Popcorn Flicks

With a stumbling couch leap, the summer movie season has begun. Mission: Impossible III debuted this weekend with $48.025 million, almost $10 million lower than the previous installment as viewers decided Tom Cruise was just a touch crazier than they were interested in seeing on the big screen, despite decent reviews.

Which leads me to my mini guide to summer in the cinema. I love summer movies – big explosions, over-the-top themes, pure entertainment. There are sure to be some huge hits, some colossal failures and somewhere in there a dark horse that nobody was expecting. So it’s time to turn off my inner art snob until the Toronto Film Festival rolls around in September.

Mission: Impossible III:
While M:I3 makes my list, I view it with trepidation. Cruise has gone way off the scale and while a person’s private life shouldn’t impact my perception of their work, it does. I just watched M:I2 again and it really isn’t that good, despite the direction of John Woo. But we’ve got another chance with Alias and Lost creator J.J. Abrahms at the helm, and how could I miss one of the biggest movies of the summer. (May 5)

The Da Vinci Code:
Like millions of others I’ve read the book and with few exceptions, the book is usually better than the film so I’m concerned but also intrigued to see how the handle the mental work – studying symbols and paintings – in a visually intriguing way. I don’t expect it to be a fantastic film, but it should be entertaining. Just what I want in a popcorn flick. (May 19)

X-Men: The Last Stand:
One of the few superhero franchises that have been consistently entertaining. Great characters and great action – everything a summer movie should be as the mutants must face the prospect of being “cured” of their powers. (May 26)

A Scanner Darkly
Richard Linklater takes on Philip K. Dick’s story "A Scanner Darkly" in the same semi-animated style he shot Waking Life. I’m a huge fan of Dick’s work, which translates well to celluloid – Blade Runner, Minority Report, Paycheck, Total Recall – and like Linklater, but I’m not crazed about the animation overlay. It’s a little clever-for-clever’s sake. Winona Ryder stars – perhaps this is the beginning of her post-shoplifting comeback. (July 7)
Nacho Libre:
Mexican wrestling and Jack Black – what’s not to love? Looks like the best shot at comedy this summer and even better, it’s not a sequel or a remake. Can’t wait. (June 16)

My Super Ex-Girlfriend:
Matt (Luke Wilson) dumps his girlfriend Jenny (Uma Thurman), who turns out to be a spiteful superheroine. An interesting take on the super myth in the hands of director Ivan Reitman – I’ll be there. (July 21)

Of course with the good comes the questionable and the bad:

Superman Returns:
Speaking of comic book heroes, we have the dubious return of Superman, the wimpiest of super pantheon. While potentially the strongest member, Supe has never had any edge – he’s got no personality and no dark side. Call him Mr. Bland. I’m not sure why he needs to be revived on the big screen anyway, as he’s been reinterpreted for years of the small screen. (June 30)

Miami Vice:
This is not a remake of the ‘80s series says creator and current director Michael Mann. Forget what you know of the show says Jamie Foxx, who plays Tubbs. So why bother even calling it Miami Vice or doing a version of it? Are there so few original ideas? The saving grace – seeing a how greasy Colin Farrell as Sonny Crockett can be. (July 28)

Snakes on a Plane:
I’m hoping this is just a huge joke being played by web fans to see what they convince a studio to make – how else to explain so much excitement based on a lame title and premise? What should have been a direct-to-video release is now being pushed by fans as must-see camp. Count me out. (Aug. 18)

Clerks II:
Former wunderkind Kevin Smith demonstrates that his career has as much momentum as his characters, returning to the storyline that made him 12 years ago. I loved Clerks, but Smith keeps making the same film over and over again. Wake me up when he does something new. (Aug. 18)


  1. Nice blogger template!

  2. Thanks - I see I'm not the only one who thinks so.

  3. No thoughts on Lady in the Water? I gotta say, this is M. Night's make or break with me. I loved 6th Sense and Unbreakable but merely liked Signs (the last 20-30 minutes after they left the basement just didn't work) and The Village hit my worst of list in 2004. So this is it for me. He has to deliver something good this time...

    So far the trailers look good....I'll be there....

    And check out the latest trailer for Nacho Libre...I saw it when I saw MI3. I haven't laughed that hard since The 40 Year Old Virgin.