Thursday, May 13, 2010

Will there be any truly great movies this summer?

You know, I really do try to keep things positive around here, but given both the almost complete failure of "Iron Man 2" (well, not financially, of course) and the relative dearth of truly good movies that have preceded it this year, I think it's a fair question to ask: Will there be any great - or at least really good - movies in wide release this summer?

Well, just to prove I'm not a complete cynic, there are at least two that will indeed play everywhere that will surely fit that bill, and I threw in a third that I will certainly make the trip to see when it opens soon in Atlanta. There are, in fact, well more than 10 movies that I want to see between now and the end of August. I'm not usually much of a numbers guy, but I've rated them from 1 to 10 on a scale of just how likely they are to escape from my local multiplex without sucking. If there are any worthy entries that I have just snubbed, please feel free to let me know. Enjoy!

Friday: Robin Hood
The reviews for Ridley Scott's epic prequel (and at 2 hours and 20 minutes, epic I guess it better be) are just the definition of a mixed bag. Roger Moore, not James Bond but a movie critic I always trust, gave it three stars, but most of the geeks I've seen call it a failure. That has me slightly expecting the latter, but at least they decided not to convert it to 3D, and that's enough to make me take a chance on it this Saturday afternoon. Chances of not sucking: 6/10.

May 28: Micmacs
Jean Pierre Jeunet's latest movie is indeed the only one on this list you won't be able to see everywhere in America, but here's hoping that when it finally does get a nonfestival, U.S. release that will mean it comes to Atlanta for at least a week. The flick about a ragtag band of misfits who take on an arms manufacturer looks like it's almost completely suffused with that whimsically fun Jeunet spirit. Judge for yourself with the trailer below. Chances of not sucking: 9.5/10

June 4: Get Him to the Greek
I know there are plenty of people who find him to be thoroughly annoying, but I find Russell Brand's shtick to be very funny, and at least here he's not appearing in a thoroughly unnecessary remake of "Arthur" (yes, really, but at least Helen Mirren will be in it - in the Sir John Gielgud role). Here he continues his Aldous Snow role from the rather average "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," and Jonah Hill is the poor sap who has to babysit him. Chances of not sucking : 7/10 (though I'm probably being at least a bit generous there.)

June 4: Splice
It's entirely possible that I'm just being duped here, but I have a real hunger for intelligent sci-fi, and all signs so far point to this being a bit of that. Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody star in this Vincenzo Natali flick about two scientists who mess around with human DNA and come up with something, well, not entirely pleasant. Odds of not sucking 7.5/10

June 18: Toy Story 3
I may be the only person who thinks this, but Pixar has kinda been on a losing streak of late. Now, keep in mind, I mean that only in comparison to the long string of winners (with "Cars" being the exception) before that. "Up" was far from the best animated movie of 2009 ("Coraline," "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" and "The Princess and the Frog" were all better in my book), and as charming as "Wall-E" was, "Kung Fu Panda" was just a lot more fun. This summer, they've gone with a definite known entity, and though the toys in peril storyline will be gratingly familiar, I'm sure at least the introduction of Ken will be funny. I'll be there to find in GLORIOUS 2D. Chances of not sucking: 8/10.

July 2: The Last Airbender
M. Night Shyamalan? Really? Well, he desperately needs a winner, and he's at least starting with great source material in the wildly entertaining Nickelodeon animated series. He's taking it live action, of course, and bringing Dev Patel and The Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi along, so here's hoping this isn't the total disaster it certainly has the potential to be (hey, the man does have a record here.) Chances of not sucking: 6/10.

July 9: Despicable Me
I'm betting that, with Steve Carell voicing Gru, who wants to take over the world by stealing the moon, this flick will be funnier than "Toy Story 3," but I've been wrong at least once, and probably already today. Enjoy the latest trailer I could find. Chances of not sucking: 7/10.

July 16: Inception
OK, here it is, the make or break movie for this summer, because if this one somehow sucks, we're really screwed. With it being a genuine mindbender from Christopher Nolan starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page, however, I'd say the chances of that are very slim. Not entirely sure yet, but I think this will be my one midnight movie for the summer. Chances of not sucking: 9/10.

July 23: Dinner for Schmucks
This Jay Roach flick has at least two very funny things going for it in Carell and the even funnier Paul Rudd, but there's one big problem: The French original that it will have to live up to set the standard for comedy very high. From what I've seen so far in trailers, they made at least one very big change that doesn't bode well: In the Francis Veber original, they never make it to the titular dinner because they just annoy each other so much, but that will change in Roach's take. Do yourself a favor and rent Veber's "Le Diner de Cons" before going to see this one. Chances of not sucking: 7/10.

July 23: Salt
Phillip Noyce makes the short list of my very favorite directors largely on the strength of three flicks: "The Quiet American," "Catch a Fire" and "Rabbit-Proof Fence," but before making that trio of winners he was also quite adept at producing solid spy thrillers, including "Clear and Present Danger" and "Patriot Games." The latter should serve him well with this flick, which stars Angeline Jolie as Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent accused of being a Russian spy. Chances of not sucking: 7.5/10.

Aug. 13: Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World
Along with "Inception," this is the other flick I'm most looking forward to for this summer. Having read a couple of the Scott Pilgrim funny books, I'm confident that Edgar Wright is the right man for this, and that Michael Cera is too as our titular hero who has to battle the seven exes of his would-be paramour, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead.) As you can see from the trailer below, Wright's flick will at least look like nothing else you'll see this summer. Chances of not sucking: 9/10.

Aug. 13: Tales from Earthsea
This, unfortunately, won't be a Hayao Miyazaki movie, but any summer offering from Studio Ghibli is reason enough to rejoice for me. This one is actually directed by Miyazaki's son, Goro, and is based on the novel by Ursula K. Leguin. But will the master himself manage to make another movie? Nothing listed yet at the IMDB, but certainly keep hope alive, because his last one, "Ponyo," was simply fantastic. Chances of not sucking: 8/10.

Aug. 20: The Switch
The last time I took a chance on an August comedy almost entirely because Jason Bateman was in it, I was thoroughly burned with "Extract." I do, however, have enough of a reservoir of goodwill for the man to take a chance on this turkey baster comedy that also stars Jennifer Aniston, though not with terribly high hopes at all. Chances of not sucking: 6/10.

And there you have it, my guide to summer 2010. Please feel free to add any wide-release movies you think I might have slighted, and have a perfectly pleasant Thursday. Peace out.


jeremy said...

Oh man, I heard the nerds going *off* on Scott Pilgrim at the comic book store last week! The debate was about style and will it be overstylized. We'll see! (At least we know it'll be better than Jonah Hex!)
As for summer movies I'm looking forward to: The Kids are All Right, and a couple shameful ones (like Sorcerer's Apprentice and Prince of Persia).
But the movie I feel most shame around? "You Again" this fall.

Chalupa said...

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World looks cool. Is it just me or did the first section of that trailer scream Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind?

Reel Fanatic said...

It did indeed, Chalupa ... I think the best thing about the trailer might be the immediate shift in tone from that gauzy intro to the beatdowns

I'm afraid I can't go with you on Prince of Persia or Sorcerer's Apprentice (though I'll at least certainly give the latter a chance), but I would have listed The Kids Are All Right if it were going to play anywhere near me ... As for You Again, I'm sure it will be silly as hell, but you know I'm a sucker for anything with Veronica Mars in it

Anonymous said...

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J. Marquis said...

Man, I am really tired of Michael Cera. How many more movies is he gonna make where he's the underdog trying to win the girl? Enough already...

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm kinda getting to that point too, Mr. Marquis, but I'm willing to give him one more chance because Edgar Wright has done absolutely no wrong yet

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