Summer Movie Awards 2011

The Most Ambitious: The Tree of Life The goal of Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life is no less than to funnel the creation of the universe through a child.  That that child and his family closely resembles the director’s own makes this his most personal film to date as well.  With some of the most stunning cinematography you’ll ever see in a movie, Malick captures something elemental in this movie.  You may not have liked it, but you’ll never forget it.

The Most Laughs: Bridesmaids With one of the best comedic ensembles in recent memory, writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumalo paired up with director Paul Feig and producer Judd Apatow to create this hilarious, raunchy comedy about the bond among women.  Bridesmaids proves that an ensemble of females can spit vomit and shit just as well as men, which is something Hollywood needed to be force-fed.

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5 Manipulative Movie Deaths

When you watch a lot of movies, you tend to see a lot of characters meet unfortunate ends.  That’s just how it works.  Some characters come and go as quickly as a gunshot, but some directors like to linger on those deaths and really milk the tears.  Here are our picks for the 5 movie deaths that will either have you balling your eyes out, or rolling them up into your head.  (Note: Nicolas Sparks’ movies have been disqualified because they would take up the entire list.)

Marley and Me- This whole movie is ultimately built on the destruction of this dog.  It teaches the owners valuable life lessons, and then once they’ve learned them (and replaced the dog with kids) it’s time to die.  Owen Wilson takes Marley to the vet to be put down, and without skipping a beat we’re right there beside him for one of the most manipulative movie endings of the past 10 years.

Bambi- Perhaps the most definitive Disney Parent Death, you don’t actually get to see Bambi’s mother meet her end from a hunter’s gun.  Instead, you’re left with a fawn wandering through the woods completely uncertain of why his mom isn’t following him.  That is enough to hit it home, even before his father storms onto the screen to explain death to him.  Something tells me it doesn’t deter many hunters from going out anyway.

Armageddon- Michael Bay rarely stops for emotional moments in his movies, mostly because he’s not good at it.  Here, he milks Bruce Willis’ sacrifice for every melodramatic outburst.  He’s saving the world!  He’s replacing his son-in-law who he’s finally come to accept!  He… can’t cry very well.

Top Gun- As if Top Gun weren’t cliche ridden enough, throwing in an unwarranted character death to make an emotional appeal is the very definition of laying it on thick.  By the time Tom Cruise’s wingman Goose meets his unfortunate end, I was hoping there’d be a couple more flying errors just to make the movie end.

Titanic– I’m sure James Cameron had his reasons for why Jack and Rose couldn’t share the wooden door, but the only one I can think of is so he could kill one of them off.   Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet act this scene out beautifully, but it doesn’t change the fact that their romance could’ve kept going even if the ship sank.  It was one of the few times a modern movie romance had earned a happy ending with characters that had actually struggled, but I guess I’ll have to let that one go.

REVIEW: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Directed by: Michael Bay
Written by: Ehren Kruger
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Frances McDormand, and John Malkovich

There isn’t a negative comment that Michael Bay hasn’t heard.  One of the most critically despised and commercially successful filmmakers in history, he has become a lightning rod for the sorry state of modern Hollywood.

Many critics are bitter because his movies render them utterly useless.  Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was one of the worst reviewed films in years and also one of the highest grossing.  He injects levels of mind-numbing shock and awe into almost every scene that isn’t establishing the almost non-existent plot in almost all of the movies and Transformers: Dark of the Moon is no exception.

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If they were in television… Michael Bay

Notable Films: The Rock, The Island, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, Transformers series. 

Famous for: Explosions, great action sequences, narrative incoherence, military propaganda, the decline of mainstream American cinema, shooting women like he is filming porn.

Hypothetical title: The Colony

Hypothetical premise: Focuses on the first station in space to host private citizens from Earth.  It starts off peacefully enough, but soon enough the mixed cultures start feuding, and in order to keep order, the station’s AI turns on them and begins killing anyone who starts a fight.  This doesn’t sit well with the nearby military installation, who begin planning to rescue everyone with the latest military technology.  The series rotates between a couple brave American soldiers and a witless but charming protagonist on the colony, his shallow love interest, and over-bearing but comical parents.

Cross between: The Island, The Rock, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Wall-E, and Transformers.

Likely to bring: Some Bay regulars are Ben Affleck and Shia LaBeouf, so why not cast them in the two lead roles?  You can place pretty much any attractive super model in the love interest role, but why not take an exceptional actress like Scarlett Johansson and drain her of life?  For the parents, why not add in Patricia Clarkson (she’s a mom in everything now) and John Turturro. 

Likeliness of this happening: 4/10.  Bay couldn’t make enough money in television and explosions don’t look nearly as good on a small screen.