Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Evil Chicken’s Picks for the Summer Flicks in the year of our Lord 2006

Right off the bat let me say that this is one of my favorite times of year; the summer movie season. The big Hollywood studios roll out their latest offerings to a blockbuster hungry public. They have gambled, in some cases, hundreds of millions of dollars that their properties will become the next big thing in pop culture. Some win some lose; at times ‘sure things’ such as “Mission Impossible III” don’t perform up to industry expectations for their opening days and are labeled failures. This is an interesting phenomena since in its second week MI:3 was able to best “Poseidon” for the number one spot. Slow and steady still wins races. Needless to say, the big studios have much riding on the summer season. I love to see the dark horse win the race. Films that were never meant for multi-million dollar returns such as “The Blair Witch Project”, “The Sixth Sense”, “Clerks” or the “Evil Dead” series. It does my heart good to know that a cheap, smartly told story can sweep the big boys. Anyway, before you pack up the kids and significant other to hit the local multiplex here is another voice in the crowd, mine.

So, without further ado…

5/19/06, The Da Vinci Code. I’m not talking about ‘controversy’; I did that last blog – I’m talking about story. I hope that Ron Howard and company can deliver. The film premiered at Canes last night and early spin ain’t good. To see or wait for DVD? – THAT is the question!

5/26/06, X-Men – The Last Stand. I’d like this to work. It’s a well-established point that I’m a card carrying GEEK. This time out, however the X-Men have lost one of their most important members, Mr. Bryan Singer the director of X1 and X2. I hope that it’s not terminal. Early spin is mixed. Still and all, it’s X-MEN engaged in all out mutant war; translation: my ticket is already bought.

6/2/06, Nacho Libre. I love Mr. Jack Black with Tenacious D or on the big screen. He chews up every scene that he’s in. He’s energy personified. Add to the mix the writer and director of Napoleon Dynamite and what do you get? Jack Black as a Mexican Masked Wrestler. I can’t wait.

6/30/06, Superman Returns. This will be the 900-pound gorilla of summer; I’ll go even further; it will deserve it. This is the film that Bryan Singer gave up X-Men for. Singer respects the source material. He has a love for the culture and passion for the story. He was steeped in it. Me too. I remember seeing Christopher Reeve on the big screen in 1978 in “Superman – the Movie.” It was and remains to be one of the finest comic adaptations ever to grace the big screen. Mr. Brandon Roth is wearing the cape now with Mr. Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor. I’m there opening day – no doubt.

7/7/06, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. Before this movie films about Piracy were cursed. Fortunately, Johnny Depp has removed this curse. This will be huge for Disney who produced parts 2 and 3 back to back – I expect the third out sometime around Christmas (another decent movie season). It will be fun and I’ll be there opening night with my eye-patch and earring.

7/14/06, A Scanner Darkly. This film is based on Philip K. Dick’s short story. Early spin says that it is the closest adaptation of one of his tales yet. I loved “Blade Runner” (one of my favorite films) and enjoyed “Total Recall” but, if truth be known, neither are really close to Dick’s work. This one is, warts and all. Dick was heavy into drugs when he wrote this and it is reflected in the heavily pharmacological story line. It will be one for the film books; still and all I may have to wait for DVD.

7/21/06, Lady in the Water. This is M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film and that’s good enough for me. I love this guy’s work. This tale stars an amazing actor named Paul Giamatti. This man consistantly delivers fine performances – bottom line. The story revolves around water nymphs and the discovery of a gateway into another world. Sign me up.

8/4/06, Apocalypto. Mel Gibson returns to the director’s chair for this historical drama that takes place about 600 years ago and just before the fall of the Mayan civilization. As Gibson did in “Passion of the Christ” all of the actor’s dialogue will be speaking the timely language of their characters; in the case of “Passion of the Christ” Aramaic and Latin and for "Apoclaypto" Yucatec Maya (Thank you Wikipedia!). I’d love to see this on the big screen.

8/18/06, Clerks II. Shock of shocks I’m a geek and film geek from NJ that loves Mr. Kevin Smith. I snuck into an auditorium to hear him speak in Philadelphia back in 2003; it was worth the risk. I really enjoy this guy’s work even though the statue of Christ from “Dogma” still makes me cringe. You have to look past the fart and phallic jokes with Smith. If you do you will be pleasantly surprised to find an intelligent and thoughtful filmmaker. “Clerks II” re-introduces Dante and Randal and catches us up on what they’ve been up to all these long years. “Wolvie Berserker Style! Bickity Bam!” – I’m there.

8/25/06, Pan’s Labyrinth. Guillermo del Toro directs this tale of a 12 year year-old girl in 1944 Spain who finds an ancient labyrinth underneath her new home that is guarded by a satyr named Pan. It will be subtitled in English so I hope that it will play at a theater around me. I’d like to support it; del Toro is a unique filmmaker. Unfortunately we have short attention spans here in the United States and don’t like to read subtitles when we go to the movies. It’s a shame really, but alas; such is life at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

These films should keep me occupied but still I’m looking for the dark horse. What independent or foreign film is going to shine? What under funded studio film will run with the big boys this summer? Only time will tell. In the meantime, I like my popcorn buttered and my Rasinettes plentiful.

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