June: This Is The Man/Monster Heat War White House Internship Purge
June’s movie titles would make a pretty good summer movie, with men versus monsters, hot (not cold) wars, and a mass exodus of free employment from our capital. Instead, June’s retroactive review roundup brings us to the half way point of the summer movie season. As before, we go from best to worst, but this time we begin by saying This Is The End (Rotten Tomatoes – Metacritic).
“From the clockwork comic timing to the movie’s salty mix of the ridiculous and the reflective, This Is the End is stupidly hysterical and smartly heretical. Cross my heart and hope to die, it’s funny as hell.” Los Angeles Times Betsy Sharkey
When something is ‘funny as hell’ is it because we’re looking down from comfy old Earth or because hell’s where all the comedians are?
“As a celebrity’s-eye-view apocalypse movie, This Is The End delivers huge guffaws and large-scale carnage with enough gusto to mask the indulgences. You’ll never look at Michael Cera in the same way again.” Total Film Matt Maytum
How was I supposed to look at him before?
“A one-joke movie, but it’s a joke whose recurring rimshots grow as loud as our laughter.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch Joe Williams
“I enjoyed the hell out of it for a while, but it got irritating and self-congratulatory long before it was over and I desperately do not want to see it again.” Salon.com Andrew O’Hehir
He enjoyed the hell out of it and left wanting to avoid it at all costs, somewhere within lies the truth. Sadly, his best bet to find capital T-truth would be in a philosophy course at Monsters University (Rotten Tomatoes – Metacritic).
“As a piece of summer entertainment, this strenuously upbeat prequel to Pixar’s “Monsters, Inc.” passes with vibrant colors and will, of course, excel at the box office…But as an offering from Pixar, the studio that set the platinum standard for contemporary animated features, it’s an awful disappointment — and one more reason to worry about Pixar’s future under Disney ownership.” Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern
There was a time when ‘Disney magic’ trumped ‘Pixar magic,’ but those days are done. The chief rodent signs all the checks, yet both reputations have been tarnished in the eyes of critics, despite enormous success. In light of all that, how should we define Pixar magic?
“A charming, family friendly endeavor and, although it falls short of the best Pixar has brought to the screen over its long association with Disney, it’s nevertheless worth a trip to the theater, especially for kids.” ReelViews James Berardinelli
Pixar magic: You know, for kids.
“The background designs are beautiful and there are plenty of lively sight gags, but magic isn’t in the cards.” The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Liam Lacey
“It’s cute, funny, exciting to look at but not quite magical.” Arizona Republic Bill Goodykoontz
Pixar magic proves there is no magic.
“Despite its brainy title, Monsters University only earns a passing grade on its looks.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch Joe Williams
“The Heat is the best female buddy-cop movie since, well, ever.” USA Today Claudia Puig
Witness the birth of a new genre. Wait, that wasn’t meant to be a gendered comment.
“More often than not The Heat is just stupid-funny, which circles us back to McCarthy, motor-mouthing four-letter fury like an operatic aria. She sells Mullins as delightfully unhinged and fairly radiating with rage, and it’s irresistible.” Austin Chronicle Kimberley Jones
Featuring an opera of profanity, irresistible anger, and the good kind of crazy.
“The Heat is kind of a mess, but it’s a funny mess.” New York Magazine (Vulture) Bilge Ebiri
“Big question. Is The Heat a good movie and really funny, or am I just in love with Melissa McCarthy?” Gary Wolcott Tri-City Herald
All false dichotomies should be followed by options C) all of the above and D) none of the above.
“If you’ve never seen Sandra Bullock blow a peanut shell out of her nose, and you’d like to, The Heat is your movie.” Stephanie Zacharek Village Voice
“Emerges as a surprisingly smart, gripping and imaginative addition to the zombie-movie canon, owing as much to scientific disaster movies like “The China Syndrome” and “Contagion” as it does to undead ur-texts like the collected works of George Romero.” Variety Scott Foundas
Wait, go back to the part about the zombie cannon.
“It is no summer thriller. It’s an anemic actioner that fosters excitement like dead limbs as it lumbers toward a conclusion.” New York Daily News Joe Neumaier
Implying a movie is ‘as exciting as a corpse’ would be an insult for all genres except zombie.
“The movie has made it to theaters not dead on arrival, but walking dead, running dead, and — when it’s really working — swarming dead.” NPR Bob Mondello
“So once you figure out the first rule of Zombie Fight Club — nothing too bad can happen to Brad Pitt — the movie is, despite intermittent thrills, rote.” New York Post Kyle Smith
The first rule of Zombie Fight Club is, don’t kill Brad. The second rule of Zombie Fight Club is, we don’t talk about Zombie Fight Club.
“World War Z is still as smart, shifty and scary as a starving zombie ready to chow down on you, baby, you.” Rolling Stone Peter Travers
“At once frantically overblown and beautifully filigreed, Man of Steel will turn on everyone it doesn’t turn off.” The New York Times Manohla Dargis
You are an emotional light switch and this movie intends to flick you.
“Snyder tries to up the spectacle ante with ever more explosions, crashes, thermal blasts, topological realignments, gunfire and mano-a-mano fistfights. But the result is a punishing sense of diminishing returns and a genre that has finally reached the point of mayhem-induced exhaustion.” Washington Post Ann Hornaday
Superman has unlimited stamina for everything, including desensitization.
“What it fails to supply much of — surprisingly, it must be said — is fun. This is serious business, Snyder seems always to be saying. This is badass. And given the sheer logistical size of the spectacle on display, it’s a position that’s hard to argue with.” NPR Glen Weldon
“This is a pretty good action movie that justifies bringing back the Superman franchise — a dubious proposition to begin with — by taking the plight of the superhero seriously. Henry Cavill is charismatic in the lead role, Amy Adams is an ideal Lois Lane and, as the villain, Michael Shannon does the best Michael Shannon impersonation you’ve ever seen.” San Francisco Chronicle Mick LaSalle
Holy shit. When actors begin impersonating themselves, they cross into the pantheon of mega stardom with icons like Tom Cruise, Chuck Norris, and Nicholas Cage. Welcome Mr. Shannon. Most people still don’t know who you are.
“So we get no zippy, Tony Stark-flavored one-liners. No comic-relief characters. No nonsense. But that means we also get no up, up and away, either.” New Orleans Times-Picayune Mike Scott
“A buddy comedy disguised as a political thriller. It’s full of malarkey, but as a campaign of shock and awe, it’s hard to resist.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch Joe Williams
Initiate Operation: Wallet Suck
“This is getting old.” Miami Herald Connie Ogle
The movie just came out and it’s already too old for this shit?
“Crank up the destruction-porn, strike up the patriotic movie-muzak, round off the sun-bright halo around the Obama-like Prez. By the exhausted end, it’s all a super-spangled slice of apple pie.” Brian Gibson Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
“Intentionally or not, Roland Emmerich’s White House Down is the comedy hit of the summer. No other film equals its comic sophistication. Each nutty scenario is surpassed by the next, ludicrous story lines coalesce with expert orchestration, and absurd details return with perfect timing to build to a crescendo of hilarity.” Boston Globe Peter Keough
Sold as an action movie, remembered as a comedy?
“[A] cartoonish, offensive, overblown, clanging, steaming piece of … cinema.” Chicago Sun-Times Richard Roeper
“Mostly, it’s just a clumsy lecture about who we’re becoming, haves vs have-nots, with the haves armed to the teeth.” Movie Nation Roger Moore
The have-nots become haves by having what the haves had.
“There are flaws, but also some fun surprises. Much closer to Hitchcock than “Hostel,” this is what can happen when a pile of trash falls into the hands of a talented and resourceful director (James DeMonaco).” San Francisco Chronicle Peter Hartlaub
We get trash art?
“So here I am, trying to like The Purge because I’m drawn to its simple and horrific premise, and it’s treating me (and you) as if we have the IQs of lawn ornaments.” Charlotte Observer Lawrence Toppman
“When critics bemoan the dumbing down of movies, they’re talking about stuff like The Purge.” James Berardinelli ReelViews
“The fact that this overlong, often preposterous comedy succeeds at all (which it does, only occasionally) proves that the Vaughn/Wilson charm can still work a measure of magic.” Washington Post Jen Chaney
Vaughn/Wilson magic: Still nowhere near Pixar
“What makes The Internship especially unfortunate is that there are pieces of a better, funnier movie lying around here, pretty much unnoticed.” Salon.com Andrew O’Hehir
It’s an IKEA movie that’s been poorly put together? Didn’t they Google directions?
“That the film ends up floundering is not really their fault. These two belong on screen together: when they’re not completing each other’s sentences, they’re completing them wrongly, which is even better.” The Telegraph Tim Robey
“The Internship is the movie version of a goofy dog that knows only a few tricks but keeps on looking at you and wagging his tail, daring you not to like him. Down, boy. You win.” Chicago Sun-Times Richard Roeper
You heard it here first. Richard Roeper liked the movie for humping his leg.
“The real star of The Internship is Google itself, and what a self-aggrandizing diva she is.” The A.V. Club A.A. Dowd