8.11.2017

Summer Movie (& Life) Recap!

Hello dear readers, long time no write! My deepest apologies for not having written in about...um... five months or so, but my life has been INSANELY busy. See, back in March when I last wrote I had just gotten engaged and life was quickly turned upside down by all the wedding planning (and yes it made me want to write a list of the best engagements in film which I'll have to actually do sometime soon.) Then, in April I spent three weeks traveling in Europe, of which I will also have to write a recap on. When I came back, the wedding planning took over again and life has been pretty crazy ever since. Now that the wedding is over and things are getting settled, I finally have a chance to breathe. But don't you think for a second that I haven't been seeing almost every big movie that's come out (Atomic Blonde being the only one I regret not being able to write a recap about.) I just haven't had the chance to write about them is all. But now that I do have a moment, let's take a look back at what Hollywood offered this summer, in order of when they were released, and I'll tell you what I thought about it.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2 

Why is Emily bothering with a Marvel movie you may ask? Because my husband (unfortunately) happens to love them. Everyone and their dog loved the first Guardians of the Galaxy except myself so I certainly wasn't looking forward to this, however, I actually enjoyed this one much more than the first one... mostly because they didn't rely on the "I am Groot" gimmick quite as much. Baby Groot was definitely more tolerable than his adult counterpart. The movie was empty popcorn fun that made me laugh a couple times, but the plot boiled down to its core was pretty much the equivalent of a 90s sitcom if you think about it. For example, replacing its characters with those of Full House, a plot described as "that episode where Kimmy Gibbler finds her long lost father and Michelle gets in trouble for stealing something" seems more suited for the small screen sitcom than a big screen blockbuster. EMILY RATING: 6/10


ALIEN: COVENANT

 I had such a fun time with this movie. It was like the horror equivalent of Jurassic Park (or maybe The Lost World with the monster hunting in the field...), which means that once it started going it was an absolute thrill ride. Plus, it features an amazingly fascinating and off the wall performance by Michael Fassbender that makes you incredibly excited to see where the franchise could go next (supposing Fox actually LETS Ridley Scott keep creating his vision, even though recent rumors suggest rebooting the franchise.) I definitely hope this is not the case because i cannot wait to see what happens next. EMILY RATING: 8/10


WONDER WOMAN

Wonder Woman was probably the most delightful blockbuster of the summer. Gal Gadot brought this famous heroine to life and she was so much fun to watch. I found the fight scenes empowering and the human scenes warm and amiable. Her chemistry with Chris Pine is really what made this film work and I loved all of their interactions with one another. And I know the fish out of water thing has been done a lot, but seeing Wonder Woman in 1910's London was really fun. EMILY RATING: 8.5/10
THE MUMMY

I was a little apprehensive about a Mummy remake when I heard about it since I quite liked the 90's version with Brendan Fraser. But I like Tom Cruise enough in action flicks, so I gave this the benefit of the doubt...however, it was kind of a hot mess. I never found myself hating this movie, but it certainly had its fair share of eye rolls. It was hard to take seriously....not that the movie wanted me to. In fact, I'm not really sure what tone the movie was going for because it could never really make up its mind. So... I didn't hate it but thought this one could have been much more focused. EMILY RATING: 6/10


47 METERS DOWN

Last year brought us The Shallows, and now to top a hunting by killer shark movie on the ocean, we set the action UNDER the ocean and add a couple more sharks. This movie was totally a guilty pleasure and I had a blast watching it. It was tense throughout and held my attention all the way through. I'm actually pretty impressed how far the filmmakers took such a simple concept. While the ending could have used a bit more thought, it will be a great edition to Shark Week movie marathons for years to come. EMILY RATING 7/10


BABY DRIVER

From the first breathtaking sequence that opens the film, I knew this movie was something special. In fact, when it was all said and done, Baby Driver happened to be my favorite movie of the summer and perhaps the year. Now it's not like robbery/heist movies are anything new or revolutionary, but this particular story is told so freshly and so unique it almost feels like the only film of its kind. Most of that is due to its characters. Ansel Elgort turns in a career making performance that has to make Lucasfilm a little regretful that they didn't tap him in the young Han Solo role. I absolutely loved this film and its soundtrack and honestly, I can't rave about it enough. EMILY RATING: 9.5/10


THE BIG SICK


I tried like crazy to be able to see this movie during Sundance. I even got my car stuck in a snowy canyon trying to see this film. Sadly, none of the screenings ever worked out for me, but months later when I got to see it at a critics screening I was happy to discover it did not disappoint! The Big Sick is both hilarious and heartwarming. Critics categorize it as a rom-com, but while placing it in that genre is truthful, it's also very misleading. The comedy focuses much more on the relationship between a man and his love interest's parents than the love interest herself. Based on a true story, the film feels real and honest though the romance is atypical...especially for what you'd find in most rom-coms. I thought this film was incredibly funny, refreshing and charming. More films like this reaaaaaallllly need to be made. EMILY RATING: 9.5/10


SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING

 A couple years ago I wrote a blog post about how I was REALLY against Marvel and Sony coming to an agreement to let Spider-man appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It attracted many Marvel fans to argue against me and my whole life flashed before my eyes. But my stance then and now remains the same, and even more so after seeing the film they delivered in their collaboration. The first twenty minutes or so was nothing more than all the kids at Peter Parker's high school having constant conversations about how cool The Avengers are. I don't know. I got a little tired of how much they would pat themselves on the back about their other movies. "But Emily, that would happen if those kids lived in that universe. They WOULD all talk about those heroes." Yeah, well it doesn't make it any less eye roll enducing for me to sit through. Besides that, I also wasn't a fan of replacing the iconic Uncle Ben and his death by using Tony Stark as a place holder for guilting him in behaving better, who also comes in to save the day since Peter had to fail constantly. Oh and also making him essentially a mini Iron Man. Okay, I'll stop ranting. On the positive side, Tom Holland was likable enough and Michael Keaton was solid as always. EMILY RATING: 5/10.

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES 

The prequel trilogy of the Planet of the Apes has been one of the most surprising and solid franchises of the century. I loved the first two films and had incredibly high expectations for this one. While this is the bleakest entry of the series, and not quite as thrilling as its predecessor, I can't really say that this movie disappoints. It tells its story just the way it should and enriches the mythology of the rest of the series. Once again, I'll never cease to be amazed that they can craft this trilogy around the amazing digital performance by Andy Serkis. He brings his Ceasar to life in a way that not many actors even do with characters they themselves portray. His story continues to be worth telling, and I love that though we know where this story heads, it is still told in a way that lends for surprises. EMILY RATING: 8.5/10


DUNKIRK 
Okay. With this one let me just get into my expectations okay? Look. Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite directors working today (if not my favorite and most trusted.) I've loved pretty much everything he's done (though I did feel a tinge of disappointment with The Dark Knight Rises that I did feel better after a second viewing.) When I heard he was doing a World War II film I was really excited to see what he brought to the table. So excited that I even went to a preview screening of this film the day before my wedding. Perhaps this viewing circumstance was a mistake as the film had to compete with a million other things going on in my head, as well as with incredibly high expectations. With that in mind, I couldn't help but leave Dunkirk feeling pretty disappointed and having expected more from my favorite filmmaker. Dunkirk is an amazing visual experience and a film that puts you in the place of these men. It's a tale of survival first and foremost, and in that avenue it's told well. I just wanted a little more heart and some characters I could love and cling to. That's not what the director was envisioning in the way he told his story and I get that, but I still felt like something was missing. EMILY RATING: 8/10 


VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS

Unlike Dunkirk, I didn't have any expectations as to the quality of Valerian other than that the film probably contained impressive visuals. The film got incredibly mixed reviews, and so I went into it pretty open minded. I discovered that the film it's easiest to compare to is Avatar, a film I passionately hate (before it was cool to hate I might add.) So it might be a surprise to reveal that I actually quite enjoyed watching Valerian (though admittedly I fell asleep a couple times, but that was due to a late night showing coupled with comfy recliner seats.) This film really shows me that expectations and hype really are everything. Unlike Avatar, I didn't have a bunch of people hyping up this film and selling it as the next end all be all, though I did see a select few praise it. Like Avatar, it does a fantastic job of world building: the movie presents us with a galaxy that is incredibly creative and the kind you delight in visiting. Also similar to Avatar, the detail in world building comes at the cost of the story, characters, and plot structure. In this case I was bothered much less, mostly because no one was acting like this film was perfect. EMILY RATING: 7/10


THE DARK TOWER


So I didn't really have any expectations about this movie one way or another....until the Rotten Tomatoes score came out and totally trashed this film. My expectations plummeted, and I was pretty sure this was going to be absolutely awful. I went to see the film anyway and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as bad as I'd heard, at least the first 20 minutes anyway. But........then I fell asleep and woke up at the very end. So I'm going to allow my husband to take over this review and give his opinion. So from here on out, these are Brod'ys words.The Dark Tower has many flaws that drag down what could have been a great movie. It shoved way too much into the movie which resulted in rushed pacing. Idris Elba's performance as the wounded Gunslinger was the one good thing this movie had going for it.  McConaughey's performance was ultimately forgettable and his intentions for trying to take down the tower was essentially nothing more than because "I'm Evil!" I was hoping McConaughey would deliver more as he has really blossomed as in actor in recent years. Having said all that -- I walked into the movie with expectations of seeing the worst film ever. But I can say that I had a good time with it. All the easter eggs to King's other works were a nice treat.  BRODY RATING: 6/10


ANNABELLE: CREATION 

Apparently I'm one of the few people who enjoyed the Annabelle spinoff. It wasn't perfect, but I had fun with another tale of this creepy doll. So now, we delve further into the story and once again I enjoyed myself. This film definitely upped the tension and creepiness of its predecessor and as far as scares go, felt about on par with The Conjuring 2! The backstory should have been more fleshed out than the brief explanatory scene we got near the end, but I enjoyed seeing this group of orphan girls in the very familiar "move into a new creepy haunted house" trope. When it's done well I really can't complain, and this Annabelle prequel was done right! EMILY RATING: 7.5/10

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