A recap of my five favorite films released this summer — from horror to documentary.
Many films were released this summer, but not all of them managed to make an impact. The best films exhibit creativity, boldness and passion for their art. I believe the films chosen for this list reflect these elements.
5. “Nope” dir. by Jordan Peele
Siblings OJ and Emerald (portrayed by Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer respectively) inherit their father’s Hollywood horse company and attempt to capture proof of a UFO.
With this film, the less you know the better. Highly original and thrilling, Jordan Peele has provided a unique take on the horror and sci-fi genre that comes together with thought-provoking themes. The film lacked character exploration, and some scenes felt disturbing for the sake of being disturbing. Peele of course had his reasons behind every choice, and I am certain this movie will only develop and improve on rewatches.
You can watch Nope in theaters or rent it on most platforms. It is expected to be released on Peacock for streaming.
4. “Top Gun: Maverick” dir. by Joseph Kosinski
Tom Cruise’s character of Maverick returns to TOPGUN flight school to train a new generation of pilots for a thrilling mission.
One thing is for sure: this film is a joy to watch. It is packed with amazing visuals; though it is bigger and more elaborate than the first film. The dialogue-driven sequences dragged a little, but the action was top-notch and the climax was thrilling. Ultimately, it provided the emotional highs needed to land the ending.
Top Gun: Maverick has made a return to theaters due to its popularity and will also likely be available to rent or stream soon.
3. “Prey” dir. by Dan Trachtenberg
A prequel to the Predator series. In the early 18th century, a young Comanche woman called Naru (Amber Midthunder) must face off against a deadly alien – both to prove her strength and to protect her people.
Prey offers satisfying character development and creative kills that are as brutal and gory as expected. The cinematography was stunning and the score was unique and moving. The setting provided a breath of fresh air in the wake of overdone action cliches and enriched the film with a new perspective. Fans of the original franchise and newcomers alike will enjoy — as long as they like violence!
Prey can be streamed on Hulu.
2. “Elvis” dir. by Baz Luhrmann
Chronicling Elvis’ life (portrayed by Austin Butler), this film portrays his rise to fame, the glamor, and all the pitfalls that followed.
This movie was fabulously over the top in the way that only Baz Luhrmann (known for flamboyant films such as Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby) could achieve. How else could one accurately depict Elvis? This film managed to make me care about a celebrity I didn’t pay much attention to in the past – despite Tom Hanks’ questionable accent. Boasting polished, vibrant and glitzy scenes, the film managed to remain emotionally grounded. Though outrageous, Austin Butler’s performance in the titular role is surely award-worthy.
You can catch Elvis streaming on HBO Max.
1. “Fire of Love” dir. by Sara Dosa
A documentary exploring the life and work of two volcanologists, Katia and Maurice Krafft, who were also husband and wife. The pair dedicated their lives to studying volcanoes and ultimately provided valuable research for future volcanic disasters.
It may seem strange to list a documentary as the number-one movie of the summer, but this film is like no other. The movie follows Katia and Maurice on their many scientific outings to study volcanoes all over the world. Accompanied by extraordinary footage taken mostly by Maurice, the film takes your breath away. It succeeded in connecting emotionally with the audience almost immediately, all while providing intriguing and incredible documentation of these volcanoes. The images of the volcanic activity alone is a spectacle, but paired with the romantic true story at its core, the film is a stunning masterpiece.
Fire of Love is not yet available to stream but is expected to land on Disney+ in the near future. The IMAX Galaxy Theaters located in Gig Harbor will be showing it October 31st for one day only. I highly recommend you see it if you can. It is worthy of a big screen.