By this point of the year I have to ask, what the hell is wrong with this summer? Everything seems to be either bombing or disappointing one way or another. With the exception of ‘captain America: Civil War’ we haven’t really had anything that could be labelled great, and as for the box office the only other thing to make a substantial climb is ‘Finding Dory’. In terms of blockbusters it has been a fairly lacklustre summer season so far, while there are plenty of great movies out there if you’re willing to look for them, as far as popcorn entertainment goes we have the wonders of ‘Independence Day: Retraining Revenging Renegade Rebirth Rise’. Where did all the blockbusters go?
I’m willing to place my bets that the audiences are out there but are actually craving something good, proven by the fact that ‘Warcraft’ and ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ are struggling to break even. So that means that it could all be for the taking for whatever blockbuster is genuinely great, ‘Jason Bourne’, ‘Suicide Squad’ or ‘Star Trek Beyond’ all have the potential to make it big and if they are great then they just might. I’m calling it now, expect the next great movie this summer to blow up in a big way. But anyway, onto the best and worst of this month.
3: Finding Dory
Pixar’s latest sequel may not live up to the brilliance of the original instalment but it is an emotionally heavy, brilliantly animated and superbly acted family film. You have the usual mix of heart and humour that Pixar have almost perfected by this point and it is undoubtedly going to be a crowd pleaser, in fact if it continues to climb at the rate it has we will probably be looking at a new frontrunner in terms of highest grossing movie of the summer, we’ll know by the end of this week. Ellen DeGeneres is terrific in the role that put her back on the map way back in 2003 (wow, I feel old) as well as a wonderful cast of supporting characters. It may not be Pixar’s strongest effort, but a mediocre Pixar movie is still pretty damn good.
2: The Neon Demon
From family friendly to a film that should not even be mentioned in the same sentence as family friendly. Nicholas Wending Refn’s often insane and sadistic take on the fashion industry, fame and beauty in general is a disturbing yet also oddly prophetic film. It may be perfect by any means but it is amazing to behold from its stunning cinematography from its deranged story. Elle Fanning’s slow loss of innocence is almost haunting, only rivalled by the sheer arrogance and obsessive jealousy of her rival models, or Keanu Reeves’ eerie and disturbed landlord. Wending Refn’s use of light and colour is extraordinary, making a film that is simply gorgeous to look at, the visuals only elevate the film to an even higher level of artistry.
1: De Palma
It is remarkable that Pixar and Wending Refn are beaten out by what is essentially a film about a man talking for 108 minutes. But when that man is Brian De Palma, one of the most interesting and innovative filmmakers to come out of the New Hollywood wave, the result is an insightful and endlessly entertaining movie. It’s a pleasure to watch the acclaimed drector discuss not only his biggest hits like ‘Blow Out’ and ‘Scarface’ but also his misfires and failings. The stories of their development, success and aftermath are discussed in glorious detail and all without ever sounding as if he is bragging about it. It’s an introspective of both De Palma himself and the entire film industry and its evolution over the past fifty years.
And the worst...
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
The fact that this movie bombed financially gives me hope that there is some justice in the world. What it sadly does not do is erase it from my memory. A crass display of vulgarity, clichés and tired stereotypes that turns the once beloved turtles into CGI, steroid fuelled monstrosities. Some have excused the movie with the defence of “it’s only for kids” but to that I say, do we really have such little respect for our children that we would take them to this? I would rather make them watch ‘The Neon Demon’, okay that’s a lie but regardless, this film is terrible.