What a Summer this has been Renegades! I’ve heard a lot of bickering from fans and cinephiles alike over various films throughout the intense season but I loved it. I even enjoyed the films that caused fan outbursts. For instance, I found divided entries like “Man of Steel” to be fun contributions to theaters this summer. That being said, Man of Steel will not make my Top 5 because there were way too many films that drank Superman’s milkshake.
So, let’s begin this list of movies which I found pleasurable for your viewing experience! Before I do, let me first make clear that I have not yet seen Elysium or The World’s End. Watching these two movies could make great impacts on the 5 movies I’m providing below.
5. World War Z
I was ready to hate this movie. I really was, but then a magnificent thing happened when I finished my first screening of World War Z… it didn’t suck. One of the things I forgot about before I started bitching about the huge departure from the novel, is the term adaptation. In reality, a straight adaptation most likely wouldn’t work for the big-screen. The writers, producers, and director were able to translate the novel’s tone and thematic elements and condense it into a small, simple story. It’s not the straight adaptation I was hoping for, but it shows Brad Pitt gave a sh*t about it being a great experience. The reshoots Pitt fought for ended up grounding the whole film to a human level, and it surprisingly won me over. Basically, Brad Pitt used all his willpower and studio pull to make sure you had a great time watching this film. What an asshole.
4. Europa Report
As everyone knows, I’m a huge supporter of non-mainstream cinema. I honestly believe there is a movement of tremendous originality spurring in the VOD release world. Just this year alone saw great Video-On-Demand releases such as John Dies At The End, VHS 2, Kiss of the Damned, and much more. One such film stuck with me long after it was over and that was Europa Report. Most expensive science fiction movies do not execute the level of realism that this one does, which is an incredible feat for an independent movie. In fact, Europa Report accomplishes everything Prometheus failed to deliver. All the themes of sacrifice for discovery are expertly on display through the dynamic performances and strong writing. As I said in my Europa Report review, by the time you reach the conclusion, you will question what a life is worth for the answers to, “are we alone in the universe?”
3. Pacific Rim
I’m not sure why American audiences didn’t connect with Pacific Rim. Sure, it didn’t have the familiar branding of the Tranformers property, or the legacy of the Terminator franchise. But it did manage to bring out my inner 8 year-old. I wanted to dig in my toy box and reenact every explosive battle in this movie. I felt like a kid again watching the spectacle unfold. Every battle brought back old memories of watching films like Robot Jox and television shows like Power Rangers, and wishing movies existed like this when I was younger. Pacific Rim might be too goofy in areas for some, but it still packs a ton of heart. Del Toro’s childlike paintbrush was a perfect fit for this monster vs. robots extravaganza, and I hope he gets to make a sequel.
2. Star Trek Into Darkness
I’ve heard all the bitching and complaining about this flick. I understand where everybody is coming from. I really do. Guess what? I still do not care. I did not find a movie this Summer that entertained me on the same level as Star Trek Into Darkness. From start to finish, this bad boy was a non-stop roller-coaster of laughter and intensity. To this day, I have trouble understanding how Trekkies were able to pull themselves out of the entertainment long enough to nitpick. I never once felt myself pull away from the experience until credits rolled. Either way, I’m not going to dive into fanboy hate too much, but I’ll just say I loved the sequel. I thought it was a blast and I cannot wait to see what J.J. has in store for Star Wars. You thought the Trekkie backlash was bad? Wait until 2015!
1. This is the End
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…This is the funniest movie in years. This is the End delivered laughs like Michael Bay delivers explosions. Loud, in your face, and damn near every five seconds. Not only that, but this might just be the most unpredictable movie of the year. It’s almost as if screenwriters Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg wrote the comedy like they had nothing left to lose. Whatever the reasons, they accomplished a magnificent piece of meta-comedy entertainment here. The comedic ensemble brought their A-game with great chemistry and without fear of embarrassment. We need more comedies just like this and I hope everyone took notes while watching to understand the meaning of the word risk.