By our guest blogger, Matt Schimkowitz
With the dry spell of the Spring movie season now thankfully over, it’s time to get excited for the wham-bam spectacle of the summer months and all its wonderful car chases, talking animals, and explosions. Here's what's creating a buzz:
“Sucker Punch” – Zach Snyder once again kicks off the season, and it looks like he has enough fanboy wish fulfillment in “Sucker Punch” to keep action fans quivering for weeks. The plot: A couple of scantily clad female warriors battle their way across a robot and zombie filled dream-world to escape their own asylum-imprisoned reality. Frank Miller must be kicking himself for not thinking of this one first.
“Super” – Do we need another post-modern superhero movie? Director James Gunn seems to think so. “The Office” star Rainn Wilson stars as the ill-equipped hero who turns to crime fighting after his wife leaves him. Gunn proved his genre-lampooning worth with the hilarious, and disgusting, horror-comedy “Slither.” But it remains to be seen if people actually want to see these self-referential superhero movies. The lackluster returns of “Watchmen” and “Kick-Ass” point to no.
“Your Highness” – There are few things more intriguing in Hollywood right now than the star power of Danny McBride, who’s caused a well-deserved stir with HBO’s “Eastbound and Down,” and the living art project James Franco, and “Your Highness” is the proof. The film follows these two playing a couple of knights searching for a lost princess. Natalie Portman, Zooey Daeschenel also star in this epic comedy from “Pineapple Express” director David Gordon Green. Who knows who approved this one, but let’s thank Merlin they did.
“Thor” – Thor is one of the most mythic and dramatic of Marvel’s hero’s gallery, so who better to direct his feature film debut than the Shakespearian madman Kenneth Branagh. The director hopes to bring that kind of over-the-top dramatics to the son of Odin, and given that Thor’s a pretty over-the-top character, Branagh’s sense of indulgence already seems to fit like a glove. At the very least, Branagh’s directing makes “Thor” one of the more intriguing superhero pictures this year.
“Bride’s Maids” – There are two big reasons to be excited for “Bride’s Maids.” 1) This is the first collaboration between writer/director Paul Feig (“The Office” and “Arrested Development”) and super producer Judd Apatow since the beloved cult classic “Freaks and Geeks.” 2) The hilarious Kristin Wiig finally gets to be the star of her own show. It’s about time for both.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” – After the disappointing response to the second two “Pirates” sequels, Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney went for the cash grab, dragging Johnny Depp back into puffy shirts and boots. “Stranger Tides” features the iconic Jack Sparrow on a quest for the Fountain of Youth; though, it doesn’t look too different from his search for Davy Jones’ locker. Still, with Penelope Cruz coming aboard, as well as “Chicago” director Rob Marshall, the franchise should have a couple surprises left in store.
“The Hangover: Part Two” – Comedy sequels are tricky territory -- just ask “Caddyshack.” But there’s something about Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis putting their night back together in Bangkok that seems destined for hilarity. Director Todd Phillips returns as well, and hopefully, can keep the laughs going over this second film.
“Kung-Fu Panda 2” – There are few things DreamWorks likes more than beating a dead horse, or I guess, in this case, Panda. Here’s the first of what will probably 10,000 sequels in the franchise. Jack Black returns to fight a new villain. Thrilling.
“X-Men: First Class” -- This ones been in development for awhile, but apparently all it took was “Kick-Ass” director and “X-Men” expatriate, Matthew Vaughn. He may have quit filming “X-Men 3,” once upon a time, but he’s back to finish the job, by bringing the story of Magneto and Professor X’s broken friendship to the screen. Don’t let the laughably Photoshopped posters fool you, the yellow spandex is back and the trailer promises everything “X3” lacked: story and character.
“Super 8” – As if anyone had more reasons to be excited about “Star Trek” director J.J. Abrams mysterious “Super 8,” the trailer is rife with early-Spielberg fun. Not much is known about this one, but it follows a gang of kids trying finish a movie, while some sort of mutant terrorizes their small town. It kind of looks like “E.T.” had E.T. been played by Godzilla. More than that, it looks fantastic.
“Green Lantern” – Ryan Reynolds fights intergalactic crime in brightest day and blackest night in the live-action first “Green Lantern” movie ever. Lantern has always been one D.C.’s most popular heroes, but because of a convoluted mythology and kooky character designs, he’s always been left out of box office. He gets his chance this summer as Reynolds dons the ring and gives the Green Lantern the shot he deserves.
“Bad Teacher” – Cameron Diaz tries to get her “There’s Something about Mary” groove back in “Bad Teacher.” She plays an incompetent teacher raising money for breast implants to impress the school’s new model educator, Justin Timberlake. Jason Siegel also pops up to give the film a comedic nudge in the right direction.
“Cars 2” – Are there any Pixar franchises less exciting than “Cars”? No, of course not. “Cars 2” doesn’t promise much. From its lifeless trailer to the casting of Larry the Cable Guy, there are few reasons to see “Cars 2.” But keep in mind, a bad movie produced by Pixar is about 10 times better than a good movie produced by a different studio.
Check back with us in a few weeks for the rest of this summer’s most anticipated movies.