The 2014 Summer Movie Round Up

Guardians of the Galaxy cast summer blockbuster
Guardians of the Galaxy lit up the summer

It was a lousy summer.

I figured it was going to be months ago when I took a look at what movies were headed our way. Despite a few stand out flicks that peaked my interest it looked like it was going to be a very dry couple of months.

And that’s exactly what looked to happen from my perspective. Weeks would go by, new releases would come and go. I imagine some took the time to go see some of them, but not really as many as was hoped by Hollywood. Sure some flicks made truckloads of money, but throughout most of the summer there was barely anything that got people excited.

I read some article about how the summer box office was down 25% this summer compared to last. That there was no big breakout $300 million domestic grossing blockbusters (although Guardians of the Galaxy looks to be about ready to do that – anyone remember when $100 million gross was almost unheard of?). There wasn’t even any huge flops that we could laugh at. Although I was amused to see Blended was something that came and went without any impact.

So now there are plenty of articles reflecting on what were the possible reasons this summer ‘crashed’ – as some have described it.

I find it kinda funny after all the jacked up IMAX and 3D ticket prices that have been utilized in recent years, Hollywood was still having trouble luring folks into the theaters and making some cash. Maybe CGI heavy effect-laden movies are becoming so routine they’re losing their cache. The story offerings are not very interesting and we feel we’ve seen them before. Or it could be that perhaps the overall product they put out this summer simply wasn’t very appealing.

Blended Adam Sandler bomb
No Sandler hit this summer

I really wish along with the weekly box office money a movie takes in they’d put how many actual tickets were sold to that movie – ie. how many people actually went to go see the thing. Just basic attendance records like they do at ballgames. We have no idea how much these people paid for their game seats, only that 30,000 people ventured out and showed up to this game.

I know Hollywood doesn’t really care about that, they’re much more interested in the green a movie earns. Heck, they’d probably call a movie a success if some billionaire paid $500 million bucks for one ticket to a private screening while no one else in the world went to go see the friggin’ thing. It’s a hit!

So here’s a breakdown of what I went to see this summer. It really wasn’t much. There was just so much overwhelming stuff that I had no interest in. Some of these I only went to see because I was invited by my movie theater working pal to check them out. A few smaller flicks that I wanted to see I just never got around to. Life Itself is something I’ll have to catch on dvd. There was a point in the middle of the summer that I had no idea what was even out and what people were going to see. It was probably that Transformers movie.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I give up with this movie series.

I thought maybe the second one of this rebooted Spidey series would be better, but it was worse. I think I had the same problems as a lot of fans – too many villains, too many subplots, boring characters and what was the story? The supposed big dramatic ending left me feeling nothing either. It’s like they just threw as much as they could into this movie hoping some of it would stick – and none of it did! The best thing I can say about it was the Spidey costume looked good.

I’m starting to view this as a franchise that Sony just wants to hold onto for financial reasons. They don’t want to lose it and having it go back to Marvel so they have to do something with it. It’s like a big-budget version of that Corman Fantastic Four flick. So they’re just keen to keep churning out these movies with no vision or passion. And if this is all they got to offer with this character then I’m not interested. And big spinoffs and shared universe movies will not make it any more appealing to me. Really quite a bad movie.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men Days of Future Past

This feels so long ago since I saw it. My initial reaction was that I liked it, it was a kick to see the entire ensemble and it was certainly the best thing Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine has done in a long time.

The clashing of the young and old cinematic X-Men could have resulted in something horrible, but it all comes together for an engaging X-dventure. Plus, Quicksilver was a nice addition to the cast of mutants.

One downside I took away from this was the lack of action. Other than the beginning and end I don’t recall any great moments (except the Quicksilver scene). Actually sitting here now I can’t think of any big standout scenes. I’ll have to watch it again and see if I like it as much the second time.

Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow Tom Cruise

I was indifferent about this movie and the only reason I saw it was because I was invited to a showing and didn’t have anything better to do that night. Luckily I was surprised by it and actually enjoyed it much more than I anticipated.

It’s a fun time looping story, Tom Cruise is good and Emily Blunt looks awfully cute. The ending was something of a letdown, the aliens somewhat generic looking (actually the battle scenes I thought were pretty ho-hum and the supporting cast forgettable). I’m not too keen on watching it again, but it made for an entertaining evening in the middle of summer.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Hey, these Apes movies are getting good! Better than Rise of The Planet of the Apes, Dawn gives us plenty of monkey action, some cool characters to root for who are up against hiss-worthy ones.

There’s ape and human characters who are very motivated to let their hate of the other species result in a conflict that seems destined to happen and those few good characters that want to avoid it are just doomed to failure. So there’s plenty of drama to get invested in than just waiting for monkeys on horses shooting guns.

The effects help the characters and story along. At a certain point I forgot all about that Andy Serkis’ Caesar and his ape cohorts were special effects. They looked spectacular! Sure I questioned how the apes kept shooting machine guns endlessly without ever reloading, but that was a small quibble in a really great movie.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy Rocket Racoon

While the top spots on the box office chart would pretty much rotate from week to week throughout the season – some managing to hang onto the top slot a little longer – Guardians managed to do it for four weeks so far. Not consecutive weeks, but still it would bounce back and continues to hang around.

This has apparently become so rare that a single film does this that it’s become news. I’m just fascinated by this. Does anyone else recall the long ago days when a movie would play continuously throughout the summer?

Now if a movie hangs around for two weeks it’s a rarity. It really shows how saturated the market has become with big releases vying for theater space and how audiences are so anxious for the next thing. I love how people are wowed by Guardians’ performance as if it’s so shocking that people are willing to go see a decent movie they’ve heard about – even if it’s three weeks old!

So Guardians was the movie of the summer and luckily it was a really good one. It was much funnier than I expected and turned out to be a very fun space romp. We got some strange, new likable characters, a cool soundtrack, a cameo appearance that I never thought I would see and hopeful promises of future entertaining adventures.

Guardians of the Galaxy cast jailbreak

I’m excited to have a movie night with my nephews to show them this since they haven’t seen it yet, but somehow already know all the characters. I’m sure they’ll dig it. I’m betting they won’t understand the blacklight joke (gosh I hope they don’t!) but they should love this flick.

I think Guardians started to get a bit overpraised though. But maybe that’s just because people were so hungry to get excited for something this summer. I wonder what would have happened had it shown up at the start of the summer season. Would it have hung on through the entire summer and would have easily just blown away several of the other blockbusters that tried to follow it?

When movie fans think back on the summer of 2014, they’re going to remember it as the ‘Summer of Guardians of the Galaxy’.

*Expendables 3

I saw half of this. Forget about this series. It’s over.

These Expendable flicks had the potential of being a fun throwback to 80’s action charm, but they aren’t. They’re not even a fun throwback to B-movie direct-to-video action. It doesn’t matter what stars they stick in them for three minutes a pop. The films have subsequently become so lazy and poorly made it’s not even worth the time.

Mel Gibson had a pretty good scene confronting Sly in a van, but I was so incredibly bored I didn’t even bother sticking around for the finale.

And just in case you’re not sick of hearing this song.


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2 Responses

  1. Heiner says:

    GUARDIANS was fun but pretty generic and predictable. The trick of this movie was to bring the old ingredients with wit and swashbuckling charm. But there is too much familiarity to consider this movie as groundbreaking as some nerds do. Hadn't it been from Marvel and from a comic-book-resource, comic-freaks would condemn a talking racoon or a walking tree as Pixar-fodder for small kids.

  2. spaceodds says:

    Guardians only worked because of the characters, the film was hilarious and the main characters were memorable and likeable. I can't stand Bradley Cooper, I think the Hangover series was the spawn of Satan and Bradley Cooper was Rosemary's Baby. However whilst watching Guardians, never once did I think that Cooper was Rockey Racoon, and if that succeeds, then you know the film was onto something. With the exception of the brilliant protagonists, the film was limp, Lee Pace is no Hiddleston and the plot was old hat, with the epilogue being a cherry on top of an interesting if flawed cake.

    Edge of Tomorrow: By far my favorite film of the summer. Went to see it to kill some time, and instead I was left surprised and fulfilled. The film is a witty and very entertaining sci fi spectacle that again works due to the plot and character. Cruise goes back to what he does best, being a cheeky and smart a*hole, whilst Blunt flexes her developing action muscles. Hardly surprising the film worked, Doug Liman may have had his fair share of bad films, but he did direct Swingers and The Bourne Identity. Also the script was by the Butterworth's who are mainly known as comedic playwrights, went to see a play of theirs last year called Mojo, darkly comic and intriguing.

    Amazing Spider-Man 2: Went to see it at the theater, and two minutes into the film, the projector broke down. The audience complained, we all got a voucher(coupon) and I was on my merry way. Didn't get round to seeing it, until two weeks ago when I watched it on blu ray at a friends house. The movie gods have worked against me before, but at times they've helped and this time they've helped me very much. The film was just bad, I didn't exactly agree with the terrible reviews it incured, but it was not as bad as the first Amazing Spider-Man, and nowhere near as good as the first two Maguire/Raimi films. In future, this franchise will remain in the rental queue.

    Didn't see X-Men (since I'm not much of a fan), nor did I see the Apes film. What I did go and see was Luc Besson's Lucy, a crazy film that will leave you giggling at its abdonment of logic. Also I saw Sin City 2, absolutely terrible. The season has way passed on this one, and quite frankly I don't why it took Rodriquez and co NINE YEARS to come up with a sequel. Mind you Eva Green was just f**king hot. Green has probably the best body of any famous actress working in movies today.

    Fall looks more appealing; The Guest (a retro 80s style darkly comic horror film) I saw it, highly recommend it.

    Gone Girl: David Fincher's next thriller, what's not to like.

    Intersteller: Christopher Nolan's next big spectacle, what's not to like.

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