In my summer movie preview I included April movies, so I guess I will include them in my wrap-up as well. I don’t think I’ll be seeing any more films this summer. That puts me at more than a dozen movies seen this summer, which is the most since I’ve started doing this blog. I would also say that this is the worst summer for movies in that time frame. Really, this summer was filled with disappointments, even in the movies that made the top half of this list. The best I can say about most of these movies is that they were vaguely enjoyable.
13: Warcraft – This spot was the easiest one to fill. I didn’t see a more dreadfully boring movie this summer than Warcraft. It had that special combination of dullness and stupidity that made it almost completely unwatchable.
12: The Jungle Book – I think most people would rank this one higher, but I found it to be a flat retelling of a well-known story. What they achieved with the visual effects does not make for an interesting movie.
11: The BFG – I saw no bigger disappointment this year than The BFG. I love Spielberg, but much like the Jungle Book this movie mistook visual effects for storytelling. I guess the flatulent antics might entertain some kids, but it just doesn’t work as a movie.
10: X-Men Apocalypse – You’ve seen this movie before and better. It moves another step toward bringing in all the fun comic book stuff, but it does it in service to the same Xavier, Magneto and Mystique story that we’ve seen in the last two movies. The promising new crop of mutants is largely irrelevant. I might be being too hard on this one, but it left a bad taste.
9: The Huntsman: Winter’s War – Like its predecessor, this movie feels like a bit of a throwback to the fantasy movies of the 80’s that I grew up with. SO despite it having three great actresses and no clue what to do with them, I was amused by this adventure. It lacks any real spark, but it was fun enough.
8: Central Intelligence – This was one of the few pleasant surprises this summer. It wasn’t great or anything, but both The Rock and Kevin Hart are funny and the disparity in their sizes is inherently funny.
7: Legend of Tarzan – I don’t know why Warner Bros spent so much money on a Tarzan movie, but I am kind of glad they did. It is trapped between the pulpy fun of Tarzan and the somewhat more serious movie it wants to be, but what it is is largely really enjoyable.
6: Finding Dory – I know I should slide this one up, it is objectively a well-made film. I just don’t like it that much. I never really cottoned to Finding Nemo, and this is just more of the same. I am a big sucker for Pixar movies, but the Nemo movies are among my least favorites. Still, I’m happy for its success.
5: Suicide Squad – I know I should slide this one back; it is objectively a mess. But I find something about it oddly compelling. I like Will Smith and Margot Robbie. Once the movie gets out of the blender that is the first half hour I think it really finds its footing.
4: Ghostbusters – Some of the highest highs this summer were in this movie, but is an uneven experience. I loved Kate McKinnon’s Holtzmann and the movie was largely very funny, but it felt kind of flabby. A little too much letting the characters do something funny and little too little story. Still, I it was mostly a good time.
3: Kubo and the Two Strings – Beautiful and touching, this movie was everything I hoped it could be. Laika usually does good work, though generally in stuff with a horror theme that leaves me cold. This is simply wonderful
2: Captain America: Civil War – The first real movie of the summer was for the bulk of the season the best. It avoided most of the bloat of Age of Ultron and was only deliberately unsatisfying. For all that it felt like the Marvel side of the movie taking over the Captain America part, the whole remained satisfying.
1: Star Trek Beyond – This movie did an excellent job of washing away increasingly unpalatable taste of its predecessor, going somewhat smaller than other recent Star Trek movies, but doing a better job of capturing that classic Star Trek feeling.
So what is on the docket for the rest of the year? Not much, really. There are a few things that look really interesting, but while the stuff coming is almost certainly to be better than the summer fare, it is also much harder to judge from a distance. Still, after trolling through the coming soon stuff on boxofficemojo, I have found quite a few movies that are at least interesting over the rest of 2016.
- Sully – Clint Eastwood may be an angry old coot, but he hasn’t forgotten how to make a fine film. This one isn’t high on my list, but you can’t just dismiss Eastwood.
- Magnificent 7 – A remake of the Magnificent 7 with a really great cast. I’ve been burned by this several times this year, but the trailer was great.
- Masterminds – An oft delayed comedy with a stellar cast. I’ll wait on the reviews, but I have some hopes.
- The Accountant – Some kind of action thriller starring Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick. I like the cast and concept.
- Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – There was no Tom Cruise this summer, but hopefully this will make up for it. The first Jack Reacher was fine.
- Doctor Strange – Marvel’s second outing this year. As much as I like Cumberbatch, this just looks like another Marvel movie. Which isn’t really a bad thing.
- Arrival – A sci fi movie starring Amy Adams. The trailer made it look really great.
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – A return to the world of Harry Potter. That is enough to get me to the theater.
- Moana – Another Disney animated movie, this one set in the South Pacific. They’ve been on a hot streak lately.
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – A Star Wars movie a year for the rest of your life. If it is half as good as The Force Awakens it will be great.
- Assassin’s Creed – One the one hand, judging by Warcraft video game movies are still terrible and Assassin’s Creed is nonsense at best, but Fassbender’s great.
That is what I am paying attention to for the rest of the year. I am sure there is more coming out that looks good, please tell me if there is anything noteworthy that I missed. Hopefully there are enough hits to make up for how bad that summer was.