Sunday, May 03, 2009

Summer Movies Preview: Part one

It's time for my annual Summer movies preview!!!! I'm noticing a trend towards youth oriented lightweight fare this year. Maybe it's just me. You decide.

X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE – How Hugh Jackman got his steel fangs. Great action sequence where he tries to put in a contact lens.

TERMINATOR 4: GET OUT OF MY SIGHT LINE – This time they try to kill the Terminator by organizing an impeachment campaign. Stars Christian Bale when he’s not being distracted by inconsiderate incompetent crew people.

DRAG ME TO HELL – Alison Lohman as a callous bank executive who is tortured by a brutal demon. To me this is the feel-good movie of the summer.

UP – A cranky old man (Ed Asner) rigs balloons to his house and flies to South America. And gets there faster than if he flew Delta. It’s a Pixar pic so it’s one of my picks.

ANGELS & DEMONS – Tom Hanks. Prequel to DA VINCI CODE. This time he uncovers Jesus’ early text messages.

STAR TREK – How it all began, before Captain Kirk gained a hundred pounds and became a shill for Leonard Nimoy stars but not William Shatner. There wasn’t enough velour to make his uniform.

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN – Ben Stiller with Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart. I wish Amelia had lived and this franchise disappeared.

GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST – A new spin on the single most tired premise in RomCom history -- hire a leading man who is an enemy of comedy. Stars Matthew McConaughey and the lovely but not-exactly-hilarious Jennifer Garner.

THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE – Steven Soderbergh’s look at escort services. Neat way of writing off his “research”.

NOT FORGOTTEN – Simon Baker channels spirits. So it’s a real departure from his role on THE MENTALIST?

THE LIMITS OF CONTROL – A Jim Jarmusch film about a character described as half human/half coyote. Sounds a little mainstream for Jarmusch.

DANCE FLICK – A send-up of dance movies not by the Wayan brothers but by the Wayan brothers’ kids. That could be like going to Frank Sinatra Jr. concert.

MANAGEMENT – Touted as a “mature” romantic comedy. I’m sure ancient star Jennifer Aniston must be thrilled with that description.

EASY VIRTUE – Jessica Biel in an English costume drama based on a Noel Coward play. I like Noel Coward. I don’t like Jessica Biel in costumes.

NEXT DAY AIR – There’s no richer vein for comedy than interstate shipping.

JULIA – Tilda Swinton as a desperate alcoholic. She already won an Oscar so I’m not sure why she took this role.

SUMMER HOURS – Juliette Binoche dealing with her mother’s death. Why should Tilda Swinton win two Oscars when she could?

PONTYPOOL – A radio disc jockey battles a deadly plague. Might be the story of disco or Clear Channel.

TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN – Because not enough toys were sold at Burger King with the first one.

LAND OF THE LOST – the 70’s TV show comes to life with Will Ferrell and Dino from the FLINTSTONES.

SOUL POWER – Footage from a 1974 James Brown/B.B. King concert. See it now before all the PBS pledge breaks.

DEATH IN LOVE – Drama about a Jewish woman who falls in love in a concentration camp. I so hope this wasn’t greenlit because THE READER made money.

Part two tomorrow.


Rory L. Aronsky said...

A send-up of dance movies not by the Wayman brothers but by the Wayman brothers’ kids.Wayans.

Joe said...

The Reader made money?

John said...

Wouldn't a follow-up to the reader be called "The Kindle"?

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Wouldn't a follow-up to the reader be called "The Kindle"?Away from the movie, the follow-up would be called "The Writer."

Bryan CastaƱeda said...

Ken, didn't Binoche win Best Supporting Actress for The English Patient?

We're all trying to block our memory of that film, so I don't blame you for forgetting.

Simon H. said...

I like Jessica Biel in certain costumes, probably just not the ones in that film.

By Ken Levine said...

BC in OC,

You're right. Just like the movie, I must've slept anytime anyone from ENGLISH PATIENT won. I have adjusted the recap. Thanks.

zadig said...

Fat jokes about William Shatner, Ken? Seriously? Isn't there someone whose stutter you could be mocking or something?

I could understand if there weren't other just as obvious things to mock about Shatner. But fat jokes?

Anonymous said...

I think ANGELS & DEMONS is a prequel to THE DA VINCI CODE in book form only, every interview I've seen with Ron Howard (two of them) indicates A&D is a standalone movie set after the events of TDVC. So hopefully there isn't a moment where Tom Hanks does some seemingly magic trick and somebody asks him "how did you do that?" and Tom replies "just a little trick I picked up in The Da... in France."

Actually no, I hope he does. Because then when they make DAN BROWN MOVIE, the "writers" can't use that joke.

A. Buck Short said...

Just curious, have any of the studios ever picked up one of your previews as the advertising tag line? If some of these turkeys have to reach all the way to critic Joe Btfsplk of the Jefferson County Advertiser to find something even ambiguously favorable, at least they might consider going for the laugh. Especially enjoyed the Swinton/Binoche one-two punch.

Joey, Joey, Joey (Like a perfumed woman, the wind blows in the bunkhouse???) see, the objective with these is to enjoy the observation even more because you're a participant filling in the blanks. But, based on your past contributions I’ve enjoyed, we’ll give you a pass on this one and chalk it up to a little too much of the grape. Did I say chalk, I meant oaky.

Although it was a nice homage, The Reader will never be The English Patient of its generation. The only positive thing I got out of the latter was realizing Minghella wasn’t that Nazi Bavarian doctor who experimented on Jews, gypsies and homosexuals.

Ken, I saw Haden Church at the closing night party of the USA Film Festival last night with his new picture “Don McKay." Based on a reference I think I remember you having made, I didn’t know whether to ask if he knew Ken Levine or not. So played it safe. Besides, M. Emmet Walsh was also there from the film, and he was a stitch -- wonderfully self-effacing.

Comedian Laura Kightlinger (Will and Grace, The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman) had introduced the short film program Thursday night wearing a swine flu mask. While going for the obvious, I still felt that didn’t get the laugh it should have, what with the investment in wardrobe and all. (Possibly, because, unlike me, the woman still has a shred of dignity, she chose not to go over the top, muffling the first 15 seconds of undecipherable remarks behind the mask, before taking it off and continuing.)

So last night we commiserated that it was a shame the bit didn’t get the recognition it deserved. Especially since there were so few still doing prop comedy these days -- it was pretty much just her, Rip Taylor and Carrot Top. So I made her two “designer” swine flu masks from Dallas. One, not an original concept, had the front labeled “Your ad goes here,” (see Jamie Lee Curtis, Huffpost). The better one, a black velvety number for evening wear, read, “It’s so important to accessorize.” She liked that, and was also quite tolerant of the kind of guy who finds out you’re a comedian or comedy writer, and then overdoes the rest of the evening trying to be funny. Know anybody like that?

growingupartists said...

I'm really looking forward to seeing Wolverine. When I first saw the toy-line at Target I thought, well, won't that give elementary children an excuse to carry knives to school.

But the movie looks great. Totally looking forward to it!!!

Eric M said...

Up! Woo woo!

John said...

Actually, since "Angels and Demons" has control of an anti-matter source as one of its main plot points, and the Starship Enterprise's engines are powered anti-matter, I suppose if you combine the two films that makes Capt. Kirk the Pope of the 23rd Century. Or Tom Hanks will reveal Dr. McCoy is Bill Donahue. Or Judd Apatow's the anti-Christ. Or Ron Howard's brother going to reprise his role as Balok, only this time as the leader of the Illuminati. Or something like that.

BigTed said...

Not that this is a political forum (but, hey, you brought it up), isn't it kind of ironic that Arnold is doing exactly the same sorts of things to the economy (out of the same sort of necessity) that he helped get the last guy bounced out of office for doing?

On a related note, I know how to keep everyone happy: Have Arnold play an aged, bulked-up Kirk in the next "Star Trek," while Shatner plays a bloated but lovable robot in the next "Terminator." I'd watch those!

Cap'n Bob said...

Speaking of swine flu masks as togs, three of them would make a pretty swell bikini.

Anonymous said...

Is Sasha Grey playing the lead role? can she act? (last time I saw her, I forwarded through the talking parts)

Anonymous said...

I meant "fast forwarded". Still, not a dry seat left in the house, so I'm checking this one out.

jbryant said...

Ken: I don't think Wolverine has "fangs." They're talons or something. I wouldn't nitpick, but your contact lens joke really only works if it's talons. :)

I thought the Dance Flick trailer looked pretty funny, especially compared to all those recent sub-ZAZ parody movies (Date Movie, Epic Movie, ad nauseam). I hope so -- I worked with Damon Wayans, Jr. on something a while back and he was a blast.

Anonymous: Are you saying that Sasha Gray has "talking parts?" What did you see her in, a remake of "Chatterbox?"

Gridlock said...

Wow, is it this time of year already?

I guess this is the 3rd (?) Summer Movie Preview I've read here. Seems like only yesterday.

My life is flashing before my eyes at the rate of one day a day!

Spike said...

Your Whatever Works preview got me twice -- the bark laugh, followed by the sigh laugh.