Cinema Chutes and Ladders: Summer 2015

It’s August and that means that the summer box office has begun it’s inevitable cool-down. We’re here to give you our take on a few of this summer’s biggest releases and speculate on a few late season stragglers. It’s time for another edition of Cinema Chutes and Ladders!

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Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)

There’s been a lot of talk lately about Marvel Fatigue and the over-saturation of comic book movies. In response I’d like to say, um, boo hoo? What a bummer for audiences that this production studio is churning out these pretty consistently good films that make people excited to go to the movies. The nerve. I, for one, really enjoyed Age of Ultron.  It gave me everything I needed from an Avenger movie, like good character moments, and solid performances, and…

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Chris Evans chopping wood. Can’t forget about that.

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tom-hardy-as-max-in-mad-max-fury-roadMad Max: Fury Road (May 15)

I wasn’t sold on Fury Road when it was announced last year; I prefer studios to spend their time developing something original rather than rebooting a franchise that flamed out thirty years ago. So you can imagine my surprise when this turned out to be not only one of the best, but in many way one of the most original, summer release. Fingers crossed for a Nux spin-off, am I right?

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Jurassic World (June 12)JURASSIC-WORLD-15-1940x1042

I gave Jurassic World an initial good review that I stand by. But when this movie is taken into context with all the other summer releases, it’s definitely one of the weaker links in the cinematic chain. It was fun, but not much more than that.

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Trainwreck (July 7)

The alternate title of this movie was How Whitney Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Amy Schumer.

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Marvel's Ant-Man..Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..? Marvel 2014

Ant-Man (July 7)

I had one hope for this movie. I only asked that I could make it though Ant-Man‘s 117 minute run-time without hearing the phrase “why don’t you pick on somebody your own size”. I did not get that wish.

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Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (July 31)

It’s really easy for me to forget what an amazing franchise Mission Impossible has been, until I’m confronted with yet another off-the-chain installment of said franchise. In other news, Rebecca Ferguson is my official Girl Crush of 2015. Crossfit has clearly served her well.

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The Gift (August 8)

From watching the trailer of The Gift, starring Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman, and Rebecca Hall, I catch whiffs of Single While Female and Fatal Attraction. Since we haven’t seen too many psychological thrillers this season, I’m interested to see how this one shakes out. For now, I’m calling it a ladder based on casting alone.

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Fantastic Four (August 8)first-fantastic-four-trailer-arrives-online_vbew.1920

So Twentieth Century Fox, your plan was to take a quartet of inherently ridiculous superheroes whose attempts at film success has nose-dived not once, but twice, and make them grittier? Good call. Hey, maybe next you could remake The King and I as a raunchy sex comedy.

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Dark-Places-Movie-2015-starring-Charlize-Theron-and-Nicholas-HoultDark Places (August 8)

Probably capitalizing on the success of Gillian Flynn’s last film adaptation, Gone Girl, is a movie that looks stylistically and thematically very similar. Hey, if it’s half a bananas the trailer implies, you can sign me up.

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Man From U.N.C.L.E. (August 14)maxresdefault

Henry Cavill, why must we always do this? You insist on looking balls-to-the-wall sexy and I’m sent into a celebrity crush tailspin. Do you know how hard it is to live like this? DO YOU!?

Whitney

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Summer Movie Chutes and Ladders!

I did not end up seeing very many movies this summer. In part, because I’ve just been way too busy having a fun, sexy, Newport Ad summer…

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…And also because I just haven’t been that spoiled with choice. It’s no ancient Chinese secret that this has just not been the summer for movies. I did see a few, though, so I thought I’d play a game of Cinema Chutes and Ladders with some of this summers releases. 

AmazingSpiderman2-WPChute: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Ok, I’m going to say something that is going to sound kinda mean, but is only meant to be constructive: The entire film felt like a really, outrageously expensive piece of Peter/Gwen fanfic. Oh jeeze, that looks just as mean on paper as it did in my head. But the truth is, when you center the entire script of your Big-Budget Superhero Blockbuster on your leads perpetual game of relationship ping-pong, your story is going to suffer. And suffer it did. Everybody knows that Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield have bananas on/off screen chemistry. Doesn’t mean we want to watch a movie about it.  

Ladder: Edge of Tomorrow

There really are not words to express how little I cared about seeing Tom Cruise’s latest attempt edge-of-tomorrowat career dialysis. I figured it was just another two-hour excuse to eat buttered popcorn, watch Tom gaze steely-eyed into the face of danger, and flirt with his under aged, underwritten leading lady. I’ve probably been more wrong before, but nothing immediately springs to mind. Edge was surprisingly funny, inventive, and (whoa!) kind of female driven. Emily Blunt’s character is allowed to be a hero in her own right, and not just as Cruise’s best girl. Not to mention that this is probably one of my favorite Tom Cruise performances EVER. I mean it. He’s smarmy and self-deprecating, and gives us a compelling hero to root for. 

snowpiercerLadder: Snowpiercer

It’s really is hard for me to put into words how I feel about this movie. If you (understandably) assume that my enthusiasm for this one stems from a longstanding and ever increasing Chris Evans crush, I totally get it. But in reality, once I saw the trailer back in May, I knew I was going to see it one way or another. It just looked so different from anything else we were likely to get this summer. And because I ABSOLUTELY refuse to dole out any spoilers on this one, all I will say is that I walked out of that movie theater shaking. It was disturbing and violent and sad and exciting and (once you got over being disturbed, grossed-out, sad, and excited) pretty funny. Just, go see it. For me. Please. Don’t be a weirdo. Just go. Now. Thank you. 

Ladder: Belle

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This one pretty much has all the makings of a super-cute chick flick: Racism, sexism, capitalism, imperialism. All the isms. Joking (briefly) aside, this movie is balls-to-the-wall wonderful. Also, hey there Sam Reid. We’ve never met before, but I like everything about you. Including, but not limited to, your face, your eyes, your voice, your smile, and your formidable acting chops. The ladies of the American Colonies salute you, sir. 

Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo in "Begin Again"Chute: Begin Again

Oh boy. I guess I know where they were trying to go with this one. I mean, it’s like Once, but in New York, right? I guess you lost me when Kira Knightly announced that Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and that song from Casablanca were her guilty pleasures. No. Those are the songs you pretend are your guilty pleasures when a cute boy is going through your iTunes library. Honestly. You know what’s a pleasure to feel guilty about? “Having Fun” by Britney Spears. The only thing you have to feel guilty about is not fooling anyone. 

Ladder: Guardians of the Galaxy

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Every time I try to think of a way this movie could have been better, I get nothin’. Soup to nuts, one of my new favorite movies of all time. Chris Pratt slays the competition in the Most Boffable Man of the Summer 2014 race. And while I loved B Coop as Rocket the Raccoon, I think I prefer him in his 20 piece suits.                                                                                              

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Kidding. Love you, Coop. 

What do you think? Did I miss any?

Whitney