Friday, August 30, 2013

A Fistful of Summer 2013! (Matt’s Picks)

    OK, so I’m a little depressed.  This has been a pretty rough year.  Admittedly, it’s been getting a bit better.  But after last year’s parade of awful, to get hit with another pretty terrible batch of movies has gotten me down.  I’m in a bit of a movie funk, that is made all  the worse because there isn’t much on the horizon to get me all fired up.

    Anyway, the Summer did finally produce some movies of note.  So that’s something.  There have been some stinkers, and some world class failures.  Star Trek Into Darkness killed my excitement for that franchise.  White House Down was even more boring than it looked.  The less said about 2 Guns, the better.  But there was some good, too.  And several of the bombs weren’t actually all that bad.  Heck, I didn’t even hate After Earth (though I’m not gonna say it was good, it was passable).  The Lone Ranger was pretty good.  And while not amazing, Pacific Rim was a nice Kaiju adventure film.  While I am relieved that I had more than five movies to choose from for this list, I’m sad that I didn’t have much more than five, and I don’t know that more than one or two of these feel top ten of the year worthy.  So, let’s hope the end of the year is better than it looks.

5.  The Lone Ranger:  ???  Yeah.  I don’t know.  It was pretty good.  A fun Western adventure movie.  Comparisons to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are only natural, and completely fair.  But I liked it.  Had America (and the world) not turned upon it like rabid dogs, I would have been perfectly happy coming back every couple of years to watch another entry, just like with the Pirates films.  Nothing amazing, but fun enough for a good time.

4.  Europa Report:  Was it a great movie?  No.  But I give them full marks for making a fairly realistic look at early exploration of the Solar System.  It’s also probably the best ‘found footage’ film I’ve seen, both in the actual footage, and the presentation (the film is assembled to look like a documentary, with interviews and such inter-cut).

3.  The World’s End:  The third film in the so called Cornetto Trilogy (Sean of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and this) is all kinds of fun.  But it’s also the weakest of the trilogy.  Even as the weakest, it’s still quite good.

2.  Elysium:  See, this is what I’m talking about.  Elysium is a pretty good William Gibson type cyberpunk film, with plenty of cool bits and good use of tech.  But it’s also full of shaky cam, extremely heavy handed, and has an unsatisfying conclusion.  So, why is it my number 2 film of the Summer?  ‘Cause this hasn’t been a good year.  Elysium is fine.  It’s pretty good.  It’s just not all that great.

1.  Only God Forgives:  Did you like Drive, but think there was just too much talking?  Do you like metaphors with you symbolism?  Do you like seeing hands get cut off?  Much more like the director’s pre-Drive Valhalla Rising, this hypnotic nightmare ride through the Thai underworld may be about a guy who wants to fight God…who may be an unassuming Thai detective…or something.  Oh yeah.  And karaoke!

    Holy crap.  Putting this list together makes me even more sad than when I started it.  This has been a bad year.


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