How was May? Enjoyed Thor, I hope? For myself, I’m kind of boggled by the sort of non-ness of the summer season up till now, with the biggest splashes made by two sequels that, when you get right down to it, doesn’t it seem like nobody liked them very much? Or is this just me in a situation where I don’t know anybody who voted for Richard Nixon?
Anyway, with but a handful of wide releases, and the two big arthouse pictures of the summer just starting their crawl across America, I don’t know that I have more hope for June, but it seems at least a little more promising.
See? Right here, there’s one of the best-looking tentpoles of the whole damn season, X-Men: First Class. Ignore the fact that it’s a prequel whose entire story has pretty much been covered already. Ignore the fact that it’s been eight years since the last tolerable X-Men movie. Ignore the fact that director Matthew Vaughn is coming off the rancid Kick-Ass. Ignore that the trailer makes it look like the film boasts the tackiest appropriation of John F. Kennedy since Forrest Gump. And once you’ve ignored that, answer me this: is it possible that James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence AND Michael Fassbender all managed to sign up for a bad script?
Plus, if you’ve ever nurtured the desire to see Christopher Plummer dancing in a gay club, you’ve got your chance with Beginners.
There’s no doubt that J.J. Abrams knows a thing or two about how to tease an audience, and the fact that Super 8 can be so rapturously anticipated by so many people despite the fact that we know essentially nothing about it (a monster is involved, and the whole thing is more likely than not akin to an early Spielberg picture) is testament to the goodwill he’s generated in doing so, project after project. Me, I have to confess that the man has never yet attached his name to something that I completely liked – and I understand that the disastrous sixth season of Lost was not at all his fault, but it went so spectacularly far off the rails at the end, that it’s pretty much ruined me for anybody even tangentially involved. Basically, I hear the name “Abrams”, and I tense up to be majorly disappointed, and Spielberg as producer or no, I will remain dubious about Super 8 right up until the end credits start to roll. No – until they stop rolling. The man knows how to fuck up an ending.
On the other hand, it’s competition is a kiddie lit adaptation called Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer, so at least it can always get worse.
Limited release: a Norway first-person-camera horror picture called Troll Hunter. Consider me enticed.
Green Lantern is my favorite DC superhero. I mean, considering that Batman doesn’t count (saying Batman is your favorite is like calling Beethoven your favorite composer: it can certainly be the truth and very defensible too, but it also makes you look like you have the most stupidly obvious taste). So the mere fact of a Green Lantern movie ought to get me all excited and everything, even though it’s really fucking goddamn hard to get excited for the third of four superhero origin stories this summer (and by the way, how much bullshit is it that the X-Men folks managed to pull that trick with the fifth film in their franchise?). But God Almighty, those trailers are hideous. It looks like a CG cartoon, not a live action film with CG effects; and Ryan Reynolds falling through the cutscenes from Green Lantern: The Game is not the sort of thing that makes the fanboy in me feel even the slightest bit happy. All I’m saying is, pissiest weekend of the summer for me.
It’s being counter-programmed with a Jim Carrey vehicle in which Our Jim gets to play housekeeper for a bunch of CGI birds; Mr. Popper’s Penguins, which feels like a November release to me, but what do I know about latter-day broad Carrey comedies? It looks better than Green Lantern, anyway, though that’s probably just the anger talking.
Here’s what we know: Pixar trailers are often bad. Insipid, even. So the fact that the trailers for Cars 2 look so damnably impersonal shouldn’t necessarily be a red flag. And yet it seems clear that the big day has arrived: Pixar is about to release their first bad film. This isn’t Cars hatred talking,* for repeated viewings have brought me around quite a bit on that film: I won’t say I out and out love it, but I like it a great deal. Still, it doesn’t seem especially worthy of a sequel (when the hell will we ever see The Incredibles 2, anyway?), and gawd, those trailers, and that concept… this isn’t the butterflies I got waiting for Toy Story 3, it’s much more resigned than that. And yet look at how Toy Story 3 turned out.
Christ, Lasseter, why you gotta do this to me?
Distracting, however slightly, from the existential crisis over in the kids’ movie section, Cameron Diaz swears a lot in Bad Teacher.
May I admit something absolutely horrible? I look at the ads for Transformers: Shoot the Moon, and I see all of that footage of Chicago, and I think to myself “Gee willickers, I don’t remember the last time I saw a big-budget movie that captured that much of the flavor of the streets of the city I love more than any other, depicting both the tourist landmarks and the workaday corners that you never see on film with a splendid eye for their essential feeling. I think I kind of want to see that picture.” In my defense, it cannot possibly be as bad as Revenge of the Fallen, as we’d have heard by now about the dozens of editors keeling over dead from the horror of the raw footage if it were.