Random Tuesday: Leslie's Favorite Summer Movies

Summer is over. Or at least in a calendar sense it is now over. It’s still 100 degrees here in Texas and probably will be for the next month. The big summer blockbuster movie season is over though, and over the next few months, we’ll get a lot of quieter award bait films with fewer explosions. So how did this summer blockbuster season measure up? Well, I couldn’t come up with five films that I would willingly sit down and watch all the way through again, so not very well.

I also realized while compiling this post that I didn’t see a ton of movies this summer. A lot of the big budget films looked like bloated wastes of time, so I steered clear of Transformers 4 (even with the dinosaur robots) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (even – or possibly because of – my renewed love of the characters). I like entertaining films, but I’m not keen on ones that treat me like I’m stupid. There were also several that had been on my radar, like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Maleficent, where my interest waned as reviews started coming in. Those films quickly landed on my “wait until Netflix” list instead (as did The Fault in Our Stars because there is no way I will voluntarily go to something I know will make me ugly cry in public).

So I made a list of the films I did see and there were four gems on the list. These are movies I would purchase to own. These will become my next Scott Pilgrim or Pitch Perfect, where no matter where it is in the movie, I will watch the rest of it every. single. time. it comes on HBO. These made me happy and left me hopeful that there still could be good blockbuster films to be made. Here are my top four films from the summer of 2014:

Guardians of the Galaxy


I saw this during my doctor-induced blogging hiatus, so my sheer love for this film wasn’t as well documented as it would have been otherwise. This may be my favorite movie on the year so far, though I really don’t want to pit Pratt against Pratt, so I haven’t been thinking too hard about if this beats the nostalgic glee of The LEGO movie.

This movie should have been a mess of nonsense, but instead we got an authentically entertaining mix of action and heart. Is this a perfect movie? Absolutely not, but it’s a fun movie that left me smiling from ear to ear as I left the theatre. A month later and I still desperately want a baby Groot of my very own.

 

Lucy


WHERE IS MY FEMALE SUPERHERO MOVIE?! The Internet – or at least the parts of the web I travel – was screaming this over and over again after Lucy came out. It was fast paced and surprising with a bizarre twist ending that I never would have predicted. Scarlett Johannsson kicked some major ass and not a damsel in distress was seen after the first ten minutes. I just wish the commercials and trailers hadn’t given away all the big action-y bits, so that it would have felt newer. Even so I had high hopes for this movie and it fulfilled expectations.

 

Snowpiercer


I thought Snowpiercer was going to be a giant wreck. I’d followed the politics and drama with its US release, so I wasn’t even all that interested in seeing it. But the Internet promised me that it was the original director’s cut and not some nonsense Weinstein disaster, so we took a chance. And it was good. I never had any particular feelings towards Chris Evans before now, but I kinda want to see everything he’s ever been in. This movie is pretty straight forward with a predictable story, but it’s the details and the performances that make it so awesome. Don’t think too hard about the logic or plausibility for the setup of the film because you might start bleeding out the ears. Action mixed with some seriously bizarre visuals made this one of the most unexpected and entertaining hour and a half of my summer.


X-Men: Days of Future Past


I knew the basics about the comic storyline for Days of Future Past, and this movie wasn’t the comic. Instead it was a weird pseudo-political thriller action adventure dystopian whatsit taking place over two time periods drawn together by Wolverine. Even so, I would watch James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender stare at each other for two hours. Thankfully I didn’t have to and I got to watch a comic book movie instead. It’s not perfect, but at least I liked Jennifer Lawrence’s Rogue in this one. This barely made my list of favorites for the summer, but the ridiculous set pieces were thankfully overshadowed by some over-the-top-but-highly-entertaining performances from the main cast. Also Quicksilver = the best.


Honorable Mention: Captain America: The Winter Soldier


This movie made it feel like summer came early. I can’t wait to get my hands on the DVD, so I can watch it over and over again to see the things that I missed. The first Captain America movie verged on boring and it’s not one I’ve revisited since its release, but in this second one, Steve Rodgers has a lot more heart and having him paired up with Black Widow gave him a great opportunity for snark and great banter. I fell in love with Falcon and my heart hurt for Bucky, so all around this movie was filled with great characters that I want more from. The giant battle towards the end was way over the top, but it provided great opportunities for action sequences and impressive stunt work (that was probably all computer generated, but whatevs).

 

Movie I’m Scared to See: The Giver

I almost went to see this and then 7-year-old me started kicking me in the stomach and yelling,” NO NO NO NO!” The Giver is one of those literary touchstones in my life – a book that had such an impact on my life view as well as my reading habits that I couldn’t stand seeing it destroyed on screen. While I won’t say The Giver single-handedly turned me into a lifelong reader, it did introduce me to how to escape into a totally different world through reading (or in my case hearing) some words that were written down. I’ve heard mixed reactions to the movie, so I think I’m going to have to protect 7-year-old me and avoid this screen adaptation.

 

All right, friends. What were your favorite movies from the summer? Was there something glaringly missing from my list that I must dropped everything and go see right now? Will The Giver break my 7-year-old heart? Let me know if the comments.

 

Gifs were created by people more awesome than me. If they are yours, let me know and I'll be happy to credit.

Random Tuesday: Hey, Look Who's Back Edition

Oh real life, why must you constantly take me away from my hobbies? Between work and obligations, I have been MIA way too long, my friends. Let's have some Random Tuesday fun to make up for it.

This made me go o.O and be very thankful that the BBC does require their leading men to be whatever their definition of "attractive" is.

It's almost officially summer time and if you're anything like us, you'll be binge watching at least one show that you've never gotten to before. EW has a binge watching guide for some television shows you might have recently missed. If you're not watching Arrow, you reallyl should binge that one first.

Neil Patrick Harris wrote an autobiography. It's a Choose Your Own Adventure book. We should be besties.

 X-Men: Days of Futures Past was a pretty good movie considering how many characters were crammed into it. Julia Lepetit and Andrew Bridgman of Dorkly put together some very important PSAs you should pay attention to if you're going to cross paths with an X-Man. You can see the other 7 over on Dorkly.

Speaking of awesome television, Orphan Black is probably in my favorite five television shows right now. The Mary Sue has these silly pop culture reference filled visual "recaps" every week. Here is the one from last Saturday's episode (spoilers, of course).

Netflix online had some issues with summaries last week where two movies would get smooshed together for hilarious results. You can see some of the best here. Watch out for those cyborg bubblegum machines.

 

Unfortunately large scary storms are headed this way, so I have to cut the Return to Random Tuesday(TM pending) short. As we hunker down for more storms, let me know what shows we should binge this summer in the comments.

Trailer Park Friday: So Many X-Men, Evertrue, Creepy Mysteries & Robot Cops (Again)

No preamble for this week's Trailer Park Friday, just several trailers for books and film and the first few minutes of my new favorite show that hasn't even aired yet. On to the trailers!

Evertrue was my Waiting on Wednesday pick and conveniently a trailer for it was released this week too. It's the final book in Brodi Ashton's Everneath series and it comes out January 21, 2014.

And now for the best movie trailer that came out this week. I'm not entirely sure if I'll be able to handle so many X-Men in one movie. Based on this trailer every X-Man that was ever thought of is going to be in this movie. X-Men: Days of Future Past comes out May 23, 2014.

I don't remember how I came across this trailer for The Faceless One by Mark Onspaugh since I'd never heard of the book before now, but it sounds kind of creepy which seems fitting for the week of Halloween. It came out this past Monday, October 28.

And finally the first 7 minutes of Almost Human. I may shut up about this show eventually, but I doubt it. Robots for the win! It premieres on November 17 on FOX.

And that's it from me this week. Are you excited about the robot cops in Almost Human and Karl Urban being on your television on a weekly basis like I am? What videos have caught your eye this past week?

Random Tuesday: Pseudo Trailer Park Friday Plus Web Series, Why Adults Like YA, Questionable X-Men Fashion & More

Due to a downed server, an incompetant consultant and a raging need to eat my weight in cookies, Trailer Park Friday failed to appear last week. Because of my work stress-related absence, today's Random Tuesday will feature a couple of the trailers that would have graced TPF if I could have magically made it appear last Friday without looking at a computer.

First up is the teaser trailer for Vampire Academy, which I didn't realize was a real thing from an actual real major studio. But I guess it is. Haven't read the books, but the teaser trailer made some waves last week and it looks... potentially campy? I'm not sure what my thoughts are on this one. Perhaps vaguely curious disinterest? It's supposed to come out February 14, 2014.

Another trailer of a thing I was unfamiliar with, but in this case the trailer made me go "OMG THIS COULD BE AWESOME I NEED IT!" It's the book trailer for Victoria Schaub's Vicious, which will be released by Tor on September 24. 

Now to your regularly scheduled Random Tuesday.

Yesterday I meant to write a review of Cristin Terrill's All Our Yesterdays, but I posted a contest instead (go enter!). The very condensed version is that it's an incredible book and you should read it when it's released in September. It's already been optioned for a movie, but the most random part about this is that there is a web series prequel that I just stumbled across because TheMarySue.com is awesome. It's an interesting different sort of thing to a book trailer though the acting is a little questionable.

Author Marie Rutkoski hypothesizes on why adults like YA on io9. Eventually I'll write my Thinky Thoughts post about my conundrum of enjoying YA despite being far outside the target demo, but for now, this is a really intriguing read. It also includes the cover reveal for her uncoming book The Winner's Curse.

Nathan Fillion doesn't want to be Batman, so stop pestering the studio people. (EW.com)

A Game of Thrones character has been recast, but the real question is how many kittens are they casting? (Non-spoiler is vague) (TheMarySue.com)

Don't ask me what I think of the first still released from X-Men: Days of Future Past because I really can't put my thoughts into words. (Fashionably Geek)

And finally another random trailer that wouldn't have been part of last week's TPF since it was released yesterday, but I didn't want to hold it until Friday. It's a teaser trailer for something called Stranger by JJ Abrams. Nobody has any idea what it is and it kind of gives me the creeps.

 

Send me random things in the comments! I need more random in my life!

 

Trailer Park Friday: Summer Blockbuster Edition Part 1

So it begins. Summer blockbuster season is just a month away, so first look trailers are being released for some of the big summer films. It seems like a new one was popping up every day this week. So I present to you some trailers for some of the films we're most looking forward to this summer.

The first trailer is for The Wolverine, which comes out July 26. If it weren't for the fact that Hugh Jackman is possibly the coolest man ever in existance, I probably would not want to see this movie. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was down right terrible, but I'll give Hugh another chance.

This next one won't be a blockbuster, but the first movie was so many kinds of wrong fun, that I hope the sequel will be match up to it. Kick-Ass 2 comes out August 16. 

And finally yet another Star Trek Into Darkness trailer, but this one has more Benedict Cumberwhatsit than all the others combined. He looks and sounds super creepy, and yet I still want to sit at his feet and listen to him talk about anything. Comes out May 17.

What big summer blockbuster are you most looking forward to seeing? Besides City of Bones, I mean of course.

Random Tuesdays: Five Favorite Movies of the Summer

I guess I should qualify the title of this post with “…That I Saw” because there are a lot of movies that came out this summer that I just haven’t seen.  It would be impossible to see all the movies that come out any given week and, to be honest, I wouldn’t want to anyway.  I mean, really, Shark Night 3D?  Who thought that was a good idea?

Which is all my long winded way to say that movies a lot of people like aren’t on this list, such as The Help.  I haven’t seen it nor do I plan to see it.  Perhaps I will eventually see it through Netflix one day when I’m bored, but it’s not exactly my sort of movie.  Other movies off the top of my head that I haven’t seen that were sort of big: Horrible Bosses, The Hangover Part 2, Bridesmaids, Transformers: Watch More Things Blow Up, Crazy Stupid Love.  Then there are the smaller art house films that I haven’t seen that I would probably like such as Beginners or Brighton Rock.

What I did see: just about any movie that involved a comic book character with the exception of Priest.  I’m pretty sure no one saw that movie.  I also saw a lot of movies involving aliens.  I’ve determined this is the year of the alien, but that’s a post for another Random Tuesday.  Overall though, it was a pretty sucky summer for movies, particularly of the “geek” genre.  It seems to happen every other year and 2011 just happened to be one of those off years.  Next year will come back and beat me in the face with a new Batman movie and so many other things that very few films of this summer could live up to (fingers crossed).

For the sake of this countdown, I’m considering any movie that came out beginning May 1 through September 2 to be a “summer” movie.  So here are my top 5 favorite movies from summer 2011.

5. X-Men First Class

This just barely edged out Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and if that movie had been titled something less stupid like just Rise of the Apes, it probably would have been my number five instead.  X-Men First Class is not a great movie; I even hesitate to say it’s a good movie.  With that said, it was leaps and bounds better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Jennifer Lawrence’s take on Mystique, every scene involving January Jones and the fact that the only African-American character is the first to blow up bothered me, but I loved the 1960s setting and above all I love James McAvoy.  His take on Professor Xavier made me happy even if his screaming “I can’t feel my legs!” at the end made me laugh at how on-the-nose it was.  McAvoy and Michael Fassbender saved what would have otherwise been a bit of a mess.  Magneto’s backstory?  More of that please, less of the baby mutant house party.  Oh, and the kid from Skins!  He should be in more things, preferably playing a science geek, because he makes me smile too.

Read More