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Perfect ’10? Summer So Far…

Am I the only person hugely disappointed with the summer so far this year? I mean, the summer isn’t traditionally where you find the best movies of the year, at least no more or less than any other time of year, but I’m not looking for great movies, just good ones. just solidly entertaining ones. At the most basic level, I’d settle for just an excuse to go to the cinema on a Friday night (although I’m sure my better half is glad of the weak string of movies – it really frees up our schedule). What the hell is wrong here?

Leo's looking for good movies too...

Okay, maybe I’m being tough. I should confess that there are other factors at play. For example, the World Cup is kind of a big deal to us Europeans (I’m not entirely sure why), so the major studios have – for the most part – adjusted their schedules to accomodate for the fact that the pub or the sofa will be the default place of rest for the first half of the summer. So we have yet to receive some of the films that our American cousins have already witnessed this year – Toy Story 3, The Karate Kid and The A-Team among them. However, while the former has been near-universally loved, the two latter examples have mostly drawn a “ahh, it was grand reaction”.

And it isn’t as though I’ve been consistently disappointed by the summer releases this year – I thought Iron Man 2 and Get Him to the Greek were solidly entertaining films, for example – it’s just my socks haven’t been blown off yet. It was hard to muster up an opinion one way or the other on Robin Hood, which was a well-made film but one which never really found its own identity. There’s nothing as completely and utterly painful as Transformers 3, for example, nor as empty and hollow as X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Nothing has floored me yet this year...

Yet there are none of the little gems which defined last year’s summer. Where’s this year’s (500) Days of Summer? Or a witty comedy akin to The Hangover? Or even a movie that is as solidly and consistently entertaining as Abram’s reimagining of Star Trek? Hell, last summer we even got the release of The Hurt Locker.

Still, maybe things are turning around. I’ll be heading to the cinema for the next three weeks checking out scheduled releases – in fact, all three are among my most anticipated of the year. Predators is out on Thursday. Inception is out the following week. And then, after that Toy Story 3. And, I’ll confess, I am a little bit excited about The Expendables and can’t decide whether to anticipate or dread Machete.

Still, it’s hard not to get the feeling that we are sitting here in July – more than halfway through the year, the Hollywood blockbuster season beginning to fade – and the best movies I can think of were released back before the Summer even began – Shutter Island, Kick-Ass and I Love You, Phillip Morris, all released to fill the gap between awards season and the box office bonanza. It isn’t even the crippling lack of originality that has sapped my enthusiasm – I’m come to accept the glut of sequels and spin-offs (and remakes, reimaginings and relaunches) as par for the course, and some of them can be great.

Well, maybe things will turn, starting next week.

20 Responses

  1. I Love You Phillip Morris wasn’t released at all. Fucking studio shelved it.

    • Us liberal Europeans got to enjoy it in all its glory. In fairness, I probably liked it a lot more than most will. It’s not perfect, but it is very good.

  2. Beyond TOY STORY 3, i’m actually quite happy to have seen EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP and WINTER’S BONE this summer. I still have CYRUS to see and THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE gets released this weekend.

    There’s good stuff to be seen…it just takes a bit of digging this year. This ain’t no 2008 where a lot of the blockbusters are thoughtful.

    • Yep. Maybe it’ll be like last year where it’s the little gems – (500) Days of Summer, The Hurt Locker, District 9 – are the true measure of the year and not necessarily the big budget blockbusters.

  3. I wish Phillip Morris would be released here, but the court cases are still being gone through.

    Inception is going to be the make/break factor for a lot of people and I can’t see Nolan letting us down. Too many good actors, great cinematography, great director.

  4. Believe me, you are not the only one and I’m not even going to say summer but the entire 2010 crop. There has been very little excuse for me to go to the movie theater this year. Movies like Get Him to the Greek, The A-Team or The Karate Kid are movies that I am completely fine waiting to hit in DVD.

    Thankfully, Inception is coming in 10 days, and Restrepo will be released in Minneapolis on July 23rd, those 2 are films I absolutely want to see. Then we get The Expendables in August and we will probably hit another 2-3 month lull where there will be nearly nothing to look forward to until November

    • Yep. The only film so far I would insist you see in a cinema is Shutter Island. The rest you could easily wait for. Is the awards season shaping up any better, or is this whole year a carbon copy of last year (disappointing summer, disappointing enough Oscar-season crop)?

  5. Apart from Inception and Predators, other films I’m anticipating, in terms of mainstream cinema, are Cyrus and Scott Pilgrim. And I’ll certainly be going to see The Expendables.
    Definitely a lot of poor quality films flooding the cinemas this year. I think the release of “Step Up 3-D” pretty much sums it up.

  6. Actually I can’t say I’m disappointed, I must be one of the few who didn’t love The Hangover. I’m still anticipating The Kids Are All Right and Mother & Child and Inception and that should be enough for me to make up for a perfectly ordinary “summer”.

    • I suppose. Maybe 2008 spoiled us with variety and quality in the crop of summer fare (seriously, that is the most amazing summer ever), but I like it when we get good movies throughout the year, instead of just localised in awards season.

  7. Perhaps Inception will make all this bad feeling go away. If you can count on one filmmaker in Hollywood it would be Christopher Nolan.

  8. Completely with you on being disappointed. I’m not even asking for Oscar worthy movies, just movies that I would be halfway excited to go to the theaters to watch.

  9. It’s officially the lamest 4th of July week at the movies, unless you’re a Twi-hard of course. But with the early reviews out on Inception, looks like that’ll be the saving grace of the whole year. I’m still on the fence about Expendables, but depending on what else is out that week, I just might go see it. I’ll probably grow a muscle or two after watching it 🙂

    • I had avoided reading too many reviews for fear of uncovering too much about the film’s structure, so I’m relieved to hear that it’s getting good reviews in general. There’s a lot of pressure on Inception to carry the weight of its shabby cinema comrades!
      I still can’t believe the whole “5nal Desination” thing – A title that’s wrong on so many levels 😦

  10. This is a terrible summer in context with what we generally expect from the season– very little that’s loud, audacious, blockbusting, and excellent. But there have been a lot of really great, small movies like Ondine, Winter’s Bone, I Am Love, and Cyrus that have popped up in smaller, more arthouse-centered theaters, so if the multiplexes are lacking the little guy has plenty to offer.

    Inception and Scott Pilgrim should salvage this summer, but it’s sort of sad that after those two films the only things I have to look forward to are Predators and Piranha: 3D.

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