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Summer Releases Start Looking Up

Hope Madden Hope Madden Summer Releases Start Looking Up
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June may be turning itself around. This month is prime summer blockbuster real estate, but the releases have been weak. This weekend, however, you will find the month’s first bona fide children’s blockbuster with Pixar’s amazing-as-usual Finding Dory. There are also some great documentaries, an award-winning foreign drama, a stronger-than-expected buddy comedy film, and even a fine choice for that rare soul looking to be terrified by clowns. Thank you, June.

Finding Dory

Thirteen years later and Finding Nemo has a sequel. Finding Dory takes place a year after father and son triumphantly reunite with the aid of memory-challenged Dory. Now Dory is feeling restless, gnawed at by flashes of the family she lost. She’s ready to take an apprehensive Marlin and an enthusiastic Nemo on a quest to find her parents that sends them across the Pacific Ocean to the Marine Life Institute — an aquarium specializing in the rehabilitation and release of a wide variety of adorable sea creatures.

The movie is predictably beautiful, frenetic in pace, and often hilarious, but is also emotionally devastating.

Having a few more ominous scenes than Finding Nemo, and a PG rating, take your little ones’ sensitivity to heart before heading into the theatre for this one.  But if you can handle the assault on the feels, rest assured that Pixar has, once again, delivered a whale of a tale. (And the preceding short, “Piper”, ain’t no slouch, either.)

Grade: A-

Central Intelligence

What harm could come from accepting a Facebook friend request from a person you don’t recognize? For Calvin Joyner, plenty.

Calvin, portrayed by the talented Kevin Hart, is a forensic accountant who has recently been passed up for a promotion and isn’t eager to attend his high school reunion. Into Calvin’s mundane existence comes Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson) — a former classmate who finds Calvin on Facebook.

Hart and Johnson have a natural chemistry, with Hart frequently playing the straight man to Johnson’s nerdy, overly eager Bob, who drags Calvin into an adventure of espionage and CIA shootouts.

Even with a runtime of almost two hours, the film never drags and the comedy remains strong. Though the ending feels contrived and the film follows a fairly standard formula, on the whole, Central Intelligence works as a mismatched, buddy comedy. The strength that Johnson and Hart bring to the screen elevates the film to a level above your standard, forgettable comedy fare.

Grade: B

Presenting Princess Shaw

Raw talent is a rare find. Ophir Kutiel, or Kuitman as he’s known, realizes this. That may be why he spends countless hours scouring YouTube, pulling this guitar solo and that piano concerto to mash into one of his globally admired compositions.

With Samantha Montgomery he found more than the usual diamond in the rough. Her YouTube feed oscillates between confessional monologues and heartfelt, powerful A Capella songwriting. What she posts as Princess Shaw to her small online audience is vulnerable and emotionally fearless, her story of artistic and emotional struggle becoming both timeless and utterly of this moment.

Following the two artists as their work collides is Ido Haar’s documentary Presenting Princess Shaw. It’s a refreshingly unadorned look at the lonely life of an artist.

As impossible as it is to watch this film without rooting for success and riches to find Princess Shaw, the film itself is more of a celebration of artistry as its own often painful, internal, and emotional reward. It’s also a beautiful tribute to artistic camaraderie.

Grade: A-

Also opening in Columbus this weekend:

  • CLOWN (R)
  • GENIUS (PG-13)
  • WEINER (R)

Reviews with help from Christie Robb and Rachel Willis.

Read more from Hope at MADDWOLF and listen to her weekly horror movie podcast, FRIGHT CLUB.

Looking for more film events in Columbus? CLICK HERE to visit our Events Calenda

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