With summer just around the corner, it is time for the 366 reader base to vote on which four summer blockbusters to send me to review. The candidates below are listed in order of release. Be sure to view the entire post; you will vote at the end.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron: Director Joss Whedon has a sense of style, produced the cult fave “Firefly,” and is good at managing an ensemble cast. Of course, it’s going to have, who should be playing all the men in-tights characters (but obviously cannot). The best moments in this film’s predecessor were in its first third, before it began wallowing in its excesses, descending into an out-of-control -styled assault on the senses with floating July 4th black snake thingies chasing people in the streets amidst falling glass. I dread the idea of even one man-in-tights saga, let alone a whole cast full of them.
Mad Max: Fury Road: Directorsacked the fascistic , which is a promising start. However, Miller’s last Max entry was thirty years ago. Since then, his work has been confined to kiddie fare. Additionally, this film has been described as one long chase scene, as if we needed more of that.
Tomorrowland has a first rate ensemble cast and an equally first rate director in Brad Bird (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Ratatouille, The Incredibles, and The Iron Giant). This may be the most promising of the summer entries.
Pitch Perfect 2: Features a first time director in Elizabeth Banks, although she did produce the 2012 original, which I have not seen. Although the original garnered some good reviews, the trailer to the sequel looks like a hopelessly adolescent film filled with people all too easy to hate. Unless the film surprises, this may be the nadir of summer releases.
Spy looks almost equally unbearable and obvious. Director Paul Feig was a critical darling with Bridesmaids (2011), but that might prove his one-hit wonder. The Heat (2013) was by the numbers. It starred the female Adam Sandler: Melissa McCarthy. McCarthy, who also was in the insufferable Tammy (2014), returns to collaborate with Fieg.
San Andreas: A disaster film from perennial hack Brad Peyton (Journey 2: Mysterious Island and Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore) starring monosyllabic Dwayne Johnson, who makeslook like a sensitive intellectual actor with range. Has the disaster genre really gone anywhere new since the Towering Inferno (1974)? At least in the Irwin Allen days, one got to see “A” stars burst into flames.
Jurassic World: A third-rate rehash of a film that was not very good to begin with. The plot sounds almost identical to the 1993 Spielberg original, which tried and failed to be more exciting than the average Godzilla. How many times have they recycled the dino park gone wrong theme? Aren’t dinosaurs out of style now? Is anything that died a million years before the Neanderthal of any interest ? This promises to be as much fun as a trip to the Creation Museum. Of course, something promising to be this pedestrian will inevitably make gazillions of dollars.
Terminator: Genisys: More “Hollywood has run out of ideas” fare directed by the guy who made another “Hollywood has run out of ideas” blockbuster: Thor 2 (2013). The first Terminator (1984) seems, in hindsight, a happy accident. Director James Cameron’s 1991 followup was derivative, sentimental, and sappy. I am unsure how many sequels have been produced since then (sans Cameron and star), but this one attempts to hook us by bringing back “Ahnold.” I thought he became a right-wing extremist and died. Who knew?
Ant-Man: Yet another movie about a funny-paper deity who wears his underwear outside his pants. This is one of the second-tier super guys (a 6-inch one at that), and the director’s resume includes a film that helpedkill his career (Yes Man), one of those anonymous suburban comedies with ‘s ex-wife (The Break-Up), and a 1997 remake of The Love Bug. Its only hope is a sense of humor.
Pan might have a chance to work. Although director Joe Wright’s body of work has been uneven, he has strong visual sensibilities, so this retelling of J.M. Barrie’s fable could be tailor made for him; but star Hugh Jackman hasn’t shown good intuition choosing scripts.
Pixels: Today, there is perhaps no greater name indicating the utter banality of American moviegoer’s taste than Adam Sandler.
The Fantastic Four: Apparently, no one learned their lesson from the last few execrable cinematic attempts at adapting this Marvel foursome of blandness. That no trailer has been released is not a good sign. The director’s only previous credit is a TV series, which most critics panned as obvious and unoriginal.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: Oh, leave it alone. The original’s only charm was as a product of its time and place. Director Guy Ritchie gives “lackey” a whole new meaning. It stars Henry Cavill from the awful Man Of Steel (2013).
Although we consider the summer season as ending in August, four late-in the-year blockbusters are worth mentioning. Spectre re-teams director Sam Mendes with Daniel Craig (as everyone’s favorite 00). The two made Skyfall (2012), which along with Casino Royale (2006) was the best of the franchise since 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). Discounting the dreadful Quantum Of Solace (2008), Craig is the first actor to surpass original Bond.
Martian returns Prometheus (2012) may have exploded the heads of some Alien fanboys, but it was the best science fiction film since A.I. (2001). The writer, , penned and directed the inventive Cabin In The Woods (2012).to a genre that actually fits him. His
At the opposite end of the spectrum is Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Out of six films to date, this franchise has only had a single good production: The Empire Strikes Back (1980). And, does anyone really still think highly of J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboots from 2009 and 2013? Abrams is bringing back Lucas’ original cast, all of whom must be 100 by now.
Mission Impossible 5: After the unfortunate poor box office of Edge of Tomorrow, it seems star Tom Cruise has panicked with this and an upcoming sequel to one of his worst movies: Top Gun (1986). While the last impossible mission received good notices and did well at the box office, director Christopher McQuarrie also teamed up with the actor for the previous Jack Reacher (2012), which failed to produce the franchise it hoped to.
Here’s the poll. You may vote for up to 4 candidates. You may vote once every 24 hours. Poll closes Wednesday, April 22 at midnight EST.