Summer Movie Recap (so far)

Iron Man

What can be said about Iron Man that you haven’t already heard from your friends? Nothing, really. It’s all that everyone’s cracked it up to be. It’s fun, visually amazing, it’s got a great story, and it’s 100% entertaining.

When radical terrorists capture and hold tycoon weapons maker Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) hostage with his own merchandise, Stark comes up with his best inspiration yet: a super suit of armor equipped with everything needed for any situation. After using the prototype suit to escape, Stark can now make a much more efficient one to bring down the terrorist ring who held him captive.

It looks like Marvel’s progression into creating their own film studio has been one of the reasons for Iron Man’s success. With a new studio, Marvel no longer has to sell off the rights to their characters to the Hollywood film system. Now, Marvel can make whichever comic book they want into whatever kind of film they want.

Made of Honor

The trailer for Made of Honor made it look like it was a guy’s perspective version of My Best Friend’s Wedding: a guy’s female friend gets engaged, and then he realizes he loves her and tries to sabotage the wedding.

While in many ways Made of Honor is another take on My Best Friend’s Wedding, there are a lot of differences.

The lead character in Made of Honor is the biggest cinematic ladies’ man since Deuce Bigelow. His best friend is the only woman in his life that he’s not trying to get into bed. Despite the title, there is no honor in this man at all.

One day, while battling out the pros of being single with a few married friends, he finally and conveniently comes to terms with the idea that one day he might want to settle down with the only good girl he knows — his best friend. And, of course, the day he decides to confess his undying love for her, she breaks the news that she’s engaged to a dreamy Scottish guy that she barely knows. It’s then that she asks him to be her maid of honor (it would’ve been a nice play on words had he actually been an honorable character).

Made of Honor
is typical, boring and overly convenient. Anyone who hates chick-flicks will chock this up with the worst. Anyone who loves them will mark this one as mediocre and forgettable.

Though PG-13, Made of Honor is very vulgar. Be warned. Most people who do not watch R-rated movies will not want to watch it.

Speed Racer

The vision and style that the Wachowski Brothers have applied in Speed Racer is one that defies the bandwagon mentality. Because it does, nobody has seen it.

Speed Racer
is a family friendly adaptation of the classic cartoon brought to life in a live action C.G. hybrid. Though live actors portray the characters, the action (the racing) and world are almost completely computer generated in a retro-cartoonish style. What else would you expect from the brothers that wrote and directed The Matrix trilogy?

While Speed Racer is a PG film open to every age group, a large chunk of it is created for adults and will pass right over the heads of youngsters. The film opens with the main character, Speed Racer (yes, that is his name), in an amateur auto race some time in the future. This opening sequence is packed full of backstory and character development and lasts what feels like twenty minutes. If the story is going to leave anyone behind, it will happen here.

After Speed blows the world away with an amazing finish, every big racing team is looking to sign him. It is here that the conflict begins for Speed, his family and his loved ones. The road that follows is filled with backstabbing, vengeance, lots and lots of action packed racing, and a little romance for the chicks.

Like every other Wachowski project (The Matrix and V For Vendetta), Speed Racer also packs a subtle moral punch about something they feel to be a problem with our current society: the problem that exists between art and going commercial.

Speed Racer
is a movie fit for anyone. Parents be warned that, although it is PG, they somehow got away with showing a child give the finger and a chimp throwing poo into the face of a bad guy. Adults, see it. Just because it looks weird doesn’t mean it’s not good.

The Chronicles of Narnia
: Prince Casabian

The Spy Kids are, once again, returning to Lord of the Rings land in Disney’s Prince Casabian. One year after climbing out of Narnia through the wardrobe, the four ugliest kids in the world are summoned back. To their surprise, 1,300 years have passed in Narnia, the Narnians are basically extinct, and some evil people have taken over the land. The four teen queens and kings must work with the overthrown Prince Caspian to retake the kingdom with the help of the remaining goat-people, rats, and other disgusting animal-human hybrids.

Prince Casabian
is filled with lame, pointless action, bad dialogue, and tons of inconsistencies, holes and errors. There’s awful acting and even worse accents, and it feels even longer than The Return of the King (which was over three and a half hours).

The icing on the top of this crap-cake was the Jesus-lion’s stupid, meaningless morals. Throughout the movie, when the youngest, ugliest girl asks him for help, Jesus lion keeps saying, "Things don’t happen the same way twice." Despite what the Jesus lion says, there are a couple things that happen the same way twice in Prince Casabian: the ending (yep, it’s exactly the same) and the soundtrack (no changes at all).

This series has gone to pot. Instead of translating the creative ideas from the books, they’ve robbed ideas and effects from other epic trilogies. If you can find anything else to do instead of seeing Prince Casabian, do it.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Now that Indy has filled his almost twenty year big screen absence, there are lots of mixed emotions coming from those who have toughed out the long lines and crowded theaters; some feel completely fulfilled, others utterly disappointed and let down. If you have yet to solve the mysteries of the crystal skulls, then this is what you should know before going in:

The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
is not your typical Indy movie. Instead of being based on some well-known mysterious archaeological expedition (like the ark or the holy grail), it is based on some unknown science fiction ideas that do not fit into the usual Indy realms. We’re talking Roswell, Area 51 and mind reading. Jump to your own conclusions.

If The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’s plot had a grade, it would easily be an F. But if it were graded on classic Indy style fun and action, it
would receive an A+++. There are several exciting action sequences.

Other than the awful plot, literally everything else in the movie is top notch. The action is great. The acting is great. And it’s really fun to see the regulars from the old films alongside newcomers Shia LaBeouf (playing Mutt Williams), Cate Blanchett (the evil Russian mind-reader Irina Spalko) and John Hurt (fellow professor Oxley).

Though Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull isn’t the perfect film every Indy fan was hoping for, it sure is a fun ride. If you can dismiss the horrible plot, then you’ll love it. Before going to see it, just be warned that George Lucas had a hand in it.

The Son of Rambow

What happens when a nerdy kid from an overly religious, cultish family makes buddies with the school bully? The most amazing thing. You’ve got to see it to believe it.

It’s 1980-something in rural England. Will’s fanatic cult doesn’t allow their members to watch television. His life is forever changed when his teacher shows an educational documentary and he’s forced to sit in the hall, and he meets Carter – the most notorious bully-punk. After getting into a fight, Carter tricks Will into being in his debt and uses him as a stunt dummy in a short movie he’s making for a national contest.

While hiding from Carter’s brother in their house, Will watches his first film — a bootlegged copy of First Blood. From that moment on, every waking moment of his life is filled with action-packed war fantasies. Will’s wild imagination ends up changing the gears on Carter’s film, turning it into a project they call "The Son of Rambow."

Along the way, Will and Carter become the two unlikeliest of friends and end up drawing interest from everyone else in the. Before long, they are the most sought after friends in school, and everyone is jumping at the chance to take part in the process of filmmaking.

The majority of the Sundance films to get nationwide distribution are dark, bleak, extremely R-rated ones. The Son of Rambow is the complete opposite of what you’re used to: it’s a lightweight, heart-warming, feel-good film that will have you laughing and smiling from beginning to end. It is the type of movie that Utah audiences would love, if only they knew about it.

The Son of Rambow
is perfectly well-rounded and entertaining. If you want to stay away from the crowded Indiana Jones lines, head up to the Broadway Theater in Salt Lake and check it out.

The Strangers

When most new scary movies have to use gore and shock to terrify their audience, The Strangers takes a step back toward the classics by deliver the heebie-jeebies by hardly showing you anything at all.

Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman play the leads in The Strangers. While the two are vacationing in his dad’s secluded cabin, masked strangers show up at four in the morning and begin playing games. From banging on doors, leering in windows, destroying their cars, and cutting off all outside communication, the strangers begin playing with their helpless prey.

In horror movies, we’re accustomed to seeing groups of people get picked off one-by-one. Whereas in The Strangers, we only see two people — we know they’ve got to last the entire movie. Because of this, you never shake that frightening, intense and uncomfortable feeling. And that’s where The Strangers really stands out.

Considering how little we see of the strangers because of their disturbing masks, The Strangers relies mostly on Tyler and Speedman. And while Speedman is good, it is definitely Tyler that goes above expectations and brings you right into the hopeless hiding spots with them.

Though rated R, The Strangers is one of the mildest suspense-horror movies. There is very little swearing and only a few brief moments that are barely more violent than any given episode of C.S.I.

If you like creepy movies like Vacancy and you’re ready for a truly terrifying 90-minute experience, then check out The Strangers.

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