It's Time for Yet Another Installment of ...
BAD CINEMA WITH BEN!
Today: The Special Summer Movie Preview
AH, SUMMER. Truly there is no better time to revel in the sun and heat. That's why many Americans, your correspondent included, will spend much of their time this summer cowering in dark, air-conditioned movie theatres.
Of course, it's not as if we're all going simply to avoid the sun and heat -- it's not as if we're going to watch the Los Angeles Clippers. There are plenty of potentially good movies out there this summer, and I'm looking forward to seeing many of them. Then again, there are also plenty of stinkers just waiting to be unleashed upon the unsuspecting American people.
So in an admittedly biased, unscientific exercise, I'm grading this summer's films in advance, solely based on my like (or dislike) of their plots and subject material. So you've been warned -- some of these films may be great, but I'll never see them because the subject material has no interest to me; while other films may seem deadly dull to you, but which I'll go see because I want to do so. And with that -- well, here we go!
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE
Opening Date: Now Playing
PLOT: Executives at Marvel Entertainment Inc. discover a magic formula to make bank like nobody's business and extend the life of a movie/comic franchise, thus causing various "Marvel Universe" superheroes to relive their origin stories.
UPSIDE: For the ladies, I guess it's Hugh Jackman. For everyone else -- meh.
DOWNSIDE: I'll be honest -- I'm not a fan of superhero stories, unless the superheroes in question are clever types like Batman. For one thing, the superheroes have it all too easy; they rush around and break things and foil perfectly good attempts to take over the world. Plus, the superheroes got silly. It used to be superheroes could do things like bend steel and what not; now they're causing tornadoes and sucking the life force out of people. Call me when they start doing really amazing stuff, like accurately predicting the fortunes of the S&P 500.
Also, Wolverine is not -- from what I can tell -- a graduate of the University of Michigan. And why not, one asks?
WILL I SEE IT: No.
Opening Date: May 8
PLOT: Paramount Pictures goes where .. well, we've kind of been there before, but this actually looks pretty cool.
UPSIDE: The original Star Trek story, given a modern update and expanded back story, could actually turn out pretty damned special. I guess we'll see, but this certainly seems like it could work out. Let's just hope they don't treat McCoy, who was the best character on the old show, like a third wheel.
DOWNSIDE: Installing young kids -- by which I mean actors who look like they're in their twenties -- in what are now iconic roles could prove risky.
WILL I SEE IT: I just might.
ANGELS AND DEMONS
Opening Date: May 15
PLOT: Much bad dialogue and convenient plot devices likely ensue as Tom Hanks' nutty professor works to save the Vatican from the Illuminati, who supposedly still exist even though they got wiped out in 1785. Also, the intellectuals are really ticked off.
UPSIDE: None that I can see, particularly since I'm a Roman Catholic, and thus would have to say like 80 Hail Marys if I saw this movie.
DOWNSIDE: The Church has overreacted to what will almost certainly be a crappy Hollywood movie. This would have been an excellent time for the Holy See to remember it is the Holy See, and does not need to defend itself against Hollywood.
WILL I SEE IT: I'm spending enough time in Purgatory as is.
Opening Date: May 21
PLOT: FINALLY we get to see the remnants of mankind fight the machines in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
UPSIDE: Did I mention mankind fights evil machines? Oh, and it's a fair bet to say things blow up real good. Also, the director's from Kalamazoo, so -- you know -- I got to represent.
DOWNSIDE: What downside? Mankind! Fighting! Evil! Machines! SWEET!
WILL I SEE IT: I -- am -- so -- there.
THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3
Opening Date: June 12
PLOT: John Travolta's character hijacks a New York subway train, and forces the straphangers to watch "Battlefield Earth."
UPSIDE: Denzel Washington.
DOWNSIDE: Meh. It's been done.
WILL I SEE IT: Nah.
TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN
Opening Date: June 24
PLOT: The Decepticons come back and attack Earth. The Autobots try to stop this. Megan Fox looks pretty.
UPSIDE: Gee, I guess Optimus Prime didn't have prostate cancer after all!
DOWNSIDE: Gee, I wonder how this is going to turn out.
WILL I SEE IT: Highly doubtful. The Transformers were fine when they were a marketing vehicle in my youth for various toys, but nowadays, I'm not at the point where I'll spend $10 to go see a bunch of robots create havoc on screen.
Opening Date: July 1
PLOT: John Dillinger runs around robbing banks during the Depression.
UPSIDE: Hey, somebody figured out how to make money in bad economic times. Could be a valuable teaching tool! (I kid, of course. Besides, let's remember how Johnny's career ended).
DOWNSIDE: Dillinger was kind of a jerk.
WILL I SEE IT: Better than even chance.
G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA
Opening Date: Aug. 7
PLOT: The good guys at G.I. Joe fight the bad guys of COBRA, the evil terrorist organization which seeks to take over the world through a variety of hare-brained schemes.
UPSIDE: I have to admit that, as a boy, I rooted for COBRA while watching the cartoons. Especially Tomax and Xamot, who as I understand it went on to sell collateralized debt obligations on Wall Street. Although they're not apparently in the film, which is disappointing. They'd be great villians.
DOWNSIDE: Film could, in theory, be serious and not contain key elements of old cartoon, including everyone going along with yet another stupid idea from Cobra Commander, and uplifting moral lessons during the end credits.
WILL I SEE IT: Doubtful.
Date Opening: Aug. 14
PLOT: Aliens land in South Africa. However, instead of trying to conquer humanity, they're forced to work for a multinational corporation, which seeks to make money from their alien secrets and technology.
UPSIDE: Finally, we have a realistic alien-encounter movie. I mean, let's face it: we would try to reverse-engineer the aliens' technology to make money from it. Also, the trailer and the associated Web sites make this movie look really, really good.
DOWNSIDE: Not seeing any.
WILL I SEE IT: Yes.
Date Opening: Aug. 21
PLOT: Our Boys kill Nazis during World War II.
UPSIDE: Tarantino directs, so we know Our Boys will absolutely kill every Nazi in the room.
DOWNSIDE: What downside? I mean, aside from the title's spelling errors, which make me wince.
WILL I SEE IT: Yeah.
Obviously, these aren't all the movies being released this summer. There are, for instance, a bunch of romantic comedies, which didn't look all that appealing. Plus, there are a bunch of family films, although as I don't have a family, I'm freed of any obligation to actually go see them. As for the rest -- well, we'll see how these actually turn out.Posted by Benjamin Kepple at May 4, 2009 09:43 PM | TrackBack