The Summer Report Card

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In the school we all got report cards after each semester (or in my high school every quarter) it’s only fitting I give my report card for the summer movie season. For all purposes of this article the summer movie season is from the beginning of May to the end of August (even if it felt like April was the start with “Captain America”)

This list will be broken down into 7 categories,
-Most Disappointing Film of the Summer
-Biggest Surprise of the Summer
-Worst Film of the Summer
-Most Fun of the Summer
-Best Visual Effects
-Best Actress in a Summer Movie
-Best Acting in a Summer Movie
-Best Movie of the Summer
Without an further ado let’s start listing!

Most Disappointing Film of the Summer-

A Million Ways to Die in the West

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This choice was a tossup between this film and “The Expendables 3”. Both were on my top 20 most anticipated of the year and both of them ended up falling short of my expectations. I went with “A Million Ways to Die in the West” because it was higher on the list plus I wasn’t expecting “The Expendables 3” to be a masterpiece, just a fun time. I was expecting Seth McFarlane to be able to come close to his previous directorial work, “Ted”. Yet the laughs were to inconsistent, the script was too loose for its own benefit. “A Million Ways to Die in the West” showed moments of greatness but just wasn’t enough to merit a recommendation.

Biggest Surprise of the Summer-

Edge of Tomorrow

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When I first saw the trailer to this film I had almost little to no reaction. It looked like a pretty one dimensional , generic science fiction thriller about the end of our race, once again attacked by aliens. What I got instead was a fun, energetic, funny, action packed thrill ride. It might not be perfect but it was a lot better than I expected and surprised me. Some may ask why isn’t “Guardians of the Galaxy” not my biggest surprise? Well simply put the only thing surprising thing about “Guardians” was the box office. I had a feeling it was going to be at least a decent film, “Edge of Tomorrow” I thought it was going to be bland and soulless and it turned out to be everything but that.

Worst Film of the Summer-

Transformers: Age of Extinction

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“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” may have been sub-par but the series has not hit its lowest point till now. Which from a business point of view the series is on a roll. Both this film and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” have grossed over 1 billion dollars at the worldwide box office, so in a sense it’s hard to claim to this to the series lowest point. Yet from an actual filmmaking standpoint it’s not. The story was extremely sloppy and the characters were all vexed while even the action was boring and repetitive. I’m not a Michael Bay hater but it’s time to get a better script and film together because eventually people will stop going to see these movies.

Most fun of the Summer-

22 Jump Street and Guardians of the Galaxy

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I was having a really difficult time trying to decide between the “22 Jump Street” and “Guardians of the Galaxy”. I will cheat a little here and call it a tie. Although Guardians may not have been perfect from a script point of view, it is something worth overlooking because it is so much fun to watch. “22 Jump Street” was just a funny film from beginning to end. Channing Tatum and Johan Hill are a perfect couple together and hopefully they can pull off a “23 Jump Street”.

Best Visual Effects

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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When I first saw “Godzilla” I didn’t believe there would be many other movies to rival it’s special effects. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is a new bar set for special effects as a whole. The motion capture work has never been this good, the CGI apes looked like real apes in many of the scenes. The most impressive thing is there are more apes on screen at a time than there ever was in the first entry in the series, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and it all looked more real and believable than “Rise”. “Interstellar” and “The Hobbit” have their work cut out for them if they want to win the Oscar for best visual effects.

Best Actress

Patricia Arquette- Boyhood

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In all of the explosions and big special effects it sometimes is easy to forget the performances of actors and actresses. Sometimes in these big Hollywood blockbusters, we don’t need the best acting but for a small limited release film like “Boyhood” it is completely dependent on their performers and storytelling. A large part of that film is the kid’s relationship with their mother played by Arquette and if Arquette couldn’t portray a realistic lower middle class mother and help elevate the performances of the kids, the movie wouldn’t have work in the same fashion that it did. Arquette is not getting enough attention (hell even I didn’t mention her in my review) but she deserves a lot more attention and recognition than she got.

Best Actor

Andy Serkis – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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This will be a controversial choice because of the current ongoing debate with motion capture actors on whether or not they qualify as acting in the same fashion as traditional acting, and also whether or not it hinges on the special effects team. While the performance wouldn’t be as strong if the special effects team didn’t do a good job translating it on screen, this is still Andy Serkis’s performance. At the heart it is him, and the special effects team at WETA simply put a CGI costume over him instead of one with fabric. Serkis is incredible in his performance, portraying both fierceness and strength but also to be naive and uncertain. Serkis is the star of this series and hopefully he or the character don’t go anywhere for a while.

Best Film of the Summer-

Boyhood

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I really wanted to give this spot to “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and trust me it is a very close second, but “Boyhood” simply blew away my expectations and showed that small film with heart could stand higher and mightier than the big summer blockbusters. I’m not a hipster that thinks these smaller films are better than the summer blockbusters but it’s impossible to ignore the genius that is Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood”. It had amazing storytelling, timeless themes, and a premise we can all relate too. “Boyhood” won’t get attention at the Oscars (because of it’s release date) but a film like this will continue to live on and grow as more audiences find it.

So there you have my Summer report card. Let’s hear from you guys, what would your summer report card look like? Go ahead and leave a comment and let me know.

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