This year is on pace to set a personal record: the most movies I’ve ever seen in one year. That’s thanks to the more frequent review opportunities afforded me by Pegasus News (now owned by The Dallas Morning News) and College Movie Review. I’ve seen a lot of crap this year, but there have been plenty of nuggets so far. Here are the best I’d seen before July 1.
5. Blue Like Jazz (dir. Steve Taylor)
The book changed my life. The movie can’t claim the same, but this adaptation of Donald Miller’s memoir is the savior of Christian cinema, no blasphemy intended. By the standards of indie dramedies, it’s successful. As a Christian movie, it’s the greatest film of the modern era.
4. The Avengers (dir. Joss Whedon)
About as entertaining as action movies get. If you want your summer blockbusters popcorn-y, or you’re not quite ready for the ennui of Christopher Nolan’s Batman finale, go see this a third time, won’t you?
3. Brave (dirs. Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell)
Simplicity doesn’t have to mean regression. The story in Pixar’s latest won’t cause you to weep uncontrollably like its three best films, but not every Pixar movie has to be that. This is classic Disney with Pixar’s unparalleled animation and a pure delight, especially when the triplets are on screen.
2. Prometheus (dir. Ridley Scott)
Ridley Scott may be a bit of a tease at how close or far this is to the Alien franchise, but when the movie’s this riveting and thought-provoking, who cares? Featuring another ridiculously good performance from Michael Fassbender, Prometheus is a true conversation starter masquerading as cutting edge sci-fi thriller. Man, I need to see this again.
1. Moonrise Kingdom (dir. Wes Anderson)
An absolute delight from start to finish. At times it feels as if it may choke on its own whimsy until peels back a layer to reveal the melancholy underneath, again proving nobody does the sad-funny combo like Anderson.