Happy July everyone! Box office returns are up 9% compared to last year (15% if you just look at April – June) and this is mostly thanks to back to back Disney juggernauts (Avengers, Black Panther, Incredibles 2, Han Solo). So theater owners are raking in the dough at the moment but I would say actual movie quality is slightly down thus far. More than ever, the most interesting movies are avoiding Disney release dates like I avoid leg day. It’s hard to wait out competing with Avengers in April if Han Solo and Incredibles 2 are slated in the consecutive months following it, not too mention Black Panther owning most of February and March.
Is this the right strategy? I’m skeptical. People that are down to go see a movie like Lady Bird are going to see it whether superheroes are flying around in the next room or not. Sure there’s some overlap in the two audiences, but if anything there’s way more overlap with Lady Bird and other December releases like Call Me By Your Name than there is with summer blockbusters. Why wouldn’t an indie awards contender want to go head to head with Disney and own the summer amongst the “elites”? It’d be like if a Michelin star restaurant was afraid to set up shop next to McDonalds. It’s two very different products.
So anyways, I’ve been a little bored with the 2018 slate thus far. Here are some nits to pick for a few titles I haven’t had the time to write about:
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Strike one was using the same music in the trailer that freakin’ Moonlight used. I mean….. come onnnnnn.
Strike two was having the second and third acts take place pretty much exclusively indoors. Such an unforced error. I’m not gonna give it a Strike 3 because the two action sequences in the first act are admittedly quite great.
Deadpool 2 – Confession, there’s a chance this movie is better than its grade. I accidentally went to the open caption screening (subtitles) and it was very distracting being able to read every joke before it was said.
Thoroughbreds & Unsane – Unique, interesting movies with mostly unsatisfying endings.
Hereditary – Much more unsettling than scary. High quality filmmaking but not a fun watch.
Isle of Dogs – Fell WAYYY short of my Fantastic Mr. Fox expectations.
Borg vs McEnroe – This would have been good if it was just a McEnroe movie. Shia Labeouf was born to play that hothead, but he’s a supporting character at most in this.
It’s not all negative though, here are some positives that I haven’t had the chance to write about:
Game Night – The best full-fledged comedy since 2016’s Popstar.
Solo – You know what, Alden Ehrenreich’s Harrison Ford impression is pretttty pretttttty good! Unfamiliar? He was the MVP of the Coen Bros. Hail Caesar.
Isle of Dogs: While not as good as Wes Anderson’s last stop motion feature, this is still a very cute movie and looks fantastic. This clip sums it up. Good boy!
Set it Up – A charmingly corny, throwback rom-com made by Netflix. If you’re sick of the daily news cycle, this is a light and well deserved break from our sky is falling reality.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado – LOL, this is not a break from our sky is falling reality. Needless to say the sequel to 2015’s brilliant Sicario is oh so unapologetically not PC, a perfect R Rated action thriller, and the best movie of the year so far.
Q3 Most Anticipated:
- The Predator
- Mission Impossible: Fallout
- Sorry to Bother You
- Eighth Grade