Welcome to "Last Month In Movies", a column that takes a look back on all the new releases that came out in the past month. Posted at the end of every month, LMiM talks about the good, the bad, and tops it off with a "Movie of the Month"
Ask for extra ice in your soda, because Summer Movie Season is here! May has always kicked off the summer with a bang, and this year was no exception, we had a slick buddy-cop movie from the director of Iron Man 3, a sequel to a hit comedy, an animated feature based on a phone game, and not one, but TWO superhero blockbusters.
So get ready to take a look at what the month of May had to offer.
During his TV show on tips about Wall Street, Lee Gates (George Clooney) is taken hostage by Kyle Budwell (Jack O'Connell), a bankrupt viewer who lost all his money because of a tip he followed. With a bomb strapped to his chest, Gates and his producer (Julia Roberts) must find the answers Kyle demands before someone gets killed.
You have to give 'Money Monster' credit, despite releasing in the second weekend of 'Captain America: Civil War', it actually held up pretty well. Now while the movie itself isn't a critical or box office hit, they are elements of it that make it recommendable. For one thing, Jodie Foster is in the director's chair and it stars two of Hollywood's most famous actors. Funny enough, despite having two major stars attached to the project, it's Jack O'Connell who really stands out. It could be because of his performance, or because he's practically an unknown when compared to Clooney and Roberts, or maybe it's a combination of both. Regardless, even if this does become known as just 'the movie that came out between 'Captain America' and 'Neighbors 2'", O'Connell can, and should, proudly highlight this in his resume.
Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) are selling their house as their second baby is on the way. But things take a turn for the worst when a sorority moves in next door and causes problems for them. Not wanting to have to pay two mortgages, they recruit former frat-boy/next-door-neighbor Teddy Sanches (Zac Efron) to take them down.
Although a strong sequel to one of 2014's best comedies, 'Sorority Rising' lacked the over-the-top vibe the original movie had. It does benefit from repeating the same story, but there's only so many jokes about being bad parents that can be made before they get stale. Since people have become a lot more sensitive in the past two years, it's not hard to see why they had toned down this movie's level of raunchiness. That's not to say it's a bad movie, you'll definitely have fun with it, it's just not as insanely outrageous as the original.
A mutant known as Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) rises after being buried for thousands of years, he then recruits four powerful mutants to be his Horsemen; Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Angel (Ben Hardy), Psylocke (Oliver Munn), and Magneto (Michael Fassbender). When they tearing the world apart, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) must call in Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and Quicksilver (Evan Peters) to save the world from impending doom.
This movie had a lot to live up to after the success of 'Days of Future Past', including introducing the younger versions of well-known mutants and setting up an iconic villain. While it did mange to reintroduce the world to Scott Summers, Jean Grey, Kurt Wagner, and Jubilee, Apocalypse was underdeveloped and what should have been an acting win for Oscar Isaac was a boring, one-dimensinal villain. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot to enjoy in this movie, it just suffers from over-hype that plagues most superhero sequels.
Flock of Anger
Based on the phone game of the same name, the story follows Red (Jason Sudeikis), Chuck (Josh Gad), and Bomb (Danny McBride), three social outcasts on Bird Island. Red has a bit of a temper that mainly comes from being made bullied for having big eyebrows, making him fairly negative about everything that happens around him. When green pigs come from a far-off island and start taking control, Red and his friends decide to investigate the pigs mysterious arrival.
For a movie based on a game you could play literally anywhere, it wasn't as bad as many presumed. Sure it was definitely more geared towards kids but it still had its moments that made it shine. And while this hasn't completely convinced me that video game movies can work, I can say I can look forward to 'Warcraft' and 'Assassin's Creed' with a little less dread.
Return to Wonderland
Three years after following her father's footsteps, Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikoska) slips through a mirror and winds up back in Wonderland. She discovers that the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is still in a mop about the loss of his family. Hoping to save them, Alice steals an object called the Chronosphere from Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) but winds up causing a cataclysmic event that could destroy that world.
*sigh* Another sequel that nobody asked for. This time, Tim Burton is only a producer, leaving the directing job to James Bobin. This is only his third feature film, the first two being 2011's 'The Muppets' and its 2014 sequel 'Muppets Most Wanted', one was critically praised and was a box-office smash but the other wasn't that big of a financial hit despite earning good reviews. Believe or not, Bobin created 'Flight of the Conchords' with Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, and did a lot of writing, producing and directing on the show. He also will direct the upcoming Men in Black/Jump Street crossover movie, 'MIB 23'. However, he might want to move on from 'Through the Looking Glass' as soon as possible. Why? Because despite all the great visuals, the story is downright exhausting to explain, the performances are over-the-top, and it's movies like this that are the reason Johnny Depp needs to do more movies such as 'Black Mass'.
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a hired enforcer who keeps everything strictly professional but isn't afraid to hurt people to get the answer he needs. Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a private eye who is terrible at his job. When the daughter of a Department of Justice official goes missing, these two men will have to work together in order to find her. But the deeper they dive into the search, this simple missing person's case becomes a conspiracy that leads all the way up to the federal government.
In a summer of superheroes, sci-fi, and sequels, it's nice to see a movie with a hint of originality. 'The Nice Guys' took a formula that's been done many many times, and made it into what is one of the best movies of the summer. It has a great style, lots of comedy, with plenty of action thrown into the mix, and Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling have phenomenal chemistry. Hopefully this becomes a sleeper hit because, honestly, it's about time we gave "original" movies some love.
I think you could guess what May's "Movie of the Month' is. Although I just want it to point out that it was a tie between this one and 'The Nice Guys'. It's just that the caption for 'The Nice Guys' was too clever not to use, and I couldn't make up a good for 'Civil War'.
Movie of the Month: 'Captain America: Civil War'
This is the second time this year that we've had two superheroes fight each other, and the third superhero movie to be featured as a "Movie of the Month". Can you really blame me though? The Russo brothers managed to pull off something great, even thought it had its flaws. I won't say anything spoiler-y here but I will say that I have a bone to pick with them, or should I say a CROSS-bone. However there is a lot to love about this movie; great introductions to new characters, new ways of using old ones, and probably one of the best superhero fight scenes I've seen in recent years. There are some things about it that I would change but that's for another time. What's important is I loved this movie, and you will too.
That's it for "Last Month in Movies", but be sure to check back in July for the June edition/half-year special!