Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer Films

Well, half way through the summer almost and I'm burned out on Blockbusters already.

The Lone Ranger this weekend was, for me, the final proof that Hollywood has no idea.  Yet another tent-pole film that starts out okay, with interesting characters and situations etc. but then buries these under a crushing weight of pointless explosions, car (or train) chases, and general smash-'em-up that, frankly, no one can possibly care about.  I mean, that final train chase?  Except for the funny ladder bit, dumb.  And Superman: the Man of Steel disintegrated under a similar load of smashed buildings.  (Earlier post HERE.)  I'm struggling to even remember what the other couple flicks were... I dimly remember more smash-ups, but can't call to mind what the excuse, pardon me, the title of these films were.

Not exactly memorable cinema.

Oh yeah, one was Star Trek: Into Darkness.  This was a better movie, but again good characters were ultimately wasted on a smash-'em star-ship-chase conclusion that managed to completely contradict the pacifist point of the Star Trek universe.  Sigh.  And Iron Man III, which was okay.  (HERE.)

The other trend I've noticed lately comes from the coincidence of seeing in the theater Tom Cruise's Oblivion (a beautiful sci-fi world with silly plot holes HERE) and seeing his Jack Reacher soon after on Netflix.  The Star Vehicle.  Both films had their essential natures warped - sometimes fatally - by the pressures of being driven by The Star.  Another sort of car wreck.  Why did Jack Reacher, about a detective who doesn't even own a car, have a car chase in it?  Naturally Cruise drives like a pro.  Just as his sheer masculinity makes the utterly professional female attorney leave the trailer just to cool down after seeing him shirtless.  Poor girl.  (Whatever they paid the actress she earned every penny just for not giggling.)

Finding the vanity moments has gotten to be a game.  I may check out a few more from Cruise's late oeuvre  - throwing popcorn at the screen and hooting with laughter is fun!

Actual good movies this summer?

Much Ado About Nothing - Shakespeare (and Whedon) - review HERE

So far my favorites are Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing and The Kings of Summer.

Compared to big summer-smash movies these are quiet little low budget films in which not much happens.  I loved them both.

Much Ado About Nothing is a black and white modern-day version of Shakespeare's comedy set at a summer house party and filmed with many favorite actors from Whedon's television work.  Very nicely done.  I think I like it equally - though differently - as Kenneth Branagh's  gorgeous 1993 version.  The compare-and-contrast between the two films is fascinating.

The Kings of Summer is about three teenaged boys who build a secret hideout in the woods.  Lovely.  Worth seeing.  It captures a lot of truth about growing up and about summer...

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