Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Evil Chicken’s Spring & Summer Movie Preview – 2008 Edition
Happy New Year Gentle Reader! I wish you much health and happiness in twenty-oh-eight! Yes – I know that this is early... Yes – I know that most people are doing their year in review stuff. Well that’s not the case here at Chicken Scratch! Oh no. Now is the time when a movie geek begins to plot and plan for the coming few seasons at the multiplex. And what seasons they will be; the studios are plotting to push a lot of popcorn this year. I shudder for the summer of 2009 and the products that will be mercilessly unleashed onto the public with the writers strike still in full swing. It won’t be pretty; 2008, however, will rock.
Anyway, here’s a list of movies that I’m about to put in my calendar. Why don’t you go get yours too? We can do it together. Go on, I’ll wait.
Got it? Good. Pen too? Excellent. Here’s the list…
Iron Man (May 2nd): Have you seen the trailer? They’ve got this right. Could they have found a better actor than Robert Downey Jr. to play Tony Stark? No. Expect big things from this one – not just the obligatory amazing special effects but in character development. Stark is not a likeable guy and his transformation into someone better is what really makes the character shine. Opening night – no doubt; I can even bring the kids.
Speed Racer (May 9th): Driving right out of my childhood memories and onto the big screen! The Wachowski brothers (the Matrix movies, V for Vendetta) are doing the honors. Have you seen this trailer? It’s an unabashedly campy, anime Trip with live actors that I can’t wait to see. I’ll drag the kids to this one.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (May 16): I enjoyed the first one and loved the book. I never read “Prince Caspian” by C.S. Lewis but it just may have moved up on my reading list. BTW, if you get a chance one of my favorite C.S. Lewis books is a written correspondence between two demons called “The Screwtape Letters”. Good stuff, but I digress. Yeah, I’m there and I’m taking the kids.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (May 22nd): Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of my absolute all time favorite movies. TOD was passable and TLC was good but RAIDERS… simply awesome. There is no doubt that I will be keeping up with the Jones’s on opening night… it is as sure as the tides… well Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.
John Rambo (May ?): I was in high school when Rambo First Blood Part II came out. The paperback adaptation spread through my school like a plague; everyone wanted to read the thing including yours truly. The movie turned violence into a ballet – no, it was more than that… Rambo was visceral justice dispensed through a psycho Vietnam vet who really should have stayed on his medications. He was the poster child for PTSD. I was hooked; what can I say, maybe it was youth or perhaps Reaganomics? Whatever the case, he’s back… and I’m gonna go see him on the big screen once more. I will NOT be bringing the kids to this one. Did I mention “visceral”?
The Happening (June 13th): M. Night Shyamalan’s new movie. Yes you can make the argument that his stuff’s been sliding downhill since “The Sixth Sense” but I still like his take on telling a story. He’s a relatively local guy as well (from Philly) and has set many of his tales around Pennsylvania. I don’t know much about this movie other than it has something to do with a natural crisis that a family has to escape from. One thing I do know is that a buddy of yours truly is going to be in it (see: http://freudianslipsincreativewriting.blogspot.com/). I’ll be there to see that. Give ‘em heck Joe!
The Incredible Hulk (June 13th): I hated “The Hulk”. It was an incredible let down for yours truly; the acting, the writing, the editing. Blah! I love the character though and I’m hoping that those responsible for this reboot do this time as well. This is key for any adaptation to work. If you have no idea who said beloved characters are or their origins stay away; stay far away. Ed Norton is Bruce Banner and this may prove to be an inspired bit of casting. I’ll see it in the theater, out of respect for the character, but it might just have to be a matinee.
Get Smart (June 20th): Would you believe that agent Maxwell Smart is going to be played by Steve Carell? Would you believe that Alan Arkin is going to be Chief? This will make me smile with nostalgia and introduce the whole shootin’ match to another generation of admirers. Mel Brooks and Buck Henry created the original. I don’t know if they had any involvement in this incarnation but I know that I’ll be there to see it. It’s time to break out the Cone of Silence once more. The kid’s will love it.
Wall-E (June 27th): Pixar is back and this time they’re bringing a trash compacting robot. Wall-E is left on earth with his fellow machinations and he goes on a quest to find out just what happened to the human race when they left the planet. It’s Pixar. It will be genius. Bottom line. Yes, I’ll be there and so will the kids.
Hancock / Tonight, He Comes (July 2nd): Will Smith is a superhero with feet of clay in this one. Everyone dislikes the guy. He begins an affair with the wife of a PR guy that’s hired to save his reputation. I’m still not sold completely on this one; I’m still having thoughts of “My Super Ex-Girlfriend” go through my mind when I hear or read about this film. Still, I enjoy Will Smith and I think that it will be good to see him in a role where you have to strain to actually like and root for him. We shall see…
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (July 11th): Guillermo del Toro is a genius. No really – I mean it. Go rent “Pan’s Labyrinth” if you don’t believe me. The man has a way of bringing nightmare images to life: monsters – and I’m not just talking about the grotesque ones; I mean the ones who are human beings. Wow what a film that was. It played on two levels, a young girl’s dream world and against the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. Go rent it, but be warned, it is not for the faint at heart or young eyes to see. While you’re at Blockbuster rent the first “Hellboy” too. Go on – treat yourself. Hellboy is based on a comic character created by Mike Mignola for Dark Horse Comics. Hellboy is a big red devil like creature with a tail that files off his horns because he’s not too happy about what they represent. He’s got a huge right hand made of stone and he works for the United States Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. As the Wikipedia article says, “Hellboy has been dubbed as the ‘World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator’”. Guillermo is fresh of the Oscars that he won for “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Hellboy 2: the Golden Army” is where he’s setting up shop next. Opening day sans kids. This will be eye popping.
The Dark Knight (July 18th): Oh my goodness; this is my pick for 900 lbs. Gorilla of the summer season. That’s saying something since there is a lot of competition this summer for best popcorn flick. Please allow me to go on record here at the start of the New Year and say that Batman will rule over Indy and Iron Man. Why? Good question, easy answer; Heath Ledger’s JOKER. This will be scary… psychotic in scope. Christopher Nolan (director of this one and it’s predecessor “Batman Begins”) knows what he is doing with the Iconic character of the Batman. He knows that Bruce Wayne is almost just as crazy as those he chases down – the only real difference is the idea that at Batman’s core he does not want to see what happened to him happen to anyone else. The Joker is the living personification of the phrase, “comedy is tragedy” and he is ready to champion either basis with extreme sociopathic prejudice. This is not Caesar Romero’s Joker, it’s not going to be Jack Nicholson’s either (although, if the truth be known, I love both of their portrayals of the character). Expect the unexpected with this one. Warner Bros. is banking on it and so am I. Opening night for me – I’m still not convinced that this will be one to take the kids to yet.
X – Files 2 (July 25th): This one snuck up on me. It’s still classified as being “in production”, I didn’t think that it would be ready to roll this summer – I was wrong. I was a huge fan of the series until the dreaded disease, Favoritus-Disappearus, struck it down. David Duchovny left the show only to have a few walk-ons for the rest of the series run. Too bad. Gillian Anderson stayed which was good but the show lost it’s chemistry. Well, they’ll be back together once more this summer. It will take some fancy writing to have those two back on the X-files after the series finale (Scully and Mulder intentionally disappearing together to live off the grid and on the run). I’ll be there though – after all, I Want to Believe.
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (August 1st): Same cast different movie. Brendan Fraser and Maria Bello return to find a new batch of Mummies to vanquish. This time they are bringing their son (Luke Ford) with them. It won’t win any Oscars but it should be a fun afternoon at the movies.
I have to stop myself here. I’d go on but what would I do for the big Fall / Winter Movie Preview. This will have to do for now; that’s a big list. That’s a lot of popcorn. Enjoy it while we can. 2009 will, most likely, be weak. 2008 is another story.
I’ll see ya at the multiplex.