Friday, April 27, 2007

Summer Movie Preview

May 1 is just around the corner, so here's a look at the upcoming blockbusters and/or massive money-losing failures. Can any film match Grindhouse for wall-to-wall violence? Can any film (in history) match Hot Fuzz for hilarity? Answers ahead! (Spoiler alert: no)

The Bourne Ultimatum
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 40%
Ok, here's the controversial one right off the bat. I really didn't care much for Bourne Supremacy. I thought it was really crappily directed by Paul Greengrass and shot in such a way that made the action scenes nearly unwatchable. I was disappointed to learn that Greengrass is directing this one as well --- damn you for being such an unlikeable douchebag, Doug Liman! Let's just hope things are a bit more streamlined this time around. Don't make another movie where I keep wishing Jack Bauer and Chloe will pop up to show Bourne and Julia Stiles how it's done.

The Brothers Solomon
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 75%
Did I cast this movie? Will Arnett, Jenna Fischer, Will Forte and half of the rest of the SNL cast? After all, movies from SNL-related people are always good. *crickets chirping*

Evan Almighty
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 70%
Bruce Almighty was one of the most head-scratching film experiences in recent years. I think I laughed just about once throughout the whole thing, since it never decided if it was going to being a comedy or a semi-mystical Groundhog Day-esque kind of movie. Fortunately, Steve Carell in the lead role means a far more straight-forward comedy, so I think this will be a big step up.

Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer
Chances I'll Enjoy It: An unfantastic 4%
So let me get this straight. The Hulk was a middling box office performer and a horrible movie. So they fired the talented director (Ang Lee) from the series, recast the lead and are now planning a sequel with entirely new talent. Fantastic Four was a middling box office performer and a horrible movie. But for this sequel, they're keeping the same hack director (Tim Story), and the same badly-cast-in-the-first-place actors. I'll be skipping this one. Activity time: check out the IMDB page for the guy who plays the Silver Surfer, Doug Jones. It's fascinating stuff. How does a guy get into that kind of acting career?

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 90%
One of the things I love most about the Potter movie series is the drafting of new directors for each installment. If Chris Columbus had kept mediocre-ing them up, I would've probably stopped watching. I'm interested to see what David Yates (a director I know literally nothing about and has very few films to his credit) can do with the material. He'll have to aim high to fill the shoes of Alfonso Cuaron and Mike Newell, but I'm presuming the producers wouldn't just hire some idiot to helm their franchise picture. After all, they turned down my application. I even offered to bring my own digicam to save budget money. Anyway, Imelda Staunton may well be a dark horse Oscar nominee as Dolores Umbridge, one of the all-time great villains in literary history.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 50%
Since Adam Sandler is the definition of a hit or miss comedian, 50 percent seems about right. There's actually a better chance that Kevin James will totally steal the whole film. Will it reach Deeds-ian proportions or make a Little Nicky-esque descent?

The Invasion
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 20%
Funny thing about Nicole Kidman. She may be the all-time leader in films where you say "Well, it was okay, but nothing special." She's been around forever, and yet I can only think of one of her films (Moulin Rouge) that I genuinely enjoyed and would recommend without qualifications. Also, the plot about a secret alien invasion sounds like the plot of literally all of those serial sci-fi dramas that popped up in 2005 in the wake of Lost's success and were promptly cancelled. In fact, I don't think I'll even see this movie. Why the hell am I wasting time on it?

Knocked Up
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 95%
This is almost guaranteed to be the funniest movie of the summer. Seth Rogen, Judd Apatow and Paul Rudd are the unsung heroes of the so-called 'frat pack' (the Ferrell-Vaughn-Wilson-Wilson-Black-Stiller axis), and plus it's got Katherine Heigl looking all hot. You really can't lose.

Live Free Or Die Hard
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 80%
John McClane and the I'm A Mac guy kicking ass? Sold. It'll be ridiculous, but there will be some good action. Will Bonnie Bedelia make a cameo? I'm curious to see if she's held up well over the years.

Lucky You
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 30%
Well, it's about poker, and Curtis Hanson is a good director, and I'm a fan of both Bana and Barrymore. The catch here is that it's a classic date movie, so I may not be able to see it. Sigh. When did this post turn into a Lavalife ad?

Mr. Bean's Holiday
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 25%
What year is this? Am I writing the summer preview for 1998, when this sequel would've been timely? What is Willem Dafoe doing as the villain? Is Rowan Atkinson hard up for cash? Questions abound.

Ocean's Thirteen
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 75%
I think I'm the only one interested in this movie. I don't care. There's nothing I love more than a heist movie. Not a con man movie (which is what Ocean's Twelve essentially was), since those are all totally predictable. But heist movies are usually great since it demands creativity from the writers. Ronin, Heat, The Lavender Hill Mob, Inside Man, Quick Change...the list goes on and on. The first Ocean's Eleven is one of the most rewatchable movies made in years. Plus, this one has Al Pacino, who is now a walking punchline thanks to the legendary 'Pacino checks his bank balance' skit on SNL.



Pirates of the Caribbean III
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 80%
Pirates II was a perfectly enjoyable action movie, and with only a year between viewings, I won't be as confused about the plot as I was last time around. When that British Navy guy showed up halfway through the last movie, I think it was intended to be a surprising moment, but I was just like, "Who? There were other characters in the big movie besides the big three, Geoffrey Rush and Jonathan Pryce?" By the way, has any anecdote about a performance been beaten into the ground as much as the one that Johnny Depp based Captain Jack on Keith Richards? Stanley Kubrick once questioned if we would appreciate the Mona Lisa as much if Leonardo had written 'The lady is smiling because she is hiding a secret from her lover' under the picture, since it would ground the painting's mystery in reality. I think the same is true of Depp. It turned a wonderful character into a guy doing an impression.

Ratatouille
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 80%
What's not to love about a Brad Bird animated film? It's about a rat who wants to become a world-class chef, which brings to mind my brother's days working at Taco Bell.

Rush Hour III
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 10%
Oh my God, seriously? A third one of these? Come on. I'm sure Chan can still do some cool stunts, but let's take the bat away from the dead horse, people. Fun fact: Chris Tucker has not appeared in a movie since Rush Hour II. That came out six years ago! What the hell has he been doing all this time? Throat surgery to correct his voice's squeak?

Shoot 'Em Up
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 70%
Hopefully they spent longer on the script than they did coming up with a title. The big signature scene in this one is Clive Owen and Monica Bellucci having sex during a gunfight --- not with each other, presumably. If you're a professional assassin and you can't hit someone from such close range that you're actually copulating, you should probably look into another line of work. The film just went into a week-long reshoot, so....well, at least it'll be violent.

Shrek III
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 75%
If the category was "chances I'll enjoy it but vaguely feel that I could've waited for the DVD," the odds go up to 100 percent. Shrek II was cute, but I already felt like the premise had been a bit done to death in the original. Now it's just in blood from a stone country. I'm just amazed that Mike Myers turned his Scottish dad character from So I Married An Axe Murderer into a major animated film franchise.

The Simpsons Movie
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 95%
There's a chance the movie will end up going off the rails like many recent Simpsons episodes, but I find it hard to believe. There's been so much buildup to a Simpsons film over the years that Matt Groening and the writers wouldn't release one without it being awesome. The script is credited to a veritable all-star team of Simpsons writers past and present, with the one glaring exception being Ian Maxtone-Graham. That's like this book I just read by Chris "Mad Dog" Russo about his personal top ten lists in sports, and he had Mariano Rivera on his list of the top 10 baseball players of all time. Mariano goddamn Rivera. Ahead of like, Hank Aaron and Cy Young, among many others.

Spider-Man III
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 90%
This percentage may seem a bit low to those who know me, since I'm a huge Spider-Man fan and the second film is one of my all-time favourites. I just hope they're not trying to cram too much into what may prove to be the last film of the series, or at least the last with Raimi/Maguire/Dunst involved. You've got Sandman AND the new Green Goblin AND Spidey battling with the black suit AND (presumably) fighting the black suit as Venom. Not to mention the relationship subplots and everything else. I think it'll still be awesome and there is literally no chance I'll not see this on opening night, but there is a bit of trepidation.

Superbad
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 90%
Judd Apatow is involved in the production, and it stars Michael Cera from Arrested Development. The trailer looks hilarious. I'd say this one looks to be SuperFunny! (Note: every joke in the film is funnier than that one)

Transformers
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 5%
There was already a Transformers movie. It featured the voices of Orson Welles, Judd Nelson and Eric Idle. It was one of the great cinematic achievements in history. I'd think I'd rather see Michael Bay direct remakes of Citizen Kane, The Breakfast Club or Life Of Brian than to make a live-action Transformers movie. To paraphase the classic song, Bay don't "got the touch."

28 Weeks Later
Chances I'll Enjoy It: 60%
The original was very good, but the switch in directors and the fact that every zombie movie in history has led to terrible sequels isn't a good sign. The original was good because it was essentially a suspense film that happened to include zombies, whereas this one seems more like Resident Evil.

2 comments:

Kyle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
b said...

i have a sinking feeling about 28 weeks...the trailers look almost too action packed...but i could be wrong.

it does still have great potential.

spiderman will blow though, come on.