Summer Movies – August 2013
|300: Rise of an Empire
not this summer….
We’re up to 2013’s final gasp of getting moviegoers excited about summer movies. Up to this point it’s been a pretty disappointing summer. Some might even say – it sucks. Most of the big summer releases have been given lukewarm reactions and there really hasn’t been any breakout surprises by any unexpected flicks.
What at one point was a film hoping to start up August has gotten its release date pushed back. The followup to the stylized testosterone sword flick 300 was to have its sequel 300: Rise of an Empire scheduled for August 2nd has been pushed back until….March 7, 2014!
This is quite a delay! I can’t help but think there might be something very, very wrong here. I immediately suspect there’s some problems somewhere with it and they want time to fix them. This cancellation of its release reminds me of another summer sequel that was pulled from its slot last year and pushed way back for its release – G.I. Joe Retaliation. And we all know how that film ended up. Or do we? Actually I never bothered to watch it since I heard it was lousy.
It’s too bad 300’s sequel won’t be ready for this summer. The way things have been going it probably could have made some decent money and lured folks to go see it despite its quality. August is traditionally the weakest month of the summer movie season and the way people are so gaga over the original 300 film its sequel probably would have done pretty well here, but oh well.
2 GUNS – AUGUST 2, 2013
|Washington and Wahlberg partnering up|
A DEA agent and an NCIS agent are forced to team up when they’re set up by the CIA.
That’s all we have to know for the story right now. It’s described as an action/comedy which is based off a graphic novel. (I think graphic novels have become the main source of inspiration for Hollywood nowadays).
There’s going to be lots of action and explosions – with a title like 2 Guns you have to expect that. What will really either make or break this movie is stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. Will they have some chemistry between each other and be fun to watch together? Who knows.
I’m not a big fan of Wahlberg and despite him starring in countless action flicks I’ve never warmed up to him or thought he brings anything special to the table. After all this time I can’t think of a great action flick that he’s headlined and had me thinking – “he was really good in that”. I still haven’t seen Ted, so maybe oddball comedies are his strong suit. As for action movies, I consider him a generic lead in them.
Despite Washington being a great actor when he gets a juicy part to play, his action films – with rare exceptions – always felt more assembly line-type of movies and he usually comes off as being too good for them. I’m thinking this will be at best a decent diverting Saturday night action rental, but maybe it could surprise me.
PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS – AUGUST 7, 2013
A sequel to the 2010 film Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief.
I won’t pretend I have any clue to what these movies are. The only thing I know about them is they’re based off a series of books, it looks like the books and movies are trying to attract the Harry Potter crowd with these young, mystical adventures and the first movie had Pierce Brosnan and Sean Bean in it. I never watched it, so I don’t even know if they did a scene together.
I guess the first film did some decent business so why not do some more. Apparently 20th Century Fox bought the rights to all the books – I have no idea how many there are. I’ll probably never watch this. This is just not my thing. Maybe the kids will like it though.
ELYSIUM – AUGUST 9, 2013
The year is 2154 and things are great….for the rich. They live on an orbiting paradise where there’s no crime, no hunger and all diseases are immediately curable. Meanwhile everyone else gets to reside on Earth which is pretty much a dreary, wasteland with nothing more to offer than an endurance test to survive into the next day.
Max, an insignificant factory worker learns he has cancer and only has five days to live. His only hope is traveling to the highly secured Elysium and getting instant treatment for his disease.
Of course it’s not as easy as a simple rocket trip. The rich and powerful keep their space utopia pretty secure and Max has to get past a police force, robots, big sci-fi weapons and Jodie Foster who doesn’t want his dirty feet anywhere near her perfect satellite.
Written and directed by Neill Blomkamp of District 9 fame, I’m betting Elysium will not only try to deliver on sci-fi spectacle, but also focus on the unfair caste system that makes up this future society. So I’d expect some weight behind the story and characters rather than simply offering up just dazzling explosions.
WE’RE THE MILLERS
|The fake family on the road|
Jason Sudekikis is a small-time drug dealer and has to transport a big shipment of pot from Mexico to Colorado. So he gets a SUV, hires a motley crue of misfits to play his wife, his son and his daughter and pretends to be a square father in order to avoid detection by the authorities. Sounds like the makings of some silly summer fun.
The idea does sound like it could yield some laughs, but I’m very apprehensive about this. The gags I’ve seen mainly consist of sight gags and awkward moments between this fake family. Which would be fine, if I found any of them funny.
And then at some point a drug cartel comes into the story and I’m guessing the fake family has to run for their lives and they’ll be lots of screaming and a car chase…eh. It’s like they ran out of ideas of what to do with these four main characters so they do the old reliable thing and have people shoot at them or something.
|Will Aniston bring more to this role than
just showing off her bod?
The one big red flag this movie has for me is Jennifer Aniston. She’s incredibly reliable with each new film of hers just continuing to add to her growing roster of forgettable, inter-changeable, one-dimensional characters.
Every one of her movies further proves after leaving television it’s been a painful downward spiral ever since and her career has been the equivalent to cinematic vapor. Reading about her exercise routine in the tabloids is more interesting than what she’s done onscreen.
It’s like she can co-star alongside whoever and the results are always the same. At least Adam Sandler fans can muster up the defense, “well, he and Drew Barrymore are pretty good together”. Who has Aniston really clicked with onscreen? But she keeps doing movies and I guess people go see them, so what do I know.
Her big stripper dance I’m sure will get a lot of attention by all the guys, but will she be funny in this one??? I would have been much more interested in this movie had they cast an actress who actually has been funny in the past in this part.
|A new Disney character ready to take flight|
Do a lot of these animated movie plots start to sound exactly the same to anyone else? It’s the same story, only the stuff that’s animated and the world it takes place in is changed up. Or maybe it’s just me.
Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook) is a cropdusting plane who dreams of winning a famous aerial race. The only thing is that he’s afraid of heights. Well as with any movie hero who wants to accomplish something and has some hurdles to overcome he needs a mentor. Cue Stacy Keach as a veteran plane who will work with this young protege and help him achieve his dream, along with offering sage advice in between Dusty’s fun encounters with other assortment of planes and machines voiced by famous actors.
I swear I felt like I just wrote that same plot synopsis for Turbo not that long ago. And Cars…wasn’t that the same thing? What’s with all these cartoon characters wanting to enter challenging contests and winning or wanting to be the best at something they’re initially not suited for? Aren’t there other morals these flicks can instill in kids besides ‘winning isn’t everything’ and ‘you can be whatever you want to be’?
This is meant to a spin-off from Cars, but it’s not being produced by Pixar. So this is Walt Disney Animation Studios all the way. I guess kids will eat this up. I know my nephews are psyched for this thing and they already have sequels planned for it.
|Amanda Seyfried as Linda Lovelace|
A biographical account of one of the most popular porn stars ever – Linda Lovelace. The film recounts her manipulation by her abusive husband, her role in the most famous porno ever, 1972’s Deep Throat and the tragic results in her personal life after she became the most popular adult film star of the period.
The film stars Peter Sarsgaard, Sharon Stone, Robert Patrick, Wes Bentley, Eric Roberts, Adam Brody, Debi Mazar, Hank Azaria, James Franco as Hugh Hefner and Amanda Seyfriend as Lovelace.
As much as I’d be interested in watching a bio of Lovelace I’m apprehensive about this film. For some reason I get the feeling it’s going to be about the same quality as 2005’s The Notorious Bettie Page.
That was another ‘bio-film’ about a sexual icon I had some interest in and it ended up being a fragmented account of Page’s story, didn’t offer up anything new to learn or give much insight into her and in the end played as an average TV movie.
I may be jumping to conclusions and Lovelace perhaps will be a decent bio film. It does have a pretty strong, interesting cast, but it’s just a gut feeling that it won’t live up to its subject matter.
For those who are interested in Lovelace and the cultural impact Deep Throat made at the time of its release I would highly recommend the 2005 documentary Inside Deep Throat. It covers the production of the film, the monumental success it attained at the time of its release, the attacks that were hurled at it for its ‘immorality’, the cultural impact it made and of course the sad role and regret Lovelace felt afterwards and what became of her after Deep Throat. Fantastic documentary.
KICK-ASS 2 – August 16, 2013
|Carrey and Taylor-Johnson on patrol|
A sequel to Kick-Ass wasn’t much of a given. Sure it was a pretty fun flick, had the makings of being an instant beloved cult classic and actually was the best movie Nicholas Cage was in for quite some time, but it wasn’t a gigantic, humongous hit.
It made a little profit and since being based on a comic there were a boatload of further adventures to be inspired by to send the characters on. Despite the ending of the first setting up for a possible followup, a second movie could have gone either way at the time.
Gradually it became clear that Kick-Ass was becoming a dearly loved movie. DVD sales, fan pages, costumes and the original apparently became one of the most pirated movies ever! There’s a piece of trivia for you.
So Kick-Ass 2 was born. Now the make-shift superhero Kick-Ass’ (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) heroics have inspired copycat wannabe superheroes. Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) forms a superhero team who Kick-Ass joins in a combined effort to stomp out crime.
However, Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is bent on revenge for the death of his father. He changes his name to The Mother Fucker and begins to hunt this super gang down. Meanwhile, Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) is just trying to live the life of a normal teen, but her skills are needed to help overcome this Mother Fuckin’ villain.
|Fan favorite Hit Girl|
There’s no reason to not expect the sequel shouldn’t have the same tone as the first. The movie has got a lot of attention at the Con’s and fans seem awfully psyched to see the return of Kick-Ass and fan favorite Hit Girl. I anticipate it being as violent, vulgar and comedic as the original.
The violence already seems apparent given Carrey’s recent refusal to participate in the promotion for the movie saying he can’t support the high levels of it that the film contains. Or could that be an excuse to distance himself from a movie that he doesn’t think is too good? Hmmm. Still it should be nice to see him back in something other than a cutesy high concept kid movie.
LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER
After going through a title dispute with the MPAA who nixed the film using the simple title of ‘The Butler’, it’s set for release with its directors name ahead of the title. It’s a historical account of the life of White House butler Cecil Gaines who served waiting on Presidents in the Oval Office from 1952 to 1986. We get a unique perspective on historical events through the eyes of the man who served the most powerful men in the world dinner and kept that big house tidy for all the first ladies.
This sounds like it could be a fascinating story. It’s one of those stories that will not only trace long periods of time through the main characters life, but through our nations history as well. Seeing notable events taking place during a range of Presidential administrations and what fresh tales that this man could have seen really sounds intriguing.
The cast is pretty impressive as well. Forest Whitaker and Ami Ameen play the old and young Gaines through the course of thirty-four years of service.
|A sampling of the lineup of showy guest stars in The Butler|
Then of course there’s the big historic figures of Presidents and their wives that play a part in the movie. Robin Williams and Melisa Leo as Mr. and Mrs. Dwight D. Eisnehower, James Marsden and Minka Kelly as Mr. and Mrs. John F. Kennedy. Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson. John Cusack as President Nixon. Alan Rickman and Jane Fonda as Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Reagan. Along with roles played by Mariah Carey, Cuba Gooding Jr. Vanessa Redgrave, Terrence Howard, Oprah Winfrey and Lenny Kravitz.
It’s quite a lineup of well-known actors. Could this be a good thing or bad? Would the film had been better served had they cast more unknown talent in these parts? Is the lead character’s story in danger of getting usurped by the chorus line of recognizable faces that will surround him? Could be.
I doubt the summer movie audience will be too interested in this and it may do well in smaller art house cinemas and with critics. At most general audiences will take note of the casting of some of the parts, the names attached and then will disregard it, unless it gets some decent word of mouth.
|Ford and Oldman reunite in Paranoia|
Sixteen years since they starred in the action hit Air Force One, Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman are back onscreen again This time Oldman is using his cockney accent and Ford is sporting his worst haircut since Presumed Innocent.
They play two rival tech billionaires who are focused on destroying each other. A young tech wiz (Liam Hemsworth) gets embroiled in this billion dollar brawl and things start to get a bit too heated for him to take. Unfortunately by the time he comes to his senses he knows too much about both of their corporate espionage scheming and neither one of these powerful men will let him just walk away.
It’s great to see Ford and Oldman together again in another cinematic duel. And really that’s the only thing that has me curious about this movie. Hemsworth appears to be the real star of this and for me, I just don’t get this guy. I don’t see the charisma that has made him so popular with audiences.
I have this problem with this batch of young actors today who continually get to headline movies and Hollywood tries to make them leading men and they always end up leaving me cold and it feels so forced it annoys me. Sam Worthington and Taylor Kitsch are prime examples of these actors to me.
There’s a whole crop of these guys who usually are good looking, between the ages of 25-35 and always play the generic hero, get into some action and hook up with a hot young chick. You know, the traditional leading man-type of role, only these guys are just so friggin bland!
|Hemsworth gets to show off his pecs in Paranoia|
I mean, some guys I like more than others and granted I haven’t see all their films, but a lot of these young actors seem so….interchangeable. This Liam Hemsworth guy falls into that category for me. They could have cast any up and coming young actor in this movie and it wouldn’t have made a difference to me.
At least his brother Chris has Thor going for him, but this guy I don’t see what the big deal is. So yeah, Ford and Oldman is the only selling point for me to see this.
Oh, another drawback with this movie already – the damn trailer! It’s one of those trailers that’s essentially a cliffs notes version of the movie. So after having seen the trailer you’ll probably be able to follow the movie beat for beat. Can’t they figure out how to sell a movie another way???
|Movie Jobs and real Jobs|
Ashton Kutcher plays Apple founder Steve Jobs and shares us the story of how this college drop out became one of the biggest, most successful businessmen of the 20th century by creating a little company called Apple.
Kutcher seems like an odd choice to play Jobs. It’s quite a departure from his past roles. The trailer looks a bit…..mundane. The movie looks to be a standard underdog story – hero gets inspired, uses his talent in creating something, fights to keep his vision, opponents try to destroy him, in the end he’s triumphant and his dream is a reality.
Honestly Jobs doesn’t look to be anything special. Maybe it will be better than Pirates of Silicon Valley though. That was a TV-movie and this looks to be about the same kind of quality.
THE WORLD’S END – August 23, 2013
Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright team up again to make another soon to be destined cult favorite flick. After Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz it seems like that’s what will happen again here.
The story here sounds a bit stranger from their previous outings. A group of friends get together to relive an epic pub crawl from twenty years earlier. Older, slower and heavier it will be a real struggle for them to make it to the final pub – The World’s End.
As the continue into their journey they discover there’s something awfully strange with the local townsfolk and realize they’re amidst an alien invasion where humans are being replaced by robots. Zany hijinks, dry humor and an oddball adventure commences.
There’s no doubt this sounds weird, but based on their previous works together that’s exactly what these guys excel at. I’m still not clear on exactly what the story or how the premise will play out, but since being released in the UK the film has gotten some pretty strong positive reviews.
Oh Die Another Day fans (I know there are some out there!) might be interested in the cinematic reunion of Rosamund Pike and Pierce Brosnan here! Broz only has a cameo, amongst several surprise one supposedly and I’m not sure if the two are actually in the same scene together, but it’s something to take note of.
|Expressionless masks equal creepy!|
A nice group of folks get together to celebrate their friends wedding anniversary in a nice secluded big old house. The only thing missing is their lives being in jeopardy. No worries, thanks to a pack of violent guys wearing creepy animal masks they soon have the guests running for their lives.
Well, audiences love their horror movies. No telling if this will deliver the goods or not. It looks awfully generic. Plus, coming so soon after The Purge this looks like very familiar territory, especially with the killers wearing goofy masks. It might be telling and a huge red flag that this movie was made in 2011 and is just seeing the light of day.
|Familiar setting to face off against bad guys|
It’s 2045 and the Earth is one big ice cube. So humans have resorted to living underground in bunkers to survive. Laurence Fishburne and Bill Paxton are in charge of one bunker and they’re just trying to make due with what they have and keep everyone under their charge safe. Then they discover a nearby bunker is filled with cannibals and are headed their way for a nice box lunch. This new threat will force our characters to get past their differences, find a common ground and fend off these things.
This flick has a couple of things that seem to be popular ingredients lately in movies. We have a planet in ruins (is anyone else getting kind of burnt out with that? Global warming must be the most widely used villain in movies today).
A home invasion type of setup (why is Hollywood constantly reminding us that there is no safe haven for us to hide from danger – not even our homes? Why has this become such an overused setting nowadays?). And heroes battling bad things in big, dark metal structures that have plenty of airducts, walkways and doors that need to stay locked (it must be one of the most overused settings in movies).
This looks to be a plain old B-movie with nothing unique to offer up.
|Cars are becoming quite a popular co-star in movies lately|
Ethan Hawke is an ex-racecar driver who is forced to follow the mysterious, ominous voice of John Voight and follow his instructions as he’s attempts to save his kidnapped wife. Being in a car all by yourself would get tedious so fortunately a computer savvy Selena Gomez gets to sit in the passenger seat.
A little bit of Speed, a dash of Taken, a helping of Phone Booth, throw in a cool car and Ta Da! Although this does look more fun than Vehicle 19 from earlier this summer, the whole thing looks pretty ludicrous. Gomez as a carjacker/computer genius just moves it to a whole new level and got me rolling my eyes. It’s going be difficult to take this movie seriously. But maybe the best way to enjoy it is not to.