Hey folks. It’s been a long time, but summer is over and we’re heading into a heady time of TV, movies, video games, and more. So that means more insanely non-topical reviews and discussions of years old media. Cause that’s what we do best. I’m all rejuvenated and ready to write, and I might be bringing some new writers on board as well. We’ll see.
To give you an idea of what I did this summer, here are some short, sweet reviews of movies I saw this summer (blockbusters and not). I watched them so you didn’t have to.
Everything in Valhalla is awesomely over the top, everything on Earth is bland comic relief. I’m so happy Kenneth Branagh directed a superhero movie though.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
It’s fun, but Marvel desperately needs a director with personality and a unique vision if they want their movies to be anything more than “fun”. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that, but if everybody is going to see your movie anyway, shouldn’t you be pushing for something more?
Fun nostalgia tinged entertainment. Elle Fanning keeps surprising me with really fantastic performances. Not much to this one, but an above average popcorn flick.
A no frills Samurai movie with all the action you could want. Excellently paced, nothing extraneous, this is exactly what it portends to be and it doesn’t disappoint.
TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON
The 3D effects are pretty amazing (and forced Michael Bay to stop whipping his camera around and allow us to really appreciate what the VFX guys are doing). It may have even sold me on the potential of shooting in 3D as a new asset in the future of cinema (I boggle at what a true visual stylist, like a Gondry or Boyle, would do with it). But the rest of it? Laughably atrocious. And the abrupt tonal shifts were jarring at best, offensive at worst. Oh Michael Bay. Never change.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER
Effectively mixes gee-whiz retro-cool with modern sensibilities and gives a nice feel of B-movie adventure flick. All roles are filled nicely, and there’s even a small bit of tragedy there at the end. A nice and breezy matinee in the A/C.
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
The effects are incredible, and the visual storytelling is very impressive. Everything else? By the numbers and kind of boring.
ATTACK THE BLOCK
Technically and stylistically accomplished, especially for a first time director. The setting is inspired, but everything else is like checking off typical horror movie scenes (with an inspired sequence here and there). It’s entertaining, it flirts with greatness, but it never quite gets there.
OUR IDIOT BROTHER
Screenplay is incredibly thin, only kept afloat by the charm of a veteran group of actors. The ending is absurdly tidy, and captured only the easiest of truths. Sure, it’s a charming, uninsulting movie, but this time, it just means the whole thing ends up ringing hollow.
So there’s that. Easily the best movie I saw this summer in theaters was 13 ASSASSINS. It’s nothing particularly deep or even original, but it’s immensely satisfying, bloody, and exciting. It’s absolutely perfect for what it is, and one hell of a fun time at the movies.
I’ve also just seen Miranda July’s latest THE FUTURE, and Soderbergh’s CONTAGION (man, I love that end of the world, disease stuff), and if I’m not lazy, they’ll get reviews of their own. We’ll see. Maybe there’ll also be a post of the massive list of TV shows I’ll be watching this year. It’s getting to be unwieldy.