It’s almost that time of year again: Summer Movie Season! *airhorn* No matter how jaded I get to the money-grubbing ways of Hollywood, I’m always excited for summer. I get burned by this excitement pretty regularly, but usually something unexpectedly great sneaks its way in. Last year, Man of Steel bored my red underpants off, but This Is The End was far funnier than a two-hour College Humor sketch should be. Also, Elysium was a g*ddamn mess, but I went home and watched District 9 for the 37th time, so all was good!
So, without further ado, let’s take a final look at these probable disasters before they eat your twelve dollars and waste two hours of your life!
(Preview, in this case, means unfairly judging a movie that I haven’t seen yet, based solely off marketing. Which is what you’re supposed to do, by the way. It’s called being a discerning consumer)
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
I still haven’t seen the “first” one because after the three Raimi movies I’m pretty Spider-Manned out. Based on the trailer, it seems like a ballsy move to go full Spider-Man 3 and pump this motherf*cker full of as many villains as possible. I know the reboot was born out of a contractual obligation and not art, but why did you skip the middle part, where this nonsense was actually good? Anyway, have fun, kids. This looks like a videogame you watch someone else play.
Walk of Shame
Hahahahaha, who cares?
Oh f*ck off, Seth Rogen married to Rose Byrn? Anyway, this will probably be worth your time, if nothing mind-blowing. Director Nicholas Stoller has a solid track record, even if the trailer has a bizarre number of CGI-double pratfalls. I’ll see it, but Zac “Too Cool for a K” Efron will always be a bland little department store mannequin to me.
An indie director making his blockbuster debut always makes me nervous. Could be Batman Begins, could be Ang Lee’s Hulk. But between the fantastic actors and showing some sphincter-tightening scale in the trailers, I’m more than a little hopeful. I love a good monster mash.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
I’m very torn on this one. The title is confusing as hell, as are the trailers; it looks like they chucked out everything from the previous movies (Prof. X is walking again? Beast is normal now?). Yet it still looks pretty epic. Also, it’s nice to have Bryan Singer directing again, despite some, ah, unsavory allegations that have popped up recently. Dude directs a good X-Men movie, that’s all I’m saying. Hopefully this will be one of them.
I have to say, I’m so uninterested in this that I didn’t even feel like googling it for the correct spelling. The movie itself might be good, but it still seems like an odd choice to me. Disney has a great rogues gallery and they decided to go with a fifties villain from what was essentially a rehash of Snow White. Even the filmmakers knew she was boring, which is why she turned into a dragon in the original film. I’m guessing this will do poorly, based on people’s general inability to pronounce the name. Doubt me if you want, but the movie-going public is fickle as hell.
Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise stars in: Future War Robot-Suit Groundhog Day, from the director of Jumper. I’m gonna give this a soft pass, only because it looks too damn self-serious. I’ve nothing against Cruise, but something with this many layers of cartoony sci-fi elements needs to crack a joke once in a while.
HOw to train your dragon 2
The first How to Train Your Dragon was easily the closest another studio has come to replicating the magic of Pixar in its prime. Hopefully this can recapture that, though I still find Jay Baruchel’s faux-nasally voice a little grating. C’mon, dude, your character is a viking who rides a dragon. You don’t have to play him like you’re still on Undeclared. Still, I’ll see the hell out of this.
22 Jump Street
Plot-wise, this is certainly going to be a warming-over of the first movie. I really, really don’t care, so long as they bring it in the joke department. Also, the self-awareness in the trailer is in line with what I loved about the first one. I’m there.
Think Like a Man Too
Wait, really? No.
Clint Eastwood adapting a Broadway musical seems downright strange, considering that, in his youth, he probably pantsed and noogied every theater kid that came too close. That being said, he has a solid eye and I’m a sucker for a good musical biopic; I’ll watch Ray every time it comes on TV, damn it. Also, the Four Seasons were awesome. I probably won’t catch this in theaters, but this will serve nicely as the rare Summer Oscar-y release.
Transformers 4: Age of Extinction
The Transformers movies have followed a trend of having better action than the previous, while also adding in more wacky human characters that make me want to self-immolate. It’s been very self-defeating. That might break with the dismissal of plagiarist and grating sh*tbird Shia Labeouf and the addition of Marky Mark. Also, I can only respect their decision to just say, “Screw it. Robot dinosaurs, why not?” I’ll probably go with a group of friends and enjoy it more than I should.
Aka Under Siege 2: Dark Territory 2: Frozen Territory. In the future, all that’s left of humanity lives on a train that circles the frozen wasteland of earth. There is a class system in place, until Captain America himself (Chris Evans) starts a revolution. This will be the South Korean film’s American debut and the early reviews are pretty positive. This could be great, but I’m still a little burned by the last sci-fi allegory on classism. Seriously, what accent was Jodi Foster going for there?
Deliver Us From Evil
Hmmmm. Generic prayer excerpt for a title. Not a good start. Apparently this is about a guy being stalked by the Devil, who is possessing another guy. Stop me if you heard this one before. Okay, then.
Earth to Echo
I’ve never heard of this before today. Man, this July lineup is pretty weak out of the gate. Anyway, this is basically if Chronicle and ET had a baby. It would look at least 50% better if not for the tired found-footage conceit. However, if all the kids die, it’ll be a masterpiece. What? Don’t look at me like that. Bleak endings are awesome.
The most interesting thing here is that a music-centered indie movie is opening uncontested on July 4th. What the hell? Isn’t this weekend supposed to be primo real estate for summer blockbusters? I guess studios are still scared to release anything big two weeks after the latest Transformers. Damn. That is either really impressive for that franchise’s staying power or a testament to how few movies are coming out this summer. Oh, the actual movie? I don’t care.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Despite the aggravating-as-hell repetition in the title, I’m looking forward to this, which is more than I was saying about the predecessor in 2011. Therein lies the problem. This one has expectations to meet that the previous didn’t have to contend with. These should be mitigated by the fact that we are now in the ape-ruled dystopia and the human resistance is being led by Gary Oldman. Good, maybe he can stop trying to eye-f*ck me into buying a cell phone now.
And So It Goes
Look, if your title invokes thoughts of a Vonnegut classic, your movie probably shouldn’t be a romcom from a director who hasn’t had a worthwhile one since Harry met Sally. The only thing of note here is that the cast includes Frankie Valli, who I didn’t know was still alive. Weird. Anyway, hard pass.
The Purge: Anarchy
The first movie’s premise – in the future, all crimes are permitted for 12 hours a year – was largely wasted on yet another home-invasion thriller. This seems a tad more promising, since it takes place outside and amidst the chaos. I am a sucker for a good B-horror, but I’m going to enjoy this in its natural habitat: on Netflix eight months later.
The latest sci-fi epic from The Wachowskis is an odd duck. It looks completely bonkers, which could either be amazing (The Fifth Element) or a disaster (9/11). My boy Channing Tatum has certainly been on a roll lately, but he also has never played a glittery space elf, so I guess I’ll reserve judgment. This is typically the type of movie that’ll have me waiting to see what the one or two competent critics have to say. I certainly won’t be looking at the Rotten Tomatoes score.
A comedy starring Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz about a married couple who go looking for their lost sex tape. Also known as That One Funny Bit From Trainspotting; mostly because this premise made a lot more sense in 1996. In 2014, you’ve got about 12 seconds to recover a sex tape before it gets shared on the internet and lost forever. Also, “all the iPads we gave out as gifts”? Screw rich people.
This looks pants-on-head stupid, but it also has The Rock, who is The Best Guy Ever and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise. Also, unlike this year’s other Hercules movie, it doesn’t feature the Greek demigod fighting in the Colosseum. This looks like some dumb fun, but not the 12-dollars-a-pop variety. Redbox, all the way.
Wish I Was Here
Zach Braff’s hotly debated Kickstarter project makes its debut. I’m willing to bet that it’s going to be a lot of navel-gazing self-importance, wrapped up in a Shins-heavy soundtrack. I’m also willing to bet that it’ll be just charming and funny enough to offset that. Hopefully, anyway. I still stand by my enjoyment of Garden State, even if it hasn’t aged well. I’ll catch this if it plays locally, though it probably won’t. It’ll be VOD then.
Guardians of the Galaxy
F*ck. Yeah. I will be there, day one. Chris Pratt? John C. Reilly? The guy behind Super, Slither, and the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake? If the movie comes close to matching the balance of silly and badass in the trailer, this will easily be my favorite of the summer.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
I’ve already given my peace about this project. It is a cold, heartless corporate product, designed and marketed specifically to put as many action figures as possible into the sausage-fingered hands of America’s mostly obese youth. And I will be there opening weekend, RealD classes strapped to my giant head and shoveling popcorn into my face. Hell yeah, Ninja Turtles.
This gritty Peanut update has taken some serious liberties with the property. But seriously folks, after his foray into acid trip kids movies, I’m glad Luc Besson is back to directly a balls-out action movie. And boy is this ballsy. I’m not even sure what the hell kind of powers Superhero Scarjo is supposed to have here. They seem to be Dr. Manhattan-esque (ie, Godlike). Kind of makes her character in the Avengers saga look even more useless. After The Professional and The Fifth Element, Besson always gets the benefit of the doubt.
Let’s Be Cops
This looks like someone threw Superbad, 21 Jump Street, and that one episode of Always Sunny into a blender. Could be funny, but the trailer sure isn’t. It’s hard to tell with movies like this; sometimes marketing sucks at putting good jokes in the trailer. I had low hopes for 21 Jump Street and it’s easily one of my favorite comedies of the last five years. Jury’s out on this one.
The Expendables 3
Confession, I still haven’t seen the first two Expendables. Like those, this looks like it could be a fun throwback, but I have a hard time getting excited about it. This trailer gets awfully presumptuous with that “last name only” roll call. Stallone? Of course. Statham? No doubt. Powell? No idea. Lutz? Is that the guy from 30 Rock?
The 1993 book this is based on is beloved by many; I never read it, mostly because the cover made me think it was some boring bullsh*t about an old man who lived in the woods. Adored source material or no, this looks to me like the dozen other YA novels brought to the big screen recently, like Divergent and City of Bones. A year ago I would’ve given it the benefit of the doubt with the presence of Jeff Bridges, but that was before I saw RIPD and tried to set my local Redbox on fire to save other people from it.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
The first Sin City was an odd duck. It’s so absurdly stylized that I find it either unwatchable or a damn visual masterpiece, depending on what mood I’m in. This looks to be more of the same, but with an admittedly improved cast. Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Stacy Keach, and Ray Liotta are all new (and welcome) here. I really enjoyed the first in theater. I think I’ll do the same here.
August kind of peters out from there. Overall, I think we might have a handful of winners here, but only time (and twelve dollars) will tell. I want to be optimistic, but I just got back from Transcendence. Don’t see Transcendence. Rent Virtuosity instead.
That trailer was so 90’s, it had a record scratch despite being a techno thriller. Crazy times.