Summer Movie Wrap-Up

Business first: congrats to Lexi, who won a signed edition of THE TUNNELS last week! Afraid I’ve got nothing for you today, but stay tuned: next week, we here at The Kill Zone will be giving away a slew of freebies…

Obviously the summer blockbuster season has not yet drawn to a close, so this post is slightly premature. However, I just returned from a week’s stay at my parent’s house (read: free babysitting). My parents live in a town where everything closes around 8PM (seriously, there’s practically a curfew) and I was jet-lagged enough that a 10PM showtime was within the realm of possibility. So I’m proud to say that I broke my own record for most films seen in a single week (and mind you, this was around the same time all those Olympic records were being broken in Beijing. Coincidence?)

Since I wrote posts earlier this summer on worst blockbusters I’ve ever seen and films I’ve enjoyed so far, I thought I’d post a round-up of the latest offerings. So grab your popcorn and pull up a chair for…


With any luck, this will become a regular thing (but no promises—do you have any idea what movie tickets cost in San Francisco?!)

Loved this one. Sweet story told with all the wry humor and killer cinematography that Pixar is known for. Nice little save-the-planet-and-beware-corporate-monoliths message tucked in
between nods to classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey. I love it when G-rated films factor in adult audiences. Definitely worth seeing on the big screen, the animation is phenomenal.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
I liked Rachel Weisz before, and my respect for her went up exponentially after seeing this film—brilliantly, she decided against participating in it. Smart career move. Brendan Fraser tends to be a lot of fun to watch, but even he couldn’t save this mess. Maria Bello stumbles along with a barely-passable accent and a bewildered expression on her face throughout, as if she’s not quite sure how she landed in this role (a question I harbored myself). And the son from the last film has morphed from a cute little British boy to a man that now (inexplicably) has a Southie accent and is way too old to be the child of Bello and Fraser. Who cast this dreck? Jet Li has the best part, and he barely speaks and spends most of the film as a CGI clay figurine.
Even if you’re trapped on a plane and the choice is between watching this or staring at the seat in front of you, stare at the seat. Seriously, it’s that bad.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army
I was leery of this one, but had foolishly allowed my husband to choose the night’s entertainment. I thought the first installment was just silly, despite Ron Perlman’s likeable performance as the main character. But I buckled down, gritted my teeth…and was pleasantly surprised. The story was much darker and more based on myth than traditional comic book tales, and director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) brought just as many quirky characters to play here. I also liked that the CGI was involved but didn’t dominate, and even though the story was light on substance, the settings were incredible and visually astonishing. Much better than the first (although I still find Selma Blair annoying).

I was also not that excited for this one, despite the fact that Will Smith is a reliable summer movie action star. But again, I’m happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised. This film presented an interesting twist on traditional superhero fare, which gave it more depth than you generally see in these films. Though it was short (about 90 minutes, by my reckoning) it felt like the perfect length for the story it had to tell. Not a must-see, but definitely worth renting.

The Dark Knight
I snuck into a matinee of this a few weeks ago when I should have been working—and man, am I happy I did. I loved this movie—for me it’s neck and neck with Ironman for my favorite of the summer (although with Tropic Thunder on the horizon, all bets are off). Christian Bales was great, poor Heath Ledger did an incredible job with his incarnation of The Joker, and it was such a relief to see Maggie Gyllenhaal in the role that Katie Holmes almost ruined in Batman Begins. Critics have complained that it was dark for a blockbuster, but that was precisely what I liked, that it didn’t shy away from that. Highly recommended.

So I’d love to hear what you’ve seen this summer, and whether you agree/disagree with my assessment. As always, questions/comments/unwavering support are welcome.