Monday, May 23, 2011
Musings Through Filtered Ears #3
Prepare for excess... summer is here!
The summer movie kickoff continues this weekend with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. I will not be seeing this one; not now, not ever. I barely made it through the first one without chewing my fingernails off out of boredom. I thought it was a bloated, lumbering exercise of product placement and brand marketing. I skipped the sequels since I knew they weren't for me. Even with this weekend's somewhat underwhelming $90 million opening (underwhelming compared to the triple-digit openings of the other sequels, that is), Pirates 4 surely will go on to please many hardcore Depp fans and those who like their popcorn movies loud and soulless.
Of course, not all of us like our summer blockbusters devoid of originality. I'll be the first to admit I love things that blow up real good (I'll be queueing Transformers: Dark of the Moon when it comes to DVD, spank you very much), and I can certainly appreciate a good sequel or three. But, dammit, it seems that every week this summer has a sequel or a franchise. I'm excited for some of them (welcome back, Mr. McQueen), but what I'm really getting enthusiastic about are the originals.
So below, with as little fanfare as possible, the five films I'm eager to see this summer.
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 - Dir. David Yates
I haven't seen part 1 yet (the DVD is resting comfortably at home, awaiting my availability), but I'm a big admirer of this movie series, which had more ups than downs during its impressively storied run. In hindsight, the previous episodes tend to blur together (I get the events in Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince mixed up all the time) and I'm hoping this extended finale allows it the chance to stand out from the other entries. That said, each Potter film is a magical experience in their own way. These movies are very special.
4. Cars 2 - Dir. John Lasseter and Brad Lewis
It's Pixar. Of course I'm dying to see it. On more of a personal note, I get to see it with my 3-year-old boy during a rare outing to the multiplex. Thanks to him, I've only seen the original about, oh, 58 times. Is it the best of Pixar? Not quite -- I'd rank Cars below the Toy Story series and Finding Nemo. Still, I'm thrilled to be spending some more time with McQueen and his buddies.
3. Crazy Stupid Love - Dir. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
John Requa and Glenn Ficarra are two for two. They wrote Bad Santa and wrote/directed I Love You Philip Morris, and both films landed on my Best Of lists in their respected years. They are comic geniuses, specializing in dark, offbeat humor that is not quite for everyone. Their latest film stars Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling (in a rare appearance in comedy and looking damned good), Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon, Julianne Moore and the delightful Emma Stone. This could be the comedy of the year.
2. Cowboys and Aliens - Dir. Jon Favreau
Even though it's based on a comic book, it still looks new to me. I had never heard of the original source. The premise sounds exactly what a summer blockbuster should be: aliens land in the old west in their attempt to take over the world and a bunch of cowboys try to stop them. That's all I need to know! The pedigree behind the camera and in front of it makes me excited about this one. Director Jon Favreau can handle action and comedy, and writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof are well-established writers of the genre (Star Trek, Lost, Alias). And the cast is filled with heavyweights: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Keith Carradine, Walton Goggins and Clancy Brown. Count me in.
1. Super 8 - Dir. J.J. Abrams
If there's only film I see in the theater this summer, it's this one.
Fright Night, Our Idiot Brother, Captain America and Bad Teacher could very well be successful pictures. They are intriguing at face value but I need to see/read/hear more before they are upgraded to "must see" status.
And because it's not really a "summer" movie, I intentionally left out Tree of Life. Of course I want to see it. The mixed buzz will not deter me from sampling this polarizing film. I'm simply entranced by the beauty of it -- the poster, the clips, everything. I look forward to gauging the American response on this one next week.
It's like looking in a mirror
Ever rent a movie you are just dreading to see? I got Rabbit Hole from Netflix two weeks ago and I still haven't watched it. I keep putting it off because I have a feeling I'm going to be a wreck. It's the story of a couple (Kidman, Eckhart) who are grieving for the loss of their four-year-old son who was tragically killed after chasing their dog into the street.
I have a 3.5-year-old son.
I have a dog who likes being chased.
I'm married to Nicole Kidman.
This one just hits too close to home.
All hail the queen
a phenomenal piece in this month's New York magazine. It sheds some light on the tumultuous first season of Roseanne, a show that faithful readers know is my all-time favorite sitcom.
If you're thinking the whole Charlie Sheen mess sounds a little bit familiar, then read on and you'll see why. It's a blistering, funny, scathing read for all fans of Roseanne, Roseanne and domestic goddesses of the world.