Geek Cinema: Summer Movie “Preview”
May 6, 2013 by     5 Comments    Posted In: Columns, Geek Cinema

Iron Man 3Ah, summer! That glorious time of year when the weather gets hot and everyone’s all like, “Screw it. The movies are air-conditioned. Let’s go there.” Therein lies my motivation for writing this, my half-baked summer movie “preview”. If you’re going to head to the cinema to cool down you may as well have some idea of what’s playing. Below is a list of the flims that have caught my eye, for better or for worse. Please feel free to add your own commentary on these or whatever movies I neglected. I look forward to reading your three comments.

(NOTE: I wouldn’t call this a true preview, hence the quotation marks in the column’s title. I don’t do a lot of “previewing” here as much as I do some “frothy quasi-clever musing”. So take it all, as per usual, for what it’s worth.)

Iron Man 3 – I’ve gone on record before, and I’ll say it again: this second batch of Marvel Studios movies, starting here, has the stank of “this could go badly” on it. They’ve done everything the can to keep IM3 springtime fresh. RDJ playing Tony Stark for the 6th time? Check. Incredible supporting talent in Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle? Check. Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin? Check. I dunno… maybe I just keep flashing back to Spider-Man 3. That went well. Still, Iron Man was better than it had any right being, and Iron Man 2, while not spectacular, was certainly solid, so I’ll give this one the benefit of the doubt. Early returns sound pretty decent, and after all, Marvel Studios hasn’t made a bad Avengers-verse movie yet. – May 3rd

Star Trek - KahnThe Great Gatsby – Love Baz Luhrman. Can Leo DiCaprio FINALLY get his frakkata Oscar, please?! – May 10th

Star Trek: Into Darkness – The first JJ Abrams Trek was (as I have previously stated) the best Star Trek anything ever, and they’ve only raised the stakes in this one by pitting Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk against Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Kahn. Throw in the returning crew of the Enterprise NCC-1701, Alice Eve as what appears to be either Seven of Nine or a Cylon, and more of Abrams’ Trek-verse where things actually go BOOM and we are in business. My dark horse candidate for best nerdy movie of the year. Just stay out of the intergalactic politics and cheesy new-age philosophy that make earlier Star Trek films and the Star Wars prequels so mind-numbingly dull, and we have it made. (Abrams is just setting up his Star Trek/Star Wars/Sherlock Holmes/Hobbit crossover, we just know it.) – May 17th

Fast & Furious 6 – There’s already been five of these? Seriously? Do Vin Diesel and Paul Walker do anything else? Do they have to? I’ve never seen a Fast and Furious movie, but six deep in, now coming out at a rate of what seems like one a year… they must have something going for them. I smell what they’re cookin’. (I made a Rock joke, did you get that? Yes? Okay, I’ll stop now.) – May 24th

World War ZAfter Earth – Will Smith has reached that point in his career, the one every actor who doesn’t fade away entirely always reaches, where he seems to be trying to find who he is now that the formerly white-hot flame of his movie star prime has cooled off. In choosing to star in this sci-fi flick with his son Jaden he also seems to be channelling that inner truth that all parents know but don’t much like to acknowledge: in choosing to sire offspring, they have gone ahead and given the world their eventual replacements. I have no idea if After Earth is going to be good; the concept is fine enough and both Smith the elder and Smith the younger are charismatic actors. One strike against the film: M. Night Shyamalan directed it. One thing in it’s favor: he didn’t write it. – May 31st

Much Ado About Nothing – So this is what Joss Whedon does when he’s not doing all the other things he does that so many people love so much. He invites his friends to hang out at his house, and by the way, all of his friends are super-talented actor types (Nathan Fillion! Clark Gregg!), and instead of Trivial Pursuit they decide to film a black-and-white version of one of Shakespeare’s best comedies. I’m going to see it. Maybe you’re not. I’m better than you. – June 7th

This Is The End – Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, and Jay Baruchel play versions of themselves who throw an epic Hollywood party that gets interrupted by the apocalypse. This is a terrible idea and I can’t wait to see it. Michael Cera and Emma Watson appear as insane versions of themselves, although I’d imagine they are still more sane than the actual James Franco. – June 12th

Man of Steel – Is this going to work? All I know is that Superman hasn’t been interesting as a leading man since… actually, I don’t remember Superman EVER being interesting as a leading man and I very much would like him to be. Henry Cavill dons the pleather Kryptonian war armor (which does NOT have an “S” on the Pacific Rimchest), following in the grand tradition of George Reeves, Christopher Reeve… uh… Dean Cain and, uh, the guy from Wings. Here’s my wishlist: I would like for Superman to do something super, I would like as little angsty-guy-traveling-the-world as possible, I would like Chris Nolan and Warner Bros. NOT to try and carbon-copy their Dark Knight trilogy, and I would like to see hints of the Justice League or Lex Luthor or both by the end of the film. I would also like for it not to suck. You know what? That would be enough. – June 14th

World War Z – Zombies terrify me. I have World War Z, the book, sitting on my Kindle, and I’m going to read it, I swear I am. I just have to force myself to do it, s’all. The backstory of the film production sounds like it may be more thrilling than the actual movie, as rumblings of massive discord amongst the creative types involved (including star Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster) have been audible for awhile now. As I understand it, the running screaming zombie fun shown in the trailer isn’t quite how the book goes, but I’m okay with that. Different mediums, different executions. Truth is, we haven’t really had a big-time big-budget full-on zombie movie yet, with true A-list starts, so this one is interesting. I’ll see it, but I won’t watch. – June 21st

Monsters University – Look, it’s a Pixar movie, and a sequel to Monsters, Inc., so yeah, I’m excited. Who isn’t? (And has Billy Crystal done anything that anybody has noticed since the first one of these?) But again: Pixar. It could be a movie about a mime reading the phone book and I’d be interested. As long as this isn’t Cars 2, we’ll be all right. – June 21st

RED 2The Lone Ranger – Is that really Johnny Depp playing Tonto in The Lone Ranger? I don’t know if “Native American” falls into his usual “wacky/creepy” wheelhouse, and I’m sort-of thinking this is offensive. Still, it’s a modern reboot of one of America’s oldest heroes, from the people who brought you the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. I only like one of those movies, though, so I’m looking at Lone Ranger with some trepidation. And where the hell is the William Tell Overture in any of those trailers? Blasphemy. – July 3rd

The Way, Way Back – Sam Rockwell, Steve Carrell, and Maya Rudolph are among the many awesome names in this coming-of-age dramedy about a teenage boy who finds refuge from his new family unit’s beach house by working at the local water park. Okay, so this one doesn’t belong on a summer movie preview on this site. Sam Rockwell was in Galaxy Quest, though, and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, so that’s my in. Also, this will actually probably be better than lots of the other things on this list. There’s that, too. – July 5th

Pacific Rim – Guillermo del Toro directing a big-budget live action giant Mecha movie. I don’t think there’s anything else I need to know. – July 12th

Grown Ups 2 – Eff you guys for making this movie. Eff you guys straight to hell. – July 12th

Red 2 – I never saw the first Red, but this old-people-assassins franchise is based on a Warren Ellis comic so I guess I’m obligated to mention it. Old people are funny. Old people with guns are funny and cool. I learned The Wolverinethese things, and most everything else I know, from Hollywood. – July 19th

The Wolverine – Everyone always speaks of the Japanese samurai adventures of Wolverine in hushed tones of inspired awe. I’ve never read it; it’s one of those things where I’m afraid the experience won’t live up to the legend, like with The Killing Joke or Chinatown. (These are personal preferences of mine own.) Hugh Jackman and company, though, have one thing going for them: this movie could be two hours of the-man-formerly-known-as-Jean-Valjean making smelly, smelly poops all over the Australian outback and it would STILL be better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine. – July 26th

300: Rise of an Empire – It’s not a sequel, and it’s not a prequel, but it certainly exists. The directorial reins have been handed off from Zack Snyder and Gerard Butler does not appear, so all of that bodes well. Look, if you like half-naked, oiled-up, Grecian gladiators ramming into each other over and over and over and over and… I’m not actually sure where I’m going with this. – August 2nd

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters – Since the start of the Harry Potter phenomenon, there have been scores of Young Adult fantasy impersonators on the bookshelves and e-readers of the world. Of them all, author Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series arguably comes closest to Potter’s coattails (and when you consider just how not-close in stature the former is to the latter you appreciate again the massive popularity of the J.K. Rowling-penned saga). The first book of the series, The Lightning Thief, got a lukewarm and not entirely faithful film adaptation several years back, which is why seeing Sea of Monsters make it to theaters is a bit of a surprise (one assumed, like The Spiderwick Chronicles and A Series of Unfortunate Events, Percy would go one-and-done). The far superior Monsters, though, which centers around an Odyssey-like journey to find the legendary Golden Fleece, should make for a better adaptation, so if this hits the franchise could have life yet. – August 7th

Kick-Ass 2Elysium – Every now and again, it’s nice to see some heavy-handed sci-fi allegory sneak into the multiplex. Matt Damon and Jodie Foster star in this thinly veiled commentary on class inequality, where Damon plays Max, a hardscrabble Earth denzien, part of the majority population kept out of the luxurious space station Elysium, lorded over by Jodie Foster’s Secretary Rhodes and home to the well-to-do minority of humanity. Ah, science fiction that knows how to get down and preachy, just how God (and Asimov) intended. – August 9th

Disney’s Planes – Yo, Disney, seriously: enough with the Cars-verse. – August 9th

Kick-Ass 2 – Hey, Jim Carrey is still in movies? Awesome! First glance tells us that his Colonel America (or whatever his character’s name is) could threaten whats-her-name’s Hit Girl as this flick’s scene-stealer, but that’s yet to be seen. Stlll, now that Hit-Girl is a precocious teenager instead of a precocious pre-teen, is it going to be as awesome to hear her say the “C” word? That’s yet to be seen. I may still take some convincing to believe McLovin’ can be a movie’s primary supervillain; that is yet to be seen. Oh! Kick-Ass is also a character in this movie. Nobody cares. – August 16th

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones – What Percy Jackson is to Harry Potter, The Mortal Instruments series is to Twilight. There’s a young loner girl who finds out she’s part of a race of half-angelic demon hunters and she gets pulled into another world hidden behind the curtain of our everyday New York City, yada yada yada. I’m sure there’s a couple of shirtless, dreamy guys in here, too, and if not somebody is SERIOUSLY slacking off. – August 23rd

Tom Hoefner (@TomHoefner on Twitter) is a playwright, theatre director, college professor, and would-be novelist living in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter. He hopes to get to the movies enough this summer to see even half of those that he’s listed here, but he wouldn’t bet on it.

Check out “From the Casefiles of Race and Cookie McCloud”, a blog of super-short stories chronicling the adventures of Race McCloud, Private Eye, and his 15-year old former-secret-agent-in-training niece Cookie: http://raceandcookie.blogspot.com

Riddick - So THIS is what else Vin Diesel does! - September 6th

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5 Comments Add Comment

  • Chip Reece May 6, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Post #1: I know it’s not coming out this summer, but how could you not at least mention Thor?! Winter basically just ended this week (I hope), so technically the Summer will go until December.


  • Chip Reece May 6, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Post #2: G.I. Joe’s feelings are hurt… pretty sure I’m hearing some Oscar buzz about that one.


  • Chip Reece May 6, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Post #3: 3 posts already?!? Crazy! Let’s prove to Tom that we can at least manage 4.


  • Finnnious May 6, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I wonder when the RIPD movie’s coming out.. the release date hasn’t been announced, has it?


  • John MacKeeman May 18, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    I enjoyed this movie though it did not follow the character’s of the comic . It was a solid show through out . Every one had a laugh from the young ones to us old dye hard fans . Looking forward to Thor and may pop out tomorrow to see Star Trek .