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What I've Watched Lately #1

I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately looking for something I could get excited about, or even a gem I could introduce you guys to, or even something resembling something that might be mistaken for a good movie. . . . Basically, I watched a bunch of stuff and figured I better write about SOMETHING, so I came up with a new little segment I will be writing called What I’ve Watched Lately. In between the movies that I feel I need to write a full review about, I will write little blurbs on the movies that didn’t quite make the cut. I’ll just watch whatever I choose, or whatever random B movie my wife chooses from the bowels of Netflix, and write about them every so often. (WARNING: They won’t all be manly movies!!!!) I will try to get these out weekly, or maybe bi-weekly. . . or maybe monthly (Ok, 100% honesty; I don’t know how often they’ll be coming out but I will TRY to write more frequently). These could be new movies, they could be old; They might be gems or they might be stinky toilet clogging turds. I won’t know until I watch them and YOU won’t know until you read. So, without further ado, I present the first of many; What I’ve Watched Lately.

13 Cameras (2015)

My wife, Heather, chose this one. I don’t know what made her choose it and I don’t know why. She found it on Netflix and I was NOT looking forward to watching it. The photo and description made me think this movie belonged in a discount bin in the back of a Kmart (You know, one of those generic looking, 25 horror movies on one disc type of things that sell for about $3).

The movie follows a newlywed couple as they begin the next chapter of their life together in a new home. Unbeknownst to the couple, their landlord has installed cameras around the house and spies on them as they live their lives (Before you ask, YES there is a camera in the shower but NO they don’t show any nudity. . . perverts). This movie is billed as a drama/horror and it is definitely in that order. It’s mostly a drama movie interspersed with scenes of the fat, greasy, McDonald’s eating, landlord emeffer spying on them (Everyone knows creepy people are ALL fat and smelly).

This movie is pretty slow. As I said, it’s mostly a drama so you’ll have to get through a LOT of boring, emotional, relationship stuff to get to the horror part of the movie. Those of you who like boring movies might call this “character development”, and you might enjoy this stuff. I just like to call it “Why hasn’t anybody died yet?”

Joking aside, this movie isn’t horrible. It’s not great, but I didn’t feel like I wasted my time watching this. The actors are all pretty solid. There’s nobody in here that you’ve ever heard of, but they aren’t as bad as I was expecting. The characters are all somewhat likeable with the exception of the skinny jeans and too tight plaid wearing, hipster husband. He’s supposed to be unlikeable in the movie for reasons other than that, mainly he’s the worst husband ever (but also the hipster stuff), so I guess good job to them for pulling that off.

Would I recommend that people watch 13 Cameras? I don’t know. I wouldn’t URGE you to watch it, but if you somehow accidentally stumble upon it while browsing Netflix one night like my wife did, you could do a lot worse for yourself. I don’t want to seem like I’m crapping on this movie because, as I said, It’s not horrible and I didn’t hate watching it, so I will leave it with a compliment. I’m upgrading you, 13 Cameras. You can leave the gloomy, irrelevant bins of Kmart and grace a shiny, somewhat more respectable shelf in a Target. But don’t get cocky kid! You still have to sit in the Never Heard Of It section with the rest of your direct to DVD pals.

RATING: 4 out of 10

Curve (2015)

Like 13 Cameras, my wife chose this one. Also like 13 Cameras, this is a straight to DVD movie that she found searching through Netflix. UNLIKE 13 Cameras, this one has somebody you have heard of: Julianne Hough. Now, ever since I watched Safe Haven (Yeah, shut up. I’ve seen Safe Haven. I don’t ONLY watch manly movies), I have had a not-so-secret crush on Julianne Hough so I was willing to give this one a chance.

Classified by IMDB as a horror/thriller, Curve is about Mallory Rutledge’s (Hough) fight for survival after she wrecks her car and becomes pinned in the wreckage. This whole series of unfortunate events starts when she decides to offer a hitchhiker a ride. COME ON PEOPLE!!! Are we seriously still living in a time where someone would ACTUALLY offer a hitchhiker a ride?! Hitchhikers only exist to roam the country waiting patiently for some innocent victim to offer them a ride so they can try to murder them. That is a FACT! It’s science. Look it up!

If you can get over the fact that that Hough’s character is either naive, dumb, or trusting enough to offer a stranger in the middle of nowhere a ride, what follows is a pretty effective thriller. For some reason, the hitchhiker decides to tell her his plans to rape and murder her (See?! I told you! It’s science). She notices he isn’t wearing his seatbelt (everyone is making bad decisions in this movie), so she intentionally drives off a cliff. The vehicle rolls and flips about 8,000 times coming to rest on its top. The hitchhiker is ejected from the vehicle and Hough is pinned within the vehicle.The hitchhiker survives the wreckage and leaves Hough for dead. The rest of the movie is her fight for survival.

Let me be straight; there is some DUMB stuff in this movie. Some stuff that will test just how often you can suspend your disbelief. There are many events/decisions that don’t make ANY sense at all and, If you think about what’s happening too much, the story falls apart. If you’re able to turn your brain off for the short 81 minute run time, however, the movie delivers enough thrills, and moves at a quick enough pace, to keep you entertained. Hough is better than expected (and MUCH better than the plot deserves) and she does enough with the role to make sure you continue to care about her character throughout the movie (Or maybe that was just me caring about my girl Julianne Hough. . . ).If you want a realistic, thinking person’s thriller, avoid this at all costs. If you enjoy thrillers and just want to relax to some mindless entertainment (or if you also have a not-so-secret crush on Julianne Hough), you MIGHT enjoy Curve so give it a shot.

RATING: 5 out of 10

Southpaw (2015)

Southpaw stars Jake Gyllenhaal, and is directed by Antoine Fuqua. Gyllenhaal is quickly becoming one of the best young actors in Hollywood, and Antoine Fuqua is a pretty reliable manly movie director who is climbing up the ranks as one of my favorite directors so I was REALLY looking forward to this one. I loved Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen and I just recently watched (and loved) The Magnificent Seven he directed in the summer of 2016 (If you haven’t read my review of that one, please go check it out. I have a feeling you’ll enjoy it). I was confident; There was NO WAY I wouldn’t love this movie! Unfortunately, like Leonardo DiCaprio on Oscar night, I was let down.

Gyllenhaal is an AMAZING actor who gives everything he has to his performances, and he doesn’t disappoint in Southpaw. In Prisoners, and in Nightcrawler (don’t forget Bubble Boy), Gyllenhaal becomes his characters. Every detail, from his speech patterns to his facial expressions, even the way he carries himself physically, are perfected to allow him to BECOME his character instead of simply acting as that character. The same is true in this movie. The difference is, this movie doesn’t live up to his performance like those other two do.

This movie is cliche in almost every way possible. There is nothing new here. It’s the same plot of a boxer’s fall from grace and his fight to the top that we have seen in. . . well, in every boxing movie ever. The plot is generic, and there is nothing, aside from Gyllenhaal’s performance, to make us care about anything that is happening in the movie. I found myself bored with the movie and it became a struggle to finish. Boxing movies aren’t new. Nobody is changing the game when they make one. The key to a good boxing movie is to get the audience emotionally invested. Think of the Rocky movies (Except Rocky V. Do your best to NEVER think about Rocky V). You can’t help but love Rocky and root for him, whether it’s out of the ring or inside it. This movie doesn’t have that. Gyllenhaal makes Billy Hope (even that name is boring and stupid) a fascinating character, but I never became emotionally invested in anything happening to him, and most of that blame goes to everything else being so completely generic and forgettable; from the plot, to the camera work, to the music.

I don’t want to tell you to avoid this movie; If you haven’t seen it, you should watch it for Gyllenhaal’s performance alone, I’m just warning you to not get your hopes too high. It’s a below average movie, elevated by a great performance, that you will probably forget as soon as the credits roll.

RATING: 6 out of 10

That’s it, folks. That’s all I have for my first What I’ve Watched Lately. Unfortunately, I have nothing great to recommend to you. I was hoping for some gems at least, but I fell short there too. As Commander Peter Quincy Taggert of Galaxy Quest says, “Never give up. Never surrender”. I will continue to watch some obscure crap hoping to get lucky and find that special gem to recommend for you guys. Look for these What I’ve Watched Lately articles in between my longer reviews of individual movies (If you haven’t already, go check out my other reviews here in The Man Corner). As always, PLEASE leave a comment letting me know your opinions (on this review, on my other reviews, on what you want to read about next, or even whatever movie/movies YOU have watched lately); Hell, just leave a comment saying Hi. As always, thanks for reading!

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