Hollywood: Summer Movie Preview
By Tim Parks
It’s that time of year again, where heroes don’t fear to tread in their spandex tights. No, I am not talking about Pride season being in full swing, well maybe because of the spandex reference, but it’s the summer movie season y’all. And the era of the superhero blockbuster, sequels up the ying yang without the luxury of lubricants, kiddie fare, R-rated comedies (oh my!) and even the final cinematic adventure for ole Larry Porter are upon us again. Oh, his name is Harry Potter, you say? Not in my world, ok?
The short of the long of it is, it’s mainly a great time to check your brain with the usher tearing your ticket, grab a bucket of popped corn (minus the butter, it is Pride season, after all!), a large drink (no, they don’t sell Diet Water at the concession stand…I checked), and don’t forget to take out that second mortgage on your humble abode, as the Hollywood movie-making machine is self aware and looking to collect your hard-earned dollars.
Let’s see what fare may be deemed tailor-made for audiences of the pink persuasion, including Glee Live! 3D! or as it was known under its covert working title as Exclamation! Point!: The! Movie! on August 12. Trust me, there’s a virtual eye candy smorgasbord and a plentitude for your inner 13-year-old girl to get all in a dither about.
Holding Out For A Hero
X-Men: First Class welcomes Charles Xavier’s mutants to the ’60s, so Hairspray of him, no? Not really, as this is most certainly not a musical, but rather a prequel to the first three based-on-Marvel Comics films. Oh, and I guess I should count Wolverine, too. Moving along, and we’re walking…what, did you think that Hugh Jackman solo X-Men Origin vehicle was really that good? And, we’re walking…
This reboot stars James McAvoy as The Professor and Michael Assbender, err, Fassbender as Magneto, and features a slew of Stan Lee Mutant Babies, including a very young Mystique (Morgan Lily). (June 3).
Green Lantern stars Ryan Reynolds in a very tight green superhero suit as the titular character. Ok, where was I? Ryan Reynolds in a very tight green superhero suit. Damn, I can’t shake that visual, alright my professional writing hat is back on. So, Ryan Reynolds headlines this flick as a cocky test pilot named Hal Jordan, who is bestowed a magical ring by an alien race to defeat a threat to Earth, in the guise of the evil Parallax. Cocky. Ryan Reynolds. Dammit, my hat fell off! (June 17)
Former Fantastic Four flamer Chris Evans takes on another superhero role as Captain America: The First Avenger, who starts out the film as 90 pound weakling Steve Rogers and is constantly rejected by the military he wants to serve. Don’t ask, don’t tell? That is until he is finally accepted and takes part in a secret experiment “Operation: Rebirth,” which should have been called “Operation: Hot,” as he emerges from his chrysalis of doses of vita-rays and Super-Soldier Serum that must have been high in protein (nudge to the wink) as a bonerfide, um, bonafide stud muffin. Oh yeah, this 1940s-based character takes on the Nazis and stuff…did I mention he looks hot doing it? (July 22)
Hey! There is a remake of Conan The Barbarian coming with Jason Momoa taking over for Arnold Schwarzenegger, so I guess that means he’ll move into Maria Shriver’s former marriage bed? Or the pantry with former household staff, I’m just sayin’. (August 19)
Cars 2 is this summer’s Pixar entry to one of its least popular blockbuster season movies …what, no sequel to Finding Nemo? I’ll admit the original tale of Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson and his jacked up nose) does grow on you with subsequent viewings, and this time out the Radiator Springs gang heads off to compete in the World Grand Prix, as Mater (Larry The Cable Guy) does double duty as a spy. (June 24)
It seems pretty irresponsible to market the story of a “video head cleaner” pioneer to unsuspecting children and parents with Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Oh, it’s a Jim Carrey vehicle about a man who inherits six penguins? That’s good, ’cause we wouldn’t want kids to make the same mistake as me by pouring a bottle of Rush into their VCR…yes, they still make them! (June 17)
Let’s breakdown The Smurfs, shall we? That’s rhetorical; you’ll read my analysis and like it, got it? The former ’80s Saturday morning cartoon featured a village of little blue gentlemen festooned in a sassy white pant and matching white hat ensemble, minus shirts, while they lived in mushroom houses in a village under the watchful gaze of Papa (Daddy?) Smurf, and only had one female (Smurfette) to serve as a Smurf hag.
Maybe the show and movie should have been re-christened and spelled as capital G to the A and add a Y, ’cause all that’s missing is a rainbow flag.
The big screen adaptation plotline transports them from their ’shroom homes to the wilds of New York City with Gargamel in hot pursuit, and features vocal talents provided by Neil Patrick Harris (gay), Hank Azaria (gay adjacent), Katy Perry (hello, it’s Katy), Jayma Mays(Emma on Glee), Alan Cumming (sssuper gay, my tire’ssss leaking) and Wolfgang Puck (?). Oh yeah, that makes it much less smurfin’ gay, really (August 3).
I’ve Come Down With A Case Of Sequelitis
As previously mentioned, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Deux, chronicles “the boy who lived” (Daniel Radcliffe) as he encounters his much-anticipated final battle with He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named (Ralph Fiennes), or he’s known in some circles as Donald Trump. It all comes down to a climatic showdown between good and evil, guess if I could read I’d know who wins…sigh. (July 15)
Transformers: Dark of the Moon serves as a cautionary tale for the ages, really. If you’re Megan Fox don’t talk smack about directorMichaelBay, if you do then you won’t be in this third outing for the Autobots and Decepticons with Shia LaBeouf. Sucks to be you, Megan! (July1)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes brings into sharp focus the adage, “Was this trip necessary?” As the 2001 Tim Burton remake was akin to a monkey throwing poop at movie audiences – didn’t Helena Bonham Carter’s make-up look eerily like Michael Jackson? Hold up, this one stars James Franco in an origin story of how the world eventually goes ape, and hopefully he’ll be in a loin cloth! (August 5)
He’s Bringing Laughter Back
Justin Timberlake has two, count ’em, two new movies out this summer with Bad Teacher and Friends with Benefits. Yeah. That’s better than working on a new CD; it’s only been five years, JT!
Anyhoo, he teams up with former flame Cameron Diaz, as a bad apple teacher for the first comedic flick, and Mila Kunis for the second outing of this remake of her Black Swan co-star, Natalie Portman’s comedy No Strings Attached. C’mon, they are soooo similar in plot! (June 17 and July 22)
Close Encounters of the Cinematic Kind
How awesome does Super 8 look? Uh, pretty awesome, which is my new catchphrase, k? Well, there’s a reason for that, the movie looking good, not my newly worded phrase; it’s from the godfather of the summer movie blockbuster, Steven Spielberg, as its executive producer and J.J. Abrams (Lost) is at its helm doing double time as writer/director. This tale of a group of 1979 era Ohio kids making a Super 8 film (that’s what the title means, hello!) when a train carrying a government car with a mysterious cargo derails has all the ear markings of vintage Spielbergian (what? it’s a real word…see Hitchcockian) elements. (June 10)
Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig star as the respective, and singular version, of Cowboys & Aliens (well, isn’t that convenient?), in which the Wild West genre gets a makeover into sci-fi territory, after a queer stranger (nope, not that kind) happens into theArizona town Absolution, circa 1873, and helps to illustrate that we are not alone. (July 29)
Usually I do not like remakes, but I have to say that both Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and Fright Night are high up on my must-see list.
My memories of the source material of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark were heightened when I saw the movie’s trailer, which is a redo of the 1973 TV movie, which starred Kim Darby as a woman terrorized by little onion head creatures that lived in her basement and called out to her from the fireplace, “Sally, we want you Sally!” Pretty scary stuff for a then young Timmy Parks (how times change, no one calls me Timmy and I’m young-at-heart!). The update looks equally freaky, if only because Tom Cruise let Katie Holmes out of the house to star as the step-girlfriend of Guy Pearce’s movie daughter Bailee Madison as Sally…they want you Sally!
Colin Farrell terrorizes Anton Yelchin and his single mom, Toni Collette (you’re terrible, Muriel!), in the horror comedy Fright Night, which originally starred Roddy McDowell and that guy from Herman’s Head in the ’80s and now career obscurity, William Ragsdale. The first time around had a plethora of homoerotic moments, and starred a pre-out lesbian Amanda Bearse (Married with Children), so let’s hope this tale of a teenager and his possible vampire neighbor retains those elements, especially since Farrell is waaay hotter than Chris Sarandon was in the ’85 version, ok? (August 12 and August 19)
Cut. Print. That’s A Wrap!
Phew, we made it through a fraction of what the summer has to offer us in terms of movie-going experiences. Shoot, I didn’t have enough space to discuss Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer…Judy Moody, eh? Sounds like someone got her first visit from Aunt Flo, and let’s hope these flicks aren’t likened to a Bummer Summer, or even the aforementioned unwanted “relative” dropping by. Until next time, that’s all of the news that’s fit to print.