By Sarah Payne
The Spy Who Dumped Me – August 3rd
It’s summertime and I want nothing more than a light, fun, and entertaining comedy like The Spy Who Dumped Me. Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis play your average thirty-something friends who accidentally get roped in a spy chase through Europe. I’ve never seen McKinnon and Kunis together on screen, but their chemistry in the trailer reminds me a lot of Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in 2013’s The Heat.
Better Call Saul – Season 4 – August 6th
I still can’t believe it’s been more than a year since a new episode of Better Call Saul was released. The show is a prequel spin-off of the critically acclaimed AMC series Breaking Bad. Unlike Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul has never really made it past the slow burn stage of Jimmy McGill’s transformation into the sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman. What made Breaking Bad one of the greatest shows of all time was the impeccable storytelling and ability to surprise the audience – even in later seasons. To be fair, Better Call Saul has a lot to live up to, just being in the same universe as Breaking Bad. But I’m somewhat disappointed that we’re entering the fourth season and I’ve only witnessed one or two of those gut-wrenching, can’t-believe-it moments in the show. The element of surprise will never be the same as Breaking Bad, since we already know Saul Goodman’s fate. Regardless, I’m in desperate need of a good show right now, so I’m willing to give one last try for season four.
This film is for female millennials what Twilight was for teenage girls. It pretends to be about female empowerment, but it’s really just an empty film with one too many close ups of actresses who got Botox-happy. Whatever happened to aging gracefully? The only actress who looks like her natural, beautiful self is Helena Bonham Carter, who is 52. Even Mindy Kaling, who is only 39, is unrecognizable in Ocean’s 8. Beyond the aesthetics, the plot makes absolutely no sense. For a film that’s almost exclusively about an intricate jewelry heist at the Met Gala – one of the world’s most famous fashion events – it’s sorely lacking on the details. On the day of the heist, one of the women is employed as a chef for the caterer. How did she manage that one? We don’t get any explanation. Sandra Bullock plays a known thief, just released from jail, who attends the event in plain sight. How did she get an invite? Why is security not concerned that she’s there? I have so many questions, but I really couldn’t care less about the answers. For a film that is marketed as coy and fun, Ocean’s 8 couldn’t be more boring. The lesson? Gender diversity on screen is important – but it goes both ways. A film lacking in men is weak, just like a film lacking in women is weak.
High as Hope by Florence + the Machine
As a long-time fan of Florence + the Machine, I eagerly awaited the release of her new album. After all, it’s been more than three years since How Big, How Blue. How Beautiful. What stands out most about High as Hope is that Florence Welch is much more self-conscious in her songwriting. She literally uses the word “I” more often. The sound is less expansive and dramatic than previous albums. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you might miss the epic tone of songs like “Never Let Me Go” and “No Light, No Light.” My favorite songs on the new album are actually the singles – “Hunger” and Big God.” I’m also really enjoying the visuals and choreography Florence is pairing with High as Hope. She hasn’t lost her fairy-like essence – choosing to dance barefoot across the stage at her live show, wearing pinky, flowing dresses.