Sunday, April 29, 2007

Most anticipated movies of the summer

The official summer movie season starts Tuesday, May 1st, which means it starts Thursday at midnight with the release of Spider-Man 3. Here are my top ten most anticipated movies of the summer...

1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

One of the most consistent, entertaining and exciting franchises out there, the latest Harry Potter finds, once again, a new director and even a new screenwriter, which could make it the most questionable of the series. Still, the Harry Potter track record has been good, and as this is the darkest of the films thus far (the war begins!), it could be one of the best. I don't actually remember exactly what happens in the book, other than a major death, but I am certainly pumped to see this one on the big screen.

2. The Bourne Ultimatum

The Bourne Supremacy is one of my favorite action movies, as director Paul Greengrass, despite some shaky camera moments, presented an intense, sophisticated thriller that was full of surprises. Greengrass is returning once again, and I am holding my breath that this movie may finally introduce Carlos the Jackal, the main villain of the Robert Ludlum trilogy who has been completely left out of the movies. I am currently in the process of reading The Bourne Ultimatum, though I am certain that the movie will be 100% different, as two key characters who are dead in the films are essential parts of the book, and, of course, there is no Carlos the Jackal back story. Nevertheless, I can't wait to see this latest film, and hopefully it won't be the last.

3. Spider-Man 3

The Sandman, I'm thinking, will be a pretty minor villain, as Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) is going to have his hands full with the new Green Goblin (or is it Hobgoblin, I'm not sure?), played by his vengeful friend James Franco. Of course, more importantly, the movie is about the black suit that eventually turns Eddie Brock into Venom, probably the most popular Spider-Man villain. The movie trailers have been fantastic, especially the most recent one where it starts out with Brock (Topher Grace) praying to God to kill Peter Parker for him. The movie is going to be noticeably darker than the previous two, and, with three villains, should provide plenty of action.

My only concern - will three villains stretch the story too thin? The Spider-Man franchise has always relied on developed characters and a balance of action and "drama" - could Raimi have pushed things too far?

4. Transformers

When I first heard about this Michael Bay film, I scoffed. A movie about robots fighting against one another just sounded ludicrous; what works as a cartoon will not work as a live-action summer blockbuster. But movie trailers and photos thus far have completely changed my mind; Transformers simply looks... awesome. The visuals look fantastic, and Michael Bay appears to have applied some grainy-ness to his typical glossy filming style. Of course, plot and dialogue are still up in the air, but we haven't had an alien invasion/destruction movie in a few years, and Transformers looks to blow the genre out of the water.

The only question mark is Michael Bay. While he is up to the task of making an incredible action movie, the parts in between tend to suffer. Will Bay overcome his negligence of non-action scenes, or will Transformers be another mindless action film (not like there's anything wrong with that).

5. The Simpsons Movie

Little needs to be said about this one. The Simpsons Movie is probably the most anticipated movie of the last 15 years - of course, that doesn't mean it's going to make the most money, but it's still going to make a lot. This one should appeal to the old and young equally (unlike South Park, for instance, which still made a ton of dough), and hopefully will be as funny as everyone is expecting it to be. The only problem here is that while The Simpsons are still going strong, they aren't quite as popular as they used to be. Has the time passed where we needed a Simpsons movie? Will expectations be too high? Time will tell...

6. Mr. Brooks

The only movie that is not an action film or comedy on this list is Mr. Brooks, a suspense thriller starring Kevin Costner as a seemingly nice man who just happens to murder people. When a voyeur (Dane Cook) happens to catch him in the act, the two make an unlikely alliance. Mr. Brooks definitely looks sophisticated, and movie trailers thus far have been top notch. Definitely a change of pace for Costner, this film could go the course of American Psycho; it may not make a lot of money, but, if done right, it could be a critical darling, something that Costner desperately needs.

7. Live Free or Die Hard

Another highly anticipated movie that has been talked about for years and years and years, the fourth Die Hard finally makes it to the big screen, with Bruce Willis returning to the role of John McClane. The movie has a different director and looks a lot glossier and shinier than its predecessors, but the trailers have been effective in presenting the film as a rather dark, action-packed movie with glimmers of the old Die Hard humor that one would expect. For some reason I have fears that this one is going to end up being a stinker, yet at the same time it is one I am dying to see. There's only one way to find out...

8. Ocean's 13

Ocean's 13 is, of course, the sequel to Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's 12, and thus has a 50/50 chance of being good. Ocean's Eleven was excellent, while Ocean's 12 all but sucked. Luckily, Ocean's 13 looks like it is returning to its roots (Las Vegas), keeping most of its stars (except for Julia Roberts, who really didn't add much to the sequel anyway), adding one really big cast member (Al Pacino, anyone?) and taking the stakes much higher. The plot appears to be that after one of the Ocean gang is betrayed by new casino owner Pacino, the rest of the crew decides to reap revenge by fixing every game in the casino, thus robbing Pacino of millions of dollars, destroying his credibility, so on and so forth. In addition, it appears that they team up with former enemy Andy Garcia to share in the destruction of this new casino, though I'm guessing there will be betrayal along the way. All in all, Ocean's 13 looks like everything Ocean's 12 wasn't - the question is, will audiences recognize that.


The movie no one can pronounce is coming to theaters in late June, and targeting the youngest crowd. The latest from Disney and Pixar, Ratatouille looks like a major step up from the God-awful Cars, which was Pixar's first misstep in a long series of successful and entertaining movies. Cars was just boring to me, but Ratatouille looks to be going more of the Toy Story route, and previews thus far have been pretty funny. I would be highly surprised if this isn't Best Animated Movie of the Year.

10. Shrek the Third

The first Shrek movie was extremely funny. The second Shrek movie was even funnier. Hence, the trend should continue into the third movie. The voice cast is all returning, and Justin Timberlake has been added as Prince Arthur. Still, Shrek the Third is on the fence for me, as I really haven't found the trailers to be all that funny. They seem rather chaotic and not nearly as effective as the masterful previews for Shrek 2. Are the bad trailers a result of poor marketing or a poor movie? My guess is the former, but again, there is only one way to find out.

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