#2,189: Straight Outta Compton
The Gift - ★★★☆☆
The important thing to remember about a 96% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes is that it indicates that 96% of critics gave this movie at least a 51%.
Hitman: Agent 47 - ★★½☆☆
I was a little embarrassed to tell the friendly concessions clerk what I was at the theater to see. I guess I was expecting something in the vein of Equilibrium or Ultraviolet - a dumb movie with interesting fights and gobs of workmanlike animation . And then, it mostly was! This wasn't, you know, *good*, but I didn't leave the theater with the regrets I was expecting! If I didn't have moviepass, this would have been a perfectly acceptable loud explodey thing to watch on Netflix some afternoon.
I will say though, by the criteria of the games this is based on, Agent 47 is a terrible hitman.
American Ultra - ★★☆☆☆
I guess this is the best Kristen Stewart movie I've ever seen.
Like Agent 47, this belongs deeply, firmly in B-Movie territory. The movie looks cheap, the acting is good enough for government work, and the script is kind of a bummer.
It was interesting for a minute when Phoebe murders a guy and knows what their weapons are called, but that turn is just about the moment that I went from feeling surprisingly interested and engaged with the movie to feeling like I was waiting around for the movie to end. Their coupledom was so much more interesting and cool when it was based on feeling.
Also, I disagree with the premise of the closing credits cartoon.
Straight Outta Compton - ★★★☆☆
Previously, my knowledge of NWA was limited to the sentence 'Eazy-E is a hard mutha,' which I discovered on the wall of my church.
This movie mixes cool and interesting scenes about kids navigating their sudden success with scenes that offer up hokey mini-origin stories of their lyrics. Occasionally, the movie lobs in a speed bump of a scene that polishes up the halos on members of the group that happen to be producers on the movie - no way these were in the original script.
I choose to believe this movie is a direct sequel to Love & Mercy, and that Paul Giamatti is playing the same guy. Much like that movie, I bet this would have meant more to me if I knew the source material, but I think this time I'm glad I got to go into it fresh. Made me want to go watch a documentary about (but not by) NWA.