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Summer movie preview

by Chris Hanna April 6, 2010

For some people, the summer months ahead are what they look forward to all year: sunbathing, beaches, travelling, swimming, barbecues and the great outdoors. For others, summer’s a real bummer. It means sun burns, sand in unimaginable places, sweating, bugs and difficulty breathing.

No matter how you feel, it wouldn’t be summer without spending a couple of hours in an air-conditioned cineplex watching the latest Hollywood Blockbuster/animated flick/rom-com/indie hit.

The Concordian has come up with this definitive list of the movies you must see this summer &- and the ones you need to avoid.

Must-see this summer

Robert Downey Jr.’s hilarious turn as outspoken billionaire inventor Tony Stark makes Iron Man 2 a must-see on May 7. The film doesn’t seem to veer away from the first one’s lightheartedness, action and energy. Scarlett Johansson, Mickey Rourke and Don Cheadle also star.

Director Christopher Nolan’s star-studded Inception is out July 16 and shrouded in mystery. It might be about a technological breakthrough that makes it possible to enter the human brain. Like Nolan’s Memento, this one will surely need to be seen more than once to fully grasp.

Angelina Jolie stars as a female Jason Bourne in Salt, out July 23. Salt is accused of being a Russian spy. Rather than deny it and talk it out, she makes a run for it, is chased and finally puts those Lara Croft skills to good use.

Michael Caine, 77, stars as the title character in Harry Brown, a man who is hell bent on avenging his best friend’s murder. The films pits Caine against street gangs in London, so it’s Gran Torino with British accents. That’s out April 30.

Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor star in I Love You, Phillip Morris, out April 30 in limited release, based on the true story of Steven Jay Russell, a con artist who has escaped from jail one fewer time than he has been incarcerated. He meets and falls in love with Phillip Morris while in jail and he is determined to help him escape.

Life imitates art in Control director Anton Corbijn’s second film The American, which comes out Sept. 1. George Clooney stars as an American assassin living in Italy awaiting directions for his last hit.

Rom-coms

Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia, Dear John) stars in the “sure to be predictable because everything is given away in the trailer” Letters to Juliet, opening May 14. She plays an American vacationing in Verona, Italy, where Romeo and Juliet first met. After her fiancée stops paying attention to her, she tries to reunite two old lovers, only to find herself falling in love with a rich-looking Brit. The film is cliché-ridden: girl meets boy but girl is engaged, girl and boy don’t get along but when girl and boy spend time together they realize they are perfect for each other. Final sprint to reunite after going separate ways, wedding scene, Taylor Swift love song, roll credits.

Sarah Jessica Parker is milking it for all its worth: the second Sex and the City movie opens May 28. At this point, the women are more like the cast of the Golden Girls than the single ladies from the HBO show.

The summer movie season is going to be book-ended by two rom-coms about artificial insemination that star a Jennifer. April 23’s The Back Up Plan stars Jennifer Lopez as a woman so desperate for a baby, she asks her best friend for his goods, only to meet and fall in love with the man of her dreams after finally becoming pregnant. Jennifer Aniston stars in The Switch, out August 20, with Jason Bateman as her best friend. When he drunkenly spills the donor’s sperm down a bathroom sink, he switches the donor’s sperm for his own. When they reconnect years later, he has to live with the secret that he is her child’s father.

The third (and sadly not last) film in the Twilight series, Eclipse, comes out June 30. The worst thing to happen to vampires is not sunlight or being stabbed by a wooden stake. It’s this series, which will probably continue breaking box office records.

Julia Roberts stars in the film adaption of Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling book Eat, Pray, Love, directed by Glee creator Ryan Murphy (out August 13). No word on whether any cheesy, over-the-top musical scenes were shot for the film.

Indie

Indie queen Catherine Keener stars in two must-sees this summer. Please Give, out April 30, is about a woman’s (Keener) constant urge to help homeless people, to the dismay of her husband and materialistic and somewhat selfish daughter. Cyrus, out July 9, stars Keener and the underrated John C. Reilly as a newly-divorced couple. Reilly falls in love with a woman (Marisa Tomei), only to find out she has a grown son (Jonah Hill, playing his first ever tolerable character in Cyrus, also stars in Get Him to the Greek alongside British funnyman Russell Brand, out June 4).

Robert Duvall and Bill Murray star in Get Low, out July 30, based on the real story of Felix Bush, a mysterious, shotgun-toting Tennessee man who threw his own funeral &- while he was still alive &- and told thousands of people the real story of his life.

Hollywood’s unoriginal streak

The remakes that don’t need to be remade category keeps growing and is likely to never stop. With a shortage of original ideas in Hollywood, this year’s set of “reimaginings”, as they’re likely to be called, are especially cringe-worthy. Will Smith’s son, Jaden, and Jackie Chan star in a remake of The Karate Kid, out June 11. It’s Obama’s America, so it’s time for a Black Karate Kid? Totally unnecessary.

Also out June 11 is the movie version of “80s TV series The A-Team, which was cancelled in the middle of its fifth season due to poor ratings. The show that helped launch Mr. T’s career has been turned into a movie starring serious actor turned blockbuster whore Liam Neeson, who also stars in the 3-D remake of The Clash of the Titans, out now.

One remake worth seeing is sure to be A Nightmare on Elm Street, out April 30, starring veteran creep Jackie Earle Haley, who played a pedophile in Little Children, as teen terrorizer Freddy Krueger.

MacGruber, the MacGyver spoof from Saturday Night Live, is painfully unfunny at two minutes on TV. The movie version of the sketch is out May 21.

The French comedy Le Dîner des Cons is getting American-ized with Paul Rudd and Steve Carell starring in Dinner For Schmucks, out July 23. It will surely give the French more reasons to hate Americans.

Animated fare

These flicks aren’t just for kids anymore, and there’s really no shame in admitting that Ratatouille made the Food Network your favourite channel or that you cried watching Up. Pixar is at it again this summer with Toy Story 3. It’s been 11 years since the last film and Woody and Buzz are back and haven’t changed (duh – they’re toys!), but Andy is grown up, off to college and ready to give his toys away.

If you’re going to shell out extra money to see something in 3-D, make it Toy Story 3 (opening June 16). Tim Allen, who voices Buzz Lightyear, is surely thrilled to finally be in something that doesn’t stink.

Another animated film to look out for is Despicable Me (opening July 9), about a super villain (voiced by Steve Carell) who plans to steal the moon. One to avoid would be Shrek Forever After, the fourth and final (or so they say) installment in the series. Shrek films just keep getting worse, although it’s hard to imagine anything that can top the vomit and fart jokes galore that was Shrek The Third. Sadly, the series is turning into exactly the kind of cheesy fairy tale it set out to mock back in 2001, which earned Shrek the first-ever Best Animated Feature Oscar. Shrek Forever After opens May 21.

You’ve been warned: Films to avoid

Killers (June 4) just seems like a cheap and cheesy Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Katherine Heigl meets and quickly marries Ashton Kutcher only to have her life completely altered by the realization that her husband is an assassin for hire. The couple has to flee their ideal suburban life when they become the target of an assassination plot.

Knight and Day, out June 25, stars Cameron Diaz as a woman who witnesses the multiple-murder of an entire flight crew at the hands of Tom Cruise. She is then forced to stick with the killer as he kills everyone on Earth.

Brendan Fraser is an entrepreneur who wants to tear down a forest and build a gigantic mall in Furry Vengeance, but not if the smart and cute forest animals have their way! Raccoons cut his SUV’s brake lines and skunks do their business in his truck. The stinker opens April 30.

Step Up 3-D (out August 6). The third dimension won’t fix the cheesy dance films with the same story starring different actors. Also, this ghastly series gave Channing Tatum one of his first starring roles. It’s time to kill it.

Piranha 3-D: the premise is fishy, but there’s hope for this to turn into campy, ridiculous fun. In theatres Aug. 27.

Prince of Persia comes out May 28. Movies based on video games are never a good bet, and after seeing Jake Gyllenhaal’s wig, it’s safe to say this Prince is more of a pauper.

The Expendables stars six action stars and two wrestlers; Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Randy Couture and Steve Austin are all in the over-the-top film that is sure to be as disastrous as the horrible event they are trying to save the world from. Stallone also directs the film, out Aug. 13.

Marmaduke, based on the comic strip about a family with a mischievous and naughty Great Dane (voiced by dog-movie pro Owen Wilson) comes out June 4. And no good can come from the Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Kevin James, David Spade and Rob Schneider-billed Grown Ups either, out June 25.

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