Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer movie round-up

Now for the summer movies so far.

Toy Story 3 - I am aware it was released within the confines of Spring; I waited a week to allow time for the crowds to thin out a bit. Toy Story 3 blew me away. I don't know how Pixar does it, but they usually manage to improve with each new movie. I will freely admit that I've never been much of a Toy Story fan, but I was completely pulled in by Toy Story 3.

The Last Airbender - Who knew someone would release a movie this summer that made Jonah Hex look good? By now I'm sure everyone has heard or read about racebending-gate, but it turns out that the racial makeup of the cast was the least of The Last Airbender's problems. Even the few good actors in the movie didn't bother putting in good performances, and I can't blame them. I wouldn't try too hard if I was given such terrible material to work with either. And for some bizarre reason, half the story is told in narration; the movie just kind of flits from scene to scene without ending or even starting any of them properly. Fight choreography was decent, but the special effects were abysmal. I will say one thing about the race issue: at least Jake Gyllenhaal had the decency to get a goddamn tan to somewhat blend in for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. What the hell were two white children doing with the Southern Water Tribe anyway? The mismatch was jarring.

Knight & Day - A welcome diversion after The Last Airbender. It was a pleasing blend of action and humor, and the two leads had great chemistry. Good, but not something I'd go out of my way to watch again.

Predators - Finally, a decent successor to the first two movies. Not as good as the first two, but it was still a competent action movie with a lot of nice little references to the previous movies; particularly Predator.

Despicable Me - Excellent movie, although you can tell a few corners had to be cut on the animation. I feared the movie would feel rushed due to the length (90ish minutes), but it was actually remarkably well-paced. Quality writing, quality cast, quality movie. As you might imagine from the ad campaign, the minions really do steal the show. The minions are in on all the best sight gags, yet they're never really so overused that they wear out their welcome.

Inception - I don't want to say too much, because that would inevitably lead to spoilers. That said, amazing movie. It is better than anything Nolan has done previously, every member of the cast did a fantastic job, and the movie works on all levels. It can be a very entertaining straight-up action/heist movie for people who like that sort of thing, but Inception is capable of really engaging the brain if you pay closer attention. I'm glad I saw a matinee screening, because my mind would not have been awake enough to handle this movie at night.

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