Saturday, May 15, 2010

Summer Movie Preview (part two)

Picking right up where part one left off....

The Last Airbender
Odds Of Seeing It: 40%
Odds Of It Being Good: 25%
My pal Dave related a story of seeing the trailer for this film the other weekend. When the trailer was over, one guy booed loudly. The rest of the audience laughed. In short, M. Night Shyamalan's credibility is at an all-time low. Remember that Far Side cartoon where the caption was, "Suddenly, Dick Clark ages 200 years in 30 seconds"? That's basically how quickly it took Shyamalan to go from being the innovative director of Unbreakable to the director of an ass-bomb like 'The Happening,' arguably the worst movie of 2008. To say that Shyamalan needs a hit is an understatement. It's probably not happening here with this movie, the premise of which is essentially "Hey, what if we remade The Last Emperor and gave him SUPERPOWERZ?!?!?!"

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Odds Of Seeing It: 0%
Odds Of It Being Good: 0%
When judging the Sex and the City sequel, I gave it an NA since I wasn't in the target audience. So, you might ask, why am I judging the equally out-of-my-demographic Twilight? The funny thing is, I've even seen some SATC episodes so I had some frame of reference, whereas I know nothing of Twilight aside from what I've learned by osmosis from trailers and general pop culture. So really, I'm out of my element in just totally dismissing this movie as a surefire pile of crap and should probably just let the tween girls sigh deeply at Robert Pattinson in peace. But, that being said, this movie will be a surefire pile of crap. If you gave me the choice of watching Eclipse or watching an actual eclipse and thus running the risk of burning my retinas out....well, I'd choose to watch the Twilight movie. I mean come on, intentionally going blind? That's just crazy. But still, this movie will be terrible. The only upside is if Aziz Ansari live-tweets his Twilight-viewing experience again.

Despicable Me
Odds Of Seeing It: 70%
Odds Of It Being Good: 70%
The only thing I know about this movie is that the premise is basically "here's an animated movie about a supervillain" and the voice cast is full of actors I like-to-love. So it all seems good on paper, but then again, friggin' Marmaduke also has a voice cast of actors I like-to-love, so the jury is still out.

Odds Of Seeing It: 60%
Odds Of It Being Good: 70%
Jeffrey Jones and R. Kelly star in this Roman Polanski-directed film about a group of wayward priests who....wait a minute, sorry, wrong movie. This is actually a remake of the original 'Predator,' that featured Ahnuld, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura and T.E. Stosterone as a group of hard-boiled mercenaries battling an alien bounty hunter. The remake features such noted bad-asses as Danny Trejo, Laurence Fishburne, Walton Goggins and....uh, Topher Grace and Adrien Brody. Hm, bit of a dropoff there. While the original Predator is near and dear to my heart (it was the headline event of my buddy Grant's 10th birthday party sleepover), the concept is malleable enough that it can certainly be adjusted into another cool movie, just as long as it isn't one of those wretched Alien vs. Predator movies. I can't wait to see which two members of this cast go on to become U.S. state governors. My money is on Danny Trejo. Hard to beat his campaign slogan of "Trejo: He'll Stab Our State's Deficit Problem In The Face."

Odds Of Seeing It: 100%
Odds Of It Being Good: 100%
A quick summary of Christopher Nolan's last decade of filmmaking: The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Batman Begins, Insomnia, Memento. Good lord. When 'Insomnia,' a perfectly good mystery/thriller, is by far the worst movie on that list, you know you're an ace director. I couldn't be any more fired up for Inception, so much so that I'm purposely avoiding any possible info on even basics of what the movie is about. Apparently it's supposed to be DiCaprio going into people's minds or whatnot, but who cares, it's going to be awesome.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Odds Of Seeing It: 19%
Odds Of It Being Good: 28%
I know that when I was watching the beloved children's classic Fantasia, the only thought* running through my mind was "Hmm, this is okay, but it could use more car chases, shootouts and Nick Cage." Lo and behold, here we are. It's basically the Mickey Mouse-versus-brooms scenario except live action, Jay Baruchel is Mickey Mouse and I dunno, the brooms will know kung fu or something. Sadly, Cage is playing the sorcerer, not one of the brooms. I have low expectations here, given that Nicolas Cage is limited to doing one cool thing every five years, and he already hit that mark for 2010-15 by delivering his Big Daddy lines in 'Kick-Ass' as Adam West. See you in 2016, Nick!

* = Actually, the real thought running through my head was that Fantasia sucked. Am I the only one who feels this way? It's held up as a masterpiece of animation, which I guess it technically it from a production standpoint, but as an actual film, it was about as exciting as watching drying paint read a Margaret Atwood novel. Ol' Walt Disney clearly got a little too self-indulgent with that one. Well, I guess not totally self-indulgent, since if Walt was really running on his deepest impulses, Fantasia would've been an animated "Triumph Of The Will."

Dinner For Schmucks
Odds Of Seeing It: 100%
Odds Of It Being Good: 88%
Paul Rudd plays a guy whose boss has a monthly 'dinner of idiots,' in which the employees compete to see who can bring the biggest douche/moron possible to a dinner party. Rudd stumbles upon Steve Carell's character. Rudd/Carell is a tough comedy duo to beat, so I'm heartily on board with this movie. The fact that it has eight writers is somewhat of a red flag, but, maybe a couple of the writers were encouraged to bring along the biggest douche/moron they could find to collaborate on the script in an art-meets-real life scenario. I'm pretty sure this is how they write pro wrestling shows. Then one day, someone brought Vince McMahon to a writing session and the rest was history.

Odds Of Seeing It: 75%
Odds Of It Being Good: 72%
I like the idea of Phillip Noyce (Quiet American, Dead Calm, Harrison Ford's Jack Ryan movies) directing and Angelina Jolie can carry an action movie. But man, everything about the trailer seemed pretty hackneyed. Oh look, here's an absurdly well-trained superspy, but she doesn't know her true identity! Originality, thy name is Salt! I'm sure it'll be at worst a competent thriller, but I'm not sure it'll be one I would kick myself for not seeing if I missed it. Frankly, I'd rather see a movie starring Jolie as a grown-up Veruca Salt. That would be awesome. Especially since, in real life, Jolie landed Brad Pitt simply by repeatedly yelling, "I want it!"

Get Low
Odds Of Seeing It: 100%
Odds Of It Being Good: 97%
The premise: it's set in the 1930's, Robert Duvall plays a country hillbilly, he throws his own funeral while he's still alive, and Bill Murray is the funeral direction. Money. On paper, it looks like there's a decent chance this one will be up for a few Oscars next spring. And if this acting thing doesn't work out for Bill Murray, I think he'd make a great funeral director. Title aside, there likely won't be any scenes of Duvall and Murray grinding to Flo Rida songs.

I Love You Philip Morris
Odds Of Seeing It: 84%
Odds Of It Being Good: 85%
Lots of critical buzz around this one, which stars Jim Carrey as a con man who's trying to win the heart of his former cellmate (Ewan McGregor). If you consider how often McGregor does full frontal in his movies, he seems like a natural candidate to play a character who becomes a prison-yard object of affection. The movie apparently has nothing to do with the cigarette-maker Philip Morris, which makes the title seem unnecessarily confusing. There's no truth to the rumour that McGregor wanted to take it a step further and have his character be nicknamed 'Joe Camel' since he's hung like a

The Other Guys
Odds Of Seeing It: 95%
Odds Of It Being Good: 79%
Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg star as buddy cops, and that seems to be the whole movie. Oh, and I guess they're both supposed to be kind of incompetent, too. It's basically your straight-forward "Will Ferrell Movie" for the summer, so since I love Will Ferrell, this one is high on my list. Surely it has to be better than Last Of The Lost, right? Right? Wahlberg has more charisma than a talking man-ape, right? Wait, bad comparison.

Eat Pray Love
Odds Of Seeing It: 20%
Odds Of It Being Good: 31%
A woman goes on a spiritual journey to Italy, India and Indonesia in order to 'find herself' and 'experience life.' *dismissive wanking motion* Sounds to me like she just wanted to check out a lot of countries that began with the letter I. (She couldn't get to Iceland because of the ash cloud.) But don't worry folks; if you were worried that this movie was just going to be a bunch of new age claptrap about some asshole trying to justify her self-centered existence, worry not! Julia Roberts is playing the lead role! She can make any character likable and relatable! Horray?

The Expendables
Odds Of Seeing It: 100%
Odds Of It Being "Good": 100%
Why the quote marks? Since this movie is destined to be 'good' in that classic 80's action movie so-bad-its-amazing way. The whole idea, in fact, is that Sly Stallone wanted to make an old-school action movie about a team of mercenaries who play by their own rules, and then went out to cast every testosterone-dripping bad-ass he could think of to play his fellow soldiers --- Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Randy Couture, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Danny Trejo, Mickey Rourke, even office linebacker Terry Tate! Plus cameos from Bruce Willis and Ahnuld! How can this NOT be fun?

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Odds Of Seeing It: 100%
Odds Of It Being Good: 90%
Now, in case you've gone a bit off Michael Cera movies in the wake of Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist and Youth In Revolt, never fear, ol' Mark is giving his personal guarantee that this one will be good. Edgar Wright (a.k.a. the Shaun Of The Dead/Hot Fuzz guy) is directing, and it's about Cera having to 'defeat' his love interest's seven evil ex-boyfriends. It's also technically a comic-book movie (based on the Scott Pilgrim indie comic series), but think more Ghost World than superhero stuff. This just looks to be entertaining as hell, and I'll be honest, Cera still has enough build-up Arrested Development cred that I'll see his next half-dozen nebbish hipster comedies.

The Switch
Odds Of Seeing It: 21%
Odds Of It Being Good: 19%
So Jennifer Aniston wants a baby, right? So she goes to a sperm donor, right? But it turns out that her buddy Jason Bateman replaces the sperm she's supposed to inseminate herself with with his own sperm. Then he doesn't tell her about it until the kid is already in grade school. Wacky hijinks ensue! If this movie happened in real life, odds are Aniston has a friend or male relative give Bateman a solid kick in the face (or, perhaps more fittingly, balls). Bateman has a similarly Cera-sized reservoir of Arrested Development goodwill, but yeah, I think I'll be skipping this one.

Odds Of Seeing It: 20%
Odds Of It Being Good: 35%
It's a heist movie with Matt Dillon, Stringer Bell, and then a variety of terrible actors and hip-hop stars. I'm guessing this will be one of those slickly filmed-but-soulless action thrillers that you forget about the moment you leave the theatre. Hell, I've forgotten about it already and I haven't even finished the preview paragraph. Where am I? This is not my beautiful house! This is my beautiful wife!

Going The Distance
Odds Of Seeing It: 14%
Odds Of It Being Good: 34%
Drew Barrymore and the I'm A Mac guy are in a long-distance relationship. It's Chicago to Los Angeles, so it's a real distance that presents an actual obstacle, not one of those B.S. "long-distance" relationships that we have in Toronto, where one person lives downtown and the other lives north of Eglinton and they both bitch about 'how far' they have to go on the subway to see the other. (No, this isn't based on a real-life situation, why do you ask?) Since so many couples these days are faced with similar long-distance issues, there's a chance this one could strike a chord with audiences and become a seminal romantic comedy of our time. But, I'll wait for that actually happen before I buy a ticket.

Odds Of Seeing It: 70%
Odds Of It Being Good: 64%, wait, hang on. Six friends in New York City have their lives change when one of them becomes the legal guardian of a kid. Now, far be it from me to judge a movie based on the star/director's most famous role, but it's Josh Radnor. I cannot help but develop a preconceived notion that this will be like if the How I Met Your Mother gang had one more friend in the group and then Ted adopted a kid. Also, the whole idea of a quirky sitcom star suddenly writing, directing and starring in his own coming-of-life indie film was sorta ruined forever by Zach Braff in 'Garden State,' one of those movies that seemed good at the time, but gets about 20 percent worse with each passing year. I like HIMYM a hell of a lot more than I ever liked Scrubs, so I'd rather not see Radnor become a living joke like Braff did. Hanging your movie on the credibility of the Shins was, in hindsight, a tragic mistake.

Piranha 3-D
Odds Of Seeing It: 0%
Odds Of It Being Good: 5%
Once upon a time, there were a bunch of piranhas. They ate people. In 3-D! Their victims included Richard Dreyfuss, Adam Scott, Elisabeth Shue, Christopher Lloyd....wait, what? See, if this movie was just a straight-up tongue-in-cheek joke, it might be fun. But as it stands, I think you're just going to see a whole lotta red dye in water.

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