Weekend Viewing Roundup & My Top Fave Summer Movies

So the weekend just flew by… poof, that was fast! It’s actually been pretty hectic, back to the usual after a super mellow one last weekend as we recovered from our holiday. We saw Rango Friday night and yesterday, after a hot and humid day visiting a local art fair, we cooled off in a movie theater to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

I’ll have the reviews later this week but first I just want to share my thoughts of the Summer movies I’ve seen so far. It’s interesting that the movies which trailers didn’t impress me initially end up being the ones I enjoy more, ok with the exception of X-Men: First Class as I like both the trailer and the movie itself. The one that surprises me the most is the ‘Ape’ movie as I never had much interest in the ‘franchise’ if you will, never having seen the original with Charlton Heston. But after seeing this, I’m now curious to see it and I’ve added it to my Netflix queue. My husband said we actually rented the Tim Burton version a while go, but I completely forgot about it (maybe I fell asleep watching that? ahah).

Turns out that the Apes prequel to the 1968 film definitely um, rises to the occasion with $54 million, making it the box office winner this weekend. Per box office mojo, despite narrowly beating The Smurfs last weekend with $36 mil, Cowboys & Aliens fell to third place this time, losing out to the little blue people by about $5 mil (Ouch, that’s got to hurt Jon Favreau!)

Well, if I had to rank the Summer big-budget movies I managed to see this year (those released from May until now), it’d look like this:

  1. X-Men: First Class
  2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  3. THOR
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II
  5. Captain America

I’m kind of going back on forth between #4 and #5, I think I like both of them equally so both Captain America and HP 7.2 could easily be a tie. The only other movie I want to see in August is The Debt, which is scheduled to open on 8/31 but hopefully that is a wide release instead of a limited one.

Well, what did you end up seeing this weekend, folks? And how would you rank the Summer films you’ve seen this year?

Conspicuous Trailer of the Week: RANGO

A bug-eyed green lizard wearing a red Hawaiian shirt is bound to be um, conspicuous looking. Especially when the words JOHNNY DEPP is emblazoned above it. One commenter suggested in youtube, the shirt seems to be an homage to his role in Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. The Kentucky-born mega star is no stranger to doing VO work for animated feature (his last major VO work was for Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride). This time he plays a chameleon with an identity crisis. Ha! That alone sounds amusing. The plot per IMDb:

A chameleon that aspires to be a swashbuckling hero finds himself in a Western town plagued by bandits and is forced to literally play the role in order to protect it.

The chameleon-like actor is definitely a fitting choice to ‘play’ a chameleon. He re-teams with his Pirates of the Carribean‘s director, Gore Verbinski, and is surrounded by an eclectic cast: Bill Nighy, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ray Winstone, Ned Beatty, Harry Dean Stanton, and Alfred Molina. Acclaimed screenwriter John Logan, who’s also just recently wrapped Coriolanus co-wrote the script.

According to EW’s Popwatch, Verbinski also used a novelty process of ‘shooting’ a CG-animated feature. So instead of having the actors ‘act out’ their lines in a recording studio, the director had the entire cast gather in a studio stage during the course of the 20-day shoot. They even use a limited amount of props, sets and costumes, and video cameras recorded their performances as they performed their scenes. “It’s not motion capture — we call it emotion-capture,” says Verbinski. “I didn’t want to give up the techniques that were developed in shooting live action, where you try to optimize the possibility of capturing the awkward moment — the moment where things aren’t cerebral or manufactured.” The animation itself is done by George Lucas’ Industrial Light Magic (ILM), which also supplied the CGI effects for the Pirates movies.

Anyway, I think the trailer looks funny. Weird of course, but hey, it’s Johnny Depp’s, peculiarity is his specialty. I LOVE the scene where the big rock creature tells Rango “try not to look conspicuous” in the vast Mojave desert, and the dazed & confused lizard pretends to be a cactus with all the cactus needles sticking out of him.

I’m up for this one. Too bad it won’t be released until next year: March 4, 2011.