“Hum-tee-tum” I think to myself, as I walk about my apartment (when I walk about, I spontaneously transform into Winnie-the-Pooh. True story), doing not much. “Oh, lord, I never did an August movie preview!” Which was a good realisation to make, since I didn’t have anything else lined up for today’s blogging. I think it also speaks to the immensely low quality of this summer’s films that when faced with summer’s traditional dumping ground, I literally blocked it from my mind (ah, but does not every summer seem the worst ever, till cooler heads and plenty of time prevail? Yes, but not every summer includes Transformers: Michal Bay Hates Art).
And here’s yet another proof that this summer is more wicked than you average blockbuster season: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, another film based upon a cartoon based upon toys, with a trailer that makes it look not unlike a Worst Hits compilation for director Stephen Sommers, safely kept away from a movie camera since the diabolical Van Helsing back in 2004. How bad is the trailer? Bad enough that I’m still prepared for this, not Transformers 2, to end up the worst film of the summer. And I trust everyone here knows my feelings towards Transformers 2.
The “counter-programming” – except that I’m pretty sure it will actually be a bigger hit – is Julie & Julia, a monstrous hybrid of biopic and spunky gal’s movie helmed by the notorious Nora Ephron, one of the chief architects of the modern, or “completely awful” romantic comedy. The plus side? Meryl Streep, with a very silly accent, playing Julia Child. No, I don’t see it as being enough to make it a good movie either, but at least it’s something.
Last up, there’s a customary early-August psychopath picture: A Perfect Getaway an apparently sincere attempt to re-imagine Steve Zahn as a thriller hero.
Or is it last? Here’s where things get strange: in putting together these previews, I am always indebted to IMDb and ComingSoon.net, just to make sure I find all of the small releases that I want to talk about (none, this month, but mostly just because I’m five days late & rushing this post). Between the two, you get a perfectly accurate snapshot of what’s going on; except that for the first time, the disagree on a release date. IMDb says that Robert Rodriguez’s kids adventure Shorts is today; Coming Soon says 8/21. I’d be inclined to agree with Coming Soon.
It’s a sign of August’s Augustiness that the biggest release is a New Zealand indie sci-fi satire of racism: District 9, with Peter Jackson’s name attached somewhere in an ornamental capacity. Unless it’s maybe the adaptation of The Time Traveler’s Wife, though if that’s the case they need to start pushing ads for it quickly. I have encountered only a tiny number of Real People (that is, not Crazed Internet People) who are aware that it’s coming out, at least in a concrete, “has a cast and a release date” way.
Ponyo will not be the center of a Miyazaki retrospective on this blog – okay, it would never have been the “center” – but I am looking forward to it anyway, more than anything else all month, not that there’s any real competition for that title.
And then there’s the stuff that looks completely disposable: Bandslam, a musical about high schoolers starring Vanessa Hudgens, so I have no clue what audience they’re targeting, and The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (or is it just The Goods?), with Jeremy Piven being all Jeremy Piven, as executive-produced by Will Ferrell.
Oh, Quentin Tarantino. We meet again.
I do not have any real sense of whether or not I should be excited for Inglourious Basterds. There is something well and truly “off” about the trailer – Pitt’s accent? Eli Roth’s smirk? The scene with a flailing Hitler? – that makes me feel like this isn’t going to be crazily awesome, but just crazy. I do not like feeling this way about a Tarantino picture, but I must be honest with myself: there are simply too many ways that this could go way, way wrong. And after Death Proof, he doesn’t get a pass just for being Quentin Tarantino. Let us say: I want to believe. Even though he’s messed up the spelling in the title for no understandable reason.
Other wide release: Alexis Bledel in Post Grad, a comedy about a young post gradaug sdfo I seem to have fallen asleep on my keyboard, so boring is the concept behind Post Grad. Oh, and probably Shorts.
I am sad for Rob Zombie. Really. He has an eye for horror – a baleful, bloody eye, maybe, but an eye – and he’s seen fit to use it cranking out degraded copies of the Halloween films, in this case Halloween II. That is, of course, his fault. What’s not his fault is a studio that would have so little faith in the film – for the second time in a row! – that they won’t even give it a proper Halloween release; no way could it compete with Saw. And now there’s a yipping little dog at the film’s heels, in the form of The Final Destination, a 3-D splatter-fest, fourth in a series nobody ever much loved to begin with. And you know what’s worst? The Final Destination is probably going to be more popular. I don’t know what makes me say that.
Also, Ang Lee has stopped trying, with Taking Woodstock.