Summer Movies – June 2013

Man of Steel Clark Kent Lois Lane Henry Cavill Amy Adams
Man of Steel  – Clark Kent and Lois Lane engage in a
staring contest

Now we’re getting in the time where people are gearing up for their vacations, pulling out their barbecue grills and heading to the movies! So what do we get to see this month? Well, at a glance it looks like the choices are watching the world end, trying to survive attacks from all sorts of threats, some comedic team-ups, the return of the most famous superhero ever – or watching Paul Walker drive some more.

One day years from now, this period of sci-fi/action films we’re currently in the middle of will be examined and illustrate just how depressing we in the early part of the 21st century viewed our future during this period in history.

It looks bleak, lifeless epic landscapes, humans are struggling to survive. Turn on your television and there’s no shortage of shows with packs of survivors navigating their way through a desolate world that we once called our home planet. There are threats everywhere. This trend really gets a showcase in the month of June.

If these movies are truly reflecting our attitudes today then we believe we don’t have anything to look forward to in our future and we’re just doomed.

Someone has to come along with some kind of optimistic portrayal of the future! Come on! Where are all the shiny flying cars and the friendly robot butlers we were supposed to get?

AFTER EARTH – May 31, 2013

After Earth 2013 bomb
Jaden Smith looking pretty hopeless in After Earth

May ends and June begins with Will Smith’s yearly sci-fi actioner. Coming not long after Tom Cruise’s ‘Earth Is Just A Memory‘ sci-fi flick Oblivion, Smith and son Jaden get marooned on a similar rock.

As with Oblivion, our sweet Mother Earth was abandoned by humans. Now 1,000 years later a Ranger and his son crash land on it and have to work to be rescued while battling vicious evolved creatures that inhabit the planet. In between they try to get in some father/son bonding.

Quite frankly this doesn’t look that interesting to me. I’ve gotten real tired of seeing Smith fight CGI aliens. The addition of him co-starring with his real life son doesn’t add that much excitement to me. And the prospect of getting all Castaway with these two and watching them alone acting with each other for who knows how long really frightens me.

Add in M. Night Shyamalan directing this and that certainly doesn’t help with my enthusiasm for it. What was the last good movie he directed? We must be going on ten years at this point.

This looks to be a very average ‘destroyed world, destructive-filled vistas, CGI monsters sci-fi flick’. It doesn’t look as intriguing as some of the others that are around. Even Oblivion looked more entertaining. Unless there’s something really special in this story other than what I’ve seen and heard it’s very low on my list of movies to want to see. I predict it will be something I stumble on cable one day, catch a few minutes and move to the next channel.

THE INTERNSHIP – June 7, 2013

The Internship Vince Vaughn Owen Wilson 2013
Wilson and Vaughn proving maturity is no fun

Google gets an hour and half advertisement with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. Plus, The Internship could be Vaughn and Wilson’s best movie team-up since Wedding Crashers.

The pair are now forty-something adolescents who with nothing else on their plates land internships at Google. There they try to blend in with highly intelligent and youthful competitors who mock them and watch the two fail miserably at every turn. They gradually endear themselves to the bosses with their endearing attitudes and inspire their young co-workers with their drive and unique outside-the-box behavior. Somehow in the end they land some kind of new positions at the company, while Wilson hooks up with a ridiculously hot chick that in reality would never look twice at him. This is just a guess.

From the trailer it looks like the humor here consists of old people, e.g. forty-somethings, trying to do young people things. You know they’re being ‘unhip’ with the slang of the kids, acting silly while trying to figure out computers. Now throw in some 80’s references and of course people getting hit in the crotch.

This is clearly for fans of Wedding Crashers, who I guess have supposedly been anxious to see these guys reunite and capture that onscreen magic again. It looks to be another comedy in the same tone Vaughn and Wilson have done before and have continued to draw audiences with.

There’s these comedies of middle-aged men trying to relive their adolescent age or acting juvenile in hackneyed premises. They’re not ‘leading men’, but more like ‘leading overgrown boys’. The Internship doesn’t look to be anything special to me, I’ve practically given up on comedies nowadays anyway. But for fans of these two they’ll probably eat it up.

THE PURGE

The Purge 2013
They’re not trick or treating….

The year is 2022 and the country is doing pretty well. Unemployment has been virtually wiped out and crime is practically nonexistent. Times are good.

But us humans still have that thirst for violence and it’s unhealthy to keep that bottled up. So once a year for a twelve-hour period all laws are lifted, all crime is legalized, emergency services are shut down and citizens are allowed to roam the streets to rob, kill or do whatever they want to anyone of their choosing and let out all their frustrations. It’s sort of like a sadistic stress ball for the population.

Ethan Hawke is a father who locks down his house to protect his wife and kids from the chaos outside and avoid any of this yearly violence which he does not approve of. However, his sympathetic son hears a man screaming for help and lets him into their house.

Soon a gang of people are knocking on their door telling them to give the man up or they will kill everyone inside. Now this peaceloving father has to wrestle with his conscience, protect his family, possibly be forced to kill and try to survive the next twelve hours until the Purge ends.

This is something of a Panic Room-esque, home invasion-type of story. The setup sounds interesting and some of the images in the trailer look pretty creepy. This gang is decked out in these eerie masks. It makes them look like people who went overboard with plastic surgery.

This could be an effective little suspense flick. And I love those! Unless the characters are from the incompetent movie stereotype pool who simply make dumb decisions in order to progress the story and create tension. If that happens I’ll be wanting to leave this house and wishing I could explore what other stuff is unfolding elsewhere during this Purge.

THIS IS THE END – June 12, 2013

This is the End comedy 2013
Get ready for self-referential Hollywood humor

The world goes boom and a bunch of recognizable actors play versions of themselves as they react to the mayhem that’s raining down on them.

James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogan, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson, along with some cameos by other celebs star in this strange take on the apocalypse and allow us to see how it would affect our favorite Hollywood stars.

This kind of reminds me of last summers The Watch for some reason. These actors can be funny on their own, so you would expect it would be a riot watching them together. The inside jokes and them poking fun at themselves could get old pretty fast though.

MAN OF STEEL – June 14, 2013

Superman Man of Steel Henry Cavill Amy Adams
Henry Cavill and Amy Adams
striking a heroic pose

Here we go again. Another Superman movie hoping to ignite a successful franchise. It wasn’t that long ago when Bryan Singer attempted the same thing in 2006. Superman Returns didn’t garner the enthusiastic response everyone was hoping for. So now seven years later director Zack Snyder attempts to remedy that error and get fans cheering for his take of the Man of Steel.

This is the biggie of the summer…..at least in my mind. I’ve had reservations about Man of Steel. I’m not a big Snyder fan. I would never have thought Amy Adams should be cast as Lois Lane. I have never seen anything with Henry Cavill before. So there’s a lot that’s up in the air about this movie already.

But I am looking forward to it and am really hoping to like this movie.

We all know the drill. Young Kal-El gets sent to Earth before his home planet of Krypton is destroyed. Raised by some decent Kansas farmers who give him the name Clark Kent he discovers he has great powers and eventually wears a red and blue outfit to help out his adopted planet. On his off-hours he works at the Daily Planet where he meets a ballsy, cute reporter who always needs saving.

That’s the short version, which it looks like the movie will cover. In addition to all of that, Superman is faced with the evil General Zod (Michael Shannon) who has come to Earth. Once he arrives a whole lot of super fighting, humans running scared and explosions commence.

I haven’t read too much of what we can expect story-wise from Man of Steel. (they’re keeping a tight lid on that as long as they can). Even if it was easy to find out I don’t think I’d read it anyway. I’d rather be surprised as much as possible.

Man of Steel Kevin Costner Diane Lane Kents
Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as
Jonathan and Martha Kent in Man of Steel

I also don’t know what kind of changes Snyder has planned for his Supes from the mythology that we know. Already just the alterations to his costume have created a lot of debate. Yep, this is a Superman without his red underoos. The previous Christopher Reeve films are not in this continuity. We shouldn’t expect to hear any John Williams Superman theme here. This is a completely new take on the character.

The supporting cast they gathered looks good, the clips of the superheroics seem like they’ll be exciting and they must know how important this movie is to get right.

I’m not the only one hoping for great things from Man of Steel. Superman fans are anxious to see him flying high again. And Warner Brothers really wants to exercise their superhero muscle and use it to generate mass amounts of revenue.

Can DC finally expand their films with a successful superhero film that doesn’t star Batman? Marvel characters are having their own blockbusting adventures, so why not DC too?

There’s a lot riding on Man of Steel not only for fans, but also for the future of DC. There’s already talk that Man of Steel will not only kickstart a new Superman franchise, but will be the seed that will eventually blossom into a huge Justice League film. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First we have to see if Man of Steel is actually good and then we’ll get to talking about all those plans later.

Henry Cavill Superman Man of Steel
The American flag, Superman and….7-Eleven?

If Man of Steel fails and sends audiences grumbling out of theaters Warners and DC will have a real problem on their hands. Not only will they have failed with creating a second Superman franchise within seven years, but it will also piss off fans who have been anxiously awaiting this release for so long.

Snyder’s status as a beloved director by fanboys will take a hard hit. And Marvel fans will have a glorious time gloating over the failure of yet another DC superhero movie. They’re just coming down from reveling in the Green Lantern fiasco.

I’d hate to be sitting here seven years from now with a new Superman reboot on the horizon, harkening back to how excited everyone was for Man of Steel in 2013 and how incredibly disappointing it was again. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen and that Snyder’s Superman tale will be a success and leave us wanting more.

VEHICLE 19

Paul Walker Vehicle 19
Paul Walker in Vehicle 19 – co-staring a steering wheel

Why does this feel like Premium Rush 2? Or another Cellular.

Paul Walker and cars – you’re going to hear plenty of people comment on that when this flick rolls around. Most of his career has been spent behind the wheel. If he wants to show more of a range he’s gotta work with some co-stars that don’t have four wheels or else it won’t be very long before he shows up in a Love Bug movie.

I was never a fan of his anyway and have always thought of him as one of the blandest young leads around today. As for the movie….I don’t know it’s some kind of – he rents a car, it has someone in the trunk, then bad guys want to kill him, so he gets into car chases. Who knows. It certainly doesn’t look like it has the shiny/hip hop gloss the Fast and Furious films come packaged in, so general audiences probably will not be too geared up to go see it. I don’t think Walker has a huge devoted following that he alone can drive audiences into the theater.

This looks like it’s going to get lost in the shuffle of the bigger films this month and will probably get more attention in Red Boxes around the world. People will be desperate to watch something new, see the picture of the poster, think to themselves it might be like Fast and Furious and check it out. They probably should have released this straight there and saved everyone the time and trouble.

WORLD WAR Z – June 21, 2013

World War Z Brad Pitt zombie movie 2013
Pitt running for cover from the fast moving zombies

At some point people will have to start getting sick of zombies right? We’ve seen them in low-budget, big-budget, foreign, comedies, television, people are dressing up as them. Zombies are everywhere! It’s between them and vampires as our monster of choice nowadays. I think this zombie craze is another example of that pessimistic representation we currently have of our present and future I was talking about.

Brad Pit works for the UN and travels the world as cities fall and people are eaten by savage zombies. If they’re not stopped all humans will end up being devoured. Or at the very least they won’t be human anymore.

This is based on a novel and honestly the book sounds like a more interesting and thrilling read than the movie. The images I’ve seen of thousands of people running through chaotic, crumbling cities really don’t pack much of a wallop to me anymore. Maybe it’s because I’ve just gotten so used to seeing these images in countless movies, but the once impressive scale of these kind of sequences doesn’t impress me as much anymore.

Computer generated effects have gotten so common place and cheap to do that you can find these shots on television. Even some commercials have them! Unless there’s some real creativity behind them and a good story that surrounds it all they end being is snazzy window dressing that has lost its luster.

Remember back when Deep Impact essentially sold itself based on the shot of the big wave hitting New York. I think that type of thing is getting less and less effective. Or at least I hope it is.

It’s disheartening that audiences are rushing to the theater and a movie is generating huge box office numbers based on one CGI special-effect shot and the rest of the film is just filler around it. People seem fine with that I guess. I simply want more for my money than just that.

Anyway, not surprisingly Pitt has a wife and daughter who needs protecting and…you know the routine, They’re probably in danger somewhere and he will do anything, risk everything to get to them to make sure they’re safe. So he’s got to run from attacking zombies in huge crowds, avoid helicopters crashing, collapsing buildings, lots of smoke and all that end of the world type of stuff.

World War Z zombie wall scene
World War Z’s zombies working together

I did get intrigued by the idea of having World War Z’s zombies be faster and move like a collected group rather than just a shuffling pack of individual undead beings. They make impressive giant human ladders and stuff (there’s that CGI marketing shot).

That gimmick seems like the main thing the movie has going for it. But without a decent story and characters, having thousands of zombies doing supernatural gymnastics might not be enough to make it worth watching. It might even make it even more difficult to accept actually. After years of seeing undead human zombies strolling along mindlessly in movies and on The Walking Dead, can people accept zombies who can actually compete for gold medals?

I’ve already heard that director Marc Forster went back and did reshoots for World War Z, which is always a bad sign. Maybe it will be good, but right now I view it as a production that’s capitalizing on the zombie trend and is banking on a big star and a big budget to make a big successful zombie movie. Bigger is not always better. And that goes for making zombies faster too. We’ll see if it proves me wrong.

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

Monsters University 2013
The goofy antics of a monster fraternity

Twelve years after the original Monsters Inc. we get a prequel. Set ten years before the events of the original it follows the one-eyed Mike (Billy Crystal) going off to college to major in scaring. There he meets the blue, furry Sulley (John Goodman). They fight a little, probably pull pranks on each other, hangout with other oddball monsters and in the end become best buds.

This seems like a pretty long overdue sequel. Like they should have made this years ago if they were really going to do it. I don’t know how much love Monsters Inc. gets. To me it was always a middle of the road Pixar flick. I watched it, thought it was ok and never thought about it again. Maybe there’s a big fan base for these characters. I’m sure the kids will love it and buy plenty of the Monster toys.

I do find it funny that while Hollywood is in the state of reinventing, rebooting and prequl-izing (I just made that word up) established characters, they’re doing prequels to cartoons.

It’s not like we saw all of Mike and Sully’s adventures working at Monsters Inc. yet right? Weren’t there any new stories worth telling there? Did fans already get their fill of that and were left wondering ‘I wonder how these two started off and met?’. At least the Muppets were around for years and we got to spend lots of time with them before we got treated to Muppet Babies.

THE HEAT – June 28 2013

Sandra Bullock Melissa McCarthy The Heat cop comedy 2013
Bullock and McCarthy as the newest cinematic cop team

Sandra Bullock is an FBI agent who is trying to take down a drug lord and teams with Boston police detective Melissa McCarthy to help out. The two women have to learn to work with a partner for the first time, they get to improv off each other and attempt to make this cop/female buddy movie a success.

I’ve had a cinematic crush on Bullock since first seeing her in Demolition Man. From her humble beginnings starring in a Roger Corman produced low-budget flick with strategic duct tape hiding her naughty bits, she’s gone on to be one of the most popular actresses working today. She’s had her ups and downs. Some of her work has garnered her accolades and an Oscar while some of the other things she’s done have earned her Razzies.

McCarthy is currently a popular actress thanks to her performances in Mike and Molly and particularly Bridesmaids. So teaming the two together will all depend on whether or not they ignite some fun chemistry between them. That’s usually the key to cop/buddy movies. The pairing of our two leads, that’s what will make or break this flick. I doubt anyone will care about the (I’m predicting) hackneyed bad guy plot.

The Heat Sandra Bullock Melissa McCarthy comedy
This could go either way, it all depends on the stars

So The Heat is a star vehicle. When I first saw the trailer I was cringing. It didn’t look very good and I recall hearing people muttering “why would Sandra do this?” Maybe it’s just poor marketing.

Reactions from test screenings of the film I’ve heard actually sound pretty positive, but it could be the audiences were just excited to see a free movie. The filmmakers already seem to think audiences will take a liking to the pair, which is why I’m already hearing rumors of a proposed sequel.

I’m not sure what to expect. I’m thinking it will do some modest business and if it does it will ignite the customary revelation that women can indeed carry a successful movie. That’s a reoccurring subject that pops up every couple of years when a female-led movie makes money. Then everyone apparently forgets about that until it happens again.

Oh and I still think Sandra looks as adorable as ever and she still manages to make me moony-eyed.

WHITE HOUSE DOWN

White House Down action movie 2013
Are they running from the films bad guys or trying to get
out from a Roland Emmerich production?

A long time ago audiences were faced with a conundrum. It was 1997 and there were two films that were coming out both centering around people running from molten lava – Dante’s Peak and Volcano. Which one should we go see?

The following year two hurling asteroid-ending disaster films were headed our way within a matter of months and the same question arose, which one should we go see? Deep Impact or Armageddon

This year moviegoers are facing another similar choice. This one involving an attack in our nations capital and a perilous situation at the most popular address in town.

Arriving only a few months after the similar Olympus Has Fallen, the White House is under attack again, the President is in danger and it will take a John McClane-inspired hero to save the day.

This time our hero is Channing Tatum as a U.S. Capitol police officer (unlike Gerald Butler as a former Secret Service agent). He has to save the President played by Jamie Foxx (instead of Aaron Eckhart). Bad guys seize the White House and lots of explosions, debris and smoke result from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The plots of both films sound very similar, so it’s the execution and characters that will really make a difference. Director Roland Emmerich loves his spectacle. I thought he said after that 2012 movie he was going to step away from his world-ending, destruction-themed stories?

Or does this not count because here it’s just a city under attack by CGI animators and not the whole planet? Is this meant to be a step in his evolution as a filmmakers because all this devastation is not being caused by mother nature or a giant lizard?

I’d predict, as with his previous films, that much of the focus will be on the annihilation of D.C. landmarks and the characters will simply be chesspieces moving through the mayhem and nothing more.

The film should draw some crowds. Summer audiences love their big grand destructive showpiece films. As for being more than a big, bombastic forgettable summer flick we’ll find out pretty fast once we hear the audience reaction opening weekend.


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1 Response

  1. spaceodds says:

    Hi Hap

    You mentioned;
    "Someone has to come along with some kind of optimistic portrayal of the future! Come on! Where are all the shiny flying cars and the friendly robot butlers we were supposed to get?"

    I'm sorry to disappoint you pal, but that all ended with The Fifth Element, which was released in 1997! You're right it has been a long long time when we last saw a futuristic/sci-fi film with real colorful shiny cars and friendly robot bartender. I was 12 when I saw The Fifth Element and I loved it, saw it again when I was 16 and I hated it. Saw it again last week after a 12 year absence and I love it again. The best sci-fi movies, are the pessimistic ones with subliminal message in them, films like Blade Runner rule the wave, but sometimes we do need candy floss to put a smile on out face.

    Years from now I'll be looking back at 2013, not only as a depressing view on the earth and civilization, but on how depressing the movie slate truly was.

    Man of Steel is this summers most anticipated film, and both Warner and DC are in deep trouble if it fails. I really have high hopes for this, so I pray this isn't going to be another Superman Returns.

    Another Earth, The Internship, The Heat not interested.

    This Is The End, you're right it does look like The Watch, but this film is an egotistical love fest and the celebrity cameos is simply emphasizing this idea even more. I mean Emma Watson? Yes we get it, you're trying to ditch the Hermione Granger image, big deal. And you know whats 'so strange' three weeks after This Is The End is released here in the U.K., we are getting The World's End. Now this is a film I'm really looking forward to see, any film from the team that made Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz is a must see for me. Check the trailer out on YouTube.

    World War Z: Yet another zombie apocalypse film, I'll just stay at home and watch 28 Weeks Later.

    Another film I'm looking forward to see in the summer is Elysium, which I think is getting released in September. But the jewel in the crown for me is Only God Forgives. Now this is normally not a summer film since its very much an art house film, I even read somewhere that in the U.S. the film is getting a bare bones theatrical release and will go straight into VOD. After the film received a severe critical backlash at the Cannes Film Festival a few days ago, I'm actually looking forward to seeing the film more, but still you never know it might be a bit of a downer.

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