Movie Review: My Recommendation List for Summer 2015
What is this List?
I enjoy films, period. I like different genres, different actors, different story elements rolled into one more easily digestible tale. I enjoy books and I enjoy games, but movies and television shows deliver stories more quickly. So I take plenty of chances to see films in theatres, and it's summertime which means all the big studios will be trying their hand at producing their biggest cash cow.
Now, this list is personal preference and I give my reasons why they're rated the way they are. You may very well have a very different opinion and I'd enjoy hearing it down in the comments.
11. Fantastic Four
Maybe it's a combination for my hopes for this film or my desire to see something redeemable that the rest of the public seemed to miss in their determined mission to hate this film before it ever came out. Well, it's not any better than the cheese fest of 2005 but at least that film had heart, even if it was saturated in cheesy goop.
If the second half of this film matched up with the first, this would rank much higher on the list. It's Disney, and you get what you expect, which is high quality in every regard but some pretty obvious and at times, crippling, molds to fit into. The actors especially are fantastic, especially in the first half, and their banter and dialogue is as good as anything in a summer flick. The mystery in this half was also a main drive but once it's revealed at the midway point, everything slacks off.
No link here, as you can probably guess you'll like the film if you've enjoyed the Minions' antics in the two Despicable Me films. It's more of the same with a slightly different perspective of humor but I still find the original the best (as is often the case, but I digress). Sandra Bullock has a voice made for villainous animated characters and this film helped me realize that. Still, as an adult, I can only enjoy this film so much compared to the next entry on the list that's more targeted to my age group.
8. Pitch Perfect 2
The original Pitch Perfect is a surprisingly fun treat and the second continues the trend. However, this film can't exactly express its uniqueness anymore. A couple of things are meant to replace the old humor (different relationships budding, an original song instead of a mix for the competitions, a hand clapping gimmick to replace the old cup song, and a couple other things). It's not bad at all, but the first is simply just better.
Unlike the others, there is no link for a full review for this film. I find comedy films to be incredibly difficult to properly review. They either apply to your sense of humor, or they don't. As a sequel, it's more of the same.
7. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
My first real entry into the franchise, I think this is a perfectly acceptable summer blockbuster film. The action is fantastic, the characters and plot are bland and used an excuse to fuel the action, and the Big Bad got on my nerves for all the wrong reasons. Still, if you're looking for something to hold you over for a little while, you shouldn't be disappointed with this choice.
6. The man from U.N.C.L.E.
Another spy-action-thriller genre film, this one has roots back in the 60's. It involves a team up of American and Russian agents during the time of the Cold War. It's fun, slick, and strong aesthetically but it's not going to blow your minds, and since it's been so long since the original show, you're more than likely not going to see it because you're a longtime fan. Still, if you've got the time and the money it's not a film you'll be regretful for watching.
5. Ant Man
It's another Marvel movie this summer but the focus is far smaller (no pun intended). It's an origin film of the Ant Man, the superhero who is able to shrink to the size of an ant with all the strength of a full-grown man (with inexact science but whatever it's a superhero flick) and communicate with his namesakes.
Despite the critics ready to laugh this film off, it doesn't perform badly. Sure, it doesn't have the fanfare that the second Avengers film has but it's a good film overall with the quality you've come to expect from Marvel Studios.
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
All the signs are there that it's a great movie. The world is raving about it, the cast and performances were fantastic, the stunts and visuals were amazing, but I wasn't gripped by it, and I'm not sure why.
I guess I didn't get very emotionally attached to it. The villain wasn't polarizing and no one really came about as particularly heroic. I'm grasping at straws why I didn't like it because I don't have a clear reason. A whole lot of other people love it though, so take what I say in moderation.
3. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Of all the set for the summer, none was more celebrated in anticipation than Marvel's latest team up. It's another Marvel cinematic entry with most of Marvel staples, humor, over the top action, weak and forgettable villains. It's good, but it's not a good story, merely a stepping stone to setup Marvel's Phase 3 for better or for worse. It's a sombering fact of the film which cripples it in my standing, but regardless it's still good especially if you're swept up in the superhero craze.
2. Jurassic World
This was the Jurassic sequel we've been waiting for after too long. While yes, the human characters are uninteresting, the film does some excellent work bringing the dinosaurs both new and old to the big screen with a plot that's obviously honoring the original film premise. It's a logical next step plot-wise to the first film and the sheer scope of it is huge! You don't really need to like dinosaurs, movies with complicated parts, deep characters, or anything else when you realize just how much of a suspenseful adventure flick this is. Really, I'd recommend you to check it out no matter what your fancy is when it comes to movies.
1. Ex Machina
Yes, it's a bit more adult than other work on this list and I would never recommend you bring the family or plan a romantic date night around this film, but is this film good?
More than the other films, this one will make you think. It executes all its ideas well and the performances are well done. Its thrilling and psychological and I believe it deserves far more recognition than what it's going to get in the face of powerhouses like the Avengers and the like.
More to Come
Since the summer isn't over (at the time of this posting, anyway) there are more movies to be released and I intend to see quite a bit more. I'll be sharing my opinions and moving the list about with new entries. In case you missed it, most of these listings also have links to a more complete review of the subject matter.
There's going to be plenty of films that will never make it to this list. I don't have the pocket money, time, nor interest to see every film nor every film designed to be a blockbuster. However, maybe you can use this quick guide to help determine what you should see and why, and if you want, read more on the spoiler free reviews.
Regardless, I hope you've enjoyed it and I'd like to hear your opinions on the best and worst movies of the summer! Please share in the comments below.