David Edelstein's summer movies, by the numbers

(CBS News) For this holiday weekend, if you're thinking of taking in a movie, our David Edelstein is here to help:


Morning, folks! Time for your Memorial Day Weekend Movie Quiz!

Match the first part of the title with the number that best fits it:

"Iron Man"
"Boogerman"
"Star Trek"
"The Hangover"
"Fast & Furious"
"Before Midnight"

And now the numbers:

6
3
III
12
Another 3

OK, well, there's no "Boogerman" -- the boss is on vacation, and I'm being juvenile.

"Iron Man" is the 3, of course, and has already made a billion dollars. I like it because there's less Iron Man, meaning fewer shots of the computer-generated robot with inserts of Robert Downey Jr.'s little head.

It's "Star Trek" number 12, but doesn't actually use a number -- it's "Star Trek Into Darkness." Only you could take the "1" from the "12" because it's the second with the baby-faced versions of the old guys. (We're obviously getting into the higher math.)

Three left. "The Hangover" has a Roman numeral III because it's the classiest.

Not really; that's the joke! The movie is terrible, but I admire its integrity -- it doesn't even TRY to be funny. People get killed, and worse -- ANIMALS get killed, and no one pretends it's not a cynical effort to squeeze more money out of a one-joke idea.

However, Ken Jeung as the lunatic pansexual mastermind Mr. Chow is kind of awesome.

Now the good stuff. "Fast & Furious 6" is a blast. Really! Don't turn up your nose. Vin Diesel and his surrogate family of outlaws are now searching for his heretofore-presumed-dead ex-squeeze Michelle Rodriguez, this time in partnership with Dwayne Johnson, whose biceps are bigger than my head.

Director Justin Lin loves cars enough to make them look as if they're subject to the laws of gravity rather than the algorithms of computer programmers. The reckless driving is touched by grace.

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight."
Sony Pictures Classics

In limited release, there's Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight," the third film starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as kindred souls who met and mated on a train in "Before Sunrise"; fell out of touch and reunited in "Before Sunset"; and have now been together long enough to lament the loss of magic and get on each other's nerves.

It's a triumph of naturalism: You watch their conversations zig and zag in long single takes and almost believe they're thinking up the lines as they go along.

Where else can a shot of two people talking feel this full? It's the one movie around that doesn't seem . . . by the numbers.


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