
To finish out the month, I watched Showtime, a Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy buddy cop film. I’d seen it before ages ago on HBO, and it is a fun time. I give it a B. I dig their interplay, although the third act is very short. William Shatner playing himself was a delight. It is currently free on YouTube.
And that’s everything. Two months at once. I’ll try not to do this again. I hope August is a better movie month than July.