Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jonathan Goes To the Movies: Summer Movie Season

Next week, Marvel superheroes Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye will assemble in The Avengers, thus kicking off the Summer Movie Season. In addition to Marvel's dream team of superheroes, there's a new movie from the guys who gave us Borat, Jason Bourne 2.0, another MIB sequel, Pixar's latest animated feature, and the return of a Dark Knight. Here's the list of the 10 summer flicks to watch.
1.) The Dark Knight Rises (July 20) - Of all the summer flicks being released, none has me more pumped than Christopher Nolan's third and final entry to the Batman franchise. 2005's Batman Begins almost single-handily made me forget about the black mark on the Caped Crusader (and on movies in general) that was Batman and Robin, along with the ridiculous Batsuit (which need no further explaining), and George Clooney's shamelessly hammy performance as Bruce Wayne. 2008's followup, The Dark Knight, was a game changer, combining slick and stylish action pieces and an immersing storyline of crime and consequence which plays like a crime-drama in the same fashion of Michael Mann's Heat and the Coen Brothers' No Country For Old Men. This time, an older Wayne (once again played by Christian Bale) must spring back into action after an 8 year hiatus as a new villain, Bane (Tom Hardy) terrorizes Gotham City. Now, if i'm just being honest, I don't know if Nolan can top what he pulled off four years previous with TDK, but it'll still be marvelous fun to watch him send off his Batman in grand style.

2.) The Avengers (May 4) - Ever since May of '08 when Iron Man was released, Marvel Studios have have one goal in mind: bringing together their beloved superheroes - Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye, and Black Widow - to team up for a movie event of epic proportions. Now that audiences have been acquainted with Tony Stark, the God of Thunder, Steve Rodgers, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanoff, and director Nick Fury, Disney and writer/director Josh Wheedon are ready to unleash the Avengers Initiative onto the audience. If the trailer is any indication of what we're in for, then I can't wait to be in line on Thursday night.

3.) Prometheus (June 8) - Ridley Scott returns to the genre he helped define with Prometheus, a prequel of sorts which dives into the mythology of the Alien series. Rather than explain what it's about, i'll let the trailer do the talking for me:

Also, check out the viral campaign for the film, in which Weyland Industries are promoting their new projects, including David (Michael Fassbender), the 8th generation android, and the founder himself, played chillingly by Guy Pearce.

4.) The Dictator (May 16) - The team behind Borat and Bruno are back with The Dictator, a comedy about the dictator of a fictionalized country called the Republic of Wadiya coming to America. Unlike the past two movies, this won't have a documentary-type feel, but it'll be a studio movie with well-known actors like Sir Ben Kingley, John C. Reilly, Anna Farris, and Megan Fox. Much like the other movies Sasha Baron Cohen has been apart of, his antics of pretending to be Bruno or Borat have gotten headline news, most notably, at the 84th annual Academy Awards, where he "poured" the ashes of former tyrant Kim Jong Il all over him before he was forcefully removed (in reality, this was pancake mix). Still, Sasha Baron and director Larry Charles reuniting for another shock comedy? I'm so there.

5.) The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3) - I'll be the first to say that when I heard Sony was rebooting the saga of Peter Parker and his Web-Slinging alter-ego, I thought this would be a total mess. Then the actors coming on for the reboot had me intrigued: Andrew Garfield, who played one of the founders of Facebook and screwed by his best friend in The Social Network, was taking over as Spider-Man, Emma Stone playing...Gwen Stacy!? (OMFG!) and Rhys Isfan as the Lizard Man, the film's villain. Mark Webb, who previous did the romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer was brought on to direct, while former screenwriter for the last two sequels, Alvin Sargant and Harry Potter scribe Steve Kloves wrote the script for the reboot only made me more interested, but wary. The release of the second trailer, revealing a more mature, darker look at the origins of Spider-Man had me convinced this was going to great.
6.) The Bourne Legacy (August 3) - No Matt Damon to return as Bourne himself? Not a problem, let's hire Jeremy Renner to fill in as a Borne-clone! No Paul Greengrass to direct with the usual high energy and shaky camera work we've know him for? Again, not a problem: give it the guy who wrote all three Bourne films and wrote and directed the superbly crafted thriller Michael Clayton, Tony Gilroy! If it sounds i'm being facetious, i'm not. I really do think the series is still in good hands.

7.) Piranha 3DD (June 1) - Confession: I loved Piranha 3D. It didn't take itself too seriously, Jerry O'Connell as the coke-fueled, Joe Francis-wannabe was a scene-stealer, and the Piranhas were killer fun. The sequel's tagline announces more of the same in this one: "Twice the terror. Double the D's." B-level schlock at it's finest. So there.

8.) Abraham Lincolm: Vampire Hunter (June 22) - Speaking of B-level schlock, here comes the newest film from the man behind Wanted, and its about Honest Abe slaying vampires. What could go wrong here?

9.) Brave (June 22) - Last time we saw Pixar, they swung out and missed with Cars 2, a bland, generic sequel who's coloful visuals couldn't make up for how thin the plot was and how less fun it was compared to the 2006 version. I fully expect them to rebound with Brave, the studio's first fairy tale about a female warriror in training. Like most of Pixar's previous works, the story's plot is being kept under wraps, but judging on the two trailers released, this looks to be the animation studio back in top form.

10.) G.I. Joe: Retaliation (June 29) - I should know better than to pay money to see the sequel to 2009's unwatchable farce G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Yet for this sequel, it looks like they're doing things right: most of the characters who where in the first film aren't in this one, save for Snake Eyes(Ray Park), Duke (Channing Tatum, who's taking a backseat in this one) and Storm Shadow (Lee Byung-hun).  The writers behind the hilarious Zombieland are writing the script, and leading the charge for the Joes....Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Bruce Willis. And unlike the last go-around where the film opted to be a knockoff of The Incredibles, X-Men, and Transformers, this looks to be a non-stop action film....or this could be total crap. Either way, i'm taking a big risk on putting it on this list.

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