People Tell Me I Look Like Han Solo.
Friday, May 29, 2009
  Summer Movie Preview: Part 2
It’s time for the second part of my preview of the upcoming summer movies, this time looking at the big June releases. As usual, I haven’t actually seen any of these movies yet, so keep that in mind that these are just my opinions of the big summer blockbusters.

Up (May 29)
This is sort of cheating, as this movie comes out today, which is obviously technically still May, but I forgot to include this in my May column, and it’s probably going to be one of the biggest movies this summer. Pixar has a pretty much spotless track record for quality family films that rake in tons of cash, and as much as Up is ostensibly risky compared to their previous movies – there’s apparently concern about the limited merchandising appeal of a cartoon in which a crotchety old man is the protagonist – I doubt that will make much difference.

Land of the Lost (June 5)
This big-screen version of the beloved classic kids show comes with the requisite upgrade in special effects, as well as a newly comic spin thanks to stars Will Ferrell and Danny McBride. The original series was before my time, but I love Ferrell and McBride, and this one looks like it could be a lot of fun, especially if it manages to work as an adventure movie as well as a comedy. Nobody plays a clueless, in-over-his-head buffoon like Ferrell does, and when you throw in dinosaurs and ape-boys and lizard men, it sounds like the recipe for a good time at the movies.

The Hangover (June 5)
I admit the first time I saw the trailer for this comedy, about the aftermath of a crazy Las Vegas bachelor party that none of the participants can remember (and now the groom-to-be is missing), I laughed my ass off. It’s a solid premise, but I’m sort of afraid it’ll be ruined by an eventual explanation. It’s also sort of odd that director Todd Phillips’ attempt to get another Old School-level hit is opening against the latest vehicle for Will Ferrell, the breakout star of that film, but Land of the Lost is obviously aimed more at families than this R-rated comedy. Still, I can’t shake the feeling that there’s quite a bit of overlap between the potential audiences for The Hangover and Land of the Lost, and I guess we’ll see who wins. Whatever movie makes more money, I’m expecting co-star Zach Galifianakis to steal this movie; I’ve seen a bit of his comedy online, and while it’s pretty out-there, it’s also very funny. If it's a hit, The Hangover could do for Galifianakis what Old School did for Ferrell.

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (June 12)
irector Tony Scott’s remake of the 1974 thriller about a New York City subway train taken hostage stars John Travolta as the terrorist mastermind and Denzel Washington as a transit worker who reluctantly finds himself thrust into the role of hero. I’m a big fan of Tony Scott’s movies – I even dug the much-maligned Domino and his last collaboration with Washington, the sci-fi thriller Déjà Vu – and the concept is certainly intriguing. Travolta leaves me cold these days, but Washington, obviously, is one of the best actors out there today, and if Travolta rises to the occasion, this could be a sweet acting face off (no pun intended. Oof.) While The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 may get lost in the churn of summer blockbusters in terms of box office success – it feels more to me like a movie that should be coming out in the spring or fall – if comes even close to being as awesome as my favourite Scott/Washington collaboration, 2004’s revenge flick Man On Fire, I will be satisfied.

Imagine That (June 12)
Eddie Murphy’s latest family comedy sees him playing a workaholic executive who learns valuable life lessons with the help of his young daughter’s blanket. (I didn’t really understand it either, but that’s the story the trailer lays out.) These sorts of movies are complete toss-ups; this could come and go with barely a box-office whimper, or it could be a Nutty Professor-size hit (though Murphy thankfully doesn’t appear in any fat suits in this one). Either way, this couldn’t be any less up my alley, but I’m sure lots of parents will take their kids to this one.

The Proposal (June 19)
Sandra Bullock, the reigning queen of romantic comedies, returns to the genre as a pushy boss who forces her handsome young assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her so that she can avoid being deported back to Canada. Leaving aside the irony of Bullock playing a Canadian and Reynolds (who is actually Canadian) playing an American, this sounds like pretty standard rom-com blockbuster counter-programming stuff. Again, not my thing at all, but the I guess the idea is that women will drag their boyfriends or husbands to this as revenge for dragging them to Terminator (or, pre-emptively, Transformers).

Year One (June 19)
Jack Black and Michael Cera, two comic actors often slammed for their respective one-note shticks (Black for being an obnoxious loudmouth, Cera for being awkward and meek), star in this comedy set in the year 1 A.D. I assume the movie plays relatively fast and loose with reality – Black and Cera apparently go from being cavemen to soldiers in the Roman army, somehow – but it’s a goofy com
edy, and if it’s funny then that’s really all that counts. But any movie that stars David Cross and Paul Rudd as Cain and Abel automatically has my interest.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (June 24)
Quite possibly this summer’s most anticipated blockbuster sees Michael Bay, Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox’s abs (and some CGI robots) all returning to the big screen. The first Transformers was one of the most fun popcorn movies in years, and I can only hope Revenge of the Fallen will up the ante the way Bad Boys II makes the original Bad Boys look like a talky drama. I don’t know much about the plot, but really, when giant transforming robots from space are wrecking cities and duking it out among the Egyptian pyramids, who cares? I’ll be there on opening day, as will millions and millions of others.

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