Sydney’s Summer Movie Reviews

Sydney Stewart, Senior Staff, Web Editor

Disobedience (2.5/5 stars)

Based on the novel by Naomi Alderman (who wrote The Power, which is a great read!), Disobedience is the story of a woman who has escaped the small Jewish town in the United Kingdom, and now lives a bohemian, artist living in New York. However, when she gets the call that her father has died, she returns to face the town and a secret former flame. While the plot is interesting and touches on a lot of big themes (religious stigma around the gay community and gender norms), it lacked a certain tangible feature: dialogue. The movie was slow paced and a bit dry because of the silence. That said, the lack of dialogue may have been a choice made by the artistic team, as silence consumes the small religious town and, in the film, was successful in heightening the tension (although there was never a reason to be tense, as nothing bad ever came to pass). All in all, this movie is for the person who likes slower paced films that touch on big issues, but I would not recommend it to most due to the pace and overt sexual nature.


Solo: A Star Wars Story (5/5 stars)

While I am not the most avid Star Wars fan (don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen all the movies and enjoy them quite a bit), I feel like I have the authority to say that Solo was a good movie! It received some hate from the die-hard fans, but I felt like it delivered everything I wanted: twists and turns, adventure, great chase scenes (loved them filling out Solo’s backstory!), romance, friendship, and the charismatic Han that we all know and love. Keep in mind, for me to say that I liked Alden Ehrenreich as Han, required me to get over how terrible he was in the film adaption of Beautiful Creatures. In summary, I liked it because it was fun. Obviously, Star Wars isn’t on this list because it will sweep the Oscars or Sundance Film Festival, but it delivered the gift of being transported into outer space for two hours and seeing the origin of the best space pilot in the galaxy.


Ocean’s Eight (5/5)

I was incredibly excited for Ocean’s Eight and it delivered on EVERYTHING I wanted: girl power, a fantastic heist in the typical Ocean’s style, and, of course, Rihanna. Sandra Bullock was the perfect female counter to George Clooney’s Danny Ocean since they have the same despicable but charming quality. As someone who loves the Met Gala in real life, I loved the plot, and I actually think it’s the most clever of all of the Ocean’s movies. Seriously, what’s better than stealing not just jewelry from one of the most coveted guests, but also clearing out the exhibit? Additionally, the actresses were all fantastic in the movie, since they had distinct personalities but were able to work well as a team.


Incredibles 2 (4.5/5)

The Incredibles 2 was so much fun, predictable, but fun. When I say predictable, I mean anyone over the age of 8 could’ve figured out the villain within the first half an hour, probably less. The movie was also a bit too long for my taste, much like the first one, and could’ve been condensed. That said, I was thrilled with the Jack-Jack sequences since they were by far the funniest and most creative parts of the movie. While I was working at the Head-Royce summer camp, one of my campers would not stop talking (or rather laughing) about the Jack-Jack/ raccoon scene, which the animators clearly enjoyed making given the creativity at play. I felt like it was a shame that the baby stole the film, and I wish Violet and Dash had had a storyline beyond struggling with boys and struggling with math, respectively. I must admit, the two-second clip of Violet blowing water out of her nose was relatable. In total, the movie was a blast from the past for me, and I enjoyed it


Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (3/5)

Fallen Kingdom is a middle movie. That’s fine, but that is what it is. It harkened back to some of the original scenes in Jurassic Park, but the animation was better! That said, it was boring with the constant suspense and lazy writing. I really enjoyed the dinosaur trafficking storyline and thought that the auction scene was well done, but it was drawn out too long.  


Hearts Beat Loud (4/5)

Hearts Beat Loud was exactly what I wanted to watch: a feel-good, family, comedy with slight dramatic elements. It was an amazing ensemble piece featuring Nick Offerman, my parks and rec favorite, about a single dad who is deciding whether or not to give up his record-shop due to lack of business. The other key storyline is the relationship between father and daughter, who is gearing up to attend UCLA in the fall. The father and daughter duo create a band and produce a Spotify hit. While the movie seems cheesy, I thought that it was very sweet to see people have such a bond over music.


Sorry to Bother You (5/5)

Sorry to Bother You was Fascinating with a capital “f.” Going in, I thought that the movie was simply going to be about a young African-American man working in customer service, who finds that using his “white voice” is the only way to climb the ranks; however, this brief summary is what you are LED to believe by the trailers, when the movie is in fact much more. Indeed, the movie is a commentary not only on what it’s like to be black in America, but on capitalism in America and the obvious intersection between race and success. I was absolutely shocked about halfway in, and I can’t say anything else lest I spoil it. Would definitely recommend watching, but there is some graphic nudity and swearing, so be cautious watching with parents unless they’re the ones who suggested it.


Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! (5/5)

Mamma Mia was by far the most fun movie I saw this summer. That said, I am one who is always on board for a musical romantic comedy, so I was definitely the target audience. I thought that the songs were really well incorporated into the film (perhaps more successfully than the original) and it was so much fun to see the original and new members of the cast. I loved the flashbacks since they just allowed for so much fun. Yes, I know that I’ve used the word “fun” 3 times, but that is the best way to describe this movie. I kid you not, I had an ear to ear grin on my face as soon as the opening scene began.


Won’t You Be My Neighbor (6/5)

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? was the most moving film I saw this summer. It was a documentary about Fred Rogers, or Mr. Rogers, who was a pastor turned children’s television show host which ran from 1968 to 2001. While the show wasn’t a part of my upbringing, I was deeply moved by the message of kindness and acceptance that he preached. For example, in the 60s and 70s, there had been headline after headline about people of color not being allowed in public pools, so Mr. Rogers responded with an episode where he invited a black man to sit with him on a hot day in the Neighborhood and put his feet in a kiddie pool with him. Overall, the empathy and general kindness of Mr. Rogers was very inspiring, and the movie carried a message that I will carry with me for a long time.


Eighth Grade (3.5/5)

Eighth Grade was painfully real. The movie was about a girl in 8th grade who had a YouTube account where she gave her followers (but more accurately herself) advice on being confident and making friends. The movie starts with one of these YouTube videos, and it was the cringiest (yes, not a real word, I know) thing I’ve ever watched. Truly painful. That said, her trying to give herself advice was really real. While I was in 8th grade before all of the social media bloggers had taken off, the idea of comparing yourself to others, trying to fit in, etc. all resonated with me. Eighth Grade was also sad, in a way, just watching life unfold and see her deal with social pressures was hard, but only because it was real.


Movies seen but not reviewed: Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity Wars


Next on my list: Juliet, Naked and Crazy Rich Asians