Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011 Summer Movie Preview, Part 3

Summer movie season! You know it, you love it, you gently make fun of it. More often than not, summer offers a better variety of movies than it's given credit for. Looking forward at this particular summer ... well, there are some diamonds, but also a good bit of rough.

Previously: Part 1, Part 2

Movie: Horrible Bosses (Seth Gordon)
High-Concept Synopsis: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudekis, and Charlie Day hatch a darkly-comic plot to murder their bosses -- the described-by-marketing-materials "psycho" Kevin Spacey, "tool" Colin Farrell, and "maneater" Jennifer Aniston. Everything goes wrong in One Crazy Night of attempted murder and hilarity.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Audiences placing their trust in director Seth Gordon, who gave us the absolutely wonderful The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. People who trust the comedic instincts of the cast, which also includes Julie Bowen and Donald Sutherland. People who just like movies where dudes stay up all night and crazy shit happens to them and maybe they have awful women in their lives who they hate.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who think this looks like The Hangover 3: Hangin' Tough (with Jamie Foxx in the Ken Jeong role!). People who cannot take seeing Jennifer Aniston lower herself yet again to play a woman desperate for sex and/or a baby. People who temper their Seth Gordon enthusiasm by noting he also directed Four Christmases.
Why I'd See It: It looks reeeeally Hangover-y, you guys. And both Aniston and Farrell look like gross caricatures of grossness. But I do like the three leads, and Sudekis and Day were really funny together in Going the Distance, so I may wait to see how word-of-mouth shakes out on this. July 8

Movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (David Yates)
High-Concept Synopsis: Molly Weasley has her day.
Who Will Be Seeing It: ...What, are you trying to be funny?
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Joyless grumps and other such nonbelievers.
Why I'd See It: I can tell you this: I've been looking forward to this movie long enough that my sister has made plans to come visit me that weekend so we can see it together. What's left from the final book is pretty much an endless series of action and emotional high points, so expect me to be a bit rattled this weekend. July 15

Movie: Captain America: The First Avenger (Joe Johnston)
High-Concept Synopsis: The story of a runty CGI man who steps into an iron lung and emerges with a big, muscley waxed chest and the patriotic desire to defend the U.S. of A. from super-powered Nazis.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of the cast, which has something for everyone, including hot guys (Chris Evans, Dominic Cooper, Sebastian Stan), grizzled veterans (Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci), pretty women (Hayley Atwell, Natalie Dormer), and charismatic villains (Hugo Weaving). Marvel fans who were pleased with how Thor advanced the Avengers agenda and are looking for more of the same. Fans of the Nazis getting their asses kicked in as many ways as we can imagine it (the Inglorious Basterds contingent, let's say).
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who already saw one movie about a buffed-out superhero in fantastical circumstances this summer, and they weren't that thrilled with Thor anyway. People with very real and very understandable apprehensions about director Johnston (The Wolfman; Jurassic Park III). Suspiciously Teutonic-sounding peoples in Buenos Aires.
Why I'd See It: I love the idea of a superhero winning us WWII by defeating a red-skulled Nazi villain. And I really love Chris Evans and the rest of this cast. Just ... The Wolfman was so terrible, you guys. I don't know. July 22

Movie: Friends With Benefits (Will Gluck)
High-Concept Synopsis: In a strange and unfamiliar universe, Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis find themselves single and sexually frustrated. But they're pals, and one day, they rent a Natalie Portman movie and get the brilliant idea to start Doing It, then spend a lot of time fretting about whether they're getting Feelings. Patricia Clarkson and Woody Harrelson co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who've got a special place in their pants hearts for JT and/or Mila. Fans of director Gluck, who directed the loved-by-many Easy A (as well as the liked-by-only-me Fired Up!). People who feel like there were some real holes in the fuck-buddy instruction manual that was No Strings Attached.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who hate the concept. People who hate the stars. People who wish Justin would fail as an actor so he'll go back to making music. It's not a difficult demographic to peg.
Why I'd See It: I find the stars ridiculously sexy, and I have moderate faith that Gluck will be able to spin that into 90 minutes that are worthy of my attention. Though I can't pretend that wasting Patricia Clarkson's talents on a "horny mom" character are a spectacular start. July 22

Movie: The Future (Miranda July)
High-Concept Synopsis: Miranda July is a big-ol weirdo, and she's not about to let one minute go by without you knowing it.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who saw Me and You and Everyone We Know and didn't want to claw their limbs off in order to escape the self-conscious oddness. Fans of July's co-star, and under-the-radar film and TV star, Hamish Linklater. People who like anything about the future that doesn't involve marauding robots.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who find twee little details like talking cats to be fucking excruciating. Whimsy-hating jerkfaces. People who were looking to see something carefully crafted and sublime this weekend and opted for Chris Evans's pecs in Captain America.
Why I'd See It: You guys. I'm sorry. There are people I know and love who are super into Miranda July, but I just can't. The talking cat? I can't. July 22

Movie: Cowboys & Aliens (Jon Favreau)
High-Concept Synopsis: It's steampunk meets ... well, a more overt vision of steampunk, as Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, and the growly old ham that Harrison Ford has become fight invading aliens in the old west.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Genre dudes who like being flattered for their childhood preferences. Fans of the ostensible dream team of geek properties, with Favreau (Iron Man), and screenwriters Damon Lindelof (Lost) and Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek). Audiences drawn in by the rather excellent supporting cast, including Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, Clancy Brown, Keith Carradine, and Walton Goggins.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who don't see eight (8!) credited screenwriters as all that great an omen. People who take the longview of Favreau's films and see more misses (Made, Zathura, Iron Man 2) than hits (Elf, Iron Man). People who are fond of neither cowboy movies nor alien movies.
Why I'd See It: I could see myself buying a ticket for Daniel Craig alone, but something about this movie has felt outside of my sweet spot all along. I guess when I'm outside of the group that's being pandered to, I feel a bit alienated. July 29

Movie: Crazy, Stupid, Love. (Glenn Ficarra, John Requa)
High-Concept Synopsis: Steve Carell is one of those sad, emasculated marrieds that the movies love to rehabilitate. Ryan Gosling plays an irresistible sex god who takes it upon himself to help Carell shape up and (ultimately) win his wife (Julianne Moore) back.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who saw, via the trailer, that this potentially off-putting concept has been leavened by heartfelt comedy and a parallel plot where Gosling falls for Emma Stone. People with functioning sense receptors, because Ryan Gosling FUH REAL. Fans of directors Ficarra and Requa (Bad Santa; I Love You, Phillip Morris).
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who can't quite be sold on a screenplay by the writer of the Cars movies. People who can't manage to stomach the notion of a movie about those noxious "pickup artist" types, however humorous and barbed. People who thought I Love You Phillip Morris fell short of its considerable praise.
Why I'd See It: The trailer was VERY charming, and it suggested a satisfyingly complex structure to both the comedy and romances. And how do you lose with this cast? My disappointment with Phillip Morris is the only thing making me worry about that very question. July 29

Movie: The Devil's Double (Lee Tamahori)
High-Concept Synopsis: From the director of xXx: State of the Union, comes the story of a man (Dominic Cooper) forced to stand in as the body double -- i.e. human shield, assassin's bait, that sort of thing -- for the monstrous Uday Hussein (also Dominic Cooper).
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who will watch the hell out of Dominic Cooper in one role, not to mention two. People who have noted the unexpected raves the movie got at Sundance. People who sense an audacious streak in the movie that could make things very interesting.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Folks who aren't wild about spending two hours watching the crazy adventures of a torturing murderer. People who could not have less faith in Lee Tamahori (the man directed Next, people!). Audiences who somehow could give a shit about Dominic Cooper?
Why I'd See It: Well, Tamahori is a problem. I hated Next a whole fuck of a lot. But from what I've heard, Cooper's performance is strong enough to nullify any directorial worries. I'm in. July 29

Movie: The Smurfs (Raja Gosnell)
High-Concept Synopsis: The tattered remains of your childhood get smurfed right in the smurf-hole.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Children who don't know better. Adults who don't do a good enough job of keeping their children away from advertisements. People with bad taste who have been waiting impatiently for Katy Perry's feature film debut.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who never stop getting scandalized about'80s relics getting crappy movie updates. People who are irate that Hank Azaria stole the Gargamel role from its rightful owner, Fyvush Finkel. People who feel that, even for a live-action Smurfs movie, this looks particularly crass and joyless.
Why I'd See It: Oh, I won't. But I'm fully prepared for this to become an Alvin and the Chipmunks-sized hit that will make me feel terrible about the state of American culture. July 29


Jeff Hansen said...

What? Hank Azaria was *inspired* casting. (I'm still not going to see it.)

Holly F. said...

Joe, I am going to admit that I'm planning on viewing the Smurfs movie at some point because I have a girl hard-on for NPH. I request that the "Who Will See This" be augmented with us Neil Patrick Harris slaves.

Carrie Ann said...

"The tattered remains of your childhood get smurfed right in the smurf-hole."

This is my favorite take-down of The Smurfs yet.

Kara said...

The only one of these I actively want to see is "Crazy, Stupid, Love." I could be talked into seeing "Horrible Bosses" and "Friends with Benefits" (I wasn't about to see the Portman/Kutcher version but I like Timberlake and Kunis more, so I could find myself taking advantage of the theater's AC if we have a really hot day). I'm on the fence about "The Smurfs." I'm a child of the 80s and loved them then, and I do think Azaria is perfect casting, but everything else about the movie looks shitty. I'll probably wait for Netflix.

Anonymous said...

Under who will see the Smurfs, you should put, "People who used to love NPH, but now realize he has a hot partner, adorable babies, a smoking career, AND bitch just danced with Hugh Freakin' Jackman on the Tonys and think he's WAY overdue for some karmic balance."

~jessica said...

See, this is why I love you, Joe. You've boiled down Deathly Hallows to the true heart of the matter: Molly kicking the shit out of someone who (much as I love the performer & performance) REALLY EFFING DESERVES IT!

Jenn said...

@Anonymous - I believe he got that karmic balance from Beastly.

Emma Stone is the person who dumps JT in No Strings Attached. I refuse to believe she would ever play a character that stupid.

Matt said...

I saw the Smurfs like a month ago, (Granted some of the animation for the Smurf village was unfinished) but yeah, it's by far the worst movie I've seen all year.

Joe Reid said...

They sure picked the right guy to invite to a screening.