Iron Man 2
Our fears about clumsy action and so-so CGI were confirmed, but what we didn't expect was how darn funny this movie is. And *please* let's not forget the ridiculously plentiful eye candy. We're going to go right ahead and say it. Iron Man 2 is the rarest of sequels: better than the original.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
SPVTW definitely lived up to its advance billing, especially if you're in the 25-and-under male-nerd demographic. For most anyone over the age of 30, we suspect the pop culture references (combined with excessive jump cuts) will lead to head scratching and general befuddlement. We haven't seen anything quite like it before, and can't wait for Edgar Wright's next movie, Them, set for a 2011 release.
We've already dislocated our shoulder patting ourselves on the back for predicting Cyrus to be the summer's best comedy, but it was a highly educated guess. Mix quality indie talent (the Duplasses) with an A-list cast (especially John C. Reilly) and it's hard to see how it couldn't have turned out well.
The Other Guys
Even a little better than our original prediction, thanks primarily to Mark Wahlberg matching Will Ferrell's funny and especially inspired cameos from Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson. Though not quite up to Talladega Nights or the underrated Step Brothers, Guys still qualifies as the funniest mainstream comedy we've seen this summer.
Get Him to the Greek
Narrowly beat our forecast, thanks to an even-better-than-expected Brand and a scene-stealing P. Diddy. Oh, and lots of projectile vomiting! (Sorry, spoiler.) It's definitely not as good as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but for those in need of raunchy, R-rated comedy, it'll do. And like FSM, we're looking forward to repeated viewings on premium cable later this year.
See the final ratings for all of Summer 2010's Comedies
No doubt Inception will be Nolan's fifth movie in the IMDb Top 250. For us — even with ridiculously high expectations — Inception mostly delivered. It looks beautiful, the special effects are dream-worthy, and it grabbed us from the beginning and didn’t let go. That said, Inception is the thriller to beat this year.
Our heads hurt after seeing Inception, so Salt was a welcome relief: 90 minutes of preposterous, fun entertainment that doesn't take itself too seriously. And there's lots and lots of Angelina Jolie, who doesn't look even vaguely like a typical mother of six. It's the quintessential summer popcorn flick and so far the surprise hit of the season.
The Last Exorcism
Wow, were we wrong on this one. Roughly equal parts The Exorcist, The Blair Witch Project, and Paranormal Activity, this highly entertaining micro-budget ($1.8M) horror/thriller is almost as funny as it is scary. Easily the most pleasant surprise of the whole summer.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
In a summer of mostly dismal chick flicks, thank god David Slade didn't disappoint. Stephenie Meyer fans finally got the blockbuster they deserved — and vampire movie fans finally got a Twilight with some bite. Let's hope it's carried over to Breaking Dawn.)
While some critics really hated on this movie, it's the best rom-com we've seen all year. That is faint praise, indeed, but the Bateman-Aniston chemistry works, and we'll get to see it again next summer with the July 29, 2011 release of the comedy Horrible Bosses.
Toy Story 3
No surprises here, except how deeply plastic playthings can move us. Yeah, we admit it. We cried. Near the very top of the Pixar pack (though not quite as good as Ratatouille). Plus the Wii game is really fun, too.
This looked good on paper and it was. No, it's not Toy Story 3 (we still get a little misty-eyed when we think of that pic's ending), but some kids we know actually preferred Despicable Me. Chalk one up for original ideas. We suspect we'll see Gru, Vector, and Dr. Nefario in theaters again someday fairly soon.
Ramona and Beezus
We confess. We did not see Ramona and Beezus. But poker night was an 8, so that's what we're giving this apparently sweet and wholesome adaptation of Beverly Cleary's classic series of kids' books. The critic reviews generally concur.
Nanny McPhee Returns
Like British humor, some people get Nanny McPhee, some people don't. Put us in the former camp. This is smart, sophisticated, and yes, old-fashioned entertainment that you will love. Or hate.