Summer Movie Season: Flicks to Watch at Home

Summer Movie Season: Flicks to Watch at Home

Julie Leibach
Published: 08/01/2011

It's summertime, and that means blockbuster movie season. Instead of forking over a day's wages to pack in with sweaty crowds seeking refuge in a frigid theater, why not rent a flick and kick back in your own comfy home? Here're a few flicks we've reviewed in the magazine, starting with three from the genre everyone loves to hate, horror...

The Host
A notorious real-life incident inspired this monster movie’s opening scene: It’s 2000, and a U.S. military mortician orders a Korean subordinate to empty hundreds of bottles of formaldehyde into the sink and thus, ultimately, into Seoul’s Han River. Jump ahead a few years: An enormous amphibious creature with a penchant for eating people leaps from the river. The film follows a wonderfully dysfunctional family in search of its youngest, who was snatched by the mutant. Think Little Miss Sunshine meets Alienthis cautionary environmental tale is suspenseful yet surprisingly funny and touching.—Alisa Opar

Birdemic: Shock and Terror
As horror flicks go, Birdemic is arguably one of the best of the worst, with wooden acting, cheesy dialogue, and corny special effects—homicidal birds that are more reminiscent of Nintendo’s “Duck Hunt” than Hitchcock. What sets the film apart is its blatant environmental messages. The hero sells solar panels and craves a hybrid car. An ornithologist stresses over climate change. And a hippie guards a forest that’s a refuge from the avian terror plaguing the NorCal-esque town beyond. California suburbia, best keep your eye on the sky.—Julie Leibach

Black Sheep
A New Zealand farmer tries to create the perfect sheep, but his barnyard project goes terribly wrong. An altered animal infects his herd, turning its members into carnivorous killers that attack anything within biting distance, including people, who mutate into enormous sheep that gorge on human flesh. A trio of unlikely heroes springs into action: sheep-phobic Henry; Tucker, the fearless farmhand; and Experience, a feng shui–embracing activist. Black Sheep is a must-see for fans of horror movies and comedies. But insomniacs should take heed: Don’t expect that counting sheep will ever again help you fall asleep.—Susan Cosier

 

And for the horror-averse out there...

 

No Impact Man
Oscilloscope Laboratories and +impactpartners, 90 minutes

In the new documentary No Impact Man, Colin Beavan ropes his somewhat unwilling wife, Michelle Conlin, and their two-year-old daughter, Isabella, into living “deliberately” for a year. The surprisingly funny film follows the Manhattanites as they reduce their environmental impact as much as possible: biking in place of subways; cutting out electricity and toilet paper; doing laundry in the bathtub; and housing worms (for composting, of course). Beavan, sincere and committed to his pursuit, may be No Impact Man. But what makes this film compelling is watching him and his wife, a self-proclaimed high-fructose- loving shopaholic with a healthy sense of self-deprecating humor, strive to stick to the plan. The experiment yields some unexpected benefits, as Beavan ponders aloud: “What if I called it ‘The Year I Lost 20 Pounds Without Going to the Gym Once,’ or ‘The Year We Didn’t Watch TV and Became Much Better Parents as a Result,’ or ‘The Year We Ate Locally and Seasonally and It Ended Up Reversing My Wife’s Pre-diabetic Condition’?” Viewers aren’t likely to replicate the lengths the family goes to, but this entertaining and poignant film is sure to motivate others to action, even if just piecemeal.—Susan Cosier

Earth
Disneynature; 99 minutes; Rated G

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