Movie Reviews – First Half of Summer 2015

Summa, summa, summa time is here! You know what that means! More wonderful and horrible gold/crap from Hollywood! There’s seven movies below, and I actually liked six of them. Damn, that doesn’t happen very often. Let’s do it!

Avengers 2: Age of Ultron – The first Avengers movie is one of my favorite movies ever. The sequel is really good (I saw it twice, second time with my daughter), and it comes close, but isn’t as good as the first. It’s one of those rare movies that could have used more time; at least another 20 minutes. Marvel tried to cram too much into this movie, and it shows. James Spader is great as the villain, but the previews made me expect a dark, scary villain. Instead, Ultron is a funny (though interesting) antagonist. It’s very well done, so I’m not exactly complaining, but it’s just not what I was expecting or wanting. Re-watching the trailer for this movie, I still wish for the darker film that I was promised. A good overall movie though. Perhaps Civil War will be better.

Mad Max: Fury Road – Feminism controversies aside, this is perhaps the best action film made in the last 10-15 years. I’m very serious about this. The only other action film I can think of in recent years that is this good is The Raid 2. From start to finish, the action in Mad Max hits very hard and never lets up. From start to finish, the action scenes are filmed near-perfectly. There were many times during the movie where I actually felt scared for Max, like he was in real trouble. Imagine that! Movies don’t do that any more, but this one does.

Use of CGI is minimal to the point of being almost imperceptible. The world building is absolutely incredible. Just about everything done was made from real stuff. You could watch this movie five times and still find new details in the design of the vehicles, tools, weapons, people, and world.

It’s a pity that such a near-perfect action film was clouded by all this feminist controversy. Mad Max: Fury Road is a must-see action film. Period.

Tomorrowland – What a mess. The plot is boring, George Clooney ins’t believable and is clearly miscast. The villains, if you could even call them villains, are boring and forgettable, and the lead actress is, at least in my opinion, a really bad actor. There’s also a very creepy near-romance between George Clooney and a 10 year-old girl. She’s a robot, but that doesn’t help the creepiness. Ew.

One good thing about the movie is the child actor who plays the robot girl, Raffey Cassidy. In all seriousness, this is the single best performance by a child actor I have ever seen in my life. When she acts, it’s like you’re watching a 40 year-old woman play the part. Very impressive. Too bad it was in such a disjointed and boring movie.

San Andreas – The problem with disaster movies is that they often don’t show people actually getting killed. Movies like Independence Day or 2012 show the disasters from a distance, which is fun, but not realistic. In disasters that big, lots and lots of people die horribly. If you’re going to have a disaster movie, you need to show this. I was worried that San Andreas would suffer from the same problem.

Holy crap, I was wrong! This is a hardcore disaster movie, and it ended up much better than I thought. People really get seriously killed! The Rock is also cool, because he’s the Rock. Most of the other characters are boring, but that’s par for the course for movies like this. Very impressive and believable special effects. Left-wing Hollywood had to include an Evil Rich Guy™ character of course, but other than that, great movie.

Jurassic World – Another really good movie, though not as good as the box office hype it’s getting. There are a lot of logic plot holes but the movie is so fun that it does a good job of compensating for them. The last 15 minutes are really great, with all kinds of dinosaurs battling each other. Is it good enough to measure up the $1 billion it made in record time? No. The first Avengers movie was way better than Jurassic World. Hell, even Furious 7 was better. So don’t expect the greatest blockbuster movie ever when you see this, but do expect a really fun movie, especially the third act. It even makes up for San Andreas by making the Rich Guy™ character a good, honest, courageous person. (Wow! Where the hell did that come from?)

Spy – Guess what? Jason Statham can actually be funny. He’s the only reason I bothered to see this movie, and wow, I was surprised at how much he made me laugh. They made him into a psychotic uber-Alpha character, and it completely works. Melissa McCarthy is also funny, but sadly none of the other characters in the movie are. As a comedy, it still works, mainly because it really goes to the R-rating which always makes comedies better. I recommend it, especially if you like Jason Statham. Here’s just one of his lines:

“I once used defibrillators on myself. I put shards of glass in my fuckin’ eye. I’ve jumped from a high-rise building using only a raincoat as a parachute and broke both legs upon landing; I still had to pretend I was in a fucking Cirque du Soleil show! I’ve swallowed enough microchips and shit them back out again to make a computer. This arm has been ripped off completely and re-attached with *this* fuckin’ arm.”

When she asks him where he got his suit, he says, “I fucking made it.”


Ted 2 – Surprisingly, I laughed more watching Ted 2 than the first Ted movie. The first movie made me smile a lot, but Ted 2 made me laugh. The first movie was funny, but it was mostly about 80s references. References aren’t jokes. The sequel is much more wacky and silly, and it’s really, really funny. Like most comedies, it starts to bog way down in the last 20 minutes when it attempts to get a little more serious, but that’s a minor complaint. Strongly recommend this one if you like R-rated comedies.

Next weekend…TERMINATOR!!! Dundun dun da dun…dundun dun da dun…

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