In Part 1, the summer movie slate didn’t look to promising from April 9 – June 11 (with the exception of “Iron Man 2” and maybe “Kick-Ass”). Let’s see how the rest of the summer movies stack up…
June 18 introduces another fringe comic book hero to the silver screen with “Jonah Hex”, about a disfigured, ex-Confederate soldier turned bounty hunter (Josh Brolin) who along with a prostitute (Megan Fox) battles supernatural forces of evil unleashed by a calculating villain (John Malkovich). While this western comic book franchise has a cult following among readers, the film will test the property’s potential for mass appeal. For the kids, “Toy Story 3” [TRAILER HERE] opens on the same day (in 3-D) and promises more of the same from Woody and the gang.
June 25 reunites Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in “Knight and Day” [TRAILER HERE] about a woman (Diaz) whose blind date is suddenly interrupted by a super-spy (Cruise) who kidnaps her to help him with his mission. Looks like wacky fun in the vein of “True Lies” as long as the public isn’t completely burned out on Cruise and his antics. On the same day, “SNL” alums Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, David Spade and Maya Rudolph team up with Kevin James, Salma Hayek, and Maria Bello in the very sophomoric “Grown Ups” [TRAILER HERE]. No story needed, this crew could ad-lib a dumb comedy with their eyes closed. Consider this the “Paul Blart” of the summer as long as Columbia pictures doesn’t opt for an R-rating (hint: They won’t).
On June 30th, no other release will compete against the highly-anticipated third film in the “Twilight” series: “Eclipse” [TRAILER HERE]. While some critics are predicting an ebb in fan enthusiasm for the “Twilight” films, it’s a safe bet that “Eclipse” will become one of the top-grossing films of the year. Fans should revel in this installment while they can since many feel the next book in the series (“Breaking Dawn”) is considered too bizarre to make a palatable movie adaptation.
July 2 exposes audiences to that other “Avatar” movie. M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender” is adapted from a marginally popular cartoon titled “Avatar: The Last Airbender” [TRAILER HERE]. With no relation at all to James Cameron’s “Avatar”, “Airbender” tells the story of a mystical, Jedi-like child warrior who can bend the elements to his will to fight an evil empire. This is the first time Shyamalan has attempted to direct an already established property, so I am interested to see what he will do with a mythology and story he has not invented himself. Other than that, it looks like a movie exclusively for kids.
July 7 finally delivers a true third film in the “Predator” movie series with “Predators” (plural). More of a reboot than a sequel, “Predators” [TRAILER HERE] stars Adrian Brody as a tough mercenary who finds himself marooned on an alien planet with eight other dangerous humans, all being hunted by creatures even more deadly than themselves. If the trailers are any indication, this film looks to make the franchise scary again and with maverick Robert Rodriguez producing, I can’t wait.
The Dreamworks animated supervillain film “Despicable Me” [TRAILER HERE] opens on July 9th and I’m looking forward to this one simply because I had inside information on this film while it was being created. A close friend of mine working on the production said he laughed every day he sat in on Steve Carell’s voice-over work as the villain Gru, a criminal genius who plans to steal the Moon in order to upstage his bitter rival. From what my sources tell me, this film is more likely geared for a less mature crowd than last year’s Oscar-winning “Up”.
July 16 marks Christopher Nolan’s follow up to “The Dark Night” with the sci-fi mind-bender “Inception”. Details on the plot of this Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle are tight-lipped but word around the campfire says it has something to do with security experts who can alter dreams and reality. While that might sound a bit like “The Matrix”, I recommend checking out THE TRAILER which contains some jaw-dropping footage of a city folding on top of itself. “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, another Harry Potter knock-off, releases the same day yet looks oddly promising. Nicholas Cage plays a zany sorcerer who recruits newbie Jay Baruchel to help him combat the forces of evil. While that sounds terrible, the previews so far make it look a bit more mature than the world of Hogwarts and Dumbledore.
July 23 keeps the laughs coming with “Dinner For Schmucks” [TRAILER HERE] as Paul Rudd tricks a bumbling buffoon played by Steve Carell into attending a dinner where the hosts bring the biggest idiot they can find in order to appease and amuse their cruel boss. With the comedy team behind this film, I predict this could be one of the funniest of the summer. The same day, Angelina Jolie returns in “Salt” about a CIA spy accused of being a double agent. While many might expect a straight-laced thriller from this premise, THE TRAILER portrays it as an over-the-top action movie. Hopefully it’s not as cartoonish or out of control as Jolie’s last action film “Wanted”.
July 30 gives Vanessa Hudgen’s another pre-teen paycheck with “Beastly” [TRAILER HERE], an adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast”. While it will certainly get the money of the “Twilight” crowd, “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore 3-D” (that title is NOT a joke… TRAILER HERE) will certainly sap the cash from the wallets of parents desperate to entertain youngsters under 10. Fortunately, for the rest of us, Matt Damon stars in “The Adjustment Bureau”. Based off of a Philip K. Dick sci-fi story, a rising politician (Damon) defies his true destiny to pursue love with a ballet dancer (Emily Blunt) while a shadowy faction threatens to keep them apart by enforcing the natural laws of fate. Could be good, right?
August 6 teams Will Ferrell teams up with Mark Wahlberg as bumbling cops trying to compete with their crackerjack rivals, Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in “The Other Guys” [TRAILER HERE]. This laugh-riot riff on “Lethal Weapon” has so many straight-players that it rests its entire comedic premise on the shoulders of Ferrell. Let’s hope he can hold it up. Competing with that cast is the dance sequel “Step Up 3-D” and “Middle Men” starring AT&T pitchman Luke Wilson as a straight-laced businessman who falls into the comedic and chaotic world of the pornography industry. I’m guessing fun hijinks ensue but I’ll reserve my excitement for when I see the trailer.
August 13 features two of the most ambitious projects of the summer season. #1: “The Expendables” [TRAILER HERE], an action movie starring Sylvester Stallone, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Gary Daniels, Terry Crews, Eric Roberts and Mickey Rourke. If that’s not a must-see for action fans, I don’t know what is. #2: “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” [TRAILER HERE] stars Michael Cera in an adaptation of the acclaimed comic book series in which the title character must defeat his new girlfriend’s seven evil ex-boyfriends in anime-styled, video game combat to the death. It’s sure to be quirky and visually spectacular if nothing else.
August 20 winds down the season with the Ice Cube comedy vehicle “Lottery Ticket”, the Emma Thompson-starring kid’s flick sequel “Nanny McPhee 2”, the Jennifer Aniston/Jason Bateman artificial insemination mix-up comedy “The Switch” and the hip-hop bank heist thriller “Takers”.
To finish up, August 27 premieres “Going the Distance”, a comedy in which Drew Barrymore and Justin Long try to keep a bi-coastal, long distance relationship going by all means necessary. Then of course there’s “PIRANHA 3-D” which needs absolutely no introduction.
So the second half of the summer looks a bit better than the first… but like everything else in the movie industry, there are no absolutes. Choose well and be prepared for my reviews of these summer films!
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