Anthony Pantalone, Editor
As the summer movie season draws to a close, it’s important to look back and reflect on the films that graced theaters and streaming services in the past months. Between Nicole Kidman ads, fighter jets, and weird European accents, the cinema was back in full force this summer! General audiences came out and showed that they still enjoy going out to a theater and watching a movie up on a huge screen. Therefore, let’s assess what came out from the good to the bad to the Elvis.
Nothing else to say about this one outside of my earlier review. I love the score and love Keke Palmer’s performance.
“Cha Cha Real Smooth”
Cooper Raiff’s sophomore feature is a somewhat corny but very sincere coming-of-age movie about trying to exist and figure out life after college in your twenties. Every character is compassionate and really cares about the other people in their lives. It was genuinely refreshing to watch a movie that does not stray far away from that premise.
“Bodies Bodies Bodies”
Ever the source of online discourse, “Bodies Bodies Bodies’ ‘ was a fun satire. Lee Pace is great. Rachel Sennott is going to be one of the most talented actors working in the next decade. Any movie that knows how to effectively use Connor O’Malley and Azealia Banks’ “212” is a win in my book.
It’s so fun seeing a movie set in Philly, let alone also filmed on La Salle’s campus! Adam Sandler is great. Anthony Edwards is surprisingly a good comedic actor. Seeing a training montage in Philadelphia use the hills of Manayunk/Roxborough instead of the Art Museum steps was a fun creative choice and use of the city. Before I move on, I must mention how funny it was that the airport scenes were so obviously shot in the Wells Fargo Center.
This movie is a good, funny, heartfelt “Pride and Prejudice” adaptation. What’s not to love? It has a great soundtrack and feels like a movie about LGBTQ+ people that was actually made and written by LGBTQ+ creatives. This film is an easy summer comfort watch.
“Bullet Train” was alright! It underutilized a lot of actors like Zazie Beetz and Logan Lerman. The action and humor are pretty good. I must say though, I would love to see Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry star opposite each other in a romcom.
“Thor: Love and Thunder”
Taika Waititi returns to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for another Thor movie after winning a screenplay Oscar for “Jojo Rabbit” in 2019 and delivers another solid entry into this franchise. This movie knows what it is: a perfectly unserious space rock opera. While offering up an unsurprisingly great Christian Bale performance, I somewhat wish Waititi had also given the script a few more passes. It’s not bad per se, but the magic and charm of “Thor: Ragnarok” does not feel replicated here.
“Top Gun: Maverick”
“Top Gun: Maverick” was a lot of fun to watch on a huge screen and a great start to the summer movie season on Memorial Day Weekend. It felt like a classic summer blockbuster made to please big crowds and it did exactly that. I personally am not a Tom Cruise fan, but he is undeniably likely the last bonafide action movie star in Hollywood. It’s a Top Gun movie, so it might as well be a two-hour ad for the American military. Suffice to say, Cruise and Scientology received a huge payday this summer with this movie, so the real winner of the Top Gun sequel was L. Ron Hubbard.
It was alright. I don’t have any strong feelings about this movie. The time travel plot was confusing for me personally. I’m just happy that these types of movies make money so that Pixar can keep making things like “Soul” and “Luca.”
Look, I’ll be honest. I’m pretty indifferent at best regarding Elvis. I like some of his songs, but I do not like him as a person at all. I had a fine time seeing this on opening day in a Dolby Cinema theater. I am pretty sure I was the only person in my theater under the age of 40. The old women in my row looked like they had a great time though, so I love that for them. This movie is sooooo long, almost unforgivably long. Baz Luhrmann’s directing is inventive and stylized and therefore made this movie very watchable. Austin Butler’s performance is good. Tom Hanks’ performance opposite him though is absolutely abysmal—quite possibly the worst performance of his career. I finally understand now where Chet gets it. Also, this movie romanticizes a 24-year-old Elvis grooming and marrying a 14-year-old child—incredibly disgusting and reprehensible.
“The Gray Man”
“The Gray Man” is Joe and Anthony Russo’s first summer action blockbuster since “Avengers: Endgame” in 2019, but this movie honestly looks way too dull to have had $200 million spent on making it. I also wish they would stop using drone tracking shots. They look like GoPro YouTube videos. Much love to all involved.
“Jurassic World Dominion”
I can’t give a fair review for this movie. I saw it in a 4D theater and was thrown around for almost the entire two- and half-hour runtime. I remember something about locusts? I thought it was supposed to be about dinosaurs.
This movie was simply not good. Not even in the way that a bad movie could be fun to watch. This is my formal recommendation to not watch it.