Monday, May 3, 2010

Summer Blockbuster Preview: Forget Iron Man 2, bring on Inception!

"Iron Man 2" is opening in the U.S. this weekend, and for many it tops the list of the most anticipated movies of the summer, if not the year. It'll probably do huge box office numbers and lead to a third "Iron Man."

But if I could only see one big Hollywood picture this summer, it'd be "Memento" and "The Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan's "Inception," a thriller "set within the architecture of the mind." Yeah, I'm sold.

Anyway, here's Cynic by Trade, Romantic by Nature's Summer Movie Preview. I've isolated just a few movies: the ones I definitely want to see, the ones I'm on the fence about, and the ones I wouldn't watch with Stevie Wonder's eyes.

Hell yes:

IRON MAN 2 (Friday)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sam Rockwell
Director: Jon Favreau
Yeah, I'm still pretty excited to see it, despite all of the tepid buzz I'm hearing. Plus, the impression out there in Internet-land is that the movie's a bit of a rush job and, hence, messy. Still, it's fucking "Iron Man," chief. These days, Downey makes anything worth watching, and then you throw in Rourke and Rockwell ... damn! But, as good as Cheadle usually is, I'll miss Terence Howard as Tony Stark's best buddy, Rhodey.

SPLICE (June 4)
Starring: Sarah Polley, Adrien Brody
Director: Vincenzo Natali
Two leading geneticists break the law and splice human and animal DNA to create a hybrid being that, according to IMDB's plot summary, develops a deadly bond with its creators. Natali also directed the clever and creepy "Cube," so I'm curious to see what he does with this "Frankenstein" for the 21st century. (See trailer above.)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine, Tom Berenger, Lukas Haas
Director: Christopher Nolan
Man, what a cast! Tom Berenger fer chrissakes! When was the last time we heard from him? Besides that, this is the kind of stuff I REALLY like to see Nolan doing: mind-bending, puzzle-ish movies like "Memento" and "The Prestige." Yes, yes, I love his work on the "Batman" pictures, too, and I'm looking forward to 2012 just for the third entry in the series, but this ... this is the stuff right here. At least I hope so. (See trailer above.)

STEP UP 3D (August 6)
Starring: Alyson Stoner (heh heh), Harry Shum Jr.
Director: Jon Chu
Just kidding.

Eh. Maybe:

Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Max von Sydow, William Hurt, Mark Strong
Director: Ridley Scott
I'm leaning more toward seeing this than not. After seeing the director's cut of "Kingdom of Heaven," I really, really trust Scott to handle England during the time of the Crusades. The cast is pretty stellar, too, but it doesn't look like too many buckles will be swashed in this apparently gritty version of the Sherwood bandit's tale. And what's Robin Hood without high adventure? 

Starring: Russell Brand, Jonah Hill, P. Diddy, Rose Byrne
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Russell Brand reprises his "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" role as himself, er, Aldous Snow. "Sarah Marshall" director Nicholas Stoller is back, too, and so is co-star Jonah Hill, only not reprising his role from that movie. Huh? Yeah. Uh-huh. Whatever. Brand's shtick wears a little thin, but it worked once already, so why not again? Right? (See trailer above.)

Starring: Adrien Brody, Danny Trejo, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Larry (yeah that's right, I'm calling him Larry) Fishburne
Director: Nimrod Antal
Yeah, I guess so. I'm still a pretty big fan of the original "Predator," particularly when Arnold goes primitive to battle the titular beastie. This reboot takes place on the Predators' planet, and our team (not a bad ensemble) is being hunted by the, uh, titiular beasties. Meh. Whatever.

Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman
Director: Edgar Wright
A hipster-nerd fantasia of romantic angst and video game references. It's based on a comic that looks a little too Manga for my tastes, and Cera just gets on my fucking nerves these days. The geek hype on this is hot and heavy, which is another red flag for me. But ... but ... it's Edgar Wright! He directed "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz." I have to trust him, don't I? (See trailer above.)

Fuck no:

MacGRUBER (May 21)
Starring: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer, Ryan Phillippe
Director: Jorma Taccone
Seriously? We're going to do this?

Starring: Oh, you know.
Director: Does it matter?
Blah blah blah blah blah. Enjoy yourselves, ladies.

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina
Director: Mike Newell
Because when I hear "Persian," I think "Jake Gyllenhaal."

Starring: A bunch of mopey idiots
Director: Again, does it matter?
Vampires deserve so much better than this shit. Watch the new season of "True Blood" instead.

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Eric Roberts, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Charisma Carpenter, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Director: Sylvester Stallone
I'll probably catch a lot of shit for dismissing this, but I couldn't care less. I'm tired of Stallone's latest "comeback," and I wouldn't go see a movie if any one of these jabronies were the star (except Mickey, Bruce or Arnold, but they don't count here; they just have miniscule roles), so why would I go see them all together? Yeah, Terry Crews is cool. That's true. But I'd rather watch this on a loop for 100 minutes than "The Expendables":


  1. How is A-Team not on here????

  2. When I came across Step Up 3D I almost fell out of my chair.

    It's unfortunate that you passed up #1 on my list -- Toy Story 3! I know... I'm a sucker for the Disney/Pixar movies.

  3. Both "A-Team" and "Toy Story 3" would have fallen on the "Eh. Maybe." list. "A-Team" looks like it could be fun, but it's not the kind of thing I'm going to rush out to see. As for "Toy Story 3," well, I don't know how to say this without bringing the wrath of Eddie (and my dear fiancee, Katie) down on my head, but I'm really not a big fan of the "Toy Story" movies. They're good movies, but I think they're middle-of-the-road for Pixar, especially compared with the genius of "UP," "The Incredibles," "Wall-E" and "Ratatouille." I even like "Finding Nemo" better than the "Toy Story" pictures.

  4. Have you seen the A-Team trailer on the big screen? It's awesome. It brings back the camp of the original series but has good (not cheesy) action. More interested in A-Team than Predators... You never saw Kick Ass did you?

  5. Love the "fuck no" list. Mcgruber,lol... I'm looking forward to
    Inception as well. It seems Leonardo DiCaprio only does great movie and I really have brought him to the top of favorite actors list. Surprising to some degree, although far from a Titanic hater, ( I liked it) I didn't think he'd be in my top 3-4. I'm not too excited for Iron Man. I should see the first one, sure that will help. I just haven't been into superhero movies or anything glaringly fictional including books. Although wanted to see Nightmare on Elm street but heard nothing good about it ;(

  6. P.s --Have to agree with Dan, A-Team looks decent. Mr.T's image was raped from himself and it should not heave been considered to have anyone else. But it still looks cool.

  7. It wouldn't surprise me if "A-Team" turned out better than "Predators." Not at all, particularly since Robert Rodriguez is involved in "Predators," and I think he's an overrated hack. Thankfully, though, he's not directing. I pretty much know what I'm going to get with the "A-Team," but I'm curious about "Predators."

  8. Of course I'm looking forward to Inception. That's a given. I'm pretty pumped about the Expendables as well. I will always love Stallone and though I hear it isn't happening, I still hope for another Rambo. I actually want to see MacGruber, though I really can't explain why. Predators is on my list since I just love watching people get killed by creatures. I'm the guy who isn't ashamed to admit that I enjoy Anaconda! John Voight PWNED that shit! I think Russel Brand is bullshit so I'll never watch anything he has anything do with unless its cancer taking him down. Now that's comedy. Robin Hood can fuck off. And as far as A Nightmare On Elm Street goes; the fact that its getting some bad reviews probably means that its pretty good! I still have yet to see that one.

  9. Oh hey now Colonel, I'm a big Robert Rodriguez fan and I must say, "How dare you."

    That is all.

  10. I'll concede that Rodriguez has some cool interests, and he's done some good work (most of "Desperado," the first half of "From Dusk Till Dawn," stretches of "Planet Terror"), but I think the only reason any of his movies shine at all is because they feature the cool shit he likes. But his style bores me. He's like an ADD-addled version of another director who likes cool shit but can't convey it properly, Kevin Smith: instead of framing a shot in the most uninteresting way and letting it sit there, Rodriguez either moves his camera too much or cuts too much. I know I'm in the geek minority on this, but I think he missed a huge opportunity in "Sin City." As someone who loves both noir and graphic novels, I should have loved that movie. But Rodriguez just never let things simmer, never let us soak in a frame, never let the suspense or atmosphere build -- a sin in noir movies. Great cast, great material. Wasted.

  11. though he's far from one of the best director's ever, Rodriguez never fails to give me a great time, which is the #1 reason I watch movies. As far as Sin City goes, I pretty much feel the exact opposite of you. I find the atmosphere mesmerizing and to this day the film exhilarates me from beginning to end. hell, when i first saw it in the theater i had to go again the following night. the blu-ray is bad ass featuring both the theatrical and re-cut versions. the El Mariach trilogy is one of my favorite series and I thought that Planet Terror was pure joy. As for Kevin Smith, I really am not much of a fan. Clerks was genuinely funny but after that I really couldn't care. You know what else I think sucks? Those fucking Judd Apatow movies. Such shit. Superbad was pretty funny, though no classic. The rest is pure rubbish.

  12. @ The Colonel, re: Toy Story 3

    I don't even know you anymore!


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