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Summer Movie Preview 2007
Posted By: Sam, on host
Date: Monday, April 30, 2007, at 22:55:21

It's that time of the year again: not quite summer, but summer enough for the movie business, which piles all its most expensive crowdpleasers into a 3-4 month window of time.

For more detailed discussion of many of these titles, listen to Stephen and me on Episode 31 of the All Movie Talk movie podcast (see link at the end of this post).


May 4 - Spider-Man 3

The Spider-Man trailers have never looked that great to me. The car through
the window in the Spider-Man 2 trailer looked neat, but the movie still took
me by surprise: I wasn't expecting to like it that much, after not being
entirely thrilled with the first film. So I don't know what to expect from
the third.

May 4 - Lucky You

Eric Bana, Drew Barrymore, and Robert Duvall star in this comedy-drama about
the world of poker. Bana is this poker hotshot trying to win a tournament,
but that clashes with his personal life: Barrymore is his poker-ignorant
girlfriend, and Duvall is his poker whiz dad. This one could go either way.
The right balance of tone may be tough to pull off. The director is Curtis
Hanson, whose prior work includes L.A. Confidential, In Her Shoes, and
Wonder Boys. Good track record with character-based stories. But the
marketing of the movie is uncertain and suggests a lack of confidence in the

May 10 - Cadaverella (direct-to-DVD)

Here's the IMDb synopsis: "Cinder has troubles. She has a wicked step-stripper
for a mom. Her prince charming is a complete psycho. Her fairy godmother is
actually a voodoo god. And worst of all she's been murdered. But Cinder
doesn't intend to let a little thing like being dead stop her. She has places
to go and people to kill. And she only has until midnight."

May 11 - 28 Weeks Later...

Sequel to the British zombie cult hit 28 Days Later. I didn't like it, though,
so I don't have any interest in more.

May 11 - Georgia Rule

Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries) directs Jane Fonda, Lindsay
Lohan, and Felicity Huffman in this dysfunctional family road trip movie.
Ever feel like all these movies are the same?

May 18 - Shrek the Third

No reason to think this won't be more of the same. The question is, are you
sick of the green guy yet? For me, the novelty has worn off, but I still like
these movies quite a bit. They're not sophisticated comedy, by any means, but
they've been very clever and fun in the way they play with fairy tale cliches.

May 25 - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Loved the first movie. Liked the second, but it lost the spontaneity of the
first movie and got too self-aware. Rather than throwing a bunch of
characters together and letting them behave naturally, the second film's
strings were showing as they forced Jack Sparrow to do more crazy antics.
Will the third film follow suit? Perhaps, but the second sets it up well,
returning a character from the first film that the second very much needed,
and introducing Ken Watanabe into the mix, playing a character that just
looks wonderful in the trailer.

May 25 - 5-25-77

The IMDb plot outline: "Pat Johnson has things get in the way of him seeing
Star Wars." The title, of course, is Star Wars' release date, and this film
gets released exactly thirty years later.

June 1 - Flatland: The Movie

The book "Flatland" is this wonderful speculation about what it would be like
to live in a two-dimensional world. So everything's flat. Up and down don't
exist. Everybody is stuff like squares, circles, and so on, and you can only
see their edges -- you can't look down on them from above, because above just
doesn't exist. Well I don't know how you make a movie out of this, even an
animated one like this is, but I guess we're going to find out. Hey, it's
not talking animals.

June 1 - Mr. Brooks

Kevin Costner is this pretty ordinary guy, except when his alter ego William
Hurt comes out and makes him kill people. Demi Moore plays the detective
trying to catch him. Hurt is the only one of the three stars I like, but
they've all made good movies on occasion. The question is, does this film
really dig down into the psychological elements of the story, or is it the
gimmick in yet another serial killer thriller?

June 8 - Ocean's 13

The cast is huge, but each new sequel has to add another high profile name to
mix things up. At least the new faces in Ocean's 12 are gone again to make
room. But I gotta say, Al Pacino as the new villain as got to be just about
perfect for this series. In a franchise that's all about being cool and
chewing scenery, who better? Let's hope 13 loses the unevenness of 12
(here, the odds are even). But I liked both the earlier films, so if it's at
least as good as 12, that's still a win.

June 8 - Surf's Up

Weird, that a documentary was popular enough to spawn a new fad. Penguins are
all the rage these days. Happy Feet was the prestige. Surf's Up is the
wacky talking animals version. I'll pass.

June 15 - Another Perfect Stranger

I mention this mostly because the title is inadvertently confusing. It
suggests it's the sequel to some movie called "Perfect Stranger," and we had
a movie called "Perfect Stranger" with Halle Berry released just a few weeks
ago. Talk about a fast sequel! But actually this is the sequel to the 2005
film called "A Perfect Stranger" and has nothing to do with the Halle Berry
flick. How was this confusion of titles allowed to happen? More importantly,
why isn't any of these movies about the big screen hijinks of Larry and Balki?

June 15 - Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

I didn't see the first film. It made money, yet was almost universally
panned. That's the kind of movie they make sequels to, and usually the sequels
get ripped even worse. I just wanna know who thought it was a good idea to
cast Jessica Alba in a movie and make her INVISIBLE. Sort of missing the
point, isn't it?

June 15 - Nancy Drew

Obviously I'm not the target audience for this movie. But I read the Bobbsey
Twins and the Three Investigators and the Hardy Boys, growing up, and I have an
affection for these kinds of stories. But once glance at the trailer makes
my stomach churn. Does EVERYTHING have to be updated to the immediate life
experience of its target audience? The power of the movies is their ability
to make us feel, see, and experience things outside our own lives, like the
pulpy adventures of Nancy Drew, et al, as they were originally written. If
you're going to take such a iconic character, how about staying true to it?
I know, I know -- crazy talk! Sorry. Ok, I've come back to reality now.

June 15 - DOA: Dead Or Alive

Just call the thing "Dead Or Alive." Seriously. If you come up with a cool
acronym and then have to explain it because it doesn't mean what the acronym
is more commonly understood to mean, it's not cool anymore. Anyway, this
video game movie about a female action hero is aiming for Tomb Raider but will
probably land somewhere around Aeon Flux.

June 15 - Evan Almighty

There's a huge, huge box office demand out there for sequels to Jim Carrey
movies that don't start Jim Carrey. Remember how Son of the Mask and
Dumb & Dumberer nearly outgrossed Titanic? No? That's because it didn't

However...the Jim Carrey replacement this time is Steve Carell, who is no
favorite of mine, but the guy's got fans. The studio knows that, which may
mean that it will take better care of this one. Keeping the director of the
first film probably helps as well, but Tom Shadyac is responsible for more
bad comedies than good. Anyway, I didn't see the first movie and don't plan
to, so I have no vested interest in this one.

June 27 - Live Free Or Die Hard

Still the best title of all time. The choice of director, Len Wiseman, makes
me nervous: about all he's done before are the Underworld films. But Bruce
Willis has still got it, and he can play an action hero like nobody.

June 29 - Ratatouille

There's no reason to think Pixar's eighth film will be the first to go wrong.
("Cars" suffered only by comparison.) Especially with Brad Bird in the
director's chair. Bird previously directed The Incredibles and The Iron
Giant, two of the very best animated features of recent years -- so much fun.

June 29 - Mama's Boy

The IMDb plot outline: "A twenty-nine year-old slacker who lives with his
mom realizes his sweet set-up is threatened when she hears wedding bells
with her self-help guru beau." The mom would be Diane Keaton, and the slacker
would be Jon Heder of Napoleon Dynamite. The casting suggests interesting
possibilities, but I can't help but this this is yet another cardboard cut-out
comedy. It certainly doesn't suggest that the characters behave in a way
that at all resembles the way people behave in real life -- which may not
sound important for a goofball comedy, but comedy usually works best when
there is a basis of reality underneath it.

June 29 - The Martian Child

John Cusack adopts a kid that is convinced he's from Mars. It perhaps sounds
goofier than it really is. The trailer suggests more of a serious dramatic
angle to it. I probably wouldn't be interested in it except for the casting,
which also includes Joan Cusack and Amanda Peet. The Cusacks are great: they
nearly always (but admittedly not always) add an interesting dimension to the
characters they play, and they're smart about the scripts they pick in the
first place. As for Peet, I've liked her ever since The Whole Nine Yards,
where her pitch-perfect performance of a starstruck fan...of a serial
killer!...nearly stole the film from a cast of veterans.

July 4 - License To Wed

The IMDb plot outline: "A marriage counselor puts one couple through a series
of relationship challenges during a the most grueling marriage preparation
course ever." Now that probably doesn't give you a great idea of what the
movie is actually like. But if I tell you that the marriage counselor is
played by Robin Williams, ah, now you know exactly what to expect. This is
a problem. I think Robin Williams is a great comedic talent, but what has he
done in the last 15 years that hasn't felt like a rehash? Contrast his comedy
with his dramatic work, such as in the back-to-back Insomnia and One Hour
Photo. Obviously there are new and different and interesting things inside
the man, but his comedies haven't been cutting it in a while.

July 4 - Transformers

It's tough to explain why, but even the trailer for a Michael Bay movie makes
my stomach churn. There is a shallowness to his movies that go beyond mere
superficiality and into this weird brain-sucking dimension. Admittedly, I
liked The Rock, and I liked The Island. But Transformers looks like a return
to form for Bay, which is not a good thing. Do we really need another
blockbuster cash-in anyway?

July 13 - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I've loved all four of the Harry Potter movies, and I thought the two most
recent were the two best. The last one made me nervous, though, since it had
to condense so much story into a single movie. As it turned out, I had nothing
to worry about. But different worries have surfaced over the forthcoming
part five. For the first time, an untested director is at the helm. I will
never understand why the studio saw fit to hand one of the biggest moneymaking
movie franchises in history over to an unproven director -- David Yates, whose
been directing television shows and TV movies for several years now, but
nothing even approaching the scope and nature of the Harry Potter universe.
We can only hope that the producers know something about him that we don't,
which is admittedly very little. But the trailer doesn't really work for me
either. I want to like it. I'm still basically expecting to like it. But
I'm paranoid that sooner or later, one of these movies is going to fall flat
and ruin this series' standard of excellence.

July 13 - 1408

1408 is a Stephen King adaptation with John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson.
The director Mikael Hafstrom's last film was Derailed, a thriller that didn't
quite work, and I think the Stephen King movie that works is the exception to
the rule, so I'm not going to get my hopes up for this one.

July 20 - Hairspray

So how about John Travolta, Amanda Bynes, Christopher Walken, Queen Latifah,
and Michelle Pfeiffer in a Broadway musical? How come only half of those
actors are also singers? How come the director is Adam Shankman, of such
things as The Wedding Planner and The Pacifier and Cheaper By the Dozen 2?
Well, hey, maybe if you can't make good comedies, it IS the right move to
switch genres.

July 27 - The Simpsons Movie

Funny thing about this. There is actually a minor media frenzy about how this
movie is such a closely-guarded thing, and the trailers don't give anything
away. Uh. If 18 seasons of the show haven't clued you in to what the movie
is generally going to be like, just give it up now.

August 3 - The Bourne Ultimatum

Although the second film was a noticeable step down from the first, I love this
series. They're edgy, down-to-earth action movies that are welcome changes
from the more slicked-up action extravaganzas that are popular today. The
first movie was the best, because we were learning who Jason Bourne was, while
Bourne himself was learning who he was (as the film opens, he has amnesia and
has no idea who he is and why people are after him). The second movie works,
but only because the first has already established the character we're
interested in. The third movie seemingly involves Bourne continuing to learn
more about his forgotten past, which suggests it's headed in the right
direction, but time will tell. Supposedly, this will be the last Jason
Bourne film, but in all honesty, I'd be happy if this series continued on

August 3 - Underdog

Underdog was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid. In the years since, it has
not aged very well, unlike, say, Rocky and Bullwinkle, animated in a similar
style but with razor sharp writing and dozens upon dozens of jokes kids will
never get. Regardless of my own feelings about it, though, Underdog is very
much a product of its time and its medium and its style. You can't take
Underdog, transport it to a new era and a new style and expect to retain its
charm. But you ESPECIALLY can't turn it into a simpering slapstick live-action
stupidity and expect to get anywhere. The mere thought of this movie makes
my skin crawl. Who are the producers trying to appeal to? The target audience
has never heard of Underdog, and the core fans of the show out there are going
to avoid this movie like the plague that it probably is. Never mind the
trailer, which is lethal -- just look at the poster and try not to retch.

August 10 - Rush Hour 3

As much as I love Jackie Chan, strictly speaking I've not been a fan of the
first two Rush Hour movies. They have some great moments, but they don't seem
to add up to much, and the director Brett Ratner doesn't seem to know how to
take advantage of Chan's wonderful athleticism. But hey, they were fun, and
Chan's personality is so infectious that he can make anything worth watching.
Chris Tucker...also fun but in small doses, I suppose. Anyway, I'm looking
forward to this.

August 10 - Stardust

I think this adventure fantasy looks like it's probably a lot of fun. I
know exactly how it was pitched, though: "Pirates of the Caribbean meets Peter
Pan." The trailer has those distinct flavors in it, but I can't help but
think of "How To Kill a Mockingbird" -- yes, I said "How" -- when I see the
scenes with Robert De Niro. I love these kinds of movies, and I'm looking
forward to this one.

August 10 - Daddy Day Camp

I don't understand the point of making a sequel to a hit comedy whose success
rested squarely on the comic persona of the leading actor. Daddy Day Care was
all about and only about Eddie Murphy doing his brand of comedy. You might
think Murphy does his brand of comedy better in other movies, as I do, but
this is still his comedy, just as surely as The Mask was Jim Carrey's. So
what's the point of a sequel that replaces the star? Here, we get Cuba
Gooding, Jr. instead of Eddie Murphy. Cuba Gooding Jr. has, in the years since
his Oscar win for 1996's Jerry Maguire, starred in a truly amazing sequence of
stinkers. The guy's talented, but I'm not sure why he's still being hired, as
the taint of box office doom must be all over him now. An interesting
trivia note: Daddy Day Camp is being directed by none other than Fred Savage,
the now grown-up star of The Wonder Years.

August 17 - The Invasion

I'll see anything with Nicole Kidman in it. That's my motto. So I'll be
seeing "The Invasion," which assembles Kidman with Daniel Craig (and,
amusingly, a co-star named Jackson Bond) for a remake of Invasion of the
Body Snatchers. Except for the casting, I would probably not be that
interested in this. This story already has not one but two excellent films
made from it. I haven't seen the third version, called just "Body Snatchers,"
from 1993. Now this one is just called "The Invasion." I'm looking forward
to the 2019 version, to be called "of."

August 31 - Halloween

Rob Zombie remakes Halloween. What a weird and seemingly pointless idea.
Then again, it's probably not any more pointless than cranking out another

August 31 - Mr. Bean's Holiday

It's not cool to love the Mr. Bean character, but so what? I love the
Mr. Bean character. The show is hilarious. The movie was uneven, alternately
recapturing the spirit of the show and then missing the point entirely. But
it's worth seeing for the good parts. The early word on Mr. Bean's Holiday --
and most of the world has already seen this movie -- is that it does a better
job than the first movie. So, hey, if the first movie was worth seeing and the
second is better, count me in.

Link: Summer Movie Preview 2007

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