Summer movie recap.
The August doldrums have arrived at the box office. It’s back-to-school time and the general public usually ignores the theater as the studios dump their blockbuster leftovers before the end-of-the-year award rush arrives. In light of that, let’s take a look back at the summer and reassess what Hollywood had to offer.
But before that…watch this trailer for The Master. Due out October 12, fall film season is shaping up quite nicely.
Most Anticipated Summer Movies (Pre-Summer):
- The Dark Knight Rises
- The Avengers
- Moonrise Kingdom
- The Campaign
How It All Shook Out:
5) Ted – Dir. Seth MacFarlane
While not a perfect experiment, Director/Writer/Star Seth MacFarlane’s raucous comedy about a sentient teddy bear and his life long pal was an interesting cookie. It had just the right recipe for a sleeper hit: a well known star (Mark Wahlberg,) a wildly high concept and some television cache (MacFarlane is the creator of Family Guy.) He gets the most from his R-rating as well, never skimping on an opportunity for a raunchy one-liner.
4) The Avengers – Dir. Joss Whedon
For me, this was the summer of Joss Whedon. His legions of fans that have followed him since Buffy, The Vampire Slayer would say I told you so but even the most ardent fan would’ve been skeptical when he was chosen to helm the world’s largest superhero mash-up. Luckily his unique comic sensibility lent a lighter tone to The Avengers and he somehow still balanced the screen time amongst his spandex-clad team. A special thanks to Marvel Studios as well for taking a chance on a well known but unproven television commodity…it paid off in spades (and billions of dollars.)
3) The Dark Knight Rises – Dir. Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan’s apocalyptic vision of Gotham brought satisfying closure to a story that stood against impossibly high expectations. Immediately upon experiencing this 3-hour behemoth I was quick to nit pick. The film does have issues and is a bit over-stuffed but after a month of marinating I can say I really don’t care. As a trilogy of pulp-art Nolan has created something insurmountable. I hope Warner Bros. lets sleeping dogs lie but they surely will revive their beloved caped cash cow in a few years. It’s hard to see how they’ll ever be able to top this.
2) Cabin in the Woods – Dir. Drew Goddard
I know this came out in late-April but summer movie season starts in March now (take that calendars.) I heard rumblings early in the year that Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard’s meta-horror movie was a riot. Happily they were correct. Cabin is so biting in it’s commentary of modern horror it’s almost unfair. Whedon’s insight into the horror psyche informed a hysterical script and brought a fresh perspective to a played-out scene.
1) Moonrise Kingdom – Dir. Wes Anderson
Any mention of Wes Anderson these days will illicit an emotional reaction. There is no middle ground of opinion; it’s either love or blind, rage-fueled hate. I happen to find his brand of OCD refreshingly idiosyncratic. Sure, his attention to detail can be over-bearing but it brings his theatrical-reality to life. Moonrise is also filled with great actors working with Anderson’s most inspired material in years. This season was stuffed so full of sequels and superheroes that it was a relief to spend two-hours in Anderson’s pastel-shaded summer camp.
The Summer’s Biggest Disappointment
Damn you Prometheus. You were so beautiful; full of enchanting visuals and strong performances. Yet you were also misguided; employing a mish-mash of tired retreads to your better Alien-past. Director Ridley Scott made the most of a script (penned by LOST-alum Damon Lindelof) that was full of big ideas but light on the brains. In the end the brawny picture left too much on the table and instead of instilling the audience with wonder it gave us frustration. There are rumors that the blu-ray release may have more footage that was left on the cutting room floor. I hope so because if anyone could save this monstrosity it’s Ridley Scott.