The movie threads seem a bit quiet (other than "Transformers"), so I thought I'd start up this one...

How has your summer movie watching been this year?

So far my favorite has been "X-Men: Days of Future Past" followed by "Maleficent," "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," and "Godzilla." I liked all of those films. "Transformers: Age of Extinction" actively annoyed me and will end up being my least favorite movie of the year regardless of what else I watch. I hope to catch "Guardians of the Galaxy" at some point.

But all that aside, I just saw a new movie today that rivals "X-Men." Surprisingly, it is "The Purge: Anarchy" that I really ended up enjoying. I feel compelled to bring the movie up in this forum because I figure most of us are fans of zombie fiction, which suggests a large bunch of us are fans of horror. Now, I never saw the first film. In fact it literally came into the theaters last year and left without me barely even registering its existence. I noticed the sequel this year because of how well it did in the box office a couple weekends ago. I idly looked it up on wiki and thought the plot sounded intriguing. And then as I needed to kill time today and had a free movie ticket I could use, I figured I'd try it out because even if it was horrible I spent nothing on it. And I'm certainly glad I did.

If you are not aware of the storyline behind "The Purge" it's basically another version of a dark or dystopian future of our own world that seems like all the rage in Hollywood these days ("The Hunger Games," "X-Men," "Edge of Tomorrow," "Planet of the Apes" to name a few). The government in power has instituted a holiday called "The Purge" that takes place over 12 hours once a year. During that time all crimes are legal, including murder, and no law enforcement or emergency services will be available to help people. Purgers are encouraged to take out their aggressions during this 12-hour period, which happens over night. Non-purgers are told to lock themselves in their homes and to wait out the violence until the morning. By having "The Purge" as an outlet for violence and aggression, there is less crime and society is more productive the rest of the year.

The reason I enjoyed "The Purge: Anarchy" is that it had sympathetic characters, led by a likable hero who is going through his own moral story arc, and a number of different camps of organized Purgers, with their own agendas and motivations. Not unlike "We're Alive" I kept wanting to know what happens to the characters next and how they were going to survive their numerous encounters with random Purgers while the back of my mind was trying to figure out what the main villains were up to.

While it has horror elements in it, this movie did not feel like a true horror film. I figure the first film, with its home invasion setting, plays more like a traditional horror film (i.e., where the goal is more to make you feel fear than to make you ponder about a horrific idea) as less is revealed about the true nature of the evil at play and the scope of the film is claustrophobic. In contrast to the first film, thi one has the whole City of Los Angeles to play with. For similar reasons "Alien" feels more like horror than "Aliens" (ditto the "Resident Evil" movies).

So in closing, assuming you like a story that features lots of violence and killing, I recommend this film.