"Turbo" is a children's animation about a magically enhanced snail that enters the Indy 500. That pretty much says it all. I entered the theater in a foul mood, and left it in a better one, minus a few brain cells that had committed suicide in disgust along the way. This was a worthwhile transaction. There was a bit of magic of place involved, because I had spaced the fact that the movie involved the Indy 500, until suddenly I realized that it DID, and I was sitting in Indianapolis. (This was not nearly as cool as watching "Tucker" while inside the former Tucker factory, but still...)
"We're the Millers" is a nearly perfect low key comedy. It's a stoner comedy where no one gets stoned; it's a family comedy that is too raunchy to be family oriented; it's a gonzo comedy that is too restrained for the gonzo fans; it's a romantic comedy that has too much else going on to focus on the romance. That sounds negative; it is NOT. It is very nearly perfect, my second favorite movie of the weekend with no real competition.
"Planes" is a children's animation about anthropomorphic planes and cars (and forklifts and trucks and...). It did what it was supposed to do pretty well; it also did what I wanted it to do (see "Turbo", above) pretty well. And it was fun to visualize the real planes that had become characters, and muse about various related aviation legends as I did so.
"Pacific Rim" is better than I expected it to be, but I expected it to be awful. I only saw it because I suddenly realized that if I started moving RIGHT NOW I would JUST be able to catch "Rim" for its LAST showing on the big screen before it went away, so I went for it. Adrenalized ambivalence is a potent force. That said, there was more character work in the movie than I expected, but not really enough to pay the freight on the largely pointless special effects.
"Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" wasn't exactly FLAT, exactly. And it was the only movie in this collection that I saw twice. But given that I have read and enjoyed the books, and really enjoyed the first movie, and Alexandra Daddario makes my brain go gooey, I wanted to like this movie more than I did. It lacked a certain sparkle that I was hoping for, and in this case actually expected. I think the problem was that the movie never came close to making me feel the threat to the characters. The whole thing needed to be just a BIT darker. Still there were some wonderful moments, and I did like it well enough to see it again (and will likely see it once more with Dementia).
"Kick-Ass 2" is a different, and probably better, movie than its predecessor. The splatter porn is still present, though diminished, and the character work is significantly ramped up. Chloe Grace Moretz once again steals the movie, and has a much bigger part to boot. This was easily the most enjoyable film of the weekend. If there is a sequel... The title character has run his course, but there is plenty of room for AT LEAST one more Hit Girl movie. I hope it gets made.
"Elysium" has a big budget, an A-list cast, and delusions of social significance, and still manages to be relentlessly mediocre. There is nothing really wrong with the film (Well, the space station; see below.), but it relentlessly fails to sparkle even a little bit. I tried to find something to connect with, someone to care about in this film, and failed. Oh, and the space station: Orbital colonies that depend on centrifugal artificial gravity need to, you know, rotate? Not just hang in the sky and inspire you to do scaling calculations that produce completely absurd results, OK? (If the thing is supposed to be at LEO, it must be at least fifty miles in diameter, and if at geosynch... It doesn't bear thinking about.)
"2 Guns" feels like an early Guy Ritchie movie without the manic quality. The story is compelling, if convoluted and slow off the mark, and the character work is worthwhile, helped significantly by a great cast. As a "light-hearted splatter porn buddy movie", is loses to "Kick-Ass 2" by a fair margin, but it was still probably the fourth best film of the weekend.
"Smurfs 2" was, once again, what I needed to see at the moment I saw it (See "Turbo", above). I like the human cast, and, well, I survived the first movie, and I very much needed something intellect free at that moment.
"Paranoia" is an industrial espionage caper movie. Once again, in spite of a stellar cast, it utterly failed to sparkle. When a movie can make me indifferent to Amber Heard in spite of the brain-melt, something is VERY wrong...