Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The joys of summer: 10 to definitely get geeked up for

Instead of using this space to announce my personal multiplex boycott (which will only last about a week and a half anyways), I've decided to keep things positive and future-oriented here today. Besides, the friggin Baltimore Orioles are 6-1, so what could really be so wrong with the world at this moment?

Now, two things you won't see in my summer 2008 preview are any movies directed by Fred Durst (he actually has one coming out in July called "The Comebacks") because, well, he's Fred Durst, or - despite its obvious primal charms - Anna Faris' turn as a Playboy bunny in "House Bunny" on Aug. 22. (But, as you can clearly see, I have rather crassly included - in honor of both summer and, well, Anna Faris - a picture of her in character.)

Unfortunately, you also won't see any little comedies with the potential charms of a "Waitress" or "Little Miss Sunshine," not because I don't want them but simply because I couldn't find them. If you know of any I'm missing, please let me know. One more disclaimer: I'm really looking forward to "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" on April 18, but since this is about summer, I've restricted this preview to May to August.

And now, without any further hesitation, are 10 movies I surely won't miss seeing this summer, in order of just how unreasonably geeked up for each I am (and in a few cases, the trailers too.)

10. Redbelt
If you're gonna make yet another movie about the world of underground fighting, do you really cast Tim Allen in one of the leads? Two things in this one's favor, though: The truly great Chiwetel Ejiofor is the badass at the flick's center, and it springs from the mind of David Mamet who, oddly enough, is apparently a purple belt in jujitsu himself. I sure hope this plays wide when it opens May 2 and kicks off Summer with a real bang. (The trailer is below.)

9. The Happening
No one is more in need of a winner than poor M. Night Shyamalan, and I, at least, am hoping he gets it with this one. Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel and the always-welcome John Leguizamo lead the cast in this "environmental thriller" which, as far as I can muster, is about some kind of force that leads people to commit suicide. Man, do I hope this doesn't just suck when it comes out June 19.

8. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
This one should be pretty fascinating, if I indeed have my plot summary right. Instead of taking on Nazis, according to Mike Mignola, this time Ron Perlman, Selma Blair and the crew will be taking on some crazy version of the American Indian who - and can you really blame them? - have gotten their hands on a nuclear weapon or some other silliness and turned on the gringos. I can't see myself really cheering against Indians, but man do I love me some Hellboy, so I'll be there July 11. (The trailer is below.)

7. Iron Man
The more I see of this one the more I'm convinced that Robert Downey Jr. really does have the chops to play our hero May 2 and turn this one into a franchise. Director Jon Favreau has plans to make it at least a trilogy, and you can look for Downey just about everywhere this summer, turning up as Tony Stark again in "The Incredible Hulk" on June 19 and in black face for "Tropic Thunder" on July 11.

6. X-Files 2
Chris Carter said he has struggled to come up with a better title for this one, but I'll be there no matter what it's called July 25. The plot, of course, is pretty tightly under wraps, but I do know that - unlike the rather disastrous first X-Files flick - this one will spring almost directly from one of the show's late storylines (possibly about Scully's offspring), so it should be great.

5. Pineapple Express
Anyone who knows me knows that I hold comedy in extremely high esteem, so you'll find two in the big five, starting with this Camp Apatow offering starring former "Geeks" James Franco and Seth Rogen. Frankly, I can take or leave stoner comedies, but judging from the trailer below this one should definitely provide some serious laughs on August 8.

4. The Rocker
I had forgotten all about this one, but since it stars comedy god Rainn Wilson I'm certainly hoping its almost as funny as it is sure to be simply silly on Aug. 1. Wilson is Robert "Fish" Fishman, the devoted drummer who gets kicked out of the '80s hair band Vesuvius. Twenty years later, he jumps at the chance to make his comeback in A.D.D., the high school rock band fronted by his nephew. If something in that doesn't make you laugh, I probably just can't help you.

3. Wall-E
OK, it's only the big guns from here on out. I don't think Pixar's latest offering will reach the lofty perch that "Ratatouille" holds in my heart, but here's hoping anyway. I do know that it will be an odd offering, with a lot of none-too-subtle preaching about environmentalism and the dangers of Wal-Mart, plus an opening half-hour with no human dialogue at all. Find out if it works or not June 27. (The trailer is below.)

2. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"
It was a photo finish at the top, but in the end, I'm just not as excited about Harrison Ford's return to his most famous role as I am about the flick that nabbed the top spot on this list. Now, mind you, I will, assuming there is one, turn out for a midnight show when this opens May 22 (the day after my birthday!), and will hopefully cheer like a giddy kid at least once.

1. "The Dark Knight"
In spite of the tough competition from "Indy," this one was really a no-brainer for me. Either I've managed to tune it out or Warner Bros. has actually resisted the urge to crassly use the late Heath Ledger to market Christopher Nolan's flick. Besides, with a definite step up from Katie Holmes to Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes and the addition of Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent, I really don't see any possible way this one can suck on July 18.

So, there you have it. Please feel free to add any I have missed, and have a perfectly pleasant Wednesday. Peace out.


Chris said...

"Son Of Rambow" might just become that little feel-good-movie of the year... if it gets shown anywhere, that is! We have a release date for late summer here in Europe, but if that's going to happen... we'll see! At least the trailer looks very good to me. Check it here:

Apart from that, cool list... many things to look forward to!

Reel Fanatic said...

That is one I would definitely like to see, Chris, but at least where I live it will almost certainly have to be on DVD

Kayleigh said...

Son Of Rambow is really good.
I too am looking forward to The Happening. I'm a huge Shyamalan fan, even liking Lady in the Water, and think he needs a massive hit to remind everyone what he's capable of. Plus I adore Zooey Deschanel.

Reel Fanatic said...

I can't say I'm with you on Lady in the Water, Kayleigh, but am willing to concede that perhaps I am simply too jaded to enjoy a "bedtime story," or whatever he was going for with that one

J. Marquis said...

I would love to see M. Night have a big success this summer. He's that rare director who can make smart thrillers with heart.

Mercurie said...

Indy and Hellboy are the two I am most psyched about, although I am looking forward to Iron Man and The Dark Knight as well.

Linda said...

This is a great list. Something about the Wall-e trailers just makes me smile. Indy, Batman and Ironman look promising as well. Gotta rewatch Batman Begins to prep for The Dark Knight......

sexy said...