Story At The Movies: Short Reviews Of The Movie Summer, So Far
At this point in the Movie Summer of 2011, it's not easy being a movie lover like yours truly. Only a few to really praise, and plenty to yawn at.
GREEN LANTERN - One of the more entertaining tent-pole extravaganzas to come along, it tells of an American test pilot chosen by a passing alien to become the new Earth-sector protector against all interstellar bad-guys, but who proves a bit reluctant to take on the job. It's all gigantically produced with much sound and fury, a comic-book plot, Ryan Reynolds and other very capable actors getting to play silly and enough action for two movies. A don't-miss for fanboys and fangirls of all ages, which includes me, but probably a rough go for all others. The kids will like it.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS - How did the "X-Men" get started anyway? A Dr. Xavier founds a school where all the worlds mutants can come and learn how to hone their strange skills, while trying to prevent WW3 in 1962 when Russia tries to make Cuba a launching pad for their nukes without reckoning with John F. Kennedy (and a crew of mutants). Plenty of inventive characters played by an above grade cast, lots of fun and WOW effects, good music and not overlong. Fun for the fans of such fantastical action films.
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS - Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon and Cristoph Waltz in a romantic drama played out against the background of a down-at-the-heels circus during the Great Depression. A very good movie that actually seems to have been made for ADULTS who remember what real dramatic movies were like. I really liked this one.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES - The worst mishmash of a movie I've seen in the last 6 months. If you need to know more, read any other review of this unneeded sequel you can find. A painful watch thru-out, in the murkiest 3D I've seen, so far.
BRIDESMAIDS - As raunchy as "The Hangover" but with girls! It's very funny in spots, well-played and produced, but left a bad taste in my mouth. Suit yourself.
KUNG FU PANDA 2 - The Dragon Warrior is back with the Furious Five to protect Happy Valley against the Fuming Peacock of Death. Or whatever. It's bright, bouncy, with all the best voices back but not quite as fresh as the original. As sequels go it's much fun and in very good 3D. I liked it a lot.
FAST FIVE - Like action, adventure, fast cars and faster women? Then see Master Thespian Vin Diesel in the FOURTH sequel to the original "The Fast and the Furious" and you'll be in action-hog heaven. Tons of fun for action-spectacle fans and goes good with buttered popcorn, it being pure corn itself. You could do lots worse.
SUPER 8 - A talented cast in a very well-produced homage to the early kid-friendly films of Steven Spielberg. It's a sci-fi adventure about some kids who discover that a longleggedy beastie is roaming their little Ohio hometown after one of the greatest trainwrecks ever put on film occurs and all the local dogs go missing. I loved this movie to the extent that I"ll be buying the blu-ray to see what I missed the first time. Your mileage may vary.
RANGO - Johnny Depp as an animated lizard. Much, much better than it sounds. See it. I loved it.
THOR - Mighty guy with a mighty big hammer comes to Earth from a mighty long way off to do mighty deeds. Mighty silly, but I liked it. You might(y) too. You can skip the 3D on this one.
LIMITLESS - Silly sci-fi that none-the-less is lots of fun if you can buy into its central idea of mind-expansion to the nth degree. Bradley Cooper is quite good. I enjoyed this one.