Yes, the summer movie season is close enough I can taste it! But will it leave a sour taste in my mouth or will its varied and imaginative flavors dance upon my film palette with a breath of joyous satisfaction? Perhaps a little of both?
I have to admit, this summer does not look quite as amazing as last summer. Off the top of my head, I’m only really anticipating “X-Men Origins” and “Star Trek”, and maybe “Terminator: Salvation”, which is a surprise seeing as McG is directing, but it looks like he’ll surprise us – we hope.
To some degree I’m looking forward to “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, but only for the big special effects and action sequences. But not much else is exciting me this year. Let’s take a look at the schedule starting in May:
May 1 – “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. I’m excited even just from the trailers. The sight alone of Wolverine leaping through the air to attack a helicopter is enough to put my ass in the seat. Rumblings of there not being enough Gambit or Deadpool are irrelevant. C’mon people, this is Wolverine’s movie, Gambit and Deadpool will likely get their own later, so quit yer bitchin’!
“The Battle for Terra” – An animated film about peaceful aliens on their homeworld about to invaded by humans because Earth is no longer habitable. So, you know, we need a new planet to live on and instead of coexisting peacefully we have to conquer through war. Gee, I wonder if this movie will be heavy-handed?
“The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” – Ugh. Matthew McConaughey is visited by a rather cheesy looking spirit in the form of Michael Douglas. He tells Matt that he will be visited by three ghosts a la Christmas Carol to look at all his past girlfriends, including “the one that got away”. I think I’d rather go see the Hanna Montana movie. (Editor’s Note: That can be arranged.)
“Home” – Marcia Gay Harden is a poet and mom and wants to fix up the old house she grew up in. She begins to see her life coming full circle. This is a drama about a woman facing her mortality and struggling with her creativity and her past. Not a usual summer movie, but with some great performers, this could be for the non-blockbuster crowd.
“The Merry Gentleman” – Wow, Michael Keaton is starring in a film this summer? Surprise! He plays a man with a mysterious past, who meets a new tenant in his building; a woman that likes to keeps to herself and has some mystery of her own. Looks like a dark, funny, film with some simmering thrills. I don’t know what to think, but I’m curious.
“The Limits of Control” – Jim Jarmusch returns with some familiar faces. Isaac De Bankole is a mysterious loner whose activities remain carefully outside the law. In the process of completing a job, he trusts no one, and his objectives are not initially known to us. Also starring Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, and John Hurt. This also looks intriguing.
May 8 – “Star Trek” – sweet lord, I want to see this. It’s how James T. Kirk and the original crew of the Enterprise got started. I like J.J. Abrams (of “Alias” and “Lost” fame) and he’s directing this. Yes, please.
“Adoration” – This is the story of a boy that weaves a false identity based on a class exercise of translating an event of a terrorist bombing from the news. The boy manages to create a story that enables him to substitute the events for those in his own life. Doing this, he is able to discover answers about his own past. The premise is interesting, but it also stars Scott Speedman (“Felicity” and the first “Underworld” movie) and that could be a bad thing.
“Little Ashes” – stars Robert Pattinson so the ladies will want to see it, but when the younger ones find out it’s about the early lives of Salvador Dali, filmmaker Luis Bunuel, and writer Frederico Garcia Lorca, it might lose them completely. It could be, however, a good choice for the indie crowd this summer.
“Next Day Air” – An action comedy about a couple guys that mistakenly get a big bag of cocaine and comedic, dangerous events take place. With Donald Faison, Mos Def, and MikeEpps. Whatever. Wasn’t even on my radar until a few minutes ago.
“Powder Blue” – Lost of names in this one. Jessica Biel, Kris Kristofferson, Lisa Kudlow, Forest Whittaker, Ray Liotta, Patrick Swayze. It’s one of those four characters with fucked up lives whose stories will connect and intertwine and affect one another is important ways. It could be a lot of noise about nothing.
May 15 – “Angels and Demons” – The prequel to “The DaVinci Code”. Also directed by Ron “vanilla” Howard. I never read the book of “The DaVinci Code”, yet figured out the movie in the first 30 minutes. They say this book was better, but that doesn’t mean the movie will be. I don’t know that I really care.
“Management” – Steve Zahn, Jennifer Anniston and woody Harrelson star in this romantic comedy about trying to find your purpose in the world, and who you’ll find that purpose with. Sounds only slightly more interesting than that Matt McConaughey movie.
“Big Man Japan” – this has the potential to be my foreign indie pick of the summer, if not the year. A middle-aged slacker’s job is to be shocked by bolts of electricity until he is transformed into a stocky, stick-wielding giant several stories tall. He defends Japan against all sorts of bizarre monsters. But instead of being a hero like his predecessors, he is a pariah among the citizens he protects, who complain about the noise and destruction. And that isn’t all.
This movie sounds like huge fun since I am a fan of Kaiju movies like Godzilla.
“The Brothers Bloom” – Yes, the Bloom Brothers never met a fortune they couldn’t swindle. They have relied on each other for everything, never needing anyone else. But as one brother decides he is done with swindling people out of their fortunes and they embark on one last deception, he meets a woman and falls in love. Too bad she’s the last swindle.
With Adrien Brody, Rachel Weisz, and Mark Ruffalo starring, this could be a fun film. Directed by Rian Johnson, the guy who directed “Brick”, which is AMAZING. (L.A. and N.Y., nationwide on the 29th.)
“Summer Hours” – “Two brothers and a sister witness the disappearance of their childhood memories when they must relinquish the family belongings to ensure their deceased mother’s succession.” I know nothing else. Stars Julliette Binoche. I’ll likely pass.
May 21 – “Terminator Salvation” – Christian Bale stars in this continuation of the Terminator series. Despite being directed by McG, the trailers make this film look surprisingly badass and I am hopeful. Could be the surprise blockbuster, or the trailer contains ALL the best parts? We’ll see.
May 22 – “Dance Flick” – Another Wayans Bros. parody of other films that sucked. Pass.
“Easy Virtue” – starring Jessica Biel yet again, Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, Kristin Scott Thomas, this is about a young Englishman that impetuously marries a sexy, glamorous American woman. He takes her home to England and his mother doesn’t like her. She and her son’s wife commence a battle of wits and then things get strained and she tries to get out of the mess. Snore.
“Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” – Why yes, it’s the sequel to “Night at the Museum” with Ben Stiller. All the previous cast returns. More of the same hi-jinks but now it’s at the Smithsonian, or didn’t you get that from the title? I didn’t see the first one, but a crap load of other people did, making it lots and lots of money.
“The Girlfriend Experience” – (limited release) Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming film starring young porn actress and experimentalist, Sasha Grey. I’ll see it for her alone, as this is her first foray into so-called “legitimate” mainstream acting. It’s a bit of a landmark, really.
May 29– “Drag Me To Hell” – Holy crap, it’s a horror film by the master, SAM RAIMI! Who cares! I’m as good as sitting in the theater already. Ok, it’s a young woman that gets cursed by an elderly gypsy woman and terrible and frightening things happen – Raimi style! Sweet!
“Departures” – A Japanese cellist losses his job after the orchestra dissolves. He must seek new work and start over. He unknowingly takes a job as a coffineer, preparing the deceased for the afterlife. This is the first I’m hearing of it. Could be interesting, but again, more an alternative to the blockbuster crowd.
“Up” – This summer’s Pixar offering. A grumpy old man wants adventure and ties a ton of balloons to his house and he floats away in it. He is accompanied by a local boy scout and his dog. This seems random but could be fun. Pixar has a great track record.
Sometime in May – “Beverly Hills Ninja 2” – What? Who the Hell greenlit this? (Editor’s Note: Foreign investors, in case you were wondering) Well, it has David Hasselhoff and he has some serious comedy cred these days, despite his awkward and uncomfortable drunken burger-eating video. Hell, if anything, that video may have helped his career. Nonetheless, I won’t likely be seeing this. Ever.
OK, as usual, May is the big month. The majority of films make their splash then. In Part Two I’ll get us into June and July. So stay kids, cuz the summer movie season is here!
—Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer REALLY looking forward to going where no man has gone before…