So the summer that time forgot marches on, having finally produced one single truly worthwhile film, which is not hardly enough to redeem everything else sucking the air out of movie theaters across America. July looks like it might be bringing another; but God only knows, at this point.
(By the way, to everyone who noted that I missed Eclipse last month: yes, but only out of the intense hope that it might not turn out to exist if I blocked it from my mind).
Thankfully, my tardiness in getting this up has saved me from making an official prediction that would have instantly proven idiotic: I really did think that M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender might end up being, while certainly not a return to form, at least an improvement over his recent explosion of dire, dire shit. I haven’t seen the movie yet, to be fair, but Jiminy H. Cricket, those reviews are quite a sight to see. Anyway, let’s skip ahead to-
-a new animated film that probably isn’t going to unseat Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon as 2010’s Best-In-Medium leaders. I refer of course to Despicable Me, whose ad campaign has been at once brilliant (slowly revealing new facets of the plot piecemeal) and infuriating (what the hell is this movie about, exactly?). In all cases, the trailers have made the animation look profoundly unattractive, so there is certainly that constant.
A couple of other possibilities both look better, though only marginally so in the case of Predators, the latest in the long-dormant action franchise from the 1980s, and despite the patent fact that we don’t need another predator movie (Aliens vs. Predators: Requiem did quite an excellent job of making sure that I’d never personally desire to see either of the titular monsters in anything ever again, thanks so much), and despite the kind of peculiar cast (Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, and violent sci-fi action? Hm), it at least seems to have its head in the right place, and I persist in believing that Nimród Antal is a worthy director to pay attention to, even if Kontroll is seven years old now.
Thank God, is basically my point, for the limited release indie scene, because The Kids Are All Right, a family dramedy with a queer bent – and a terrific cast – has morphed into one of the few movies this summer that I’m even a tiny bit excited to see.
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Jon Turteltaub, and star Nicolas Cage try to re-create that National Treasure magic with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which is, yes, an attempt to make a modern-day CGI popcorn epic out of the Goethe poem/Fantasia sequence. Why not just National Treasure 3? The world may never know.
That Wednesday release for Sorcerer’s Apprentice, by the way, is because Disney was afraid of the new film by Christopher “I Saved Batman” Nolan, Inception, which is about… breaking into people’s dreams? Honestly, the fact that none of advertisements have made it entirely clear what the hell this is about is just part of the appeal, which also includes the fact that Nolan’s films are always pretty much amazing, and this is quite literally the last film of the summer that I have any genuine hope for as more than an idle way to spend two hours painlessly. Even so, I don’t think it will be the blockbuster that a lot of people are predicting; Nolan’s last non-superhero movie, The Prestige, was all kinds of great and it could only scrounge up $54 million.
Foolishly, no doubt, I’m actually kind of excited about Salt, for one huge reason: we’ll get to see what it looks like when a starring vehicle for Tom Cruise becomes a starring vehicle for Angelina Jolie, primarily through the alteration of character names. The fact that a reasonably strong director, Phillip Noyce, is behind the camera, and that Jolie is a more than competent action star are certainly nice enticements.
Elsewhere, the first attempt to turn Beverly Cleary’s classic ’70s kids’ novels into film has resulted in Ramona and Beezus; I am hopefully not the only person round these parts with a certain nostalgic affection for the property, and I wonder if anyone else shares my trepidation about this one. Also, I wonder if anyone else shares my confusion that tweens in 2010 are meant to still be reading the series.
As it happens, the summer finally wears out of steam, and all the A-list releases start to give way to filler that doesn’t seem to justify its own existence; and after this summer, that idea seems much more terrifying than usual, am I right? The result, anyway, is a simpering drama with Zac Efron, Charlie St. Cloud, and a comedy with pokey, not-unamusing trailers and Steve Carrell playing an idiot to Paul Rudd’s straight man – so good cast, at the least – Dinner for Schmucks. Best of all, to a man of my perverted mind, is the screamingly unnecessary 9-years-later sequel Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.
Also, Twelve, which for all the world looks like some kind of searing teen drama from Joel Schumacher. Joel Schumacher! Whose serious movies are better than his action movies, but that’s not a very high bar to clear.
Christ, this summer.