June Movie Preview 2011

E:  It’s about to be June, and the summer blockbusters are getting even more tempting.  Only one or two movies per weekend, but they’re all big ones.  Lots of franchise pieces, sure, but exciting ones.  Who else is psyched?  I know I am!

June 3rd

X-Men: First Class

E: James McAvoy.  Jennifer Lawrence.  Michael Fassbender.  Charles Xavier when he can walk. Need I say more?

M: C and I were talking about this the other day, and both feel the same way.  When we first heard about it, neither of us had high hopes.  Then we found out that James “Mr Tumnus” McAvoy was going to play Charles Xavier, that the future Katniss Everdeen, Jennifer Lawrence, was young Mystique, and got interested.  Then when we saw the previews?  Well, expectations have been officially sent through the roof…  which might not be a good thing, but there it is.

C: McAvoy as Xavier was enough to guarantee I was going to see it, but the trailers have made me think it might be a return to the quality of the first two X-Men films, which I really enjoy.  Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t excite me, as I’ve never seen her in anything (though I hear she’s good) [E: Damn straight you do!] and I doubt Mystique is a plum dramatic role! After seeing Cary Fukunaga’s remarkable Jane Eyre, though, Michael Fassbender as Magneto became good news to me. At its best, this franchise has offered style, thrills, great characters, and genuinely compelling (if broadly drawn) social commentary. I’m wary about getting my hopes up too high, but there’s no question I’ll be going to see this ASAP.

June 10th

Super 8

C: The trailers for Super 8 have little content (in terms of indicating the plot) but a lot of style. It looks slick, but will it actually be more than a stomp-stomp-CRRRUNCH! disaster film?

E: I am so intrigued by this.  It hits me in the Stand By Me/Goonies/ET sweet spot.  I really really really hope it fulfills its promise.

M: I don’t yet have a feel for this.  I think it could be epic, or a total flop.  I am really, really hoping for epic, and Spielberg’s involvement, along with Kyle Chandler’s presence, is helping me lean toward thinking it may go that way, but right now it’s a mystery to me.

E: I agree.  I’m not sure there’s a middle ground here; that nostalgic tone is tricky to pull off.  I, too, am hoping for greatness.

June 17th

The Green Lantern

E: I love the Green Lantern but I can’t help thinking this looks awful.  The visual aesthetic just does not do it for me.  I’ve been hoping it’s good, but I dunno.

C: I’m with you, E. Gross morphing faces? Planets populated by orcs and cave trolls? Green glowy CGI everywhere? It’s like their design team was a panel of 8-year-old boys. Even as a lover of comic book movies, I think I’m too much of a girl for this one.

M: It’s funny, I’m actually not much of a Green Lantern aficionado, and am not sure what I think about Ryan Reynolds in the lead role, or the movie in general (the pink guy with the weird haircut looks too creepy to be a good guy), but the commercials for it made Mrs. M, who when we met was very anti-sci fi/fantasy/cartoon/comic book stuff, but has changed her stripes a lot, say “I want to see that!”, so it has some merit.

E: I don’t even know why I would feel like I know the Green Lantern if you don’t, M.  I’m glad that Mrs. M’s gotten so far past her initial prejudice, but I still think it looks cheesy.

C: I’m kind of amazed that she’s interested. Are you sure the appeal doesn’t lie less in Green Lantern and more in the lantern jaw of Ryan Reynolds? 😉

M: Well, she is a fan of strong jaw-lines, but since we have no previous Ryan Reynolds movies that have inspired her interest, I’d say it’s all about the Lantern.  Well, maybe mostly…

The Art of Getting By

E: Freddie Highmore does homework (with the help of cool girl Emma Roberts) in a comedy described as the anti-Gossip Girl.  That’s a pretty appealing description to me, homework not withstanding.

M: Holy crap, Freddy Highmore got tall!  He was spectacular in Finding Neverland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, so that bodes well, and anything described as “the anti-Gossip Girl” is starting off on the right foot in my book!

C: Yes, agree with all M said, but… “does homework”? That’s a plot summary?

M: Plot summary, line in a Rebecca Black song…

Mr.Poppers Penguins

E: This book is adorable.  This movie doesn’t seem to bear any relation to that story, other than having penguins.  Gone are the unique parts of the story, and in their stead, a formulaic morality tale.

M: I don’t know the book at all, and unfortunately this just strikes me as another convenient excuse for Jim Carrey to be full of himself on screen.  It’s too bad, because he can be brilliant at times.

C: True, but when was the last time he made a good – or even really enjoyable – movie? He’s got Eddie Murphy-itis. Kids will go see this, McDonalds will sell toys, the movie industry’s gears will spin on, and in a year no one will remember.

June 24th

Bad Teacher

E: The premise sounds awful, but I have to say, I saw an ad that made me laugh.

M: Anything with Jason Segel has a shot at being really good.

C: Word.

M: On the other hand, anything with Cameron Diaz has a shot at being horrendous.

C: Also true. I’m not putting money on this being a winner.

M: Hey, at least Tom Cruise isn’t involved…

E: Talk about low expectations…

A Better Life

E: Indie film getting rave reviews about a Mexican immigrant struggling to keep his teen son out of LA’s gangs.  They’re both – excuse me for saying so – smokin’ hot.

C: Oh E, you slay me. Best reason to see an indie about immigrant struggles ever!

Cars 2

E: First movie my son ever saw in the theater was Cars.

M: We have probably watched Cars a few hundred times.  It is fun, but also touching at times, and all in all a really good story.  If they come anywhere close with the sequel, it will be well worth the price of admission.

E: Pixar has yet to let us down.  I’ve got my fingers crossed.

C: One quibble though: can the movie industry get past this terribly boring “___ 2” phase already? Even Cars Return would give it a slight uniqueness. Or how about – since this is what it looks like – Cars International? Cars Abroad? Cars: On the Road?

M: I’m right there with you sis!  I hate that sequel titles have become either the title of the first plus the number, or are 27 words long to make sure that you know it’s part of a series or franchise.  Gone are the days when a movie could just be marketed as The Empire Strikes Back, and people would pass by word of mouth, or learn in the previews, that it was the sequel to Star Wars (not Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope, just flippin’ Star Wars!), because, you know, audiences are all morons.  Sorry, I digress…  yes, Cars 2 is a lousy title.


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