The dog days of summer are finally upon us, with everyone either heading out of town or enjoying the peace and quiet those who’ve left may have bestowed on your streets. If you’re thinking of venturing out to the local multiplex this 4th of July holiday weekend there’s lots of good stuff to see, and of course some horrendous offerings to avoid. While I didn’t finagle the time to review everything, I have seen all of the latest offerings and just thought people should know what they should see and what they should stay far far away from.
While we all know the teenage girls are heavily flocking to watch a selfish teenage child torment herself over whether she’s into bestiality or wanting to roll around in the dirt as a necrophiliac, we all know there’s no stopping the phenomenon that is the “Twilight Saga.” With the latest entry, “Eclipse,” it’s basically the same movie as before. Bella pines for two boys who have a tendency to not wear basic clothing while the silliest of flashbacks give unnecessary backstory to characters who don’t deserve it while an army of noob vampires are being wrangled together for Victoria to get her revenge. Skip it, you’ve seen this movie twice already with the first two installments.
Another one to avoid, which like “Eclipse” is making far too much undeserved money, is Adam Sandler’s declaration of eternal arrested development, “Grown Ups.” If you think watching other people’s home movies is entertaining, then you’d be better off sitting at home flipping through old family photo albums instead of watching five long-past-their-prime supposed comics humiliate themselves and everyone in their immediate vicinity while making as many insensitive and racist “jokes” as possible.
A few surprises were brought to the fold over the last few weeks. With the update of the '80s “The A-Team,” adults finally get an over-the-top action film kicked up a few notches with a spry cast, a hilarious script, and the surest direction seen from Joe Carnahan in years. While it hasn’t caught on to become the blockbuster it deserves to be, neither is the other adult friendly action/comedy, “Knight and Day.” While Tom Cruise has been continually bashed since he stomped on Oprah’s couch, I’ve never let an actor’s personal life get in the way of enjoying them cinematically. James Mangold directs sophomore writer Patrick O’Neill’s hilarious script for a film that never tries to be more than a nice mixture of “North by Northwest” and Cruise’s own “Mission: Impossible” films. Meanwhile, Cruise and Cameron Diaz have never been so enjoyable. These are the two deserving crowd pleasers that most have missed out on but with a few days off, now’s your chance to catch up on something more than tween eye candy or overgrown adolescence gone wild.
Just in case you haven’t seen them yet, there are two surefire summer smashes still on screens. First there’s the surprisingly faithful “The Karate Kid” remake which distances itself enough from the original while still finding ways to keep things the same and giving Jackie Chan a great opportunity to finally show us he’s still the superstar he always has been. Oh, and props also have to be given to little Jaden Smith for bringing his purebred A-game to the proceedings and showing he has the chops to carry a 2 ½ hour film on his own while only being 12 years old!
Secondly, and honestly the best film of the summer, if not the year, there is of course “Toy Story 3.” Pixar keeps smashing them out of the park when everything’s riding against them. Just when you thought trilogies were a product of diminishing returns, who else could revive faith in the subject? With it being Pixar I never had my doubts, but after 11 years, who didn’t have at least some slight trepidation that the production team juggernauts might finally produce a spectacular flop? While it’s so far pulling in enormous numbers at the box office, if you’re going to see only one film this weekend, it should be this. No other movie offers the kind of high adventure and hilarious hijinks while still finding time to make grown men cry.
Finally, a few other things… Obviously, the first recommendation would have to be “Iron Man 2,” but you should also “Get Him to the Greek,” consider “Letters to Juliet,” seek out “MacGruber,” and lastly, “Shrek Forever After” is nowhere near as bad as “Shrek the Third” but why see that when there’s “Toy Story 3?”
Now, make sure you never “Splice” or slip into “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” and, as always, never ever witness the abomination that is “Jonah Hex.” Follow these tips and your weekend of fun in the sun could make beating the heat a thing of pleasure and not full of turmoil. Just remember to be responsible, wear sunscreen but mostly, have fun and enjoy!
Article first published as 2010 Summer Movie Round-Up: 4th of July Weekend Guide on Blogcritics.