With September upon us, the curtain has officially closed on the summer movie season. As mentioned in a previous post, I had promised to do a series where I’d watch and review five of summer’s most anticipated theatrical releases, but because of my busy schedule, I haven’t continued the series since its launch with Now You See Me 2. Add to that the fact that this summer’s offerings were not that exciting, which left me with little motivation to not only watch, but also write about these movies. So apologies for being MIA! But I know a promise is still a promise, so here’s a condensed version of what I had originally envisioned – a summer roundup with a short paragraph on each of the four remaining films in this series.
The highly anticipated sequel to Pixar’s underwater classic Finding Nemo, Finding Dory puts the spotlight on our favorite blue tang Dory. Suffering from short term memory loss, Dory doesn’t know who she is or where she’s from, and that doesn’t bother her until one day she has a flashback reminding her she has a family. Determined to find her parents, Dory sets off on an adventure filled with familiar faces, new friends, and the realization she is capable of much more than she imagined. Beautiful animation and adorable characters make this film an enjoyable watch, and the film’s positive message leaves viewers with a warm, fuzzy feeling. However, the movie still falls short of its predecessor’s creativity and memorability.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Release date: June 17, 2016
Director: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Cast: Ellen DeGeneres, Ed O’ Neill, Albert Brooks, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Hayden Rolence
Cold War 2
An all-star cast and director reunite for the sequel to the 2012 smash hit Cold War. Dominating the Chinese and Hong Kong box office once more during its opening weekend, Cold War 2 continues the story of a power struggle between high ranking officers within the Hong Kong police force. Bloodier, grittier, and more confusing than the first, the film was overwhelming to the senses, but underwhelming to the high expectations it had set prior to its release. Its unbelievable ending, which defies all logical sense, also further detracts from the film, but as a friend half-jokingly but accurately pointed out, the ending does make “financial sense” in that it allows all key members of the powerhouse cast to reunite for a third movie, which was recently confirmed to be in the works.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Release date: July 8, 2016
Director: Sunny Luk, Longman Leung
Cast: Aaron Kwok, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Chow Yun Fat, Eddie Peng, Charlie Yeung, Janice Man
The Secret Life of Pets
Universal’s newest furry film centers on Max the terrier, whose life gets turned upside down when his owner Katie brings in a new addition to the family: a big, shaggy dog named Duke. Unhappy he now has to share Katie’s attention with someone else, Max devises a plan to get rid of Duke, but things go horribly wrong, and soon the two dogs, along with all their neighboring pets, go for a wild, bumpy ride through the rough streets of New York and rub shoulders with some tough adversaries. The film is loud, cute, and occasionally funny, but nothing more.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Release date: July 8, 2016
Director: Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney
Cast: Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Eric Stonestreet, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Bobby Moyniham
Matt Damon returns as Bourne in the fifth installment of the franchise. Determined to find answers to questions surrounding his past, Bourne comes out from hiding and gets entangled in a conspiracy that leads him to the heart of Vegas. This action film has all the typical components of its genre – personal vendettas, destruction of landmarks, car chases, and explosions. It delivers everything you’d expect from an action franchise, and unfortunately, it’s this predictability that makes this film average and forgettable.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Release date: July 29, 2016
Director: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel, Alicia Vikander, Riz Ahmed, Julia Stiles
Overall, the summer was pretty disappointing – there weren’t any amazing movies in theaters that left a lasting impression. Honestly, it was better to just stay at home and watch Netflix. But hopefully things will change as we head into the fall season when movies looking for an awards run make their debut!