I didnít see all the flicks of summer 2005, but I went out and did my best. Hereís my assessment of my summer at the movies.
My summer got off to a great start on May 19th, when I went to see the long awaited Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. I really liked that movie and I was hoping for some great stuff for the rest of the summer. But I didnít have any big ďmust seeĒ movies at this point after Star Wars. I mean I saw Star Wars four times.
I did go see Crash directed by Paul Haggis. I thought this was a fantastic movie. It was well acted and a good story. It was a great cast and was more like an anthology film. Tons of separate little stories, that all started to intertwine. If you missed this movie, you should check it out when it comes out on DVD very soon.
On June 18, I went to what I thought was the best film of the summer, Batman Begins. Directed by Christopher Nolan of Memento fame and starring Christian Bale, this movie showed the origin of Batman. We saw a younger Bruce Wayne hell bent on delivering his own brand of justice. I really felt like it was a character driven super hero movie. You donít see too many of those. It didnít rely on really out there villains either. It was a very human and dare I say a bit more realistic Batman movie. I really enjoyed it and I look forward to more of these movies with Christian Bale as the Dark Knight.
Once we got into July, I had realized that I hadnít seen a lot of big event movies. I did go back and see Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which was directed by Doug Liman. I thought this was a nice break from the normal formula of action-oriented movies. This was a fantastic action flick, but also had that whole marital angle. I enjoyed the idea of assasins that were married and working against each other. Too bad that whole Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie real life romance got all the attention when this movie was getting released. During the 4th of July weekend, I ran out to see Steven Spielbergís War of the Worlds. It starred Tom Cruise and even though I knew the story, I really liked this movie. It was fun, had fantastic special effects and I thought that it actually had a new story angle. It centered on a simple alien invasion story, but when it was wrapped around the distant father having to help save his children even though he didnít know them too well story, I really felt that it had a new twist that I enjoyed. It didnít matter that the special effects were over the top dazzling.
Late July I went to see Fantastic Four. This movie wasnít great. But it was a fun escapist super hero movie. Chris Evans as the Human Torch was probably my favorite, even though in the trailer, I felt that his character had the most potential to be just too silly. My biggest complaint about this movie, was that Jessica Alba was miscast. Sue Storm seemed to be an older character than Jessica looked. Otherwise, this was a fun silly flick. Tim Burtonís Charlie and the Chocolate Factory wasnít that great either, but wasnít as bad as I had heard. This movieís biggest problem was its comparison to the Gene Wilder Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie. Many people I think expected to see that movie remade. Burton actually remade the book by Roald Dahl and the Gene Wilder film had veered off from the book. It also didnít have as much music, but did have some fun Danny Elfman songs. Itís not a bad movie, but not a great one either. Johnny Depp is very uneven as Willy Wonka, but overall the movie was OK.
It also seemed like the R rated comedy made a big return this year. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn made me laugh hilariously in Wedding Crashers. I also had some big belly laughs from Steve Carell in The 40 Year Old Virgin. Wedding Crashers featured Owen and Vince as a dynamic comedy team. They were so good together I canít believe that there wasnít a movie already done with them. The movie itself is just hilarious and has many unexpected comedic turns. In that same vein, Virgin was another example of rowdy raunchy comedy. Starring Carell formerly of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" as well as a cast of hilarious characters. Both are really worth going to see. They both did so well, that they are probably in theaters for a bit still.
It wasnít all Hollywood blockbusters this past summer. There was some alternative fare on my plate too. Hustle & Flow starring Terence Howard as a pimp who tries to become a rap star was brilliant in my opinion. This flick was very well done and great acting from all involved. Then there was Happy Endings from director Don Roos. Starring Lisa Kudrow and a cast of many others, this was a really interesting movie. It was just kind of a slice of life comedy/drama. Itís hard to describe, but itís well worth watching. Bill Murray was excellent as well in Jim Jarmuschís Broken Flowers. This is an oddball movie, but probably the most accessible movie ever from Jarmusch. I really enjoyed this movie. Itís a grown-up flick about a man looking for a woman who he may or may not have had a child with. I also saw Junebug, which was an OK film about a guy going home to visit his family down south. Itís a lot of quirky characters including the most outstanding Amy Adams as a pregnant woman who is very optimistic. Finally, in what many have called the big surprise of the summer, was a nature documentary that did very well at the box office called March of the Penguins. It was a sweet little documentary but I found it very boring at times. Luckily, it was narrated by Morgan Freeman (who also narrated the open and close of War of the Worlds and was featured in Batman Begins) whom I think commands attention and brought me back when I was drifting off.
Finally, the movie I saw on Labor Day was Terry Gilliamís The Brothers Grimm. It was an OK movie about those guys who brought us all the fairy tales. Itís like a crazy medieval kind of flick. Itís not fantastic, but it was entertaining. Gilliamís movies always look cool and are a bit offbeat. If you like Gilliam, youíll probably enjoy this movie.
So thatís it. That was my summer movie-going experience. I skipped many big budget films that I considered duds, just by looking at them, but I canít say for sure since I didnít see them. But I donít feel like I missed anything but not going to see The Dukes of Hazzard, Stealth, The Island, Kingdom of Heaven and Bewitched. For those of you, who didnít see all of the movies I touched on above, check Ďem out on DVD. Most will be out by the end of this year.
Got comments? Suggestions? Iíd love to hear them.
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come back soon, until then, iíll be at the moviesÖ