Sunday, May 06, 2012

Summer Movie Preview (part two)

We covered the first two months of the summer season already, so let's see what July and August have to bring, besides me sweating like a hog.

July 6
The Amazing Spider-Man
Chance Of Being Good: 60%
Chance I'll See It: 100%
Errrrk.  Ok, well, I'll obviously go see it, simply because Spider-Man is a childhood hero.  And, on paper, if the original Spidey trilogy has never existed and this was the first we were hearing of a Spider-Man movie, I'd be pretty fired up about a creative team of Marc Webb directing, Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, blonde Emma Stone (lord have mercy) as Gwen Stacy and Rhys Ifans as the Lizard.  That's all good on paper.  Unfortunately, everything about this film seems like an afterthought.  Avengers and Dark Knight Rises are both taking up so much air in the room that there's been little buzz about ASM, and what buzz there is has been hesitant.  For instance, apparently there's some big subplot about how Peter doesn't get his powers directly from the spider bite but rather it somehow involves his missing parents and….geez.  It's bad enough that we have to get the Spidey origin story rehashed again, but now they're going to alter it?  Changing major parts of the canon is not a good way to get on a fanboy audience's good side.  The seeming impetus behind this film is that Sony would've lost the rights to Spider-Man unless the character was featured in a new movie by 2012, and that kind of money-over-creative spark decision almost never pays off.  I hope I'm wrong about everything I've written in this paragraph.  Maybe ASM will end up being really good; I mean, at least there's no chance this film will feature a half-evil/half-emo Andrew Garfield dancing in a jazz bar, so that's a positive.

Chance Of Being Good: 25%
Chance I'll See It: 14%
I can't tell if Oliver Stone is the best bad director in the world or the worst good director.  I think it's the former.  Stone hasn't made an outright good movie in 18 years (I'm not counting Any Given Sunday, which was mediocre apart from Pacino's locker room speech) and I'd doubt this one breaks the streak.  Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch play high-end pot dealers who run afoul of a drug cartel, the cartel kidnaps their co-girlfriend Blake Lively and….hold up, co-girlfriend?  In what world does Blake Lively have to settle for being passed around like a human joint?  Keep trying, Stone.

July 13
Chance Of Being Good: 67%
Chance I'll See It: 78%
Continuing Seth MacFarlane's trademark "human and talking animal/inanimate object" gimmick, we now have Ted, a movie about Mark Wahlberg and his living, breathing, swearing, smoking, etc. childhood teddy bear, who's now middle-aged and sounding oddly like Peter Griffin.  Essentially, if you like Family Guy, you'll probably be all over this movie.  I dropped off the FG train years ago (American Dad is the best of the MacFarlane cartoons and, perhaps not coincidentally, it's the one MacFarlane reportedly has the least to do with creatively) so while 'Ted' probably has more than a few laughs, it probably won't be anything special.

Ice Age: Continental Drift
Chance Of Being Good: 50%
Chance I'll See It: 0%
Here's another picture I'll skip unless I'm suddenly thrust into fatherhood between now and July.  I guess there's always a chance that a wealthy dowager dies and makes me the ward of her two precocious grandchildren as a condition of her will, but those kind of wacky antics only happen in the movies or in the screenplay I'm writing that will one day be a movie.  Hint hint.  My working title is 'Child Endangerment.'  Anyway, yeah, there's another Ice Age movie.  If you ever found yourself trying to guess the highest-grossing franchises in film history, by the way, the Ice Age films are surprisingly high on the list.

July 20
The Dark Knight Rises
Chance Of Being Good: 180%
Chance I'll See It: 194%
AHHHHHHHHHHH!  TAKE ALL OF MY MONEY, CHRISTOPHER NOLAN!  I won't lie, I will have this expression on my face for the entirety of the movie.

Odd that I used that graphic for this film and not the one actually involving Seth MacFarlane but whatever.  Maybe MacFarlane makes a quick cameo in TDKR as, say, King Tut.

July 27
The (Neighborhood) Watch
Chance Of Being Good: 65%
Chance I'll See It: 65%
Two strikes against this one already.  The Trayvon Martin tragedy really cast a pall over this comedy's entire idea of an overly-aggressive neighborhood watch team, and I don't think a title change will erase that memory.  Secondly, it's out the week after Dark Knight Rises so everyone will just be going to see that one for the third or fourth time, muting The Watch's box office.  The third strike could come simply because Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn are pretty hit-and-miss, so while there's a chance this could be the next Dodgeball, it could also be the next Tower Heist or Couples Retreat.  

Step Up Revolution
Chance Of Being Good: 1%
Chance I'll See It: 0%
Here's an odd one, it's the story of the Communist revolution in the Soviet Union, as told through high-impact hip-hop dancing.  The casting of Usher as Rasputin just seems odd but what the heck, as long as it's a way of teaching history to the kids, it might…..I'm sorry, what?  Oh, it's just another Step Up movie with an unrelated subtitle?  Damn.  I was looking forward to seeing Usher be theatrically "killed" by about fifty different objects before finally being impaled on (ironically) a chair.

August 3
Total Recall
Chance Of Being Good: 64%
Chance I'll See It: 78%
Yeah, I don't know why they bothered with a Total Recall remake either.  It just makes me feel old that so many Schwarzenegger properties are being redone --- Predator, Terminator with Christian Bale, Conan and now this.  I am 100 percent certain that we'll see Kindergarten Cop remade starring, I dunno, Channing Tatum within the next five years.  On the bright side, any film featuring Bryan Cranston as the villain is probably worth seeing.  Director Len Wiseman did the fourth Die Hard movie, which wasn't terrible, so I have….reasonable hopes?  The man is married to Kate Beckinsale so it's very possible he's living his life under some sort of gypsy charm, so you figure that will extend to one of his movies sooner or later.  Fun story: Total Recall was shot in Toronto, and a sportswriter buddy of mine chatted up an attractive woman at a pub who it turned out was Kate Beckinsale's body double.  Yowza.

The Bourne Legacy
Chance Of Being Good: 88%
Chance I'll See It: 97%
Remember when Shia LeBouef was shoehorned into the last Indiana Jones movie and humanity reacted with a simultaneous retch?  Well, imagine if LeBouef was shoehorned into the Mission Impossible, Avengers and Bourne franchises, except instead of retching, audiences were happy.  That's basically what Jeremy Renner has done here, and while it's admittedly kind of odd that he's suddenly Johnny Franchise out of nowhere, nobody minds since Jeremy Renner is awesome.  Man, how great is this guy's career?  Three years ago he was a nobody, now he's got two Oscar nominations and is lined up to make gazillions as a part of all these major summer tentpoles.  I don't even mind the lack of Matt Damon or Paul Greengrass; the new director is Tony Gilroy, who wrote the original Bourne trilogy and directed "Michael Clayton," so he's got some chops.  I have full confidence that this instalment will live up to the high standards of the Bourne series, just as long as Gilroy leaves the shaki-cam at home.

August 10
Hope Springs
Chance Of Being Good: 53%
Chance I'll See It: 49%
A.K.A. one my mother will see in theatres this summer.  The trailer is very schmaltzy, but I dunno, Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones being counselled by Steve Carell sounds pretty promising.  How bad could it possibly be?….wait, hang on a second.  "How bad could it possibly be" is essentially the motto of the summer movie season and I'm using it on THIS innocuous drama?  By Odin's beard.

The Campaign
Chance Of Being Good: 85%
Chance I'll See It: 95%
And hey, speaking of Will Ferrell lines, here's Will Ferrell.  It's him and Zach Galifianakis as southern politicians campaigning against each other and yeah, I'm totally sold.  Just having either of these two in a movie isn't an insta-pass (Due Date sadly comes to mind) but the two of them COMBINED?  It's like Smilex gas.  For the sake of my Will + Zach = :) formula, pretend the Tim & Eric movie never happened, which shouldn't be hard since it was likely a fever dream anyway.

August 17
The Expendables 2
Chance Of Being Good: 60%
Chance I'll See It: 80%
I'll be honest, the first Expendables was a bit of a letdown since it wasn't nearly as tongue-in-cheek and over-the-top as I'd hoped/expected.  Once the novelty of seeing all of these old lunkheads on screen together wore off, it was just like "welp, here's an action movie.  Eric Roberts ain't lasting long."  I must admit, however, I may have overlooked some of the comedy since I'm looking at the IMDB entry right now and didn't realize how stupid these character names were.  Jet Li's character is named Yin Yang!  Terry Crews is Hale Caesar!  Randy Couture is Toll Road!  Jean-Claude Van Damme is new to the cast for this one, and his villain character is literally named 'Jean Vilain'!  This is fucking ridiculous!  Plus, Novak Djokovic is in this movie, sadly not named Ace Fault.  I just can't quit you, shitty Stallone action movies.   

Chance Of Being Good: 3%
Chance I'll See It: 4%
Preview of the marketing campaign…."Hey, remember Whitney Houston?  Remember how, after ignoring her washed-up career for the last 15 years, you suddenly pretended to like her when she died?  Well, you can still see her in a movie!  Please come and see Sparkle!"  The fact that the plot of this film seems to be pretty blatantly ripping off Dreamgirls is probably also not a good sign.  I'll only see this if I'm wrong about the marketing campaign and all of its commercials are cribbed from this.

August 24
Hit and Run
Chance Of Being Good: 66%
Chance I'll See It: 70%
I'm torn about this one.  On the one hand, it's directed and written by Dax Shepard, who doesn't exactly jump out as a triple threat worth caring about.  On the other hand, it's co-starred Kristen Bell, who I always enjoy financially supporting through theatre tickets.  On the other other hand, seeing them in a movie together is a constant reminder that Bell is married to Shepard and not, like, to me, which will be a summer.  On the other other other hand, once Kristen Bell hears about my mutant four hands, she's BOUND to give me a call sometime.  And when she calls, I can answer the phone with ease, with one of my several hands.  Alright, I'm on board!  Go see "Hit & Run!"  (Note: I reserve the right to retract my endorsement if it turns out Shepard's character is named Johnny Hit and Bell's character is named Lisa Run.)

Premium Rush
Chance Of Being Good: 70%
Chance I'll See It: 70%
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon are both awesome actors, and hopefully have that Clooney-esque radar for only picking interesting projects and avoiding easy-paycheque garbage.  I bring this up because Premium Rush has the title and premise of the most generic action movie ever made.  From IMDB…."In Manhattan, a bike messenger picks up an envelope that attracts the interest of a dirty cop, who pursues the cyclist throughout the city"  Hopefully this thin concept will lead to some whipass chase sequences, at the very least.  Maybe it'll be a sleeper hit and become the film that even changes Rob Ford's mind about cyclists.

August 31
Chance Of Being Good: 80%
Chance I'll See It: 93%
A gang of Depression-era bootleggers get into a battle with the police, and if that wasn't rugged enough for you, Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman are in the cast, John "The Road" Hillcoat is directing and it was co-written by friggin' Nick Cave, as in Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.  RUGGED.  The only drawback is that my arch-nemesis LaBeouf is in the cast and he's about the least rugged man alive.  I'm hoping he'll be a surprise death in the opening 10 minutes, killed off by simply one withering Oldman glare.  This is not to be confused with Clint Eastwood's equally withering old man glare, which is a step beyond even Oldman's capabilities.

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