Thursday, July 31, 2008

Can Sony right a serious superhero wrong ... and are you ready to laugh?

I've railed in this space far too many times on just why I hate the movie "Spider-Man 3" so much, but now Sony is about to take a chance on fixing perhaps the flick's biggest mistake (among many.)

Even if they are doing it only because they mistakenly believe that the box-office bonanza that is "The Dark Knight" (which is worthy of every penny it's earned and more, in my book) guarantees that America wants more superhero flicks where the villains take center stage, it does owe "Venom" a serious apology and some proper screen time.

By the time the character was introduced in Raimi's rather dismal flick it had already lost its charms for more than an hour or so. However, in the hands of a good writer, a better actor (though you really can't blame Topher Grace for what happened to "Spider-Man 3") and a director who cares more about the franchise than Raimi seemed to in the third Spidey installment, a "Venom" flick could be really, really good. And, frankly, possibly even better than the "Spider-Man 4" that Sony is also developing for 2011.

And, in the only news that really made me laugh out loud this morning, it seems that Freddie Prinze Jr., a k a Mr. Sarah Michelle Gellar, has joined forces with World Wrestling Entertainment. However, for all of those who - like me - were hoping this would mean him climbing into the ring to get pummeled by a 400-lb. steroid-gobbler, I have to break the bad news that this will be a strictly behind-the-scenes kind of gig. Vince McMahon, a longtime master of professional wrestling's art of hyperbole, had this to say about his latest acquisition:

"Freddie Prinze Jr.'s passion, energy and creativity make him an excellent fit for WWE. Bringing on board an experienced Hollywood writer, actor and producer like Freddie Prinze Jr. will only increase the level of entertainment to millions of viewers and passionate WWE fans every Monday on USA."

Ha! I'd have to say he's at least got the first sentence in that gush just about right, and hopefully the movies coming next will be somewhere near as funny as that (though, I have my doubts.)

August: A month to laugh?

If I'm not mistaken (though I too often am), my favorite comedy of 2007, "Superbad" (by just a nose over "Hot Fuzz") came out last August, but I'm not sure this year's late-summer laughers - though there are a lot of them - will come close to that standard.

Here's what's coming (and, oddly enough, all on Wednesdays):

Pineapple Express: Aug. 6
Even if it is just a stoner movie, I have fairly high hopes for this one. Just the redband trailer in which James Franco shows what really happens when you try to kick out the windshield of a moving car was enough to get me laughing rather hard.

"Tropic Thunder": Aug. 13
I'm still holding out hope that this one will be a very funny spoof of full-blown action spectacles, but there are some ominous signs. The fact that just about the only thing they show in most trailers I've seen is Robert Downey Jr. in black face (which, I must admit, really is rather funny) can't be a good omen.

"The Rocker" : Aug. 20
Apparently the director of "The Full Monty" just really likes making movies about naked dudes. More than 10 years after unleashing that on the world, director Peter Cattaneo is back with this tale of Rainn Wilson as "the naked drummer." I have my doubts this will be the vehicle to make the very-funny Mr. Wilson a big-screen star, but here's hoping I'm wrong. It does have a "Superbad" link in Emma Stone, Jules from that flick and one of Rainn's young bandmates in this one.

And, there is a possible wild card out there. For months now, always-welcome visitor Jeremy has been on me to watch "The Wackness," but the groovy comedy hasn't played anywhere near me - until maybe now. If my TV didn't lie last night, it will indeed be playing "everywhere" soon, and just might turn into the little summer flick that becomes a surprise hit. Wait and see ... and feel free to me know if you have any hope at all for the comedies of August. As a parting gift, enjoy this seriously cool "Empire" magazine cover starring some of the "Watchmen." Peace out.


Chris said...

Pineapple is hilarious...some of the people I saw it with said they liked it better than Superbad but I think it was because of the "just saw it" factor.

As for Tropic I've seen a couple of scenes from this and it was pretty funny...although not laugh out loud hysterical. I'm eager to see the Tom Cruise bit...but something bothers me about this movie as well. Even the red band trailer for this isn't exactly great. Hopefully they're keeping the funnier stuff close to the vest.

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks for the good word on Pineapple Express, Chris .. I'm definitely gonna be there to see it as soon as I can!

Ms☆Go said...

Pineapple was disappointing to me, but I'm still curious about Tropical Thunder.

And Dr. Manhattan BETTER give the FULL FRONTAL at some point in the movie, dammit!

Reel Fanatic said...

As far as the latter point, DC Movie Girl, I have a pretty strong suspicion our blue friend is gonna be more than a little Ken-dolled ... And I have higher hopes for "Tropic Thunder" after reading in yesterday's NYT that one of their main points to skewer is how playing a handicapped person of any kind is the golden ticket to an Oscar

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