Monday, June 08, 2009

Summer Movies Thus Far

Lately, I haven't been able to get to preview screenings due to my schedule being filled at night these days. That doesn't mean I have failed to see the newest movies...just that I haven't felt the urge to blog about them right away since they'd only go up after they debut now. I have some time, so I thought I'd give my opinion on what I've seen.

X-Men: Origins: Wolverine

Stepping away from it as a comic fan, it wasn't a half-bad summer-popcorn-action flick. There are several things that have been changed from comic continuity, but you have to go in expecting that these days. Not because it NEEDS to be changed, but because Hollywood ALWAYS feels compelled to make changes. The movie has moments of comic relief and quite a bit of action. I was personally happy that they included Wolverine's being nearly immortal (as in he's been stuck in his 30s since at least WWI or WWII, from the looks of it). What we saw of Deadpool towards the end of the movie was a bastardization of the existing character, but 1) it's a summer-popcorn-action flick, not the latest issue of a Marvel comic and b) there are questions as to whether that's actually Deadpool. It's by no means a perfect movie, but it isn't the steaming pile that so many myopic comic readers have accused it of being.

Star Trek

Hands down, the best summer action movie at this point in the release schedule. The characters pull you right into the story and the action keeps you from breaking your attention away. I understand that there are a number of old school Trek fans that are livid about the reboot, despite the fact that it is treated as an alternate history. If you follow science regarding the possibilities of time travel, the most dominant theory is that any change in the past creates a fork in the river of time. The two branches go forward: one being history as we knew it and the other being the left turn we forced it to take. So the new can co-exist with the old.
Yikes, for wanting to really just address the quality of the movies, I sure am dealing with fanboy complaints too much.


What a beautiful movie. I don't get the people that say this succeeds where WALL-E failed, because a) I saw no failure in that flick and 2) there's no reason to tear one down to praise the other. If you watch this movie and don't feel your eyes well up a time or two, you have no heart. It's a love story and not just of the romantic kind. See the movie and you'll get what I mean.

Land of the Lost

I wasn't some great fan of the TV show. I caught a few episodes as a kid and didn't find myself moved to change the channel away from it. So I went into this flick with far fewer expectations and demands than someone who spent many Saturdays glued to the set watching it. For what it's worth, I enjoyed the flick on a purely "Will Ferrell and Danny McBride riffing" level. It worked on East Bound & Down and it entertains here. While not being worthy of box office blockbuster numbers, it isn't a waste of the price of admission, either.

The Hangover

Hilarious. Deserving of the R rating and it's very successful weekend. Bradley "That Guy From Wedding Crashers" Cooper leads the cast, but Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis (I spelled that without looking it up) match him at every step. The cringe humor involving Zach's character really helped bring the funny. A few of the bigger laughs are actually in a credit sequence that the cast frames at the end of the flick. I'm going to give some thought to catching this a second time.

Angels & Demons

I wasn't a huge fan of DaVinci Code, but decided to give this a shot anyway. Less Audrey Tautou makes a film less good. In many ways, the plot was better and you felt more tension in their race to decode all of the clues, but it wound up being predictable at the same time. Ron Howard is a much better director than Dan Brown is a writer, it would appear...because it is clear his touches are what made either of the films enjoyable.

Terminator Salvation

While I felt the flick disappointed, dragging on in parts and found lacking in the tried & true chase formula of previous installments, I didn't feel any regret for spending my money on a ticket. It was enjoyable, despite not living up to expectations. I became a little more frustrated with it when I found that Christian Bale diva'd his way into screwing up the flick, though. But's a good, not great, film that continues the Terminator mythos. It succeeds when the Terminator hybrid is on screen and flounders when he is not.

Night at the Museum II

I felt this suffered from being more of the same we encountered in the first flick. Whereas the original had the benefit of being a fresh idea, this one didn't really seem to get past being a retread. There's only so many big man jokes Owen Wilson can make about Ben Stiller before you hope he dies gasping for air under a mountain of sand. This is where it clearly embraces being a family film: kids can watch the same schtick over and over and over without necessarily getting bored.

Still hoping to get out to see Drag Me To Hell soon. I'll probably see the latest Potter, but there's nothing left this summer that I can really say I'm looking forward to.
How about you?

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