This was a pretty good summer for movies. The superhero offerings all failed to live up to their hype to some regard or other, but that was offset by a trio of capers (to use the term loosely) and the unbelievably good Mad Max Fury Road. Plus, this summer had Pixar unarguably jumping back on top of the animated pile. Aside from Fantastic 4, even the disappointing movies were enjoyable. Really, while I only really loved the top few, this is probably the most I’ve enjoyed a crop of summer movies from top to bottom in a long time.
9: Fantastic Four – Miserable. Simply miserable. There really isn’t anything good to say about it. *1/2
8: Jurassic World – Dumb, but really quite enjoyable. It is half monument to the original and over the top escalation. Either way, I like it quite a bit ***1/2
7: Avengers: Age of Ultron – This was maybe the biggest disappointment of the summer, if only because expectations were unreasonably high for it coming it. Not bad, but it is feeling the emptiness that first managed to avoid. ***1/2
6: Ant-Man – Another example of Marvel executing their formula. This is good popcorn entertainment, but there is nothing new here. I enjoyed it slightly more than Marvel’s other offering. ***1/2
5: Furious 7 – This one goes above the Marvel offerings just because it had more that I hadn’t seen before. Mostly because it was too dumb to put in a movie, but Furious 7 managed to entertain with the audacity of its stupidity. ***1/2
4: The Man from UNCLE – Light and breezy and perfectly fun. It really elevated my opinions of Cavill and Hammer. ****
3: Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation – Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg are an entertaining pair. As long as they can keep the same essential cast together, with Cruise as an American Bond and Pegg as his more hands on Q, I’ll keep going to see them. ****
2: Inside Out – I am a big fan of even Pixar’s recent output. Monsters University and Brave were excellent. Inside Out, though, blows them away. It is excellent, a top 5 Pixar film. *****
1: Mad Max Fury Road – Not just the best movie of the summer, but maybe the best movie I’ve seen since I started reviewing movies on this blog. It is amazing. It may be the best movie I’ve ever seen in a theater. *****
So that was what I saw this summer, but what about the rest of the year? There are still a ton of interesting movies coming out in the latter part of the year. The fall and winter has a good mix of would be blockbusters and award bait. So what caught my eye while flipping through IMDB’s coming soon list?
Victor Frankenstein – A take on Frankenstein with McAvoy and Radcliffe. I like those actors and this story, this looks like it might be good.
The Jungle Book – Another well-known story with an interesting cast. Favreau has done good work with the Iron Man movies, but Cowboys & Aliens was drek. Still, this could be good.
Crimson Peak – I hate horror movies, but I love Guillermo del Toro, so I am torn on this movie. I really want to go see it, but I’m not sure I’ll have the stomach to sit through it.
Bridge of Spies – This is on here just because it is Spielberg. His best work may be behind him, but I’ve still enjoyed most of his recent efforts.
Jem and the Holograms – The trailer looked like they sapped everything interesting out of this in the process of making it. If some of the craziness of the 80’s cartoon makes it through it should be interesting.
Spectre – I may be a critic of Craig’s Bond movies (they’re good, not great) but still I will be going to see this. Hopefully it is at least as good as Skyfall, which was easily the best of Craig’s movies.
The Peanuts Movie – Peanuts is great. I hope this is as well. I don’t have much else to add.
The Martian – The trailer looked good, I still have a little irrational faith in Ridley Scott and I like Matt Damon. So I’ll likely be seeing this.
The Good Dinosaur – Another Pixar joint, another trip to the cinema for me. That’s all there is to it.
In the Heart of the Sea – Another good (at least occasionally) director, good cast and interesting story. I’m not certain, but I’ll like be there for this as well.
Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens – The big daddy of second half of the year movies. I thought I was over my Star Wars love, but I am getting caught in the growing hype for this. It looks and sounds really good. I can’t wait.
Sisters – Tina Fey can do no wrong by me. 30 Rock was great, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is great, Mean Girls was great. As long as she, and Amy Poehler, are involved I am interested. I realize they didn’t write this, but still, I’m in.
The Hateful 8 – Quentin Tarantino. Of course I want to see it. It might be hard to work it in around Star Wars, though.
Of course, it is unlikely in the extreme that I end up seeing all of these movies this fall, but they are the ones that look interesting. Are there any I’ve missed? If so tell me what else I should keep my eye on.
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What months count as summer to you?