Saturday, May 01, 2010

Black Sheep previews Summer 2010!

It isn't technically summer yet in most of the world but the season of sizzle gets its usual early head start out in Hollywood next week with the release of IRON MAN 2.  Two years ago, the first IRON MAN installment surprised Hollywood and audiences alike when it surpassed both financial and creative expectations, subsequently kicking off summer good and proper.  The hopes are that the sequel will do it up right again this year and in a matter of days, we will see what tone it sets for the next four months.  The opening weekend is just the beginning though.  Summertime means one big movie after the next and if you don't get in and make your money right upfront, you disappear from existence.  Even if you do grab a good haul at the start, you can still disappear the next weekend when another highly anticipated sequel hits theatres.  No, my friends, to make it in the summer, you've got to stand out.  You don't necessarily have to be any good but you've got to get people talking.

Let's start that conversation right here, shall we?  There are roughly 100 movies being released in North American theatres over the next four months.  We're going to look at the handful of those that caught my attention and intend to review during that time.  The total amounts to about a quarter of the films, or about six reviews a month.  (I'm only one man!) I'll throw out mentions for the other biggies that I might still see and let you know what I will definitely not be seeing ... summer also has plenty of garbage too, which tends to stink even worse in the heat.  Still, I love me a summer gem and the cool air conditioning on a humid afternoon.  The summer means lots of things to lots of people and it means movies to me.

With that, I'd like to welcome you to Black Sheep Reviews' 2010 Summer Movie Preview!


05/07 ... The aforementioned IRON MAN 2 rolls out the proverbial beach towel into 4000 theatres next week, finding billionaire Tony Stark (everyone's favourite comeback kid, Robert Downey Jr.) and director Jon Favreau tackling an original idea rather than following the comic book canon. Expectations are high this time when they weren't at all last time. Iron Man presents well but can he sustain?  Also on the seventh, Hot Doc festival leftovers, BABIES and CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY, from Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker, Alex Gibney, reach out to those uninterested in popcorn fare.

05/14 ... I'm not accustomed to losing interest in summer quite so quickly but another Amanda Seyfried weepy romance (LETTERS TO JULIET) does not interest me.  Ridley Scott's grandiose and serious take on ROBIN HOOD doesn't interest me that much either but I've got to see something that week.  I wonder if Scott and star Russell Crowe see how obvious it is that they are trying to recapture their GLADIATOR days.  Actually, the film I am looking forward to seeing this weekend is Montreal director, Jacob Tierney's second feature, THE TROTSKY, starring Jay Baruchel.  I loved Tierney's first feature, TWIST, and can't wait to see how he's grown since that was released in 2003.

05/21 ... I have not been interested in seeing a "Saturday Night Live" inspired film in ages but MACGRUBER, the Will Forte led spoof on "MacGyver" got great buzz at the SXSW festival earlier this year and actually looks pretty funny.  SHREK FOREVER AFTER will clearly dominate this weekend but I never made it past the second Shrek film so I won't be catching this one most likely.  I don't want to be lost.

05/28 ... This day confuses me.  I love "Sex and the City" and I love Jake Gyllenhaal.  That said, I almost hated the last SATC movie and I don't like my men with long hair so my enthusiasm for SEX AND THE CITY 2 and PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME is nowhere near as high as it could have been.  Regardless, I won't try to suppress my baser urges.  After all, the girls are going to ride camels and Jake is not going to be wearing a shirt for much of the film, I'm sure.


06/04 ... I'm just going to say it.  This summer is nowhere near as exciting as last summer.  If the best thing to see on the first weekend of June is GET HIM TO THE GREEK, starring Russell Brand and Jonah Hill, from the director of FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL, then we've got a problem.  I'm sure it will be funny but will be as funny as seeing Sarah Polley in a big Hollywood horror about cloning gone horrifically wrong?  (The movie is called SPLICE.)

06/11 ... I watched THE A-TEAM when I was younger but it's not like I've been dying a little inside each day since it was cancelled.  The new remake has a great cast (Sharlto Copley from last year's DISTRICT 9 and Bradley Cooper from last year's everything) so I will give a shot.  On the other end of the spectrum, French export, COCO CHANEL & IGOR STRAVINSKY tells the tale of the relationship between two cultural revolutionaries.  I think I am going to pass on THE KARATE KID remake, if you don't mind.  I'd also sooner avoid the feature length documentary, JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK ... even though the title is kinda funny.

06/18 ... I could barely get through the trailer for JONAH HEX but god knows that summer agrees with Megan Fox so it will probably do well despite my disdain for it.  No matter, I will be front and center for TOY STORY 3.  Sure it is an unnecessary sequel from the Pixar peeps but with the Academy Award winning writer of LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, Michael Arndt, penning the screenplay and the co-director of FINDING NEMO and MONSTERS INC, Lee Unkrich, behind the lens, I'm sure the toys will triumph once again.

06/25 ... There had better be some limited art house release opening in Toronto this weekend because I do not want to have to see or review either the Tom Cruise / Cameron Diaz action-comedy / career desperation project, KNIGHT AND DAY, or GROWN-UPS, which brings together Chris Rock, Kevin James, Adam Sandler and more to do very much the same thing Cruise and Diaz are doing.  Here's hoping Alain Resnais' WILD GRASS finds its way here that weekend, for my sake.

06/30 ... Oh here's a big one.  THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE makes its first summer appearance.  I just watched the trailer for this one this morning and I could not contain my laughter.  I gave the first one a chance and didn't think it was that bad but I named NEW MOON one of the worst pictures of last year.  When Edward asked Bella to marry him right before the credits rolled (oh sorry, spoiler alert after the fact if you hadn't seen it already), I threw up a little in my mouth and decided right there and then to never see another one of these disasters.  Go ahead and swoon ladies ... these boys are all yours.


07/02 ... Originally entitled, "Avatar", M. Night Shyamalan's THE LAST AIRBENDER had to change its name after that other AVATAR movie came along, devouring everything in its environmentally-friendly path.  Appropriately, it should capture much of the same crowd as the special effects look top notch.  Like most of Shyamalan's other work though, the acting and dialogue look so bad that they may actually drag the whole thing down with them.  And while I knew nothing of this film before seeing THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, I am now very stoked to see THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, the next in the Swedish film series.

07/07 ... It is a Wednesday bow for indie favourite, THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, starring Julianne Moore and Annette Bening as life partners, raising children who now want the goods on their biological father.  The anonymous sperm donor daddy? Mark Rufallo.  This is one of the titles I am most excited about this summer.  It figures it's one of the tinier ones.

07/16 ... Ah, Christopher Nolan.  I have mad respect for this man.  He may not always please everyone or achieve perfection but his direction is always concise and unflinching.  His vision is unique and his potential has yet to be tapped.  His latest and follow up to the phenomenon that was THE DARK KNIGHT, entitled INCEPTION, is a movie about dreams, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  July is definitely the month to beat for me with these last two pictures.

07/23 ... On the comedic front, Steve Carell and Paul Rudd reteam for DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS, a remake of the French film, DINER DES CONS, where one man has to bring the stupidest person he knows to dinner for a proper mocking in order to get a promotion.  It promises to be a lot friendlier than the 1998 French film and it will be great to see these two guys on equal footing for a change.  Then on the action side of the coin, you've got Angelina Jolie as an international spy on the run in a role that was originally given to Tom Cruise in SALT.  My track record with Philip Noyce directed films isn't great though so this could go either way for me.  Anyone remember the last time these two worked together?  (Answer: THE BONE COLLECTOR.)

07/30 ... I am thrilled to see that Quebec film, and a 2009 Mouton d'Or Award nominee for Best Little Movie, I KILLED MY MOTHER, is getting an American distribution deal.  The film has done incredibly well here in Canada and deservedly so.  Writer/Director/Star, Xavier Dolan, tells the semi-autobiographical story of the difficulties he had growing up as a young gay man with his mother.  It is a raw and rough experience but still somehow healing and beautiful.  At the young age of 21, Dolan is exploding with his second film at Cannes this year and his third already in preproduction.  I am also hoping that I LOVE YOU PHILIP MORRIS, starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, finally sees its release on this tentative date.


08/06 ... It made its debut at last year's Toronto International Film Festival and now Bruce Beresford's MAO'S LAST DANCER is finally hitting theatres.  It tells the true story of Li Cunxin, a Chinese ballet performer who has performed around the world, and it just looks gorgeous.  The dancing is sure to impress.  Of course, I'm sure more people will opt to see that other dance movie, STEP UP 3D, instead that weekend.  3D dance movies?  The world needs this?  Really?

08/13 ... August usually slows down the pace and Julia Roberts will try to continue the trend with the film adaptation of EAT PRAY LOVE.  The man behind "Glee" and "Nip/Tuck", Ryan Murphy, directs this true story about a woman who tries to recapture the spirit she didn't know she had lost.  Schmaltzy for sure but it could be acceptable schmaltz.  More importantly though, Edgar Wright, the man behind HOT FUZZ and SHAUN OF THE DEAD, returns with his latest, SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD.  The film stars Michael Cera as a musician who has to defeat each of his girlfriend's seven evil ex-boyfriends in order to be with her.  That's freaking hilarious!

08/20 ... I don't know why I am such a sucker for Jennifer Aniston movies.  The woman rarely makes good movies but yet  I keep coming back.  In THE SWITCH, she stars opposite Jason Batemen (a potential saving grace in this film).  Bateman drunkenly switches the sperm she was going to use to inseminate herself without telling her and, well, you can figure where the rest is going.  Still, the trailer actually looks kinda cute.

08/27 ... The truth of it is I will likely be prepping for TIFF and the fall at this point in the summer but if I need to escape, I can always see PIRANHA 3D.  That's right.  You read correctly.  A tectonic plate shift causes a crack in a party town lake and releases tons of 2000-year-old killer piranhas.  And not only are they hungry but they are in 3D!!

So there you have it, folks.  This is what awaits you during the long days of summer.  What do you think?  Is it worth going inside for?


Luke said...

Great look into the summer. I like the weekend by weekend guide and you dug right in there and didn't miss a thing. I agree with a lot of your commentary too, especially about how this summer is going to be nowhere near last summer and that the Twilight trailer was hilarious.

Ryan McNeil said...

I'll be writing an actual post about this when all this documentary madness eases off, so forgive me in advance for repeating myself.

There is so little I am looking forward to this summer. Just about every popcorn flick looks like it'll be such a McMovie...I mean am i really supposed to get excited for KNIGHT AND DAY?

Thus, my quest this summer is to dig deeper. To forsake the longest line at the theatre and try to find more thoughtful fare...find this year's ONCE...this year's IN THE LOOP...dare I suggest, this year's HURT LOCKER?

here's hoping the somewhat indier fare doesn't let me down!