Monday, March 30, 2009

The joys of summer: Ten (or maybe 13) flicks I'm really looking forward to

Actually, the most important thing happening possibly today for fans of great television is that DirecTV and NBC are expected to announce whether or not they've come to an agreement for a fourth and fifth season of "Friday Night Lights."

Now, I know I talk about this show a whole lot, but you'll just have to believe me that it's that good. It's the best TV drama since "The Wire," and in the interest of full disclosure, it routinely comes very close to making this grownass man cry at its most touching moments.

If you've missed out on the ride thus far, it's easy to catch up, and free too. I was rather amazed to find you can watch the first two seasons and the second half of the current one on Hulu, so I encourage anyone to give it a try.

The final decision, of course, will come down to money, specifically how much DirecTV is willing to pay to air the shows before they hit NBC. I'll definitely pass on what I hear as soon as I can, but here today it's all about summer, and what's in the movie pipeline.

There's actually some pretty good stuff coming before summer, which for argument's sake will start in May, including this week Greg Mottola's "Adventureland" and - if you live in a bigger city than me - "Sunshine Cleaning" and Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's baseball flick "Sugar," and next week Jody Hill's "Observe and Report." For a look at what comes after those that intrigues me, here goes (and please forgive any misspellings, because the Blogger spell check just wouldn't work this morning):

May 21: Terminator Salvation

I really had little to no interest in this one until I saw the latest trailer, but am now fairly convinced that McG will cook up something both genuinely gritty and fun with it. McG? Yes, McG.

May 29: Three definitely worth waiting for

The Brothers Bloom: Memorial day weekend will probably be the single best movie weekend of 2009 if Rian Johnson's sophomore flick actually manages to play wide enough to reach my little corner of the world. It was originally supposed to come out late last year, and I've certainly been ready to see this con man flick starring Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz and Rinko Kikuchi since then.

Drag Me to Hell: If anyone short of Sam Raimi were promising a return to "real horror" I'd probably just laugh and move on, but judging from the trailer above I think he's come up with exactly that. If you hooked her up to a lie detector I bet Ellen Page would reveal she regrets passing on the lead in this tale of an old woman's rather nasty curse and handing the role to Alison Lohman.

Up: Having seen just last weekend what 3D can do in the wrong hands, being thoroughly bored from start to finish by Dreamworks' "Monsters Vs. Aliens," I can't wait to see it used for the forces of good again by Pixar. Everything I've seen and heard about this tale of an adventurous septuagenarian (Ed Asner) and his flying house says it's gonna be yet another Pixar winner.

June 19

Whatever Works: After countless years of casting his muse of the moment, Woody Allen has finally looked in the mirror and turned to a cranky old man as the lead in this one, and thankfully it's veryfunnyman Larry David. Here's hoping the success of "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (my favorite comedy of 2009) means this return to NYC for Mr. Allen will play very wide.

Year One: As you can see from the trailer above, the humor in this Harold Ramis flick will be extremely broad but hopefully also on the mark. Jack Black and Michael Cera play the leads in this biblical laugher, which Ramis promises was made in the spirit of Monty Python. I have my doubts, but bring it on so we can find out.

July 1: Public Enemies

Having tried it out on one of my Johnny Depp-obsessed co-workers when she was having a particularly bad day, I can attest that there's just something extremely therapeutic about seeing him tote a tommy gun. Christian Bale will be the lawman who pursues Depp's John Dillinger in Michael Mann's flick, and you've also got Marion Cotillard as Dillinger's mol and Billy Crudup as J. Edgar Hoover, which all sounds pretty great to me.

July 10: Bruno

I'm not sure I'm ready for more of Sacha Baron Cohen's antics, but I laughed through just about every minute of "Borat," so I'll give him another shot. Besides, early word is that his exploits as the Austrian fashion reporter Bruno are at least as outrageous as anything he came up with the first time out, so it should at least never be boring.

July 17: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

It will be interesting to see if Harry Potter mania will still be running strong after such a long layoff. Given what director David Yates did with "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" and that this installment is easily my favorite of the books, I'm betting this one will be both a critical and box-office winner.

July 31: Funny People

As you can see from the trailer above (which reveals perhaps too much of the flick's story), there's a whole lot more than stand-up comedy going on in this Judd Apatow movie starring Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen. Given how often we hear the "Freaks and Geeks" creator's name nowadays, it's surprising (to me, at least) that this will be only the third flick he's actually directed, preceded by "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up" (the far superior of the two).

August 7: Julie and Julia

Far too girly for the heat of August, perhaps, but when you've got Meryl Streep and adorable Amy Adams in a movie that's all about food, I'm there. Streep will play master chef Julia Child and Adams a woman who decides to cook her way through Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in one year's time in her small kitchen. Sounds like nothing but fun to me.

August 14: Taking Woodstock

Out of some odd misguided loyalty to Dave Chappelle I've thus far resisted watching Comedy Central's latest sketch comedy star, Demetri Martin, but I'm beginning to think I'm really missing out on something good. Should I give in? As you can see from the trailer above, Mr. Martin also plays the lead role of Elliot Tiber in Ang Lee's flick about the famed hippie fest, which looks like it will be as simply silly as it is hopefully entertaining.

August 21: Inglourious Basterds

We finish, fittingly enough, with Quentin Tarantino's version of a World War II flick, assuming he actually both finishes it in time and decides to cut it enough to release it as only one movie. After watching Eli Roth removing a Nazi's head with a baseball bat I have serious doubts that this will be any good, but I'll definitely be there to see how it all turns out.

And there you have it. There are also certainly some pending blockbusters ("GI Joe", "Star Trek" and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" among them) that simply don't interest me all that much, but if there are any other summer flicks I've omitted but should put on my radar, certainly let me know, and have a perfectly passable Monday. Peace out.


Chalupa said...

Have you seen the trailer for "The Boat that Rocks?" Looks promising and stars Philip Seymour Hoffman. Reminds me of his character from "Almost Famous."

Reel Fanatic said...

I haven't yet, but I'll certainly check it out, though I have to assume that's one that probably won't make it out to my little corner of the world until it hits DVD .. thanks for the heads up!

jeremy said...

I thought for sure that "Away We Go" would be on the list.

and, for good measure, the trailer:

Reel Fanatic said...

That's one that slipped by me, Jeremy, but one I'll definitely be checking out, because the trailer (especially that bit at the end) is just hilarious

Mercurie said...

I think of the summer flicks, Drag Me To Hell, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Up, and Public Enemies are the ones that I am looking forward to the most.

J. Marquis said...

I'm also looking forward to the Terminator Salvation flick.

I really like the whole Terminator concept. The third movie was a waste of time but the TV show is actually pretty interesting.

Bob said...

This may turn out to be a good movie summer after all. If you haven't seen it yet, definitely check out the trailer for "500 Days of Summer." It's got Joseph Gordon Levitt and (my favorite) Zooey Deschanel. It looks great!
I've got new reviews up for "Duplicity," "Sunshine Cleaning," and "I Love You, Man," too. If you haven't seen "Man" yet you need to. I guarantee you'll love it.

Reel Fanatic said...

I have seen "I Love You, Man," Bob, but I'm afraid I can't say I loved it ... I'm afraid I just got way too into all the clips that came out in advance, so felt like I had seen all the funniest parts already ... the funniest thing that surprised me was Segel's line about "hybrid animals" ... That one just made me laugh out loud ... I did, however, almost unconditionally love "Duplicity," which surprised me quite a bit .. I'll definitely stop by to read your reviews instead of doing work tomorrow ... And, amazingly enough, I got invited to the Atlanta Film Festival in a few weeks as a "member of the press" ... They're showing "500 Days of Summer" there, but I can only get in with my pass if it doesn't sell out in advance ... here's hoping!

Vance said...

FNL has been RENEWED!!! WAHOO!!!

Yes Demitri Martin is funny. The show has ups and downs but I've loved his routine for a while now. But yet again Ang Lee seems to be taking a whole new genre again and another fantastic (if eclectic) cast!

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks for the good word on FNL, Vance ... I generally only check the wires in the morning, so hadn't heard that yet, but it makes me smile so much ... I don't know what they're gonna do with so many great characters graduating, but I imagine a lot of them will hand around Dillon or at least close by