Saturday, May 21, 2011

Jonathan Goes To the Movies: The Summer Movie Preview, Part II

With Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides due out tomorrow and only a portion of the preview complete, I'm now going to put up the summer movies that can go either way, and the ones that have 'bad' written all over it.


Cars 2 (June 24): I've never had any doubts about Pixar - much like the English alt/rock band Radiohead, they can do little wrong, even if the latest effort isn't as great as the predesessor (think Pablo Honey, Amnesiac and The King of Limbs for the Oxford quintet, and A Bug's Life, Cars and Monsters, Inc. for Pixar) - up until now. Cars didn't need a sequel, much less one in 3D, but the first one in 2006 racked up over $400 million worldwide, so I guess this was unavoidable. This time, Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) is in a worldwide race, spanning three continents, and his pal Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) is his right-hand partner for the big race. Throw in some espionage, British car spies and Pixar's lush talent for visual and emotional storytelling, combined with homage to the 1960's TV show Get Smart and you have a home run for Pixar, box office wise but after Pixar brilliantly closed out Toy Story 3 in 2010, will this sequel live up to the kind of excellence we've come to expect from the animation company? I doubt it, but as I said earlier, Pixar has not made a disappointing movie yet, so i'm still going to see what they have up their sleeves on opening weekend.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides(May 20): Captain Jack Sparrow is back, minus Orlando Bloom and Keria Knightley as Will and Elizabeth and Gore Verbinski who directed the first three Pirates flicks. Director Rob Marshall (Chicago) and new characters including the terrifying Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and his beautiful daughter (Penelope Cruz) may make the series more interesting, but at the same time....they're making another Pirates movie. It should have ended with At World's End, but that made serious coin at the box-office, so of course they would make another one. Johnny Depp is always reliable as the iconic and eccentric Captain Sparrow, but how many more of these movies are they going to make before they give it a rest??

Green Lantern (June 17): On one hand: Ryan Reynolds is in the title role as Hal Jordan, the first-ever human chosen to become part of the Green Lantern corps. (Think the intergalactic cops, but with magical rings that act as the source of their powers) Reynolds is a likable person and charming, but he strikes me as a pretty-boy who lets his charming good looks do the acting for him. Plus, I simply prefer Marvel Studios to DC Comics Studios in general. But there's a very good supporting cast around Reynolds, including Mark Strong playing the good guy, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Robbins, and Michael Clark Duncan, among others. And Martin Campbell, director of two of the best Bond films in the franchise (Goldeneye, Casino Royale) knows how to stage together and action sequence. The big question: can Reynolds pull off Hal Jordan?

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (June 29): I should know better than to put this film on my 50/50 list, considereing how the last movie, Revenge of the Fallen left a taste in my mouth I haven't gotten rid of yet. But, as I've said last time, Michael Bay knows how to pull off a slick and amazing spectacle of shit blowing up, and cities and landmarks being destroyed. This may be his finest bout of destruction yet as you'll see from the trailer:

Looks cool, right? Oh, and Megan Fox isn't in this one, so Bay's going with the logical choice of some underwear model who can stand there and look look really hot. Lets see: lingerie model? Check. Huge robots? Check. Destruction and mayhem in almost every frame? Check. Again, I should know better, but Bay knows what his audience wants to see.

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