Thursday, April 26, 2007

Summer movies already?

With Spider-Man 3 here next week, the answer, amazingly, is yes.

And with Transformers, ogres, pirates and even Bruce Willis back for more, there's a lot of giants roaming around. Here are some others I'm looking forward to, although many will fall far short of that stature. Feel free to let me know of any I'm missing out on.

May 2: Waitress
Before she was murdered in her apartment last fall, Adrienne Shelly managed to direct this seemingly charming little movie starring Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion. If it indeed does play wide enough to reach my little corner of the world, it will probably only be because Hollywood is convinced that we Southerners just can't get enough of Andy Griffith (and they're right.)

May 4: Away From Her
Canadian Sarah Polley, who I've adored ever since "The Sweet Hereafter," makes her directorial debut with this tale about the effect of Alzheimer's disease on a couple who have been married for 50 years.

May 11: 28 Weeks Later
The presence of Robert Carlyle and Harold Perrineau are enough to give me hope that, even without Danny Boyle in the director's chair, this zombie sequel won't somehow just suck hard.

The Ex
Frankly, I think I've reached my limit with Zach Braff confused-young-man movies, but this one does have a stellar cast with Amanda Peet, Jason Bateman, Mia Farrow and Charles Grodin. Braff plays an underachiever who is forced to take the one job he doesn’t want – working for his father-in-law – after his wife becomes pregnant and quits her high-paying job.

May 18: The Wendell Baker Story
If we can't get a Wes Anderson flick any time soon, this appears to be the next best thing. Written by Luke and Andrew Wilson, it stars all three Wilson dudes and Seymour Cassell, Eva Mendes, Harry Dean Stanton and Kris Kristofferson. According to the IMDB, "Luke Wilson plays a good-hearted ex-con who gets a job in a retirement hotel. Three elderly residents help him win back his girlfriend (Eva Mendes) as he lends them a hand in fighting hotel corruption."

June 1: Knocked Up
The summer of Seth Rogen officially begins with this Judd Apatow comedy about a one-night stand that turns into a whole lot more for Rogen and the adorable Katherine Heigl. I have it on good authority from Yahoo! Movie Mom Nell Minow that Paul Rudd steals the show in this one.

June 22: A Mighty Heart
Sure, it has possibly the worst movie title ever, and all the publicity so far has been about how many children Angelina has managed to adopt during the filming, but I still have hope that this flick about slain journalist Daniel Pearl will turn out to be good. Why? Director Michael Winterbottom. Nuff said.

June 27: You Kill Me
Director John Dahl returns with an offbeat love story that sounds right up his alley. Ben Kingsley stars as a hitman from Buffalo who is sent to the West Coast to dry out. He attends AA meetings, gets a sponsor and lands a job in a mortuary, where he meets a woman who is a relative of one his hits.

June 29: Ratatouille
I believe this Pixar offering, from "Iron Giant" director Brad Bird, has been pushed up a week to avoid being mauled by those giant car/robots. After being rather disappointed with "Cars," I'm confident Bird will make this solidly entertaining for both adults and kids.

July 4: Rescue Dawn
This Werner Herzog flick looks like a true oddity. A fictional remake of one Herzog's own documentaries, "Little Dieter Wants to Fly," it stars Christian Bale as a U.S. fighter pilot who struggles to survive after being shot down in a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War. And amazingly, this is listed as playing wide.

July 13: Talk To Me
Count this one as my hope for sleeper hit of the summer, though it seems unlikely. Kasi Lemmons ("Eve's Bayou") makes a return to directing with the true story of Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene (Don Cheadle), an outspoken ex-con who talked his way into becoming an iconic radio personality in the 1960s in Washington, D.C. Chiwetel Ejiofor's on board too, so this one should just be great.

July 20: Milos Forman's Goya's Ghosts
A Goya biopic in the middle of July? Sheesh. Scheduling aside, this one boasts a great cast, with Javier Bardem as Goya plus Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgard.

July 27: No Reservations
I wouldn't have included this one at all if I hadn't seen the German (if I remember right) movie it was based on, "Mostly Martha," and found it to be charming. Catherine Zeta Jones and Aaron Eckhart star in the American remake about a hard-charging lady chef who finally takes time out of her busy schedule to cook up some lovin'. Sounds cheesy, but it might work.

The Simpsons Movie
Please, please, please just let this be funny. The few clips I've seen so far say it will be.

Aug. 3: The Bourne Ultimatum
Paul Greengrass returns with Matt Damon for what should be the end of the Bourne saga. Let the spy games begin.

Hot Rod
In premise at least, this has the potential to be very funny. Self-proclaimed stuntman Rod Taylor (Andy Samberg) is preparing for the jump of his life. Rod plans to clear 15 buses in an attempt to raise money for his abusive stepfather Frank's life-saving heart operation. He'll land the jump, get Frank better, and then fight him, hard. I was laughing already reading that, so this better be good.

Resurrecting the Champ
This makes the list on the strength of Samuel L. Jackson alone, because the movie itself just sounds pretty damn sappy. In this Rod Lurie flick, an up-and-coming sports reporter (Josh Hartnett, meh) befriends and rescues a homeless man (Jackson), only to find out he was once a champion boxer. I think you can see where this is going.

Aug. 17: Superbad
Call it the summer of Seth Rogan, chapter two. Rogen wrote the script for this tale about two teenagers (Arrested Development's Michael Cera is one of them) on an epic quest: To score some beer and maybe even some chicks. I guarantee this will be very funny.

Christina Ricci and James McAvoy (double huzzah) star in what's described as "a modern day offbeat fable about a young woman who, having spent her life trapped by a family curse, sets out to find love and discover her true self. Not my kind of thing, but I'll watch Christina Ricci do just about anything.

Wedding Daze
Man, are there a lot of romantic comedies this summer. This one, however, springs from the mind of the very funny Micheal Ian Black and stars utterly adorable Isla Fisher, so there may be hope for it (then again, it does also star Jason Biggs, unfortunately.) Here's the plot: After losing the woman of his dreams, Anderson (Biggs) is convinced he'll never fall in love again. But at the urging of his best friend, he spontaneously proposes to a dissatisfied waitress named Katie (Fisher) and an innocent dare evolves into ... well, I can only assume, lovin'.

Aug. 31: The Brothers Solomon
Check the date: Aug. 31 (my brother's birthday) means this list has come to an end. Arrested Development alumnus Will Arnett and Will Forte star as a pair of well-meaning but socially inept brothers who try to find their perfect mates in order to provide their dying father with a grandchild.

And there you have it. What movies are you really excited about seeing this summer? Feel free to let me know, and have an entirely nonsucky day.


vasta said...

When mid-April rolls around, and the sun starts peeking through the clouds, I know it's time for my annual summer movie roundup. I posted mine just over a week ago, and the anticipation has been rising significantly!

Ashok said...

How about "The Bourne Ultimatum" ?? I liked the way the first two were taken. So this is definitely in my list to watch.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm definitely psyched for that one, Ashok .. I like the low-tech spy flicks that we don't get to see nearly often enough anymore

jeremy said...

John Dahl has another flick--go figure. He's from my alma mater and called my senior film fun, funny, and stylish. Considering his films are so (over)styled, I took it as a huge complement. From what you've read of You Kill Me, does it have its roots in noir? Or is more of a black comedy?

jeremy said...

P.S. We had to sit through his senior film--a b&w zombie/mad scientist flick that had a couple fun moments, but at nearly 2 hours long, was more like pulling teeth.

Stace said...

Looking forward to The Simpsons, Bourne and Spidey

Anonymous said...

don't forget will ferrell is in the movie with the wilson brothers!

Reel Fanatic said...

I haven't read too much about the Dahl flick, Jeremy, but from what I can tell so far I'd say it's more of a black comedy ... Ben Kingsley should at least be fun to watch, even if the movie isn't terribly good

renee said...

Wow, that's a lot of films. You're going to have a busy summer!

I saw Waitress this week and loved it. So charming and great acting. Seeing Nathan Fillion in that and then in Drive, just really highlights his range. Andy Griffith is fantastic, too! And I even live way up north.

Reel Fanatic said...

I don't know if you've heard yet, Renee, but they've apparently pulled the plug on "Drive" ... Not a great return to TV for Mr. Fillion, so hopefully he'll have better luck soon

Divinity said...

ACK! No Drive? Gorram networks!
I'm still looking forward to Lucky You but more for Doyle Brunson than Luke Wilson...

Marina said...

I had to do a double take! For a minute there I thought my list had been leaked onto the net! ;)

renee said...

Yeah, I heard that Drive got cancelled already. I wasn't sure that I loved it, but I would have liked a little more time for things to develop. I already hate Fox so much for cancelling Arrested Development and I am just still amazed that they keep crap like "The War at Home" on air.

Reel Fanatic said...

The War at Home is indeed the most maddening show on TV, Renee ... I tuned in for a a few episodes at the beginning to support Michael Rappaport, who I've liked quite a bit in the past, but it was just atrocious, and still is ... I don't know how TV networks can launch a show as ambitious as Drive and give up on it after only four episodes, but I'm constantly amazed by things I should have gotten used to long ago

Linda said...

Spiderman, Simpsons and Talk To Me get my votes. Looks like a promising summer at the theater!!

Jonathan said...

What? No Rush Hour 3 props? All sarcasm aside, I can't think of anything you haven't touched upon. And while I'm sure it's going to suck, the best moment I've seen in a Summer Movie Preview so far is Bruce Willis taking out the helicopter with his car in the trailer for "Live Free or Die Hard." His brilliant aside, "I was out of bullets" makes me yearn for the days when Bruce Willis was acting in some terrific films like say, the first two "Die Hard" films. And there was also those small releases, "The Sixth Sense" and "Pulp Fiction." I think a few people saw those as well.

It makes you wish that with Shylaman and Willis both needing hits they would go back and make a sequel a lot of us film geeks would actually like to see to "Unbreakable." But then that probably wouldn't make half the money that "Die Hard 4" will. Here's to being selfish and wanting good movies; silly me.

Reel Fanatic said...

Nothing wrong with being selfish, Jonathan ... The fact there hasn't been a sequel to Unbreakable just depresses me more each time I think about it, especially since it was set up so well at the end of that flick, M. Night's last great one

Divinity said...

Oops, it's Eric Bana not Luke Wilson in "Lucky You". Like I said, I'm not going to see the "stars". Bring on Lindgren and Negreanu!

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