I have been working on this for what feels like forever. You don’t realize how many movies come out in the summer until you sit down to write about all of them. I broke this down by month because it took on gargantuan portions and I didn’t want to post up a 10,000 word preview. This could be one of the more memorable summers at the movies, depending on how many of these flicks are awesome versus how many end up sucking. So here we go with the movies of May 2010.
I see this trailer and I think, “So cute! I want one!” and then I go to the grocery store and see some brat from hell screeching at its mother and chucking celery out of the cart and then I’m like, “Umm, never mind. I’ll just get a puppy.” But the trailer is adorable, and the concept is intriguing–follow the first year in the life of four babies raised around the world, from different economic brackets. Releasing it on Mother’s Day weekend is a nice touch, too. It clearly says, “Minivan, this one’s for you.”
Casino Jack and the United States of Money
The story of uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his downfall amid corruption and…um…some other stuff. This dude manipulated Congress and the US economy and…you know I never really understood what exactly Abramoff did. I know it was bad. And cheater-y. And Abramoff always kinda looked like a snake oil salesman. So yeah, I’ll totally see this documentary because I would like this whole situation explained to me accompanied by a rock music soundtrack. Sweet.
Iron Man 2
The first weekend of summer movies opens with one of the biggest of the season. Iron Man 2 is one of the most anticipated releases of 2010. I’m dying to see it, you’re dying to see it. And it’s already made over $100 million overseas, so apparently everyone else is dying to see it, too. I mean please. It’s Robert Downey, Jr. The fact that Iron Man 2 is actually a good movie is the icing on the cake. PS: Is it just me or does it look like Garry Shandling has been fucking with his face?
Mother and Child
Back in September 2009, Mother and Child premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and despite a stand-out cast (Annette Bening, Samuel L. Jackson, Cherry Jones, Naomi Watts, Kerry Washington) I don’t remember hearing about this one coming out of the festival last fall. Sony Classics will platform it out of New York and LA, but releasing a drama with a predominately female cast about adoption during the summer movie season seems a little like burying this property. They say the performances from Bening and Watts are outstanding–if it’s that good why not wait till the fall awards season, a time traditionally more friendly to small, character-driven dramas?
I have never heard of this movie. I know nothing about it. But Joan Jett has a small part in it, so…
Not to be confused with the Coen Brothers’ outstanding A Solitary Man from 2009. This one stars Michael Douglas as a car salesman who life goes down the crapper when his business and personal indiscretions begin coming to light. Michael Douglas playing a skeevy businessman? Sounds like another movie coming out this summer… Solitary Man is going to get buried by Douglas’s other, splashier summer release, Wall Street 2: Money never buys sleep (that movie has the worst title ever).
Common in a romantic comedy? With Queen Latifah? It’s rap stars gone romcom! I think the best thing I can say about Just Wright is that it isn’t the worst romcom out this weekend. Oh, and Common is making a run at my Freebie Five.
Letters to Juliet
And this is the worst romcom coming out this weekend. Maybe the worst of the summer. All I can think is, “What the hell is Gael Garcia Bernal doing in this movie?” Is he poor? Did he run over Eric Feig’s cat? And also, Amanda Seyfreid has the screen presence of a bowl of oatmeal.
I want to see this. I don’t care that early word is negative. I still want to see it. Russell Crowe will ride around on his horse, killing people with arrows and stuff, and that’s all I really want during the summers. Give me explosions and ludicrous body counts. Give me a Sexy Beast slinging a sword. Cate Blanchett? The cherry on top. Besides, look at this trailer. It’s Ridley Scott, a director who excels with bloody historical epics and overwrought emotions. Crowe will make grandiose pronouncements and then decapitate someone. Cate Blanchett will be badass, even if no woman of that age would ever do anything remotely like that. Who cares? It’s a summer sword epic. Historical accuracy be damned.
So originally I thought this trailer looked crappy, but the more I see the trailer, the funnier it seems. Maybe MacGruber will be funny for more than ninety seconds. I can’t help but remember that I hated Zoolander the first time I saw it; now I think it’s a comic masterpiece. Some movies grow on you over time. I’m not totally sold on MacGruber, but now I am actually curious about it. Step in the right direction.
Please let this be the last one. Please.
Sex and the City 2
Revolting. I hate SATC. I hated the TV show, and I did not bother with the first movie. I won’t bother with the second. Am I the only woman who finds SATC offensive? I’m all for women taking charge and living life on their own terms, but does everyone have to be so vapid? Carrie Bradshaw may be the most unlikeable female character in the new millennium. She’s vain and self-involved and never thought of anything but her own pleasure, often destroying the feelings of perfectly nice people along the way, and in the end she gets everything that she wants. She’s a modern-day female Georges Duroy. Literary thesis: Carrie Bradshaw = 21st Century Georges Duroy.
This one will totes be a crowd pleaser. It’s about a slave in Roman-occupied Egypt who turns to Christianity in place of his mistress’s, the philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria (Rachel Weisz), way of thinking, which is all mathematics and logic and science. Though the protagonist, Davus (Max Minghella of the upcoming The Social Network), loves Hypatia, Christianity offers him freedom. FREEEEEEEEEEDOMMMMMMMM! When a movie pits Woman vs. Freedom, the woman will end up losing out. Just saying. The story centers on a period of history with hazy facts at best. Hypatia of Alexandria is real. There was a great and magnificent library in Alexandria. There was a power struggle in Egypt between Roman Christians, Roman atheists (are they really atheists if they believed in the Roman pantheon?), and Jews, which did result in some turmoil and violence, and the historical Hypatia was murdered by an angry mob. But the movie takes a lot of liberties filling the blanks of Hypatia’s life and the struggle in Egypt at that time. Agora is written and directed by Alejandro Amenabar, a great Spanish filmmaker best known to English audiences for 2001’s The Others. I’ll probably Netflix this one.
It’s Jean-Pierre Jeunet! I’m always willing to give Jeunet a shot just because I loved Amelie so much. A great lost moment in film history—Jeunet almost directed Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Can you imagine? Not that there’s anything wrong with Order of the Phoenix, but…can you imagine? We’ll never know what could have been. Ugh. Anyway, we have Micmacs. Critics split on this one. It’s a mix of Amelie’s magical-realism and comic charm, and a serious look at modern weapons manufacturing. Strange bedfellows. But then, Jeunet turned the horrors of World War I into a romantic and sweet mystery, so…
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Oh this one. This movie looks a mess. The trailer doesn’t build confidence in a property Disney showed a remarkable lack of faith in when they kicked it from summer 2009 and held it up for a whole year. They can talk about “fiscal reasons” all they want—you don’t hold back movies you’re confident in. I continue to have the same problems with this movie I have had since 2008. Jake Gyllenhaal—I love him, and he’s a good actor, but…you couldn’t have found a handsome and capable Middle Eastern actor? Don’t give me that. You could have, but you pussed out and gave us Jake G. With terrible hair. And a bad British accent. Also—the plot. I know it comes from a video game. But that’s the problem. It comes from a video game. And don’t hold up Pirates of the Caribbean as an example of when thin story premises work out. If you think about it, the actual story in POTC kinda sucked, it just won on the cast’s amazing charisma and sheer entertainment value, especially Johnny Depp. Prince of Persia has no Depp.
Survival of the Dead
It’s a zombie movie. By George A. Romero. Easiest $10 I’ll ever spend.