Raunchy, vulgar, and well deserving of the R rating it was given, “Ted” follows the life of long-time friends John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and his brought-to-life teddy bear. Growing up, John was so unpopular that he envied a Jewish boy getting beat up. John’s only request was to have a true friend, and when his parents give him a teddy bear for Christmas his wish comes true. As years go by and Ted’s fame dwindles, he and John find themselves middle-aged but still trying to live the bachelor lifestyle together. Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) is a profane bear with a thick Rhode Island accent. The film is written and directed by comedy wizard MacFarlane, the creator of “Family Guy,” making it easily one of the funniest movies of the summer. “Ted” pulls out all the stops with off-color grace.
“The Amazing Spiderman”
The web-slinging hero of New York is back, but behind the mask this time is Andrew Garfield, and behind the camera is director Marc Webb. This is not to be confused as a remake of the original “Spiderman”; it has a life of its own with a revamped cast and an exciting plot. Spiderman is on a quest to find the truth behind his parent’s disappearance ,and in doing so he finds himself at odds with Dr. Curt Connors, better known as Lizard Man (Rhys Ifans). The subplot of this battle is Spiderman’s growing love for the police chief’s daughter, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). The most refreshing aspect of “The Amazing Spiderman” is that it does not rely on CGI to tell the story; it relies on a real plot, strong acting, and suspenseful sequences movies.
“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
An ensemble of fresh faces and newcomers adorn the screen in in the fanciful “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” A detached society of stubborn New Orleans natives inhabit their own slice of paradise that they call “The Bathtub.” Although living right outside of civilization, these people refuse to leave their created society, even as a storm threatens to destroy their livelihood and possibly bring them to their deaths. The story is brought to life by a young girl who is affectionately called “Hushpuppy” (Quevenzhane Wallis) – her innocence and bravery put the film over the top. The use of unknown actors makes the film convincing and helps it drive its point home. Anyone who wants an escape from reality for 90 minutes and to be caught up in emotion should give this film a try.
“Savages” is a brutally honest film about a drug cartel that ends in a climax to remember. The plot twists that director Oliver Stone creates are memorable, and he chose his actors well. O (Blake Lively) is the girlfriend of two extremely successful marijuana cultivators, Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and Ben (Aaron Johnson). After a negotiation goes awry with the Mexican drug cartel, O is kidnapped and held for ransom by a surprisingly savage woman, Elena (Salma Hayek). Perhaps the strongest performance comes from Benicio del Toro, who plays Lado, Elena’s perverted and vicious henchman. The hidden intentions and emotions of many of the characters make for an effective drama even with the confusion and suspense of the negotiations. “Savages” is appropriately titled and has a little something for everyone.
“Ruby Sparks” presents one of the more interesting screenplays of the summer and stars the ever-unsure Paul Dano and quirky Zoe Kazan. Coming off the fame of his successful first novel, writer Calvin Weir-Fields finds difficulty in starting a second novel. Calvin sees his ideal woman in a dream that transcends his imagination and appears in his kitchen the next morning. Calvin learns that he can control every aspect of Ruby by writing about her on his vintage typewriter. Comedy arises from the supporting cast, especially Calvin’s brother Harry (Chris Messina), who implores Calvin “to not waste this chance for men everywhere.” The film takes a little bit of a dark twist near the end, but is very fresh and light and is both appealing and romantic.
“The Dark Knight Rises”
This conclusion to the blockbuster “Batman” trilogy comes with a hard hitting finish and a bitter hero. Batman (Christian Bale) has a full beard and reluctance to get back into the suit years of solitude , but must when a ruthless terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy) threatens Gotham. The beauty of “The Dark Knight” is the attention given to a phenomenal supporting cast absent in the earlier films. Fiercely loyal Alfred (Michael Caine), troubled Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), wise inventor Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), and new rookie cop Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) all add to the heavy drama that makes “The Dark Knight” the best of the three films. Bane and his cronies bring Gotham to its knees by destroying essential parts of the city and trapping the entire police force underground. The movie leaves viewers feeling helpless for Batman, who is imprisoned with a broken back while Gotham pleads for their once exiled hero. A beautiful finish for a very successful film series sets the bar for future films of this genre.
“Moonrise Kingdomc 5″
By far the best film of the summer and possibly the year, “Moonrise Kingdom” has Oscars in its future. Wes Anderson creates a magical world with a familiar cast that takes the viewer on an unexpected journey. Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward), two vagabonds, are star-crossed lovers from opposite spectrums of the island they inhabit. Sam is an expert Boy Scout whose serious disposition makes him mature for his age, while Suzy is a dreamer with an appetite for books. Their escape from their respective homes leads to a massive search party involving an entire boy scout troop led by the clueless yet brave Scoutmaster Ward (Edward Norton), Suzy’s eccentric parents Walt (Bill Murray) and Laura Bishop (Frances McDormand), and police chief Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis).The children’s adventure has endless amusement and an almost magical feel. The colors painted on screen are that of a storybook, which “Moonrise Kingdom” could very well be. The movie is undeniably bold and quirky and is exaggerated by beautiful cinematography.