Shortly before summer began,I did an entry on favorite movies of mine,ones that I seemed to be in the minority of liking them.I honestly don't know if I'm going to make this a regular thing,but here's my report on movies I saw this past summer...I know,technically,the season's not over,and I have yet to see American Ultra and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,both of which I'd planned to see...anyway,in alphabetical order,the movies I saw and a few brief thoughts on what I thought of them....
Ant-Man....Marvel's other big superhero movie of this summer (although some may argue that would be Fantastic Four...well,we'll get to that).To restate an idea once brought up in a certain Saturday Night Live sketch,what's so great about someone who can shrink to insect size,yet still retain the weight and strength of a full-sized man,plus have the ability to talk to ants? If this movie,written by Shaun Of The Dead's Edgar Wright is any indication....plenty. This is yet another addition to the Avenger's cinematic universe,and a wildly entertaining one at that!
Avengers:The Age Of Ultron....and speaking of the Avengers,their much anticipated second big-screen adventure...did not disappoint.
Fantastic Four....it just struck me as somewhat amazing that I chose to do these alphabetically,yet the first three entries are all Marvel superhero movies...imagine if there'd been a Gambit or Galactus movie this year...well,now that that bit of existential whimsy is out of the way,I must declare this movie the only real letdown of summer 2015.For whatever reason,I chose to ignore all the bad buzz this got before even being released,despite the fact that I kept telling myself that a CGI Thing is a really bad idea...I mean,it works for the Hulk,him being a tornado/earthquake-level force of destructive power in human form,but an integral part of the Thing has always been his struggle to retain his humanity,despite his malformed body...well,anyway,this new take on the FF,which starts out as something akin to the Ultimate Fantastic Four comic series,eventually doesn't live up to its potential,degenerating into a dark,tedious,by-the-numbers superhero movie which actually makes Rise Of The Silver Surfer more entertaining by comparison!!!
(and I don't think I'm even the first to say that)
Inside Out....This is the kind of thing that sets Pixar way,way above all the Shreks,Ice Ages and Happily N'Ever Afters out there.Now,a story where human emotions are turned into identifiable characters is certainly not a new idea,but in the hands of some less-than-accomplished screewriter,this could've been a disaster....but it wasn't. What I found especially amazing was how visually complex this is,as the filmmakers took every nuance of the mind of a pre-teen girl and came up with a symbolic representation for it.
Personal favorite gag:Anger's reaction to being served broccoli-covered pizza.
Jurassic World....If anything,Jurassic Park III definitely proved that,were there to be more movies in this series,they can no longer be films about a small group of people evading dinosaurs on an otherwise uninhabited island. It's time to finally open the park,even though we know it's as inevitably doomed as Delos (created by the same writer,in fact!).Watching this,I felt as if I was visiting the actual park,but I also found myself welcoming the note of oncoming doom that sounded when we learn its creators are no longer content with merely bringing back actual extinct species...they gotta dabble in genetic engineering as well. I,uh,don't suppose any of you geneticists ever read The Island Of Dr. Moreau ...or Frankenstein?
It should be interesting to see if Chris Pratt will be in one of next years' summer movies.
Mad Max:Fury Road....Walked into this one with skepticism up to my eyeballs...I could not help but ask myself,over and over again:how can you have a Mad Max movie without Mel Gibson? Even the fact that George Miller,director of the three previous films,was at the helm did little to assure me.I mean,the guy's been doing kiddie movies since the late 90's! I was afraid that this would be like one of those situations where a once-cutting-edge filmmaker,eager to regain his lost audience,does a sequel to something he made back in his glory days (Think Robert Evans and The Two Jakes,Peter Bogdanovich and Texasville,Blake Edwards' efforts to keep the Pink Panther series going after Peter Sellers' death,or Kevin Smith and Clerks 2).While I'm still unclear whether this was a sequel or a reboot,I'm happy to report that this lived up to the legacy of its predecessors.
I'll bet Gibson's sorry now about his little run-in with the cops.
Mission Impossible:Rogue Nation....Anybody besides me think that the James Bond movies,ever since Daniel Craig took the role,are just not fun anymore? While I'm not suggesting Craig's to blame,nor would I propose they go back to making them like the Connery/Moore/Brosnan films,a major overhaul is necessary...because they're not fun. Not even in the slightest. And modern spy films can be fun...the Mission Impossible series is proof of that.Especially since J.J. Abrams took over them.
As much as I liked this,I have one question...what happened to Ethan Hunt's wife?
RIFFTRAX--Sharknado 2....okay...technically,this wasn't a summer movie,at least not one done by Hollywood,although I saw it this summer...Y'know what? I don't care! In a summer where Hollywood's "comedy" output consisted largely of a bastardization of National Lampoon's Vacation,Yet Another Movie Starring Adam Sandler and the usual bunch of unwanted sequels,this years' models involving a fat mall cop (a.k.a. Yet Another Movie Produced By Adam Sandler),a foul-mouthed teddy bear and a tone-deaf choir,here was something I knew was gonna make me laugh. Rifftrax,for those of you unaware,is MST3K veterans Michael Nelson,Kevin Murphy and Patrick Brantseg turning their unique brand of rapid-fire movie-mocking humor on SyFy Channel schlockbuster Sharknado 2,in a live show broadcast to certain theater chains across the country.They've got two more shows coming later this year,am definitely not missing those.
San Andreas....Basically,Southern California is hit by the earthquake...the one that separates then from the North American continent,although we don't really learn that until the closing shot. LAFD pilot Dwayne Johnson and super-hot ex-wife Carla Gugino traverse all over the damaged city to find their daughter. It wasn't great,but okay. Good special effects.
Terminator:Genisys....I'm assuming that,after the perceived failure of Terminator:Salvation...which I liked...this was their way of bringing Arnold Schwarzenegger back into the franchise.However,at age 68,he really can't play a perceptibly ageless cyborg anymore,so the classic story of James Cameron's original movie is given a reboot here.All in all,not a bad film.
Tomorrowland....Once again drawing from their theme parks for inspiration,Disney and director Brad Bird (The Iron Giant,Ratatouille,Mission Impossible:Ghost Protocol) weave a tale where a futuristic land exists created by people of great scientific vision,far from the hindering influences of politics and society...a land which is descending into a dystopia which will eventually bring about a global cataclysm in our world,and it falls to a disillusioned scientist and his optimistic young protege to save the day. Although I found the message about the loss of optimism not quite hitting its mark,it was still an entertaining adventure.