Sunday, June 14, 2009

Summer movie update

In an earlier post, I told you about the summer movies I was pumped to see. Well, I have seen the first five on the list (in that order, even), so now I shall report back with mini reviews for each.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
RATING: Wait for Netflix (or don't, meh)
REVIEW: Again, in an earlier post, I indicated that it pretty much sucked. It had a few too many bad action movie cliches and the effects weren't even that eye-popping (unless you count Hugh Jackman shirtless, which, well, I don't). I very much enjoyed the opening credits sequence and the supporting cast had its bright spots, but overall, not a great 2 hours at the movies.

Star Trek
RATING: Highly recommend it
REVIEW: In JJ Abrams I trust. I've never seen an episode of any incarnation of the "Star Trek" TV shows, nor any of the previous "Trek" films. But this movie didn't require its audience to know a thing about the franchise to enjoy it, and yet, it didn't completely shirk the diehard Trek fans. Stellar casting (especially loved Simon Pegg as Scottie), great visuals and a taut storyline kept things moving. I even enjoyed the requisite childhood flashback scene involving James Kirk's rebel-rousing. (What can I say? I'm a sucker for car chases in cornfields while the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" is blaring.)

Terminator Salvation
RATING: Recommend it
REVIEW: Let's get something straight here: It's a "Terminator" movie. We're not curing cancer. So, for a "Terminator" movie, it was good. Tons of homages to the previous films in the franchise (i.e. "You Could Be Mine" playing on a boom box), but it definitely separated itself as a different sort of film. The camera work -- in particular, a single shot when Christian Bale is crash-landing a helicopter -- and cinematography were compelling. The storyline worked for me. And I was able to overlook a couple moments of cheesy dialogue because, let's be honest, T1 and T2 had their cheese-fest moments, too.

RATING: Highly recommend it
REVIEW: Dammit, Pixar, you guys know how to make 'em. When a film can move me to tears, not once, but three times, a high rating is in order. While it wasn't as complete a movie as "Wall-E," it had the necessary pieces of a successful family film: decidedly adult themes and references, accompanied by lively, kid-friendly animal characters and evil villains, thrown together with impressive animation and a spirited score.

The Hangover
RATING: Recommend it
REVIEW: It has a tried-and-true buddy comedy formula from the creators of "Old School," but it somehow resonates even more strongly. Perhaps it's because most of us have had that "what the hell happened last night" experience after a night of drinking. And if you haven't, well, it can be both hilarious and dread-inspiring, which is what "The Hangover" shows us -- times 10. The movie stays funny throughout, and perhaps the most priceless part of the movie is the end credits. There's something you don't see every day.

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