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Summer Movie Preview – Five to Watch

May 13, 2010

The summer movie season is at last upon us.  Here are five movies on my radar for the months of June and July.  Be sure and stay tuned for the Rapid Reviews as the opening dates arrive.

JUNE 11th: The A-Team

That rag-tag bunch of talented misfits you remember from the iconic 80s show are back, albeit in typically “modernized” fashion.  This time, Liam Neeson takes on the leader role as Hannibal.  Joining him are Bradley Cooper as Templeton “The Face/Faceman” Peck, District 9‘s Sharlto Copley as “Howling Mad” Murdock and newcomer Quinton Jackson as B.A. Baracus.  The preview currently racing through theaters is promising:  equal parts mayhem and mischief, but the director, Joe Carnahan, is best known for directing the box office and critical bomb Smokin’ Aces. We’ll have to wait and see on this one.

JUNE 18th: Toy Story 3

Over ten years after Toy Story 2 was released, Pixar finally unveils the last movie in the Toy Story trilogy.  Toy Story is Pixar’s iconic and most recognizable movie franchise, managing to please both adults and kids alike with its sentimental yet chuckle-worthy characters and dialogue.   Let’s face it – the plot of part 3  is relatively unimportant.  Pixar is on a role after last year’s release of the charming and original Up, which was easily one of the best movies of the year, if not the decade.  Let’s hope they can keep the magic coming this summer by re-invigorating that long-lost crew of unforgettable toys.

JUNE 18th:  Jonah Hex

We go from a cartoon for kids to a comic book hero very much for adults.  Played in the movie by Josh Brolin, Jonah Hex is one of DC Comics’ lesser known anti-heroes.  He’s a heavily scarred product of the Old West, bent on avenging the innocent.  He’s not a very likable guy.   Along for the ride in this adaptation are John Malkovich as the “heavy”, Turnbull, and Megan Fox as the inevitable love interest.  Brolin has wisely been choosing unique and interesting characters to portray in the past ten years, and this could be a big win or a big bomb for him, depending on how the film unfolds.  Ironically enough, Hex is directed by Jimmy Hayward, a former animator for Pixar, and his movie will go head to head with Toy Story 3 on its release date.

JULY 16th: Inception

Talented and fascinating director Chris Nolan follows up The Dark Knight with this psychological/sci-fi tale starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard and Ellen Page.  At its heart is the idea of “dream invasion”,  which may turn into more of a weapon than an asset.  It will be nice to see DiCaprio spread his wings and crawl out from under Martin Scorsese’s protective hold.  Marion Cotillard has been giving interesting and overlooked performances in underperforming movies such as Public Enemies and Nine. She could use a hit.  Let’s face it: even Nolan’s less successful films (The Prestige, Insomnia) are still vastly entertaining in comparison with most summer fare.  Inception should stand a pretty decent shot at being a summer movie smash, if only a critical one.

JULY 23rd: Dinner for Schmucks

Director Jay Roach, best known for Meet the Parents, offers up this comedy starring Paul Rudd and the ubiquitous Steve Carrell.  Rudd’s character tries to impress the suits at his company by finding the perfect (or perfectly awful) party guest for their “Dinner for Schmucks”, where the guest isn’t in on the joke.  Rudd is a perfect everyman, and Carrell, if he can dial down his tendency towards “aw, shucks”  mania, could be a fabulous foil.  If the script is right, this one could be the comedy hit of the summer.

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