Monday, May 07, 2012

Summer Movies Preview

Hello from Seattle.  Tonight I begin two weeks of broadcasting Mariners games on 710 ESPN Seattle, the Mariners Radio Network, Sirius/XM satellite, and MLB.COM.  Hope you'll tune in.

Meanwhile, it's that time of year again -- Hollywood trots out its superheroes, sequels, and God help us, Adam Sandler.  Here is my annual Summer Movies Preview.  Don't the the fact that I haven't seen any of these movies undermine the legitimacy of my takes on them. 

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES – Batman is back, with Anne Hathaway as the Catwoman with the Joker smile. Okay, I’m a geek. I can’t wait.


THE AVENGERS – Not since the Hanna-Barbera Laff-A-Lympics have more superstar characters gathered for one project.

DARK SHADOWS – Contains the two key elements in good filmmaking – adapting an old TV series and vampires.


CHERNOBYL DIARIES – Sequel to PRINCESS DIARIES.


BATTLESHIP – Yes, this is a movie based on a Hasbro toy but before you dismiss this movie – Rihanna’s in it.


HYSTERIA – Don’t feel left out, girls. A movie about your favorite toy is also coming out. Romcom on the invention of the vibrator.


MEN IN BLACK 3 – Taking advantage of the MIB craze by coming out with this sequel ten years after the last one. Hopefully not a rush job.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN – Will audiences accept a Spider-Man who doesn’t sing and dance? Hollywood is taking a big gamble.


MOONRISE KINGDOM – A Wes Anderson movie so you know it will be quirky and feature Bill Murray.

BRAVE – First Pixar movie with a female lead. But since they pulled it off with a rat and robot I’m predicting they pull this off too.


WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING – Five women dealing with pregnancy. So five sequels to KNOCKED UP.


THE DICTATOR – Another Sacha Baron Cohen send-up movie. So it could either be another BORAT or BRUNO.


THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL – Judi Densch, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkerson in a hotel in India. Date movie for every retirement village in Florida.

More tomorrow...

47 comments:

Charles H. Bryan said...

Have fun in Seattle, Ken. Please ask the Mariners to not score so many runs against my Tigers like they did a couple of weeks ago.

And keep an eye on Drew Smyly, who's scheduled to pitch for Detroit on Wednesday; he's been doing great for a rookie.

Becca said...

RE: "Hysteria."

OMG, did they really make a movie of Sarah Ruhl's "The Vibrator Play?" She's one of the quirkiest of recent playwrights. To wit, I appeared in a production of her "Dead Man's Cell Phone," and my husband in the play is dead onstage as the curtain goes up, then after intermission Act II begins with a lengthy monologue by him. Then there's a "Cell Phone Ballet." So yeah. A bit odd.

I'm not sure if I'm heartened or disconcerted to think that there might be a big summer movie based on the work of Sarah Ruhl. Which is why I haven't yet googled it to confirm my suspicion. I'll cave eventually...

Becca said...

Ah, okay. "Hysteria" has the same subject matter as "The Vibrator Play," (the Victorian-era use of primitive vibrators as medical treatment for the feminine malady of "hysteria"), but the film has a different focus and tone (it's a romantic comedy!) and an original script.

Wow, it'll be interesting to see whether they can pull this off. Something tells me if women go to see this, it will be with their girlfriends...not as a date movie.

Mitchell Hundred said...

Ahem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XIyJO6vf3c. The first one fell into the 'so bad it's hilariously good' category, and by the looks of things the sequel is headed in the same direction.

McAlvie said...

Battleship is based on a board game, not a toy. In fact, I remember playing it before it was a board game, when we played it on scraps of graph paper. That was back when kids made their own fun with games that didn't require recharging or new batteries.

brian t said...

That picture of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman is not right. It looks like her face has gbeen 'Shopped in to Michelle Pfeiffer's catsuit.

The buzz on "Brave" is mostly positive. I like how almost all the lead characters are played by Scottish actors, with their own accents, not "Hollywood Scottish". The lone exception is Emma Thompson, who (I think, based on trailers) has a good stab at an Aberdeen brogue.

Sebastian Peitsch said...

As a follow up to cancellations - I think I'm ok with "Bent" getting the axe because with that nothing is standing in the way of filming the new "Arrested Development" episodes...

HourOfLead said...

Every year, there are actors that Hollywood pushes down the public's throat. One year, it's Kristen Stewart, the next, it's Channing Tatum. Although, props to Tatum for 21 Jump Street.
This year, it's Taylor Kitsch with John Carter, Savages and Battleship.
I watched Friday Night Lights and loved it. Well written and well acted. However, I never felt Kitsch displayed more than one emotion-- despair.
I don't doubt that maybe Kitsch may be a fine actor, but so far, haven't seen it. Kristen Stewart was the same. Despair with no discernable range.
As a writer, if I saw them casting those people for my scripts, I may start to feel disheartened. Why, oh why does Hollywood do this?

Bill said...

Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkerson? Why not call it Harry Potter and the Spending of the Kids' Inheritance?

HourOfLead said...

I also have a few takes on 2012 movies here.
http://soulsuckingapathy.blogspot.com/2012/04/2012-great-year-for-movies.html

BigTed said...

I've never seen the "Dark Shadows" TV show, but apparently melding gothic horror with a soap opera worked really well. But Tim Burton seems to be copying just about every modern film remake of a cheesy old show ("The Brady Bunch," "The Beverly Hillbillies," "The Addams Family") by just making fun of the original. I'd rather see an attempt at a legitimate, scary version, rather than what appears (from the previews) to be "Austin Powers" with vampires.

Steve from Vermont said...

My question regarding the Avengers: Why doesn't Tony Stark just manufacture 200 Iron Man suits, and put them on some special forces troops. Wouldn't that be more effective than a group of people whose weapons include a hammer, a bow and arrow, a shield and whatever it is Black Widow has (besides Scarlotte Johanson's shapely curves)?

Johnny Walker said...

There's a ton of reasons I can of, off the top of my head, Steve :)

Anyways, The Avengers was really rather excellent. As was Cabin in the Woods (another Joss Whedon related flick). He's a talented man, that Whedon.

I missed Battleship at the theaters, and I plan to keep missing it on DVD, TV, airplanes, etc.

Also:
AMERICAN REUNION: The HAROLD & KUMAR guys attempt to revitalise the careers of everyone you'd forgotten about from AMERICAN PIE.

David said...

Johnny Walker: Battleship doesn't open in the U.S. until May 18, so you haven't missed it yet, but you still have plenty of time to miss it.

Bill: Tom Wilkinson wasn't in the Harry Potter series. Maybe you're thinking of Michael Gambon.

cadavra said...

BigTed: One problem, story-wise, with the original DARK SHADOWS is that Barnabas awoke after 175 years and didn't seemed the slightest bit fazed by automobiles, telephones, electric lights, et al. The first half of Burton's film apparently addresses this in humorous fashion. And given that HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS (of which this seems to be a fairly straight-up remake) was one of the grimmest horror movies of its era, a little levity doesn't bother me. Hey, who IS Burton if not the spiritual heir to Charles Addams?

Besides, it'll be great to see a movie in which a vampire sucks blood for a change! :-)

Fitz said...

Here's a baseball Friday question. Have you ever lived in a small market city during a pennant race? I was a 9th grade kid from Texas that moved to Cincinnati for a year in 1961. The excitement was visceral. Frank Robinson, Don Blasingame, Vada Pinson, and Jerry Lynch pinch-hitting. It was exciting in a way that resonates over 50 years later. Maybe this is that year for the Nats. Any stories or memories?

Mark Little

D. McEwan said...

"CHERNOBYL DIARIES – Sequel to PRINCESS DIARIES."

OK, I genuinely laughed out loud at that. My loud bark scared my cat. Does Julie Andrews meltdown?

"before you dismiss this movie – Rihanna’s in it."

Would that be the Rihanna whose performances on SNL this weekend I fast-forwarded through after an excruciating 30 seconds of each? At least Battleship has the eye-candy of Channing Tatum.

I do not, however, remember any alien invaders in the board game. I want two riveting hours of people saying: "B-3" "Miss."

BTW, this past weekend's SNL was their lamest outing all year. For me, it's always a bad sign when the host is someone I've never heard of prior to their being announced as an SNL host, but this Manning guy acquited himself all right. However, the Marx Brothers couldn't have saved those sketches. It was like a clearing house for every left-over rejected sktetch from all season.

I'm sorry, the only The Avengers that interests me are John Steed and Emma peel, and ONLY when played by MacNee & Rigg. Casting Voldemort and the woman who can't sing on Smash as Steed and Peel was classic miscasting. A man who looks pained even when forcing a smle as John Steed, the world's most-nonchalont, insoucient secret agent, and James Bond as the villain? What were they thinking?

Given its weekend gross, I'm sure they're okay with not getting my $10.

Anonymous said...

David, could be he was thinking of Jim Broadbent who played Prof. Slughorn, who is not in that movie. But they kind of have the same type of career.

Dark Shadows looks like a lot of fun, but I, too, was looking forward to an updated, serious, remake of the tv show. Helena Bonham Carter's character was an alcoholic, so we should get some fun out of her.

Pam

Ref said...

Why does every re-make of a sixties "classic" have to turn what might have been an adventure show or engaging drama into a cheesy slapstick piece? at least Dark Shadows has Depp. Whassamatta, Ben Stiller was busy?

Ref said...

Why does every re-make of a sixties "classic" have to turn what might have been an adventure show or engaging drama into a cheesy slapstick piece? at least Dark Shadows has Depp. Whassamatta, Ben Stiller was busy?

Kirk said...

"DARK SHADOWS – Contains the two key elements in good filmmaking – adapting an old TV series and vampires."

Ha!

It's true!

Anonymous said...

Batman will tank. Most pathetic version of cat woman ever. She looks like a librarian. The general idea with batman foes is they're some brand of dangerous psychotic, not some brand of whiney nerd.
This version of cat woman? Eh! I might let her blow me, if she promises not to tell anyone.

RCP said...

cadavra said...

"BigTed: One problem, story-wise, with the original DARK SHADOWS is that Barnabas awoke after 175 years and didn't seemed the slightest bit fazed by automobiles, telephones, electric lights, et al."

If you were fated to exist among the Undead for eternity, and had just emerged from a coffin after 175 years, would a telephone faze you?

BigTed said...

"I'd rather see an attempt at a legitimate, scary version, rather than what appears (from the previews) to be "Austin Powers" with vampires."

Pam said...

"Dark Shadows looks like a lot of fun, but I, too, was looking forward to an updated, serious, remake of the tv show."

I was expecting a serious version as well, and was disappointed at first. But now I'm looking forward to seeing what Burton and Depp have done with DS. I'd go anyway just to see Jonathan Frid's final cameo. I met a number of original cast members at a DS convention (went for fun - I don't dress up as Barnabas or Dr. Julia Hoffman) - Frid wasn't there. Held at a hotel next to the World Trade Center in August 2001.

D. McEwan said...

"I'm sorry, the only The Avengers that interests me are John Steed and Emma peel, and ONLY when played by MacNee & Rigg."

The Fiennes/Thurman film was an atrocity. All involved should be shunned - and their children, and their childrens' children.

GMJ said...

When I think of the Avengers, I think of Emma Peel and John Steed.

Perhaps it's a generational thing?

Oh, well.

D. McEwan said...

RCP, while the Feinnes-Thurman Avengers was indeed an atrocity, I'm okay with leaving the participants' kids out of it, and I'm not shunning Eddie Izzard for being in a bad movie. I've been in some very bad movies myself. But yes, it was shamefully terrible. Fortunately, I have every Emma Peel TV episode on DVD, so I am never without the true Avengers.

I'm really looking forward to Dark Shadows. Frankly, I hope the whole thing is as funny as the ads. The original series moved at a glacial pace and bored me stiff.

"Anonymous said...
Batman will tank. Most pathetic version of cat woman ever. She looks like a librarian. The general idea with batman foes is they're some brand of dangerous psychotic, not some brand of whiney nerd."


Nice pre-judging of a movie you haven't seen. She'd have to be truly lame indeed to be a worse Catwoman than Hallie Berry was. In any event, the PRIMARY villain in the new Batman film is Bane, played by ultra-butch tough guy Tom Hardy. In the comics, Bane was about as psychotic and bad-ass as you could possibly get. He's the one who broke Bruce Wayne's back.

Perhaps you should wait until you actually know something about a movie before you render judgements from on high about it. Also, if you're going to dispense lofty critical pronouncements from on high about movies of which you are ignorant, perhaps you should first grow enough balls to sign your name to your posts.

Anonymous said...

McEwan:

"Perhaps you should wait until you actually know something about a movie before you..."

Oh, hush your mouth you clotty old queen. I was talking about the choice for Catwoman and nobody else.
Typing away in here to show what a crazy you are isn't brave. It's tragic. Nobody wants to read the never-ending rants of a fourth-rate Betty Davis wannabe, and you be her, honey!

Jango said...

Dear Ken,

I have seen 'battleship', it was released here a few weeks ago, and TRUST me, SAVE YOUR MONEY!!
It's not even worth pirating!

Rgds,


PS: Mc Ewan is a troll queen

Tomas said...

Anonymous:
Batman will tank. Most pathetic version of cat woman ever.

Are you sure she will be worse than Halle Berry? :) Anne Hathaway is a very competent actress IMO, and it's difficult to judge how her version of Catwoman will be based on the few seconds we've seen of her in the trailers. I'm hopeful, but I'll wait until I've seen the movie to declare whether she's pathetic or not.

Johnny Walker said...

David, I'm in the UK. I missed BATTLESHIP in the cinema weeks ago.

RCP said...

D. McEwan said...

"I'm okay with leaving the participants' kids out of it, and I'm not shunning Eddie Izzard for being in a bad movie. I've been in some very bad movies myself."

No, I know. I'm sure many of those involved worked hard to make The Avengers a success, and were just as disappointed at the finished product. I've also always been a huge fan of the television series (with Rigg) and took the film too personally. Silly, really, since the show itself can never be tarnished.

Kirk said...

Could it be that Dark Shadows isn't a comedy, at least not 100% comedy, and the trailer was just edited to make it appear that way? I know that's been the case with some other Tim Burton movies.

D. McEwan said...

"Anonymous said...
McEwan:
Oh, hush your mouth you clotty old queen. I was talking about the choice for Catwoman and nobody else.
Typing away in here to show what a crazy you are isn't brave. It's tragic. Nobody wants to read the never-ending rants of a fourth-rate Betty Davis wannabe, and you be her, honey!"


Actually, you said the movie would tank because she, in your pre-judgement, was an insufficient villain for the movie.

Nice homophobia, Anonymous Coward. As if your lacking the balls to sign your name to your insults wasn't enough to render anything you say worthless, your homophobic comments here finish you off as someone to whom to pay any attention in the view of any civilized person.

And oddly enough, the readers of my books do like to read what I have to say, so much so that my publisher is putting out two, count 'em, two, more books by me this year alone. In fact, I'd have dealt with you earlier today, but I was busy on the horn with my editor doing some last-minute revisions to the one going to press later this month. You published much, Anonymous Coward? I didn't think so.

"Jango said...
PS: Mc Ewan is a troll queen"


Ah Jango, our beloved Indonesian Troll. Thank you for revealing yourself as homophobic as well as humorless and a professional wet blanket. Now we know which trash barrell into which to stuff your comments.

If it's any consolation, at least you use something like a name, unlike Anonymous Coward, and you are undoubtedly correct about the quality of Battleship.

DJ said...

Batman will tank. Most pathetic version of Catwoman ever

A lot of people didn't think much of the casting of Heath Ledger as the Joker, either. I'll give Nolan the benefit of the doubt and reserve judgment until I...you know...actually see the movie.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

DJ Said:

"A lot of people didn't think much of the casting of Heath Ledger as the Joker, either."

And they were right! Except for people who believe doing a rough impression of Al Franken with clown makeup is the height of artistic brilliance. Try it yourself! Stand in the mirror, hunch your shoulders, and do your best impression of Al Franken, while saying something mean.
Oh my god! It's the JOKER!!
It also helps to die before your movie opens, for getting those academy votes.

Anonymous said...

McEwan Said:

"And oddly enough, the readers of my books do like to read what I have to say, so much so that my publisher is putting out two, count 'em, two, more books by me this year alone."

Well, since you brought it up, I checked Amazon, and your book can currently be had for 6 cents, so obviously it's a classic tome to cutting edge humor, and I stand corrected. People were so amazed, only 5 people could muster the will to comment on your book. Some of them weren't kind, but that's because they're jealous of someone who likes old jokes and puns.
Screw those negative nancys, McEwan. You just keep on sharing your comedic genius, and to hell with those who don't get the humor of an old queen using an old drunk lady as a beard to try to make an old queen seem funnier. They're jealous, I tell you!
Besides, you have two more of those books coming, so you must be doing something right!

D. McEwan said...

Yes, my ten-year-old first book is remaindered now and can be bought very cheaply. So? I made a lot of money off it for four years. The computer I'm putting up with your jealous shit on was bought with book royalities, as was my TV and sound system. I'm afraid my TWO new ones coming out this year will cost more than that, though I'm sure that by 2022, they will be remaindered also. Remind me again how many books you've written and published, Anonymous Cowardly Troll?

Since I am openly gay, how is Tallulah my "beard"? A "beard" is for hiding that you're gay, you know, like you. I don't hide it. I trumpet it. That's, of course, because I am not a coward like you.

Here and there, a few people have liked my books, at least according to my fan mail from around the world: Here's a few nice comments from nobodies, since you brought up the pair of negative notices from disgruntled would-be writers on Amazon (Oddly enough, ALL the professionally-written reviews by actual critics were postive, most of them raves, same with my second book):

For Tallyho, Tallulah!, my new book out this summer:

"Watch out, Mame Dennis. Out of her way, Belle Poitrine. Tallulah Morehead's in town. If you are tempted to think 'This story could not possibly get any more outlandish, any more ribald, any zanier,' you have but to turn the page to disabuse yourself of that notion."
-David Lee, Emmy-winning writer/producer/director The Jeffersons, Cheers, Co-creator of Frasier and Wings.

“A hilarious, campy saga of a woman ‘under the influence’. Long live Tallulah Moorhead!..If the 1970s didn't kill her, nothing will.”
-David Isaacs, Emmy award-winning writer, M*A*S*H, Cheers, Frasier, Mad Men.

“If Tallulah Morehead were 100 years younger I would marry her. And as opposed to her many other husbands, this one would stick. She is quite simply the funniest woman who ever never-died. Tallyho, Tallulah! is the latest edition of her wonderfully hilarious tales. You will laugh out loud and, like me, fall in love with this remarkable Hollywood star/drunk.”
-Ken Levine Emmy-winning writer/producer M*A*S*H, Cheers, Frasier (and author of this blog)

***

Praise for Tallulah Morehead’s first "memoir," My Lush Life:
 
“Douglas McEwan has outdone himself. One of the most inspiring stories in the annals of frock-n-roll.”
- Dame Edna Everage [Barry Humphries] (Merely one of the funniest men alive today.)

“Miss Tallulah Morehead's story is a fantasy, a cautionary tale, and a riot. It's Little Me crossed with Sunset Boulevard.”
- Michael Musto, The Village Voice

“I just read her memoirs, My Lush Life, and found it to be the funniest book I've read since Confederacy of Dunces (seriously!)... A fabulous character and [McEwan's] writing of her is inspired. Truly hilarious... a comic masterpiece.”
- Ken Levine, Emmy-winning writer for M*A*S*H, Cheers, The Simpsons, & Frasier

“Laugh-out-loud funny... readers [will] appreciate McEwan’s often outrageous wit and dazzling puns... [McEwan] has updated this satirical genre, and Tallulah Moorehead stands beside Belle Poitrine as among the greatest stars who never lived, but should have.”
- Tavo Amador, Bay Area Reporter

“This audacious and over-the-top send-up is great fun for Hollywood junkies.”
- Publisher's Weekly

Now let's see YOUR blurbs and reviews, Anonymous Cowardly Troll.

D. McEwan said...

Anonymous said...
DJ Said:
'A lot of people didn't think much of the casting of Heath Ledger as the Joker, either.'
And they were right! Except for people who believe doing a rough impression of Al Franken with clown makeup is the height of artistic brilliance.


Ah, those would be the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voters who gave Heath his Oscar for that role. Yes, your cowardly attack on a dead man certainly carries more weight than his Oscar.

Maybe you should just stop typing now, asshat. (Thank you, Roseanne.)

Tallulah Morehead said...

Just for the record, Anonymous Asshat, I completely agree with you. Little Dougie is a hack just taking credit for books I dictated!

But Little Heathie in The Dark Knight scared the shit out of me! Admittedly, Senator Al Franken has given me a few goosebumps too.

Cheers, Asshat. (Thank you, Roseanne.)

Anonymous said...

You bought a new stereo, a betamax, and a TV–no doubt an Admiral with remote control-with your book earnings! Wow! The "reviews" you cited are commonly referred to in the book industry as "log rolling," and doesn't say much in this case aside for a person's sense of charity.

btw, by "beard" I meant you use the cliched drunk old lonely lady personae because it makes gay cliches sound funnier than if it were just some old queen talking time-worn gay smack.

Note to Tallulah...

If you have to keep reminding people you're "somebody," you're nobody.

- The Hollywood Community

D. McEwan said...

And what have you bought with your comments-column-troll earnings? Zilch> Or less than zilch! (Look it up. We'll wait.) Ah, well, what can one expect when one is a worthless coward? What, if anything, have you EVER done or contributed to anything? I've written books TV shows, radio shows, stage plays, and also acted for years. What have you done? What? Until you have an awnser to that, shut your fucking mouth, asshole.

However, I accept that you're an expert on being nobody, because nobody is exactly what you are. After all, somebodies have names. Now you better go upstairs from the basement now. I'm sure your Mom has your dinner ready. Be sure and delete your porn history before she checks it again.

RCP said...

Anonymous:

D. McEwan certainly doesn't need me to come to his defense, but allow me to submit my own "non-charitable" review of his book: it's fresh and hilarious. In fact, it's among the funniest books I've read - and I've been an avid reader for a long time (see photo at upper right, circa 1967). I can't wait for the new books to come out.

Now go to dinner. Remember: Those who are tardy do not get fruit cup.

spmsmith said...

Ken, do you ever get sick of your blog posts getting hijacked? I'm just curious.

Tallulah Morehead said...

"Those who are tardy do not get fruit cup."

"Oooh, you're so strict!!"

Anonymous said...

McEwan:

"And what have you bought with your comments-column-troll earnings? Zilch> Or less than zilch! (Look it up. We'll wait.) Ah, well, what can one expect when one is a worthless coward? What, if anything, have you EVER done or contributed to anything? I've written books TV shows, radio shows, stage plays, and also acted for years. What have you done? What? Until you have an awnser to that, shut your fucking mouth, asshole."

Very mature and seasoned response for a man of your esteemed accomplishments. I would expect no less from the likes of you.

I know many accomplished people go on emotional rants whenever their artistic merit is questioned. It comes with the burden of being a creative genius. Genius is, indeed, pain.

In fact, I think I might remember, but more likely I'm making up a time when Ken Levine stationed himself on Tom Hank's website, telling some anonymous yahoo to go fuck himself in the ass, who dared question Ken's resume. Steven Speilberg has been noted to have taken anonymous critics to task every chance he gets on Orson Welle's memorial website. Here's a sampling:

"Who the fuck are you? I directed E.T., motherfucker! I directed Jaws, and many others, you miserable son of a bitch! What have you done? What? WHAT? I'M ASKING YOU!!!! ASSHOLE!!"

And so on.

Yes, all the greats post on other people's websites to remind people of their greatness-as they should-in this day and age when the kids don't even know, or care, who the great Bob Hope is.

Keep fighting the good fight, McEwan. Out of the five reviews on Amazon, three were pretty good. Of those, I think one of them was by someone you know personally. Frankly, if I had the resume you have on IDBM, I'd defend it with my last ounce of reserve on other people's website myself.

I'm now convinced you've earned the right to defend it as voraciously as you do, until each and every opponent you have here gets tired of posting retorts, and don't let anyone tell you different.

D. McEwan said...

Ah, hit a nerve, I see.

Sebastian Peitsch said...

Hey Ken,

look someone fixed the "That's my boy" movie poster in the London subway

http://www.iwatchstuff.com/2012/06/thats-my-boy-subway-ad-has-been-fixed.php

Hilarious, right? :-)