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Summer movie preview 2016!

That time of year approaches! When assorted entertainment mags like Entertainment Weekly release their mega-sized issue to add more hype to the summer movie season! How many rom-coms, goofy comedies, toddler-tranquilizing animated films, and explosion-crammed tent-pole films can you take? Oh, and a bit of counter-programming here and there. So put on your seat belts, time to ramble about waaaaaaay too many movies and not enough money for popcorn and drinks for all of ‘em.

With a tip of the hat to Heath Ledger and Stuart Scot… here…. We… go.

May 6, Capt. America; Civil War
The bazillion dollar gorilla in the room. When the Avengers was released, everyone knew it was gonna make money. Duh! However, when it made OVER $200 MILL IN THREE DAYS… dang, that’s CRAZY money. That’s building-a-movie-empire money. That’s change-the-industry money. Suddenly having a tent-pole film isn’t enough, you need a FRANCHISE to keep them coming.

And the franchise keeps pumping away. Early word is this film is freaking awesome. Considering the Russo Brothers took The Winter Soldier and flipped the superhero genre on its head unlike anything since the Dark Knight. Too much hype? Eh. When you spend over $200 mill + a ton o’ cash on the marketing, you’ve kinda asked for it.

At this point unless North Korea decides to destroy every print of the film nothing can derail this machine. And I if NK did do that it would be a declaration of war by every geek on the planet. Hell about half the movie fans on the planet would probably jump in.

May 20, The Angry Birds Movie
Wow, talk about bad timing, this movie is a few years too late. I mean does this mean Farmville the Series is gonna be on Netflix next year? NOW you release this movie?? Seriously? Then again when you base a movie on a video game that has no freaking plot, what do you expect. Face palm. The good news is the trailers do look cute. I’ve heard a decent number of giggles from the kids in the crowd so MAYBE this could do well… or maybe not.

May 20, Neighbors 2; Sorority Rising
So how do you counter-program against a mega budget, tent pole film with a marketing campaign that cost more than the F-35 fighter? Go the in the opposite direction. The first Neighbors did dang good money and continued to build the comedy cred for Zac Efron while making Seth Rogen more money and expanding his range from young goofy guy to middle-age goofy guy. Hopefully everyone can milk the concept for one more film

May 20, The Nice Guys
Have no idea what the film is about? I just heard about this a few weeks ago by dumb luck. Read… read… Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe… wow, nice casting… this some kinda grim-and-gritty film noir thing… read… read… buddy… comedy… by… SHANE BLACK??????
‘Um, who the fuck is Shane Black?’

For a moment he was a golden boy in Hollywood. Google him. Things went south and he disappears for a while. He made a wonderful return with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang which should have revitalized his career and Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr. Yes, THOSE ACTORS. Unfortunately, Kilmer didn’t work out, RDJ had to wait for Iron Man.

For Black? He had to wait to direct this little movie called Iron Man 3. Yes, THAT Iron Man 3. I’m hoping his agent back-loaded the deal so the guy got PAID. I love Black’s work so I’m hoping this is going to be one of those under-the-radar gems that slip into the summer.

May 27, Alice; Through the Looking Glass
The first film was a surprise mega-hit for Disney. Granted you don’t make something like this assuming you’re gonna lose money, but the first film made over a BILLION bucks. Considering Lewis Carol had a few more ‘Alice’ stories sitting around Disney suddenly walked into a franchise. And the rest of the business groaned ‘Great, ANOTHER freaking money-maker for Disney.’ How will this one do? Well visually it looks even more mind-bending and nausea-inducing based on the trailers. The biggest problem may be timing. The film is less than a month after Civil War and opens the same weekend as ANOTHER superhero franchise film. This could get interesting…

May 27, X-Men; Apocalypse
And this is the other superhero franchise. Gulp. How does this fit in to the X-men continuum? Where’s Wolverine in all of this? Can y’all keep up with the constant changes in cast, story, time line? Do you care and just wondering when we’re gonna get sick of all these freaking superhero films? Wait and see. Meanwhile Fox glares defiantly at Disney/Marvel. Ha! (Trust me, this is funny. Explaining it to you would be even more boring than explaining who Cable is, the character who’s supposed to appear in the second Deadpool movie. Do NOT get me started on that. Sigh.)

June 3, TMN; Out of the Shadows
Speaking of surprise hits, the first one was a surprise. Released in August which meant the studio prayed it wouldn’t get buried by the bigger films earlier in the summer. Folks over 40 looked at the trailer and thought ‘WTF?????? THESE AREN’T MY TURTLES!!!!’ You’re right, they’re NOT. And they made a pretty decent amount of money. So sequel time! Get ready for more old people to get all pissy about how this ISN’T like the original while the audience the studio really wants, 10-18 year olds, laugh their asses off. And from folks I know who saw it the film is actually kinda fun in a goofy sorta way. Yes, they went with their kids. Yes, they’re in witness protection for admitting it.

June 17, Central Intelligence
What do I know about this movie? Not much, I just saw the pic of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart and started to giggle. This is the sort of mid-budget, counter programming that works well in the summer. Come on, it’s the Rock and Kevin Hart! Can’t go wrong… right?

June 17, Finding Dory
The biggest problem for Central Intelligence is it’s opening the same weekend as this little piece by Pixar. Keep in mind, aside from Cars 2 and The Good Dinosaur every film by Pixar has made a super-sized amount of money. And maybe it’s just me but it seems people go ‘Ooooooohhhhhhhh’ a lot when you mention Finding Dory.

June 20, Conjuring 2, Now you See Me 2, and Warcraft
A movie convergence of epic proportions. The Conjuring and Now You See Me were surprise hits, which of course means you GOTTA beat the concept to death. Good news is The Conjuring is based on the paranormal casebook of the Warren’s so there is a LOT of material to work with. Also for me the draw has been not just the spooky stuff but the chemistry between Farmiga and Wilson as the married ghost hunters.

Meanwhile the trailers for See Me 2 looks promising. Seeing Freeman and Caine trying to get revenge against the Four Horseman is a good idea. Bringing in Daniel Radcliffe as the mage to do it sounds very promising.

And then there’s Warcraft. Bad news, video game movies suck. Which is very odd since most video games are based on massive stories so each game plays out like a movie. Huh, imagine that. Sigh. GOOD news, Warcraft is an epic story. BAD news, everyone could see the clips and assume it’s Lord of the Rings with bigger Orcs. GOOD news Duncan Jones, the golden boy who directed Moon, is doing the film. Eh news, Moon had a budget the size of a tricked-out Kia so controlling a mega-budget film is new ground for Jones. Cross your appendages.

June 24, Independence Day; Resurgence
Frankly I’m amazed this wasn’t out a decade ago, which may be the biggest problem with the film. The trailer looks promising and the premise makes a lot of sense. You send a scout ship out to check things out and the last message you get is ‘We’re so gonna kick these humans in the…’ You’re gonna check things out to see what happened to the bad-ass, multi-jillion credit ship that just disappeared. The obvious question is does this film have anything neat and special to say, and does anyone actually care? Cross your appendages.

July 1, The BFG
Ok, I’m an occasional gamer with a dirty mouth; every time I hear this I keep thinking Big Fucking Gun. Sorry! On-the-other-hand I think most folks are thinking ‘WTF is this?’ It’s a film based on a story by Roald Dahl. ‘Who?’ Remember Willy Wonka? THERE ya go? Hey, I didn’t know either. Nonetheless why care? First, Robin Williams considered this project for ages. I know, I’m bummed too. Sigh. The other reason? Steven Spielberg is directing. ‘Nuff said.

July 1, The Legend of Tarzan
Why do we care? Alexander Skarsgrd (Sorry but the cloud book can’t do that funky symbol.) is Tarzan. Have you fainted yet? Have you cleaned the drool off your keyboard?

July 8, Capt. Fantastic
Sounds like a horrible superhero film. However, it’s got Frank Langella and Viggo Mortensen in it so I’m gonna give it a shout out.

July 15, Ghostbusters
Ah, one of the big experiments of the summer. Not just a reboot, but a reboot with an all-female cast. Yes, I said it, yes I’m making a big deal out of it. Yes, some of you are getting ready to cuss me out for making a big deal out of a film with an all-female cast. For the BUSINESS you don’t do that. Unless it’s a rom-com or a weepy drama GUYS ARE IN THE ACTION FILM WITH A FEW WOMEN THROWN IN. You’re right, it’s stupid, sexist, pick your anti-women term for the moment to insert here. IT’S ALSO THE WAY THE BUSINESS WORKS SO THIS MOVIE IS A BIG DEAL.

Will it do well? The OTHER problem is the film is a reboot/imaging/whatever of a classic comedy which was done by comedy legends. Yeah, this is like redoing the Wizard of Oz. I hope it does well. I love the cast, the idea of rebooting/imagining the original has a lot of potential, and to be frank the industry needs a kick in the nuts with a tactical nuke for the other dumb stuff that happens. (White washing, pay inequity, pick your soap box.)

‘But it’s just a movie, it’s not a political statement!’

Remember Uhura on the bridge of the Enterprise? Bingo, which means this is probably the most important film of the summer.

July 22, Star Trek Beyond
ANOTHER film stirring controversy but for different reasons which I won’t go into because I’ve started enough of a flame war above! Lol! Ok, folks who LIKE the reboot, on this side. Folks who DON’T like the reboot, on this side. Happy? One of the very interesting things about the film is the LACK of promotion lately. I peeked at a few articles about CinemaCon, a massive film exhibiter con. (Think comic con but for theater owners. Yeah, it’s a huge deal.) Folks noticed… um…. Soooooooooooo why isn’t there any new trailer or anything? Good news is the Powers that Be announced a big trailer and other stuff at an up-coming event. Just the same the silence is rather deafening. The film is out in three months. Granted the air waves got pounded by Batman V Superman, and now Civil War, but just the same, it’s out in THREE MONTHS.

July 29, Jason Bourne
I got a confession, I’m ‘eh’ about the Bourne movies. Still reading? Hey, the action scenes are kinda neat, and seeing Matt Damon beat the crap out of the guy with a magazine was AWESOME. But beyond that? It’s not that they were horrible movies, but they weren’t super special either. Yes, I suck. So there.

August 5, Suicide Squad
This is the real test for the DC Movie Universe. Hey, the Triumvirate of Supes, Bats, and Wonder Woman is SUPPOSED to make money. But what about these guys? Fan reaction was very mixed to B v S so I imagine WB/DC is waiting with anxiously on this one. It’s a bad sign when your movie makes over $800 mill and everyone is talking about it like it flopped. PI think this looks awesome. I love Batman/Joker stories but the fun part is seeing someone ELSE deal with the Joker, and they quickly realize as crazy as you think he is, the Joker is WORSE. It also seems folks who shrugged at B v S are interested in Suicide Squad. Cross your appendages

August 12, Sausage party
Ah, this could be the game changer for animation. What Deadpool did for superhero films is what Sausage Party wants to do for ‘toons. For every poor soul who thinks ‘toons are only for kids, be afraid. Bwahahahahaha! Watch the trailer and be very, very, very afraid. For the rest of us, either this is the most vulgar, crude, crass thing ever done, or it’s the funniest, most fucked up movie since, well, Deadpool.

August 19, Ben-Hur
No, NOT an IMAX, 3D re-release of the original. (Which as I type this I think someone in marketing is probably considering and actually may be kinda cool.) No, it’s a remake. I’m not sure if it’s a shot-for-shot remake or re-imagining or a re-boot or whatever. I’m still getting over the fact a film that got 11 Oscars and is considered one of the best films in history is GETTING REMADE. Sigh.

August 19, Kubo and the Two Strings
Speaking of a game changer for animation is this film. I saw the trailer a few months ago and loved it. Ok, ok, so at a time when people are bitching about white-washing in films it’s ironic who is doing the voices on the film. However, the story looks very, very, very cool.

August 19, Kickboxer; Vengeance
I’m just mentioning this because I can’t believe someone is making another Kickboxer film after all this time. Sigh.


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