1.Despicable Me (Universal, 3, 474 Theaters, 95 Minutes, Rated PG): For the longest time, I had no idea what this film was about. Every poster I saw had those minion things on it and I couldn’t understand what they had to do with the film. Did the film chronicle their lives in some strange otherworldy place? Was it a film about sentient bacteria?
Well, it turns out that they are minions of an evil scientist who has fallen on hard times. He has been dealing with stiff competition from a rival evil scientist and has lost his standing in the evil scientist community. But he has a plan to gain back his swagger–to steal the moon! Only one hitch. A trio of adorable orphans enter his life and teach him that there are more important things than stealing the moon. Like being a good dad.
This is done by Universal’s CGI animation department, so it is not a sure bet like Pixar or Dreamworks. Steve Carell is great in everything he does, so his lending his voice to the film can’t be anything but a good thing. This is the film I’ll probably see in my rare day out. But I am holding out judgement.
Although, I have to say, I am a little more encouraged after reading FBOL’s John Gibbon’s review of the film. If you want the opinion of the person who actually saw this film, please click here!
2. Predators (Fox, 2, 669 Theaters, 106 Minutes, Rated R): I’m am unabashedly a fan of the first Predator. I love the way it turned from an action movie to a Ten Little Indians-like thriller. I would have to say it ranks with Commando and Terminator as some of Arnold’s best work.
The sequel? Well, not so much. I only saw Predator 2 once, and I found it kind of boring. Moving the monster to the concrete jungle instead of the leaf and mud jungle was a mistake, and seemed to take the suspense out of the story idea.
So, when I heard this film would erase that film and replace it as the next-in-line sequel to Predator, I was very happy. And when I heard that Robert Rodriguez was involved and the premise behind it, I was even more stoked.
The plot is that a group of the most feared hunters Earth has to offer–a Yakuza assassin, a mercenary, a serial killer and others–are kidnapped and taken to the Predator homeworld to be hunted themselves.
It’s a premise that put an interesting spin on the plot of the original while adding something new. Hopefully, the end result can match the potential.
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 Americaand 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
Brody is a man who ends up inheriting the mantle of leader and is known as a hunter of men. Grace would play an accountant-type whose unassuming facade masks a dangerous serial killer.
Joining the Brody , Grace and Trejo on their unasked for trip to the Predator homeworld are Alice Braga (I Am Legend), Mahershalalhashbaz Ali (The 4400), Walt Goggins (The Shield) and UFC fighter Oleg Taktarov. Production is set to start soon with a release date already set for July 9, 2010.
Admittedly, neither Brody or Grace are the first actors to spring to mind to headline a film in a franchise best known for having featured Arnold Schwarzenegger. But I think thatis what makes the choices work. No one will ever be able to match the impression Arnold makes in the film, so the best course of action is to not even try. From the simple, one line description of each character, the both sound dangerous in their own way. Grace has already shown us a bit of a dark side in his work in Spiderman 3.
Now all that remains to be seen who will, like Schwarzenegger and Predator co-star Jessie Ventura, will run for state governor later on.
Well, it should come as no surprise that the first cast member for Robert Rodriguez’s upcoming Predators film that we learn of is none other than Danny Trejo. The menacing-looking actor seems to have been Rodriguez’s good luck charm, appearing in Desperado (1995), From Dusk Till Dawn (1986) and its two direct to DVD sequels which Rodriguez produced, the Spy Kids trilogy and Once Upon A Time In Mexico (2003). Trejo has just wrapped the feature-length expansion of the faux-trailer at the start of Rodriguez’s Grindhouse (2006) collaboration with Quentin Tarantino, with the actor in the title role.
Beyond Trejo’s involvement, always a good thing, all we know is that Rodriguez will be producing this relaunch of the 20th Century Fox franchise with Nimrod Antal directing a script by Alex Litvak. Punch Drunk Critics landed a short interview with the actor this weekend, where he revealed that the production is supposed to start shooting next month.
Robert Rodriguez is a shark of a film maker. I think that he believes that if he ever stops moving, he’ll drown.
Among the many projects that the Austin-based director has in various stages of development, he has just added a new title- Predators. During a press conference at Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios, the director let loose with some information on his planned schedule for the next year or two-
I’m going to be able to shoot my upcoming Machete here, a sci-fi action film called Nervewrackers, a re-boot of the Predator series called Predators, and a couple of smaller movies called Sin City 2 and The Jetsons.
This is not the first time that Rodriguez has been associated with the Predator franchise. Back in 1996, he was developing a sequel to 1995′s Predator 2, also called Predators. That version featured the further adventures of Arnold Schwartzenegger’s character from the first Predator film.
With Nervewrackers already penciled in for a April 15, 2010 release and Warner Brothers looking for The Jetsons in 2012, is Rodriguez planning on filming Predators between the two? If so, when will he shoot Machete, a full-length version of the faux-trailer he created for 2007′s Grindhouse, or Sin City 2? And then there’s his planned comic-book adaptation Madman. And the two films he had hoped to make with girlfriend Rose McGowan in the lead- Barbarella and Red Sonja.
All I know that if there is anyone who could wash the absolutely disgusting taste of the two deplorable Alien Vs. Predator films out of our collective mouths, it could very well be Rodriguez.