Thursday, May 6, 2010

Summer Movie Guide 2010 Part 1

Starting tomorrow, Robert Downey Jr. will commence destruction on the North American box office with Iron Man 2, thus beginning the summer class of 2010, where every week a big-name movie will rack-up huge bucks, wow audiences, and entertain the masses. Some call it Hollywood's continued march of spoon-feeding its audience mindless crap and trampling over originality and creativity. That's the point. We've got September on down to the end of the year to watch quality filmmaking (and some have slipped through the cracks early, like Polanski's The Ghost Writer and Scorsese's Shutter Island), but for now, give us shit that blows up but doesn't insult our intelligence - Transformer 2, i'm talking to you. Here are the big movies that will have everyone talking, and the Suits in Hollywood counting the endless amounts of green paper.

1. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (June 30) - Tony Stark, Buzz Lightyear, and Shrek will bring an audience, but these heavy hitters can't hold a candle to the power of a emo vampire who glitters in the sunlight and a hunk werewolf allergic to shirts. Eclipse, the third installment of the worldwide phenomenon (God only knows why) Twilight franchise will all but have rows of seats for those who support Team Edward (Robert Pattinson) and those who are firmly in camp for Team Jacob (Taylor Lautner), and there's nothing we can do about it. Teenage girls will be screaming in excitement; they'll be texting to their friends every second about what is going on in the movie, and they'll sighing as Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) has to choose between her limp dick vampire boyfriend, Edward and Tiger Beat poster-boy/werewolf platonic buddie Jacob. As for me, place me under "Team I Don't Give a Fuck", because nothing on earth could make me want to watch another round of the most insufferable film franchise of the last decade.

2. Iron Man 2 (May 7) - Kicking off the star-studded extravaganza that is the Summer Movie Season is Iron Man 2. All signs for the sequel are pointing that while its bigger and more flashy than the last go-around, much of what made the first movie a favorite - an intelligent script to match the spectacular action - is missing, and that IR2 suffers from the Spider-Man 3 character overload system. Doesn't matter to the people who fell for Robert Downey Jr's narcissistic playboy Tony Stark, and for Downey in general. A great actor in a lovable role will make you follow him anywhere.

3. Toy Story 3 (June 18) - Unlike previous years, the animation wizards at Pixar have competition for Top Dog honors in the Best Animated Feature Oscar, with DreamWorks Animation firing the first shot with the suprise hit, How To Train Your Dragon. But the Heavyweight Belt isn't the only thing at stake: Pixar's still perfect at 11-0 (we're even counting A Bug's Life, Mosnters, Inc., and Cars), and facing the task that have slain so many great franchise films: the third chapter. That's what Toy Story 3 and the animation company is going up against this year. Can they create an excellent third chapter of the adventures of Woody, Buzz, and all of Andy's toys and beat Hiccup and his gang at their own game? I'd bet on it.

4. Inception (July 16) - If Iron Man 2 is the kick start to the summer movie season, then Christopher Nolan's mind-bending sci-fi drama is its brain. Not much is know about this movie, and i'm guessing Nolan wants to keep it that way. He wants his audience to use their brains to figure out what two cops (Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a criminal mastermind (Ken Wantanabe), and a girl (Ellen Page) have to do with the power to alter reality just by thinking it. With movies like The A-Team, Knight and Day, and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time - to name a few - asking you to check your brain at the door, will audiences want to see something that will almost make them keep them thinking on their toes? I can only speak for myself in saying the following: bring it on.

5. The Last Airbender (July 2) - It's make-or-break time for M. Night Shyamalan. Hist last 2 1/2 flicks (The Happening, Lady in the Water, the last half-hour of The Village) marked a fall from grace from the man who used the supernatural and old-school scare tactics as a pathway to the soul. His latest effort is based on the hit cartoon show on Nickeloden, Avatar: The Last Airbender, about a boy who can bend the four elements - wind, water, earth, and fire - and bring peace to a world that is at war with the Fire Nation and its power-hungry ruler. The action and visual effects look epic in the trailers, and the fact that it'll now be in 3D makes it even cooler, but M. Night can't fuck this up, or else he'll be cemented as a Hitchcock-wannabe, a one-trick pony who's run out of tricks to wow people.

6. Shrek Forever After (May 21) - If How To Train Your Dragon is an example of DreamWorks Animation at its best, then Shrek Forever After might be them at their worst. Its bad enough that Shrek the Third ran out of ideas and resorted to the same tired gags that made the first two lovable and hilarious, but now they're going back to them again with the final chapter: Shrek's lost his scare factor, so he makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin to act more like himself for a day. Instead, Rumpelstiltskin is now the king of Far, Far Away and his friend Donkey and Puss don't know him, along with his wife, Fiona, who's am ogre warrior leading a rebellion against the new king. Think It's A Wonderful Life meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but without any of the heart, the quirky humor, or the haunting, yet hopeful knockout deliveries both films make.

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