Summer Movie Roundup
Scene Staff Report | Tuesday, August 31, 2010
‘Get Him to the Greek’
The plot of this movie was predictable and written on the movie poster itself. It seemed to bank on the success and popularity of “Superbad” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” While entertaining at times, it tried to develop a dynamic and dark character in Aldous Snow, the British rocker, which did not fit the comic theme of the movie. P. Diddy was the star of the movie, proving his newfound dedication to acting. Any scene he graced with his presence was hilarious and novel. Unfortunately, Jonah Hill and Russell Brand didn’t come close to the comedic value of the rap mogul, making this movie over-hyped and underwhelming.
MacGruber was surprisingly entertaining and may be the funniest movie you haven’t seen. Despite the movie’s affiliation with the utterly awful sketch on “Saturday Night Live,” the movie delivered a refreshingly funny parody of spy movies and the MacGyver series. Admittedly, it was a low-brow comedy movie, but Will Forte and Kristen Wiig provided much better performances than they do on Saturday nights. The writing was at times overly vulgar and crude, but without the occasional ripped-out throat the movie would lack the comedic value differentiating it from the awful original SNL skit.
“Despicable Me” is the epitome of studio abuse of 3-D movies. Not only was this a children’s cartoon, but unlike “Toy Story 3” there were absolutely no scenes where the 3-D could be noticed. Other than that, the movie was cute and the little girls were absolutely adorable. Steve Carrell showed his acting flexibility with an accent that held throughout the movie, causing his first success releasing a family film (contrary to what happened with “Dan in Real Life” and “Evan Almighty”). Overall it was an average children’s comedy that was neither terrible nor great.
This action-packed film wholly succeeds as a remake of the 1980’s television hit with a modern twist, as this time around the main players are Iraq War veterans. The A-Team is an oddball group of renegades that must clear their name after they are set up for a crime they did not commit. The film is three parts action and one part comedy, the perfect combination for an explosive, fun summer blockbuster.
‘Knight and Day’
This action-comedy is formulaic and cheesy but it is also incredibly fun due to delightful performances by Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. The film’s premise of a defective spy on the run with a stranger he just met works because of Cruise and Diaz’s undeniable chemistry. Cruise plays the slightly deranged Roy Miller and leaves audiences grinning.
‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’
If you can get past Kristen Stewart’s awful wig and bad acting, it is easy to see that “Eclipse” is the best film of the Twilight Saga thus far. Bella is once again in danger while simultaneously being torn between her vampire boyfriend Edward and werewolf best friend Jacob. But with an ever-increasing budget and more experience by the young actors, “Eclipse” is better than its predecessors. Oh, and Taylor Lautner is shirtless, again.
‘Eat Pray Love’
A soul-searching adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling memoir, this film is about one woman’s search for fulfillment. Portrayed by Julia Roberts, Gilbert trots all around the globe to find her true purpose and a sense of balance in her life. To find that balance between a longing for independence and a deep desire for love, Gilbert decides to travel to three different locations, each with a specific purpose; to Italy to eat and enjoy life, to India to find her spirituality and to Indonesia to look for balance between the two.
‘Toy Story 3′
The third installment in the beloved computer-animated children’s series, “Toy Story 3” blends comedy, adventure, insight and raw emotion. Andy, now 17-years-old, is expected to store away his old toys that he has outgrown before going off to college.
Hilarity and hi-jinks ensue when Woody, Buzz and the other toys are mistakenly donated to Sunnyside Daycare. The most commercially successful Pixar film yet, the movie is a must-see, especially for loyal viewers who have enjoyed the “Toy Story” series from the beginning.
Director Christopher Nolan (“Memento”, “The Dark Knight”) returns with his uncanny ability to create for both the masses and critics alike. Leonardo DiCaprio, in his second psychological thriller of 2010 (“Shutter Island”), gives himself unto Nolan’s unique, but somewhat choppy vision, as a dream extractor assigned one last big job, which without coincidence is his last shot at redemption. The problem here, like in some of Nolan’s other films, is that his character is meant to be emotive and full of angst, but that feeling never quite runs through DiCaprio’s veins in his great, yet blemished performance. Instead “Inception” as a whole, operates in impressive fashion that leaves a little more to be desired.
‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’
Thierry Guetta, an eccentric French shopkeeper sets out to meet and film the greatest and most anonymous graffiti artist in the world—Banksy. Banksy’s work has earned him a global reputation, as his work can be seen on walls from post-hurricane New Orleans to the separation barrier on the Palestinian West Bank. Suddenly however, Banksy turns the camera back on Guetta. What ensues is a thrilling hall-of-mirrors documentary about the nature of art, what is art, and who the hell are we, or anyone for that matter, to say what can pass as art. As Banksy best put it, “It’s basically the story of how one man set out to film the un-filmable. And failed.”
‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’
“Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” can be summed up in three phrases: “comic book,” “speed addict” and “balls.” Scott Pilgrim is a visual rollercoaster that is weak on plot, but honestly, who cares? From start to end, the movie is filled with unusual and entertaining characters, hyper-realistic martial arts battles, great music and more visual affects than your brain can handle. Edgar Wright has done what a few years ago would have been a pipe dream: bringing the look and feel of a comic book to the big screen. Awesome upon awesomeness.
P.S. For all you Michael Cera haters out there, in this movie he gets punched in the face. A lot.
Evelyn Salt’s (Angelina Jolie) seemingly stable life as a CIA agent gets turned upside down when she is suspected of an affiliation with a Russian spy group planning to assassinate the president. Though it remains uncertain throughout most of the film where her allegiance lies, the action is worth watching. Think of Jolie as a female version of the character Liam Neeson played in “Taken.”
‘Sex and the City 2′
Carrie and the girls were back this summer with another flashy, dazzling big-budget ode to sex, the city, couture clothing and, this time around, women’s rights, the Middle East, marriage, parenthood and menopause. Unfortunately for the fab foursome, the movie was so big and overdone, and way too long, that it sapped the heart out of what once made “Sex and the City” so great. Do yourself a favor and skip this movie and check out the original HBO series instead.
‘Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time’
Jake Gyllenhaal ventured out to the Middle Eastern desert this summer with the video game adaptation of “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.” In the end, it really is just another mindless action flick, but Gyllenhaal is totally charming as Dastan, a street-rat-turned-Prince wrongfully accused of killing his father. All “Aladdin” allusions aside (and there are plenty), “Prince of Persia” is a fun movie full of parkour stunts, scary snakes and star-crossed love. Alfred Molina’s great supporting role is perhaps the highlight of the movie. Just try not to think about the film’s political correctness.
Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott (the duo behind “Gladiator”) teamed up once again this summer for a new adaptation of the legend of Robin Hood. But gone are the green tights and general merrymaking. Rather Robin Hood, played by Crowe, and his band of merry men are more concerned with saving a small village from the evil and greedy wrath of King John. History buffs will enjoy the reference to the signing of the Magna Carta at the end. Though not a great movie overall, Scott’s “Robin Hood” brings a grittier tone to the story than is typically found in the movies. And Russell Crowe is still, even at 46, a bona fide action star completely capable of carrying an entire movie on his shoulders.