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04 August 2008

summer blockbusters! [More:]

the mister and I don't go to the multiplex very often because we tend to use our entertainment slush fund more for live shows and such.

However, we did go to see both Wall-E (I'm an unrepentant Pixar nut) and The Dark Knight (he's an unrepentant graphics novel fan) in the theatre, because we had the creeping suspicion that they both deserved to be caught first-run on the big screen. We definitely weren't disappointed. My personal opinion is that these are 2 of the best summer flicks I've seen in, well, forever. Pretty different in tone, and yes, they're both big mainstream blockbuster fare, but wow, they both really knocked our socks off. It doesn't hurt that they both feature strong writing and performances behind the eye candy and special effects... and for "popcorn movies" (which I suspect that neither may actually be), they certainly both provoked a respectable amount of introspective discussion / analysis by us and our group of friends who've seen them. Which isn't bad for a pair of flicks that we'd almost dismissed as the celluloid equivalent of beach reads.

What movie(s) have you recently seen (old or new) that you really liked, or perhaps found yourself liking more than you'd expected?
I haven't been to the movies all summer, but we're trying to get out and catch both of these movies on the big screen before they're gone, lfr.
posted by BoringPostcards 04 August | 15:59
Not being a huge fan of the 'summer blockbuster' genre, I have also found myself pleasantly surprised by The Dark Knight. We saw it on the IMAX last week and holy crap, is that ever a good movie. I could start a whole spoiler-y thread on the movie. I would like to talk about it with people slightly more intelligent than the average IMDB crowd. Plus, I don't like how their threads are set up.
I also have to admit that I liked Hancock. I know most people didn't but I did.
posted by msali 04 August | 16:07
I've heard that Hancock is a great movie smothered by mediocre script re-writes and editing. Conversly, I thought that The Dark Knight was a great action film mushed together with a rather tepid drama. Perhaps if Hancock and TDK were mashed up, we could extract one brilliant film and one stinker... :)
posted by muddgirl 04 August | 16:12
The only movie I've seen all summer, Step Brothers, was hilarious. Adam McKay is a comic genius, and Ferrell and Reilly are a great team.
posted by Hellbient 04 August | 16:27
hm, without getting too spoiler-y muddgirl, I can see where the drama in TDK might definitely read as tepid, plus the ending was a bit of the "leave 'em hanging" deal (heh) that's become popular of late.

I think what I really liked about it tho was that the central themes dealt with some pretty complex issues (for an action movie especially) and that the protagonists (of which there were many) genuinely attempted to do the right thing, according to their own reasoning and available information... which didn't always end up being the actual Right Thing... and sometimes things just went all to fuckery regardless. To me that was so much more realistic than the usual cliche loud handwavy kind of "hollywood" drama. Of course, there was a bit of that thrown in, too... so I dunno.
posted by lonefrontranger 04 August | 16:36
Oh, I agree, lfr - I enjoyed the action, the subtextual ambiguity, how good plans went awry, but I think they tried to shove too much into the movie, and a lot of the character interaction came off as really forced. I can't pinpoint what exactly threw me off. I'll probably end up seeing it again, which should help me articulate what my problem is...
posted by muddgirl 04 August | 16:51
If you're going to keep using "the mister", how am I supposed to tell your posts from deborah's on my RSS reader?
posted by Eideteker 04 August | 18:21
I just re-watched 21 Grams the other night. It blew me away again. Naomi Watts & Benicio Del Toro both deserve lifetime achievement awards for that movie alone. Sean Penn was pretty good too.
posted by richat 04 August | 20:05
My personal opinion is that these are 2 of the best summer flicks I've seen in, well, forever.

I agree there. The best summer movies I've seen in years. DK certainly has its weak spots, but goddamn was that movie worth it. It was great to finally see Hollywood attempting what comic books were doing 15 or 20 years ago. Not to mention the "Watchmen" trailer, which is the first thing I've seen about that movie that made me actually want to watch it.

And Wall-E was delightful. So much fun.

The only movie I've seen all summer, Step Brothers, was hilarious.

Gah, I didn't like that movie. It was like a generic Judd Apatow School of Comedy movie, without Judd Apatow doing the actual writing or directing (YMMV, of course). What I really want to see is Pineapple Express. That movie looks fourteen different kinds of awesome.
posted by middleclasstool 04 August | 22:17
Is DK playing at that Imax in WLR, mct? (Wow, that's a lot of abbrev.)
posted by box 04 August | 22:43
Yeah, it's at the Chenal 9. That's where I saw it. Worth it, I think, because several scenes were shot in IMAX (plus the aforementioned Watchmen trailer, which I only know for sure is showing at the IMAX).
posted by middleclasstool 04 August | 22:52
I really liked Hellboy II. Guillermo del Toro makes some beautiful visuals and unlike Christopher Nolan actually knows how to block an action scene. I can't wait to see it on DVD to see all the detail I missed the first time.

The Mummy III was cute but again the action scenes were mostly cluttered visual noise with no sense of place.

X-Files is not a great movie but if you liked the early years of the X-Files it is like getting together with old friends. It was also kinda cool to see a thriller without a single gun shot or explosion.
posted by arse_hat 04 August | 22:56
Hm, I thought the characters in DK were very wooden and almost all twists unbelievable. It seems Nolan tried too hard to make Batman realistic and ended up in some kind of uncanny valley.
I'm glad I'm not alone muddgirl.
posted by jouke 04 August | 23:03
Get Smart is a pretty fun watch though.
I couldn't believe 7' 2" Dalip Singhs chin was real. But it is.
posted by jouke 04 August | 23:30
I loved the DK. I haven't seen Wall-E yet. My kids have(with their grandparents), I want to see it. I saw the X Files, Get Smart, Indiana Jones, Iron Man, Space Chimps, and Journey to the Center of the Earth this summer. DK was the best by far, obviously.
posted by LoriFLA 04 August | 23:38
I haven't seen any movies since I took my dad to see the happening on father's day. I would like to see Wall-E, TDK, Indiana Jones 4, XF, and even the Mummy. I may try to get a couple of these movies in this week but at this point it's starting to look like dvd or cable viewing on Indiana Jones, XF, and maybe Mummy III.
posted by fluffy battle kitten 05 August | 00:58

My blockbuster roundup...

Wall-E: Superb movie, stands head and shoulders above the other Pixar movies by keeping away from cheesy dialogue. Movie of the year

The Dark Knight: Good action movie. Bit too long though and takes itself a bit too seriously.

Wanted: Fun action movie, crisply done with a nice gimmick.

Hancock: Flawed by changes of tone, can't decide whether it's about slapstick and bottom jokes, or existential tragedy. Still, entertainingly different from the average.

The Happening: Much like the other Shyamalan movies, quite tense if you can suspend your disbelief.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Terrible, dull retread. Sequels can be good if they turn up the volume or bring something new: this didn't.

Doomsday: tribute movie to the apocalyptic movies of the Eighties. Poorly paced and obviously unoriginal, but if you liked "Escape from New York" and "Mad Max 2" you'll get a warm nostalgic glow.

Dammit now I've got this in my head.
posted by TheophileEscargot 05 August | 02:31
Also, how could I forget?

Speed Racer! Superb rollercoaster ride of candy-coloured excitement.
posted by TheophileEscargot 05 August | 03:09
Naked Neighbors. || Star Wars Wedding