I did not care for the first two "Hotel Transylvania" movies. Basically I felt that Adam Sandler's style of humor had run its course, and even doing something as unique as applying it to animated monster movies couldn't make it interesting again. Both films got a One and a Half Star rating out of me (the equivalent of a C- now that I use letter grades) and I remember seriously considering giving One Star to the second film. So "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation" was one of the least-anticipated viewings on my summer watchlist.
We last saw Scott "Ant-Man" Lang (Paul Rudd) in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War" where he fought on Cap's side, lost, and went to prison. It was briefly mentioned in this year's "Avengers: Infinity War" that he took a plea deal where he was released in exchange for promising not to do any more superhero work, making him one of the few MCU heroes not to appear in the film. Now we're getting "Ant-Man and the Wasp", where we find out what's been going on in his neck of the woods. Like a response you'd expect from a laid-back casual friend, the answer is "not much."
I never saw 2015's "Sicario" in theaters, I only knew it by its reputation as a movie that was unfairly overlooked at the Oscars that year. I watched the film in preparation for its sequel "Day of the Soldado", and maybe it was because the version I saw was edited for television or maybe it was because I watched it from my comfy bedroom instead of the edge of my seat in a theater, but I have to say I was not impressed.
Back in 2015, "Jurassic World" briefly set the box office record for biggest opening weekend of all time with $208 million before climbing to #3 on the overall domestic chart. It seemed as though people couldn't get enough of dinosaurs chowing down on some arrogant human victims. Now comes "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom", which opened this past weekend to a relatively tame $150 million. People still want to see the dinos, but it's a little less special this time.
Although Pixar has never made anything I'd call a "bad" movie, they've had mixed results with their sequels. The second and third "Toy Story" movies are just as beloved as the original, and "Finding Dory" is the highest-grossing animated film of all time. But "Monsters University" was an addendum that seemingly nobody wanted, and the two "Cars" sequels are considered the black sheep of the studio. Still, fans were clamoring for a follow-up to "The Incredibles", the 2004 family-of-superheroes adventure that opened the door to a world that clearly needed more exploring.
I think it was a mistake to call this movie "Ocean's 8". The modern-era "Ocean's" series began in 2001 with "Ocean's Eleven", then went to "Ocean's Twelve" in 2004, and then to "Ocean's Thirteen" in 2007. Now the franchise is being relaunched with a female-led cast and a problematic title. 8 is about 73% of 11, and it just makes me think of the gender pay gap, which is usually reported to be around 75%. Without giving too much away, this team has enough unofficial members that "Ocean's Fourteen" would not have been an unreasonable title.
"Adrift" is two movies in one - a mushy romance and a harrowing high-seas adventure tale. I guess it's like "Titanic" minus the large scale, $165 million from the budget, and about $550 million from its domestic gross (a generous projection based on its $11 million opening weekend). The film is opening on the weekend following "Solo", and even though that film is performing far below expectations, it's easy to see why many films wanted to avoid the slot. This is a movie for people who either have no interest in blockbusters or have seen too many of them lately and need a break.
Too few people saw the Coen Brothers comedy "Hail, Caesar" back in 2016, but those who did witnessed a terrific breakthrough performance by actor Alden Ehrenreich. Somebody saw how well he played a cowboy from 1950's Hollywood and decided that he'd make a great cowboy from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. And thus he was cast as a young Han Solo for a film that takes place between Episodes III and IV of the "Star Wars" series. I really liked Ehrenreich in this movie.
It has been two years since "Deadpool" turned the superhero movie genre on its head with its excessively crude fourth-wall-breaking humor. There had been R-rated comic book movies before, but none had achieved its level of success.
For those of you who think I spent too much time last week whining about "Overboard" not being funny, just a heads up that "Life of the Party" this week is going to be more of the same. It's no surprise that neither movie is any good, their studios sent them out to die against "Avengers: Infinity War". Both comedy bombs lucked out because that movie got moved up a week at the last minute, so they got to open on weekends when people had already seen the superior blockbuster. They still got crushed, just not as badly.