Summer movies keep on rolling
In the spring we published the first half of our summer movie preview. Now that the Autobots have beat on the Decepticons in Transformers II: Revenge of the Fallen and Christopher Pike and Co. proved that Star Trek can be reinvented without Leonard Nimoy (sort of) and William Shatner, it’s time to look at what the rest of the summer has in store for film buffs.
If there’s one audience reaction that will be worth paying to see this summer, it’s the one that will be elicited when Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest practical joke is played upon those who saw the hilarity, but failed to recognize the parody or satire in his last film, 2006’s Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Officially titled Bruno: Delicious Journeys Through America for the Purpose of Making Heterosexual Males Visibly Uncomfortable in the Presence of a Gay Foreigner in a Mesh T-Shirt, it will be interesting to see some of the more conservative leaning Borat fans squirm when Cohen sets his sights on a whole new target.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Everyone’s favourite boy-wizard is all grown up in the sixth entry of the Harry Potter canon, with director David Yates stepping behind the camera once again, after directing 2007’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The plot of the film — the last before it all gets wrapped up 2010/11 with the two-part Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows enters decidedly darker territory, with Harry discovering even more about Lord Voldemort and undoubtedly dealing with his own increasing teenage orphan wizard angst as well.
Judd Apatow, aka Comedy Jesus, enters dramedy territory with the tale of a veteran comedian who, upon learning he is terminally ill, takes a budding performer under his wing. Starring Seth Rogen (aka the new Adam Sandler) as the newcomer and Adam Sandler (aka the old Seth Rogen) as the seasoned comedian, the trailer and subject matter suggest a more mature and responsible Apatow, which would likely bring a frown to all those who rejoiced in the crude, yet undeniably hilarious antics of Rogen and company in 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Attempting to capitalize on same sort of “Gee whiz, I had that toy in the 80s” wave of nostalgia that Michael Bay and his festival of suck better known as the Transformers movies have ridden to the tune of nearly half a billion dollars, Steven Sommers (Van Helsing, The Mummy) throws his hat into the ring with the simple and down-to-earth tale of an elite military unit comprised of special operatives that takes on an evil organization led by a notorious and mysterious arms dealer, only to fall in love and get married. Okay, so maybe I made the second part up.
Julie & Julia
Director Nora Ephron (You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle) brings blogger Julie Powell’s best-selling memoir Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen to the big screen. Starring Amy Adams (Enchanted) and Meryl Streep (every movie ever made, ever), the film tells the story of two women who, though separated by time and space, are both at loose ends … until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter. Yeah, the guys might want to stay at home for this one.
Newcomer Neill Blomkamp, who had been touted as a possible director for the long rumoured Halo movie, brings the feature-length version of his short film Alive In Joburg to the big screen, thanks in part to producer Peter Jackson. The film, which is set in South Africa, provides a new spin on the whole alien invasion premise; where an extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly find a kindred spirit in a government agent that is exposed to their biotechnology. Here’s hoping that summer movie goers won’t be turned off by a film that offers some shred of originality.
The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard
Apparently Will Ferrell was too busy doing his horse’s ass shtick elsewhere to take part in this film from former Chappelle’s Show writer/producer Neal Brennan. In a role that seems tailor-made for the sort of buffoonery that the aforementioned Ferrell has made a career out of, The Goods stars the far more talented Jeremy Piven as used-car liquidator Don Ready, who is hired by a flailing auto dealership to turn their Fourth of July sale into a majorly profitable event. The film boasts a decent enough supporting cast to give reason for optimism, including Ed Helms (The Hangover), Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction), and Rob Riggle (TV’s The Daily Show). Oh, and Will Ferrell makes an appearance. How wonderful.
Everyone’s favourite former video store employee turned egomaniacal director returns with the tale of a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as “The Basterds,” who are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis. Despite the presence of Tarantino and stars Brad Pitt and Mike Myers (yes, that’s right, Mike Myers), the film (a remake of the 1978 Italian film Quel maledetto treno blindato) received mixed reviews following it’s premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Look for a tweaked version when it hits theatres.
Well, it’s the end of August and you know what that means — horror movies start hitting the theatre in droves. Yeah, I had no idea either, but that appears to be just the case. First off is the sequel to Rob Zombie’s ill-advised Halloween remake. Every time one of these movies comes out it’s the same thing. First off comes the critical lambasting, and then audiences flock to the movie anyways. Zombie’s first Halloween effort currently sits at 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, and despite only costing $20 million, it raked in a tidy $60 million at the box office. Originality be damned!
The Final Destination
Yeah, it better be the final one. Taking a terrible franchise to the only place left to go, the hacks behind the Final Destination oeuvre are now going to bring all the suck of the prior films right up in your grill thanks to the glory that is 3D filmmaking. Director (and former stunt coordinator) David R. Ellis and a cast of people you’ve never heard of are set to act out yet another exercise in tediousness, revolving around someone or other have a premonition involving the death of them and their friends. Too bad it’s only a movie.