Summer Movies

May 9, 2008

2008 Summer Movie Guide
(Some dates subject to change)
(Click titles to watch trailer or something related if no trailer is available)

May 2 (Last Friday)

Iron Man – I think you all know my opinion on this one. Awesome. In case you hadn’t heard yet… Ironman 2 already has a release date. Same weekend 2010. Followed by Thor in June 2010, Captain America in May 2011, and the Avengers in July 2011. Thank you Marvel.

Made of Honor – I don’t know what to say… Michelle Monaghan is one of the most talented and beautiful (indeed she is among my top 5) actresses working today… but Michelle… I sat through the Heartbreak Kid for you… and that’s it… you get one… I’ll see you again when you do something not derivative of everything.

Redbelt – Chiwetel Ejiofor is one of those actors I could watch read the phone book. Except he’s not reading the phone book here, he’s reciting dialogue written by David Mamet. Mamet is a master of words, this however is a movie about Judo. “The Edge,” was a Mamet movie about man vs. nature and that turned out ok… but this one has Tim Allen… maybe I’ll wait for dvd.
Son of Rambow – I won’t queer myself any more than to say… this movie looks cute. I will totally rent it. Or go see it on a rainy day by myself if I’m feeling sad.

May 9 (Today)

Speed Racer – The first 3 minutes of this movie leaked out online. I watched it. My eyes bled. I no longer have any desire to see this film. Hey Wachowski brothers (er… brother and other)… let me break down your formula for you as it seems you haven’t done yet…

Bound – Gina Gershon & Jennifer Tilly are lesbians. Success!

The Matrix – Kung-Fu, Gun ballets, crazy slow motion action pioneering (bullet-time). Success!

The next two Matrix movies – preachy, heavy handed symbolism, less kung-fu, more CGI. Disappointing Success.

V for Vendetta – Preachy. Heavy handed allegory. Hot girl forced to shave head. More disappointing success.

Speed Racer – No lesbians, no kung-fu, a monkey, and a lot more CGI.

You see where I’m going with this guys?
What Happens in Vegas – I shant go near the theater for fear that at the end of the movie Ashton will run out and say, “You paid to see this!! You got punk’d!!!”

The Babysitters – I love seeing John Leguizamo in dramatic roles… the guy has got chops and the subject matter (high school girls offer other ‘services’ to the married men they babysit for) sounds well worn, but I can’t think of a movie that handled it like this. I’ll give this one the indie hopeful award.
The Fall – The last movie Tarsem Singh directed was The Cell, probably one of Jennifer Lopez’s only watchable movies. It really did have a few really interesting visuals (the vivisected horse anyone?). This wasn’t even going to get a release until David Fincher and Spike Jonze saw it and decided to throw some money into releasing it. That’s one hell of a vote of confidence.
The Tracey FragmentsI know nothing of this film other than it stars Ellen Page. It’s probably only going to be released in NY… which doesn’t bode well… and that Tracey spends part of the movie naked wearing only a curtain… which does bode well.

May 16 (Friday)

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian – The further adventures of Jesus lion. I’ll just stay home and re-watch Lord of the Rings thanks.

May 22 (Thursday)

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – This gets the award for movie I will probably see 3 times in the theater. If I could find a theater that ran a marathon of all the Indy movies the day before I would be there for that. I pray to God they don’t shit all over the franchise. It’s looking good so far. Fingers crossed. In lieu of a theater screening… I will be watching the first 3 movies at home the week leading up to the release.

May 23 (Friday)

The Children of Huang Shi – The what of who? The cast include Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Radha Mitchell, Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh… ok… I’m intrigued. But why haven’t I heard of this til now?
War, Inc. – John Cusack… who I remember liking at some point in his career… has made some odd choices as of late. This time around he plays a hit man trying to kill some sort of oil baron in the middle east and wackiness ensues. Ok… so Gross Pointe Blank but in a desert. All right, I’ll give it a shot. At least you’re trying.

May 30 (Friday)

Sex and the City: The Movie – I can’t think of anything short of the offer of oral sex by all the female attendees of Hugh Hefner’s last birthday party. And seriously… if even one of them backs out, I’m not seein’ the movie.
The StrangersLet’s take Funny Games cross it with the Orphanage, throw Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman in it and release it as the horror alternative for guys the same weekend as Sex in the City. It would have been brilliant… if not for the fact that this was supposed to come out last year… that usually doesn’t inspire confidence.
The Foot Fist Way – Much in the same way that The Fall has been championed by people at the forefront of it’s style. Foot Fist Way is being touted by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay as the funniest damn thing they’ve ever seen. The trailer looks like it might provide a few laughs but I don’t know about going near a cinema the same weekend that chick movie is coming out. The amount of estrogen in the air might be enough to turn Rambo into Bambi.

June 6 (Friday)

Kung Fu Panda – Um… it’s about a panda. Who does Kung-Fu. Voiced by Jack Black. Other voices include Jackie Chan, and Ian Mc’fucking’Shane. Yeah… I’m going. What?
Mongol – This was nominated for an Academy Award for best Foreign Film. It’s about the rise of Genghis Khan. It’s epic, it’s violent… It’s subtitled… I’m a lazy American, I’ll wait for DVD.
You Don’t Mess with the ZohanThe concept sounds stupid. The concept for Sandler movies often does. This last trailer I saw… it actually looks like it won’t be awful. I refused to even see Chuck & Larry, it looked so stupid and that had Jessica Biel. So, me saying this looks half decent is saying a lot. Maybe a double feature with Panda.

The Go-Getter – a Sundance fave about a boy (Lou Taylor Pucci, from the over-rated Thumbsucker) who steals a car from a woman (Zooey Deschanel, from my pleasant dreams) to drive South to tell his brother that their mother died. Oh, and he wears a cowboy hat. Sounds like a real pick-me-up, thanks Sundance.
The Promotion – I’m kind of shocked they’re putting this one out the same weekend as Zohan, this one has the in my opinion, very under-rated Seann William Scott and John C. Reilly competing for a promotion. Throw in Jenna Fischer as Seann’s wife. Make it a mix of dry humor, slapstick comedy, and drama… and this is where I will be this weekend.

June 13 (Friday “the 13th”)

The Happening – I still haven’t even seen The Village or Lady in the Water, I didn’t like Signs, and Unbreakable actually isn’t bad if you forget that Sixth Sense existed. This one, if the trailer is to be believed, looks like some sort of mental illness that strikes humanity and causes them to kill themselves. Probably wind up being a rapture parable. Might be ok… I’ll wait to hear more.
The Incredible Hulk – I’d like to say that this looks leaps and bounds better than the Ang Lee Hulk. I’d like to say that. I won’t… because I’m going to try and keep my expectations low so I can enjoy this one. The cast certainly has gravitas… Ed Norton, Tim Roth… I’ll take the ride.

June 20 (Friday)

Get Smart – Brilliant property to bring back from television, brilliant vehicle for Steve Carell. I Spy didn’t work… but it didn’t have Anne Hathaway as female lead.
The Love Guru – I can’t say that this is going to suck. I mean, I’m pretty sure it will, but I thought Austin Powers would suck. This just looks like the same jokes with a different accent. So will it work? Never underestimate the stupidity of audiences. Give them a few lines that they can quote incessantly (Austin Powers), remind them of other things they thought were cool (Meet the Spartans) and they will turn out in droves.
ReligulousLarry Charles, the guy that directed Borat, this time uses the infinitely less likable (in most peoples opinions) Bill Maher to skewer religion. I think it will be hilarious and frightening all at the same time. Probably more focused on actually exposing religious zealots and laughing at them than on hairy fat guy scrotums dangled in the leads face (a la’ Borat)… but they’ll be fine because Bill Maher’s face already LOOKS like a scrotum. Zing!

June 27 (Friday)

Wall-E – Insiders are worried. Can a movie with a non-human, mute robot as a lead work? It’s Pixar. I guarantee it will work. It will be amazing. You will laugh, you will cry… it will win best animated feature, people will say it should be in the best picture category.
Wanted – More bullet-time than The Matrix, Angelina Jolie hanging out of cars, Morgan Freeman, AND Mr. Tumnus! Based on a comic book where a guy finds out because of his bloodline he has it in him to be a master assassin! Directed by the Russian guy that directed Nightwatch! Breathe. Don’t get your hopes up… this could be awesome. But if it isn’t… wait 5 days because here comes Will Smiff.

July 2 (Wednesday)

Hancock – Hmm… a July 4 weekend movie. Nothing else opening at all except an art house film? I wonder why? Oh… because Will Smith is in it and this is HIS weekend. Step off bitches! I also have to admit… I really think this may be THE new property to beat this summer. It may not top established franchises or comic book movies, but… this looks really, really good. I’m excited about it. The original title of the screenplay was Tonight… He Comes, and I had heard stories about it circulating Hollywood for years as everyones favorite script that no one would ever produce. There was an article last week in the New York times where director, Peter Berg (who I admire), said this is a much darker film then people think. They’ve tried to keep tight to the original script but there were somethings they just had to cut or change (statutory rape, drinking with a 12 year old, and drunk driving/flying are all cited as examples) to keep the studio happy. I am already excited for a very dark director’s cut on DVD.

July 3 (Thursday)

The Wackness – A heartwarming film about a teenage drug dealer and his drug using psychiatrist. I’ve actually heard a lot of good things about this one. I prefer to think of it as Ben Kingsley wanted to have a reason to make out with one of the Olsen twins so he somehow made this thing happen.

July 11 (Friday)

Hellboy II: The Golden Army – If you liked the first one (which I did) odds are you’ll love this one. If you didn’t care for the first one, odds are you’ll like this one. That’s my two cents. Frankly I don’t think Del Toro can make a misstep on this one. He cares too much about it.
Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D – If you see one Brendan Fraser movie this summer… wait til august and see the mummy. Seriously… the 3D gimmick isn’t coming back til James Cameron’s Avatar. Then we’ll see what’s what… but I don’t need to see lava flows and rocks comin’ at my head.
Meet Dave – Eddie Murphy needs new people. Seriously. Norbit? Pluto Nash? Now this? Who tells you these are good ideas? You clearly don’t realize how detrimental they are to you… you need to excise this person from your life as badly as Amy Winehouse needs to be separated from her dealer.

July 18 (Friday)

The Dark Knight – I’ve seen the leaked photos of two face, I’ve seen the Joker-tampered trailer… I don’t know that this is the type of thing that would’ve gotten Heath Ledger nominated were he not dead, but that’s what people are saying. From the looks of the trailer, his take on the icon does look exciting and I along with the rest of the movie going public am chomping at the bit to see if he left this mortal coil on a good note. I will be there on opening weekend.
Mamma Mia! – Here I go again. My, my, how can I resist you? I’ll tell you how… by not seeing you. Period.
Space Chimps – Andy Samberg as a chimp. Visionary. It’s not Pixar and it shows. Expect farting in a space suit jokes and some off color banana references. Buy me the DVD when it comes out but be sure to include a bad of hydroponic weed and a time machine to return me to age 5 when you present the gift to me so I can enjoy it.

July 25 (Friday)

American Teen – A documentary about 4 high school seniors in the middle of East Bumblefuck, Indiana. From the looks of the trailer and from the hype coming out of festivals… it might actually be a good movie. A slice of life of American High School. Here’s the problem, I went to an American high school, I in no way want to relive my high school experience so uncomfortably real. Breakfast Club, hell yeah. Real life… god no.
Step Brothers – Do you like Will Ferrell movies? See this one. Do you not like Will Ferrell movies? Skip it. It’s that easy people. If you don’t like him because he always winds up in his underwear and it’s supposed to be funny, and you just don’t get it… guess what? He’ll probably end up in his underwear again, and you still won’t think it’s funny. I am among those that see the humor in it.
The X-Files: I Want to Believe – Chris Carter… I want to believe that people still give a shit about the x-files too. But listen… the show ended 6 years ago. Yeah, just 6… that doesn’t seem that long ago to me either, but if I hadn’t just told me that it was only 6 years ago, I would’ve thought it was 15. If the trailer turns out ok I’ll think about it, but I’m not making any promises… it’s a busy summer.

Baghead – Sundance buzz movie. But wait… don’t skip ahead for your popcorn fix just yet. This movie is a horror film, well no, a comedy… but it’s kind of a drama. Apparently it’s everything rolled into one. It seems silly but it has a lot of buzz around it. Wait til you see the trailer and decide for yourself.

August 1 (Friday)

Chuck Palahniuk’s Choke – I love me some Chuck Palahniuk. Sam Rockwell just sweetens the deal for me. The book is about a sex-addict who sues people who save his life when he pretends to choke on something in a restaurant. I have to assume the movie is about that as well. That character is squarely in what I would call Rockwell’s wheelhouse… so yeah, I’ll buy a ticket to see that.
Midnight Meat Train – One weekend two great writers… this one comes from Clive Barker. We’ve got Bradley Cooper in the lead as a photographer who stumbles upon a grotesque crime (as they are prone to do in films like this)… a crime committed by Vinnie Jones (awesome). The cast is rounded out by Leslie Bibb, Brooke Shields?, and the ever more horror film present Roger Bart.
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor – I liked the Mummy. I did. It was a good time. (The ride at the park in Orlando is pretty fantastic too) This one has Jet Li. It’ll be a good time. A popcorn movie sure, but I bet you leave the theater smiling.
The Rocker – Rainn Wilson’s first attempt at headlining a movie. I like him as Dwight on the Office… I don’t know if I’m ready to watch him do what looks to be School of Rock the sequel.

Swing Vote – Could be interesting, it looks like they fast tracked it and rushed everything being that it is a movie about the presidential election and they wanted to capitalize on it’s relevance. Kevin Costner has gone through so many weird phases in his career and this one looks like he’s back to that Bull Durham charm. I never saw Wag the Dog, I really liked Bullworth, but neither of those did huge box office… political comedy is hard.

Transsiberian – This one may only get NY and LA release… setting it on a train and calling it a Hitchcockian mystery makes me think it might be ok. The fact that it stars Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, and Ben Kingsley, but is still only getting limited release makes me think it might fall a few rungs shy of Strangers on a Train. Emily Mortimer looks fantastic in the trailer and Kate Mara looks hot as hell. I’ll give it a shot if I’m burned out on blockbusters.

August 8 (Friday)

Pineapple Express – I am actually very excited about this one. James Franco is starting to grow on me. Not because of Spiderman or anything, just his Acting with James Franco videos on Funny or Die. In the trailer for this one he’s already getting kudos for being the “hot guy,” who takes the offbeat “ugly guy” role. I just give him kudos for driving with one foot comically stuck through the windshield. I think this one may be the best of comedy of the summer, until next week when Tropic Thunder comes out.
Hell Ride – You can’t count this one out. Sure it stars Joey Bishops son Larry. Sure it’s got Dennis Hopper and Michael Madsen… neither of whom have carried a movie on their shoulders. But… you take that cast and say it’s a throwback to biker cinema and you question theatrical release. Now if I tell you it’s produced by Quentin Tarantino it all makes sense doesn’t it… and you kinda want to see don’t you? A biker revenge flick about a guy tracking down a gang called the 666’ers for killing his woman. Yeah. I’ll bite.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2Alexis Bledel is so hot I would CONSIDER watching this if I was home alone and flipping channels and I knew no one would ever find out about it and I wasn’t wearing pants… and I was drunk.

August 15 (Friday)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – You know it’s funny. George Lucas was thinking… now that I’ve taken a dump all over my beloved franchise… let me go ahead and squeeze out another couple of yachts from the lifeless corpse of my child. I’ve give you the animated version of what happened between episodes II and III… alternately known as the episode that I fell asleep in the theater and the episode that was almost ok.
Tropic Thunder – Every genre has been parodied. Shockingly, the war movie has gotten off fairly easy. Aside from winks and nods in things like Hot Shots: Part Deux, this is new terrain. Throw in Robert Downey Jr. playing a black man and this solidifies the summer of 2008 as the summer of Robert Downey Jr.

Henry Poole Is Here – Luke Wilson in his umpteenth attempt at being a leading man. I’m pulling for him. He’s always had an understated non-acting style… like Duchovny. This one is about a guy who has given up on life until the face of Jesus appears on his stucco. Another Sundance darling it looks cute and has a soundtrack with everything from Bob Dylan to the Eels. Might be OK.

August 22 (Friday)

The Accidental Husband – Griffin Dunne has done some things that I’ve enjoyed… all of those things were as an actor with one notable exception (After Hours) as a producer. Dunne directs Uma Thurman in what I assume will be a romantic comedy. The plot that I’ve seen… “radio show host gets dumped and finds out she’s married to a man she’s never met…” makes me want to punch a baby.
Bangkok Dangerous – Two Chinese directors, the Pang brothers (One of whom’s first name is Oxide) are re-making their own movie. This time in Engrish. Wif Nicorass Cage! That was offensive… sorry. In fact in the original, the assassin that Nic is playing was a mute. That wasn’t gonna fly for Mr.Cage and English audiences, we need our anti-heroes to spew out one-liners. My point is why see what’s sure to be an inferior remake where it will be obvious that some aspects of the story are lost in translation when you can watch the original with the added bonus of it not starring Nicolas Cage? On the hand, lets cross our fingers that it’s a return to the Nicolas Cage I used to enjoy.
House Bunny – Anna Faris as a playboy bunny. I don’t think I have to say any more than that for you to know that I am seeing this movie. And as bonus… it’s a chick flick so I get points with the girlfriend for wanting to see it.
Towelhead (formerly Nothing is Private)- A film about a 13 year old Arab-American girl stuggling with her sexuality. Directed by Alan Ball, the guy who wrote American Beauty (which I still don’t give him full credit for since the original draft was a courtroom drama). The film partly concerns a middle aged guy (Aaron Eckhart), who develops a crush on the 13 year old Arab girl. If there is a shot of her naked with rose petals falling on her I’m calling shenanigans. If Alan Ball wasn’t gay I would think he has some kind of obsession with teenage girls. Of course this played Sundance and of course with this topic it was a critical darling. Will anyone other than film and cultural studies students care to see it? We’ll see.
Wild Child – I know nothing about this film other than it stars Emma Roberts. Ipso facto I probably won’t know anything about this movie even after it has come and gone from the theater. I tried to watch the trailer but 5 seconds in my brain told my hand to poke myself in the eyes as a means of self-preservation.

Hamlet 2 – This one sold for the highest price at Sundance but isn’t your typical festival fare. It was co-written by one of South Park’s head writers, it’s got Steve Coogan, Amy Poehler, Catherine Keener and features a song called, “Rock Me Sexy Jesus.” This will probably be my favorite indie of the summer.

August 29 (Friday)

Babylon A.D. – I really don’t want to tell you I’m looking forward to a Vin Diesel movie… but… the poster looks like Blade Runner and the trailer doesn’t give away much except it seems to take place in an American dystopia and there will be explosions and kicking in the face.
College – It’s Porky’s, Old School, Accepted, Revenge of the Nerds, Road Trip, SuperBad, Animal House, uh… ok… any movie starring teenagers where girls take their tops off, kids get drunk, there’s a party, and some kids probably learn there is more to life than just topless girls, drinking and partying. That about sums that up. Oh… and one of the stars is that kid from last season’s American Idol, Kevin Covais… remember the little mousy kid with the glasses who looked like he was 12… well now he’s in a movie. What have you done with your life?
Vicky Cristina Barcelona – Woody Allen’s next film with his latest muse Scarlett Johansson. As usual he’s assembled a ridiculously talented cast (Scarlett, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz among them), and he’s being “daring” by not shooting in his beloved NY and setting this one in Barcelona. I used to like Woody. Maybe I will again.

Well… that’s it kids… that’s your summer… enjoy it… ignore the beautiful weather and go sit in a movie house. People still call them that right? I’ll start readying the Fall Movie Movie Guide soon… starring:

Burn After Reading, Blindness, Death Race 3000, Max Payne, Quarantine, Saw V, Quantum of Solace and many, many more.

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