- At the end of May, I posted a list of movies I planned to watch this summer. I thought now would be a good time to look back at that list and see which movies I saw and what I thought of them.
So, here are the theatrical releases I planned to watch:
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Although I enjoyed watching this fifth installment of the series on the big screen, it wasn’t my favorite of the movies. The movie (and the book) seem like a bridge between the more action-packed, pivotal Goblet of Fire and Half-Blood Prince. In my opinion, Order of the Phoenix had a weak central plot: Voldemort wants to get his hands on the prophecy. So what? What would it change if he did? Nothing. So the main purpose of this movie and book was to show the main characters mature and become more accomplished wizards. That aspect of it was fun to watch, as was Professor Umbridge’s sickening despotism at Hogwarts. Overall, though, this was one of the weaker episodes in the Harry Potter series.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – Perhaps it was the ridiculous mass-marketing campaign, or the less than stellar word-of-mouth reviews, but whatever the case I lost interest in this movie very quickly and never went to see it. Perhaps I will rent it one day.
- Evan Almighty – When I wrote about this movie in my previous post, I predicted that it would either be “really funny or really stupid.” Well, based on the massive panning by critics, I have to assume it was really stupid. I didn’t dare go find out for myself. Apparently, this movie was designed to entertain small children, and unfortunately not their parents or people without kids. Better luck next time, Carrell.
- Bug – I never planned to see this one in the theater but still plan to rent it sometime.
- The Bourne Ultimatum – I’m hoping to go see this one very soon! I’ve heard only rave reviews.
- Transformers – This movie wasn’t on my original list, but my husband’s enthusiasm when discussing his childhood of playing with Optimus Prime et al made me give this one a chance. We weren’t disappointed! I wrote a review of it shortly after we went to see it. Transformers: Surprisingly More Than Meets the Eye
And here are the movies I listed as rental-worthy during the summer months:
- Pan’s Labyrinth – I was slightly amused that my local Blockbuster had to label every copy of this movie with bright yellow stickers that read “This movie is in Spanish with English subtitles.” Apparently a lot of people complained about it not being an “American” movie. The subtitles weren’t a problem for me. This was a strange, beautiful movie to experience. I wish I had seen it in the theater since it was so visually stunning. As I watched, I couldn’t help but wonder how many parents picked up this movie thinking their children would enjoy it, only to be horrified by the grotesque creatures and stomach-turning violence. Parents should have known better – the movie is clearly rated R – but some may have been fooled by the innocent looking girl on the front of the case and the description of a fairy tale world. This movie is well worth watching but definitely is a fairy tale for grownups.
- Dreamgirls – I heard too many mediocre opinions of this movie, so I decided not to watch it.
- The Holiday – I was very skeptical during the first half of the movie: Cameron Diaz goes to England to try to avoid all contact with men, only to fall in love with the first man she meets. Kate Winslet’s L.A. storyline is probably what kept me invested in the movie, but halfway through I got caught up in both women’s stories and all thoughts of the ridiculousness of their situations were forgotten. This was a charming, feel-good movie, but not one for logical dissection.
- Stranger Than Fiction – This was probably my favorite movie that I watched this summer. It was so original, had great casting (and acting), and presented a whimsical (if sometimes dour) fable about this man named Harold Crick. This is a movie I would like to own. I suppose it was most satisfying in its presentation of a writer’s relationship with her story and characters, and how real they can seem. I hope this movie won some awards, because it deserved them.
- Catch and Release – I gave this one a chance, but it was easily the worst movie I watched all summer – and possibly in a very long time. The plot was ludicrous. The main character has been in a seven year relationship, and when her fiance dies suddenly, she quickly falls in love with someone else. By quickly, I’m talking weeks. And the guy she falls for isn’t even a likable character. The writers try to make him appealing, but because of the way he was introduced and the lack of character development, viewers aren’t given any convincing reasons to think this pair is a realistic match. In my opinion, this movie was nearly a complete waste of time, saved only by quirky characters played well by Juliette Lewis and Kevin Smith.
- The Good Shepherd – I haven’t seen this movie yet, but I did see one that is probably even better: Breach. I was thoroughly engrossed in and impressed by Breach. The fact that it’s based on a true story of a U.S. security breach made it all the more riveting to watch. Chris Cooper was perfectly cast, and Ryan Phillippe and Laura Linney were excellent in their roles as well. I also enjoyed watching a Dateline episode about the real Robert Hanssen that was included in the Special Features. It is interesting to realize that this kind of espionage still goes on today.
There are still a few weeks left before the fall television season kicks off. Are there any other movies I’ve missed out on that I should make time to see?