2010 Summer Movie Preview – Part 1 May 4, 2010Posted by Matt in movies.
Tags: Get Him to the Greek, Grown Ups, Iron Man 2, Jonah Hex, Killers, Knight and Day, MacGruber, Marmaduke, Prince of Persia, reviews, Robin Hood, Shrek Forever After, Splice, Summer Movies, The A-Team, The Karate Kid, Toy Story 3
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A few times each year I take some time to provide you, my readers, with a much-needed service. You, I, and everyone else out there know that sometimes good movies can be hard to come by and often you are forced to wade through piles of dreck before finding the proverbial diamond in the rough. So, rather than you being coerced into watching poorly made films by tasteless Hollywood types, I’ve taken it upon myself to review these movies, sight unseen, to help you decide which films deserve your hard earned dollars. My reviews are completely based on the few trailers I may have seen along the way and the descriptions and casts provided on IMDB. So, without further ado, here are our first batch of movies for the summer.
Iron Man 2
Director: Jon Favreau (Iron Man)
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson
Plot: With the world now aware of his dual life as the armored superhero Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces pressure from the government, the press, and the public to share his technology with the military. Unwilling to let go of his invention, Stark, along with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) at his side, must forge new alliances — and confront powerful enemies.
My Take: The first Iron Man embodied everything a summer movie should be. It was smart, fun, and had great big budget special effects, and leading man Robert Downey Jr. was absolutely perfect in the role of rich playboy Tony Stark. With multiple villains in tow, this sequel threatens to be an over-the-top mess, but given the general high quality of the first sequels of comic book movies (Spiderman 2, X2, The Dark Knight, Hellboy 2), I have high expectations.
Verdict: A must see in the theater.
Director: Ridley Scott (Gladiator)
Cast: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Max Von Sydow, William Hurt, Matthew Macfadyen
Plot: The story of an expert archer (Crowe) who travels to the town of Nottingham toward the end of the 12th century, where the acts of a despotic sheriff (Macfadyen) and the presence of a beautiful widow (Blanchett) inspire him to assemble a gang of mercenaries bent on raiding the upper class as a way to correct the sheriff’s injustices.
My Take: This reteaming of Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe could very well be the best take on Robin Hood since Errol Flynn donned the green tights. It looks dark, gritty, violent, and is does not star Kevin Costner, all of which bode well for this retelling.
Verdict: A must-see, maybe in the theater, but definitely on DVD.
Shrek Forever After
Director: Mike Mitchell (Sky High, Deuce Bigalow)
Cast: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas
Plot: A bored and domesticated Shrek (Myers) pacts with deal-maker Rumpelstiltskin to get back to feeling like a real ogre again, but when he’s duped and sent to a twisted version of Far Far Away — where Rumpelstiltskin is king, ogres are hunted, and he and Fiona (Diaz) have never met — he sets out to restore his world and reclaim his true love.
My Take: As evidenced by his catalogue of bad sequels, Mike Myers has become well known for committing violent acts with deceased equine. I never saw Shrek the Third and my interest for this is chapter in the series is even less.
Verdict: Eh, I don’t really care. I might see it later if my kids want to watch it on DVD.
Director: Jorma Taccone (SNL)
Cast: Will Forte, Ryan Philippe, Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer
Plot: Ex-special operative MacGruber (Forte) is called back into action to take down his archenemy, Dieter Von Cunth (Kilmer), who’s in possession of a nuclear warhead and bent on destroying Washington, D.C.
My Take: With few exceptions, Saturday Night Live-based films are usually terrible and I can’t imagine this one joke MacGyver send-up will be any good either.
Verdict: No thanks. I’ll pass on this one.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Director: Mike Newell (Love in the Time of Cholera, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Mona Lisa Smile)
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina
Plot: Set in medieval Persia, a rogue prince (Gyllenhaal) joins a mysterious princess (Arterton) in an effort to prevent a dark force from obtaining an ancient dagger that allows its handler to rule the world.
My Take: With Jerry Bruckheimer producing, this video game-based film is destined to be a huge spectacle, but I can’t say I’m too enthusiastic about it. I like Jake Gyllenhaal, so maybe this one will be able to transcend the general rule that video game movies are terrible, but the fact that one of the writers, Boaz Yazkin, also wrote the script for Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights is a big knock against it.
Verdict: Will wait for the reviews to decide.
Director: Robert Luketic (The Ugly Truth, 21, Legally Blonde)
Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl, Tom Selleck
Plot: Three years into their perfectly suburban marriage, Jen (Heigl) learns that her husband Spencer (Kutcher) is not only an undercover assassin – he’s also a target worth millions of dollars to a clutch of fellow assassins who have been trailing the couple in secret since they met.
My Take: Didn’t they just make this movie a few years ago with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie? I didn’t see that one either.
Verdict: No thanks. I couldn’t care less.
Get Him to the Greek
Director: Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall)
Cast: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Elisabeth Moss
Plot: A record company intern (Hill) is hired to accompany out-of-control British rock star Aldous Snow (Brand) to a concert at L.A.’s Greek Theater.
My Take: I am big a fan of Judd Apatow’s comedies, so this offspring of the decent Forgetting Sarah Marshall holds some level of intrigue for me and I do like Jonah Hill.
Verdict: Will see on DVD.
Director: Tom Dey (Failure to Launch, Shanghai Noon)
Cast: Owen Wilson, Judy Greer, Lee Pace
Plot: The Winslow family moves to a new neighborhood with their large yet lovable Great Dane, who has a tendency to wrek havoc in his own oblivious way.
My Take: Do people really care about the Marmaduke comic strip? What’s next, Heathcliff?
Verdict: Not under my own volition, though I may relent if my kids insist.
Director: Vincenzo Natali (Getting Gilliam)
Cast: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chaneac
Plot: Two scientists fuse DNA samples to create a new organism: A human-chimera they name Dren. As the creature rapidly develops from a deformed female infant into a winged creature, her initial bond with her creators turns deadly.
My Take: I’m not familiar with the director, but the presence of Guillermo del Toro as executive producer certainly piques my interest. Also, the idea of a human-chimera hybrid sounds really cool.
Verdict: Will wait for the reviews, but this will probably be a Netflix pickup.
Director: Joe Carnahan (Smokin’ Aces)
Cast: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Rampage Jackson
Plot: A group of Iraq War veterans looks to clear their name with the US military, who suspect the four men of committing a crime for which they were framed.
My take: It has an interesting cast and director and the presence of Ridley Scott as producer doesn’t hurt either. Also, the A-Team does elicit a lot of fond nostalgia from me as a child of the 80’s.
Verdict: Will probably see through Netflix eventually.
The Karate Kid
Director: Harald Zwart (The Pink Panther 2)
Cast: Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith, Traji P. Henson
Plot: Work pressures cause a single mother (Henson) to move to China with her young son (Smith); in his new home, the boy embraces karate, taught to him by a master of the self-defense form (Chan).
My Take: I don’t know why they have to mess with The Karate Kid. Please, Hollywood, stop destroying my childhood. I mean, come on, Harald Zwart directed The Pink Panther 2! You can do better than that!
Verdict: Will wait for the reviews, but I’m not too enthusiastic.
Toy Story 3
Director: Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo)
Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Michael Keaton
Plot: Woody (Hanks), Buzz (Allen), and the rest of their toy box friends are dumped in a daycare center after their owner, Andy, departs for college.
My take: Did you know it’s been 11 years since Toy Story 2? As usual, I’m sure Pixar will do an excellent job continuing the franchise one more time. The inclusion of screenwriter Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine) will probably up the level of sentimentality.
Verdict: A must-see.
Director: Jimmy Hayward (Horton Hears a Who!, lots of animation)
Cast: Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, John Malkovich
Plot: The US military gives bounty hunter Jonah Hex (Brolin) an offer he can’t refuse: in exchange for his freedom from the warrants on his head, he’s to take down a terrorist (Malkovich) whi is gathering an army and preparing to unleash hell on earth.
My Take: It seems like a strange combination to mix a virtually unknown comic book and two action movie screenwriters with the director of Horton Hears a Who!, but the film definitely sounds interesting. The fact that metal band Mastodon is recording the score pushes the anticipation level even higher.
Verdict: Will see, probably through Netflix.
Director: Dennis Dugan (You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry)
Cast: Adam Sandler, Salma Hayek, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Steve Buscemi
Plot: After their high school basketball coach passes away, five good friends and former teammates reunite for a Fourth of July holiday weekend.
My Take: It’s been many years since I thought Adam Sandler’s tired shtick was funny and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Verdict: No thanks.
Knight and Day
Director: James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line)
Cast: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard
Plot: An action-comedy centered on a fugitive couple (Cruise and Diaz) on a globe-spanning adventure where, amid shifting alliances and unexpected betrayals, nothing and no one are what they seem.
My Take: A few years ago, Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz were two of the biggest, most bankable stars around – the key word here is “were.” This is obviously their attempt to cash in with a big-budge pedestrian summer blockbuster and revive their flagging careers.
Verdict: Eh. I’ll check the reviews, but my interest is very low.