Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hit-or-miss movies of the 2007 summer season

Every summer there are those massive blockbusters you can't wait to see, and the pieces of crap you know will be stinkers five months out (Surf's Up, anyone?). But every summer, there are a few pleasant surprises, lots of disappointments (Spider-Man 3) and those movies that you sort of want to see but also realize that there is some potential that you will be wasting your money.

Without further ado, in no specific order (other than alphabetical), here is a list of movies I regard as hit-or-miss. They may look, but could end up sucking (1408), or they may not look so good, but could end up surprising (Fantastic Four 2). So, without further ado (didn't I already say that?), here they are...

1408

John Cusack stars as a ghost hunter who ventures into a haunted hotel room. Suddenly, he finds himself stuck in his own personal Hell with no way out, and his chances for survival are small. These star-studded horror movies are always hit-or-miss, as some are simply more effective than others. 1408 looks slightly original, but in the end it is going to depend on how scary the movie is and how well it can handle a single cast member roaming around inside a hotel room for an hour and a half. The previews are sort of neat, but not mind blowing.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

I have extremely mixed reactions about this one. The first Fantastic Four movie sucked, in my opinion, as it was boring, cheesy and lacked much of a plot or central villain. My hope for the second film is that now that all the character development is out of the way, the crew can sit down and shell out an action-packed film that has plenty of Jessica Alba. The first previews so far haven't shown much, other than the Silver Surfer, and while some people have been amazed, I haven't been overly thrilled. The graphics still look questionable, and the introduction of yet another hero (albeit he is a gray character, no pun intended) is probably not what the franchise needs. Still, I'll give this one a shot, but I'm not expecting much.

Halloween

Rob Zombie is reinventing the Halloween franchise and taking things back to its roots. This is either a good thing or a really, really bad thing. Zombie has shown that he can do f**ked up horror, but can he do something that is a little more grounded in reality? Furthermore, the Halloween franchise wore out its welcome decades ago, so the question remains: will restarting the franchise really offer up anything new? The first teaser trailer is surprisingly good, but as with all horror movies, isn't a very good indicator of the final product.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

Adam Sandler and the chubby guy from King of Queens team up as two straight men who, to cheat the system, pretend to get married so they can collect domestic partner benefits. This is just asking for trouble, and, more importantly, lots of laughs. Throw in Eva Mendes as a love interest and you have the formula for success, though of course this could be a movie where all the funny parts are in the previews.

The Invasion

On paper, this one sounds really good. Nicole Kidman stars in a movie about an epidemic that transforms people (into zombies or aliens or monsters or something), and the source of the epidemic is from out of space. From what I see, this could end up being an intelligent and more adult-oriented alien invasion film, but the only reason The Invasion is in the hit-or-miss section is that there have not been any movie trailers thus far.

Knocked Up

From the guys behind 40-Year Old Virgin comes Knocked Up, a movie about a loser of a man and a beautiful woman who have a one-night stand and end up having a baby together. While neither loves the other, they decide to go forward with the pregnancy, and thus must grow to accept one another to some level or another. Of course, this is a romantic comedy made for guys, and the previews have suggested that this could have the same charm as 40-Year Old Virgin. Still, the previews haven't been so funny to get me overly excited, and the lack of star power could hurt this film a bit.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Spider-Man 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End will be squaring off for the biggest movie opening ever (the previous Pirates beat out Spider-Man's record by nearly $20 million), but I'm not concerned about financial well-being here. While the first Pirates movie was fantastically entertaining, the second one was dreadfully boring, way too long and just not that good. Filmed back to back, At World's End could end up being more like the second movie than the first, unfortunately, but the trailers thus far have salvaged my outlook on the film. At World's End looks extremely exciting and fun, and I am hesitantly looking forward to this. My hope is that it does not become so absurd as The Mummy Returns did... but we shall see.

Rush Hour 3

Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker return after a long hiatus to do Rush Hour 3, which now sets the two in Paris (first Chan was in the U.S., then Tucker was in China, and now both are out of their element). The first one was quite good, and I actually found the second movie to be even more enjoyable, so the third one has potential to be a blast, but Rush Hour 3 is essentially a sequel that is just repeating its formula once again. It could end up being a disappointment, or even worse: downright bad. I've never been a huge fan of Tucker, and the most frustrating part about the Rush Hour films is that they've always given more emphasis to Tucker's comedy rather than Chan's fighting. Furthermore, as an American production, Chan is restricted in the stunts he can do, which asks for inevitable comparison to better Chan action movies.

Stardust

One of the more unique films of the summer, Stardust stars Claire Danes, Peter O'Toole, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Ian McKellen and others in what appears to be a fantasy action-drama-romance sprinkled with humor. Pfeiffer plays an evil witch, De Niro a pirate captain who sails a flying ship, and Danes a mysterious woman who literally fell from the sky. There haven't been many entertaining, off-the-wall fantasy films lately, and so Stardust certainly looks to fill that gap, but is that a gap we wanted filled in the first place? I'm intrigued, but the movie trailer isn't good enough to have me excited.

Superbad

The title is just asking for a critical drubbing, but if you watch the movie trailer for Superbad, you'll find a surprisingly funny and offbeat comedy about two losers looking to get laid. Unlike most teen comedies, this one seems to be geared toward the slightly smarter crowd, as it isn't about a bunch of jocks but a couple of much more "realistic" guys. Just watch the trailer to find out what I'm talking about.

1 comment:

Diana said...

I haven't seen any previews for 1408 yet, but John Cusack is good at holding audience attention. His monologues in High Fidelity were the high points of that movie. I couldn't stand the way his character behaved btw, so the fact that I watched all of High Fidelity anyway says something. 1408 might be fun if you don't set yourself up with too high expectations.