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Summer Movies

Life Free or Die Hard PosterHarry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixTransformersThe Simpsons MovieRatatouillePaprika

Miss T and I watch movies, primarily on DVD. For that reason we’re always months or years behind in watching the regular crop of summer blockbusters. This year, however, we’ve been on a going-to-the-movies roll and have caught quite a few of the Summer 2007 releases: Live Free or Die Hard; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Transformers; The Simpsons Movie; and, most recently, Ratatouille. We also saw Paprika, which didn’t receive a widespread release in the United States, but is an anime-viewer’s must-see. What’s brought about this flurry of theater-going activity? One word: Cheap movie Tuesday. (Okay, three words.)

So, following are a few thoughts about the aforementioned.


Live Free or Die Hard


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  • Starred Harry Potter and his kid-wizard friends
  • The best Harry Potter movie thus far (this is installment 5 of 7)
  • Needed; more Gary Oldman, Ralph Fiennes, and Alan Rickman; a little less Harry Potter and his kid-wizard friends
  • Had an awesome wizard battle near the end—the best wizard battle of any movie containing wizard battles that I’ve seen (including the one in The Lord of Rings)
  • Watch it as a matinee ($5.50 to $7.75) unless you’re a Harry Potter fan, in which case, since you’ve already seen it by now, buy the Special Edition Blu-ray DVD when it comes out and watch it again and again


Transformers

  • Starred the new Michael Bay-version transformers
  • Directed by Michael Bay
  • Surprisingly internally-consistent once you accept the ”transforming robots from outer space waging a battle between good and evil on an alien planet—Earth” premise
  • Lots of quick, funny dialogue
  • Lots and lots of explosions
  • Lots and lots of pretty darn good CG
  • Robot transformations seemed needlessly complex
  • Miss T complains: “Why did they change Megatron’s transformation into a plane? His giant gun form from the cartoon was cooler.”
  • Go in with low expectations and watch it as a matinee


The Simpsons Movie

  • Starred the Simpsons (with cameos by Green Day and others)
  • Directed by one of the directors from The Simpsons TV show
  • Actually funny; not laugh-a-second funny like some of their best TV episodes, but not deadly unfunny like some of their worst TV episodes
  • Clocking in at 90 minutes, The Simpsons Movie is actually that: a movie—i.e. with cinema-pacing and an overarching story, The Simpsons Movie actually has time for plot development and a “real” ending
  • Watch it as a matinee
  • It may help if you haven’t seen The Simpsons in a couple of years
  • It will not help if you’ve never seen The Simpsons


Ratatouille

  • Starred Pixar and many celebrity voices that you will and won’t recognize
  • Directed by Brad Bird
  • This is an amazing movie
  • Pixar proves once again that the story is king, then the voice acting, then the animation, then the quality of the visuals
  • Go see it right now, then see it again, then buy it on DVD and Special Edition Blu-Ray DVD when they come out


Paprika

  • Starred Japanese voice actors you’ve only heard of if you’re an anime fan
  • Directed by Satoshi Kon
  • This movie is a mind-bender; blurring the line between dreams and reality
  • It’s hard for me to describe Paprika without comparing it to Satoshi Kon’s other projects—so, if you’re not familiar with these other titles, rent them and watch them
  • In terms of twisting reality, unreality, time, and space:
    Least twisted «— Tokyo Godfathers | Paprika | Millennium Actress | Perfect Blue | Paranoia Agent —» Most twisted
  • In terms of presenting dark/disturbing themes:
    Least dark «— Millennium Actress | Paprika | Tokyo Godfathers | Paranoia Agent | Perfect Blue —» Most dark
  • Oh yeah, it’s probably not playing at a theater near you, so anime fans should pick it up when it comes out on DVD

Huh, that turned out to not be as brief as I thought.

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