Monday, May 3, 2010

Ten Reasons Why This Summer Won't Suck

Hard as it may be to remember, summer movies used to premiere exclusively in the summer months. Back in the day, there was none of this business of releasing FX-heavy, blockbuster style movies like Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief or Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland in winter or early spring.

While it's nice for those who enjoy these kind of movies to count on seeing them all year round, some might say that the idea of a summer movie season has been rendered obsolete. I say it doesn't matter what else is released the rest of the year - to not be excited about the summer movie season is like being blasé about Christmas: Not going to happen.

Admittedly, this summer looks pretty light on films to anticipate (and real light on horror - I guess Drag Me To Hell's weak showing last June took a toll) but here's my top ten reasons why I'm looking forward to the next few months of movies:

10. Jonah Hex

This adaptation of the DC horror/western comic will suck, surely, so maybe it shouldn't be on this list at all. But on the other hand - they made a freakin' Jonah Hex movie and that blows my mind! Hex is a character that only the most die-hard comic fans have any idea about, a character that even within the comic book community has extremely limited appeal - in other words, he sounds like the ideal character to build a big budget summer movie around, doesn't he?

Oh, and it's also a Western - and we know that's proven box office gold right there. So...this will be tanking in a big way when it hits theaters on June 18th (serving further death notice, Hex shares that date with Toy Story 3) but I'll be eagerly checking it out just the same.

9. The Last Exorcism

Some viewers have been done with the faux-documentary approach since The Blair Witch Project (1999). Others threw up their hands when Cloverfield (2008) came along. Just last year, Paranormal Activity (2009) further polarized audiences. For whatever reason, this type of film always provokes a divisive reaction. Personally, I usually love them and the idea of one dedicated to the demonic possession sub-genre seems promising to me. Produced by Eli Roth, I'm hoping The Last Exorcism will smoke all other faux-docs.

8. Inception

I wouldn't say I'm necessarily a big fan but it's hard to beat director Christopher Nolan's track record. At this point, it's almost a guarantee that anything he does is going to be quality and I can't imagine that with an artist as canny as Nolan that his first post-Dark Knight movie will be a misstep. Inception may not be as much as a slam-dunk as Batman 3 would be but this thriller set inside of dreams looks primed to keep Nolan's growing reputation intact.

7. Machete

This'll be the movie that shows the difference between a Mexi-can and a Mexi-can't. As the fake trailer for Machete upstaged almost everything else in Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's tag-team exploitation extravaganza Grindhouse (2007), I hope that if this feature-length expansion turns out to be great, they'll pull the terminally dull Death-Proof from all Grindhouse DVDs and substitute Machete instead.

6. Splice
Genetic mutants should always be found running amok in at least one summer movie offering. To that end, Splice is this year's entry in the science experiment gone awry sweepstakes. Looks a little funkier than the usual summer fare but at the same time, it also looks like a full-on B-movie with earnest, over-reaching scientists in over their heads chasing down their creation.

5. Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage

I don't know if this will actually play in any theaters in my area but I sure hope it does. A feature-length Rush documentary is too cool not to see on the big screen. Don't you agree?

4. The A-Team

On the one hand, it's valid to say that supporting remakes and adaptations of old TV shows is just encouraging Hollywood to flood theaters with mediocre bullshit. On the other hand, we're talking The A-Team here and that's nothing for a Gen-Xer like myself to be indifferent about. One of these days, it's inevitable that they'll start making movies based on shit I didn't grow up with and invariably I'll stop giving a damn about most of what's released in theaters. But as long as Hollywood is raiding my childhood for inspiration and playing the nostalgia card, I'll keep being a chump.

3. Predators

I hope this does really reboot the Predator franchise as planned and that isn't just a one-off thing. Either which way, whether audiences go for this or not, I think the concept is great. It's simple, but with a lot of opportunities to show off the Predators and their abilities. I'm of the opinion that you just can't go too wrong with a movie about a hunt - and if you've got the Predators doing the hunting, then you're really good.

2. Piranha 3-D

To my mind, the only bad thing about Piranha 3-D is that we have to wait through the entire summer to get to it. Labor Day Weekend? Seriously? Come on! Maybe I'm nuts, maybe I'm too pumped about piranha, but I think this movie should've been scheduled for July 4th weekend or something. Put it out at the height of the season, not dragging on the ass-end of the summer. Then again, I'll admit that my tastes and that of the movie-going public aren't always a match. To most people, this might look like a joke - like a glorified (or not so glorified) SyFy Channel movie. That attitude confounds me because all I see is awesome. I didn't think I'd be ok with CGI piranha but it turns out I am.

1. The Expendables
A movie that needs no further hype at this point - all I can say is that I am truly jacked to see it. Had Stallone's last two pictures - Rambo (2008) and Rocky Balboa (2006) - not been as satisfying as they were, I'd been more leery about the prospect of this being any good but I think the odds are in its favor. I just wish Kurt Russell had been able to be a part of this as well.

The above titles may not look like the makings of a great summer to everyone, but they look damn promising to me. Sure, I may feel very differently about them by the end of Labor Day weekend but with the summer just starting, who cares about all that now?


Timmy Crabcakes said...

I dunno... now that Summer blockbuster season is all year long I get a lot more jazzed when an upcoming movie isn't 'HUGE'... not chock full of explosions... not brimming with 'stars'... not in 3D.
Christmas is special because it's only once a year.
'Machete' does have my hopes up though...

Indiephantom said...

I've somehow missed most of the discussion concerning "The Expendables". I know that Van Damme had to pull out (sadly), but I kind of expected Seagal to be there. Russell would also have been perfect. The poster doesn't include Willis and Schwarzenegger, but I've spotted them in trailers. I agree that on the strength of Stallone's last outings this has me excited. I believe Piranha 3D was pushed back, and I did see trailers at theatres for that one back in March or something. I think that sucker would have played well earlier in the spring, actually. August seems to be a DOA month for leftover horror. Hadn't heard of "The Last Exorcism" prior to this. Is there going to be an official NEW trailer for "Machete"? I'm far more pumped for that film than anything else on the list. Why oh why could we not have a "Grindhouse" film every other year. Shame on those who didn't support that one. "Thanksgiving" really needs to happen, though.

Jeff Allard said...

Knob, Machete seems like one of the daffier projects to come along in awhile. Not just because it's a feature-length version of a fake trailer but because of the cast. With a line-up that includes Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, Robert DeNiro, Don Johnson, Lindsay Lohan, Michelle Rodriguez and Steven Seagal, to say that Machete has an eclectic cast is an understatment.

And Indiephantom, it'd be awfully ironic if more people turned out to see Machete than did to see Grindhouse itself but I have a feeling that actually might end up being the case. I hope so - I'm with everyone else who thinks that a Thanksgiving movie has to happen!

Unknown said...

Yeah, I'm really looking forward to INCEPTION. I've been a fan of Nolan's since MEMENTO and everything I've seen and read about this new film sounds like he's got something really special up his sleeve. We shall see.

I'm also looking forward to THE EXPENDABLES. Having grown up on '80s action films, this looks like a wonderfully cheesy throwback to that era with loads of funny one-liners and stuff blowing up. How can this film go wrong?

Blue Seven said...

man, I've been stoked to see Piranha 3-D for ages, the excitement only tempered after seeing, uh, Mirrors. Pret-ty bad. I kind of liked The Last Exorcism's original title (Cotton) better, but can't argue that the new title will be more apt to put butts in seats. I'm also hopng to see theatrical releases for Frozen and Buried (hope I'm not misremembering the title, it's the one about dude being, uh, buried alive). And I bet Gaspar Noe's new film Enter the Void will be awesome, too, if not a whole lot of fun!

CRwM said...

I was trying to explain the distinct charm of the Hex project and I think what I'm feeling is a weird form of nostalgia.

Remember back in the 80s and 90s when you could basically bet on a comicbook adaptation being created by people who had no interest in the original franchise and made a mess so staggeringly wrong that you wondered why they even bothered with whatever rights payments they needed to make?

I look at the poster and trailer and I feel that magic nausea again.

Jeff Allard said...

J.D., The Expendables does looks terrific and I'll be shocked if it isn't everything fans are hoping for!

Blue, I think the thing that threw Aja off with Mirrors was that he just isn't as comfortable with supernatural horror as he is with the more visceral stuff. If that's the case, Piranha 3-D should be more in his comfort zone.

And CRwM, my wife saw the Hex poster in the theater lobby the other day and the first thing she said was "that looks like a '90s movie!" That's the appeal of Jonah Hex in a nutshell for me - it throws me back to films like The Phantom, Spawn, Barb Wire, Tank Girl and The Shadow. Who knows - everyone thinks this movie will be a flop but maybe there's a big audience out there who sees what we see in it!

Bob Ignizio said...

'Hex' actually has me cautiously hopeful. I've loved Brolin in just about everything he's been in, and the rest of the cast looks interesting. On top of that, the script of by the 'Crank' team of Neveldine/Taylor. I agree it'll probably be nothing like any of the comic book versions of the character, but should at least be interesting, even if it's an interesting train wreck. And if it makes money, maybe next time they can hire Joe R. Lansdale to adapt one of his Hex stories. That would really be cool.

Jeff Allard said...

I agree, it would be cool - too bad it'll never happen. Hex is gonna be a one-shot deal but I think it's still cool as hell that they made it. Even if the movie stinks, I love the fact that in a few months I'll be able to have a live-action Jonah Hex adaptation in my DVD collection.

The character I really wish someone would get around to making a movie out of is The Question. If they made a movie in the style of the '80s run by Denny O'Neil and Denys Cowan, I'd be psyched.

I Like Horror Movies said...

I dont know man.. PIRANHA looks shittier and shittier the more I see of it.. But then again.. Christopher Lloyd!!