Friday, May 16, 2008

Cohenside: Summer Movies Preview

by Lon S. Cohen

Yes. I know this is a little late, but for Christmas sake it’s not even Memorial Day yet and everyone knows that the summer does not officially begin until Memorial Day Weekend or Lucas/Spielberg releases a film, whichever comes first. Shoot! Cannes isn't even over yet. Seems that this year the groundhog didn’t see his shadow because summer begins May 22nd with the release of the fanboy giddiness-inducing fest, Indy IV.

May 2
Iron Man

Saw it. Didn’t love it. This movie started out with a real bang and then turned formula pretty quick. The acting was great, the direction was great, the music was great, the special effects were great, the story started great and then quickly went so-so. For the record, I will be buying the DVD and lining up to see the sequel, so it wasn’t that bad, just less than I expected considering the hype.

May 9
Speed Racer

WOW. Could a movie with the word “speed” in its title tank any faster? Oh wait, “Speed 2.” Nevermind.

May 16
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Ahh. Back to the realm of speculation. The advanced buzz is good. The previews look fantastic. I am ready to return to Narnia and enjoy another “Lazy Sunday.” You know you’re already singing the lyrics in your head.

May 22
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I have waited two decades for Harrison Ford to don the fedora once again. Regretfully, Sean Connery will not be reprising his role but Karen Allen will, so I am happy. Shia LaBeouf as the new Indy sidekick? My goodness, this kid was grown from a test tube to play this part. I hope that the rumors of a kick-ass ending that will make all us fanboys giddy as a bunch of school girls (not that we aren’t like that any other time) will come to fruition. In my universe that is a cliffhanger ending where Shia must take up the bullwhip to rescue a captured Indy in a cliffhanger ending. OH MY GOD! Everything else pales by comparison to this one. This is the movie that summer was made for.

June 6
Kung Fu Panda

My 5-year old has been sufficiently primed by illustrated books and previews (by me of course) so that we are both excited to see this movie. Funny thing is that he things the Tiger should be a boy, not a girl for some reason. I had nothing to do with it. I swear. He’s just naturally chauvinistic.

June 13
The Incredible Hulk

Don’t know what to say about this one. The Hulk, well should have been named The Bunk because that’s what it was, a bunch of bunk from the great director Ang Lee. Maybe when they pick directors they should pick one that actually likes comic books. Except for the cool comic book-like screen transitions that “other Hulk” movie was a load of trash heaped on us for more minutes than I ever care to remember. Now I hear there are arguments between the studio and Ed Norton. This movie may need a heavy dose of Gamma Rays. The only good news is that it is said to have been heavily influenced by the television series, which I was a big fan of in the 1970s. I was in elementary school then but I still recognized that the artful tragic-drama was something that worked. Maybe they’ll pull a “Superman Returns” on us and use that great piano music when Banner walked away from the mess o’ the week during the end credits. Maybe some of that tragic-drama will be utilized as well, which, I think, is the only way to make a character like the Hulk work in live action.

June 27

Has Pixar ever make a bad movie yet? Everyone says that the robot looks a little too much like Number 5 from Short Circuit but I think it looks a little too much like the Binocular toy from Toy Story. Regardless, confidence is very high that my Pixar DVD collection will continue to grow at a steady pace, not to be interrupted anytime soon.

June 30
Get Smart

Steve Carell is the modern incarnation of X. I just never realized it until I saw him in these previews. Despite my intense hatred of almost every movie remake of 1970s classic television, for some strange reason I am looking forward to this one. It may be that every time they do one, it reverts to campy silliness. What the producers forget is that in the 1970s we thought Starsky & Hutch was a cool-ass cop show; same with The Dukes Of Hazard. We actually watched it because we liked it, not out of some sense of irony. I am so not looking forward to Land Of The Lost for the same reason. In the case of this classic series, it was watched for its sense of ironic comedy and that’s what (I hope) will make it funny on the big screen. Of course they could get all Dada on us and make a campy film that makes fun of a campy television series instead of playing the comedy straight, um, if that makes any sense.

July 2

Will Smith is a great actor. He’s played comedy, drama, he sings, he dances, he does it all. Now they’ve used all his superhuman might to become the one thing he hasn’t been already, a superhero. God knows he owes us one after I Am Legend, which in my standard critique, could have been better. I predict that the King of Fourth Of July has returned.

July 11
Hellboy II: Golden Army

Upon repeated viewing Hellboy has gone from a forgettable movie to a cult curiosity. At least for me. That is why I am looking forward to this movie. The fact that Del Toro made the brilliant Pan’s Labyrinth in between helps too.

July 18
The Dark Knight

Ok. Again, Batman Begins could have been better. I happened to have thought that the Tim Burton version of Batman was brilliant, flawless. I happen to think that Jack Nicholson nailed the Joked, pat. I happen to have watched that movie thousands of times. Maybe I am a little immune to its flaws but I still think it’s a perfect blend of comic and dark. But this is not about Tim Burton’s Batman, it’s about Batman Begins. Even before Heath Ledger kicked the bucket, I was looking forward to his performance as the Joker. Except that the previews describe him as a maniacal bank robber. Maniacal bank robber? I mean, come on. With a face like that, this guy should have been a serial killer. If you’re going to go dark and twisted on us, go all the way. That’s the problem with these movies: They could have been better.

August 1
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

I have since fallen in love with these movies that I once dismissed as a poor-man’s Indiana Jones. It’s one of those things that when you keep going with it long enough it sort of carves out its own niche. The absence of Rachel Weisz will definitely bring it down a star.

August 8
Pineapple Express

Stoners in the tropic chased by the mob? Can’t loose.

August 15
Star Wars: The Clone Wars

The CG does not have the same adorable cache as the first animated Clone Wars but don’t let that stop you from getting excited. Let the fact that Lucas himself is reportedly very involved with this project give you the heebie-jeebies, because the old man has lost it. I love Star Wars so much that it will suck and I will still see it in the theater ten times and buy ever incarnation of the DVD and the merchandise. I just roll like that, I guess.

August 15
Tropic Thunder

Why do I think that I will like this movie? The premise is so absurd that it has to work. Robert Downey Jr. as a black man? Tom Cruise in a self-deprecating role? Ben constantly swatting his own face from the mosquitoes? What’s not to like?

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