Well, it was fun while it lasted. Alas, summer is over and school is back in session. Now we have to make it through two months of movies that are just “all right” before the holiday movie excitement begins. But don’t let that worry you or get you down. Your buddy Collin isn’t going to forget about you and your movie needs. I’ll still watch the good and the bad to bring you the interesting.
So what’s on the menu this month, you ask? We’ve got two movies that I really knew nothing about before I saw them. Both of them were surprises and both of them, I think, you’ll enjoy.
The Guest (2014) [R]
“You’ll love it, Collin! It’s like all of those silly 80’s era thrillers you like so much.”
So I gave The Guest a shot. Here’s the thing: I literally knew nothing about this movie going into it and I feel like that made a huge difference. But I can get away with telling a few things without ruining the experience for you.
The movie concerns the Peterson family who are grieving over the loss of the eldest son, Caleb, who died in military service. One morning, a man shows up at the Peterson’s home claiming to be a soldier named David who served with Caleb. The family all take to him quickly except for the eldest daughter, Anna. There is something strange about David that she can’t quite put her finger on.
That’s it. That’s all I’ll give you. Trust me, you want to go into this blind.
I say that not because there are plot twists you won’t be able to guess. There are some things here that are just weird, questionable choices and some of the plot points and acting are cringe-worthy. Interestingly, however, this is director, Adam Wingard’s eighth full length movie.
The Guest is also an entertaining bit of action fluff with a slight 80’s horror twist. I hate to admit it, but I like Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens in it. Maika Monroe, of the recent It Follows, also did a great job with the material. Even when it goes off the rails, and it does, The Guest is still fun to watch. So do yourself a favor, fire up your Netflix streaming account and give The Guest a shot.
6.5 paws out of 10
Shaun The Sheep Movie (2015) [PG]
Yeah, I know. Two months in a row I’ve got a kids movie for you. All I knew about this before I saw it was that it had a tangential connection to Chicken Run and the Wallace & Gromit series of animated features and that it was about a sheep.
The story is about Shaun, a sheep who has grown tired of his day-to-day life and schemes, with the help of his fellow barnyard companions, to escape for a day in the big city. As you can imagine, however, things do not go as planned.
What follows is similar to other productions by Aardman Animations. There are savvy pop culture references, slapstick humor and elaborate gags that come together like Rube Goldberg devices.
What separates Shaun the Sheep Movie a little for me though is I didn’t find myself getting bored. I find all of Aardman’s other stuff entertaining, but I always feel that it goes on just a little too long. This one feels just right to me.
It’s not eye-opening or mind-blowing but it is fun and sweet and worth an hour and a half of your time.
7.5 paws out of 10