Working at a movie theater in the age of Netflix and Chill is like watching a car accident—I’m not a key player, but I’m a witness to how two forces spin themselves out of proportion. Then again, I work at a theater without reclining seats; the industry may not be as declining as I’m making it out to be.
What my movie theater lacks in butt comfort is made up for in customer service and ticket discount opportunities. Cinemark matinee showings before 6 p.m. are $5 for standard theaters and $8.50 for movies in XD and three-dimensional theaters. However, students who show their school ID, children under 11, seniors and military personnel pay matinee pricing at all hours. I took advantage of my work perks all in one night to review four movies (of varying quality) sans spoilers. I never want to see a movie again, but you’re welcome.
“Before I Fall” ( PG-13 ) — three-point-five stars out of five
A popular girl lives the same day over and over after experiencing a tragedy and reevaluates her life choices in the process. Prior to watching the film, I incorrectly assumed this was a romantic drama. I am lucky enough to have found a boy who doesn’t mind “chick flicks,” so I was in good company; however, this screen version of a novel of the same name by Lauren Oliver was not what either of us anticipated. The repetitive day did not bore me into giving it three-point-five stars, but the shallow character development did. However, this movie will still make you feel all the feelings for family, friends and strangers alike.
Concession recommendation: Pregame for this serious “Mean Girls”-esque movie with the latest seasonal Starbucks drink, then get basic white girl concessions: a small cherry ICEE and a box candy of your choice.
“Get Out” ( R ) * — five stars out of five
Chris’ girlfriend takes him to her white parents’ plantation house, where his awkward interactions with her strange family escalate into dystopian violence. Actor Daniel Kaluuya, who plays main character Chris, was also the protagonist in the British horror TV show “Black Mirror” episode “Fifteen Million Merits”—I expected a lot out of this thriller, and I was not disappointed. Director Jordan Peele (half of the “Key and Peele” comedian duo) injects profound messages alongside surprising humor, often in the form of Chris’ TSA friend Rod, played by Lil Rel Howery. The Armitage family incites more psychological violence on Chris than physical—they claim they only intend for him to enjoy himself, but their psychopathic attitudes toward his skin color lie just underneath the surface from the beginning.
Concession recommendation: Stress eat all your popcorn in the first scene so you don’t jump during a scary moment later and spill it everywhere.
“Logan” ( R ) * – four stars out of five
Aging Wolverine and Professor Xavier drive across the country with Hispanic mutant girl Laura (played by Dafne Keen) in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid a clandestine cloning company. The villains were an unwelcome distraction from the three characters’ camaraderie, who bicker in true-to-form family road trip style—except in bullet-ridden cars, of course. However, the grudging bond between past and future Wolverines, Logan and Laura, grows into true respect in the final moments. Xavier’s deterioration due to Alzheimer’s makes an important statement about aging. While this will be the final Wolverine sequel, it is set in 2029 so we should at least expect more Logan and Xavier cameos in upcoming X-Men films. Laura shredded their adversaries just as well as Logan, and if she doesn’t star in future films I will boycott Marvel.
Concession recommendation: Superheroes go big or go home, and so should you with the large drink and popcorn combo.
“John Wick Chapter Two” ( R ) * — two stars out of five
The sole reason I bothered to see this movie was because my self defense instructor recommended Keanu Reeve’s stellar fight scenes, but that and Wick’s dog were the only things going for it. To be fair, I did not see the first “John Wick,” but after seeing this garbage I don’t want to. I wanted to throw my popcorn at Keanu Reeves every time he opened his mouth and choked on his lines. The weird subtitle font, cheesy acting and overdramatic music reminded me of a bad Spanish telenovela. Actress Ruby Rose is not even deaf but plays a hearing-impaired bodyguard for the villain—an impressive and underused actress, but she plays a part which could go to someone who is actually deaf. Wick never named his dog and left it with someone else for most of the movie, which was why I rated this so low—other than how many of my brain cells died while trying to comprehend the awfulness of this movie. I should have waited for this to launch on Netflix, so I could mute it and fast-forward to the fight scenes and whenever his dog showed up on screen.
Concession recommendation: Don’t even come to see this trash.
*must be 17 or older to see this film.
Originally published in 2017 March issue of The Beacon magazine for Olentangy High School