X-Men: First Class officially kicked off the summer this last weekend, and with underwhelming results at the box office, but overwhelmingly positive feedback – both from critics and audiences. One friend of mine would rank it among the top ten comic films ever made. But here’s just a list of a few movies I plan on going out of my way to see this summer (only those opening June 10 or later up till September).
1) Super 8 – J.J. Abrams can do no wrong in my book. His first two directing efforts in mainstream movies brought credibility back to the Mission: Impossible franchise as well as creating the mind-blowingly successful reboot that Star Trek needed. So when you see a poster that says “from director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg,” do you really need another reason to buy a ticket?
2) Cowboys and Aliens – Iron Man is part of the modern redefinition of the comic movie in a big way – not as much as The Dark Knight, but still pretty awesome – so Jon Favreau teaming up with Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof for a genre mashup to end them all sounds pretty sweet to me. Plus it never hurts to have that one dude who played Han Solo and Indiana Jones back in the saddle either.
3) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – This one is a no-brainer. The first part of this dual ending to the epic series was the best entry in the series so far. It excelled beyond the preceding six films in terms of story, visual splendor, and especially in the emotional depth carried in the three lead performances by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. These three may be tired of playing these parts by now, but they’ve gone beyond acting and into the realm of embodying these iconic characters. If the finale is as balls-out as it looks from previews, we’re in for a hell of a conclusion.
4) Captain America: The First Avenger – This one makes the list out of sheer curiosity. Captain America is one of those comic heroes that filmmakers have been epic failing on since the 80s. I mean, Reb Brown played him twice for shit-sakes. If you haven’t heard of Reb Brown, run on over to SpoonyExperiment.com and prepare to laugh yourself sick. I mean, if there was ever a naysayer who was positive you can’t build an acting career out of running into a clearing from a bunch of bushes and screaming whilst firing a machine gun like rabid maniac… they’re still right, but dammit, Reb Brown gave it a shot.
5) Cars 2 – Again, another no-brainer. It’s Pixar. Do I need to elaborate? Didn’t think so.
6) 30 Minutes or Less – Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and the guy who still lives with his parents (and sleeps in a “fucking sweet” car bed) in Grandma’s Boy in a bank heist comedy from the director of Zombieland. If this isn’t awesome, I’m gonna be really pissed at all the squandered talent.
7) Rise of the Planet of the Apes – If I hadn’t seen the second trailer, I honestly wouldn’t give a shit. Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes was one of the most unintentionally campy remakes in recent memory, and most people I know are still washing the taste out of their mouth. Plus the original teaser for the film advertised it as being “from Weta Digital, the special effects company behind Avatar“. Seriously? Nonetheless, the idea of a prequel to Planet of the Apes is an idea that seems ripe for exploring, and from a director who won a major filmmaking competition in Britain when he was only 16.
8 & 9) Green Lantern and The Change-Up – These movies both get one slot for the same reason: Ryan Reynolds. He’s just awesome, and usually the best thing in every movie he’s in. I find myself laughing as I write this because of my initial impression of him back when Van Wilder was released. Despite his charisma, I said to myself, “This guy overacts so much in this part it’s redonkulous. I mean, yeah, he’s funny, but he must think subtlety is for the birds.” Then I saw the remake of The Amityville Horror and saw a transformation into madness that was genuinely unsettling in a way that James Brolin never even approached in the original. I admit it: I’m a fan.
10) Transformers: Dark of the Moon – This one comes as a surprise to me just because Revenge of the Fallen was such an incomprehensible mess. Seriously, who else out there thought Megatron died about 15 times?! So why am I looking forward to anything directed by Michael Bay? Well, because the first Transformers was a lot of fun, it centered on its human characters more than the special effects… and because Bay himself said that the $400 million-grossing sequel was pure crap, and this will be his apology. Okay, let’s see what you got.
And now, in the category I’m simply gonna call “Are You Kidding Me?” Basically, these are the movies you couldn’t pay me to go see:
The Smurfs – The show wasn’t even good. You expect me to pay to see this in the theater? I’d sooner pay Raja Gosnell to stop making movies.
Final Destination 5 – So we have Final Destination 5afterThe Final Destination? When the hell is Hollywood gonna just start numbering sequels in a way we understand again? Did any less people go see Spiderman 2 just because it had a number in the title?
Conan the Barbarian – Yet another remake by Marcus Nispel, who directed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th reboots. Do you have anything original to say, Mr. Nispel?