Sunday, April 30, 2006

Summer Movie Preview 2006, part 1

Despite the fact that I grow less and less interested with Hollywood's summer blockbusters with every passing year, I felt the need to touch on this. So here's part 1. Part 2 will deal with box-office predictions. Part 3 will deal with critical predictions.

Before we continue, you should really all vote in this best-of-TV survey. I hear the guy doing it is the best human being to have lived in the last three centuries.

So, anyway, I think this summer movie season is going to be one of the biggest on record for three reasons.

1.) It's supposed to be hot. Don't knock it. People like to get in to the air conditioning.

2.) Gas prices are going to be going up. When this happens, everyone likes to stay close to home. Some might even cancel vacations, but still take the time off. And when the kids get annoying, where are you going to go?

3.) The movies are ones people want to see. Sequels. Established franchises. Stars acting just like how we want the stars to act. And mostly light-hearted films. Very little doom 'n' gloom, which was last summer's undoing.

Once again, I've commissioned the help of my friend Jon (who also helped me do the super TV preview a month or so ago). He's got a better head for box office figures and stuff than I do, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.

But first. . .our most anticipated blockbuster-y type films of summer 2006 AND the films we're looking forward to on a, y'know, artistic basis.

Jon's Blockbuster 10

1.) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

The first was one of the most rewatchable films of the last five years. Even if this is half as entertaining as the first, it'll be great.

2.) Cars

I STILL haven't seen The Incredibles (I am a terrible, terrible person), but the other 5 Pixar films fill me with hope that this'll be another entertaining, touching film, crappy trailers be damned. (Early reviews help me make that assumption.)

3.) Idlewild

I don't really listen to much OutKast, but the trailer was filled with so much energy and fun that I must see it.

4.) The Break-Up

As a proudly straight macho man (Ha! -- TV), Bring It On is a personal guilty pleasure of mine (SPIRIT FINGERS!), and the trailer was pretty funny. At best, it could be the rarest of things: A Non-Genre RomCom.

5.) The Da Vinci Code

I haven't read the book.

6.) Talladega Nights

Will Ferrell as a NASCAR driver. What else could you want in a late-summer movie?

7.) X-Men: The Last Stand

Like any good hearted film lover, the Bryan Singer-Brett Ratner swap worries me, but the trailer convinced me to give Ratner the benefit of the doubt, though I still fear a Terminator-style Trilogy (two great films from a great director, a final "eh" film from a "eh" director).

8.) Over the Hedge

Early word says this is less Madagascar and more Shrek, so my interest is high.

9.) Lady in the Water

M. Night Shyamalan goes for something completely different here (A Bedtime Story, eh?), and with Paul Giamatti, I'm very intrigued.

10.) Snakes on a Plane's Opening Night

I won't see this movie any other way. At all.

Todd's Blockbuster 10

1.) Cars
Oddly enough, I'm mostly unstirred by this summer's blockbusters (see above), but Pixar has never led me wrong before, and I love the work of director John Lasseter. His gentle humanism 4 tykes worked so well in his other films.

2.) Superman Returns
Bad Internet buzz be damned. The world's most boring superhero looks to have gotten a film that nicely conflates his status as American myth into an easily-digestible chunk. And Superman remains the most kid-friendly superhero of them all, so it should be fun to watch the tots eyes light up, if nothing else.

3.) Mission: Impossible III
Tom Cruise is bats*** insane. We all know that. He's given to vague pronouncements on psychology and the like. But Philip Seymour Hoffman looks to be awesome. And I love the rest of the M:I team. And it's J.J. Abrams, creator of two of my most enjoyed television series: Alias and Lost. And I want to support the TV auteurs as they step over into geek films something fierce. And when David Poland dismisses the film as the Alias pilot: the movie, that sounds AWESOME to me.

4.) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
The first was WAY too long. And the weird cult that has sprung up around Johnny Depp (especially on the Internets) is just annoying. But, God help me, I love pirates, and I love Depp's performance. And Keira Knightley is ONLY attractive when strapped into a corset. So there you go.

5.) Snakes on a Plane
I'm not, like, ridiculously excited for this.
OK. I am.
And the sequel better be BEARS on a Plane.

6.) Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby
And I quote from my earlier thoughts on this film. Amy Adams.
Amy Adams.
Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams. Amy Adams.
She'd better be in this movie a WHOLE LOT.

7.) Over the Hedge
I love the comic strip, and the one guy I know who has seen it swears it's awesome. The trailer is stupid, but I have faith.

8.) The Break-Up
Peyton Reed is one of those great, underrated directors. And Vince Vaughn is always a good time. Will it suck? Almost certainly. But I'll still go see it.

9.) Click
I hate Adam Sandler movies. And I hate high concept movies. But this high concept is just too good to ignore.

10.) Poseidon
There's a big boat. Then the big boat is upside down. There's also a big wave. And a cavalcade of stars. It shows every sign of being terrible, but I'll swallow every last drop.

Bonus 11.) Romeo and Juliet: Sealed with a Kiss
I mean. . .Shakespeare performed by seals? Who HASN'T been waiting for that?

Jon's Artistic 5

1.) A Prairie Home Companion

Robert Altman with the year's biggest and best cast. Need I say more?

2.) The Science of Sleep

Michel Gondry's quirky follow-up to Eternal Sunshine promises many bizarre SFX-Free dream sequences, so count me in!

3.) Little Miss Sunshine

The trailer for this was promising, and early word from Sundance was positive. Just don't be another Napoleon Dynamite, please.

4. A Scanner Darkly

I haven't seen Waking Life yet (I am a terrible, terrible person), but again, hopefully this will provide some trippy but deep fun that makes me think.

5.) An Inconvenient Truth

The trailer was a wee bit on the ambitious side ("If you love you children, YOU MUST SEE THIS FILM"), but there's nothing quite like a summer doc at the theater.

Jon picked every movie I was going to list. I'll try to find some different ones, I guess.

Side note: Good lord are there a lot of War on Terror documentaries this summer. Honestly!

Todd's Artistic 5

1.) Prairie Home Companion
Even if my compatriot chose this as his number one as well, I think it stands to reason that it should be a film most film fans are getting excited about. Robert Altman takes on the subjects of radio, death and life passages. And with as old as Altman's getting, every new film we get from him (arguably America's greatest living director) is a treasure.

2.) The Descent
There's something to be said for intelligent horror and the effect it has on an audience. This one has gotten raves out of its native UK, and I can't wait to see just what's so scary about it.

3.) The Proposition
I've heard good things about this Aussie Western, and Emily Watson is always worth a trip to the arthouse.

4.) The Promise
A Chinese epic from the director of Farewell, My Concubine? I don't know what it's about, but I'll give it a shot.

5.) Wordplay
I love documentaries. I love puzzles. Here's a documentary about puzzles. What's not to love?

Bonus 6.) The Los Angeles International Film Festival
Some of my best film days last year revolved around taking in screenings at this big event. You can bet I'll be going back again this year.


Anonymous said...


"And the weird cult that has sprung up around Johnny Depp (especially on the Internets) is just annoying."
Omg, that sheman on OW! What's his/her name?!

I don't really have anything worthwhile to say about the blockbusters. You've guys pretty much covered all ground... Er, except maybe that I feel like I'm not in on the Snakes on a Plane joke *sniffs*

Anyway, there are a few smaller films that I'm sorta lookin' out for (besides the ones mentioned):
-The King. Gael is cute. And he deflowers his half-sister without telling her.

-Half Nelson. The title sounds retarded and the plot synopsis sounds like your typical movie-of-the-week. But it won raves at Sundance and Greenie says he's anticipating it, so I shall conform, and revel in the buzz.

-Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man. Sagers is looking forward to this film. I had no idea a man named Leonard Cohen existed until seeing the trailer. Sagers tells me that I'm dumb. I tell Sagers that it must be the Canadian factor. Anyhoo, Wim Wenders says it's one of the best films about music he's ever seen. That's a good endorsement, I think.

-The Road to Guantánamo. I'm all out-Bushed out. But I'm still kinda interested about the controversy that surrounds this part drama, part doc film. Michael Winterbottom, who makes at least four films each year, won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Fest.

Todd VanDerWerff said...

That's sandstorm, sweetums.

I was going to include Half Nelson in my list, but somehow forgot. I'll probably see the Cohen movie too, though I'm not a huge fan of him. And I just don't. . .want to see another War on Terror doc as long as I live. Though I'm sure that will change.