Since I continue to procrastinate and waste time (not entirely wasting it, as I've had some stuff to deal with as well), I have to lump together the films I've seen instead of trying to do post after post. After today I've got seven that I've seen since the start of the "summer" movie season (which this year was, I suppose, the week "The Avengers" was released, which was before Mother's Day). Since I saw four of them in May, I'll wrap them up. Really, though, what's finally spurring them on is the one I just saw a few hours ago, so stay tuned.
Marvel's The Avengers: Do I really have to refer to this as "Marvel's"? Anyway, I am a bigger fan of the DC superheroes -- although with their "New 52" crap driving me away from the comic book stores, not to mention the better success of the Marvel character movies, it's a bit harder to say that. I have high hopes for "The Dark Knight Rises," but once Christian Bale's final Batman movie is over with, anyone trying to make a DC movie will seriously need to step up their game to come close to what "The Avengers" pulled off. I was so dazzled that I had to really think of a reason to not give this a perfect A-plus grade. I finally came up with this: there's an obligatory scene where some of the heroes fight each other. This happens in the comic books and almost always is contrived -- they have to fight each other before teaming up to fight the bad guy. Even though in this movie it was almost plausible and understandable plot-wise, it was still there. My grade: A.
Dark Shadows: It started with a surprisingly long prologue before getting to the 1972 setting for the main story, which turned out to be quite disappointing. I love that Johnny Depp throws himself into these roles, and there were a few moments that were enjoyable, but resurrecting this old TV show just seemed totally unnecessary. My grade: C-minus.
The Dictator: If my generalization is correct, people mostly loved Sacha Baron Cohen's "Borat" and mostly hated "Bruno," although I loved both,
and in doing a film that's completely scripted (as compared to the phony documentary format of the prior two), "The Dictator" probably falls in between. There was a seed of an idea, of a ruthless, twisted ruler of a made-up country who ends up out of office, out of money and abandoned in America, but it was totally bungled in the execution. This is a rare case in which I was actually disappointed by co-star Anna Faris. My grade: C-minus.
Men in Black 3: Why was this movie made, after so many years since the first MIB sequel was quickly forgotten, except as an easy payday for its stars? Although Josh Brolin was uncanny as a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones's Agent K, both Jones and Will Smith (as Agent J) just coasted through this thing. Then there's one of the worst plot holes I can ever remember seeing in a film: if a villain travels back in time and kills K before he is able to active the system that keeps Earth protected from evil alien attacks, how is it that J is still in the MIB program and still remembers K? It was K who recruited J in the first film. My grade: D.