People Tell Me I Look Like Han Solo.
Monday, May 10, 2010
  Summer flicks. For MEN.

Everyone knows summer means blockbusters, and this year’s crop is as big and bombastic as any year previous. From superheroes to TV remakes to mystery-shrouded thrillers, I’m looking at the most promising summer movies for guys. If you’re like me and summer means copious amounts of time in air-conditioned theaters watching things explode, you’ve come to the right place.

For a rundown of some more girl-friendly summer flicks,
check out ‘Byte-Sized’ blogger Amber Plante's list here.

Iron Man 2

Summer kicked off this past weekend with the hugely-anticipated sequel to the breakout 2007 hit, and while some are grumbling that the story doesn’t measure up to the first film (a complaint I don’t really understand after seeing the movie; it’s a lot of fun!), the action is miles ahead of anything in the original Iron Man, and for a comic geek like me, that counts for a lot. And while I may not think much of Scarlett Johansson’s acting chops, I can’t really argue with her in that Black Widow catsuit.

Robin Hood
Director Ridley Scott re-teams with Gladiator star Russell Crowe to put a new spin on the classic folk hero. While I love most of Scott’s movies, I’m not a huge Gladiator fan – I’ll take his underappreciated Crusades epic, Kingdom of Heaven, over that film any day of the week – but I have a big soft spot for medieval movies, and I can’t think of a better team to put a fresh coat of paint on the legendary archer than Scott and Crowe. If the action measures up, this could be one of this summer’s stronger movies.

MacGruber
I never did understand why this, of all the current Saturday Night Live characters, was getting his own movie – after all, the MacGruber skits are barely a minute long, and epitomize the one-repeated-joke SNL comedy structure – but after seeing the trailer, I’m on board for this R-rated spoof of action movies. Will Forte and Kristen Wiig are two of the funniest people on SNL right now, and as a child of the ‘80s who grew up watching action flicks, this looks like it’s right up my alley. Also: Val Kilmer as the bad guy! It could be this summer’s Hangover…or this summer’s Land of the Lost.

The A-Team
The first teaser for this adaptation of the ‘80s TV show left a lot of people (myself included) pretty cold, but the longer trailer that came out a few months later was much more promising, showcasing the ridiculously over-the-top action sequences and what appears to be a cast that isn’t taking itself very seriously. We’ll see how UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson does filling the mohawk of ‘80s icon Mr. T, but between Liam Neeson hamming it up as Hannibal and District 9’s Sharlto Copley as “Mad” Murdock, I can’t pretend I’m not looking forward to this. If The A-Team is big, dumb action done right, it could be a riot.

Jonah Hex
The buzz for this comic adaptation, about an Old West outlaw with some supernatural connections, isn’t really great, and the recent trailer reminded me a bit too much of Wild Wild West for me to get too excited. But Josh Brolin is always quality, John Malkovich is usually reliable as a fun villain. And I guess there are worse things that Megan Fox dressed up as an old-timey prostitute. Jonah Hex could be one of this summer’s surprises.

Predators
Now this is what summer movies are all about. Producer Robert Rodriguez and director Nimrod Antal (Armored) rescue the Predator from the wastes of the Aliens vs. Predator movies with a flick that looks to return the iconic movie monster to his roots. A clever inversion of the classic 1987 Predator, this time out a group of deadly humans (mercenaries, criminals, etc.) is transported to another planet where they’re stalked by a group of the alien hunters. I love the original Schwarzenegger Predator quite a bit, and everything I’ve seen from Predators suggests the people who made it do as well. It may lack the buzz of Iron Man 2 or Inception, but this may be the movie I’m the most excited about this summer.

Inception
Christopher Nolan follows up The Dark Knight with what appears to be a heady sci-fi thriller that seems to involve dreams and corporate espionage. Nolan’s keeping plot details pretty close to the vest (something that’s fast becoming his trademark), and as a fan of science fiction, I’m very much looking forward to seeing exactly what Leonardo Di Caprio and Ellen Page are doing in those mysterious trailers. If the rumors I’ve heard about the plot prove true, I have a feeling Inception might be a bit too thinky and weird to do Dark Knight-like business, but that has nothing to do with whether or not it’s good, and it certainly looks intriguing. I’m one of the few people who enjoyed Nolan’s The Prestige, so I expect at the very least a cool, twisty thriller that’ll make me think. For a summer movie, that could really be a mind-blower.

The Expendables
Quite possibly the manliest movie of the summer, director/star Sylvester Stallone assembles a murderer’s row (pun intended, and immediately regretted) of action stars, past and present, including Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, UFC fighter Randy Couture, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Eric Roberts and the amazing Terry Crews (he of those insane and wonderful new Old Spice ads), for this old-school action flick about a group of mercenaries on a suicide mission to free a South American country from the clutches of a dictator (at least that’s what I think is happening; it’s hard to tell from the trailers from all the explosions and muscles). I love Stallone’s recent Rambo, and while this PG-13 actioner won’t have nearly that movie’s levels of violence, I’m still expecting a fun time at the movies. There aren’t enough Men On A Mission movies anymore, and I’m stoked that Sly’s looking to rectify that.

Dinner for Schmucks
The magnificent Paul Rudd stars in this comedy about an ambitious exec who finds out that in order to get the big promotion, he must impress his bosses at a special dinner party they hold where everyone brings some an idiot along for the rest of them to laugh at, and when he meets a good-natured dork (Steve Carell), he realizes it’s his shot at impressing his boss. But as much as I love Rudd, it’s The Hangover’s Zach Galifinakis who looks like the movie’s secret weapon, playing a wacky eccentric who thinks he has mind powers. I’m sold.

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