Monthly Rewind for July

Hello, everybody!

The sixth edition of Monthly Rewind is here, and we’re doing July!

I mentioned in the last post that I’m going to change how I did these going forward, and that’s going to happen here. I originally did all the movies I watched that month and gave my reactions to all those movies, good or bad. The new change is that I’ll still be doing that, but this time with only the movies that really left an impression or stood out. I’m not saying I won’t mention the bad movies, but for the most part, it’s going to be the ones that stood out.

If you know something came out during that month, or year, and it’s not on here. It’s a good chance that I haven’t seen it – yes, even after all these years – or I just completely missed it while putting the list together. It’s a lot of movies after all.

Alright, let’s get started with 2010!

 

2010

The Last Airbender

[REC] 2

Inception

Thoughts: Okay, let’s just get this one out of the way, M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation of the hit animated series, The Last Airbender. I’m going to be honest, I have never finished the series, so I was going in with limited knowledge of the series, but even I knew that this movie wasn’t it. Forget the way too many close-ups – especially in a 3D movie – and a lack of character connections and changes, The Last Airbender suffers from being rather boring a lot of time. It saves everything for its “bombastic” third-act that was given away in EVERY trailer and TV spot.

Next is the sequel to the Spanish found-footage horror film, [REC]. The sequel picks up pretty much immediately after the first film, now following a SWAT team going into the building that has been closed off due to a virus, to find someone inside that could help with an antidote. I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t seen it, but I loved the first [REC] and while the sequel ups the action – given that these characters have guns – the sequel also changes the whole dynamic of the first movie and does something pretty cool to change it up. I’d definitely do a double-feature night, if you haven’t watched the movies before.

Finally, Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending sci-fi film Inception. And no, I’m not going to discuss if the ending was a dream or not, I have my opinion but that’s a WHOLE other post. Regardless, Inception does do everything to keep you on track on what level of the dream they’re in. If anything, you should appreciate the cast Nolan was able to put together.

 

 

2011

Horrible Bosses

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Attack the Block

Captain America: The First Avenger

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the comedy Horrible Bosses, following three friends (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) who hate their bosses that one night they think of the ways to kill them, and hire a “murder consultant” in MF Jones (Jamie Foxx). I didn’t think too much of Horrible Bosses before I saw it, but after watching the movie, I feel hard for it. The movie works when Bateman, Day and Sudeikis just let loose.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is next on the list, and while I wasn’t the biggest Potterhead out there (I stopped reading the books after Goblet of Fire) my investment came straight from what I was seeing on screen, and not a previous knowledge like many that were probably watching. That said, I still felt the weight of a franchise I grew up watching was coming to an end.

Next is the British alien invasion film Attack the Block. Featuring the feature film debut of John Boyega and a pre-Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker as residents in a block in South London that is invaded by aliens who are trying to break into the building. I instantly feel in love with this movie after the first watch. The movie has a young cast and Whittaker and a small role by Nick Frost as a dealer to punch up some of the scenes. It’s a great watch if you haven’t watched it yet.

Finally, Captain America: The First Avenger, a bonafide prequel to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Chris Evans brings Steve Rogers aka Captain America to life seeing his humble beginnings to turning into a superhero and a symbol of hope during the war. Add in Hugo Weaving’s portrayal as the villainous Red Skull, a touching performance by Stanley Tucci and a great and breakout performance by Hayley Atwell as Steve’s love interest Peggy Carter, Captain America: The First Avenger is arguably the best movie in Marvel’s Phase One.

 

 

2012

The Dark Knight Rises

The Amazing Spider-Man

Thoughts:  Well, look at this. Let’s start off with The Dark Knight Rises, which was the final outing of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series with Christian Bale playing Bruce/Batman going up against a powerful new enemy, Bane (Tom Hardy), who takes Gotham hostage by force and effectively. Rises gets a lot of hate, and while some of it may be justified, I think taking some time away from the movie “lessens” the hate. No, the movie isn’t perfect, or a great conclusion after the great The Dark Knight, but Rises is a descent cap off to the Nolan films.

Now, let’s move on from DC and a final installment, to Marvel/Sony and the hopeful beginning/reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man. Only five years after Sam Raimi’s last outing in Spider-Man 3 – a fourth installment was in the works, but Sony and Raimi didn’t agree on how to go with it – Sony Pictures went the reboot route with 500 Days of Summer director Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield to play the iconic hero. Retelling the story of Peter as he’s bitten by a genetically altered spider that gives him powers and becomes the hero, Spider-Man, while trying to juggle his own life with Aunt May (Sally Field) after the death of Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen), his high school doings with a growing crush on Gwen Stacy (played wonderfully by Emma Stone), and being hunted down by Dr. Curt Connors’ alter-ego The Lizard (Rhys Ifans).

I actually enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man, and thought Garfield’s Peter was descent enough, but the inclusion of Gwen Stacy as the main love interest was a good way to set it apart from Raimi’s films. Of course, Sony couldn’t help itself and ruined the potential franchise.

 

 

2013

The Lone Ranger

The Conjuring

Pacific Rim

Thoughts: The Lone Ranger got A LOT of flak when it came out. Most of it, at first, steamed from the public behind-the-scenes troubles with the budget and changing scripts. Then the movie came out and people still weren’t too big on it. The movie did suffer from tonal whiplash at times, plus it was a tad bit longer that it should have been – especially for a Disney movie. While even I wasn’t the biggest fan of it, I did find some of it decently enjoyable. The final action sequence on the train while the familiar theme plays throughout was actually pretty damn great.

Let’s move on to James Wan’s The Conjuring, the horror film that made a huge buzz when it came out. The movie is based on one of the case files by paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), who help a family after moving into to their new farmhouse that is haunted by an evil presence. The movie had some added layers going for it as a photo went around that a priest had blessed a theater after people started to experience things or pass out – much like The Exorcist when it first came out. The movie was rated-R, despite not having any gore or swearing in it, and the trailer that showed the “clapping game.”

I would arguably say that The Conjuring is one of Wan’s best films, especially horror, but given the film’s success – and spinoffs – I think it speaks for itself.

 

 

2014

Boyhood

Begin Again

The Purge: Anarchy

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Thoughts:  Let’s start off with Richard Linklater’s experimental 12-year film, Boyhood. Following the life of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from early childhood until his arrival at college, the film was definitely a passion project for Linklater and a testament to his filmmaking and patience, and the cast as well, to getting this done. The movie itself, is just fine, unfortunately.

Next is the indie musical dramedy Begin Again, with Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley. The film followed a disgraced music executive who happens to meet a young singer-songwriter, new to Manhattan, and strikes up a partnership to create something new, with a group of equally talented individuals. Begin Again is a great indie film with an equally great soundtrack that makes it worth every minute.

The Purge: Anarchy took the interesting concept from the first movie and allowed it to have more room to play. Moving the action from inside a house to the streets of Los Angeles with more characters and its political themes starting to creep out more. Honestly, this is personally my favorite of the Purge movies, and in my opinion, the best one.

Finally, the second of the rebooted Planet of the Apes movies, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Moving the action years after the first movie, and following a group of human survivors who now live in a world ruled by apes, Caesar (Andy Serkis) tries to keep the peace as much as he can, despite a rival ape, Koba (motion captured by Toby Kebbell) seeing the humans as a waste of time. The movie upped the action, drama and ape scenes that continued the soon to be trilogy.

 

 

2015

The Gallows

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Thoughts: Ugh, The Gallows. I never hated myself for watching a movie while I watching it – that feeling usually comes after – but this one did it. The concept is fine; 20 years after a horrific accident during a small town school play, students at the school resurrect the failed show to honor the anniversary, but when they go to practice at the school at night, something starts to haunt them. I like that, and there is probably one or two shots that look cool, but the movie is terrible with characters that I couldn’t connect or root for at all!

The marketing also tried really hard to try to make the villain character as classic horror villain like Michael Myers, Jason or Freddy – which really should have been the telling for me.

Next is the adaptation of one of my favorite books, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – although the book was just titled “Me, Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews (who also wrote the film). The film followed high-schooler Greg (Thomas Mann), who spends his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl (RJ Clyer), when they eventually befriend Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a classmate, who’s been diagnosed with cancer. The film was a pretty good adaptation of the book, slightly changing some things, and expanding on others. Highly recommend both if you haven’t read or seen them.

Finally, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. The first movie to start continuing their stories from the last film including bringing back characters like Jeremy Renner’s Brandt, Simon Pegg’s Benji and Ving Rhames’ Luther. The movie follows Ethan as he tries to stop an unknown organization from causing chaos and getting stronger. The movie also gave us the introduction of one of the better female characters in the series Ilsa Faust, played by Rebecca Ferguson.

 

 

2016

Captain Fantastic

Ghostbusters

Lights Out

Train to Busan

Thoughts: Captain Fantastic gets a special mention here because it’s one of the rare movies I’ve seen Viggo Mortensen in, where he’s not surrounded by Hobbits or elves.

Let’s move on to the much-talked about female-led Ghostbusters, directed by Paul Feig. The movie gets a LOT of hate for whatever reason you want to insert from fans, I however, did end up enjoying the movie for what it was. Is it a little too much with jokes not really landing sometimes? Yes. Does the core cast of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon work? Yes. Is Chris Hemsworth good in the movie? Yes. The movie itself? It’s fine.

Next is the surprisingly good Lights Out. Based on the (also good) short film by David F. Sandberg – who got the chance to direct the feature – the short was simple, when the lights go out, a monster appears. The movie expands on that concept and follows a mother (Teresa Palmer) who’s little brother is seeing a monster every time the lights go out, and it may be connected to her mother’s past. I watched the short when it first came out and loved it. So when I heard the movie was coming out, with James Wan producing of all people, I was thrilled to watch it.

Thankfully, the movie was effective and the expansion worked for the most part. It gets a little clunky when it’s trying to unpack the backstory, but the scares are effective.

Lastly, the excellent South Korean zombie horror action film Train to Busan. The film follows a group of survivors who try to keep a zombie virus outbreak come affecting them while on a train from Seoul to Busan. The film is effective on every level from the zombie action, to the actual characters we get to know from the focal point of a father trying to keep his estranged daughter safe, to married couple trying to work things out a group of school kids and more.

 

 

2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming

War for the Planet of the Apes

The Big Sick

Atomic Blonde

Dunkirk

Thoughts: Let’s first talk about The Big Sick, a semi-autobiographic account of the real-life early relationship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. The two wrote the screenplay together with Kumail playing himself and Zoe Kazan playing Emily. The film is very heartfelt, funny and charming, and the fact that it’s loosely based on what really happened, Kumail and Emily falling for each other, the culture clash, and Emily contacting a mysterious illness, The Big Sick works on every level it can to keep you invested.

Let’s talk now about Atomic Blonde, the first solo outing of David Leitch, who co-directed John Wick, and starred Charlize Theron as an undercover MI6 agent who is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to find a missing list of double agents when one of the agency’s agents is killed. The was drench in nostalgia from the clothing, music and style, with a great supporting cast of James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella, John Goodman, Toby Jones, Bill Skarsgard and Eddie Marsan. But I’m sure the big thing that got people going was the action. We were all familiar now with what Leitch and his stunt team 87eleven were no capable of and Atomic Blonde didn’t hold back its punches. Atomic Blonde may just be an okay movie, but the action, especially the final act’s “long take” action scene, is what makes Atomic Blonde stick out.

Next is Spider-Man: Homecoming, which works on two levels as it’s yet another Sony reboot to Spider-Man, but this time it brings Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man was already introduced in Captain America: Civil War, but this was his, mostly, first solo outing. Holland does a great job of bringing a believably young Peter to the big screen, as he deals with high school including his crush Liz (Laura Harrier), keeping his secret from Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), trying to impress Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) and not trying to get killed by The Vulture/Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton).

I know there are people that have problems with Homecoming, which is fair, because even I know Homecoming isn’t entirely great, but we got Spider-Man back in the MCU which was a great move by Sony.

Finally, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. The war film which is told through different perspectives that all merge together showing the rescue of Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk as the German army closes in. The film is highlighted by Hans Zimmer’s score that is playing throughout the film, almost non-stop and the cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema.

 

 

2018

Sorry to Bother You

Teen Titans GO! To the Movies

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Thoughts: Sorry to Bother You gets a shout out here because of how freaking OUT-THERE it is, especially the longer it keeps going. The less you know about the movie, especially this one, the better the craziness is. However, if you do watch this, please STICK. WITH. IT.

Next is probably one of my biggest surprises in a long time, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. Based on the new-style animated series, the meta approach of the movie saw the Teen Titans, mainly Robin, trying to get his own movie as superhero films are the big trend in Hollywood. The movie was just funny on all accounts and I loved it!

Finally, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the last outing of the IMF – movie-wise with the seventh and eighth installment on the way (eventually) – where Ethan and his team try to stop a global nuclear war from happening. I don’t know where Fallout falls in the ranking of Mission: Impossible movies, but Fallout does have an awesome chase sequence in the streets of Paris.

 

And that’s it everyone. Admittedly, this was still a lot movies, but I can’t help that enjoy a lot of movies more than others. But more importantly, I want to know what you guys think about this. Let me know what your favorite movies in July were?

My Best/Favorite Movies of the Year 2014

It’s the end of the year boys and girls, you know what that means? It’s list time!!

 

There were some good movies and films that came out this year, and then there were movies and films that I highly enjoyed that made the list too. The list really ranges all over the place, so you’ll see a wide array of titles. But, of course, this is my list and my opinion so your list might be different and obviously it is okay.

 

The list will have the movies in alphabetical order, just to be fair, and because I really don’t want to go through the trouble anymore of picking a number one because it would be really tough.

 

Movies That I Missed That I Wanted to Watch

Wild

The Theory of Everything

Inherent Vice & American Sniper (although it was only a limited release around here)

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Joe

A Fantastic Fear of Everything

Bad Words

Under the Skin

Cold in July

Life Itself

Wish I Was Here

Magic in the Moonlight

Frank

Starred Up

The Skeleton Twins

Hector and the Search for Happiness

Tusk

Kill the Messenger

The Judge

Laggies

Horns

Rosewater

The Babadook

Stretch

Unbroken

 

(To watch a video form of the list, you can go here: )

 

Just Missed The List:

A Most Wanted Man: I love movies that keep me thinking until the end. A Most Wanted Man had elements of that but it was also of the great performance of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, and Willem Dafoe. It was odd to hear all of them put on German accents but that’s just being nitpicky right?

 

Boyhood: Don’t get me wrong, Richard Linklater’s twelve-year film following a boy from childhood to adulthood was a great experiment to see unfold. The movie had some great things in it but at the end of year, against some of the other movies that I’ve seen; I had to barely leave it off the list.

 

Nightcrawler: While Jake Gyllenhaal gave one of the best performance’s I’ve ever seen him do and his character is so complex in a compelling and frightening way, Nightcrawler was a mixed bag and while there are gaps of great scenes and what seems like unnecessary filler.

 

The Drop: While the film was filled with strong performances all around (Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Matthis Schoenaerts, and the late James Gandolfini in his last finished role), the film compared to the others is just a tad bit under the others.

 

The Rover: David Michod’s not really apocalyptic story has Guy Pearce playing a loner gets his car stolen and is eventually left with one of the thieves’ brother (Robert Pattinson) and goes after them. That’s about it for the movie. After that there really isn’t a plot and you’ll mostly catch things on second watch, but performances by Pearce and surprisingly Pattinson makes the movie watchable the first time around.

 

Whiplash: Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons gave great performances in the drama where a young man tries to become a great jazz drummer and meets his match with a well known instructor that pushes him to his limits. Again, the performances make the film worthwhile and the last performance of the movie is what the film really builds up to, but Whiplash does have some moments and decisions that made me question it.

 

Honorable Mentions

300: Rise of an Empire

Birdman

Edge of Tomorrow

Foxcatcher

Her

John Wick

Lone Survivor

The Book of Life

The Guest

The Purge: Anarchy

This Is Where I Leave You

X-Men: Days of Future Past

 

Best/Favorite Movies of the Year

Begin Again

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I hardly knew anything, if at all, about Begin Again before I saw the trailer and final film. I was completely surprised and floored by how good the film was and the original soundtrack they made for it was fantastic.

 

Big Hero 6

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Disney’s first Marvel animated property came in the form of a group that no one really knew about and they turned it into their own thing. Disney followed their formula and created a movie that tons of fun and full of heart. It also doesn’t hurt that they created a loveable character of Baymax.

 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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I think we all would be lying to ourselves if we thought Captain America: The Winter Soldier was going to be that great. Marvel and the Russo Brothers turned Captain America into a spy thriller with just some comic book elements and made – and dare I say this – the best Marvel film to date.

 

Chef

chef

2014 has been slightly dubbed the year of comedian actors trying to the public take them seriously. Chris Rock did it with Top Five but the best example for me would be Jon Favreau’s Chef. Favreau wrote, directed, and starred in this uplifting dramedy about a chef and father trying to find his passion again and trying to reconnect with his son. Favreau showed that he handle every aspect of filmmaking and you can tell that he has also found his passion for filmmaking doing an independent film.

 

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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There is something to be said that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes turned out better than Rise of the Planet of the Apes since Rise was a very well done film that probably shouldn’t have been as good as it was. Dawn continued and elevated what made Rise good and expanded on them. Andy Serkis also continues to prove that he is the master of motion capture and can probably out act a real actor, but now has some competition with Toby Kebbell who played Koba and gave Serkis a run for his money. Finally, that siege scene was a work of art and fantastic to watch.

 

Godzilla

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Godzilla didn’t get a lot love, and I’ll even admit there were parts that made it uneven but the whole movie was an adventure and seeing “The King of the Monsters” back on screen was a sight to see.

 

Gone Girl

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Talk about a total mind-twisting film. Gone Girl had me guessing throughout the whole thing and if you knew what was going on, 1) I’d say you read the book or 2) you’re covering it up. Rosamund Pike was fantastic in this and I’m glad more people got to see how good of an actress she is.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy

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Much to everyone’s surprise, Marvel pulled this off. Dubbed “Marvel’s Biggest Risk to Date” Guardians of the Galaxy had it all: humor, action, heart, and a great soundtrack. The whole cast held their own and this showed us that Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista are going to be bonafide movie stars.

 

Interstellar

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I like Christopher Nolan and there are some people that don’t like for whatever reasons they have. Which is fine since that’s the way the world works, but I do know some people out there don’t like him for the hell of it. Anyway, Interstellar probably isn’t the best Nolan film but it’s still a good one and visually it’s Nolan’s best. Even if you didn’t like the premise you have to at least appreciate the acting from Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, David Gyasi and the youngest and probably best actor of the film Mackenzie Foy.

 

Locke

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If you wanted to stare at Tom Hardy for eighty-five minutes as he drives a car, then Locke was the movie for you. Seriously, the whole movie takes places in a car on one night with Hardy talking to various characters over his phone. Hardy is compelling and gives one of his best performances of his career and one of the best his year. I know it doesn’t so like much but believe me, check this out when you get the chance.

 

Snowpiercer

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Most post-apocalyptic movies (good ones anyway) are usually bleak, dark and somewhat morbid. Joon-ho Bong first American film was all of those and with a great cast behind him of Chris Evans, Kang-ho Song, Tilda Swinton, Ah-sung Ko, and Jamie Bell, the film was great from start to finish.

 

The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Wes Anderson is one of those directors not everyone gets, and I’ll admit I was one of them early on. However, I have quickly become a fan of his and his films, and The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of those films. I don’t think I laughed as hard as I did in theaters this year when watching this. It’s a great quirky film with laughs, mystery and romance.

 

The Imitation Game

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Based on the real life and accomplishment of English mathematician Alan Turing who cracked the Enigma code during WWII, The Imitation Game is a great drama with great performances by Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, and Rory Kinnear. But all of them are lead by Benedict Cumberbatch, who gives one of the best performances of the year and completely embodies the character so well that you really want to see him succeed and feel for him at the end.

 

The LEGO Movie

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Another movie that probably shouldn’t have worked, The LEGO Movie directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller managed to pull off a great movie based a huge product that literally has no story to it. The LEGO Movie has so many layers to it that every time I watch it I find something new to love. Everything is Awesome!

 

The Raid 2

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I didn’t think it would be possible for Gareth Evans to top what he did in the first The Raid, but wow, was I wrong. The Raid 2 might be one of the best action films of the year, if not the best. I know a lot of people were irked by how slow things moved, but looking at how all the things turned out, all that build up made the ending so satisfying

 

So what is on your list? What do you think of my list?

 

Happy New Year!

and here’s to another great year of movies

My Best/Favorite Movies of Summer 2014

Can you believe it? Another Summer Movie Season (May to August) has come and gone, and it gave us a wide array of movies for us movie fans to choose from. It could be arguably said that this summer was not the best year of movies, it doesn’t mean that there were not good movies to see.

 

Of course that’s why I’m here. Like every summer, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite/best summer movies I’ve seen. I’ll be doing them in alphabetical order, since I think it’s more fair/better that way for me.

 

Let’s start off with some Honorable Mentions.

 

Honorable Mentions

A Most Wanted Man

Deliver Us From Evil

Edge of Tomorrow

Neighbors

The Expendables 3

The November Man

The Purge: Anarchy

The Rover

 

 

BEST/FAVORITE

Begin Again: It didn’t get a wide release like many of the summer movies on the list, but it was a great charming film that had a lot of heart, soundtrack, cast and performances.

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Boyhood: Whether you liked the movie or not, the concept around Boyhood is great. Richard Linklater was able to film a character’s (and actors) life through film and give us maybe one of the best coming of age stories.

 

boyhood

 

Chef: Another limited release and just like Begin Again it had a great cast, performances, heart, and soundtrack.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Dawn had a lot riding against it. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a great film but Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was a great sequel and arguably a better film.

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Godzilla: A lot of people complained that despite the title Godzilla doesn’t actually show up a lot in the film. Nonetheless, I thought the film was great. Gareth Edwards did a terrific job of building this world that I can’t wait to jump back into.

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Arguably one of the best Marvel movies to date (right there with Captain America: The Winter Soldier). With a great soundtrack, beautiful visuals and a top notch cast, Guardians is one of the best films of the summer.

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Snowpeircer: Let again another limited release but this one had been on my radar for a while as opposed to Begin Again or Chef. Directed by one of my favorite Korean directors Joon-ho Bong (who also did The Host) makes his American film debut, the movie had a real sense of dread and strokes of hope that kept me interested until the end.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past: Whether you liked it or not, Bryan Singer bought one of the most ambitious comic book storylines to the big screen, and combined his own cast and the new cast of the X-Men films.

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So, what are your favorite or best movies of the summer? Let me know in the comments.