With summer drawing to a close, now is the perfect time to reflect on the myriad movies that graced the big screen over the past three months. Unless you live under a rock, most of these movies will come as no surprise, although some of them are perhaps unexpected. Regardless of their hype, however, each film managed to encapsulate what makes a good movie, and they all make for great viewing experiences. Without further ado, here are some of the summer’s biggest movies.
“Avengers: Infinity War”
I mean, did you really expect this list to open with another movie? Marvel has proved time and again that it’s not only concocted, but also perfected, the formula for blockbuster hits. Featuring a great plot with more than a dash of desperation and world-ending consequences, combined with a star-studded cast and just the right amount of marketing, “Infinity War” was the perfect way to start the summer, and fans are already chomping at the bit for its sequel, due out next April.
“Mission: Impossible – Fallout”
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not fond of Tom Cruise, which in all fairness is putting it rather lightly. The man has some serious problems with his personal life and coupled with the diminishing popularity of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise in recent years, I elected not to include “Fallout” on my list of summer movies to watch out for. That was a huge mistake. Love him or hate him, Cruise propelled this film to incredible success, delivering a thoroughly engaging performance supported by a solid cast that includes Vanessa Kirby of The Crown (2016-) and Henry Cavill of recent Superman fame. The cinematography deserves additional praise; even with a surfeit of action shots, every single sequence is heart-pounding and entertaining, beautifully filmed and perfectly edited to elicit audience responses. Even if you despise Tom Cruise, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” is perhaps the best action movie of the summer, and it would be a disservice not to watch it at least once.
Directed by industry titan Spike Lee, this movie came out of nowhere to me, but the praise it has garnered more than speaks for itself. Based on true events, the movie follows Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first black detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department, and white detective Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), as they set out to infiltrate a Ku Klux Klan branch operating in the city. Washington and Driver have effortless chemistry on screen, and the film is well-paced with an interesting plot, drawing audiences in and keeping them intrigued until the very end. Beyond its plot and cast, the film masterfully ties America’s racist past to the present, providing a biting and intelligent commentary for audiences to mull over long after the credits roll.
At this point, I am confident saying Pixar can do no wrong. With success after success over the past decade, even its ‘flops’ are successful, and each movie from the studio features its characteristic beautiful, emotional animation. Pixar’s sequel to “The Incredibles” (2004) takes what made the first film great and expands on those points without running its plot or characters thin. Each member of the superhero family is well-characterized, and the plot is entertaining, even if it does fall a bit on the cliché side. The animation is flawless as usual, and the voice actors all do great work in bringing their characters to life. Also, Jack-Jack provides hilarious comic relief that will have both adults and children laughing out loud. Much like “Avengers: Infinity War” there isn’t much more to say — it’s a Pixar movie, so go and enjoy it.
Lauded as one of the scariest horror flicks in recent memory after its premiere at the 2018 Sundance Festival, “Hereditary” mostly lived up to of the hype. Moviegoers might note its similarities to “The Witch” (2015), as both films originate from film distribution company A24. However, “Hereditary” differentiates itself not only in its setting, but also in its willingness to embrace viscerally shocking horror as opposed to a reliance on the horror of the unseen. The movie follows Annie Graham (Toni Collette) and her family immediately after the death of her mother, as they begin to realize that the dead in their lives are still very much present. Without a doubt, the best part of “Hereditary” is Collette’s acting; she is enchantingly terrifying, with each personal revelation twisting knives of unease further into the hearts of the terrified audience members. The other cast members all deliver well-timed performances, and although the jump-scares begin to feel overplayed toward the end, the film retains most of its gravitas and will worm its way into your mind like an insidious parasite.
For the sake of brevity, this roundup remains at five movies, though there were plenty of other candidates that just missed out on inclusion, such as “Sorry to Bother You” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” Now is the perfect time to experience these movies as part of a last hurrah before classes start. Who knows? You might even find a new favorite somewhere among this collection of summer blockbusters.