Summer movie preview
By Michel Miller 05/23/2013
Fast and Furious 6
and mayhem throughout, some sexuality and language
Please make it stop. ’Roided-up and tweaked-out unrelenting action will bring this muscular franchise to the explosive climax it’s been building toward since director Justin Lin whipped it into shape three installments ago. What will be a Fast and Furious wet dream for fans could be a wet blanket for everyone else. Unfortunately, No. 7 is already in production with a new director.
From the creators of Ice Age, this looks to be one of the more promising family adventure films in a season that uncharacteristically has very few and with a fresh premise to boot. Based on the children’s book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs, no doubt it will be a feast for the eyes, but look who’s coming to dinner: crossover voice talent that includes Steven Tyler, Beyonce and Pitbull. Think Avatar animated meets Honey I Shrunk the Kids.
The Hangover Part III
some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity
Warner Bros. is referring to it as the “epic conclusion” in the “trilogy,” and we can only hope that’s a promise, not a threat. Melissa McCarthy has a cameo (that is a promise) and there’s apparently no wedding, no bachelor party. There is, however, plenty of Bradley Cooper for the ladies and a whole lotta Mr. Chow for the gentlemen.
For those who still believe in love, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy return to the screen almost two decades after their first meeting in Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise. This time, Greece is the setting, and the lovers, though grappling with issues of age and marital boredom, have maintained their sparkle.
Everyone’s favorite post-apocalyptic hero, Will Smith, teams up with his son Jaden in this survival/action-adventure that finds the two displaced on a hostile planet Earth (having been previously relocated to a different planet) that has evolved to destroy all human life. It’s been a while since we’ve seen anything truly worthwhile from the gifted M. Night Shyamalan. This may not be the end of the wait.
Now You See Me
If Criss Angel became an activist and used his magical powers to fight white-collar crime rather than middle-age abdominal flab, it might look like this. A team of illusionists pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money. The very cool cast includes Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine. Could be the accidental feel-good/revenge flick of the season.
The premise itself is terrifying enough: One day a year, all crime is legal and all emergency services are suspended for a 12-hour period. This scenario is dependent on the notion that many people — perhaps most people — are latent murderers and that given the opportunity to “purge” their evil one day a year, they will behave during the other 364 days. One family (Ethan Hawke is the dad) is tested to see how far they won’t go to protect themselves when killers attempt to invade their home. From the people who brought us the Paranormal Activity franchise and Sinister, this is not one for the faint of heart.
Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn — once a force to reckon with — star in this situation comedy about salesman rendered obsolete in the electronic age who land highly desirable positions as interns for Google. (Vince, please be funny again.)
What many thought would mark Brian de Palma’s comeback as the king of erotic violence has been getting extremely mixed reviews, but most agree that only devoted fans of the director who brought us Dressed to Kill and Scarface will like this remake of the French thriller Love Crime starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace, who take a diabolical approach to business and upward mobility. Will the girl-on-girl action rescue this film from the bargain bin or has de Palma finally jumped the shark?
This is the End
pervasive language, drug use and some violence
The writers of Pineapple Express and Superbad present this end times comedy that asks entitled celebrities to survive the apocalypse just like the rest of us. What begins with a party at James Franco’s house could easily end with a loss of bladder control for fans of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Could easily be the funniest film of the summer or just a good excuse to shoot soda from your nose.
Man of Steel
action and destruction, and for some language
Mostly everyone agrees that Amy Adams will make a delightful Lois Lane. Other than that, no one knows what to expect from Christopher Nolan’s (Dark Knight) attempt at a Superman origin blockbuster. Since everyone — especially discerning nerds — hated 2006’s Superman Returns the film’s likely to have a tough audience, but if he goes the same route he did with Batman, it could be one of the more satisfying comic book reboots in years. Judging by the trailer, it’s certainly worth the money to find out.
Disembodied testicles hanging from trees like Click Clacks.
The Bling Ring
including some brief sexual references
It looks like Hermione Granger has gone all edgy on us. No longer our Harry Potter heroine, Emma Watson is a sexilicous jewel thief in Sofia Coppola’s crime caper about troubled teens who find disgustingly rich female celebrities ridiculously easy to rob. Supposedly based on a true story, Coppola kills two cultural stereotypes with one diamond-studded pen: reality TV stars and trashy teens . . . oh, wait. Apparently Granger tweeted something about using Britney Spears’ Femme Fatale to get into character.
World War Z
violence and disturbing images
Adapted from Max Brooks’ bestselling book, zombie purists are none too impressed with the CGI and other effects that could make this the mother of all zombie apocalypse films — at least in terms of sheer numbers. Brad Pitt is the savior, which is probably best, considering the potential for orphans when it’s all over. Nerds won’t like it; everyone else will. (Is there anyone else?)
Pixar gives us what appears to be a prequel to the family favorite. “Before they were incorporated, they had to be educated.” Monsters go to college to learn how to be scary, but what’s really shiver-inducing is the choice to use a Motley Crue song in the soundtrack. Yikes!
White House Down
The universal mind has no conscience. This is the only explanation as to why a movie would be released twice in three months by an entirely different creative team, wih different actors and a new title In other words, White House Down is Olympus Has Fallen, but White House Down has Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum instead of Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart. Conspiracy theorists, of course, question the timing of it all and Channing Tatum fans don’t care; they only want hairless flesh — filthy, bloody, heroic hairless flesh.
Can the ever-popular Melissa McCarthy (yes, again) provide Sandra Bullock with a much-needed career boost? Will the typically amusing Bullock make the annoying McCarthy more palatable? Can two lonely, unlikable and rival federal agents find friendship when forced to team up and take down a vicious drug lord? Will any of this make us laugh?
Unless you’re one of the relative few who is not over vampires, this film will likely have no appeal for you. This is unfortunate because, had Byzantium been released before the bloody onslaught of sexy death culture, we’d probably be more receptive — it doesn’t look half bad.
Despicable Me 2
When a film is particularly great, the urge to make a sequel must be irresistible, and the audience’s hunger for more of a good thing serves to justify it. The 10th-highest grossing animated film ever, Despicable Me was deservedly a big crowd pleaser. Despite its seeming superfluousness, the follow-up to the outstanding first installment looks worthwhile. Also, it offers a viable solution to Al Pacino’s need to continue acting.
The Lone Ranger
Disney presents the first film to star Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter that isn’t directed by Tim Burton. It’s also the only Western of the season. Armie Hammer and the chameleonic Depp take on the most celebrated duo in the American West in this film version of the TV show that was adapted from a radio program. A Bruckheimer megaproduction, sources close to the action say the casting is spot-on and the chemistry between the Ranger and Tonto is very good. Plenty of action on trains and horses. The jury is still out as to age appropriateness, so check a trusted parent’s guide before taking the kids.
The Way Way Back
some sexual content and brief drug material
Coming of age and summer go together like . . . coming of age and summer. In this one, the thoughtful, socially awkward young male protagonist is dragged along by his mom and her detestable boyfriend (Steve Carell) to their version of adult summer camp. Thankfully, he meets the always lovable and irrepressible Sam Rockwell, who naturally fills the father figure void his parents’ divorce created. Preview audiences found the Rockwell/Carell role reversal refreshing like a summer breeze.
Hammer of the Gods
and some nudity
As with all R-rated Viking flicks, it will appeal strictly to nerds and black metal enthusiasts. (Was that redundant?)
and violence throughout, and brief language
Acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hell Boy) gives us a completely different kind of alien attack movie. Gargantuan robots piloted by humans are the last hope in a devastating game of salt water splish-splash with monstrous alien creatures.
Grown Ups 2
language and some male rear nudity
Male rear nudity? Really? You’d think Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James and David Spade together could find a way to make someone over the age of 14 laugh.
pervasive language and some drug use
This will appeal to fans of “found footage” and those who like to see very bad things, up close and personal — over and over again. POV belongs in porn, not horror.
Brooke Shields, Daryl Hannah and company toss a bone to women of a certain age who are already in the movie theater trying to cool off and therefore forced to watch too many male-dominated blockbusters. A group of middle-aged, female ex-basketball players, hell-bent on proving they still have game, challenge their juniors to a match for charity. Wanda Sykes will no doubt save the day — and this movie — as she usually does.
You know all those pesky snails in your garden that you’re scheming to destroy? What if one of those humble creatures chewing away at your tomatoes by night was, by day, dreaming of winning a race? A big race. The Indy 500. And now his dream is dead. You killed it with beer, salt and iron phosphate. Try explaining that to your kids.
Bruce Willis, Mary Louise Parker, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Catherine Zeta -Jones and ultimate GMILF Helen Mirren (the baddest bitch over 50 with a British accent) return for more “retired and extremely dangerous” antics in what looks like an enjoyable follow-up to the popular 2010 film tailor-made for the AARP set. No shame in that.
Only God Forgives
Fans of 2011’s Drive are already licking their chops for this stylish noir thriller from the same director, Nicolas Winding Refn, and with the same leading man, Ryan Gosling. Set in exotic Bangkok, Julian (Gosling) runs a Thai boxing club as a front for the family’s drug smuggling operation. All is relatively normal until his brother is killed and his mother, the beautiful Kristen Scott Thomas, arrives with vengeance on her mind. Gosling and Refn are good at eroticizing violence. This is unlikely to disappoint.
including sex references, action adventure
Tongue-in-cheek thriller with Mary Louise Parker looking a little too much like Flo from the Progressive commercials. Undead cops (Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds), who would never cross paths while alive, join the Rest In Peace Department and hunt down bad guys in the afterlife.
Lovable indie actress Lili Taylor has returned! In this classic horror (read: not slasher) film, she plays the better half of a paranormal investigative couple who land the most terrifying case of their careers. As with The Haunting in Connecticut and The Amytyville Horror, it’s based on true events.
Girl Most Likely
Kristin Wiig has basically failed at life and consequently has to move back in with her high-spirited mom (Annette Bening), who’s busy being spanked by compulsive liar Matt Dillon. Note: There’s no trace of Melissa McCarthy — a very good sign.
There’s been a lot of discussion lately about Hugh Jackman’s ridiculously toned torso, and it’s no wonder: The actor is taking his sixth stab at everyone’s favorite mutant and he’s never looked better — or gone deeper into the psyche of Logan. Though it’s a more introspective, “human” portrayal than we’ve seen in the X-Men movies, there’s still plenty of slicing and dicing — this time Samurai style. (Director James Mangold has said he took his cues from films like 13 Assassins, The Outlaw Josey Wales and Chinatown. ) Possibly this summer’s most anticipated film, The Wolverine is unlikely to disappoint.
A Woody Allen film with a to-die-for ensemble cast: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Louis CK and Andrew Dice Clay. Yes, Andrew Dice Clay.
The Smurfs 2
Not even stoners with access to the finest edibles can abide. Parents be warned: Taking your child to see this is grounds for a child protective services investigation. Seriously, no one understands how this film got funded. It does have one redeeming quality: It was Jonathan Winters’ last role.
From the director of District 9 comes this sci-fi class-war story that many have characterized as the Halo film that never got made. The year is 2013 — oops, 2154 and the rich live on their own planet while everyone else languishes on Earth. Matt Damon plans to change all that, but not if Jodi Foster has anything to say about it. If the working class can still afford a night at the movies by late summer, cheering will be heard in theaters everywhere.
A low-budget indie noir thriller and Sundance reject featuring Lindsay Lohan. No, it’s not a biopic. But it is the motion picture debut of porn star James Deen. The creators of Hardcore and American Psycho offer a pulpy treatment of a rather boring topic: fashionable 20-somethings living to excess in L.A.
What’s next, Trains? Disney, our children are the future. Can we do no better by them? Plus, the plot involves a “crop dusting” plane. Will there be high-fructose corn syrup involved? A genetically modified story arc, maybe?
We’re the Millers
They may be the Millers but they are definitely not the Botwins. Jennifer Aniston is a stripper who is solicited by Jason Sudekis to act as his wife so they can portray a normal family in order to successfully complete a drug trafficking operation. Light comedy.
drug use and some domestic violence
This biopic about sex goddess Linda Lovelace — best known for her, uh, role in Deep Throat — could yield an Oscar nomination for Amanda Seyfried. Unfortunately, it won’t be released wide, but it looks worth trekking elsewhere to see.
crude and sexual content, and brief nudity
Not, repeat not, a kids’ movie. Picking up where the first Kick Ass left off, the characters are met with instant and not totally welcome celebrity. Defenders of all things nerdy and the dread of posers everywhere, these young superheros must take on the most annoying of super villians: the Motherfucker.
Jane Seymour runs a retreat for obsessed Jane Austen fans. This Sundance favorite stars TV sweetheart Keri Russell. The chick flick to end all chick flicks.