2010 Summer Movie Preview: July

Predators (July 7) – The first Predator was the perfect 1980’s horror/action film. It had a goodly amount of action, some genuine scared, and just enough campy fun to make it memorable. How many people out there haven’t said “I ain’t got time to bleed” after seeing the film? The sequel was best remembered for the director’s meltdown on Good Morning America and the less said about Aliens vs. Predators, the better.

So, if there was ever a film franchise in need if a makeover, it would be this one. This film will ignore Predator 2 and the AVP films and be considered a sequel to the first film. In this film, the Predators kidnap the most dangerous humans they can find, bring them to their home planet and hunt them there. – William Gatevackes

Inception (July 16) –

Do you ever wonder what the acclaimed director of the new Batman franchise does in his free time? Well, judging from past releases like 2006’s “magical” film, The Prestige, and the noir-ish Insomnia (2002), I’d say he likes toying with our conscious minds. But this year he’s thrown a curve, needling into our subconscious tendencies with the release of Inception. I’m sure by now you’ve seen the first trailer – ominous music punctuating surreal scenes of a world folding into itself while this one or that one fights or runs, while no one speaks a word. If you’re like me, you were sitting there wondering, “Hey, Christopher, buddy, whatever it is you’re doing this time, you’ve got my attention.”

At first glance, it looks and feels like The Matrix coupled with Dark City and out sprung this harried bastard child. So, just what the heck is Christopher Nolan doing to us? Early buzz suggests that Inception is not of this world; its setting evolves, revolves, and devolves in the dream world. Not too much has been revealed beyond that, however, given that he likes to torture his characters with some type of psychological handicap, I think we can expect much of the same. But I’m not labeling Nolan as a pedestrian, formulaic director, far from it. With Inception, Nolan hints at justly entering character’s heads to confuse their perceptions, fiddle with their understanding of reality and then expertly turns to manipulating his audiences with the same. Where the Wachowski brothers tried and failed when they stretched The Matrix trilogy, I’m enthusiastic for Inception to triumph. – John Gibbon

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (July 16) – Generally speaking, I don’t gravitate towards films in the  fantasy genre.  Nor will I drop everything to see a new movie starring Nicholas Cage. In fact, just seeing Cage in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice trailer was enough to turn me off, but then I saw who Cage was co-starring with and I perked up immediately.  It was Jay Baruchel, a name that you might not recognize.

Jay Baruchel is a young actor from Canada associated with that whole Seth Rogen-Jonah Hill-Jason Segal group, but he’s the guy to watch. Previously, he’s played in dumb comedies like Knocked Up where he was one of the loser roommates and I thought he was he was funny in the mediocre Fanboys, but there is something about Jay Baruchel I like.  I think he will mature into a world class talent.

I first noticed him in Million Dollar Baby as Danger Barch, the slightly retarded boxer who was hopeless in the ring.  The role could have been milked for cheap sympathy, yet Baruchel avoided that trap by giving Danger a fatal sense of pride, making him one of the more interesting characters in the film. But it was in Tropic Thunder that I really saw his talent.  As Kevin Sandusky, the struggling young actor who happened to be the only one who had actually read the script, he stole the film away from his mugging co-stars Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr.

Jay Baruchel also has the kind of looks that will last.   Twenty years from now, Jay Baruchel will still look good, long after Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner have lost their boyish charm.  So, that’s why I’m looking forward to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice –  Michael McGonigle

Dinner For Schmucks (July 23) – Paul Rudd and Steve Carell have a talent for being extremely likeable even when playing a jerk. This makes the inevitable turn from jerk to nice guy all that more believable, like Rudd’s in Role Models and Carell’s from Bruce Almighty to Evan Almighty.

The pair reunites for the third time (after Anchorman and 40-Year Old Virgin) for this remake of a French film.  Rudd plays an executive up for a promotion. However, the only way he could win the promotion if he brings the dorkiest guest to a dinner party at his boss’ house. Since Carell’s character recreates famous paintings with taxidermy animal, Rudd character thinks he has a winner until he develops a conscience about the whole thing.

These two are pretty much comedy gold, and seeing them in this concept should be a great way to spend a summer day. – WG

Salt (July 23) –

The espionage thriller Salt was originally set to star Tom Cruise, when the actor dropped out with all involved citing the usual euphemistic “creative differences.” A search for a replacement ensued and once found, a quick rewrite changed Edwin Salt to Evelyn and placed Angelina Jolie’s name on the marquee. If the trailer is any indication, it certainly doesn’t look like they watered down the action any to accommodate the gender switch of the lead character.

More importantly, though, in a summer full of sequels and adaptations of books, comics and video games, Salt is one of the few films this season that is based on an original story. As there are those in some quarters who argue that gone are the days when a film could open based on just its star power alone rather than having the built-in audience that a sequel, remake or adaptation brings with it, Salt might just prove a strong counter-argument. – RD

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