21 Jump Street (2013)
One Line Description: Two cops are asked to go undercover at a high school to catch a drug ring.
(Loosely?) based on the late ’80s TV show of the same name1. This one combines current star of the moment Channing Tatum with Jonah Hill as the duo. In classic fashion, Tatum is the good-looking cool guy in high school, while Hill is the nerd. When they go back they find the roles reversed and have to adjust. This movie was really funny, and it’s unsurprising a sequel is forthcoming. Hill and Tatum have great chemistry and Tatum continues to show some depth in some of his roles. There are more than enough laugh out loud moments to make this worth at least one viewing.
Last Picture Show (1971)
One Line Description: A crumbling 1950’s Texas town is home to some “coming of age” boys.
There is so much to say about this movie. It won two Oscars and was nominated for a bunch more. It was the screen debut of both Cybill Shepherd and Randy Quaid. It also featured Jeff Bridges, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn and Eileen Brennan. It’s weird to see a movie from 1971 in black and white, but it’s clear that the purpose behind this was to give the movie a more authentic 1950s feel, which this film has in spades. Timothy Bottoms plays the main character and this story illustrates what appears to be his last year of high school, which includes work and relationships. The movie covers well what a small town in the 1950s must have been like, and the story is entertaining and engaging. It’s hard to draw comparisons, but something like Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Dead Poets Society might touch a similar nerve. Very excellent movie.
Identity Thief (2013)
One Line Description: A married man tracks down the woman who stole his identity in an attempt to clear his name.
Melissa McCarthy sure is getting a lot of movies made lately. She capitalized on her role in Bridesmaids and has pretty much played the same character since. This is an utterly terrible movie. Despite enjoying the occasional Jason Bateman performance he is just brutal in this one. It does have a healthy dose of laugh out loud moments, but that is enough for most people to find this enjoyable.
White House Down (2013)
One Line Description: Terrorists infiltrate the White House with revenge in mind.
The writers of this movie must have read Action Movies for Dummies and just went to town. Jamie Foxx appears to be doing a rough take on Barrack Obama. Channing Tatum is Bruce Willis from every movie he has ever done. Both Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) and James Woods provide solid supporting roles. This movie is actually a solid action movie for a while. Exciting scenes, nice twists, Jamie Foxx being the coolest guy in the room a lot. But it really, really falls apart near the end. The movie really seems to just outstupid itself over and over, and the last parts of the story just makes you wonder why someone would do this? Skip the last 30 minutes and this is a fun action flick. But the ending takes away anything it had going for it.
We’re The Millers (2013)
One Line Description: A drug dealer must pose as family man to smuggle drugs into the US from Mexico in order to pay off a debt.
I wanted to like this movie. If nothing else, Jennifer Aniston out to prove she still has a smoking body at age 44 is worth the watch2. I try to like Jason Sudeikis though, and I can’t. I haven’t seen a lot of his other movies yet but this just does’t bode well. The story here was a little better than Identify Thief, but the laughs were a lot worse. The funniest moments were by far the outtakes after the movie, including a great one for all the Friends fans. Aniston has a couple of scenes that will make anyone (like me) who grew up with a huge crush on her watch the whole movie for. But outside of that, this one misses pretty hard. \