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Summer Movie Roundup

This summer was a great one for movies and for the first time in years, I found myself in the theater upwards of a half dozen times throughout my vacation. So, since I’ve been brooding over all of the both fantastic and atrocious movies I saw this summer with no platform to projectile vomit my thoughts about them onto, here are my spoiler-free reviews of the films I managed to see on the big screen. Also, this is my opinion, so take none of these reviews as fact, but as my personal take on each film.

 Annabelle: Creation

This movie is an enigma to me, because while it was technically sound and actually very well made, I just could not find a way to enjoy it. Maybe it was the corny dialogue and unlikeable characters, or the cliché jump scares littered throughout the runtime, but I left the theater unsatisfied. In comparison to the original Annabelle, this film is a masterpiece, but it didn’t appeal to me. The one compliment I can give to this film is this: it’s actually really bloody and graphic. Most horror movies nowadays are PG-13 nonsense but the kills in this movie make the stakes seem real. If you like predictable horror movies with cut-and-paste plot lines and cheap scares, by all means see this. If you want a plot to follow, maybe go on Netflix and watch It Follows.

Grade: 5/10

 Dunkirk

Alright, this is a good movie. Let’s get that out of the way because it is true. But holy ever-loving mother of God is this film loud in IMAX. I’m talking earsplittingly loud. This is a minor complaint but having sensitive ears I found this irritating. Moving past that, the execution of this film is masterful, as has become common for Christopher Nolan. The tension starts immediately and doesn’t let up until the conclusion. The characters aren’t developed, but in that war nobody was much more than a faceless soldier, so it fit the story. The pacing is chaotic and all over the place, but once again this sort of style mimics the intensity of war. Dunkirk is just as good as advertised and I would highly recommend this film to anyone who appreciates intense war films.

Grade: 8/10

 Wonder Woman

Thank you, DC Comics, for finally making a good movie in your new Justice League Universe. After the atrocious Man of Steel and honestly insulting Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, this bombastic and sometimes hilarious blockbuster was a breath of fresh air. Is it perfect? No. In fact, I actually have a serious issue with this movie which I cannot describe in detail without spoiling the ending, so I’ll leave it to the viewer. All I will say is that it involves the film’s conclusion. If it were not for the ending, this might have been my favorite movie of the year. I even saw it in theaters TWICE! But the almost perfect first four-fifths of this film is dragged down by the closing scenes, and drops my score a significant amount. Either way, this film is a must-see and gives me hope for the DC Justice League Universe. Now if only they can make that Superman guy fun or charismatic.

Grade: 7/10

The Emoji Movie

Well, I’ll just cut to the chase. This is the worst movie I’ve ever seen in a theater, maybe ever at all. This movie is borderline insulting to the viewer. I’ve seen bad movies that were bad because they had low budgets or bad writing or a bad director or too much studio interference, but this atrocity had a HUGE budget and still had awful writing, a clueless director and was molded to horrible imperfection by Sony, which is proving to be the worst major film studio out there in the past couple of years. This is not even a movie, it’s a 90+ minute commercial. I don’t think there is a single scene in this film that does not act as some sort of product placement. The only complement I can give is that the animation is passable, but that was the bare minimum for them to make the movie at all I guess. I would rather be crucified than see this movie again, and I beg you to not give your hard-earned money to this travesty.

Grade: 1/10

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Gone are the days of Andrew Garfield being the most overly unlikeable and totally not-14-year-old Spider-Man, and thank the Lord for that. All of the ground lost by the horrific script, acting and character development of the Amazing Spider-Man series has been hastily recaptured by Spider-Man: Homecoming. Sony Pictures (I really don’t like them) finally made a good decision and sold the rights to Spider-Man, which they had held since the original Sam Raimi directed Spider-Man was released in 2002, to Marvel Studios. Because of the move, this movie is, in my opinion, the first Spider-Man film to properly depict Peter Parker at a young age, and this partly because of Tom Holland’s performance and partly because of the script. The film feels small-scale, just like a Spider-Man movie should. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this movie really is small, but what it has done for the Spider-Man brand is enormous.

Grade: 8/10

Alien: Covenant

Maybe this is because I’m a fan of this film universe, and more egregiously the prequel to this film, Prometheus, but I actually enjoyed Alien: Covenant. I do understand its flaws. It’s not hard to notice the obvious twist at the end and the ridiculous decision making skills of the crew, but I choose to ignore them. I overlook the film’s issues because something about Alien fully captures my attention and immerses me into the universe fully whenever I watch movies in the series. So, my analysis of this film is simple: if you like the Alien franchise, you will like this movie. If you don’t, you may or may not enjoy it depending on your taste in film. All I know is that I personally recommend this film.

Grade: 6/10

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

If you’re a big fan of the aforementioned Marvel Cinematic Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 is about even with most of the Avengers franchise so far. While not as good as the original Guardians of the Galaxy, this film is good enough to tide fans over until the characters meet the Avengers in Infinity War. The characters remain the best part of the series, interacting perfectly and making logical decisions based on their previously established traits. This film is both fun and a perfect tie-in to the universe, and I would recommend it to both Marvel fans and newbies.

Grade: 6.5/10

War for the Planet of the Apes

The third film in the Planet of the Apes series, War for the Planet of the Apes is a strong but flawed conclusion to the saga. The facial recognition technology for the apes in this film is absolutely phenomenal, and the visuals are equally so, especially in IMAX. But while the film looks stunning, it lacks severely in the storytelling department. Many of the characters, including the main character Caesar, seem to lack common sense when making important decisions that impact the plot significantly. The film was predictable and really, really slow at times, but I didn’t regret seeing it. If you’ve seen the first two films in the series and want closure, by all means see this movie. If not, you will likely find yourself bored and confused.

Grade: 5/10

Baby Driver

Edgar Wright is a genius, and while Baby Driver is certainly not perfect, there’s no way this film comes out as phenomenal as it was with a different director at the helm. With the wildly eccentric Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and the wonderfully stylized “Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy” (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End) under his belt already, Wright left his comfort zone, if you could really call it that, with this rock-opera of an action movie. Just as Wright’s other films each had a certain stylish twist, Baby Driver is perfectly synchronized to its incredible soundtrack, all of which is being played within the movie on the main character’s iPod. This makes the movie feel like a giant music video, but never takes the viewer away from the story because the music is not a post-production addition. The music is almost a character in the film to be honest. The real characters are great too, as Ansel Elgort is fantastic playing Baby, and Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, Jon Berenthal and Jamie Foxx are an excellent supporting cast. Baby Driver is phenomenal, and is probably my favorite movie of the summer.

Grade: 8.5/10

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