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Midsummer Movie Recap
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Still haven't seen Transformers, but here are some mine-reviews of the last few summer movies I've seen:

Ratatouille

Got rave reviews from nearly everybody, but I was pretty blah about it, especially considering how much I enjoyed The Incredibles and Iron Giant (both done by Brad Bird). On the plus side, the visuals and animation were outstanding. However, the story was flat and predictable, though it had the usual positive messages (strive for your dreams no matter the obstacles, be honest, etc.). And I know it's a kid's movie, but the worldbuilding distracted me. Why did we never see any female rat characters? Where was Remy's mom? Or the copious sisters he should have had? And I was more impressed with Remy's linguistic ability than his cooking skills. He learned to read and comprehend spoken English (or French, I guess). Can all other animals in this world potentially learn human languages? And Remy controlling Alfredo Linguini (I'm sorry, but what a dumb name) by strategically yanking on his hair, even when he was asleep! Played like a silly Weekend at Bernie's moment for me. I know a lot of people loved this film...I just don't get it. (B-)

Live Free or Die Hard

I think the main thing that ruined this movie was the PG-13 rating. John McClane has shaved his head and also cleaned up his language and the violence with which he disposes of bad guys. Lame. I know they do this to expand the audience, and thus sales, and thus profit. But it fucks up the franchise. That and the ludicrous portrayal of computer science and hacking. Apparently hackers are god-like entities that can find individuals anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds with a laptop. They can also blow up an entire building complex by rerouting gas flow to it. Huh? I kind of liked the basic plot, but the particulars were too goofy to swallow. And I think the problem with all the Die Hard sequels is that they stray from the basic setup that made the original so great. A lone cop is isolated inside an impregnable structure that no other law enforcement can get into, so he has to take care of them himself. The claustrophobic cat-and-mouse, up and down the building dynamics were key to making Die Hard a cool movie. That and some badass villains. If I were writing a Die Hard sequel it would be set in a factory or prison or maybe the baddies have taken over the Pentagon, and McClane is trapped inside with them. Anyway... (C)

1408

Sadly, this was one of the better ones I've seen this summer. Would have been much scarier if it had relied on low-tech imagery rather than over-the-top special effects. Based on a short story by Stephen King, it left out some of the creepier imagery (again, this film would have been way better as an R than a PG-13). And it has a plot device I absolutely hate. Still, it worked reasonably well, and both Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack did their jobs well. (B)

Spider Man 3 was pretty lackluster, rounding out a pretty mediocre summer. Pirates of the Carribean was the only out-and-out bad movie I've been to this summer. And the year as a whole hasn't been great. 300 was probably the last movie I saw that really kicked ass. I'm not expecting Transformers to raise the average, and I'm not a Harry Potter fan, but we'll see.


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