Well, as the Summer movie season comes to a close in 2008, few can deny it has been a unique summer. Movies have surprised us, disappointed us, entertained, and some have even smashed box office records. While there are a few more weeks, and while I obviously haven’t seen all of the movies released (some had to wait for Netflix), I can offer this humble listing of the top 10 movies I saw this summer (out of 13 total). Enjoy!

¬†#1: “The Dark Knight” (*****)

Little else remains to be said about a picture that won over the hearts (and pocketbooks) of the world so relentlessly and in so doing, smashed almost every notable box office record along the way. As I type this, the film is #2 on the all time box office list, behind only “Titanic”, and while I doubt it has the gas to get to that elusive $600 million mark and surpass it, I do believe the film may yet limp to the $500 million mark, which would be only the second movie to do so in history, behind the Cameron historical epic. Director Christopher Nolan has simply given us the most noteworthy and near flawless film in many years, and in this reviewers opinion, ever. The film is so many different things, and works on so many levels, that its not surprising that the film has done so well at the box office. It is far and away the most faithful, and best comic book adaption to date. It is also a beautifully crafted crime drama on par with the best ever to grace the screen. It is also a poignant statement about the world we live in, the fight against terrorism, the costs required to do, and realities of how our society has created the very same terrorists we’re fighting. Emotional, terrifying, action packed, and hauntingly dramatic, “The Dark Knight” is far and away not only the best film of the summer, but the best film of the year, decade, and possibly ever made. My full review can be found here: https://www.moviefilmreview.com/the-dark-knight-2.php

#2: “The Incredible Hulk” (*****)

A film I had little to no expectations for going in (thanks mostly to the horrible 2003 film), and one that I walked out of absolutely beaming from ear and ear and bouncing off the walls for. The film isn’t perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but the film is fun, very fun, and action packed, exciting, dramatic, and moves along at an electric pace. None of those things described the previous film by Ang Lee. From the word go, the film trucks along, starting with a three minute recap of Banner’s accident, and in this quick scene, all the emotional groundwork for the movie is set-up. After that we follow Banner as he is hunted by General Ross and the U.S. Army, thrilling battle after battle occurs, and inbetween we get tender, emotional moments between Banner and Betty. On top of all of this is the near constant connection to “Iron Man” earlier in the summer, and the feeling (finally) that the Marvel movies are becoming connected and becoming a true Marvel Universe onscreen. My full review can be found here: ¬†https://www.moviefilmreview.com/the-incredible-hulk-2.php

#3: “Speed Racer” (****1/2)

Another film I saw on a whim, and which I had zero expectations for, but one I walked out having very much enjoyed. The film was visually stunning, which is no surprise with the Wachowski Brothers behind the helm, but what was surprising, was the dramatic and poignant storyline of a young man trying to prove to himself and the world that he can do whatever he sets his mind to do, and the amazingly sweet storyline of the family who stands behind him every step of the way and supports him unconditionally. It has its overly kiddy moments, but none so long or so overpowering that they ruin the film for older audience members. If you open yourself up to a fun, lighthearted film, than this movie is a true marvel. A true family film that can be enjoyed by all ages. My full review can be found here: https://www.moviefilmreview.com/here-he-comes-here-comes-speed-racer.php

#4: “Wall-E” (****1/2)

Perhaps the most delightful, purely¬†innocent, and enjoyable film of the summer is little “Wall-E” from Disney and Pixar. Aside from its amazingly beautiful animation, the levels of detail and drive-it-home message about Planet awareness, what made this film so special is the little captivating robot himself. His adventure is one of true wonder and imagination, and its a marvelous film to just sit back, relax, and get emersed within. The tender story and relationship between Wall-E and EVE is adorable and sweet and just a lovely storyline pulled off to perfection. In true Pixar tradition, Wall-E delivers on all levels, and is enjoyable for the whole family. It may not be the greatest in the Pixar family of films, or even the best animated film in recent years, but it is a wonderful acheivement, and a truly stunning and enjoyable film. My full review can be found here: https://www.moviefilmreview.com/wall-e-3.php

#5: “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (****)

The Sequel to 2004’s “Hellboy” succeeds more than the original for several reasons. Firstly, it thankfully is alot less confusing, the first film seems incredibly plot-driven, and has way too much plot going on, where this film moves forward easily with one central plotline, and takes the main characters in new emotional directions. The film is also alot of fun, incredibly humerous, and incredibly awe-inspiring to watch. The level of details in everything is amazing, and the pure imagination brought to the screen is captivating. A great adventure story with great, fun writing, and great characters. My original review can be found here: https://www.moviefilmreview.com/hellboy-ii-the-golden-army.php

#6: “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” (***1/2)

Probably the film I was both most excited for and the most worried about, Crystal Skull is not perfect, and is not on par with the original 1980’s films in the series, but it does (eventually) become a pretty fun ride. After alot of wishy-washy plot is out of the way, enough exposition for three films is delivered, and Indy and Mutt finally find the Crystal Skull (about 45 minutes into the movie), the film finally begins to feel like a Indiana Jones movie again. Once the film becomes impressive action set pieces one after the other, Spielberg and Lucas seem much more comfortable with the film, and we too, as an audience, feel more comfortable too. It just takes time to establish what all Indy has been up to inbetween films, and to establish his place in the Cold-War era. It does end up being a very enjoyable summer movie, but not close to the great film it could’ve been. My full review can be found here: https://www.moviefilmreview.com/the-crystal-skull-finally-arrives-indiana-jones-iv.php

#7: ” The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” (***)

The return trip to Narnia is a very different, but still highly enjoyable one. The film is mostly action, and alot darker than the previous film installment, which isn’t always a good thing, as many of the small, tender moments in the movie seem rushed for the sake of more CGI creatures and battle scenes. Gone also are the heavy allegorical themes from the previous film. In this new film, the four Pevensie’s are a year older and the young actors all do commendable jobs of continuing there individual character arcs. Overall, not as fun or charming as the first film, but still a welcome return to a wonderful new film franchise. My full review can be found here: https://www.moviefilmreview.com/return-to-narnia-prince-caspian-review.php

#8: “Iron Man” (**1/2)

The film mostly everyone seemed to go ga-ga for is just meerly okay in this reviewer’s opinion. While, ultimately, it does lead nicely into The Incredible Hulk, and other future Marvel movies, and while it does a very faithful job with modernizing the Iron Man origin tale, the film just seemed to lack something, mainly action, and seemed to take its time with the slow build-up of Stark’s turn into reluctant hero. While the film, visually, can often be stunning, it can also be monumentally boring, and I found myself looking at my watch a few times, hoping Stark would just put the suit on already and start shooting baddies. The supporting cast is hit and miss, the Jeff Bridges villian is awful, but Gwenyth Paltrow is adorable in this movie. When Iron Man is on screen, usually cool things are happening, it was just way too little time that was the case. My full review can be found here: https://www.moviefilmreview.com/iron-man-needed-to-shake-off-some-of-the-rust.php

#9: “Pineapple Express” (**1/2)

Another film I seem to be in the minority about, but just didn’t enjoy as much as everyone else. The stoner guy comedy seems like a movie destined to be a cult hit on DVD with the younger high school and college crowd, but I seem to be just too old to enjoy this type of senseless, ultimately pointless buddy comedy movie anymore. While parts of the film are extremely entertaining and enjoyable, most of the film is just a series of tasteless, juvienille pranks and jokes with no substance to speak of. My full review can be found here: https://www.moviefilmreview.com/pineapple-express-5.php

#10: “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” (*1/2)

A film undeserving to be on any Top 10 list (other than a worst movies of the year list anyways), but sadly it was the best of the four films I saw this summer that greatly disappointed me. The long awaited return of Agents Mulder and Scully was disappointing in almost every respect, as they seemed trapped within a pointless, unsuspenseful thriller with almost no room for character development to speak of. A sub-par storyline unworthy of the worst episodes of the show, let alone worth the cost and time of a big screen movie. My full review can be found here: https://www.moviefilmreview.com/the-x-files-i-want-to-believe.php