As July comes to an end, I know it’s past the halfway point of the calendar year, but it also marks the end of the summer blockbuster season. August serves as a purgatory of movies, ones not good enough to be released from May – July, and also not good enough to be released in the fall when awards season kicks off. That being said, it’s a perfect time to point out some of the best movies of the year thus far…
1. Before Midnight
The third installment of Richard Linklater’s romantic and greatly improvised Before series, here Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are now parents try to enjoy a family vacation in Greece, but of course not without conflict. Just like the previous two films, Before Midnight explores life, love, and time through a series of flawless conversations that are so well expressed, it’s impossible not to relate to them.
This gritty, American tale about a boy who befriends a mysterious man is so engrossing that you won’t realize how much you were enjoying watching it until the credits start to roll. Matthew McConaughey is inspiring in his role and continues his impressive streak breaking out from his romantic-comedy persona. Mud is old fashioned and it’s excellent.
3. The Place Beyond the Pines
Derek Cianfrance’s ambitious crime drama has rewarded anyone bold enough to give it a chance. This powerful story starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, and Eva Mendes starts out one place and ends up in a full circle even though you don’t want it to. There are bad decisions that drives the characters and the plot to an inevitable conclusion.
4. The Way, Way Back
This coming-of-age film from first time directing duo Nat Faxon and Jim Rash is like a combination of Adventureland and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Confused to find a place within his changing family, Duncan (Liam James) spends his summer working at a water park and makes an unlikely friend to help him cope with his domestic issues. It’s funny, but best of all the film commits itself to the details of every single character.
5. Star Trek Into Darkness
JJ Abrams strikes again with another entertaining, sci-fi flick with Into Darkness, a suitable sequel from the Star Trek reboot. Everything is enhanced from Star Trek (2009) including the action, suspense, and intensity. What else could you ask for from a summer blockbuster?