The Summer Blockbuster is a difficult thing to categorize. Does it refer to a genre? One usually thinks of Action or Adventure films as being the usual Summer Blockbusters, but Science Fiction films often premiere during the summer as well. Horror is also a huge part of summer filmgoing. What makes a film a Summer Blockbuster is certainly its release date, but successful films of the type also become a part of the filmloving culture around them. These films inspire cosplayers, t-shirt makers, and nerds with money to come together and enjoy classic American commerce and hopefully some entertainment along with it. Steven Spielberg is the undisputed king of this type of filmmaking, and rest assured one of his films will appear on the list, but it should be noted that he would deservedly hold many of the top spots on a purely objective list of Summer Blockbusters. This list is not objective.
Mad Max: Fury Road
George Miller’s fourth entry in the Mad Max saga is the pinnacle of contemporary blockbuster filmmaking. The entire blockbuster concept stems from Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, a movie which brought fright and intensity out into the sun, and a tradition of summertime fear. Fury Road is simultaneously a bright film, a terrifying film, a funny film, even a sad film, though it never decelerates its impressive pace. Continue reading The Immortal Iron List of Summer Blockbusters
Summer is right around the corner. And this May, Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno help kick off long lazy days full of sandy toes and winding roads with the release of their sophomore album, The Only Place (Mexican Summer).
The album pays tribute to our home state, and the cover, featuring an image taken from the sheet music of a 1913 song about the greatest state ever, might now be the greatest album cover ever.
The songs on this album, unlike 2010’s Crazy for You, aren’t washed in waves of Spector fuzz. Under direction of Jon Brion, Cosentino’s voice takes center stage, giving the album a musical clarity to match the emotional poignancy of heartache, wayward wanderings, and the sleepless self-doubts of growing up. So, no… it’s not your typical summer party album. “I don’t know what day it is,” Cosentino laments on the album’s final track, “because I’ve been up all night.” It’s a tearjerker as equally suited to remembering a lost love as it is for reminiscing about that best summer ever. Oh summer of ’02… those were crazy times… Nothing wistful; just beautiful melancholy.
The first single off the record is a pretty legitimate summer anthem however. Check out the title track and sing along. Really – why would you live anyplace else?
But if it’s straightforward dance pop that keeps the windows rolled down during 8:00 PM sunset drives, then succumb to Brooklyn’s latest buzz band. Professor Murder’s Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm are Tanlines, and their debut album, Mixed Emotions (True Panther Sounds), is an infectious blend of 80’s pop and Vampire Weekend chicanery. “All of Me” is all fun.
Chromatics’ long-awaited follow-up to 2007’s Night Drive becomes the soundtrack to sexy summer nights: strips of headlights, crumpled in cab backseats, and empty bottles on the sidewalk. Kill for Love (Italians Do It Better) will be in the end-of-the-year album conversation, and the title track is hypnotic italo-disco at its best.