2010 Summer Movie Preview
By Cole Smithey
The Summer Movie Season begins when Hollywood releases its first big blockbuster in May. This year, Iron Man 2 enjoys the opening day ceremony on May 7th. With a script written by Justin Theroux, and packed with A-List stars like Don Cheadle, Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson, there's considerable reason to believe the sequel will improve on the upstart franchise's underwhelming first installment.
Because we're not yet at the overdue point were all films are available on-demand in your living room the same day they open in theaters--I expect this to change within the next year or two--you probably won't be able to see Alex Gibney's scathing documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money, about lobbyist thief Jack Abramoff, on May 7th. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't seek out this informative and entertaining doc from the same director who made Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.
May 14th heats up with Robin Hood, the opener at this year's Cannes Film Festival. It marks the reunion of director Ridley Scott with Russell Crowe since their 2008 flop Body of Lies. Cate Blanchett and the ageless Max von Sydow star. You'll have to do your due diligence to catch the concurrently opening Looking for Eric, the latest film from the great Ken Loach (The Wind that Shakes the Barley), but it's definitely worth your effort to seek it out.
Children get their first warm weather heyday on May 21st, when Shrek Forever After reunites Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, and Antonio Banderas in the final episode of DreamWorks' franchise about the big green ogre with an equally big heart.
The following weekend (May 28th) brings Toy Story 3, in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D for your kids' big screen pleasure. In the "unnecessary sequel" category, find Sex in the City 2 already filed in the circular bin. May 28th finds the ever-reliable Jake Gyllenhaal testing his leading man status as Prince Dastan in the video-game-based Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time from Disney. The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced blockbuster comes with the caveat that, to date, no movie based on a video game has been worth a damn.
Not until June 4th does nasty comedy take center stage with Get Him to the Greek. Johan Hill and the infamous Russell Brand star in this hijinks-filled romp from director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall). Hill plays a record company intern entrusted with escorting an egomaniacal rock god from London to L.A.'s Greek Theatre in time for a big performance. You know what you're getting, and you're sure to get plenty of it with this over-the-top comedy.
The first weekend of June also delivers the season's first big sci-fi fiesta with the Guillermo Del Toro-produced
Splice, starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley, about a couple of genetic engineers who get in over their heads when they create an animal/human hybrid played by Delphine Chaneac. Creepy.
Hollywood's endless stream of comic book inspiration adds another would-be franchise on June 18th when Jonah Hex casts Hollywood's latest A-list addition Josh Brolin in the title role of a gunslinger straddling his earthly existence and Hell.
Middle-aged comic bonding blossoms on June 25th with the Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and Chris Rock comedy Grown Ups.
I'd be remiss not to mention the June 30th release of the latest Twilight installment The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, but I do so against my better Nosferatu nature. Adults can bypass the pubescent vampires that weekend with Taylor Hackford's intriguing drama Love Ranch, starring Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci, about a married couple who start a brothel in Nevada only to have their family business blow up in their faces when a heavy weight boxer from South America introduces a love triangle equation to the sex-charged atmosphere.
M. Night Shyamalan threatens to stink up screens with his latest piece of cinematic flatulence The Last Airbender on July 2nd. Don't say I didn't warn you. Instead, keep your feelers out for Angela Ismailos's labor-of-love documentary Great Directors in which the filmmaker interviews the likes of Bernardo Bertolucci, David Lynch, Stephen Frears, Richard Linklater, Agnes Varda, and John Sales. It's pure cinematic ice cream.
Adrien Brody makes his second summer appearance in the chonky sci-fi flick Predators on July 7th. Predators carries the distinction of being produced at Robert Rodriguez's much-talked-about Troublemaker Studios in Austin, Texas under director Nimrod Antal (Vacancy).
Leonardo DiCaprio fans get their just rewards on July 16 when the Christopher Nolan sci-fi movie Inception puts DiCaprio in the company of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, and Michael Caine in a world where ideas are the new currency. Look for Inception to be a lock for the best blockbuster of the season.
Steve Carell and Paul Rudd team up on July 23rd for Dinner for Schmucks a promising slapstick comedy from Jay Roach (Meet the Fockers). IFC films encourages you to go off the Hollywood reservation in late July with Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn's "mental science fiction movie" Valhalla Rising. Mads Mikkelsen plays a one-eyed mute warrior of supernatural strength who escapes his captors with the help of a young boy to discover a new land.
July 30th lands Matt Damon and Emily Blunt in the espionage thriller of The Adjustment Bureau. Think Bourne Identity. If teen comedy is more your cup of bananas that weekend, Beastly (starring Neil Patrick Harris) just might do the trick.
Multi-culti crime super action strikes on August 20th when the crime gang heist flick Takers brings together Idris, Elba, Paul Walker, Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen, and Matt Dillon. Stereotypes and bullets promise to be in plentiful supply.
If your kids still haven't had enough of sequels, Nanny McPhee 2 (August 20) brings back Emma Thompson for the next chapter about the ugly nanny with a knack for handling unruly kids.
It wouldn't be summer without a 3D B-movie horror gore fest. This year, the same director that gave you High Tension in 2005 (Alexandre Aja) comes up with Piranha 3D. With Richard Dreyfuss, Elisabeth Shue and Ving Rhames lending their best efforts, the vast quantities of spurting blood should at least have reliable faces upon which to splash. There's nothing like a nice air-conditioned cinema to escape from the summer heat. Enjoy.
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