Friday, July 13, 2007
Swimming in the mainstream
Summary: For most movie fans, summer means watching things blow up without having to turn on the news. This year's hot spell may not be a season for stellar accomplishments, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to see.
Still, a bit of perspective might be in order. Contrary to what the studios would have you believe, movie attendance is not compulsory, and I've certainly seen nothing this summer that I would classify as "life changing," excluding, of course, Larry King's revelatory interview with Al Pacino, who was out promoting his appearance in "Ocean's Thirteen" while simultaneously campaigning to win special-effect status for his studiously unruly crop of hair.
In more recent developments, I enjoyed "Live Free or Die Hard," but do not intend to press it into my book of movie memories.
"Transformers" can induce a state of drop-jawed wonder (the movie is ridiculously chaotic), but had I never seen it, my life would have remained unchanged -- as meaningless in its post-"Transformers" stage as it was before.
And if I hadn't been professionally bound to see all the previous "Harry Potter" movies, I probably would have passed on "The Order of the Phoenix." I tend to celebrate the Muggle in all of us: The only thing that could get me to believe in magic would be something on the order of a Power Ball win -- for me, of course.
So take the following brief reflections with the proverbial gain of salt, which you then can sprinkle on your wounded moviegoing hopes, and, while you're at it, you definitely should give thanks -- providing you're of reasonably sound mind and past the age of 14 -- that you went nowhere near "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer."
You didn't, did you? Please say you didn't.
Two that may deserve a look, providing you know what you're getting into:
Live Free or Die Hard. Bruce Willis is upstaged by a ton of action in director Len Wiseman's tech-oriented addition to a series that last exploded onto screens in 1995. The more preposterous this one gets (and it does get preposterous), the more fun it is.
Transformers. If you can stand the noise generated by director Michael Bay ("Armageddon" and "Pearl Harbor"), you'll find one of the most whacked-out movies of summer. The talented Shia LaBeouf seems to be following Bay's overwrought lead in playing a teen-ager whose first car is...well...more than a set of wheels.
And be on the lookout for:
Hairspray. An infectiously upbeat adaptation of the Broadway musical based on John Waters' 1988 movie.
Talk to Me. This adult drama stars Don Cheadle as legendary D.C. disc jockey Petey Greene.