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If Aly Wagner wasn’t patrolling the midfield for the U.S. Women’s National Team, she surely would be sitting next to Roger Ebert, reviewing the best (and worst) that Hollywood has to offer. Due to her busy training schedule and remodeling her new digs in San Jose, Wagner doesn’t have time to pursue her TV career as a critic, so the WNT’s most avid movie buff once again shares her thoughts with ussoccer.com on some of the best of the summer blockbusters. Wagner is quick to note that she is not an easy critic, but her high marks (or soccer balls) for the flicks below reflect her choosing the summer’s best from their respective genres; Fantasy, action comedy, documentary, comedy and dark action.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
“I loved it. I was a little skeptical watching a remake of a classic (and who didn’t love Gene Wilder and the original?), but when you throw Johnny Depp in the mix, he takes any movie to the next level. Regardless of the plot line, he’s a coming attraction. Actually, a good thing about this Wonka was that it was so different from the original. I guess it was more in line with the way the book was written in that it surely was creepier. I loved the angle it took and Depp was the perfect Willy Wonka, an edgy candy lover. It’s a perfect family movie. It will appeal to adults on a higher level of humor, but will also entertain the kids in a simplistic way. I must admit it was a bit of a sensory overload, but I enjoyed that. It had amazing colors and cinematography. And finally, what kid doesn’t love any story about candy?”

Aly Wagner gives Willy Wonka:

Mr. And Mrs. Smith
“One word for Brad and Angelina Jolie: Hot. It’s the perfect movie in the sense that you have Brad Pitt for the women and Angelina Jolie for the men, or even vice-versa. They had amazing chemistry on screen, despite the fact that I am still upset with both of them for breaking my girl Jennifer Aniston’s heart, but I am selfish enough that as long as they entertain me, I’ll forgive them. The special effects were excellent, but the one part that was hard for me to believe was when Angelina kicked Brad’s a--, because she was way too thin.  She must weigh just over a buck and he, as we know, is a chiseled Greek god. There was a lot of dialogue that bordered right on cheesy, but both actors have great comic timing and essence, so they pulled it off. You won’t get smarter from watching this movie, but you will be severely entertained for two hours. Note on Vince Vaughn: tremendous added comic relief. It might have been a four out of five if Vince wasn’t in the movie, but he himself is worth one full soccer ball.

Aly Wagner gives Mr. and Mrs. Smith:

March of the Penguins
It’s a documentary narrated by Morgan Freeman about the emperor penguins that live on and around Antarctica. I find most animals and what they do in their daily lives pretty fascinating, but these penguins are freakin’ amazing. They basically spend nine months out of the year specifically focused on reproduction. These penguins have to walk 70 miles inland to breed and that’s a long way to walk, especially when you take such little steps. They slide on their bellies and are the cutest animals. The female penguin is so depleted of energy after having her egg, that she has to walk back to the sea to get food and leaves the egg with the male. He then nurtures the egg until the female returns and basically goes 125 days without food. It’s a very delicate process and many penguins die. It’s 58 degree below zero out there and there are 100 mile per hour winds sometimes. The only way the male and female can find each other when they get back, because of course they all look exactly alike, is through sound. Let me get this straight…the male remains monogamous for a full year, takes on the responsibility of caring for the chick for a month, and forgoes eating for 125 days? Why am I not a penguin?

For a documentary on animals, it’s the best of the best. For Animal Planet lovers Aly Wagner gives March of the Penguins:

For those looking for mindless entertainment:

Wedding Crashers
It was definitely the best comedy of this year and maybe the best funny movie in recent memory. It’s not a movie where you walk out and say that it will be even funnier the next time you see it, it’s already that funny. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are the best comic duo in Hollywood today. They are the David Spade and Chris Farley of our era, but even better. It’s very difficult to define the humor in this one. Let’s not disrespect this film by trying to capture it’s essence in a paragraph. I’m not going to put it in box, I’m not going to label it. Long story short, if you haven’t seen it, spend the $50 on parking, snacks and the tickets, and get to the theatre. It inspired me to crash some weddings, although I don’t think my boyfriend would like that.

Aly Wagner gives Wedding Crashers:

Batman Begins
I loved how dark it was and Christian Bale is hot. It was basically the prequel to all the movies and as I don’t read comic books, I needed to see how it all began. I don’t think I could have stomached seeing another “Arnold (our current governor guy) as a villain” type of movie. I really enjoyed the previous Batman films, but I felt this one was a little darker and deeper and had more humanistic qualities. It was more real than the other movies. I consider it one of the best in the series, but this was a great movie all by itself. I might not even consider it a part of the series. It definitely fulfilled my summer quota to see Good triumph over Evil.

Aly Wagner gives Batman Begins:


 

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