Writing takes a lot of time, especially when you’re trying to say something in a way that a million other people haven’t already said. Add a normal day job to that, on top of Unpredictable Life Stuff, and it becomes that much harder to get yourself in the proper mindset. I only mention this because the thing I meant to post earlier this week is going to take a bit longer than I thought, so I’m working on trimming and refocusing it down to a more manageable length. Still, I’d like to finish writing something in the meantime, if only to keep myself from stalling out completely.
On that note, I’m gonna try something a little different here and take a look at a couple movies I saw over the summer, roughly April to August 2018. Just to keep things moving and avoid rambling on, I’m gonna put an handicap on myself and try to keep it to a hundred words or less. Admittedly this is more of a writing exercise to try and consolidate my thoughts rather than actual proper reviews; it would be more accurate to call them impressions or observations, so take that as you will. With all that out of the way, here are a few thoughts on a bunch of movies I saw this summer.
Ant-Man and The Wasp [dir. Peyton Reed]
I liked this one, but then I’m pretty biased when it comes to Marvel. This movie doesn’t exactly break the mold, but it’s got some solid laughs, a fairly straightforward plot, some crazy visuals, and a talented cast anchored by National Treasure Paul Rudd. Abby Forston Ryder is the dark horse MVP of the whole movie as Ant-Man’s daughter Cassie; I’m totally game to watch a team-up movie with her and her dad fighting crime. In the meantime though, this’ll do just fine.
OBLIGATORY RATING: Seven Ants out of Ten
The Big Lebowski [dir. Joel Coen]
They brought this one back to theaters a couple weeks ago so I figured I could finally scratch this one off the list of Movies I’m Supposed To Watch Before I Die. I thought it was…perfectly fine. There’s some memorable characters, plenty of great lines, and the overall plot is typically clever for a Coen Brothers flick, but for one reason or another it just didn’t grab me. Maybe I’ve just had this one built up too much by friends and family to just take it on it’s own, I dunno. Liked it but didn’t love it.
OBLIGATORY RATING: Seven Bowling Balls out of Ten
Mission Impossible – Fallout [dir. Christopher McQuarrie]
Every other review I’ve seen talks about the action and, don’t get me wrong, the action’s impressive, but I see it more as a character study than an action showcase. We get to peek inside Ethan Hunt’s head in a way we haven’t seen since, arguably, the third Mission Impossible movie. It’s not a happy place; the dude has some serious demons he’s wrestling with. The rest of the cast does well but this is Ethan Hunt’s movie aaall the way. Not the best of the bunch, but it works perfectly fine as the culmination of the entire film series.
OBLIGATORY RATING: Eight Exotic Set-Piece Locations out of Ten
The Darkest Minds [dir. Jennifer Yuh Nelson]
Unfortunately this movie doesn’t do quite enough to stand out from the other half-dozen other adaptations of YA dystopian books that have come and gone. There’s some genuinely clever stuff sprinkled throughout the film — a shot of a parking lot filled with rusted school buses being an especially haunting visual — but there’s rarely time to let those moments sink in before we move on to the next scene. Everyone involved does their best, but I think this is a movie that would’ve greatly benefited from another draft. Incidentally, a tragic waste of a perfectly good Bradley Whitford and Gwendoline Christie.
OBLIGATORY RATING: Five Buses Out of Ten
Teen Titans Go! To The Movies [dir. Peter Rida Michail & Aaron Horvath]
I went into this as a casual watcher of the Teen Titans Go! TV series and I wasn’t disappointed. If you’ve seen an episode of the show — any episode really — you’ll have a good sense of the kind of humor the creators have for the source material. A lot of the humor is hit-and-miss, but on occasion the material is brilliantly subversive. Loved the use of different animation styles in particular, plus one extremely catchy song. As a quick aside: if you enjoyed the 2003 Teen Titans show there’s some promising news for you after the credits. A silly, enjoyable romp.
OBLIGATORY RATING: Four Burgers & Two Tacos Out of Ten
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again [dir. Ol Parker]
I almost forgot I saw this, actually, which should tell you a lot already. I don’t hate the concept, but it seems to me the story isn’t so much driving the soundtrack as the soundtrack is driving the story. I like ABBA music just fine, but is that really enough to justify two feature length movies? I mean, the cast certainly looks like they’re having fun, but there’s just not a lot to chew on here. All in all, just not for me. Still, credit where it’s due, “Ghost Meryl Streep” was a pretty bold choice to end on.
OBLIGATORY RATING: Four Singing Ghost Moms Out of Ten
Alright, that’s six of ’em. Just for giggles, let’s see if I can get the rest down to ten words or less. Speed Round!
Deadpool 2 | Ryan Reynold’s R-rated redemption rolls on. Your mileage may vary.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom | That certainly was a movie with dinosaurs in it.
Tag | Just imagine it’s still Jeremy Renner playing Hawkeye. Instantly improved.
Hotel Artemis | A perfectly fine, “Tarrantino” style flick. Just a tad disappointing.
Sorry To Bother You | The words “hilariously disturbing” come to mind. See more here.
Solo: A Star Wars Story | Han shoots first. I am content. Donald Glover rocks.
Rampage | Should’ve been called it “Furious George”. Hire me, Hollywood!
Avengers: Infinity War | Everyone screws up. Tears were shed. Hyped for Captain Marvel.
Looking back I’d say that on the whole it was a decent, if not exactly fantastic, crop of summer movies. If nothing else it was fun to get out of the house and see a couple flicks with family and friends. Reading comics is by and large a pretty solitary activity, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to shake things up and get me out of my own head for a bit.
Anyway, that’s all I’ve really got to say for now, but this was a fun little experiment. If there were any movies you saw this summer that you think you can summarize in 100 words, or even 10 words, I’d love to see your takes on them.
All images are taken from the Fandango website and are owned by their respective studios. I own nothing.