Summer Score Card (4/4)

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Here’s a look how Summer 2011 ranked for me. I skipped more films than I normally do during these months – and of the 25 I did see, most should have been ignored as well. Yet a few gems managed to make this season not a complete waste. Still, overall — worst summer movie season in perhaps ever.

25} X-Men: First Class – Failed on every level for me. Every level a film works on, this did not work for me. Pure hate.

24} Bridesmaids – Walked out an hour in and demanded refund for the hour of my life that I’ll never get back. (and I love Kirsten Wiig!)

23} On Stranger Tides – An insult to the attraction and to Walt’s legacy. Made me need to take a hiatus from New Orleans Square for the time being.

22} Cowboys & Aliens – How the West was 1…on a scale of 1 to 10. Favreau, Spielberg, Howard, Grazer — they should all be ashamed of themselves for not stepping in and calling out this lazy piece of storytelling. A strong opening and first acts leads to a mess of uninspired performances and weak writing. Good photography, but no memorable score to go along with it. Biggest letdown of the summer and an insult to every Cowboy and Alien who ever laid it on the line on the silver screen.

21} Thor – Hemsworth does what he can, but Portman and Dennings suck the Marvelousness out of what is truly the biggest dropped potential of the year.

20} Priest – Tried hard, succeeded in setting up a cool world, but then reduced its Priest to a story worse than any associated with typical Catholic touchy-feely ones

19} The Hangover Part II – I didn’t dislike this because of its recycled remake approach, I disliked this because it just wasn’t funny. Boring even. But credit is due for Phillips raising the bar in one scene, a predictable one, but fun nonetheless. For that alone it ranks higher than the rest of this summer’s fare.

18} Green Lantern – I like the movie this wanted to be. What a shame. Peter Sarsgaard only thing good here.

17} Captain America – Another case of a strong act 1 going to shit. Not even good ol’ Alan Silvestri manages to pump life into the film, instead choosing to phone in his score. Alan Menken gives it a go with his one track, resulting in the film’s most inspired few minutes, but not enough to recommend. Save your rip-off 3D ticket price and revisit Johnston’s far superior ROCKETEER. This film will make the even the most patriotic anti-America.

16} Final Destination 5 – An amazing opening “premonition” sequence that not only outdoes previous installments of this series but many of the summer’s bigger budget epics as well. Great opening and closing credits sequence as well. Everything else is uninspired.

15} Dylan Dog: Dead of Night – Yes, its humor bites, but kudos to the filmmakers for trying to bring us a good ol’ fashion 80’s-esque creature romp, a nice antidote to the current crop of teen werewolf and vampire dreck.

14} Transformers: Dark of the Moon – It’s as though Bay listened to the hatred, held back on everything that sucked, gave us more of what didn’t. The last hour truly has some astonishing action. Still, that odd, slightly off Bay style of comedy still manages to interfere wherever it can, making this have no repeatability. But glad I finally (semi) enjoyed a Transformers movie. Still, I’ll most likely never watch this again.

13} Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark – With del Toro in EP mode, it could’ve and should’ve been much more. Katie Holmes and Guy Pierce are horrid. There are frustrating narrative problems that could’ve been easily fixed. Still, there’s something about little creatures trying to get a girl that you can’t not like.

*12} Fast Five – The summer started off promising with this mindless fun. Justin Lin is one to watch.

*11} The Beaver – Ventures into melodramatic TV movie territory at times, but its fearlessness to travel into dark places puts this unique film near the top.

*10} Winnie The Pooh (with The Ballad of Nessie) – Refreshing old-school Disney non 3D animation and a wonderful short in the form of Nessie, plus songs from The Book of Mormon’s Bobby Lopez all add up to something as sweet as honey.

*9} The Rise of the Planet of the Apes – A fantastic surprise and and amazing, well-made prequely rebooty type thing. The new default setting for CGI characters, anything less will be unacceptable. The film made me a bit sad, and thus lessons its repeatability for me, which explains why it falls in the bottom of the top ten of this summer, but still not-to-be-missed! Best end-credits of the summer.

*8} Everything Must Go – A fantastic breather from Farell’s usual roles that had me wanting more.

*7} Submarine – If you’ve never seen Richard Ayoade as Dean Lerner in “Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace” then you suck. And if you have not seen his fantastic cinematic debut then you suck even more.

*6} Cars 2 – Yes, it’s in the Cars and A Bugs Life section of the lower end of Pixar’s arsenal. But Even Pixar’s weakest are better than any other studio’s best. Cars 2 boasts amazing visuals, a cool spy plot, a slick Giacchino score and the return of our Toy Story friends beforehand in their “Hawaiian Vacation.” All add up to must see Pixar fun.

*5) 30 Minutes or Less – This movie does with it needs to do, it gets you in and out in 85 minutes and never slows down to give you a break from smiling. Nick Swardson is hilarious as always – but the most amazing thing about this was that it made me understand why people find Aziz and McBride funny. I never expected to see this movie once let alone three times, but somehow this comedy really worked for me and when the opportunity to see it with those who were skeptical came up, I took it! After Zombieland and this, Ruben is officially one to watch. (3x)

*4} Midnight In Paris – Woody’s best in as far as both you or I can remember. Despite a borderline-grating performance from Rachel McAdams, this romantic fantasy transcends Allen’s usual core audience and will be enjoyed by anyone who gives it a chance. Thank goodness Wilson didn’t kill himself a few years ago. He is fantastic in this and the perfect Allen protagonist without all out copying the Woody mannerisms that have made others fail. Oh yes and — The less you know going in the better. Don’t even watch the trailer, just go. Pure MAGIC.

*3} Attack The Block – Director Joe Cornish and Producer Edgar Wright bring some greatness back to cinemas in the one true alien invasion film of this summer. No stars. No CGI aliens. Not a sequel. Not based on any comic book. An awesome Carpenter-esque score. Too much madness for one text. ALLOW IT. (3x)

*2} Super 8 – With this years Pixar offering a bit under P(ix)AR, THIS is this year’s real Pixar experience. More than just a “cover” of early Spielberg, SUPER 8 brings back a special flavor of magic that movies should not be allowed to forget again. (4x)

*1} Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – The savior of summer. A reminder of what a true experience at the movies is. Tears. Laughter. AweJaw. A pitch-perfect ending to a decade of adventures. And seeing Warwick Davis wield a wand for the first time since ’88, for me – it just doesn’t get any better. (5x)