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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Catch these quality summer films before its too late

    Courtesy of Kennedy Miller Produ

    This summer saw huge, record-breaking returns at the box office. So, does huge financial success equate to some actually worthwhile movies? While “Jurassic World” and its Indominus Rex-sized $1.6 billion (and counting) didn’t make this list, here are four films of the past summer that you should still try to catch before they leave theaters.

    “Mad Max: Fury Road” — In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Max (Tom Hardy) crosses paths with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a top soldier for Immortan Joe, the deified leader of the masses who controls access to water. Furiosa has stolen Joe’s daughters away from his abusive kingdom, and Joe, accompanied by an entire army of gas-guzzling four-wheeled machines of various shapes and sizes, wants his daughters back. Those couple of sentences sum up about all of the exposition that the movie spoon-feeds its audience. In fact, I might have been a little verbose. It’s not to say that the narrative is nearly non-existent. On the contrary, it’s a fairly thorough narrative that’s presented in an extremely economical fashion. Having less dialogue-heavy exposition makes more time for sanity-defying car crashes and flame-spewing guitars. It’s an action film that maximizes the amount of, well, action. A novel, refreshing concept that’s all the better when the myriad setpieces are certified bonkers.

    “Inside Out” — Pixar is one of the few film companies that simply needs no introduction. Their library of 3D animated films houses many modern-day classics and “Cars 2.” The next film to enter this hallowed ground takes us into the mind of an 11-year-old Midwestern girl, where emotions are anthropomorphized as spritely avatars. There’s hot-headed, red Anger; exasperated, green Disgust; fidgety, purple Fear; dumpy, blue Sadness; and the leader of the bunch is pixie-like, yellow Joy. When her family moves, Riley’s state of mind gets out of whack, and it’s up to her emotions to delve into her brain and set things right. I’m not convinced that “Inside Out” is the studio’s best; it sometimes felt a little too cute, occasionally shorting the infinite complexity of human emotions through palatable simplicity. However, a film landing in the upper-middle section of Pixar’s catalogue still places it in rarefied air when compared to everything else.

    “The Gift” — Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall play a husband and wife, respectively, who gain the unwanted, persistent attention of an old classmate, played by Joel Edgerton. Edgerton, known for his acting career, also wrote and directed this incredibly well-paced, insidiously quiet thriller. The ending tries to be too clever for its own good, and the film nearly trips over itself and falls on its face as it reaches the finish line. However, it’s still not enough to fully detract from the tension that Edgerton patiently mounts throughout the entire film. Among the myriad of franchise films and big-name blockbusters, it’s easy for this one to get buried. Don’t let it.

    “Straight Outta Compton” — The biopic of seminal California gangsta rap group N.W.A. has a lot going for it. On the superficial level, the actors look a lot like the rappers they’re representing. Case in point, Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., plays his father. This level of fidelity is matched in the subject matter, as Dr. Dre and Ice Cube were advisors to the film. From the group’s impoverished beginning through their meteoric, controversy-riddled hustle to the top of music, the story is engaging and feels authentic. However, even though the gritty tale includes a good many warts, it doesn’t include them all. Most notably, Dre’s physical assault of music journalist Dee Barnes in 1991 was in an earlier version of the screenplay, but omitted for the sake of streamlining the narrative.

    Follow Alex Guyton on Twitter.

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