Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer Movie Roundup

I did a summer movie roundup...I think it was last summer...anyway, it was lots of fun, so I thought I would do it again!

Note: The embedded videos don't import well, so if you're reading this somewhere other than this blog, I hyperlinked the titles to the trailers on youtube so you won't be left out.

First up - Knight and Day.

I know it opened yesterday, but it's not expected to do great box office, and that's a shame. This is the perfect summer date movie - plenty of chase sequences, explosions, cloaks, daggers, and a touch of romance. Actually, I don't remember any cloaks, but the daggers are there. It's a spy caper much in the same vein as The Losers, which I loved much. Diaz is perfectly cast and so is Cruise, and that's the first time in a while that I've been able to say such a thing about them. Thirty years ago, it would have been Robert Redford in the Cruise role, definitely. Maybe Jane Fonda in the Diaz role (think Electric Cowboy).

Oh, and the writing is amusing, possibly the first time the word "sublime" has been uttered by the good guy in a spy caper (for some reason, it's the bad guys who tend to have the large vocabulary.) Really. Go see it. You'll have a good time.

Next up - Eclipse.

Each installment arrives with better and better writing and production value. Howard Shore of LOTR fame is doing the score. This one's supposed to be the guy-friendly edition, with lots of vampire violence. Whatever. At the end of the day, either you like the Twilight books/films or you don't. There's not a ton of middle ground. We'll be going, and we'll likely have a good time.

Now for a Danny film - The Last Airbender.

Originally titled Avatar: The Last Airbender after the TV show (can't imagine why they changed it...), the film seems to come already steeped in its own lore. The plot, as far as I can tell, is superfluous. The big piece up for conversation is the fact that it's an M. Night Shyamalan film. It looks great effects-wise, and I've read that it's been retooled to release in 3-D but should look better than the post-production 3-D-ing of Clash of the Titans (from what I've heard, that's not saying much). Best case scenario - it's M. Night Shyamalan's comeback film and the first of a trilogy. Worst case scenario - it skews too young and makes no logical sense. Either way, pending reviews we'll likely see it opening weekend.


If Christopher Nolan pulls this off - really, truly, pulls this off - then he's essentially the new James Cameron. It's anyone's guess until then. The cast is solid - Leonardo DiCaprio stars with supporting turns by Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Cillian Murphy. If Leonardo DiCaprio doesn't annoy you, than it's kind of an actor's actor dream team. It looks terrific, boasts a score by Hans Zimmer (the hardest working musician in Hollywood) - my only concern is that it might be too high-concept to have an engaging story and will wind up collapsing in its genius. Nolan's at a stage in his career when people might not have the chutzpah to tell him when a script needs another turn through.

Or it could be mind-staggeringly brilliant. We'll find out in July.

A change of pace - Ramona and Beezus.

I blogged about Ramona a while ago. Just watched the trailer - I was skeptical for 60 seconds, until I saw more of Ramona and, let's face it, John Corbett. And Sandra Oh. I have high hopes this will be the nostalgia-fest I want it to be.

This played at Toronto Film Festival last year to great reviews, but like many films, had to be patient to find a distributor. How good is it? It placed second against Precious for the Audience Award. It is being given a limited release, but I'm confident it should play at Eugene's Bijou. Oh - and the blond should look familiar if you saw Center Stage.

Girl movie! With Glee's Ryan Murphy directing, hopefully this won't be inspiration, served straight up. I like Julia Roberts, so here's hoping.

I need to get going on my day - we're going rock climbing with friends this afternoon. BUT, a few notes - no, I didn't write about Salt. I don't have much to say about Salt, other than the fact that I feel Tommy Lee Jones is around there somewhere saying that Jolie pulled a Peter Pan. It's got potential, but I need someone to tell me that Jolie's not off looking for the Russian with the missing arm.

Also, I just found in the June lineup a limited release film called Ondine that looks cool - I may post about that later. Colin Farrell's in it. Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky may open at some point in the US other than LA/NY, and once I saw Mads Mikkelsen (After the Wedding, Clash of the Titans) was in it, I was even more interested in seeing it.

Oh, and Toy Story 3 - we'll see it soon. I'll let you know.

What films are you looking forward to this summer?


  1. Hi Hillary..
    love this..I remember your last movie round-up :) :) I haven't seen any of these films yet...but your descriptions are great and in many cases HIGH-larious :) :) I was laughing... do you plan on seeing any other movies soon? Hugs from Southern Oregon, Heather :)

  2. I don't think Beezus is supposed to be such a bombshell...

  3. You don't think ;-) I hope we see less of her in the movie than we do in the trailer, proportionately. Does that make sense? I'm not fully awake yet...


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