Honestly, doesn’t it kind of feel like this whole summer is just going to be on protracted anticlimax? Not necessarily in terms of quality – I’m tempted to say, probably not in terms of quality – June and July always looked better than May to me – but there simply isn’t going to be another Avengers, not in terms of box office and not in terms of how much it dominates the cultural dialogue for so many weeks in a row. And I say that as a Batman partisan.
No, the summer and the year, most likely, have peaked; and this is both disappointing (having the race for 2012’s highest grossing movie at the U.S. box office and likely the international box office as well over by Memorial Day is boring), but also kind of a relief: since nothing can hit that level, nothing is obliged to, and it will perhaps be easier to just settle down and enjoy the movies for what they are. And that is, after all, the reason we’re all here. So let’s see what June has to offer.
For starters, the second of 2012’s dueling Snow White pictures, Snow White and the Huntsman, and for a long time the one I was marginally more excited for; it struck me that this movie had only one thing to offer, and that was Charlize Theron looking all malevolent ice bitch as the Wicked Queen, and Mirror, Mirror also had only one thing to offer, and that was Eiko Ishioka’s costumes; and all things considered, a bravura, operatic villain performance > costumes in my book. But then Mirror, Mirror turned out not to suck completely, or even mostly, and that made it easier to focus on how SWatH also stars Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth, two people that I like, basically, not at all. Hard for me to get a bead on this one.
Easier to get a bead: Piranha 3DD. I am expecting large breasts and copious gore, both of them in 3-D. And even if the gore doesn’t pan out (Alexandre Aja having bowed out of the director’s chair, it will certainly not be as excessively brutal as Piranha 3D), there’s always the most awesomely stupid title of the year to hold on to.
Finally, we get to one of the movies of the summer I – and, to judge from the internet, a lot of other people – have been waiting on for months: Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s return to science fiction, the genre that produced his two greatest films way back at the start of his career (I refer to Alien and Blade Runner, if you just got DSL wired up at your cave). Truth be told, as we get closer to the film, it becomes easier and easier to think up the many ways this could go bad, but you know what? Ridley Scott, sci-fi. Ridley Scott, Alien universe. I’m going to keep the faith.
Over there, incidentally, is Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, in case you have children in your life, and they hate you.
A few paragraphs ago, I mentioned thinking that June was going to be good, and I’m starting to forget why. Certainly, the reason is not That’s My Boy, in which Adam Sandler plays a jerk who reconnects with his adult son, Andy Samberg, because it looks fucking goddamn terrible from the trailers, which suggest that Sandler will be doing that thing he does with his voice, that sort of slurring, braying thing, a lot. Also because it’s an Adam Sandler vehicle.
It’s not Rock of Ages either, becaues who the hell wants to see a jukebox musical about hair metal? But at least it’s got Catherine Zeta-Jones singing and dancing and, by the looks of it, having a magnificent time – I concede that the movie will blow, but I am unashamedly looking forward to her.
And, here we are: Brave, the new Pixar film, and Cars 2 notwithstanding, I see no reason not to trust that studio with my very soul. Certainly, it is possible that the notorious production history of the film – which saw Brenda Chapman pour her heart into the project and get the job as Pixar’s first woman director, only to have John Lasseter snatch her off when she didn’t take the story in the direction he wanted – means that the end result will be a hobbled, commercial compromise. But even if it is, it’s also going to be gorgeous, I mean just so unbelievably attractive and lush and picturesque that even just thinking about it makes me want to be violently ill. So that’s something to look forward to, at least.
Jockeying for second place, we have Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, an apocalypse-themed buddy comedy with Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley, and every word I just typed makes me happier than I should be. Also, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which is shaping up to be significantly less fun than that title would apparently require.
Limited release: To Rome with Love, Woody Allen’s latest movie, with a typically great cast and an unbelievably bad title.
A vacuum! With G.I. Joe: Retaliation getting unceremoniously ditched to March, there aren’t really any big releases on the last Friday of the month. Instead, a bunch of counter-programming will be knocked about and likely leaving Brave as the first film since The Avengers to snag a second weekend at #1, though my box-office prognosticating is notoriously awful, so don’t hold me to that.
In descending order of how enthusiastic I am:
–Magic Mike, a male stripper dramedy which has a seriously bland and pointless trailer, but Steven Soderbergh could direct an adaptation of a microwave oven owner’s manual, and I’d be there opening weekend;
–People Like Us, a family drama with a number of actresses I like and sadly, Chris Pine in the lead role;
–Madea’s Witness Protection, which is a Madea film;
–Ted, in which Seth MacFarlane is finally given an opportunity to bring his ghastly brand of stringently unfunny comedy to the cinema, giving Mark Whalberg an opportunity to act against a CGI teddy bear that curses.