It’s beginning to get warmer here in Hollywood and that can only mean one thing – the summer movie season is upon us. Or it could mean the Armageddon is approaching. Or it could just mean that it’s May in Los Angeles. Regardless of the weather, the big budget blockbusters are arriving. I must admit that I’m a little skeptical and underwhelmed by the lineup. It could be stemming from the writer’s strike that began in late 2007, but there are still a few films to keep an eye on. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” jump started the entire thing and this weekend, filmgoers will boldly flock to their local theaters to check out the J.J. Abrams revamp of “Star Trek.” But after that, do we know what is in store for us? I do. Take a look.
THEY ARE WHAT WE THOUGHT THEY WERE
These are the films that will offer no surprises. That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be seen or they won’t bring some quality, but the movies themselves and the view of these films are fairly simple to predict.
UP: It will be funny. It will be sweet. It will be beautiful to look at. It will win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature next year. I was not quite as taken as everyone else with “Wall-E,” but Pixar has an almost perfect track record (I say “almost” because I didn’t find “Cars” to be up to par with the rest of their projects). With a very good director in Pete Docter and a wonderful voice actor in Ed Asner, “Up” will only continue this tradition. Is that even up for debate? Yes, I know. That last sentence wasn’t very funny.
YEAR ONE: Harold Ramis is a great comedic director. Jack Black is going to be Jack Black . Same with Cera. There will be a few funny cameos and a lot of historical jokes that will be smarter than the ones that you will find in “Night at the Museum.”
TRANSFORMERS:REVENGE OF THE FALLEN: Michael Bay. Big robots. Megan Fox. That’s it, right?
THE MOVIES THAT COULD SURPRISE YOU
TERMINATOR: SALVATION: In 1984, James Cameron gave us a different kind of sci-fi movie with a memorable villain and one of the most popular movie quotes of all time. Cameron returned in 1991 to complete his vision. Can anyone dispute that “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” is one of the most exciting action films you can watch? The third in the series wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad upon a second viewing. When McG was announced as the director for the fourth installment, I was not pleased, to say the least, but I’m a huge fan of Christian Bale and the trailer gave me hope. Could this film live up to the first two? God, I hope so. And if it turns out to be a heap of metal garbage, then McG and I are done professionally. I wish I was funny.
DISTRICT 9: Have you seen the teaser? It’s outstanding. I’m still not quite sure what to make of it. Half of it looks like a documentary. This movie could be the sleeper hit of the summer. It looks smart and effective.
THE HURT LOCKER: When this comes to your town, I urge you to see this flick. Even if it doesn’t come to your town, go seek it out. It’s worth it. Many movies have come out in the past few years focusing on the war in Iraq and these movies have failed at the box office. Is it because the movies just aren’t that good? Is it because the war is still going on and people are tired of hearing about it on the news? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that this is a genuinely moving and suspenseful film. There were a few scenes that were quiet and subtle and after they were over, I realized I had been holding my breath the entire time. Jeremy Renner completely embraces his role and gives a magnificent performance. Don’t sleep.
THE MOVIES THAT MAY DISAPPOINT:
BRUNO: The trailer was really funny and I’m sure the movie will be as well, but will it live up to its predecessor? A bunch of people know Sascha Baron Cohen from Borat, he has accumulated a lot of money from his endeavors and is engaged to a hot little lady in Isla Fisher. Is it possible that Cohen will play it a little safer than the last go round?
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS: Isn’t Tarantino due for a dud? We all know that Quentin is not the most modest man on the planet and he has been working on the script for this film for over a decade. Is he trying to put too much into the story? Trying to squeeze in all those ideas he has come up with over the years? Will it be a masterpiece or will it just be a mess? The cast is comically diverse and the film was shot within a very short window in order to make the deadline for Cannes. I’m hoping for the best, but has Tarantino gotten too big for his britches?
PUBLIC ENEMIES: This is the one that scares me the most. Michael Mann, in my eyes, has only made one bad film (take a wild guess), but it was the most recent one. Could that have just been a kink in his armor or a director on the decline? Johnny Depp is a great actor, but was he chosen because he was right for the role or because of his box office draw? Channing Tatum as Pretty Boy Floyd? J. Edgar Hoover played by Billy Crudup? Regardless of anything (Miami Vice included), I must give Mann the benefit of the doubt.
And there you have it, folks. Another summer. Another movie. I will see you all at the movies. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go stand in line for tickets to “Dance Flick.”
-Jesse Rivers loathes the heat, so he spends all summer in the local theater. He doesn’t watch movies, he just hangs out. And be sure to check out Bagged and Boarded.
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