Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Summer Movie Preview '13

[UPDATE: Wow, I totally forgot Man of Steel. Because I am dumb. Oh I totally wrote it but I forgot to actually put it up. It’s fixed now.]

It looks like I’m doing another Summer Movie Preview, just like last year. Though I missed out on seeing a few of the films last summer, and others I simply didn’t review, the whole thing was fun and I enjoyed doing it. As I’ve said before I think that the Summer movie experience begins in May, which means I’m really cutting this close. But hey, it’s technically still April. As I said last year these are not reviews; it’s just me talking about movies coming out this summer that appeal to my nerdy side. There might be some films I missed that should go on this list but for now this will do. Notice that the Fantastic Four reboot still isn’t around. When is that happening, Fox?

Click below for more.

Iron Man 3
(Release Date: 5/3/13)
What’s Up: Robert Downey Jr. returns as Tony Stark for a second sequel to the hit film Iron Man and a semi-sequel to the giant hit The Avengers. This is the beginning of Marvel Studios’ Phase Two (which will eventually lead to Avengers 2). Iron Man has always been something of the unofficial face of this franchise so this film will likely be a clue as to what direction Marvel will be taking these films.

Pros: Robert Downey Jr. has always brought a certain charm and charisma to the role and there’s little reason he won’t continue to do so. The film has received a ton of critical acclaim the past month, with all signs pointing to it possibly being the best Iron Man movie yet. The Mandarin, Iron Man’s arch nemesis, finally makes his big screen debut. About goddamn time.

Cons: There’s still a bad taste in my mouth from Iron Man 2 which, while not bad, was a pretty big disappointment (and in my opinion the worst of all of these Avenger movies). With a different director one has to wonder if what made the previous movies good can be retained. While the Mandarin is finally here he’s played by the very pretty white Ben Kingsley (I will talk about this at length when I review this film) and so far I haven’t heard that he uses his trademark magic rings.

Beta’s Interest Level: High. With all the buzz flying around this flick and the anticipation for this new round of Marvel movies I’m super stoked to see this film and Thor: The Dark World in the fall.

After Earth
(Release Date: 5/31/13)
What’s Up: The latest film from M. Night Shyamalan, who seemed to have America completely turn on him after The Last Airbender, it stars Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith. It’s premise and setting, a post-apocalyptic Earth in the future, is similar to Oblivion which just recently premiered.

Pros: Um…I like science fiction, so that’s cool. Also Shyamalan directed one of my favorite movies, Unbreakable, though that was a long time ago.

Cons: The latest film from M. Night Shyamalan it stars Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith. I don’t care for any of these people.

Beta’s Interest Level: Low. I don’t particularly want to see this film but it could be fun to watch both this and Oblivion and compare and contrast the two. Also, based on Shyamalan’s track record it could be a train wreck and that’s always kind of fun.

Monsters University
(Release Date: 6/21/13)
What’s Up: Pixar’s latest film which is a prequel to 2001’s Monsters, Inc., though I have no idea who was asking for it.

Pros: well I hear that Mastodon wrote a song for this film so if you’re into that sort of thing that would likely be a Pro.

Cons: Watching a prequel to a movie I wasn’t really all that into over ten years later doesn’t sound a like the best use of my time. That they didn’t get a sequel to show what became of the little girl from the first film is a f**king insult. Ever since Pixar was bought by Disney it hasn’t felt like they’ve been able to keep up the same quality of film that they did prior.

Beta’s Interest Level: Low. A prequel to Monsters, Inc. makes no sense, especially when you consider how long it’s been since the original, the fact that fans are still waiting for a sequel to The Incredibles, and the fact that I don’ think anyone in the world at all was clamoring to see a goddamn origin story for the movies two leads.

World War Z
(Release Date: 6/12/13)

What’s Up: Based on the book by Max Brooks of the same name this film is a zombie apocalypse story but aside from that I’m not sure how much it actually has in common with its source material.

Pros: Despite the fact I’m not really into him Brad Pitt is a good actor who is usually can fit into any role he’s offered.

Cons: Aside from the fact that it doesn’t seem to take much from the book the trailers have all looked pretty bad so far. After initial production there apparently were major re-shoots done to the film which is always a terrible sign. There are rumors that the film’s script was garbage to begin with.

Beta’s Interest Level: Low. I’m not planning to see this film. I may change my mind if the reviews are good (or bad) enough.

Star Trek Into Darkness
(Release Date: 5/17/13)
What’s Up: The long awaited sequel to 2009’s Star Trek reboot. Directed by J.J. Abrams most of the details have been shrouded in secrecy up until just recently. It has a really stupid name.

Pros: The original film was fantastic and it seems all of the elements that made it so good will return. It features Benedict Cumberbatch, of Sherlock fame, as the villain.

Cons: Like the first one it likely won’t feel like a true Star Trek experience (the original felt like a Star Wars film in a Star trek setting) which will turn off purists. The lenses flare will probably be pretty bad. If you disliked James T. Kirk in the first film so far it seems like you’ll be doing the same here. The title is really, really dumb.

Beta’s Interest Level: Moderate. Shocking, I know. Maybe it’s because of the long wait or maybe it’s because I have doubts Abrams can top the first one or maybe it’s because with the announcement of his participation in Star Wars Episode VII I’m already looking past this film but for whatever reason I haven’t been able to get all that excited about this flick. (In fact I forgot to add this film to my list and only remembered when I saw an add for it while I was editing)

Kick-Ass 2
(Release Date: 8/16/13)
What’s Up: Yet another sequel. This is a follow-up to 2010’s Kick-Ass, based on the comic of the same name. While this film is also based on a comic it’s unclear what made it into t he film and what didn’t since the first one took some pretty big liberties with the source material.

Pros: The film appears to be just as violent and profane as the original…thank God. Hit-Girl will almost certainly be the highlight of this flick…again. Jim Carrey has looked more awesome in these trailers than he has since the 90s.

Cons: There’s a different director so the tone could end up being pretty different. I guess I’m a little bummed the flick isn’t being called “Hit-Girl Returns”.

Beta’s Interest Level: High. Since the original came out Chloë Grace Moretz has become pretty much the biggest young star (at least stars under 18) in Hollywood and while it’s been fun to see her grow as an actress it should be equally interesting to see her return to the role that essentially made her career.If nothing else this should be a fun, mindless punching-fest which even I enjoy every now and then.

Despicable Me 2
(Release Date: 7/3/13)
What’s Up: Another damn sequel! Despicable Me 2 looks to pick up exactly where the first one left off, with main character Gru raising three adopted daughters. This movie only exists because of the unpredicted runaway success of the minions from the first film.

Pros: It seems that both the directors and the writers are all back on the project which implies that a lot of what worked well last time will still be there.

Cons: The minions, who were fine last time, now run the risk of being overused in this film (but as they are set to get their own spin-off film it’s possible that the producers won’t go crazy with this just yet). With Gru supposedly retired from being a villain the movie may not be able to strike the same chord as before. I wish his daughters had become villains too and we could call this film "Despicable Us".

Beta’s Interest Level: Moderate. Despite the original being on my Favorite Movies of 2010 list I’m not really all that excited for this film but neither have I seen anything to make me dread it. For now I’m reserving judgment but my enjoyment of the first does mean I’ll at least check this one out.

The Lone Ranger
(Release Date: 7/3/13)
What’s Up: Hey, this isn’t a sequel. Although it’s still based on something; The Lone Ranger franchise, the old school radio drama being what I’m most familiar with. Disney appears to be attempting to make this movie in the spirit of the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Pros: I loved Armie Hammer in The Social Network and J. Edgar and am looking forward to seeing him play the lead in a film. Unlike that pile of garbage The Green Hornet this movie doesn’t appear to be a joke (though it’s certainly stylized).

Cons: There appears to be a supernatural element to film’s plot which feels out of place. Disney appears to be banking a lot of their promotion on the fact that Johnny Depp plays Tonto which is not a good sign. Also I’m a little sick of Johnny Depp.

Beta’s Interest Level: Moderate. It looks like a fun popcorn movie, so I’ll check it out.

Pacific Rim
(Release Date: 7/12/13)
What’s Up: Alright, something original. Finally. Pacific Rim, directed by Guillermo del Toro who seems to have picked this over The Hobbit, is a movie about giant alien monsters invading Earth who are confronted by giant robots built by humans. So…it’s kaiju fighting giant robots. We’re finally within reach of nirvana.

Pros: Um, did you not hear me when I said “kaiju fighting giant robots”? del Toro is pretty good when it comes to making things look cool (though it’s usually creatures through make-up) and while not all of his movies have been great Pan's Labyrinth was so good that I feel he deserves the benefit of the doubt. Also kaiju fighting giant robots.

Cons: Who cares? It has kaiju fighting giant robots; that’s all we need!

Beta’s Interest Level: High. On top of looking pretty damn cool and hitting all my right notes this could be a potentially important movie. If the mechanics for the robots end up being well done, and the flick makes enough money, the long threatened live-action adaptations of such anime series as Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion may suddenly be a possibility. Now whether that’s a good or bad thing is a whole other blog…

(Release Date: 7/19/13)

What’s Up: Two dead cops protect the living from other dead things…I guess. Based on a comic book, I hear.

Pros: The trailers have made it seem fairly amusing. Ryan Reynolds is usually pretty good when in a comedic environment.

Cons: The movie looks like Men in Black with a chunk of Ghostbusters thrown in but not in an “original twist” sort of way.

Beta’s Interest Level: Low. It looks kind of funny but it also looks like Men in Black which isn’t exactly a selling point for me. I may check it out if I have the cash but this might end up being a rental.

The Wolverine 
(Release Date: 7/26/13)
What’s Up: Taking place directly after X-Men: The Last Stand and not the prequel X-Men Origins: Wolverine wherein the title character has an adventure in Japan.

Pros: Hugh Jackman has never been anything but great as Wolverine (even his five second cameo in X-Men: First Class was great) and there’s no reason to think this will be different. A lot of the plot seems to be adapted from the original 1982 Wolverine miniseries which is considered a legitimately great story.

Cons: Judging from the trailers a huge plot point seems to Wolverine losing his healing factor and, if true, would create a lot of logistic problems if not addressed. The title feels…off to me, as even removing “the” from it would sound better in my head. Also I f**king hate Wolverine.

Beta’s Interest Level: Moderate. I hate Wolverine but I love Hugh Jackman. Worst case scenario watching this film gives me a chance to write a review that’s 90% Wolverine bashing, and really that’s par for the course. Also there’s a rumor that Fox is interested in doing a shared universe with its superhero properties (which includes X-Men and the Fantastic Four) in the same way Marvel Studios has been doing. If the rumor is true this could be the film that starts setting all that up.

300: Rise of an Empire 
(Release date: 8/3/13)
What’s up: I dunno, man. It’s a prequel to 300, I guess. I don’t think it’s directly based on an existing comic book though. [EDIT: It looks like it may in fact be based on  a comic called "Xerxes" by Frank Miller but I haven't been able to find a giant amount of info on it with a token search. If I review this film I'll be sure to look harder]

Pros: Well Eva Green is in it and I do like Eva Green.

Cons: Well I’m not sure if 300, decent though it was, was a movie that needed to be expanded on seeing as it felt pretty self-contained at the time.

Beta’s Interest Level: Low. I’ll be honest here: I completely forgot that this movie was even in production until I saw a poster for it last week so I really don’t know, or care, what’s going on with it. The only reason I put it up here was because it’s technically a nerdy movie.

(Release Date: 8/9/13)
What’s Up: Elysium is Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up to 2009’s District 9, one of the best science fiction movies of the 2000s. The buzz surrounding this film has been great and expectations are understandably high. Reportedly it has a lot of social commentary in its narrative, just as good science fiction should always have. 

Pros: Neill Blomkamp has demonstrated himself to be amazingly gifted when it come to this genre thus it’s very easy to give this film the benefit of the doubt. 

Cons: With the expectation this high it’s pretty easy to see this movie being unable to live up to the hype. 

Beta’s Interest Level: High. I actually know almost nothing about Elysium as so far this year I’ve managed not to see any trailers (as of this writing) and I have only done the bare minimum of research. I guess there’s an awesome place rich people live and Earth is overcrowded and poor but why the hell Matt Damon is wearing exoskeleton I have no idea. But District 9 was such a strong film that I eagerly await the Blomkamp’s next effort because I believe in him as a director. Of course I think I would have preferred a sequel to District 9 given how it ended but I suppose you get what you need rather than what you want. Now I don’t know if I’ll be reward for my faith but I’m willing to gamble. 

Man of Steel
(Release Date: 6/14/13)
What’s Up: After a false start with Superman Returns (Seriously, why the hell was that film a sequel to Superman II?) Warner Bros. is trying to make a half-way decent Superman film, hiring Zack Snyder to direct. There are rumors that this movie might lead into a Justice League movie if it does well enough. 

Pros: Superman is a cool character when he’s done right. Snyder has two comic book adaptations to his credit and they both were pretty well received. 

Cons: Sucker Punch was such a bad film that I lack any ability to have blind faith in this film. Also there hasn’t been a good Superman film since Superman II (and I didn’t love that movie), implying that no one in Hollywood actually “gets” the character. 

Beta’s Interest Level: Moderate. And the only reason it’s that high was because of the tremendously well done trailer that hit a few weeks ago. But I no longer give Snyder the benefit of the doubt; he has to prove to me that he can make a decent movie.

So did I miss anything? What movies are you looking forward to this summer?Are there any movies I didn't mention you think I should check out?  Let me know in the comments.

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