Monday, June 25, 2012

June Movie Survey!

It's that time of year again: when I got see almost every movie in the theaters just because it's summer. Mainly this means that I'll write up quick reviews for anyone that may be interested in knowing what's a dud or a gem. In a nutshell?

The Big Screen Winners: Battleship, Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Avengers.
The Small Screen Renters: MIB-3, Rock of Ages, The Hunger Games, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

#1. The Surprising Favorite (that critics hated): BATTLESHIP. I was as surprised as the next person at how much fun Battleship was. Viewers can quickly suspend belief at the ridiculous plot of alien invaders setting up a base in the ocean because the effects are SO GOOD. The aliens have a very STAR TREK (2009) feel and the acting is funny and reminiscent of INDEPENDENCE DAY. I was proud to be an American after this film. It was also a great view of the capabilities of the U.S. Navy, the veterans who have served previously, and had a feel-good ending. It's on its last week in theaters, go catch it! It's better than A.Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

 #2. The Surprising Dud (that critics loved): M.I.B. III. I had very high expectations for M.I.B-3. Especially since it's been TEN YEARS since the last installment, and has been promoted since early 2011. Honestly? It was depressing. While the "Time-warp" gimmick from Tommy Lee to Josh Brolin in the 1960's was UNCANNY and spot on- the film just maintained a level of seriousness that didn't deliver. Yes, there is one "feel good" moment towards the end that explains Will's past, but all-in-all, not what I was looking for from the franchise that used to be slimy, spunk and fresh.

 #3. Just along for the Ride: ROCK of AGES is a going to be a great house-party movie. Eventually, when it comes out on DVD. Worth the $10 ticket price? Eh. The 80's band songs/mashups are the best part of the movie (along with Tom Cruise as the hilarious "Stacee Jaxx") but you can get those on iTunes already. Check out the songs, and rent the DVD. 

#4. AS GOOD AS IT GETS: I fully expect Charlize Theron to be nominated for an Oscar for her role as the Evil Queen in SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN. She was absolutely thrilling and terrifying (in a good way). It almost made me believe Kristen Stewart's hysteria...almost. Even though Kristen may have only used a half dozen facial expressions, the movie was still worth seeing in theaters due to the beautiful costumes (expect another oscar nod), the other general well acted characters and theatrically epic plot (think The Two Towers even with dwarves! running across mountain range panoramic shots) and scary-good special effects. I fully expect to buy this one when it comes out on DVD. 

 #5. Now everyone knows how much I love the author (Seth Grahame-Smith of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) but I actually hadn't read this one before seeing it. However, the lead Benjamin Walker, played such a believable Abraham Walker, that I enjoyed much of this mind-warping revamp satire. Unlike Battleship and Snow White, though, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter had campy special effects that were ridiculously unbelievable at times. (Reminiscent of the original Hell Boy or Sin City.) Advice: Rent it for your plasma at home.

 #6. I have always loved Joss Whedon. (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly) but honestly: this film would have been a hit no matter WHO directed it. Waiting out the set up of THE AVENGERS literally for five or six years as: Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Captain America, Thor and The Incredible Hulk all came out first was painful. However, the wait was worth it, as we all knew it would be. The team was hilarious together in their dysfunctional relationship and I can't wait for the next installment. SEE IT IN THEATERS.

 #7. Another surprising dud for me was The Hunger Games. While it did have decent semblance to the book, it was shot and pieced together too quickly to do the character development or relationship arcs any justice. I felt disconnected from all of the characters, except for Gale, who I identified with "watching this all go down badly." I admit I will still see the sequels in theaters, and probably think the same of them, just like I have for all of those irritating Twilight films, but honestly, if you liked The Hunger Games, read the books: they're better.

#8. PROMETHEUS: I loved it. I think a lot of adults (my husband and best friends) were turned off of this "Aliens Origin" film because the trailers made it look like a horror film, but honestly there was only one or two moments of surprising terror and many more thrilling moments of Sci-Fi fun. Unlike the other Aliens movies, where you expect the characters to be stalked by dinosaur like devils, the movie was more like an Indiana Jones film with that 'What's down there?' sort of explorative feel with some of the best special effects space and technology sequences ever seen. Go see it in theaters!