And what a real bummer it is to say this... So long, summer. I had a good time while it lasted! Traveled. Kept busy. Read some. Got a lot of sun. But no summer is complete without seeing a lot of Movie Shows. There is no better summer treat than escaping from the heat to the local Theatre or Cineplex to watch a popcorn Movie or two. And this is what I caught...
My movie-going summer gets off to a pretty limp start with a couple of duds... Mad Mel Gibson proves he's wonderful at playing crazy, but Jodie Foster's film is the movie watching equivalent of Percocet. So, don't leave it to The Beaver (May 6th)... And on the same day there was the exploitation option of Hobo With A Shotgun. Rutger Hauer is god, but even he can't save a film that only aspires to be as good as Grade Z Troma schlock. With it's uber violence and manic vibe, I was shockingly bored.
Thankfully two comedies saved the day in May... Kristen Wiig's hilarious character study disguised as brash ensemble comedy, Bridesmaids (May 13th). A surprisingly sweet treat. And Woody Allen hits another career stride with his wonderful time warp Romance, Midnight In Paris (May 20th). I did go see The Hangover Part II (May 26th) but I quickly learned that the comedy gold of the first simply cannot be repeated.
No one will ever confuse me for a Comic Book Movie fan. And boy, is this year really glutted with them. It was a nice surprise to actually enjoy one for a change. The only one I've liked so far this yer is the prequel, X-Men: First Class (June 3rd). Good actors (not including Mad Men's uber stiff January Jones) in a well made film. Super 8 (June 10th) would have totally benefited from not being a summer film in the first place. Although It was very well done (goosebumps from capturing that classic Spielberg vibe) I found it to be a tad too sentimental at times. It may not be the film you run out to go see, I'm still very glad I caught it.
The Trip (June 10th) was hysterical. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are a truly great comedy team. Cars 2 (June 24th) on the other hand was pretty embarrassing. Who's idea was it to shift the focus on to a truck voiced by a redneck comedian? Unfunny and shockingly trite stuff from Pixar. Bad Teacher (also June 24th) will never be confused as a classic in the years to come, but I enjoyed it's tartness and the idea of a brash leading woman who's character doesn't find redemption by the end credits. Kudos to Cameron Diaz for becoming likable again by not really being all that likable.
It isn't summer until you see a movie that is totally brain dead. Transformers: Dark Of The Moon (July 1st) lives up to that title fully. Too bad it's also beyond awful and way overlong at over two and a half hours. Tom Hanks looks for his mojo in Larry Crowne (July 1st) and comes up with a very vanilla movie. Julia Roberts' range goes from being a grumpy alcoholic to a laughing lunatic. Pretty Woman she ain't. The Perfect Host (July 1st) is not a perfect film by any stretch, but it does allow star David Hyde Pierce to showcase his talent in a fairly complicated role.
Horrible Bosses (July 8th) was a pretty good comedy with a fun premise. The film peters out towards the end, but has enough sharp moments to revisit at some point. The Ward (July 8th) marks John Carpenter's return to feature filmmaking after a 10 year hiatus. Unfortunately this wasn't the best material to showcase his deft skills. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (July 15th) finds Harry Potter at his end. And thank the lord Voldemort about that. These films have increasingly become too serious to actually be any fun.
Friends With Benefits (July 22nd) was a witty spin on the Rom Com. Forget that the Ashton Kutcher/NataliePortman film with a similar premise exists. This one is actually pretty good (i.e. watchable) The Myth Of The American Sleepover (July 22nd) was a really nice surprise. A modern teen film with the mood of Dazed And Confused that was both insightful and well acted. Crazy, Stupid Love (July 29th) is a rather limp Romantic Comedy that on the surface pretends to break the mold of it's formula, but gives in at any chance it could get. Attack The Block (July 29th) is this Summer's most surprising Genre film. I'm generally not a big fan of Sci-Fi, but Attack The Block is too entertaining to ignore. Check it out.
The Change-Up (August 5th) is a throwback to the silly 80's body switching movies. Even though it was trashed by every critic, I found myself enjoying this silly cosmic slop. 30 Minutes Or Less (August 12th) was pretty funny at times, but by the time I walked out of the theatre I pretty much forgot most of the film. The only real 3D fun of the summer was found at a screening of Final Destination 5 (August 12th). A neat twist on a series that I've entirely enjoyed thus far. A good remake is hard to find... Fright Night (August 19th) ended up to be a good deal better than it has any right to be, but still doesn't hold up to the classic 80's film. Good performances by both Colin Farrell and David Tennant. Our Idiot Brother (August 26th) gives Paul Rudd a plum role as a charming doofus in this unexpectedly good and funny ensemble film. A real feel good film that never once talks down to it's audience.
Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (August 26th) is a real curiosity. While it's gorgeously shot and has tons of atmosphere, the Movie takes itself a bit too seriously. It misses the indelible mark that the original film had left on a generation or two back in the day. Shark obsessed hillbillies Vs. College Kids. You're either with the ridiculousness of Shark Night 3D (September 2nd), or you're not. A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (September 2nd) may not be your kind of a good time, but I enjoyed it's 80's Movie throwback charms (loved the subtle nod to Cinema Du Meep Favorite The Last American Virgin--Bonus points to those who can spot it) Creature (September 9th) is a wacky drive-in movie stuck inside of a real mess of a mainstream release, but I enjoyed it's surprisingly kinky charm...
I'll see you next year, Summer. XXOO