THE POPCORN REEL EDITOR'S DESK - a
weekly word about the movies
SUMMER 'S GONE -- NOW LET THE REAL FILM SEASON BEGIN
Monday, August 28, 2006
Summer films -- not necessarily the most memorable of summers for films in North America, but there were some standouts. Here are just a few of the noteworthy films -- the best films of the summer season. "Little Miss Sunshine" was the best of them all for the summer -- and audiences are continuing to flock to it. The film has made over $30 million so far. The first-time feature film directors, the husband and wife team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, had previously directed music videos and commercials. This film is a certified crowd-pleaser, and if you haven't seen it, you owe it to yourself to run to your local theater now.
Other great films this summer? "Superman Returns", which was better than most people who saw it thought. Bryan Singer captured nuances and undercurrents of the superhero in a refreshing way, while paying great tribute to the late married couple Christopher Reeve and Dana Reeve. There was "Cars", an animated gem, that made over $200 million, "Nacho Libre", which was almost as ridiculously funny as "Talladega Nights", which featured the zaniness of Will Ferrell, but was almost stolen by the antics of Sacha Baron Cohen of American cable television's "Ali G" infamy. "Miami Vice" not only looked better and was better than audiences gave it credit it for, but the performances by Colin Farrell and John Ortiz were terrific, as was the film's soundtrack. "World Trade Center" was sad and scintillating, but what stood out was the great filmmaking of Oliver Stone, as well as the film's uplifting grandeur. "An Inconvenient Truth" was an important and convenient reminder in an overheated climate of a summer that we must all do more to combat global warming and extreme climate change before it is too late. This summer almost 200 people in New York City alone died because of the extreme heat. "The Devil Wears Prada" was a devilish delight, thanks to Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci, and its soundtrack was also excellent. The documentary "The Heart of the Game" was a compelling story of a girl's basketball team in Seattle at the same time the men in the National Basketball Association were battling for the crown in the NBA Finals in June, while "The Lake House" was a rich, layered romantic drama in which Sandra Bullock in particular acquitted herself well. "Art School Confidential" was a bristling, funny, scathing look at the world of art school, and while Paramount Pictures said goodbye to Tom Cruise last week, the underperforming (at least in the U.S.) "Mission: Impossible III" was pulse-pounding, its mega-star giving ever ounce of sweat, tears and intensity that the expensive action film deserved. Newly-minted Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman was noteworthy as well in his first film as an action villain.
Despite these tremendous films, the best is yet to come this Fall. The Popcorn Reel Fall Movie Preview is here and growing by the day. The big films are coming. The award-nominees will come from this group. Savor the summer that was, and get ready to enjoy a Fall flick extravaganza in North America.
Omar P.L. Moore
The Popcorn Reel