Summer Movie Preview, Part 2 May 9, 2011Posted by Matt in movies.
Tags: 30 Minutes or Less, August, Captain America: The First Avenger, Conan the Barbarian, Cowboys & Aliens, Fright Night, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Horrible Bosses, July, Larry Crowne, Our Idiot Brother, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, summer movie preview, The Change-Up, The Help, The Smurfs, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Zookeeper
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Today we will continue our look at the upcoming summer movies. Last week we looked at some notable films set for release in May and June and today we will look ahead to July and August.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Tyrese Gibson
Director: Michael Bay
Plot: Against the backdrop of the space race between the USSR and the USA, the alliance between Sam Witwicky and Optimus Prime is put to the test against a common enemy: Shockwave.
My Take: Who goes to these movies? I watched the first one, thought it was awful, and never even bothered to waste my time with the second, so naturally I’ll skip this as well.
Stars: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts
Director: Tom Hanks
Plot: Unclear of his next steps after losing his job at a big-box retailer, Larry Crowne enrolls at his local college, where he finds a niche among the school’s community of outcasts, and a connection with a teacher who has lost her passion for life.
My Take: Tom Hanks has only sat in the director’s chair for a feature film one previous time, 1996’s That Thing You Do!, so I’m not quite sure what to expect from him here. The presence of rom-com queen Julia Roberts and the generic trailer make me queasy, though, so I’ll have to pass on this one.
Stars: Kevin James
Director: Frank Coraci
Plot: The animals at one particular zoo decide to break their code of silence in order to help their lovable zookeeper gain the attention of one particular woman.
My Take: Kevin James gets on my nerves, the director specializes in bad Adam Sandler fare, and the trailer looks truly awful. No thanks, but my kids will probably love it.
Stars: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis
Director: Seth Gordon
Plot: Three friends concoct a deadly plan when they realize their respective bosses are making their lives miserable.
My Take: It sounds like a promising idea, perhaps something Office Space-like, but the lack of a released trailer is a bit bothersome and could mean that the film is so unwatchable that they couldn’t put together a few scenes to make it appealing. We’ll see.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Director: David Yates
Plot: The end begins as Harry, Ron, and Hermione return to Hogwarts to find and destroy the final horcruxes. But when Voldemort finds out about their mission, the battle we’ve known has been coming – Harry vs. Voldemort – looms large on the horizon.
My Take: Count me in. The ten year, 8 film series finally comes to an end this summer is what should be the cinematic event of the season.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Stars: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Joe Johnston
Plot: After being deemed unfit for military service during WWII, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America. His first mission: to combat the Nazi propaganda effort headed by Red Skull.
My Take: Consider me interested. Sure, the comic book adaptation market is a little oversaturated right now, but the trailer is entertaining and this could be a winner.
Cowboys & Aliens
Stars: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde
Director: Jon Favreau (Iron Man 1 and 2)
Plot: In Silver City, Arizona, Apache Indians and Western settlers must lay their difference aside when an alien spaceship crash lands in their city.
My Take: Awesome. Combining an excellent cast, the director of Iron Man, and screenplay writer Damon Lindelof of Lost fame, this could be one of the most entertaining experiences of the summer.
Stars: Hank Azaria, Katy Perry, Neil Patrick Harris
Director: Raja Gosnell
Plot: The little blue creatures of Smurf village more to New York City after the evil wizard Gargamel chases them out of their mushroom-like homes in the forest.
My Take: Lord, this looks terrible. Even the all-star cast doesn’t save this one for me.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Stars: James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto
Director: Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist)
Plot: In present day San Francisco, a scientist looks for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease by experimenting on a chimpanzee named Caesar. The development of animal intelligence brings about a war for supremacy between humans and apes.
My Take: Is this related to the fiasco that was Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes? The presence of James Franco gives this a slight boost, but the unfamiliarity of the director leaves me a lot of questions. I’ll have to wait for the reviews.
Stars: Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Wilde
Director: David Dobkin
Plot: A family guy switches bodies with his slacker best friend in an effort to romance his co-worker.
My Take: The body-switching idea has been done so many times, that I just can’t bring myself to care. I will say, though, that the presence of Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds is a little intriguing.
30 Minutes or Less
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson
Director: Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland)
Plot: Two fledgling criminals kidnap pizza delivery guy, Nick, strap a bomb to his chest, and inform him that he has mere hours to rob a bank. As the clock ticks, Nick, with the help of ex-best friend, Chet, deal with the police, hired assassins, flamethrowers, and their own tumultuous relationship.
My Take: Maybe. I loved director Ruben Fleischer’s last film, Zombieland, but I’m not sure what to make of this trailer. We’ll see.
Stars: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer
Director: Tate Taylor
Plot: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962: aspiring writer Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan returns home after college, where unexpected friendships with African-American maids Aibeleen Clark and Minny Jackson result in a book that gives a previously unheard voice to a community’s suffering.
My Take: I loved the book, but the mid-August release date for this film is kind of a dead zone for studios, a relative dumping ground for films not big enough to make summer blockbuster money and not good enough for Oscar consideration. Director Tate Taylor has only one other full length film under his belt, Pretty Ugly People, which I’ve never seen. We’ll see, but I have the feeling this could be a huge disappointment.
Stars: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant
Director: Craig Gillespie (Mr. Woodcock)
Plot: Teenage Charley Brewster guesses that his new neighbor Jerry Dandridge is a vampire responsible for a string of recent deaths. When no one he knows believes him, he enlists Peter Vincent, the opportunistic host of his favorite TV show, to help him take down Jerry and his guardian.
My Take: Hollywood’s return to the 1980’s continues with yet another remake, this one of a quintessential vampire flick of the period. Considering the director is also responsible for Mr. Woodcock, I’m not exactly enthusiastic, but the presence of Colin Farrell could make this a little more interesting. We’ll see.
Conan the Barbarian
Stars: Jason Momoa, Ron Perlman, Rose McGowan
Director: Marcus Nispel (Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (remakes)
Plot: Muscle-bound warrior Conan the Cimmerian seeks to avenge the murder of his father and the slaughter of his village.
My Take: Remake king Marcus Nispel (the guy responsible for both the Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakes) is apparently ready to throw anything, even a movie bad by Schwarzenegger standards, against the wall to see if it sticks. What’s next Red Sonja? No thanks.
Our Idiot Brother
Stars: Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel
Director: Jesse Peretz (The Ex, episodes of Important Things With Dimitri Martin)
Plot: A pot bust sends nice-guy Ned to jail, and though he’s released early on good behavior, he returns home to discover that his girlfriend has left and taken his dog with her. Homeless and unemployed, he divides his time by couch-surfing at the homes of his sisters and causing chaos in each of their lives.
My Take: We’ll see. I’m hit-or-miss when it comes to Paul Rudd and director Peretz (he did The Ex and episodes of Important Things With Dimitri Martin in the past) is a bit iffy.
Thoughts? What do you want to see?
Moral Superiority and Time May 24, 2010Posted by Matt in books.
Tags: education, morality, racism, sex, The Help, time
Does our sense of morality become more correct over time?
Many times over the years I have heard people, generally those older than me, opine about the good old days. In their minds and stories it is an Edenic “Leave it to Beaver”-style paradise where children were respectful, things were peaceful, and everyone knew and enjoyed their station in life.
Generally speaking, those who consider our present time one of Gomorrah-like extreme moral degradation look back in time for a “Golden Age” of morality and I think it can be safely said that they consider sexual issues – whether it be the acceptance of homosexuality or a supposed increase in promiscuity – paramount to their moral sense.
At the same time, this “Golden Age” was one of racism and segregation, a time when blacks and whites did not even drink out of the same water fountains. This point was reinforced to me over the past several days as I read the recent bestseller, The Help, a story of black women in 1960’s Jackson, Mississippi, who served as housekeepers, cooks, and childcare for the wealthy white families. While the book at times strays into Lifetime movie territory, I really enjoyed it for the most part and it was quite eye-opening for me, as someone who was born more than a decade after the fictional events. It’s hard for me to imagine a time when things like that actually happened.
So, this brings me back to my original question – are we morally superior today, in 2010, when compared to where we were 50 years ago or have we merely traded one set of moral issues for another? Has time, experience, and education taken us to a new and better level of morality?