With this week bringing the release of not one but two '80s remakes -- the bloody double bill of Conan the Barbarian and Fright Night -- the proverbial final nail will be driven into the coffin as we lay yet another cinematic summer** season to rest. But was it so cinematic looking back?
Sure you had your blockbusters that did not disappoint, with the likes of Captain America, Super 8, and the epic conclusion to Harry Potter. There were your typical popcorn fodder with movies such as Thor, Transformers, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. And oh, the forgettable few that were so bad you were struck with an instant case of amnesia the second you walked out of the theater, causing you only weeks later to ponder "Wait, that came out this summer?" I'm looking at you Green Lantern and Cowboys & Aliens.
And then we had a few surprises with films that trailered themselves unpromising but turned out to be quite the opposite: Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Fast Five, and X-Men: First Class.
But somewhere between the explosions, this summer managed to give us a lot of great films that you might have missed or maybe didn't even hear of...that is until now. Here's five unforgettable films from the summer of 2011:Attack the Block (Now in theaters)
This one sits atop of the list of my favorite films from the summer. The directional debut from writer/director Joe Cornish (protege of Edgar Wright and writer of the upcomingAdventures of Tintin
and Wright's proposedAnt-Man
adaptation), the sci-fi actioner shows us what happens when a horde of gorilla-like aliens mess with the wrong young ruffians and their block in aGremlins
meets The Goonies
-esque adventure. IfSuper 8
aimed to achieve at stroking our nostalgia for '80s adventure flicks, thenAttack the Block
succeeded. Believe, bruv!Bridesmaids (Now in theaters)/ Crazy Stupid Love (Now in theaters) double feature
I put these two together for this reason; many associate romantic comedies as being synonymous with having a lot of heart when this is often the opposite case. However, this summer gave us not one but two rom-coms that made you laugh as much as they made you cry and were completely genuine in the way that they did it. Guys, if you owe your gal for making her sit through [any of the films listed above], then go for one of these. Neither of you will be disappointed.Hesher (On DVD and Blu-ray September 13th)
By now, we're all use to seeing indie boy wonder Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a cardigan, a plaid shirt, and tie playing Mr. Nice Guy. But here's that same (see also: versatile) guy, as the Grim Reaper in Metalhead human form with long stringy hair and a giant middle finger tattoo to say "FU...nobody puts JGL in a corner!" setting everything on fire as he does it. Yet somehow,Hesher
still manages to be one of the most touching, heartfelt films of the year thus far.Tree of Life (Now in theaters)
What is there to even say about Terrence Malick'sTree Of Life
? Well, I'm not sure because here it is four months later and I'm still trying to figure it out. Regardless, it is one that needs to be seen and be seen on the big screen. Consider it theStar Wars
of art house cinema.Source Code (Now on DVD and Blu-ray)
Director Duncan Jones (Moon
) returned this year with his sophomore effort, continuing to prove that the word "smart" and the genre "sci-fi" can coexist. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Colter Stevens, an Army pilot who suddenly finds himself on a train occupying the body of a mild mannered school teacher. But there isn't anything mild mannered about this situation, as Stevens soon discovers he is on the doomed train as the pawn in a secret government anti-terror experiment. The result is a film that feels like aQuantum Leap
toThe Outer Limits
with Hitchcock as the conductor.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
10 Honorable Mentions Another Earth (Now in theaters) Beginners (DVD and Blu-ray release date not yet set) The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (On DVD and Blu-ray August 23rd) The Help (Now in theaters) Insidious (Now on DVD and Blu-ray) Meek's Cutoff (On DVD and Blu-ray September 13th) Midnight In Paris (Now in theaters) Rubber (Now on DVD, Blu-ray, and Netflix Instant) Submarine (On DVD and Blu-ray October 4th) Super (Now on DVD and Blu-ray)
**Which I count as films released between April and August
See a favorite film from this summer that didn't make the list? Disagree with any of the choices? Care to profess your love for any of them? Want to get that list bit of bitching out of your system about Green Lantern (I know...we're starting a support group)? Let me hear what you have to say below!
Follow him on Twitter: @JamesWallace and IHC.net: @IHeartCinemaNet.