Summer Movie Reviews

By Nick Anstett
Elm Staff Writer

Do you have extra time in between classes and practice?  Don’t know what to do on a rainy weekend? Head to the theater or curl up at the TV, and check out these movies that heated up the box office this summer.

The Best: Should Have Seen It, Check It Out On DVD/Blu-Ray:

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

Who would have thought that the summer’s best blockbuster would focus more than half of its runtime on a group of CGI primates speaking through sign language? Director Matt Reeves and motion capture star Andy Serkis certainly did. “Dawn” is a morally complicated and visually unique sci-fi action film that focuses on character and plot while still delivering spectacle.

“How to Train Your Dragon 2”

With Disney/Pixar taking the summer off, Dreamworks took hold of the animation market and delivered what many have called “The Dark Knight” of animated sequels. “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is a sequel that isn’t afraid to take risks and in the process creates a film that is filled with wonder and emotion for adults as it is for children.

“X-Men: Days of Future Past”

After several mediocre to poor outings, original director Bryan Singer returns to 20th Century Fox’s flagship superhero franchise to tell a time-twisting and inventive comic book adventure. It reads as a love letter to loyal fans and in many ways is the summer’s most crowd pleasing and cheer-worthy film.

Other Good Choices:

“22 Jump Street”

Who would have guessed that the folks who made “The Lego Movie” would turn out one of the best R-rated comedy of the summer? It may not be quite as fresh as its predecessor, but “22 Jump Street” works mostly due to the great chemistry between its stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.

“The Fault in Our Stars”

The summer’s most popular love story may be a tad too sentimental for some viewers, but for those willing, “The Fault in Our Stars” is a well-directed and superbly acted (Laura Dern deserves an Oscar nomination) adaptation of the popular young adult novel.

“Guardians of the Galaxy”

Marvel’s latest is the sleeper hit of the year. “Guardians” eye for the absurd and irreverent makes it a crowd pleaser through and through. It’s the “Avengers” with a little dirt and grime.

The Indie Scene:


Think “The Hunger Games” meets “Oldboy” on a train…oh, and it stars Captain America. “Snowpiercer” is an atypical and inventive dystopian action film that is smarter than its action film guise gives it credit.


Jon Favreau’s latest is simply put, “food porn.” It’s a celebration of American food and those that make them and it will leave your stomach growling before you even hit the thirty-minute mark.

Bottom of the Barrel:

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

The most hollow comic book film of the year, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is so concerned with franchise building that it leaves its heart and sense of fun at the door turning in an emotionally confused and utterly forgettable effort.


Scarlette Johansson’s commanding performance is wasted on this science fiction action film that is too brainless to be smart, but too bizarre and assaulting to the senses to be worthwhile escapism.

“Transformers: Age of Extinction”

The dependably bad “Transformers” franchise turns in another loud, crass, misogynistic, and oddly cynical installment that often times just forgets how to have fun. It all would be slightly tolerable, if it weren’t three hours in length.


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