Maleficent - I really wanted to like it. I mean, I really wanted to like it. But I'm not an Angelina Jolie fan, so it had that against it from the outset. It wants to be dark, but it's not. It wants to be a kids' movie, but it's not. It wants to be Wicked, but it's not. It's a perfectly fine movie (some of the people we went with absolutely loved it), but the sacrilege part, for me, is that Disney mucked about with their own mythology. That did it in. Score: C+.
Mr. Peabody and Sherman - Taken from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. Lots of very smart humor that goes over most kids' heads. Some action and stupid humor to keep the kids interested. Some fun historical "facts." And, actually, a quite touching story about a dog and his boy. Did I love it? No. Did I laugh a lot and rather enjoy it? Yes. Score: B+.
The Way, Way Back - A kind of coming-of-age movie with this quiet teenager who is dealing (poorly) with his divorcee mom's new boyfriend, which is made worse by the fact that they go to Cape Cod for the summer and have to deal with this all in a much more claustrophobic way. He accidentally gets a job at a water park and the people there give him a self esteem boost, but he still has to go home at the end of each shift. I liked it, for the most part. It's a quiet, kind of melancholy, movie. But here's my problem with it: it felt like someone had written a script and wanted it to be set in the early 60s, but had realized that they didn't have the budget for the sets and costumes for the 60s, so they set it in present day. That really threw me a few times. And it was a clumsy choice by the director/designer/whoever, which could have easily been avoided. So the more I've thought about it, the more I've been bugged by that. Which is too bad, because the cast was really good, and I liked the story. Score: when I first finished watching it, I probably would have given it an A-, but a few days later, having had more time to think about it, I'm going with a solid B. I definitely recommend it, but try to ignore the very 2014 aspects (like iPods and cellphones) and think of it as a period piece, instead.