#68 - Great Falls
Dr. Charles Steele
1919 - 2008
First off, apologies once again for the almost total lack of Electric Theatre updates this year. The simple fact is that movie-going has not been a huge priority for the past six months or so, which means that I haven’t had a whole heck of a lot to write about. Hollywood has helped out a lot by making this a really easy decision to make. Looking back on the year so far, I don’t feel like I’ve missed much by skipping out on the likes of Baby Mama, Prom Night, 21, 10,000 B.C. or the countless others competing for your entertainment dollars. But hey, I could be wrong. Maybe someday I’ll be watching Fool’s Gold on HBO and I’ll hate myself for squandering the opportunity to see it projected on the big screen as it was meant to be seen.
At any rate, summertime is upon us once again, which means that I will no doubt be marching lemming-like back into the cinemas to see some of the biggest, brightest, explosioniest and most expensive movies of the year. The Electric Theatre will most likely be returning on a monthly basis for the rest of 2008, although if I can increase the frequency, I certainly will. For this month, let’s take a gander at the big guns being pointed in our face this summer and prejudge these would-be blockbusters by their posters and trailers. By the way, if you'd like to take a closer look at what I'm using to base these opinions on, just click on the posters and fly away to another corner of cyberspace to check out the previews.
As much as I love comics, I don’t necessarily think that every third-string superhero deserves to be the basis of a major motion picture. That said, I have always kind of wanted to see an Iron Man movie and everything I’ve seen from this so far looks exactly like the movie I saw in my head. Casting Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark is inspired and a chrome-domed Jeff Bridges appears to be a terrific nemesis. This could turn out to be one of the most entertaining comic book movies in a long time. I’m certainly hoping for the best.
Made Of Honor
OK, this just looks terrible. Someone had better call Lifetime and let them know one of their made-for-TV movies has escaped. I understand Grey’s Anatomy is popular and all but really, Patrick Dempsey? What is this, 1987?
I just don’t know what to think of this yet. The Wachowski brothers are never less than interesting but I suspect there will be no middle ground on this one. It will either be mind-blowingly amazing or unwatchably terrible. I will definitely be checking this out on the big screen, though.
What Happens In Vegas
The poster for this thing provokes a physical reaction in me where I actually want to smash my fists into it over and over again. They just look so insufferably cute and full of themselves and I’d like nothing better than to wipe those smug horse-grins off their Clearasil faces. If science was trying to create the perfect Jahnke repellant, they could come up with nothing better than this movie.
The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian
I read the Narnia books as a kid and enjoyed the first movie more than I expected to. Even so, I don’t feel any compelling reason to return to Narnia for this entry. This doesn’t look any better or worse than the last one. It just sort of feels like, “Yeah, I’ve seen this already.”
Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull
Apart from Raiders Of The Lost Ark, which is 100% greatness from start to finish, I really don’t like the Indiana Jones series. This seems to surprise a lot of people, although once I explain my reasons for disliking Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade, most folks get where I’m coming from. I have no reason to suspect that Spielberg and Lucas will be able to recapture the magic of the first film at this late date. The unwieldy title alone makes me roll my eyes. (What’s wrong with just Indiana Jones And The Crystal Skull? Is it really that much cooler knowing there’s a whole kingdom built around it?) And nothing in the trailer makes me giddy with anticipation. Will I go see it? Yes, of course, I wouldn’t miss it.
Sex And The City
Fans of the HBO series are all twitterpated over the impending return of Carrie Bradshaw and her three cosmo-swilling pals. Good on you if you’re one of ‘em. Personally, I’m planning on staying home with a big bottle of scotch the weekend this opens and watching old episodes of Kolchak, The Night Stalker.
This probably won’t be a huge release and I think it’s been shuffled around the release schedule often enough to make anybody nervous. But after watching the trailer, I think this has potential to be a genuinely creepy little horror flick. I’m kind of looking forward to it.
Kung Fu Panda
I haven’t been all that impressed with any of the flicks to come out of DreamWorks Animation. This one looks slightly more promising than say, Bee Movie. But unless I start to hear that this is a great, great movie from people whose opinions I trust, I’m not going to make this one a priority.
You Don't Mess With The Zohan
There seem to be two kinds of Adam Sandler vehicles. Those where he uses a relatively normal speaking voice (i.e., The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates) and those where he affects a theoretically amusing but usually just grating accent (as in The Waterboy and Little Nicky). This looks to be of the second variety and based on the preview, par for the course for this kind of thing. Not my cup of tea but if it’s yours, enjoy.
M. Night Shyamalan returns and even if you didn’t know The Happening was one of his, you’d be able to tell after thirty seconds of the trailer. I’ve essentially given up on Shyamalan but I’m willing to bet this will at least be better than his last movie, Lady In The Water, if for no other reason than it would take an act of superhuman ineptitude to craft a movie that’s worse.
The Incredible Hulk
I don’t know what to make of this franchise-relaunch/sorta-kinda-sequel-only-not-really yet. The trailer certainly doesn’t look all that exciting. I really don’t understand why it’s been so difficult to make just one Hulk movie that’s even half as entertaining as the TV series that ran for five years.
I’m not usually a fan of TV shows being remade as features and it’s very possible that I won’t be a fan of this one, either. But the trailer has some funny moments and I have faith in Steve Carell, Evan Almighty not withstanding. Here’s hoping this lives up to the show’s legacy.
The Love Guru
I’ve never been much of a Mike Myers fan. He’s occasionally amusing but I’ve always felt like I don’t find his movies nearly as hilarious as he does himself. This one looks particularly annoying for some reason and I find it very unlikely that I’ll be racing to the multiplex to check this out.
Pixar movies are usually a safe bet anyway, regardless of whether or not you think you’re interested in them in the first place. This one sounded intriguing and the trailer is downright breathtaking, especially in high-definition. Odds are this will be, if nothing else, one of the most visually spectacular movies of the year.
This is based on a comic book that evidently I know nothing about and directed by the Russian filmmaker behind the visually innovative Night Watch and Day Watch. If I hadn’t already known that, the trailer would have led me to believe it was based on a video game and directed by some music video/commercial hack.
I didn’t think I had any interest in this until I saw the preview. Now I think it might actually be pretty entertaining. I reserve the right to switch back to my first impression at any time but for now, I’ll probably check this out.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Del Toro. Mignola. Perlman. If you like comic books, you should be reading Hellboy. If you like Hellboy, you should be looking forward to this. I know I am.
It’s been a long, long time since I’ve looked forward to a new Eddie Murphy movie. This one just looks wretched in every way. Most surprisingly, the trailer just makes it look cheap…like one notch above direct-to-video cheap. Poor Eddie.
The Dark Knight
If I only get to see one movie this summer, I’d make sure it was this one. Everything I’ve seen so far has only made me more convinced that this is going to be the best movie of the summer. July 18 can’t get here fast enough.
If I only get to see two movies this summer, I’d make sure…uh, no. Although I do remember thinking when I saw Sophie’s Choice that Meryl Streep would be an ideal choice to belt out some ABBA tunes.
Boy howdy, does this look bad! That’s very disappointing because I would have thought it impossible for me to not be excited about a movie called Space Chimps.
I kind of like Will Ferrell, despite the fact that I rarely see any of his movies. Not that I think they look all that bad, they just all kind of look the same. The trailer for this is amusing, so I might just put forth the effort into seeking this one out.
The X-Files: I Want To Believe
Fans of Sex And The City offended by my dismissive comments about their movie can feel free to make fun of me all they want for how jazzed I am to see this. There’s no trailer yet and I’ve gone out of my way to avoid reading anything about it. Doesn’t matter. I’m excited with a capital X.
The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor
I had no idea the Mummy franchise was popular enough to warrant a new entry. I’m guessing even fans of the series are a little surprised by this too, especially since there hasn't been a whole lot of publicity about this yet. The image above is one of the few to be released so far. Exciting, no?
Journey To The Center Of The Earth 3D
I don’t want to seem like I’m picking on Brendan Fraser but then again, I’m not the one telling him what movies to make. This looks pretty weak and I have yet to be persuaded that the new 3-D fad will be anything other than a passing fancy, just has it been every other time it was trumpeted as the next big thing in moviegoing.
I’m definitely curious about this, especially since it looks like anyone walking into this expecting Superbad II will likely be shocked and horrified. It looks very funny but a whole lot darker than anything else from the Judd Apatow Finishing School of Comedy.
The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants 2
OMG, it’s like totally the year’s most anticipated sequel!!! I actually saw the first one of these and thought it was OK but unless I get a part-time job this summer as a camp counselor for tween girls, I probably won’t see this. I find out if get the job in two weeks, by the way. Keep your fingers crossed.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
As apathetic as I am toward the new Indiana Jones movie, I’m downright bouncing off the walls in anticipation for it in comparison to how I feel about this. What’s surprising to me is that nobody else seems to care all that much about this either. I know it’s animated and essentially a pilot for a TV series but still, I remember when ANY new Star Wars movie was a big, big deal. Lousy kids, why back in my day…(mutter, mutter)
Hey, guess what? This thing isn't even coming out until January! But based on all the billboards, posters and what-not that are littering Los Angeles, you'd think it was opening in a week. Frankly, I'm already sick to death of it and think it looks god-awful, and this is coming from someone who used to love Frank Miller and reveres Will Eisner's Spirit comics as if they were scripture.
Feels somehow appropriate to end the way we began, with a new movie from the summer’s unlikeliest blockbuster star, Mr. Robert Downey, Jr. Ben Stiller is hit or miss for me but this could be really and truly great.
So those are the big-time summer fireworks this year. Quite a bit of potential up there, so this could either be one of the most entertaining summers in a long time or one of the most profoundly disappointing. Don’t forget that in addition to the major releases, there will be dozens of smaller movies bravely squaring off against them over the next few months, any of which could be much, much better than those listed here. I always hope that the best movie of the season will be some little release that isn’t even on my radar yet. Some of them that I’ll be keeping an eye out for include David Mamet’s Redbelt, Dario Argento’s Mother Of Tears, Werner Herzog’s Encounters At The End Of The World, the Bill Maher documentary Religulous, Choke, based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk, Alan Ball’s Towelhead, the Sundance favorite Hamlet 2, and Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
I’ll be back in 30 days with my first impressions of some of the movies listed above. Until then, keep cool and enjoy your summer.