July ended with just one major release, but a host of undiscovered gems accompanied it.
“GI Joe: Retaliation” — Believe it or not, this multimillion-dollar sequel to a movie based on toys from the 1950s rocks. Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson are back to save us from the threat of COBRA (who they failed to vanquish in the first movie, but I’m not keeping score). Now the world is in danger and the Joes must stop COBRA while protecting their own government (that Cobra has compromised at the highest level, maybe I should keep score). Fun stuff with great battles and nice performances by Jonathan Pryce and Bruce Willis.
“Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox” — DC Comics continues to deliver top-notch animated superhero flicks, while Marvel reigns with live action stuff. Here, you get an alternate world created when the Flash uses his speed powers to reverse time and save his mother from an assault. Big mistake. Turns out his actions have created a present where there is no trace of Superman, and Batman has gone off the deep end. Cool fight sequences and excellent celebrity voices elevate this effort up there with the other DC animated productions. Stars include Nathan Fillion, Ron Perlman, C. Thomas Howell and Cary Elwes.
“Cloudburst” — This drama/comedy didn’t play theaters but should have. Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker star as a lesbian couple who escape from a nursing home and search for a place where they can live out their golden years in peace. Turns out, there is a facility in Nova Scotia that recognizes gay marriages and they hit the road. This is funny stuff and poignant, but they never get preachy. Fricker and Dukakis are as sharp as ever.
“Black Rock” — Three women reunite on the remote Maine island where their friendship was solidified, only to run afoul of three hunters in this drama/horror flick. Pretty good and gritty, as the friends wind up at odds with the hunters over a tragic misunderstanding that pits the two groups against each other in a battle to the death. A grim time waster.