Sequels, reboots and TV adaptations have dominated the multiplexes this summer. Hailed by many as one of the poorest summers for cinema in quite some time, it has been a task for lowly punters to try and find something decent to gawp at in an air-conditioned room. However, let’s not forget summer 2009 which brought such crap classics as Angels and Demons, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Land of the Lost and Terminator Salvation. There were some gems that stood out amongst the rubbish and just plain mediocre, and here are the few you should be planning on stocking the DVD shelf with.
Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon would easily have been the most controversial and polarising film of the summer, but nobody saw it! Even with a modest budget of just $7 million, the movie failed to recoup even half of that figure at the box office. The people who didn’t see it missed out on the most stylish psychological horror of all time, with stunning aesthetics, a chilling story and a pulsating score. Its expert use of colour and lighting built around a fearless and daring representation of the fashion industry is easily one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had in a cinema. OM
‘The crowd-pleaser of the summer that couldn’t find a crowd’
There’s no clear reason as to why audiences failed to love comedy thriller The Nice Guys. The two stars of the movie, Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, certainly aren’t to blame; they both deliver charm-filled performances and create entertaining chemistry throughout. Those performances are enhanced due to fantastic editing, through which the comic timing is also heightened. The movie remains fun and light-hearted despite its gritty tone, with silly puns that may well have made the writers of Airplane! cringe. With that sense of fun combined with a cool, retro theme, this movie was the crowd-pleaser of the summer that couldn’t find a crowd. OM
A documentary can rarely achieve the Box-Office celebrations of say, the latest Bourne thriller, but it can provide something interesting, insightful, and in the case of Weiner, a portrayal of a man who wants to do nothing but good, and can only be struck down by his own shortcomings. Weiner depicts the politician Anthony Weiner, who famously tweeted a pic of his…weiner, as he seeks mayoral election. A documentary that has you constantly shifting your opinions of the man in question, as problems constantly beset him. ZL
‘Garonne has crafted a film woven around the fairy tales of old to create what is not only a film filled with fantastic performances, but also a visual feast’
And finally, a visual treat that passed by many at the cinemas due to its limited release, but can now be enjoyed time after time at home, is Tale of Tales. English language, Italian-French-British dark fantasy film, directed by Matteo Garonne, could be described as his most mainstream film to date. Certainly when comparing it with Gomorra or First Love, this has the appeal of a blockbuster release. But don’t be fooled, Garonne has crafted a film woven around the fairy tales of old to create what is not only a film filled with fantastic performances, but also a visual feast. Cinematographer Peter Suschitzky has used many of his techniques familiar in his work with David Cronenberg on films such as Dead Ringers and Naked Lunch, to create a spectacular film. Not only is it my favourite film of the summer, but my favourite of 2016 so far. ZL