Payne’s Picks

By Sarah Payne

War Dogs – August 19 The director who brought us some of the best ‘bro’ films of the last decade—including The Hangover films and Old School—is back with War Dogs, based on a true story. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller play two twenty-somethings who land a $300 million government contract to supply weapons for U.S. allies in Afghanistan. They’re obviously in way over their heads, which makes for some funny scenes in the trailer. But I get the same feeling laughing at this one as I did when I saw The Wolf of Wall Street. It seems wrong to be entertained by people who profited from others’ suffering.

The Hollars – August 26 The Hollars is set for limited release at the end of the month, so let’s cross our fingers that one of our theaters picks it up locally. This is John Krasinski’s second foray into directing, and he also stars in the film. In his review of the film at Sundance, film critic Guy Lodge wrote that it’s, “a blandly diverting exercise in quirk-by-the-numbers.” Ouch! Even it turns out to be a fairly typical indie flick, it’s got a decent cast with Anna Kendrick, Charlie Day, Richard Jenkins, and Josh Groban, of all people!


The Lobster – I can safely say that this is one of the most unique and bizarre movies I have seen in years. It’s set sometime in the not-too-distant future, where the law is that everyone in society must be matched up with a partner. Single people, like Colin Farrell’s character, must stay at a hotel where they follow strict rules in order to find a mate. If they can’t find a mate in 45 days, they are turned into the animal of their choosing (Farrell wisely chooses a lobster). I’d say quirky comedies have become Farrell’s specialty, and if you liked him in In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, then you’ll definitely enjoy The Lobster. There are a few laugh-out-loud moments, especially when he’s first getting acclimated at the hotel with his friends, played by Ben Whishaw and John C. Reilly. While there are some scenes that are a bit too graphic for my taste, they do help to paint the picture of a scary and dystopic future.

The Infiltrator – Walter White is back! OK, don’t get too excited. Bryan Cranston is back and playing someone duplicitous and eerily like Walter White in The Infiltrator. It’s based on the true story of Robert Mazur, a federal agent who went undercover as a money launderer in the 80s to take down a Columbian drug lord. I loved everything about this movie, mostly because so much of it reminded me of Breaking Bad and all of the incredibly dangerous situations they would find themselves in when they got mixed up with the wrong people. The Infiltrator takes you so deep into the cartel that you almost begin to sympathize and rationalize with the criminals. That’s the issue that Cranston’s character grapples with throughout the film—how can he be so deeply embedded with the cartel and then go home to his family and pretend he’s the same person? I also got a kick out of the outfits and the soundtrack to the film too, all classic 80s!


“Heathens” by Twenty One Pilots – I’ve had this song blasting on repeat for weeks. I love the heavy guitar riff and the words. I mean, how often do you get to hear the word “heathen” used in modern lyrics? “Heathens” is also the first single off of The Suicide Squad soundtrack, due out August 5. Warner Brothers is throwing a ton of money behind the marketing for this film (which is Marvel’s big summer flick), and managed to grab artists like Panic! At the Disco, Lil Wayne, Imagine Dragons, and Eminem for the soundtrack.