Movie Review: Top five movies of the summer

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“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” took the top spot among summer movies with impressive aesthetics and heartwarming themes. (Photo courtesy of Plex.tv)

For perhaps the first time in several years, mindless action movies did not dominate the theaters this summer. Interestingly, there was a strong focus on meaningful, thematically complex pictures that provided audiences with insights into abnormal, edgy lifestyles. With these defining characteristics in mind, here are five summer movies that are worth checking out as we make our way into a new semester.

1. “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On”

I saw this twice in the theater and cried three times each time I went. Like many works this year, “Marcel the Shell” showcased remarkable artistic prowess and unforgettable characters through a unique storyline. No other film, however, managed to distill both universal and personal experience of being an outsider quite like this film did. 

Combining elements of documentary and fiction, “Marcel the Shell” tells the story of a charming two-inch creature and his loving grandmother Connie through the eyes of a YouTuber named Dean. Using his camera, Dean chronicles Marcel and Connie’s experience as they attempt to reunite with their lost family members. While their search unfolds, Marcel faces feelings of desolation and isolation. Yet, as he copes on screen with these emotions using endless courage, audaciousness and compassion, Marcel teaches us to overcome these obstacles in our own lives. Without a doubt, this will be the best work of film this year.

“Fire of Love” proved to be a captivating, yet tragic, love story. (Photo courtesy of IMDB)

2.Fire of Love”

Back home in New York, I remember waking up early to see this film at 8 a.m. because it was playing at no other time. I was rewarded with a journey that surpassed my expectations: the unbelievable true story of lovers Katia and Maurice Krafft, two daring scientists who died researching volcanoes. 

Released decades after their deaths, this film consists of thousands of pictures and videos taken by the deceased couple themselves. The culmination of these artifacts, pieced back together, provides insight into two individuals who preferred to put their lives on the line and risk death, rather than ignore their desire to learn how to predict volcanic eruptions. The videos and pictures from their expeditions also highlight some of the most mystifying images ever shown on screen.

“Top Gun: Maverick” unifies audiences even in turbulent times. (Photo courtesy of IMDB)

3. “Top Gun: Maverick”

The highest-grossing film of 2022 so far was a surprisingly strong sequel to the cult classic “Top Gun.” It was a lot of fun to see in the theater, particularly for its use of high-quality sound and visual effects that innovate on what made the first movie stand out back in 1986. I was particularly surprised to find my heart pounding during the film’s climatic third act. While some might call it overly traditional or conservative, I felt it provided a uniquely universal and patriotic experience that few things in our turbulent political climate can manage to provide. 

One of Jordan Peele’s creepiest tales yet, “Nope” lacks some of the coherence of his previous works. (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

4.) “Nope”

Jordan Peele’s latest romp is perhaps his most creepy film due to its focus on otherworldly forces. This time, the supernatural force of horror comes from a UFO that falls near ranch-owning siblings O.J. and Emerald Haywood. After the spacecraft kills their father, the Haywoods attempt to document the UFO as it continues to wreak havoc. While lacking the structural coherence of and captivating performances of his other films “Get Out,” “Us” or “Candyman,” this film is highly sophisticated and complex in the way it touches upon themes of race using tropes of the neo-western genre.

“Minions: The Rise of Gru” spawned a viral meme that enhanced the viewing experience. (Photo courtesy of IMDB)

5.) “Minions: The Rise of Gru”

This summer, #Gentleminions sent millions of Gen-Z moviegoers to the theaters dressed in their most formal attire. The movie itself was funny, rebellious and charming, but it was this trend that truly made the movie worth that trip to the theater. We can only hope that next summer another film inspires the kind of active participation that this one did.