"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.
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.)
INCEPTION (July 16)
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
ROBIN HOOD (May 14)
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?
GET HIM TO THE GREEK (June 4)
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.)
PREDATORS (July 9)
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.
SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD (August 13)
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.)
MacGRUBER (May 21)
Starring: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer, Ryan Phillippe
Director: Jorma Taccone
Seriously? We're going to do this?
SEX AND THE CITY 2 (May 27)
Starring: Oh, you know.
Director: Does it matter?
Blah blah blah blah blah. Enjoy yourselves, ladies.
PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME (May 28)
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina
Director: Mike Newell
Because when I hear "Persian," I think "Jake Gyllenhaal."
TWILIGHT: ECLIPSE (June 30)
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.
THE EXPENDABLES (August 13)
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":