Compared to past summers, while I liked the variety of tentpole & indie films, I did feel like this batch of films lacked something of prior years. Mostly, big films released around the summer time have been spreaded around throughout the year, rather than put out during this part of the Summer. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Dunkirk, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Girls Trip & War for the Planet of the Apes held my interest, there was lots of underwhelming (It Comes at Night & Alien: Covenant) & just plain bad (Rough Night & Valerian). After Dunkirk & Girls Trip were released on July 21st, I honestly thought those were the last great films of this summer, because after that, studios released their weak films in August. Rarely do you see killer-apps in August (Though, the first Guardians was an exception in 2014, released in August).
Studios know it’s finite near the end, so the final leg of the summer feels like a mini dump schedule. Studios used to be willing to put a film, but with competition via Streaming & spreading your tent-pole films throughout the year, things aren’t what used to be for a once anticipated part of the movie year. Initially, I had some newer reviews to write up for The Film Wanderer, but, unfortunately, with my attentions to my main personal job, reviews for Dunkirk, Girls Trip, Lady Macbeth & The Hitman’s Bodyguard had to be scrapped, due to my tardiness. Good news is, I’ll mention them in someway during this summer recap. Most of these won’t be long, because I already wrote them or for brevity purposes. Each list will be in four separate categories (Great, Good, Mediocre & Bad). Some might surprise you, while others might have you scratching your head.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2:
While it’s story isn’t as tight as its predecessor, there’s no denying how GOTGV2 will make you feel. Pretty much every character has their own separate arc which makes a simple film like this all the more compelling. It’s funny as it is fun & it’s downright emotional when it needs to be. A top-tier Marvel Studios film, indeed.
I’m disappointed that I never got the opportunity to write a review for Dunkirk, just ran out of time, but Christopher Nolan can add this film to an already sterling career. There’s not much dialogue, as the film’s score & direction are unique cues for what happens. It was an interesting way to watch this film. Time plays a key role, scene for scene, be it linear or non-linear. The perspective from air, sea & land Fionn Whitehead is great here & a big shoutout to One Direction Harry Styles, as he puts in a great performance here. While it can lag a bit, it makes up for it with great filmmaking. It also looked great in IMAX. Not my favorite Nolan film (Interstellar’s my favorite), but it gets the job done.
Amazing Spider-Man, as a franchise, wasn’t meant to be, considering the five year gap between the third Raimi film & the first Amazing film. Those films never got their due, because the timing was bad & they basically did an origin story that did improve upon the original series. So when Spider-Man was going to be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it finally felt the character was going to get the respect it deserve & it didn’t disappoint. He’s a freshmen in high school & we finally get to see this character more vulnerable, strong & struggle, where Andrew Garfield & Sadface Tobey Maguire simply imitated one. Tom Holland got ALL of the character. Michael Keaton was superb as Vulture/Adrian Tooms. He’s one of the best villains in the MCU to date. This entire film was awesome.
War for the Planet for the Apes:
A fitting end to a superb prequel series. I knew the ending was coming but it still hurt anyway. A great allegory on racism & slavery. The mo-cap actors, especially Andy Serkis, need to get an Oscar nomination. It’s that good.
This comedy was so good, I nearly got in trouble with some audience members for laughing so loud. Blame Tiffany Haddish for a good time. Alsoi, it’s worth noting that this film was the first comedy that I saw four black women be leads in a film. A long-time coming too.
If the DCEU needed a critically acclaimed & financial win, Wonder Woman really saved their ass. While I still liked Man of Steel, that films biggest problem, is, at times, the movie lacks subtlety, because Zack Snyder has a problem being to nail the little things in his films, so he tends to overdue narration, it didn’t hurt the film for me, but I get those who had a problem with it. Patty Jenkins, not only nails it, she is able to get more of her film than prior DCEU directors, including David Ayer. Gal Gadot nails all of the aspects of Wonder Woman. Her naivety, strength, compassion & will absolutely are what make that film great. Chris Pine is great as Steve Trevor & doesn’t take over the film like other films that meant to have a female lead. This is about Wonder Woman, through & through, not Trevor. I don’t know what the future holds for this struggling universe, but it was great to see it on a good track.
Edgar Wright couldn’t make Ant-Man work for his vision, so he went back to basics & proceeded to make this movie. I nearly put this in the “good” category, because I felt it was a bit overrated with the praise being “it’s original” for some critics, but I decided to put it here, because it was a lot of fun. Great chase scenes, great script & casting, and solid direction. Edgar Wright gives you what you want every time & Baby Driver didn’t disappoint.
I went into seeing this with little to no information possible. I saw a preview of this, while Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled was out in theaters (more on that later). My Shakespeare knowledge isn’t good, but you didn’t need any background to know that MacBeth, at least in this portrayal, wasn’t a good person & movie never backed down from that. She was rightfully vindictive when she needed to be, yet wrong for hurt those who didn’t abuse her. With this being Florence Pugh’s first role, she has great screen presence and is a good actress. I don’t think this film reinvented the female role, but hopefully, women like Pugh get more roles. It was a solid film all around.
The Big Sick:
Judd Apatow isn’t on my good list, as of late. The way he’s passive on race & how he depicts his characters can annoy me sometimes. However, his film track record is solid, for the most part & he can add The Big Sick into that category. The film is based off the life of Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon. Their road towards getting to a loving relationship wasn’t easy, as Emily was ill with Still disease (I don’t know her actual illness in real-life, since her disease isn’t disclosed, so don’t rely on this written article). Kumail bombed his comedy bits while dealing with Emily being on the mend. During some point of the film, they are separated, due to Emily not wanting to be committed to the relationship. Eventually, it all gets solved. Not a favorite of mine for the year, but a solid film.
This was a difficult one, as I did enjoy Baywatch, but overtime, I realized, it’s an OK comedy, at best. The Rock & Zack Efron have good chemistry, Hannibal Buress is funny for the short amount of time he’s on-screen, but that’s about it for me. While their lines & jokes landed, the movie went with it’s motions. Yes, I did give it three stars, but I didn’t think it was a good movie by any means. Hell, David Hasselhoff’s here with a forgettable cameo. It would’ve been funnier if this film parodied Baywatch Nights, too; cuz, that was a laughably bad show. Priyanka Chopra is film villain, but I wasn’t intimidated by her. The film could’ve been better, but it’s decent, if not good.
Sigh. Ridley Scott is probably the biggest fake deep director not named Wes Anderson. Sure he directed great films like the original Alien, Blade Runner & Gladiator, but do you notice that those two are heavily promoted as “from the director of Alien & Gladiator” over & over again? Covenant isn’t a good film, yet the only way I enjoyed it, was what I typically do with films like this: don’t take it seriously. I didn’t care for these characters, expect for David & Walter (both played by Michael Fassbender). Even the way they played their exploration was reckless (where the hell is your space gear or hazmat suit?). From that point, I smiled at the stupidity of humanity & it was incredible. Seeing those rapidly produced Xenomorphs destroy humans had me losing it in utter hilarity. I’m still laughing at the idiotic decision making. In all seriousness, though, if FOX, wants to save this once proud franchise, let go of Ridley. Let. Him. Go. Start a journey with this series & get a new visionary.
Hoped for good things with this film, but I ultimately got bored with this movie. There’s nothing significantly wrong with it & it’s about white dudes planing a heist at NASCAR’s Coke Cola 600, and as a fan of stock car racing it should’ve been up my alley. I might revisit it see why I didn’t enjoy it, but for now, it’s mediocre.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard:
Without Ryan Reynolds & Samuel L Jackson, this is a subpar film, at best. They’re funny & are a cool pairing, just, ultimately, I forgot about it, after the last motherfucker was uttered in the film.
Why is it on the list with the mediocre film, even though I know it’s bad? Simple, I accepted that it was bad, like Alien: Covenant, enjoyed it. Sure hope Sir Anthony Hopkins enjoyed that Michael Bay cash, because he was awful.
Gritty, harsh & unapologetic. Unfortunately, Kathryn Bigalow made some questionable decisions here, especially, with certain characters & historic moments that let you know a white woman directed this from her perspective. I honestly think if Mark Boal wasn’t the writer on this project & a black person wrote it, this could’ve been better, in my opinion. Will Poulter played a racist cop that wasn’t sugar coated. Glad they didn’t hold back on the police corruption, it just tries to hard, at times, to showcase how “in your face” it is.
Read my review. Ranting about it here would rob me of my soul. It’s historically tone deaf & milquetoast as fuck.
Worst Guy Richie film ever. It didn’t need to happen. And they tried to go crossfit Arthur with Charlie Hunnam. C’mon, WB. Should’ve put some of that $175M to give Wonder Woman a better final fight.
It Comes At Night
Yeah, I still don’t know what this film is ultimately about. So many good performances wasted on a copout.