Back to school movies: The best movies I watched this summer (that are still in theaters).

The end is near, at least, the end of summer is for most of Arkansas' students...and teachers...and parents. It's been a good summer for movies, it's actually been a pretty good year. In that spirit, here's are the best movies I've seen this summer that are still in theaters so you can have one last hurrah before the school grind starts.

Baby Driver
Written and directed by Edgar Wright and starring Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm, and Lily James, Baby Driver is about a young man named Baby who is really, really good at driving ca rs. Baby is constantly listening to music and carries multiple iPods for different occasions. Every song he listens to has a purpose and a meaning for whatever he’s doing. Especially when he’s working for a crime boss as the getaway driver for some high-risk, high-stakes heists.

This was my favorite movie of the summer because it’s just a cool movie. It has cool car chases, cool characters, and a cool soundtrack. I bought this soundtrack immediately after watching this movie and it’s still in rotation on my iPhone featuring tracks from Run The Jewels, Young MC, Queen, Barry White, Simon & Garfunkel, Golden Earring, and The Vandellas it hits all the right notes. I even listen to it while I mow my yard.

Read my full review here.


Wonder Woman
I’ll spare you the plot because it doesn’t matter. Wonder Woman is that good. It is one of best comic book movies ever made. It is by far the best of the recent Warner Bros. DC Comic films (not counting Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy) and I’d put it up against any of the Marvel films. There was a lot of pressure on Warner Bros. to get this movie right. Not only have their entries in the comic universe been underwhelming but the desire to see a female comic character in her own movie has reached a fever pitch.

I think it’s safe to say they hit it out of the park since it’s become the top grossing film of the summer.

The best sequence of the film is “No Man’s Land” in which she steps out onto an area of the battlefield that everyone is afraid to cross and takes on heavy enemy fire. In that moment, she becomes a beacon of hope and inspiration. It’s also a turning point for her character as she realizes how powerful and strong she can be.

Read my full review here.

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming
Spider-Man: Homecoming starts off with video from Peter Parker’s cell phone showing how he got from Queens to Berlin and into the super hero battle at the airport in Captain America: Civil War and it picks up with Tony Stark dropping him off at home. Peter keeps busy cracking down on crime in his neighborhood and being a high school student. As you can imagine, sitting through math class is difficult after you’ve had a taste of heroism and you know how antsy teenagers can be about getting to go on the next adventure.

This isn’t as much a super hero movie as it is a movie about a teenager growing into himself as it focuses more on Peter Parker the teenager rather than Peter Parker the Spider-Man. It skips the hero origin story and feels refreshing and memorable. We also finally get a pretty good villain that you understand and feel a little sympathy towards. Tom Holland is the best on-screen version of Spider-Man and Michael Keaton is great as expected as the villainous Vulture.

 

War for the Planet of the Apes
10 years has passed since Rise of the Planet of the Apes and humans and apes are at war. The movie opens with the humans attacking an Ape outpost while they are searching for Caesar’s base. After a couple of attacks and for personal reasons, Caesar decides to go after the ruthless Colonel who is leading the soldiers. A couple of his officers go with him and they find a young, human girl who can’t speak. Then they find a smaller ape who refers to himself as “Bad Ape”. Bad Ape leads Caesar to a compound that the Colonel is using as a base but sees that his group of apes have all been captured. Caesar himself is captured and learns that they are to be used as forced labor to build up the compounds defenses. Of course, Caesar must plan his escape while also planning his revenge on the Colonel as the demons of his past and his darker side begins to take over.

Give Andy Serkis the Academy award, The Golden Globe, The Critics’ Choice, all of them. He has done something remarkable with the character “Caesar” and even though you don’t see his face on screen, you feel his presence and you feel the work he put into building the character. You sense how the character changes across the films and Serkis has grown as an actor each time.

If you have not seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes you really should before seeing War for the Planet of the Apes to get a full sense of what’s going on and to experience the full journey of Caesar.

Read my full review here.
 

Dunkirk
Dunkirk is based on the true story of the rescue of British soldiers from Dunkirk, France in World War II, told from the point of view of the men on the ground. There are no generals or commander meeting in room planning a mission. There’s no brave leader who inspires the men. It’s a story of survival and a story of heroism in its’ purest form. There’s no main character and there’s not a lot of dialogue.

Dunkirk is not Christopher Nolan’s most entertaining film but it will drive you mad with anxiety from the tension he creates knowing that something is about to happen or through Hans Zimmer’s score. Christopher Nolan’s other greatest gift as a filmmaker is creating tension across multiple scenes. He puts you in the seat and nails you into it. That’s why his films like Inception, The Dark Knight, and Interstellar stick with you for so long. They exhaust you mentally and physically to the point where you need almost need therapy to move past the experience of the film. Dunkirk is the same. It’s exhausting because of that tension. It’s a good kind of exhaustion.

Whether you realize it or not, Christopher Nolan makes the you work to watch his films you must put in some mental effort to understand the story he’s trying to tell.

Read my full review here.
 

Despicable Me 3
Once again, I’m going to skip the synopsis because it’s Groot and his minions and the cute little girls. I didn’t actually write a review of this film but I saw with my wife and my teenaged boys and we had a blast.

I will watch anything with a minion in it.


In case you’re curious about the worst movie I’ve seen this summer, well, there was never a doubt in my mind that Transformers: The Last Knight is the worst movie of the summer. I won’t repeat what I’ve already said about it in this article but you can read it here.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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