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Summer Movie Preview 2024!
Posted By: Sam, on host
Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2024, at 12:29:50

Time to take a look at what's in store for this summer.

April 12 - Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

Hollywood picks the weirdest movies to remake sometimes.

April 19 - The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

Guy Ritchie directs this story of a covert British strike team that infiltrates
the German forces during World War II. Ritchie is a variable director whose
aloof style can undermine the impact of his material, but he has enough shiny
pennies in his filmography that I tend to be optimistic about his work.
I like this subgenre, too: movies like The Guns of Navarone, Where Eagles
Dare, and The Dirty Dozen are some of my favorites, but I don't know if Ritchie
is capable of the sincerity it takes to do one of these. Still, a Ritchie
twist on those films sounds fun.

May 3 - The Fall Guy

Back in the day, The Fall Guy was the ultimate guy movie: stunt men working
as bounty hunters, introduced by the greatest TV theme song ever. The series
has been tragically abused on home video formats, with not all seasons yet
released and those that have been suffering from replacement of music cues to
circumvent royalty payments. I hope the movie is a smash success if for no
other reason than the incentive to release the series on Blu-Ray and/or
streaming properly.

But hey, the movie looks good too, even if it feels like its own thing. Ryan
Gosling isn't exactly the spitting image of Lee Majors, but he's got a screen
presence that is so much more interesting and complicated than most of his
peers. And how can you go wrong with Emily Blunt backing him up? Count me in.

May 10 - Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

This improbably solid prequel series pushes still closer to the time in which
the original 1974 film took place. While the original film is unique, I
prefer these newer prequels to the succession of ever-cheaper sequels that
littered the 70s and look forward to more.

May 24 - Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

In a world where franchises change directors like clothes, it's interesting
that George Miller has directed (as well as co-written) every Mad Max movie
since the 1979 original. This time it's not a sequel but a spin-off,
chronicling the origin story of the popular supporting character from
Mad Max: Fury Road. Anya Taylor-Joy plays the younger version of the
Charlize Theron character. Miller is one of those directors with his own
stamp, which makes even his weaker efforts interesting.

May 24 - The Garfield Movie

I despise, maybe universally, 3D animated remakes of characters that belong
in 2D. Looney Tunes, Peanuts, The Smurfs, The Chipmunks, and more have all
had this indignity thrust upon them. Of all those, Peanuts fared best in 3D,
and even so the recent reversion to 2D for Apple's new series of specials are
glorious and wonderful, visually updated but true in aesthetic and spirit to
the Bill Melendez specials of the late 60s and 70s, which in turn might be
the most successful strip-to-screen transition of all time.

Garfield has fared the worst, first turning into a CG plush toy for a pair of
live action movies, and now this, a completely 3D animated film in which the
characters look not like themselves but uncanny valley waxworks. No thanks.

May 31 - Robot Dreams

Speaking of animation, here's something that doesn't come out of the CG cookie
cutter. I don't know anything about it except that reviews from Cannes and
other film festivals are joyous, with people saying things like "This movie
is a love letter to friendship, to life, and to New York" and citing how sweet
and sad it is, and how emotionally invested adults became in this ostensibly
children's movie. It is based on Sara Varon's graphic novel.

June 7 - Ballerina

Ana de Armas' Ballerina character from the John Wick universe gets her own
feature film. I admire the technical and athletic craft and style and
spectacle of the Wick films, but the relentless of the action numbs its impact.
I do love Ana de Armas, but this is the wrong spin-off. She was the best part
of the latest James Bond film and deserves to have a proper arc in that world.

June 7 - The Watchers

M. Night Shyamalan's daughter Ishana directs and co-writes this fantasy horror
movie set in Ireland. The story sounds like something straight out of her
father's playbook, so much that it's tough to imagine this as being a truly
independent work. It might be, but if its DNA is what we already know of as
everything Shyamalan, well, we still don't know much, because there's an
enormous gulf between good Shyamalan and bad Shyamalan.

More on Shyamalan's progeny further down.

June 14 - Inside Out 2

I'd say Inside Out is one of my favorite Pixar movies except that there is
a lot of competition in the top tier. Disney's various franchises have
suffered in recent years, which is reason enough to be cautious. Pixar both
has and hasn't started to lean in the same direction: a dip in quality with
its latest offerings, yes, but still good work overall and (Inside Out 2
notwithstanding) still largely original stories and visions. I don't know,
though; Inside Out is a high bar. I think this sequel stood a better chance of
holding up if it had been made six or seven years ago. We'll see.

June 21 - Kinds of Kindess

Emma Stone and director Yorgos Lanthimos didn't wait long to work together
after last year's arty success Poor Things. The reunite in this anthology film
that...well, that's about all anybody really knows about it. The secrecy is
probably unnecessary. The plot outlines to Lanthimos movies don't tell
you anything about what they're like.

June 28 - A Quiet Place: Day One

Both Quiet Places are favorites of mine in a genre that is so rarely done
right. Besides being intense and frightening without being oppressive, both
movies are actually about something: parenthood in the first one, and growing
up in the second. These human underpinnings are what make the thrills actually
thrilling. How many allegedly scary movies just come off laughable because
they're trying so hard to shock and terrify, only to fail because we don't
care about the characters?

This prequel starts over with a fresh slate of characters. That's fine, but
it's a new writer-director, too. I can see this going either way.

June 28 - Horizon: An American Saga: Chapter 1

Kevin Costner is back in the western business. His last directorial effort was
Open Range, 21 years ago. Now he's made this two-part Civil War epic that he
also stars in. You won't have to wait long for part 2. Keep reading.

July 5 - Despicable Me 4

I liked the first Despicable Me okay, but the way this series thrives on
ever-escalating senseless hyperactivity lost me long ago.

July 19 - Twisters

This is hilarious, right? 1996's Twister was huge. Awful, but huge. It's
bewildering why it took 28 years to make another one. In all that time since,
special effects technology has improved tremendously, and yet -- and yet --
spectacle is so commonplace now that it's hard to imagine anybody is going to
flock to this for the one thing the original had to recommend itself.

August 2 - Trap

For me, M. Night Shyamalan is the single most frustrating film director who
has ever lived. The Sixth Sense is one of my favorites, and Unbreakable and
Signs aren't far behind. I liked The Village when no one else did, and I even
found elements to like amidst the mess that was Lady In the Water. The
trajectory is evident: a profoundly disappointing downward spiral that
plunged so far that by the time we got to The Last Airbender, one of the worst
movies ever made, I had long since written him off. But then The Visit showed
signs (no pun intended) that the savage reception of his latest movies had
humbled him enough that maybe his creative spark was still there somewhere.
Imagine my surprise when I absolutely adored Split, which seduced me into
looking forward to his work again. Alas, Glass shattered (okay, pun intended)
my hopes all over again. I hate few movies as intensely as I hate Glass,
which, much like Shyamalan's whole career, took what he'd made me love and
betrayed it. Obviously movie history is littered with disappointing sequels;
that's not what I'm talking about here, although it's impossible to elaborate
without venturing into spoiler territory. I haven't seen a Shyamalan movie
since, and I don't feel like I've missed out.

It's hard to anticipate breaking my streak for Trap, which stars his other
daughter Saleka as part of the ensemble. Shyamalan was already party to one
of the most egregious failures of Hollywood nepotism in recent years, the
Will/Jaden Smith vehicle After Earth. I have no reason to think this movie
will be anything like that, or that Saleka isn't properly talented in her own
right, but it all smells wrong from this side of its release date.

There is one bright spot. Somehow Hayley Mills is in this -- you know, the kid
from those 60s Disney movies Pollyanna and The Parent Trap. I've always
loved her, and her sister Juliet Mills, and her father John Mills, all veterans
of great British cinema. Maybe I'll give Trap a shot if the reviews aren't

August 16 - Horizon: An American Saga: Chapter 2

This is how they ought to do these two-part things. Less than two months
between and no opportunity for a strike to separate them further.

August 16 - Alien: Romulus

Some space colonizers explore an abandoned space station. I bet everything
goes swimmingly.

This series entry takes place between Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986).
Interestingly, the director recruited a lot of the special effects crew who
worked on Aliens and used a lot more physical sets, miniatures, and practical
creatures and effects than is usually still used today. It's a good call by
director Fede Alvarez, whose previous work includes Don't Breathe and
The Girl In the Spider's Web.

Despite ups and downs, the Alien franchise hasn't done too badly for itself as
these things go. While later sequels aren't a patch on the first two
masterpieces, there aren't many outright duds in this ever-lengthening
series. Let's hope that trend continues.

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