Movie Time Capsule- Remember These Movies: July 2012

I’ll keep the introduction short since it’s time for another Movie Time Capsule- Remember These Movies. It’s all about the most significant hits during July, where it saw three franchises making a huge run at the box office. But this didn’t have as many movies going wide as usual. So I’ve missed nothing worth seeing. The only film I didn’t have thoughts on was The Dark Knight Rises because I’m saving it for a full review in a couple of months. Have you seen any of the seven I’ll be talking about below?

July 3: ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field

Directed By: Marc Webb

Synopsis: Abandoned by his parents and raised by an aunt and uncle, teenager Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), AKA Spider-Man, is trying to sort out who he is and exactly what his feelings are for his first crush, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). When Peter finds a mysterious briefcase that was his father’s, he pursues a quest to solve his parents’ disappearance. His search takes him to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), setting him on a collision course with Connors’ alter ego, the Lizard.

Domestic Box Office: $262 Million/ Worldwide: $757.9 Million

RT Score: 72%

My Thoughts: I can only remember it like it was yesterday, seeing The Amazing Spider-Man on my birthday, back when life was good. Sony’s re-imaging of the famous Marvel superhero was a strange choice considering the first came out ten years prior. But this was their way of rebooting the character with the “untold story” in a new way for modern audiences. I already reviewed the film last December to prepare for Spider-Man: No Way Home (Check it out right here), and I’ve still concluded that Marc Webb’s change of direction proves there wasn’t much amazement with this incarnation. Not that it’s mediocre or anything, but it’s always been a comic book movie I wished I loved upon subsequent re-watches despite saying why we need another Spider-Man origin. The same old tale of how a radioactive spider bit Peter Parker, developed indescribable powers and defended New Yorkers. Except have a bit of a darker tone similar to Batman. The results worked both ways where it’s hard to keep it memorable.

I’ve always loved Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Peter/ Spider-Man now more than I did a decade ago in keeping that relatable geeky side to this character in a modern setting. The relationship that blooms between him and Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy is one aspect worth caring about, which shows in their off-screen romance in real-life. Still, the script and energy of Webb’s direction didn’t capture the excitement of Raimi’s trilogy, despite trying to be different. Some of the action is well-handled and I appreciated James Horner’s score, but one of the biggest faults this has is having The Lizard be a very underdeveloped villain I couldn’t get behind his ridiculous plan or the climax you’ve seen coming.

Over time, The Amazing Spider-Man has fans and has changed some minds over the past six months. It’s a superhero reboot that could’ve been so much better. Still, it’s the most average Spider-Man movie out there, with the highlights contributing to Garfield’s performance and a few redeemable moments of action sprinkled. 

Grade: C+

July 5: ‘Katy Perry: Part of Me’

Cast: Katy Perry

Directed By: Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz

Synopsis: A look at the life, career and music of singer Katy Perry as we follow her on the California Dreams World Tour.

Domestic Box Office: $25.3 Million/ Worldwide: $32.7 Million

RT Score: 75%

My Thoughts: Just a year following the Justin Bieber concert documentary, for some reason, why not Katy Perry, one of the top-selling female singers? Katy Perry is a likable artist everyone loved in her prime, and she is the perfect choice to talk about her life and experience her worldwide concert tour in this inspiring documentary. I’ll admit the music from 2008 to 2013 are some of her best hits, such as “Hot n Cold” (one of my karaoke songs); her new music is very hit-or-miss. But if you were a massive fan of hers, you were probably the only people who went to see Katy Perry: Part of Me, wore the heart-shaped 3D glasses and had a more pleasant time than Never Say Never. This thoroughly explains why she wanted to become a singer, growing up in a religious/ gospel background and capturing the difficulties of her tour life. And this also talked about her marriage to her ex-husband, Russell Brand, which was handled better than I thought. Remember that blur of time? This also goes well with her California Dreams Tour, stylish outfits, and catchy songs like “Teenage Dream” and her greatest single “Firework” Out of the other familiar movies of this type in the late 2000s to early ‘10s, I had fun with this. But Katy Perry: Part of Me offers an energetic good look at the life of Perry along with her fantastic music and an entertaining enough concert that would’ve been fun to attend as a teenager.

‘Savages’

Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Benicio del Toro, Demián Bichir, Salma Hayek, Emile Hirsch and John Travolta

Directed By: Oliver Stone

Synopsis: California entrepreneurs Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch) run a lucrative business raising marijuana and share a one-of-a-kind love with beautiful O (Blake Lively). Life in Laguna Beach is idyllic for them, until Elena (Salma Hayek), the merciless leader of the Mexican Baja Cartel, moves in and demands a piece of the action. However, Elena underestimates the trio’s unbreakable bond, and with the help of a shady DEA agent (John Travolta), Ben, Chon and O go to war.

Domestic Box Office: $47.3 Million/ Worldwide: $82.9 Million

RT Score: 50%

My Thoughts: This is the Oliver Stone movie fans of his work will be relieved that it’s one of the controversial director’s better films he’s done recently. Savages, based on the Don Winslow novel, is an intense crime thriller, even though the story isn’t that great. The performances weren’t that bad for a gritty crime drama as these marijuana sellers will risk everything to get their girl back from the cartel. For one, it was surprising to see Taylor Kitsch in an okay role out of the three movies he starred in 2012, with this being the best. And Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s character is the most relatable when he’s not prone to killing. Blake Lively was fine, though as memorable as when she was in The Town. The best performance came from Benicio del Toro as this creepy enforcer who crushes every scene he’s in. And Salma Hayek and John Travolta gave some of their better performances in years, with Hayek chewing up the scenery. It does get violet in the way Stone will go for the violence. The pacing is one problem because some scenes go on for too long and have no action, and Lively’s narration got annoying and awful to listen to as a choice to get that noir vibe. But the ending is where it really just became an awful decision made. It’s one of those endings you couldn’t believe did “that” and you get pissed off, becoming a lousy ending that left a bad taste in my mouth. If they had ended at a certain point, I might’ve accepted it if Stone didn’t go there.

Grade: B-

July 13: ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’

Cast: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, Queen Latifah, Chris Wedge, Keke Palmer, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Jennifer Lopez, Drake, and Nicki Minaj

Directed By: Steve Martino and Michael Thurmeier

Synopsis: Scrat’s continuous pursuit of an infernal acorn has world-changing consequences for Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Alberto Leguizamo) and Diego (Denis Leary) when the continents split apart. The continental crack-up separates Manny and his friends from the rest of the herd, including Manny’s mate, Ellie (Jennifer Lopez) and rebellious daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer). The pals are desperate to return home, but a pirate (Peter Dinklage) and his ragtag crew stand in their way.

Domestic Box Office: $161.3 Million/ Worldwide: $877.2 million

RT Score: 37%

My Thoughts: I remembered seeing the original Ice Age as a kid and having a lot of fun watching the animated family comedy that made Blue Sky Studios a breakout company. Fast forward ten years later, nobody over 13 was clamoring for another movie in the franchise. How could we since the second and third installments (The Meltdown and Dawn of the Dinosaurs) were less than impressive? And Ice Age: Continental Drift wasn’t worth waiting three weeks after its release. When an animated franchise comes across a fourth installment, the best idea is to put it out straight to DVD at this point instead of profiting off it to make it in 3D. Nothing is offensively bad, but you feel the shame for the actors to waste their time lending their voices to these characters again on another plot revolving around an event that occurred on Earth that’ll plead more to children than adults: The movement of the tectonic plates.

It’s really similar to the second movie; only you know Manny, Sid, and Diego will be fine. Unfortunately, this lost what made the original funny by repeating a lot of the same jokes, lack of interesting new characters, and an unfunny narrative pushing along this forced sequel that nobody asked for. The unlucky Scrat is trying to kill everybody with his dumb antics with that single acorn. I liked Peter Dinklage enough out of the new cast as the gorilla pirate captain. While it angered me why Drake and Nicki Minaj voiced teenage mammoths. Just why? Marketing purposes. And why the subplot with Manny’s daughter trying to get in with the cool kids? The animation has improved with each film; it won’t have the kids bored, but you just forget everything that remotely happened a day later. Everything after the first went downhill.

Ice Age: Continental Drift is pretty much like the last two Shrek sequels, where it’s simply a cash grab that barely has enjoyment. After this, I stopped paying for these movies and completely skipped the fifth movie (Collision Course) from 2016. The best part of my experience was watching The Simpsons short in front of it, “Maggie’s Daycare,” one of the best things to come from the series in years. That got an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short. 

July 20: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Morgan Freeman

Directed By: Christopher Nolan

Synopsis: It has been eight years since Batman (Christian Bale), in collusion with Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), vanished into the night. Assuming responsibility for the death of Harvey Dent, Batman sacrificed everything for what he and Gordon hoped would be the greater good. However, the arrival of a cunning cat burglar (Anne Hathaway) and a merciless terrorist named Bane (Tom Hardy) force Batman out of exile and into a battle he may not be able to win.

Domestic Box Office: $448.1 Million/ Worldwide: $1.081 Billion

RT Score: 87%

My Thoughts: I’m planning on reviewing The Dark Knight Rises in a couple months before the release of Black Adam. So look out for it and my full thoughts on it.

July 27: ‘The Watch’

Cast: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade, and Rosemarie DeWitt

Directed By: Akiva Schaffer

Synopsis: In Glenview, Ohio, four pals — Evan (Ben Stiller), Bob (Vince Vaughn), Franklin (Jonah Hill) and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade) — form a neighborhood watch group. Armed with flashlights, walkie-talkies and spiffy new jackets, the guys try to take their mission seriously, even if they spend a little time goofing off now and then. But when they discover aliens living among them, and no one believes their story, they learn that they have to kick things up a notch to save the world from annihilation.

Domestic Box Office: $35.3 Million/ Worldwide: $68.2 Million

RT Score: 16%

My Thoughts: The Watch was a sci-fi comedy with a medium level of confidence in its ability to be funny given the individuals who created it. And this is one of those times where the genres don’t mesh. When describing how lame this turned out or be with a plot about a neighborhood watch trying to stop an alien invasion had promise. But it’s a waste of potential because of how lazy the writing was with its bad jokes and crude material not helping anybody. This is sad since Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg co-wrote this, and in the two times I watched this, I laughed twice. Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill are usually at their best when they do their antics to generate funny moments that you can clearly see trying. Richard Ayoade, aka Moses from The I.T. Crowd, gets primarily ignored since he isn’t as well-known in America as his co-stars, but this made me want to see more of him. His character, however, has a very predictable reveal. As a whole, The Watch has trouble finding the balance of humor and energy within the plot blending Ghostbusters and Attack the Block into a mess all over the place. I remembered leaving the theater thinking I won’t think much over it after not living up to those expectations. I never been inside a Costco, so there that is.

‘Step Up Revolution’

Cast: Ryan Guzman, Kathryn McCormick, Misha Gabriel, Cleopatra Coleman, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Tommy Dewey, and Peter Gallagher

Directed By: Scott Speer

Synopsis: Newly arrived in Miami, young dancer Emily (Kathryn McCormick) dreams of becoming a professional. She soon meets and falls in love with Sean (Ryan Guzman), the leader of a dance crew called “the Mob.” When a rich businessman’s plans to develop the dancers’ historic neighborhood threatens to displace thousands of people, Emily must join forces with Sean and the Mob to turn their performance art into protest art, even though doing so may place her dreams in jeopardy.

Domestic Box Office: $35 Million/ Worldwide: $140.4 Million

RT Score: 41%

My Thoughts: Step Up Revolution was the fourth installment in the popular dancing franchise that comes out every other year, apparently where some will pay money to watch fantastic dances on-screen. Even while Step Up 3 was the best, you couldn’t make me care about another one of these. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Although everybody goes into these impressive dance choreographies, we don’t care about one bit of everything else. A forgettable cliche screenplay about flash mobs competing to gain YouTube hits to win $100,000, fighting against the man and wooden acting from Kathryn McCormick and Ryan Guzman is all to come out of this. And, of course, this came from a director with a music video background. Out of all the Step Up movies, this is one I remember very, very little about.

Grade: C-

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