Man I saw A LOT of movies this summer! I saw so many I can't even remember what all of them were. During the month of June alone I saw at least one movie a day, if not two. I saw so many movies that I got tired of movies, and as a result I've spent the last couple of weeks just reading books and comics.
But of course some movies are more memorable than others, and some are more memorable for having been seen in different places, under different circumstances. What follows is a partial list of movies I saw this summer, with a grade given to each. Four stars means excellent, three stars is pretty good, two stars is average, one star is not very good with some redeeming qualities, and no stars is... fant4stic!
Marvel's tiniest superhero finally gets his own movie. There are some great action scenes, and costar Michael Pena almost (forgive the pun) steals the show. Not great by any stretch of the imagination, but a solid action film.
Bound By Flesh (Documentary) ***1/2
Examines the life of a pair of conjoined twins. Born in England to a woman who abandoned them, paraded through a series of freak shows, and finally laid to rest in the southern U.S., the story of these two sisters and the life they led is definitely food for thought.
Child 44 *
God this movie is boring. Maybe it gets better in the second half? Something about an orphan during World War II, but I fell asleep after that.
If you stopped to think about the plot you'd give yourself a headache, but if you can manage to check your brain at the door it's a good action film with some memorable performances.
Dying of the Light *
Have you been wanting to see a movie, starring Nicholas Cage, featuring a CIA agent dying of an incurable brain malady? No? Me neither, but there is a scene near the end that's pretty good.
I already discussed this film at length in another post. By now it's out of theaters and we've repressed our memories of it. Sequel? No, thanks!
I'd already seen this a couple months before in the theater. It's a great movie with some truly great performances. I'm excited to see David Ayer's take on Suicide Squad next year.
Get Hard ***1/2
This movie is hysterical. Best comedy I've seen in a long time. Never count out Will Ferrell!
Going Clear (Documentary) ****
Featuring interviews with Tom Cruise and John Travolta, this documentary introduces the inner workings of Scientology to the uninitiated. I've already seen it several times.
Home Sweet Hell ***
A black comedy about a controlling wife. My only complaint is that the movie drags on a bit too long. I have found Katherine Heigl annoying in other films, but she's great here.
Another movie that drags on too long, but the third act is pretty good. A young woman faces house arrest after a failed robbery, and while stuck at home she uncovers a dark secret.
Hey, isn't that Miles Teller? I couldn't make any sense of this movie, but then again I wasn't paying a lot of attention. Some of the fight scenes were ridiculous!
Hollywood continues its effort to create sub-genres within the zombie film genre. This weird "zombie drama" stars none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger crying over his zombified daughter. Unintentionally funny in parts.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation ***
Yes, some portions of this film are (ahem) impossible, but it's a well done action movie just the same. With regard to summer blockbusters, I didn't like it as much as Jurassic World, but it was far better than the (ahem) disastrous San Andreas.
Forgettable action movie starring Liam Neeson. Terrorists threaten an airplane while air marshal Neeson tries to stop them. He really needs to stop doing these kinds of films.
Excellent film based on one of Robert Heinlein's short stories. Ethan Hawke stars as a policemen trying to catch a bomber hiding out in the past. It's easy to let this one get by you, so pay close attention!
This movie is so stupid I had to turn it off after fifteen minutes. The Rock is some kind of rescue guy and a huge earthquake hits California. Really, really bad.
Slow West ****
A young man from Scotland journeys to the Wild West to retrieve his lady love. Michael Fassbender also stars as a bounty hunter. Great film that reminded me why Tim Blake Nelson is in so many movies.
Straight Outta Compton ***
The story of rap group NWA and their rise to fame. It starts out great, but gets bogged down in legal issues toward the end. I would have also liked a more honest portrayal of their attitudes toward women. Painting them as a purely political rap group is just misleading.
Bad film about mutant wasps (or is it yellowjackets?). The thing is it knows it's bad, and it's not trying to be anything it isn't.
The Homesman ****
Another great Western, this one about an outlaw and an unmarried woman transporting a wagon full of demented pioneer wives back to the East. Both Tommy Lee Jones and Hillary Swank are terrific here.
The Suicide Theory **1/2
A contract killer meets a man who cannot die. It is a movie full of great scenes, but by the end its worn out its welcome. I think if they'd just cut it down by about 20 minutes it would have been perfect.
Ted 2 **
Ehhhh, it's... OK. All of the really funny parts were in the trailers. It's relatively laugh-free by the end, and I'm not exactly dying for another sequel. Reminded me of why I got bored of Family Guy.
A single girl struggles with the concept of monogamy. It was a lot funnier than Ted 2, though it gets a bit too serious for its own good. I liked this movie, and I'd probably watch a sequel.
The True Cost (Documentary) ***
Expose of the fashion industry and how it affects the environment. Some of this documentary is hard to watch, but it means well and the subject matter is important. I do feel like they dumbed it down a bit too much for a mass audience, and laying most of the blame at the feet of "corporations" is a bit too easy.
These Final Hours ****
Of all the movies discussed here, this is perhaps my favorite. An Australian man tries to cope with the end of the world, and a young girl tries to find her father. It's great from beginning to end, and those who liked Mad Max: Fury Road will find a lot more to like in this film.
Time Lapse ***
Two men and a woman discover a machine that takes pictures - one day into the future. More intelligent than most other science fiction movies, and done on a low budget besides.
What We Do in the Shadows ****
Another hilarious movie. Three vampires share a house in New Zealand, and a documentary crew follows their comings and goings. I've already seen it three times!