Summer Movie Blitz!

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Obviously, I've been on hiatus. Yes, I missed a lot of juicy potential posts, many of which I started but never quite got finished.

So here in one fell swoop are a bunch of not-as-quick-as-I-would-have-liked-them reviews!

After the jump: Terminator Salvation, Harry Potter 6, Transformers 2, GI Joe, District 9, Inglourious Basterds.

Terminator Salvation

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Terminator Salvation could have been amazing. If there was a TV show that had run for a season or two and culminated in this movie, it would have been awesome. As it is, the movie is all chase and little development. Marcus Wright had potential, and I was fascinated by Anton Yelchin's Kyle Reese and Star, but both had too little screen time.

What actually left the biggest impression on me was the ending as Christian Bale flew off into the sunset to take down the next Skynet stronghold. The glaring problem with that is in Skynet's name: Sky. Cloud. Cloud computing. There's no end to Skynet because Skynet will just keep respawning all over the world at all of its other terminals; that's how it took over the first place. The Resistance has already lost, and they expect to make another two movies?

Besides that, the question remains whether or not Christian Bale will continue to be involved. I hope he will, considering all the effort expended to keep him alive in the movie, at the expense of Marcus Wright coming back. Sam Worthington wasn't bad!

PS: Let's pretend the Governator thing didn't happen. Thanks.

Harry Potter 6: The Half-Blood Prince


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This was one of my favorite books, closely following Book 4, Goblet of Fire, as my #1 and probably tied with Book 7, Deathly Hallows, for 2nd. In fact, it may edge Deathly Hallows out a bit. That said, I love David Yates' version of the books, which pulls the fifth and sixth movies into the fore for me.

There are always complaints about what did or didn't make it into the movie, but I thought the movie worked well with the material, and instead of focusing on the story, it really embraced the the visual aspect of the medium. I mean, no descriptive words could ever evoke the same reaction as just seeing this moment:



Yates took this movie in a completely different direction than anyone could have guessed: comedy?! This was one of the saddest books in the series and Yates made me laugh out loud over and over again. It's a different view of the books that I never got before and created a whole different dimension to the story. In fact, Yates did the same thing with Order of the Phoenix by turning it from an teen-angst-filled anger-fest to an epic and heroic installment in the series.

I'm not saying he's improving on the books, I'm just saying he's giving us something completely different, and it's all the more fun for it. All of this just makes me more excited to see what he does with Deathly Hallows.


Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

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I figured if I was going to pay to see it, I might as well go all in and see it in IMAX, which is always an "experience."  I have to say, seeing the robots in IMAX gives you a much better appreciation of scale. On the other hand, seeing Shia LaBeouf's face 3 stories high was somewhat of a nightmare, but you have to give and take.

The movie wasn't nearly as bad as I was led to believe, thanks to far more scenes including giant robots. This movie also forced fanboys and fangirls to relive the Death of Optimus, but you can't sell toys of dead robots, so throw the robot a Phoenix Down and an Elixer because, hey, making a bigger, badder version of Optimus will sell even more toys! I will admit, however, Optimized Optimus kicking ass all over the place did make me smile. A lot.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

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G.I. Joe, on the other hand, had me smiling throughout. No, I was giggling throughout. Laughing. Rolling, practically. My friend Julie said it best: "You know you're in trouble when Sienna Miller is the best 'actress' in a movie."

The utter disregard for physics was a fascinating turn from all of these superhero movies attempting to entrench themselves in reality. I mean, orange fireball explosions underwater?! Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow's battle in a room crackling with so much electricity, it looked like one of those electrostatic balls?  Pack ice sinking down to the ocean floor after being blown apart? Excuse me!?

Don't even get me started on the whole Ripcord/Scarlett thing. Who in their right mind would go after Snake Eyes' girlfriend? Please. 

Oh, and one more thing. I liked Snake Eyes' suit, but what was up with the molded lips? That was weird, like bat-nipples. Should not have happened.

What I really should have done was watch G.I. Joe back to back with 500 Days of Summer, both of which have Joseph Gordon-Levitt in them. I did that for Star Trek and Terminator 4, which starred Anton Yelchin in both. That was interesting.


District 9

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I went in with few expectations because of the unbelievably mixed tweets I read. I don't really like splatter movies and I don't do gore (which is why I'm more of a martial arts movie fan), and by all accounts, District 9 had much more of that than I'm into. However, I didn't really notice much of that.

What I did notice was how fantastic the CG was on the Prauns. In Lord of the Rings, Andy Serkis acted as Gollum, but Gollum was clearly CG. With the Prauns, I would have honestly believed that there was a man in an extremely advanced and expensive costume suit standing there.

The whole social message about the definition of humanity was fascinating because it was messy and often got lost, but I felt that was alright. This movie wasn't trying to be a vehicle for a strong social message, but it managed to slip it in there quite ably. I could probably write a Sociology paper on this movie, but this is supposed to be short. I'm also choosing to skip over the racial themes because better bloggers regarding this particular subject have covered it more ably than I.

But I will mention again, I have no idea how this movie was made for just $30 million dollars, except for undisclosed subsidies coming out of Peter Jackson's pocket. Wow.

Inglourious Basterds


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My parents were visiting NYC when this came out. On the Saturday we all split up, my dad chose to go watch a movie, and this was the one he chose.  He called me right after and told me how good it was. I wasn't planning to go see it in theaters, but after that, I had to check it out. I'm not really that big of a Tarantino fan, mostly because he steals--excuse me, I mean, "pays homage to" and/or "satires" a lot of stuff.

I will say Inglourious was much, much better than I thought it would be.  It was ballsy to have so much dialogue not in English, but that led to one of Tarantino's fantastic jokes: in us laughing at Brad Pitt's uncouth "Italian", we're actually laughing at ourselves because how many Americans are quadrilingual like Hans Landa (English, French, German and Italian that we saw in the movie), or even just bilingual?

And speaking of Hans Landa, in the publicity interviews Tarantino did about Inglourious, he said that he could have never done this movie without Christoph Waltz, who played Landa. I have to say, he was not overhyped. His was one of the most terrifying characters I've ever seen precisely because he was such a smart villian. Too many enemies are genius megalomaniacs and forget common sense. This may be why I was rather disturbed at the end of the movie because how could he underestimate the Basterds like that? We could call it hubris or we could call it "lucky."

I haven't been that tense watching a movie in a long time. So many movies (especially in the summer) follow the exact same arc, and you never feel that tension of "What's going to happen next?" In Inglourious, it was one twist after another. Loved it.




Fall's coming up with a slew of new movies. I haven't seen 9 yet, and will likely wait until DVD for that one. Also on the horizon: Avatar, Surrogates, Zombieland, Where the Wild Things Are, The Road, Ninja Assassin, and--WTF, Richard Gere is in a movie remake about Hachiko?! What's up with all of his Asian movie remakes? Oh and some crappy teen vampire movie...

Not sure how many of these I'll actually go out to see in theaters, but I won't say never!

Then again, prime time TV is starting up again, and that'll definitely be keeping me busy...

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