Courtesy of Popsugar
As the fall semester begins, the summer movie season winds to a close. It has been a summer that has been sparse with blockbusters but has featured some good-to-great genre films. “Top Gun: Maverick” was the undeniable winner at the box office, followed by “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “Jurassic World: Dominion”. As you could probably tell, the quality of blockbuster films this summer left something to be desired. Somehow, films like “Uncharted”, “The Lost City” and “Lightyear” are still top-15 domestic grossers this year.
It has been a summer of feast or famine with regard to moviegoers, but it has still been inspiring to see seats filling up in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Top Gun: Maverick” showed that films can still capture the collective consciousness in a way that many experts were unsure movies could do with COVID-19 still in full force. I’m glad to report that event cinema is still alive for now.
Jordan Peele’s “Nope” has easily been my favorite movie so far this year. Although advertised as a horror thriller, “Nope” operates more as a modern action-thriller akin to “Jaws” rather than Peele’s prior works, which are horror-thriller films. The cast of “Nope” has ample chemistry and a B-plot that drops clues to understanding what Peele is going for in the film. This is one of those films where I do not want to give too many plot details away, but it is definitely worth the watch.
“Elvis” is a very flashy biopic from Baz Luhrmann, who has returned to the director’s chair for the first time since 2013’s “The Great Gatsby”. This is the longest gap between films in the director’s career, and it shows. This is clearly a passion project, and he nails his distinct visual flair. His casting search was infamous for its length and breadth, and without a doubt, Austin Butler was the right choice for the role. He’s easily the best part of the movie, and personally, I’d have him as the favorite for best actor at the Oscars. As a whole, the movie has its ups and downs, but it lands its ending so well that as a whole, I wound up with a mostly positive opinion of the film.
All in all, this summer’s release dates have led to better grosses for the top films. The sporadic releases have driven up the numbers of the top movies, but it definitely made the troughs of the summer feel lower than normal. Now that the summer is winding down, awards season is right around the corner. With TIFF and Venice coming soon, we’ll soon begin to know what projects are in contention for awards. Personally, I can’t wait to see what results emerge in the chaos of the fall season.