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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Teebore's Summer Movie Report Card

Stealing an idea from John Seavey’s excellent blog, Fraggmented, I thought I’d issue a report card for the theatrical movies I saw during the recently completed summer blockbuster season. Please note, I consider “summer”, in terms of movies, to start with the first weekend of May and end Labor Day weekend. Also, for the most part I only saw these movies once, and am doing this from memory. Bear that in mind.

Spider-Man 3: I didn’t think this was as bad as some did, but it certainly wasn’t without its flaws. Both Sandman and Venom translated well, though the conclusion of Sandman’s story and the origin of Venom’s “alien costume” were both poorly developed and plot hammered, as was their team-up (Wanna fight Spider-Man together? Uh, okay!). And there was entirely too much of goofy looking Kirsten Dunst (but there usually is). But Gwen Stacy was spot on. I really enjoyed the portrayal of Eddie Brock/Venom, on the whole, and Harry’s amnesia was a nice shout out to those of who read the comics enough to know that Goblins’ real super power is convenient amnesia. If nothing else, there were plenty of cool effects and fight scenes. B-

Shrek 3: Easily the worst movie I saw this summer. Weak and flimsy, this movie just didn’t do…anything. The bit with the various princesses was funny, I guess, but there really wasn’t enough time for them to save the movie. I really enjoyed the first Shrek movie for the way it subverted the conventions of the fairy tale, exploiting the humor therein: hideous ogre instead of handsome prince, annoying donkey instead of faithful stead, the princess is fairly capable of rescuing herself. The second one seemed to favor more contemporary humor that dates terribly but this one just went off the rails entirely. Shrek 4? Can’t wait… D-

Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds’ End: A bit of an overstuffed mish mash, but fun and very enjoyable nonetheless. I saw this one twice, and it benefits greatly, for me at least, in a second viewing as I found it much easier to keep track of all the double and triple crossings. The score was excellent. The final battle sequence was pretty awesome, but still, I wish the whole pirate armada they assembled had actually ended up doing…anything, really. And the very end-let’s just say I can come up with about thirty-five loopholes to get them around their predicament, which kind of takes away whatever impact the filmmakers were going for. Also, remember when these movies were about Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom, and not Keira Knightley? B-

Ocean’s Thirteen: A definite improvement over the meandering second film. Plus, no stupid Julia Roberts or Catherine Zeta Jones. Just an all around fun caper flick. And it’s always fun to watch Pacino devour the scenery. B

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: Like the first one, I went in with low expectations and left satisfied. The worst part remains Dr. Doom, entirely lacking in the nobility, cunning, and grandiose over-the-top-ness that makes DOOM so great (but that’s what happens when you cast the smarmy guy from Nip/Tuck, who then proceeds to phone it in). Let’s just say the real Doom would never, upon stepping onto the Silver Surfer’s board and achieving the power cosmic, non-chalantly utter the word “cool.” Doom would deliver a monologue detailing exactly how the world will tremble before his power. B-

Transformers: A heaping helping of awesome, a side of kick ass with a lingering aftertaste of plot holes. But still, no worse plot holes then the original, and even more awesome, Transformers movie. Yes, this one suffered from too many humans (the Secretary of Defense was way too central, and I’d have cut out the stupid hacker kids entirely) but Megan Fox was hot and Shia kicked all kinds of butt (I think I have a man-crush on him now). And, giant robots wailed on each other. A-

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Oddly enough, I think this movie, which cut out the most material from the book, fit together as a movie the best. There was plenty of things I liked in the book that were left out, but there was also some new stuff put in that added a lot. Luna was spot on and Raph Fiennes owns the role of Voldemort. Time, and repeat viewings, will ultimately tell how this one holds up (the third gets better each time I see it, the fourth one more disjointed). A-

The Simpsons: It worked for me. Funny; over the top in all the right places. I particularly enjoyed that they didn’t cram it full of celebrity guest stars (the two they had, worked well, especially Tom Hanks) and that the villain of the piece was played by a frequent guest star, instead of, I don’t know, Tom Hanks. Can’t really find much to complain about here. A

Bourne Ultimatum: Enjoyable enough it suffers mainly for the fact that it's part of series that doesn’t tie in to some other interest of mine. Well made, fun to watch, have no real desire to see it again. For me, I guess that’s the definition of an average film. C+

Superbad: Eh, read my review. Funny, excellent film. A

Stardust: I heard mixed things about this one but ended up thoroughly enjoying myself. The best kind of fantasy, in that it created a sense of a greater world, beyond what we encountered in the course of the story, and because it covered a lot of bases: it had touches of humor, and suspense, romantic bits and some good action scenes. The music was great. Loved the Shakespearean touches as well. A tremendously fun movie. A

1 comment:

  1. Did anyone see "Year of the Dog" with Molly Shannon? It was an indie with an almost non-existent release. I just rented it and all I can say is WOW. If you have any connection to an animal it is extremely touching, funny and somewhat painful (If you tend to cry during movies like myself). It is just more proof that you don't need flash and bang to make a movie that leaves a lasting impression.


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