Summer Movie Preview: June

summer-preview-june-2

Summer 2010 proved to be an absolute flop by many’s standards and Hollywood has responded by giving us more of the same. This means sequels, remakes and adaptations up the wazoo. Will Hollywood miss the mark again? Probably, but you won’t have to visit an air conditioned theater to find great films this year. You’ll see smaller indies hitting the VOD scene more and more this summer, and this might be where you find the real gems of the season. Contribute to the discussion below in the comments!

June 3: X-men: First Class, Submarine, Beginners
June 10: Super 8
June 17: Green Lantern, Mr. Popper’s Penguins
June 24: Bad Teacher, Cars 2, Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
June 29: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

first-class-poster

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence

TRAILER

X-Men: First Class (June 3)

Grisly Gunnar: I love the premise, I love the cast, I didn’t like Kick-Ass, but I think Matthew Vaughn has a lot of potential. My vote for best comic book movie of the summer. And the slew of great early reviews only heightened my anticipation. And the reviews aren’t like the early Thor reviews that were positive in large numbers, but none overly positive. (Anticipated Grade: A)

Rebel Rikki: Again, Gunnar may be right about that. While Thor is my most-anticipated superhero movie, X-Men’s pulling a close second, and this was a project I was opposed to for a long time. The trailers and cast have really won me over. I think it would be wise for this movie to focus on being a period piece for the 1960s, something the first trailer hints at strongly. This could definitely end up being the best X-Men film of them all. (Anticipated Grade: A-)

Spaceman Spiff: I was lukewarm about this movie for a long time, but the casting and the trailers have served to get my pulse a little quickened. If it only serves to wash away the unpleasant aftertaste of Wolverine and X3 it’ll be well worth the price of admission. Also, January Jones in an Emma Frost costume? Yeah, I’m in… (Anticipated Grade: A-)

Gunnar: Just too bad she isn’t a very good actress…

Rikki: I have never seen a picture of a girl in an Emma Frost costume that wasn’t hot. Prove me wrong, Internet.

Noah Nickels: I agree with Spiff at first i wasn’t too thrilled, but the trailers have gotten me a little more interested. If nothing else this film will be know for the unintentionally worst movie posters in the history of film. Gunnar, I find January Jones to be a pretty good actress, in Mad Men at least, she plays a spoiled bitchy brat very well,. So well, in fact, that I’d have a hard time pretending to like her in real life. (Anticipated Grade: B)

Gunnar: You apparently didn’t see Unknown, Noah…

submarine

Directed by: Richard Ayoade

Starring: Craig Roberts, Sally Hawkins and Paddy Considine

TRAILER

Submarine (June 3 – limited)

Noah Nickels: This one has a good buzz brewing after its appearance at Sundance. It looks a bit derivative and is trying to hard to play like a darker Wes Anderson film. I’ll still give it a shot, but I don’t think this one is going to be as clever as everyone wants it to be. (Anticipated Grade: C)

Grisly Gunnar: IT Crowd is one of my favorite comedy shows (if you haven’t seen it, check it out on Netflix Instant), and Richard Aoyade is great on that show. We’ll see what he can do as a director, but he is super funny and hip. I think the trailer looks pretty cute, and I didn’t make the negative connection to Wes Anderson. (Anticipated Grade: B+)

Noah Nickels: Its only negative in the sense that people should leave Wes Anderson’s films to Wes Anderson and make their own movies instead of trying to imitate his work all the time, but that could just be the fault of the trailer and the marketing team trying very hard to make it look like such.

beginners

Directed by: Mike Mills

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and Mélanie Laurent

TRAILER

Beginners (June 3 – limited)

Noah Nickels: I am pretty much a sucker for French music, or anything that sounds french or sounds like it should be played on a record player. So, yeah, that version of Stardust which hits two of the three requirements listed above is enough to get me to see the movie. Having said that, this one looks like it’s going to be awesome. I love the bit in the trailer where Plummer jots down “house music” on his notepad, such a subtle perfect encapsulation of who that character is. (Anticipated Grade: A)

Grisly Gunnar: I really don’t have much to say on Beginners — it’s just not on my radar. It has good early reviews and I’ll certainly see it, but it’s not a film that has grabbed my attention. (Anticipated Grade: B-)

super-8

Directed by: J.J. Abrams

Starring: Elle Fanning, Amanda Michalka and Kyle Chandler

TRAILER

Super 8 (June 10)

Grisly Gunnar: I anticipate this will be near the top of my list at the end of the year. I’ve been trying to stay away from as much promotional stuff as possible, so I don’t know a lot about the premise outside of the obvious. J.J. Abrams wowed me with Star Trek, and I think he can do the same here. (Anticipated Grade: A)

Rebel Rikki: Yep, I’m with Gunnar on this one too. Star Trek was balls-to-the-wall awesome, and all the early material I’ve seen for Super 8 is amazing. Abrams has an imagination that rivals anyone’s in Hollywood, and I’m confident he can wow us with this bad boy. (Anticipated Grade: A-)

Spaceman Spiff: Cloverfield was a pleasant surprise… even with the fact that I only first watched it a few months ago. I have a lot of faith in Abrams and I’ll certainly be looking forward to this one. (Anticipated Grade: A)

Noah Nickels: For a multitude of reasons my favorite decade in film is the 70s, one of those reasons being the early Spielberg films Close Encounters and Jaws, even E.T. in the 80s. When I saw that creme colored truck barrelling toward the railroad crossing in the very first Super 8 trailer i got nerd chills on my arms. I immediately knew what they were trying to do. This one is going to be special, a movie like i remember loving when i was a kid. No doubt this one will live up to the hype. (Anticipated Grade: A)

lantern

Directed by: Martin Campbell

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Peter Sarsgaard

TRAILER

Green Lantern (June 17)

Rebel Rikki: The Wondercon GL footage improved my opinion of this movie’s CG. What it doesn’t change is that I believe this movie fundamentally misunderstands the character of Hal Jordan. I also think it’s completely miscast. I have negative anticipation for this movie, and quite simply I think it will be fairly terrible. (Anticipated Grade: D)

Grisly Gunnar: I’m not tied to the character, so if I didn’t hear you say that, it wouldn’t have influenced me at all. So, basically, thanks for ruining it… Anyway, I have a little more hope for this movie as long as the CGI doesn’t look as cartoony as Thor. (Anticipated Grade: C+)

Noah Nickels: I am not familiar with the book and I‘ve been a fan of Ryan Reynolds since the Pizza Shop days, so I don’t have any reservations about his attempt at the character. At first I was really turned off by the CGI suit, but each successive trailer appears to be better than the last. I am a sucker for sci-fi and I like that a lot of this looks to take place in the ole outer space. We’ll see, i don’t expect it to blow me out of the water. (Anticipated Grade: B-)

poppers

Directed by: Mark Waters

Starring: Jim Carrey, Carla Gugino and Angela Lansbury

TRAILER

Mr. Popper’s Penguins (June 17)

Grisly Gunnar: Jim Carrey and penguins. Need I say more? (Anticipated Grade: C)

Rebel Rikki: I think I read this book in second grade.

Noah Nickels: I dig me some penguins, but the trailer for this looks worse than bad. Groin shots, penguins farting in the pool and more groin shots. Snoozeletown.(Anticipated Grade: Z for Zzzz)

Grisly Gunnar: I have to say, I haven’t seen the trailer, but by your review of it, I have to change my anticipated grade. (Anticipated Grade: A+)

teacher

Directed by: Jake Kasdan

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake

TRAILER

Bad Teacher (June 24 – limited)

Rebel Rikki: My introduction to this movie came in the trailers ahead of Paul. Despite having this feeling like I shouldn’t like it, I really enjoyed what I’ve seen; I think the cast is solid and the premise has a lot of potential for comedy. Teacher irresponsibility is also kind of a hot-button issue in films right now; maybe wrongly, I expect this movie to be the comedy answer to Waiting for Superman. (Anticipated Grade: B)

Grisly Gunnar: I’ll wait for Horrible Bosses, instead. (Anticipated Grade: C-)

Noah Nickels: JT is beginning to look like a bonafide actor, not sure why he picked this one. The only line in the trailer that makes me laugh is the argument Jason Segel has with the student about Lebron and Jordan. The premise for this film is pretty low, even by summer comedy standards — a teacher must get kids to pass test in order to win money for boob job. Really? That gets a green light these days? (Anticipated Grade: F)

cars

Directed by: John Lasseter, Brad Lewis

Starring: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy and Michael Caine

TRAILER

Cars 2 (June 24)

Grisly Gunnar: Again, a movie coming out this summer is going to tempt/force me to see the original. It’s Pixar, so it gets a break, but I don’t know if their magic will totally continue. (Anticipated Grade: B)

Rebel Rikki: I’ve never seen Cars, having been kept away by the cast and premise. I’ll watch it one day, but it’ll probably be the last Pixar movie I haven’t seen. I really have no interest in its sequel. (Anticipated Grade: B-)

Noah Nickels: Pixar’s films usually appeal to more than just children, but in the case of the Car’s franchise i am afraid that isn’t true. I’ll leave this one to the wee ones. (Anticipated Grade: C)

conan-o

Directed by: Rodman Flender

Starring: Conan O’Brien, Andy Richter and Jimmy Vivino

TRAILER

Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (June 24)

Noah Nickels: I saw the live performance of this show and loved it. Conan has charisma and despite being a superstar maintains an everyday quality through his constant self deprecation. I think the behind the scenes alone will be worth the price of admission. (Anticipated Grade: B+)

Grisly Gunnar: Conan O’Brien is always an interesting figure and enjoyable to watch. I hope the doc doesn’t just become a love fest on Conan, which always irks me with docs like this. (Anticipated Grade: B-)

Rebel Rikki: Judging by the trailers, this looks like it’s going to be pretty funny. But I agree with Grisly — these docs can end up going pretty soft on their subjects, and I feel like this one is going to take that turn. I want to see it, but I don’t have sky-high expectations. (Anticipated Grade: B-)

transformers

Directed by: Michael Bay

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Tyrese Gibson

TRAILER

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (June 29)

Grisly Gunnar: My biggest question isn’t “Will I be fooled by the trailers to think this will actually be good?” it is “Should I actually kill myself to watch the first two before I see this?” (Anticipated Grade: D+)

Rebel Rikki: You have to have low expectations for Transformers movies. Do giant robots fight each other? Do things blow up? Is Peter Cullen Optimus Prime? I mean, honestly, what more can you want? I actually thought Revenge of the Fallen was better than the original movie because it had more robots in it, and I think when it comes to these movies that’s a totally valid criticism. So far, the robots I’ve seen in the trailers for Dark of the Moon haven’t impressed me. (Anticipated Grade: C-)

Spaceman Spiff: Another “wait for rental” …and even then it’ll only be because I wanna see downtown Chicago get blown up.

Grisly Gunnar: Spiff brings up a good point for us locals — I also love seeing movies and how they portray the Second City. With all the crazy stories from the production of the film, that will be an added benefit for some (including me).

Noah Nickels: I wasn’t very excited about this until I saw the latest trailer.. I’m sorry but it looks BA. That in addition to the removal of Megan Fox, Bay’s admission that the second one was garbage and the inclusion of Frances McDormand makes me think this one is going to be the best so far. The action looks slowed way down, partly to account for the 3D and partly because Mr. Bay listened to the fans who want to see the transformers… uhm.. transforming and fighting which is impossible when the edits are coming at a seizure inducing 24 cuts per second. (Anticipated Grade: B+)

tags: bad teacher, beginners, cars 2, conan o'brien can't stop, green lantern, mr popper's penguins, submarine, super 8, transformers: dark of the moon, x-men: first class

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