By Ana | August 17, 2011
It just wouldn’t feel like a real summer to me without watching a whole lot of movies. I mean, not only is there the time to do so, but there’s something about a late movie or going to a drive-in that’s just so summery. So, here’s a list of all the movies I’ve seen so far this summer, plus a couple I haven’t seen yet that look pretty good.
1. Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
I just saw this one last week rather by accident, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Although I’ve never been a die-hard Office fan, I’ve seen several episodes, and Steve Carell has never failed to crack me up. This movie was no exception. He plays an average American dad whose wife has just suddenly asked for a divorce, and after meeting Ryan Gosling’s character in a bar, tries to get back in the dating game (with a little help from Mr. Gosling, of course). Julianne Moore’s character made me want to punch her in the face, but other than that, I actually liked this movie. For a rom com (and those generally aren’t my style), it’s a keeper.
2. True Grit (2010)
Rented this off of our TV’s on-demand thingy and just loved it. I’m not into Westerns, so I’ve never seen the original version from 1969 with John Wayne, but if it’s anything like this remake, then it’s fabulous. Jeff Bridges plays U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn in the 1880′s in the American Old West, and he is recruited by 14-year old Mattie to find her father’s murderer. Hailee Steinfield as Mattie absolutely blew me away. I couldn’t believe she was only 13 herself when they shot the movie–what talent! Josh Brolin plays the man who killed her father, and he’s just terrifying. Matt Damon is also in this movie, and his character is a Texas Ranger who helps Cogburn find Mattie’s father’s murderer. At first, I didn’t believe it was really Matt Damon, because he looks nothing like himself at all. Anyway, I was so impressed with this movie, I know it’ll be one I’ll watch again. Highly recommend it.
3. Bad Teacher (2011)
Another one I thought I wouldn’t like, but ended up laughing the whole way through. Cameron Diaz is a fifth grade teacher trying to marry rich and quit working at an elementary school for good, but when her fiancé decides she’s using him for his money (which she is), he breaks off the engagement, so she has to return to teaching….but this year, with even more of a vengeance, and brainstorming even more ways to get out of the classroom for good. I can’t really say much more without ruining the laughs and the story, but Jason Segal was also really funny, and Phyllis from The Office was also in a few scenes. It was just goofy and stupid and hilarious, and what else do you need in a summer movie?
4. Se7en (1995)
It’s not a typo, that’s really the title! Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman are two cops on the hunt for a serial killer who brutally murders people, each one, as perceived by the murderer, to exhibit one of the seven deadly sins–gluttony, wrath, envy, lust, pride, sloth, and greed–and their deaths are results of taking their respective sins too far. As bodies are found one by one, the two cops are trying to catch the murderer before he’s killed all seven. They catch him after the fifth body is found, but this guy isn’t going down without a fight, and the twist at the end shocked even me (and I like to think I can smell the ending ten minutes after the opening credits).
5. The King’s Speech (2010)
A lot of people boycotted this movie because it won Oscars that those people think The Social Network should have won (even though that movie isn’t good and The King’s Speech is, but that’s an argument for another time). However, those people are really missing out, because this was really a great movie. I’ve never seen Colin Firth in a role he was more suited for, even more so than when he was in that Pride & Prejudice miniseries in the 90′s. It was also a lot of fun to see Geoffrey Rush not in a pirate costume, and to see Helena Bonham Carter not play a weird and/or evil and deranged maniac (i.e. Bellatrix in Harry Potter or Marla in Fight Club). And it just gave me the warm-and-fuzzies when Colin Firth/King George IV actually gave a good speech without stuttering, and people actually listened and were motivated by it. Not only that, but it gives you an idea of the lives of the previous generations of the British monarchy now beloved even by Americans (as the William & Kate royal wedding mania can attest). What’s great is that I think the director didn’t stray from historical fact, and so what you get seems to be a very honest picture of the situation. Apparently, even Queen Elizabeth II saw this movie and liked it! (She was portrayed as a little girl in the film; King George II was her father.)
And, next on my radar:
–Biutiful (2010), with Javier Bardem, who scared me to death in No Country for Old Men. And, this director also made 21 Grams, a film with Benecio del Toro that I liked. It’s about a poor man in Barcelona who has terminal cancer and only has a few months left to live, but according to reviews, also comments on some current political situations in Spain. This director’s style is very gritty and real–something you really only get in foreign films nowadays, since American movies tend to be sugar-coated and superficial (see Bad Teacher, even though it was funny). I can’t wait to see it!
–Midnight in Paris (2011), with Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, directed by Woody Allen. Normally I’m not a Woody Allen fan, but this might have to be the exception, since I’ve only heard great things about it, even though there’s some minor time travel involved? Either way, I’m interested, and although I think it’s no longer in theaters, I’m really looking forward to catching it on DVD.
–Kill the Irishman (2011)–this was at the Cleveland Film Fest, too! It’s about Danny Greene, a notorious Irishman who worked for mobsters in Cleveland in the 70′s. He survived multiple assassination attempts (one of which was in a parking lot only a few minutes from my grandma’s house!) and worked for both mobsters and for the FBI as an informant to escape jail time, but also had a bit of a Robin Hood reputation–definitely a complicated enough person about whom to make a very interesting movie. As an added bonus, Christopher Walken is in this movie, which is enough reason alone to see it.
What can I say, as a bit of a movie buff, I love handing out recommendations. Likewise, if you have recommendations of your own, or just caught a great movie, or even just completely disagree with one of my reviews, I’d love to hear all about it! Hope you get a chance to enjoy a movie or two in the time we have left before the craziness of Autumn Quarter starts–and if you can’t get through a movie without a snack, you can always do what I do, although it’s probably frowned upon: bring a big handbag filled with candy. :)
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