Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Fistful of Summer Movies! (Matt’s Picks)

    OK, so the summer is done, and I watched a ton of movies.  Back in April, we gave a preview of our most anticipated films of the summer (Matt's picks  ---  Brad's Picks).  Now, looking back, and letting you know what our favorite films were.  My most anticipated films were Kung Fu Panda 2, which was a lot of fun; Cowboys and Aliens, which was good; X-Men First Class, which was uneven, having both some very cool aspects and some awful aspects; Pirates of the Caribbean-On Stranger Tides, I could come back to another one of these every couple of years without difficulty; and Captain America: The First Avenger, which was great for the first two thirds, but lost it in the third act when it became little more than a preview for next year’s The Avengers.  So, here are my five favorites from this past summer.

5.  Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides:  You know what?  I just enjoy these crazy swashbuckling fantasy films.  They’re fun, action packed, and exciting.  As I said above, I would be happy to come back every couple summers and watch a new adventure of Captain Jack and his friends and enemies.  Sure, the fill-in couple of the pious young man and his mermaid lover are exceptionally dull and I’d be fine if they dropped them, the movie overall was a solid pirate adventure.

4.  Hobo With a Shotgun:  Crass, gross, ignorant, disgusting.  Awesome.  Like a dose of classic 80s Troma terror, this film is a wonderful throwback to the nasty, experimental, low budget movies that graced video stores in my youth.  Great characters.  Weird and sick behavior.  Rutger Hauer.  Classic.

3.  TrollHunter:  The best ‘found footage’ film to date, this bit of crazy from Norway is funny and freaky.  I like the cast, especially Otto Jespersen as the gruff old hunter.  So, so, so much fun.

2.  Attack the Block:  What a fantastic flick.  Young punks living their brutish, ignorant life in the projects of South London are forced to step up, grow up, and become men when horrible beasts from space start hunting the Block.  The character arc of Moses is really something.  And, it’s funny. Believe.

1.  Super 8:  I’m a little surprised this ended up as my favorite, but I really did enjoy it.  Very much the kind of kid-escapism I loved so much as a lad, with plenty of nostalgia.  Good kid actors, a solid story, cool effects, and just generally a good ride.  I would not at all be surprised to find this gain the kind of following with kids today that The Goonies had with my generation.

      As a side note, my least anticipated film of the summer was Conan the Barbarian.  And it lived up (down) to my early feelings...and then some.  It is currently in the running for worst film of the year.  Good sweet crap, why!?



  1. Nice list, I wish I'd seen Attack the Block, but it's not playing anywhere near me. You liked Cowboys & Aliens more than X Men First Class? I couldn't disagree more on that front. Loved Super 8 though and Rise of Apes was solid summer fare. Good work!

  2. I loved, loved, loved all the Erik/Charles stuff in XMen but really did not like the rest of the teen mutants. Kinda same old same old and rather aggravating. Plus I felt they wrapped up Erik and Charles relationship too quickly. Lots of good thing but ultimately disappointing. Cowboys & Aliens was just pure entertainment. And I'm a sucker for Westerns.


  3. I'm pretty much with Brad on that. I did love the older characters in X-Men. But I HATED the young mutants and pretty much every moment they were on screen. It felt like two movies, one great, one awful, edited together. I wish they'd focused on the Charles/Erik friendship, then formed the school in the finale.

    And, while I wasn't in love with Cowboys & Aliens, I did really enjoy it. Solid, if not amazing.

    I still need to see Apes. It doesn't look like what I want from an Apes movie, especially because it looks very anti-science, which I think we could use a bit less of (read 100% less of) in modern science fiction. But, I'm curious and I hear good things (one good thing being that James Franco isn't in it as much as it looks like he is).