Summer 08 Movie Preview

It’s been a kooky summer so far. If ten years ago someone had told me that then-incarcerated and near-dead Robert Downey Jr. would star in this summer’s biggest and most ecstatic smash, I would have scoffed. Weirder still, we’ve had two successful and actually watchable (wha?) TV adaptations, Sex in The City and Get Smart and also two of the worst films ever made (The Happening and The Love Guru) released within a week of each other. So what’s happening for the rest of the summer?

Wanted. A glitzy, CGI’ed out adaptation of some dark “nihilistic” comic book directed by some Russian dude that made a trilogy of movies about vampires and angels and techno. The preview has new hot dude James McAvoy curving bullets around Angelina Jolie while Morgan Freeman admonishes him to shoot the wings off a fly. Yes, this movie looks really, really stupid, but I can’t help but want to see it.

Wall-E. Pixar decided to remake Short Circuit. This movie will make a billion dollars.

Hancock. Despite the mixed buzz coming off this one, I think it looks rather fun. I especially like the moment when Will Smith flies around drinking a bottle of Hennessy. Plus, it has the always-wry Jason Bateman.

Hellboy 2. Guillermo del Toro must really like that whacky comic book Hellboy. After the staggering Pan’s Labyrinth, I’m a little baffled he decided to make what looks like an extremely expensive ad for a Halloween store.

The Dark Knight. The 800-pound gorilla of the summer, this one looks nothing less than spectacular and is given an icy gravitas from a terrifying performance by the late Heath Ledger. The word on the web is very strong: The Dark Knight could be the one film of the summer to best Iron Man.

The Pineapple Express. Seth Rogen and James Franco star in what I’m hoping will be the year’s funniest film, a stoner-action comedy par excellence. The great Gary Cole co-stars as a crooked cop. Watch the red-band trailer to see what I mean.

Tropic Thunder. Another comedy with huge potential starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr. (playing an Australian actor who plays a black actor in a Vietnam film). If the fake films in this movie are any indication, Tropic Thunder will be hilarious.

So those are the highlights. Hopefully, we’ll have two or three home-runs, a minimum of mediocrity, and only a couple  bone-rattling bombs.

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