What To Look Forward To in … July 2010

10 06 2010

People are already calling summer 2010 one of the worst seasons in history.  Ouch.  Does July hold anything in store to turn the tide late in the game?  Let’s take a look.

July 2

M. Night Shyamalan give us his most mainstream movie yet with “The Last Airbender.”  Due to James Cameron’s mildly successful film “Avatar,” the Nickelodeon series opted to use only the last part of its name to avoid confusion (although you could make some good money from dumb moviegoers under the impression they’re seeing “Avatar 2”).  It got the quickie 3D conversion slapped on in the past months, which means I’m sticking to 2D here if I even see it at all. I’m worried that some backlash against the conversion could wind up really hurting this movie. But even before I knew about the added dimension, I couldn’t get myself too excited. No matter how extravagant and enormous they make it look, it’s still a Nickelodeon series. I have mixed feelings for Shyamalan; the only movie of his I actually liked was “The Sixth Sense.” I don’t know anyone in the cast save for Dev Patel, better known as Jamal Malik from “Slumdog Millionaire,” and he may end up being what draws me in to see it.

Sometimes I don’t catch everything when it is initially released, particularly indies.  I want to give them their fair shake, so I’m going to feature movies when they open in my hometown if I missed them before.  The first of these movies is “Solitary Man” starring Michael Douglas and thank heavens it’s not Michael Cera (that’s code for Jesse Eisenberg).  In her glowing review of the movie, Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly called this, not “Wall Street 2,” Douglas’ best shot for Oscar glory.  The story seems friendly enough and the character seems an Oscar type.  Rounding out the ensemble are Jenna Fischer (“The Office”), Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito, and Mary-Louise Parker, so it seems pretty audience friendly too.

July 9

I’ll get to the mainstream fare later.  First, I must cover the indie comedy hit of the summer, “The Kids Are All Right.”  More to come later in an “Oscar Moment,” but expect it to make a splash a la “Little Miss Sunshine” and “(500) Days of Summer.”

Adrien Brody steps back into the horror arena after … let’s just say, going places in “Splice.”  This time, he’s rebooting the “Predator” franchise along with Laurence Fishburne and Topher Grace.  “Predators” proudly flashes the name of producer Robert Rodriguez.  But here’s what I want to know – will sequel/reboot/remake fatigue catch up with moviegoers by July and kill this movie?

I’m so excited for the release of “Despicable Me.”  Not because I want to see it, but because I’m so tired of seeing the stupid trailers with every movie I have seen for the past year.  My guess is families will still be choosing “Toy Story 3” over this.  Not even Julie Andrews can save a movie that proudly boasts the participation of an executive producer from the “Ice Age” series as if they had Steven Spielberg.

If you are looking for some shaky-cam horror, “[Rec] 2” comes out.  Strangely enough, I must have missed “[Rec]” 1.  But I did know about the predecessor to “The Girl Who Played with Fire,” the big indie of 2010 so far, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

Opening in Houston on July 9 is “Restrepo,” the winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance for documentary features.  It takes a look at the grittiest and most intense location of fighting in Iraq and its effect on the soldiers who fight there.

July 14/16

Inception INCEPTION Inception INCEPTION Inception INCEPTION Inception INCEPTION Inception INCEPTION Inception INCEPTION Inception INCEPTION Inception INCEPTION Inception INCEPTION Inception INCEPTION Inception INCEPTION Inception INCEPTION Inception INCEPTION Inception INCEPTION Inception INCEPTION Inception INCEPTION Inception INCEPTION … AHHHH!!!!!

Meanwhile, opening two days earlier to get out the way is “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” Jerry Bruckheimer’s latest blockbuster.  It starts Nicolas Cage as the sorcerer and Jay Baruchel as his apprentice.  I’ve been saying for quite a while now that Baruchel needs a big breakout; maybe he will get it with this once people match his face to the voice in “How to Train Your Dragon.”  On the Nicolas Cage front, the role seems kind of kooky.  Perhaps this is his Jack Sparrow?  I may end up seeing this solely for villain Alfred Molina, who rocked Doc Ock in “Spider-Man 2.”

Officially released on June 18 but not hitting Houston until July 16 is “The Killer Inside Me,” starring Casey Affleck and Kate Hudson.  Apparently it’s based on one of the most brutally violent and disturbing stories ever.  I’ll trust Kubrick here.

July 23

I’m hoping “Salt” becomes this summer’s “Wanted.”  Just an enjoyable, action-packed movie that doesn’t try to wow you, only entertain you.  Angelina Jolie makes one BA action heroine … or villain, depending on what happens in this movie.

Kiddie fare comes for the third straight weekend with “Ramona and Beezus,” starring Disney Channel sweetheart Selena Gomez.  This could do well because it’s an adaptation of the beloved series that has been around for decades, and it has an impressive adult cast including Sandra Oh, Bridget Moynahan, John Corbett, and Josh Duhamel.  Then again, it could also just fade into the mist of the other kids movies.

Opening on the indie side of things is “Life During Wartime” starring Allison Janney.

July 30

I’m honestly scared of “Dinner for Schmucks.”  I love both Paul Rudd and Steve Carell to death, and the plot here just reeks of a bomb.  My worst fear is that this and “The Other Guys” become the “Land of the Lost”/”Year One” comedy flop combo of 2010.  Maybe Zach Galifianakis can save it…

But what reeks of a stinker even more is “Cats and Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore,” a sequel that no one really wants.  And “Charlie St. Cloud” reeks of Zac Efron.

Meanwhile, there’s some good indie drama with “Get Low,” starring Robert Duvall.  See my Oscar Moment for further commentary.

Can July save the summer?  Will “Inception” rule the roost?  What will be the BEST movie of the month?  Let me know by taking the poll … DEADLINE IS JUNE 25.

Advertisements




What To Look Forward To in … June 2010

16 05 2010

Summer heats up with June’s releases.  We have the welcome return of an old franchise (“Toy Story”) and the unwelcome return of a newer one (“Twilight”).  We have reboots (“The A-Team”) and remakes (“The Karate Kid”).  We have old comedic stars (Adam Sandler) and new ones (Russell Brand).  Whatever the month give us, let’s just hope for some entertainment.

June 4

“Get Him to the Greek” looks to provide some summer humor in the same weekend that made “The Hangover” the smash success of 2009.  I’m not even watching the trailer in an attempt to make it the most hilarious experience possible.

“Splice” stars Oscar-winner Adrien Brody and Oscar-nominee Sarah Polley (for writing, not acting) as scientists who create a monster.  This looks really freaky.

Really, Katherine Heigl?  You quit an Emmy Award-winning show so you can focus on movies, and now you are doing this?  And you really expect people to take you seriously?  Really?  SNL references aside, “Killers” looks absolutely horrific.

June 11

“The A-Team” looks to reboot the franchise with only a little bit of nostalgia.  Good luck.  With Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley of “District 9,” and some guy who looks like Mr. T, it might be possible…

A remake of “The Karate Kid” already?  The original only came out 25 years ago, and Pat Morita only just passed away.  I’m curious to see how this fares.  Jackie Chan isn’t exactly on a hot streak – “The Spy Next Door,” anyone?  Jaden Smith is unproven other than “The Pursuit of Happyness,” which was all his dad.  It’s only going to corner the market on the family crowd for one week, so Sony had better hope all the families come out on opening weekend.

Opening in limited release is “Winter’s Bone,” a Sundance hit which made it onto my list of the ten most anticipated movies of the summer.  It reminds me a bit of “Frozen River.”  That movie got 2 Oscar nominations.   We’ll see how this turns out.

I’m really excited to see what makes Joan Rivers tick in the documentary about her, “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.” What lies behind that plastic face will most certainly be entertaining. Now it just has to get to Houston…

Read the rest of this entry »





What To Look Forward To in … Summer 2010

5 05 2010

Before the season actually gets kicked off in two days, I thought it was necessary to spell out my five most anticipated movies of summer 2010.  Rather than bore you with verbose observations, I will give you the rationale for my picks with only two things: the movie’s trailer and 10 words or less describing why I’m dying to see it.

Winter’s Bone (June 11)

I can’t wait because … it’s a rare summer drama and won big at Sundance.

Shrek Forever After (May 21)

I can’t wait because … it has to redeem “Shrek” after the last movie stunk!

Eat, Pray, Love (August 13)

I can’t wait because … this is that enjoyable watching chick-flick I’m always weak for.

Robin Hood (May 14)

I can’t wait because … Russell Crowe has Maximus bottled up inside for this.

Get Him to the Greek (June 4)

I can’t wait because … it’s time for Jonah Hill and Russell Brand’s breakout movies.

The Kids Are All Right (July 7)

I can’t wait because … it’s an indie and this makes comedy out of controversy.

Iron Man 2 (May 7)

I can’t wait because … action plus Robert Downey Jr. have equaled big fun before.

Toy Story 3 (June 18)

I can’t wait because … it’s going to be like revisiting my childhood!

Salt (July 23)

I can’t wait because … Angelina kicks butt!  And it’s not a franchise movie!

Inception (July 16)

I can’t wait because … it’s Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to a new classic.





What To Look Forward To in … May 2010

6 04 2010

YES! It’s time to preview May! That means it’s time for big-time summer blockbusters. Hopefully, this summer has less to make critics moan (a la “Transformers”) and more to make everyone reach for the popcorn (a la “The Dark Knight”). But I’ll let you make that decision for yourself. Three big sequels open in the banner month of summer,

May 7

“Iron Man 2” kicks off the summer movie season with a bang.  After its predecessor was the surprise hit of summer 2008, the sequel is opening to very high expectations.  Throwing in such tremendous new cast members as Mickey Rourke as villainous Whiplash, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, and Don Cheadle (as a replacement for the role last played by Terrence Howard) has only served to heighten them.  But do you really need to be sold?  If this movie doesn’t fall in the range of $350-$400 million, it’s a disappointment.

We’ve got a double dose of baby-themed movies opening in limited release on this day. “Babies” is for all you documentary people; the movie follows the first year of four different infants.  For the art house lovers, Sony Pictures Classics has you covered with “Mother and Child,” a movie which can be referred to as “hyperlink cinema.”  Like “Crash” and “Traffic,” “Mother and Child” follows several different stories all tying into a common theme – here, it is motherhood.  Starring Oscar nominees Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, and Samuel L. Jackson, it has played at a few film festivals and may be the only big indie movie of the month.  I guess even the specialty studios want you to see “Iron Man 2.”

May 14

“Robin Hood” is the second big release, and it boasts a pair of Oscar-winning actors, Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, on the marquee.  And no, this isn’t the “Robin Hood” with the foxes and the other forest animals.  It’s a gritty, intense action movie directed by Ridley Scott (“Gladiator”).  I have plenty more to say about this movie, so keep your eyes peeled in the next week or so.

Just Wright” and “Letters to Juliet” dare to go up against the two blockbusters packing the screens.  The former is a Queen Latifah vehicle where she stars as a physical therapist helping to rehabilitate an NBA star; the latter, an Amanda Seyfried mushy-gushy love story where she helps an older woman find her long-lost love in the city where “Romeo & Juliet” was set.

May 21

I really hope the trailer doesn’t ruin “Shrek Forever After” like it did for “Shrek the Third.”  Well, to be honest, the threequel tanked because the script was awful.  The first two were amazing, so I’m praying that the magic returns for the final chapter.

“MacGruber” strangely decided to move itself out of comfy April into May against one of the biggest franchises of the past decade.  Interesting move on Rogue’s part, but if the movie is going to make any money, it has to be hilarious.  To be honest, I have my doubts.  There hasn’t been a good “SNL” sketch-based movie since “Wayne’s World” nearly 20 years ago.  Often times, I don’t think the “MacGruber” sketches are funny for their 30 second runtimes … why would I want to watch them for an hour and a half or so?  Good news: it has Kristen Wiig.  Let’s pray for a lot of Kristen Wiig.

May 28

Technically, “Sex and the City 2” comes out on Thursday, May 27. Why they did that, I don’t know. But I do know this: women, get your outfits ready. According to my mother, a rabid fan of the series, all the girls got decked out like they were going to a charity gala.

“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” is my pick for the big bust of May, although I could easily be eating my hat in two months’ time.  I really like Jake Gyllenhaal, but I’m not sure how much I buy him as an action hero.  Based on a video game, it seems to me that Disney is marketing it like the new “Pirates of the Caribbean.”  But I’m not a big gamer, so I don’t really know what to expect.

Excited much for this amazing month of movies?  Or will it live up to its promise?  Take the poll and let me know what you are thinking!





What To Look Forward To in … April 2010

24 03 2010

I completely forgot that I needed to do this post, so for any of you who happened to be waiting all month for this, my apologies.  But maybe having the April preview post closer to the month itself will increase voting in the polls (wishful thinking) or increase excitement for the month’s releases.

April is usually that awkward month before Hollywood comes out all cylinders firing for summer, but I think this year boasts one of the month’s finest lineups in a long time.

April 2

The first truly BIG action movie of 2010 finally arrives!  “Clash of the Titans” is that taste of high-octane blockbuster that will serve as the perfect tease for summer.  After seeing the success of “Avatar,” Warner Bros. saw that they had the capability to create a 3-D version of “Clash of the Titans.”  So, now the movie arrives in both the second and third dimension.  This is the first time in my memory that three huge 3-D movies have come out within a month of each other, and I think it is only a preview of what is to come (just pray that your theater can accommodate the demand.)  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is the first big live-action movie to come out in 3-D.  I’m excited.

Tyler Perry is at it again with “Why Did I Get Married Too.”  The first one did pretty well, but if Perry can expand beyond his normal audience is still a question.  Oh, and I forgot to mention it in the March preview, but the latest Nicholas Sparks sob-fest, “The Last Song,” comes out on Wednesday, March 31.  It stars Greg Kinnear and some unknown actress named Miley Cyrus.

April 9
The comedy gods smile upon us at last! Tina Fey and Steve Carell together in “Date Night” seems long overdue. Let’s just hope that the writing of this movie deserves their talents.

And for those of you who liked Christian entertainment like “Fireproof” and “Facing the Giants,” then “Letters to God” will surely excite you.

The Runaways” opens wide this weekend, but I don’t think this will be any big event given its lackluster performance in 244 theaters in this past weekend (strangely, not a one of them was in Houston, the fourth largest city in the county).

April 16

There seems to be a large cult fan base gathering around “Kick-Ass.”  Sometimes that can be bad (“Snakes on a Plane”), and sometimes it works (“Cloverfield”).  This seems to be a pretty entertaining premise: basically a send-up of “Watchmen” and ordinary people becoming superheroes.  I think I’ll wait to get the audience’s take before I slap down some cash for this.

Please do yourself a tremendous favor.  Before you go see Chris Rock’s urbanized version of “Death at a Funeral,” be sure to rent the original British version.  Even if this latest spin fails, you will have seen one absolutely hysterical movie.

April 23

Disney Nature rolls out its annual Earth Day “nature porn” documentary, “Oceans,” shot in sweeping views that could make your heart turn green.  Meanwhile, CBS Films (?) gives us Jennifer Lopez in “The Back-Up Plan” as a woman who bypasses the normal steps and gets pregnant.  But in typical coincidental rom-com fashion, this all happens on the day she meets the perfect man.

The best of the worst this weekend appears to be “The Losers,” starring Neytiri (Zoe Saldana).  The movie follows a group of CIA agents who seek out the group that tried to assassinate them.  Who knows, maybe this will make a good rental.

April 30

“The Nightmare on Elm Street” looks legit.  I’m scared.  Plus it has Jackie Earle Haley, the man who made “Little Children” crazy good. (For a different kind of nightmare, see Brendan Fraser in “Furry Vengeance.”)

As for the indie scene, which doesn’t seem to be too big in April, the best offering seems to be “Please Give.”  A hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the movie follows a married couple (Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt) who have to wait for their elderly neighbor to die so they can expand their apartment.  It seems to be that nice blend of comedy and drama which really has the ability to hit home.

“I Love You Phillip Morris” was slated for release back in February, but it’s here now for unexplained reasons. The movie premiered at Cannes last year and after some issues finding a distributor is finally finding a way into a theater near you – or will it? Rumor is that the movie had to be tamed down to find distribution due to its strong homosexual content. The two lovers here are Jim Carrey and Ewan MacGregor, a pair that discovers their love in prison. Before heading to the slammer, Carrey’s character was a straight Christian policeman from Texas. Now, he finds himself determined to bust out to be reunited with his lover. I’m curious to see if Freestyle Releasing can get it in front of a large audience … this is the third month that I have published this same blurb. Will they ever settle on a release date?

Thoughts, anyone?  What are YOU looking forward to in April?





What To Look Forward To in … March 2010

12 02 2010

There’s more to March than just the Oscars.  Finally, March arrives and we can stop dwelling on 2009.  In my opinion, March is usually a pretty decent movie month.  This year’s crop looks especially promising with new movies from Tim Burton, Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Ultimatum”), and Noah Baumbach (“The Squid and the Whale”).

March 5

After almost 3 months, “Avatar” will have to cede those illustrious 3-D and IMAX screens to Tim Burton’s twist on “Alice in Wonderland.”  The titular character is played by relative newcomer Mia Wasikowsa, who will look quite a bit older than the Alice you remember from Disney’s 1951 animated classic.  If that’s not a big enough draw for you, surely Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter (who will hopefully channel more of his glorious Jack Sparrow than his Jacko-esque Willy Wonka) will suffice.  No?  How about Helena Bonham Carter as the Queen of Hearts?  Or Anne Hathaway as the White Queen?  Perhaps Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar?  No doubt about it, this is one exciting cast, and I’m sure Tim Burton won’t have any problem distinguishing himself from the numerous “Alice in Wonderland” rip-offs that have sprouted over the past few years.

“Brooklyn’s Finest” is directed by Antoine Fuqua, helmer of “Training Day,” which was enough to get me interested.  However, it really looks to be little more than a mash-up of every cop movie ever made.  But hey, that may be your thing, which would make this your potpourri.

March 12

I’m excited for “Green Zone,” which looks to be a smart political thriller. See my previous post at the release of the trailer for more info.

On the indie side of things, Noah Baumbach looks to return to Oscar form after “Margot at the Wedding” underwhelmed with “Greenberg.”  The movie stars Ben Stiller as Greenberg, the grouchy misanthrope who finds a reason to be pessimistic about everything.  However, a special woman comes along and begins to melt his heart.  I’m looking forward to a double-edged performance from Stiller, one that can show off his dramatic chops but also give us plenty of hearty laughs.

Seth Rogen’s four roommates in “Knocked Up” were equally as funny as he was. Each of them have slowly gotten their “moment”: Jonah Hill in “Superbad,” Jason Segel in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” Now, it could be Jay Baruchel’s turn. “She’s Out of My League” pits him similar situation: the uncomely guy getting the smoking hot babe. Hopefully Paramount gives this the push it deserves, maybe making Baruchel a breakout comedic star of 2010.

Could “Remember Me” get Robert Pattinson the Razzie for Worst Actor? After narrowly missing the cut for his two performances as Edward Cullen, this could finally be the one to get him the kind of awards attention he deserves.

Forest Whitaker is an Academy Award winning actor. What on earth is he doing in “Our Family Wedding?” For that matter, America Ferrera has won SAG and Golden Globe awards, and Carlos Mencia was once actually funny! This looks not only insufferable but almost racist. Plus, didn’t I see this movie in 2005 when it was called “Guess Who?”

Read the rest of this entry »





What To Look Forward To in … February 2010

7 01 2010

We’re still in some hazy territory in the month of February, but the new decade looks to give this month some much needed energy.  Fueled by two movies originally scheduled for release in 2009, I might actually drop a good amount of change at the movies in February (not just on repeat viewings of Oscar nominees).

February 5

Put “The Notebook” in front of anything and you are guaranteed a flock of screaming girls coming with boyfriends in tow.  Put wildly popular model/actor Channing Tatum in the poster and you can add some more girls aside from the hopeless romantics.  “Dear John” has just that: a super sweet story from author Nicholas Sparks and girl eye candy Tatum.  Thankfully for the guys, the filmmakers cast Amanda Seyfried (“Jennifer’s Body”), who isn’t so bad on the eyes either.

I’m a little weary to endorse “From Paris with Love,” another John Travolta villain movie.  He’s only good at playing subtle ones (“Pulp Fiction”) with the exception of “Face/Off.”  2009’s “The Taking of Pelham 123” was a disaster mainly because of Travolta and his villainy established only by constantly dropping the F-bomb.  Potential redemption here?  I’ll need positive word of mouth before I watch Travolta go evil again.

February 12

“Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” is the name given to the film adaptation of Rick Riordan’s kids novel “The Lightning Thief.” Clearly Fox is setting up a franchise with the title, and they picked the right place to stake the claim. I read the book in seventh grade, and it is the real deal. I even got a chance to have lunch with the author, Riordan, who is one of the neatest people I have ever met. Whether they ruin it or not is yet to be known, but the movie is being helmed by Chris Columbus, the man who got the “Harry Potter” series flying. That has to count for something.

If Pierce Brosnan isn’t a big enough star to draw you to the aforementioned movie, you should find solace in “Valentine’s Day,” which features just about every romantic comedy actor ever. Literally, I can’t even list all of the stars of the movie here. The post would just be too darn big. Garry Marshall, director of “Pretty Woman” and “The Princess Diaries,” is in charge here, so I find some comfort in that. But if the movie flops, this will be a high-profile disappointment.

Sorry girls, the werewolf in “The Wolfman” is not played by Taylor Lautner. Academy Award-winning actor Benicio del Toro metamorphasizes in Victorian England into the hairy beast when the moon is ripe.  This werewolf is not based on cheeky teen lit but on the 1941 horror classic.  And this adaptation is rated R for “bloody horror violence and gore.”  Get ready for some intense clawing.

A big winner at Cannes and a contender for the Best Foreign Film at this year’s Academy Awards, “A Prophet” is a foreign film that may be worth a look.

Read the rest of this entry »