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Snarky Remarks and Unfounded Grumblings: A 2005 Summer Movie Preview
by Your eFC/HBS Staffers

Ah, the summer movie season. A time to lock away all the Oscar contenders and lug out the sequels, prequels, remakes, and rip-offs. The megabudget actioners, the brainless comedies, the ones with all them ’splosions. You know, the popcorn movies. Here now is a list of all the major summertime releases, complete with knee-jerk commentary from a handful of your eFC/HBS staffers.

Oh, and if you’re looking for an in-depth preview, you know, with plots and cast and stuff, you won’t find it here. For that, check instead Erik Childress’ Summer Movie Madness Tourney, which will provide the rundown on all the titles listed here, plus a few indie surprises, too. Oh, and because we can, we went ahead and stole Erik’s personal comments on several movies to reprint here; call us lazy and in need of filler.

Oh again: needless to say, all release dates are for North America and are subject to change without notice. Seriously, if you’re using this as your only movie guide, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble.

Anyway, here you go. Snarky remarks and unfounded grumblings. Because we care.

Opening May 6

Kingdom of Heaven


Erik Childress says: Has more of that “1492” flavor than “Gladiator.” Big armies do big things while others stare longingly and make hefty speeches. Still, you have to have some faith in Ridley Scott to undo the epic curse put forth by “Troy” and “Alexander” last year.

David Cornelius says: My wife, like all wives everywhere, is in love with Orlando Bloom. So yeah, I’m sick of this movie already. Still, looks like it could work.

The Ultimate Dancing Machine says: The summer movie most likely to inspire holy war. Thanks, Ridley.

Robert Flaxman says: Can you go wrong with a Ridley Scott historical epic? What I saw of “Gladiator” was ponderous and dull, so I guess you can. Also, you could cast Orlando Bloom in the starring role. I guess he’s a good-looking guy, but aren’t there other good-looking guys in Hollywood who can also act? And grow chest hair?

Natasha Theobald says: Sweeping summer epics can be heaven or pure hell.

Jason Whyte says: Hey, “Troy” didn’t work, “King Arthur” didn’t work and I think we all know how “Alexander” turned out. Still, I’m looking forward to giving Ridley Scott’s new movie a chance, if for no other reason to watch Eva Green (“The Dreamers”) on a massive wide-screen.

Crash

Tash: This cast runs so rich and deep, I can only imagine the material is exceptional to have drawn them all.

Flax: I’ve heard basically nothing about this film until just now, even though it evidently started playing at festivals last September. The cast seems hit or miss – all right, Don Cheadle! Wait a minute, Brendan Fraser! – but the early reviews seem good. I really have no idea what to expect.

Dave: So we’ve got Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Sandra Bullock, Brendan Fraser, Ryan Phillippe, Larenz Tate, and Ludacris. I want to get excited about this, I really do, but… Sandra Bullock? Really? Sigh.

Jason: Having seen the film at an advance sneak preview over last weekend, this is a wonderful film that I hope enough people get to see, what with the big Ridley Scott movie opening on the same day and all. At least it isn’t going up against “Star Wars”…

UDM: I don’t know, the last movie titled “Crash” had James Spader fucking an open wound in Rosanna Arquette’s leg.

House of Wax

Erik: First, shame on you for putting Paris Hilton in a mainstream movie and placing her above the title. Second, haven’t we suffered enough with the “Waxwork” films? Third, if Elisha keeps doing movies like this, she’ll be waiving that no-nudity clause soon enough. So, one positive, since the “Dark Castle” films (“House on Haunted Hill,” “Ghost Ship,” “Gothika”) haven’t been better than mediocre to date.

Jason: Oh, forget “Star Wars.” THIS is my most anticipated film of the year. I mean, whoa; Chad Michael Murray, Elisha Cuthbert and Paris Hilton getting to die? How can one resist that! The theatrical trailers and TV spots give off the impression the film is shot on digital video a la “28 Days Later,” but the film could have also been made poorly. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least…

Dave: The original is one of my favorite movies ever, so you can imagine the primal scream that could be heard around my neighborhood when I first saw the god-awful trailer for this. But here’s a clue as to how badly this one’ll go over: listen around you as people talk about this one. I have yet to hear a single conversation in which the phrase “I hope Paris Hilton dies first/horribly/both” is not mentioned.

UDM: Not just a typical horror remake, it’s a typical horror remake in which you might see Paris Hilton get killed. Box office gold.

Flax: Just what everyone needed, a Paris Hilton vehicle! At least she's not the star, which gives me hope that she will die horribly onscreen, thus realizing the collective schadenfreude of millions.

Tash: Anyone hoping Paris gets it first?

Dave: See what I mean?

Mindhunters

UDM: A mind is a terrible thing to hunt.

Jason: Ahhh, the film that has been delayed for eons is finally getting a release. There’s a reason that this film has been on the shelf for so long; I’ve seen about half of this film and have not returned to it since. Here’s a straight-to-video movie that should have been on the straight-to-video shelf in 2003.

Dave: When a movie’s been rescheduled and delayed for over a year, you realize you’re in trouble. When you see the words “directed by Renny Harlin” added to the mix, you realize it’s time to find a pencil to jab into your eyeball.

Flax: This has only been on the shelf for a whole year. It looks pretty much like formula, and Renny Harlin hasn’t directed a good movie since… I don’t know, does “Die Hard 2” count as a good movie?

Tash: I hope the best parts of the trailer mean they have been smart enough to avoid the pitfalls represented by the worst parts of the trailer. I have my doubts.

May 13

Kicking & Screaming


Erik: Unless it’s directed by Stephen Chow, soccer hasn’t had the greatest success on the big screen. But Will Ferrell has, and now with another family film, I smell some “Daddy Day Care”-type money.

Dave: Pro: Will Ferrell, ’nuff said. Con: This is only the first of three kid-sport comedies due this summer, and they all look exactly alike. Eek.

Flax: I want to like Will Ferrell. I really do. But he seems incapable of making a project that doesn’t cause me to either cringe or roll my eyes when I see the trailer.

Jason: It seems like Universal is trying to make Will Ferrell the next Jim Carrey with this starring vehicle. That said, this film has had some pretty funny trailers (that have played before nearly EVERY movie I’ve seen in the past few months) so I’m curious as to how it turns out.

Tash: Who would win in a fight, Ditka or a dragon? Ditka. (Chicago accent implied)

Monster-In-Law

Erik: From the director of “Legally Blonde” comes “My Best Friend’s Wedding Meets the Parents.” If there’s a single laugh in this trailer, point it out to me. More food allergy jokes (“Hitch”). How dare you even stoop to make a “Jerry Maguire” joke? Unless there’s some Jim Thompson subtext to it all, count me out.

Dave: So Jane Fonda’s back, finally. But in a friggin’ J-Lo dumbass comedy. Yawn.

Jason: This would be a total “pass” for me if not for the “Nah, she can’t be THAT funny, can she?” appearance of Jane Fonda in the previews. Good ‘ol Jane really looks like she’s going to be nuts in this movie, so I have no problem checking out the new movie “From the director of Legally Blonde”…

Flax: The best family-related movie title since “My Stepmother is an Alien,” I think.

Tash: J-Lo with in-law trouble - say it ain’t so!

Unleashed

Dave: Now that “Hero” has reminded me why Jet Li kicks so much ass, why must he now go back to another bland American actioner? Let’s hope the one-two punch of Freeman and Hoskins can keep this one from sucking as hard as, say, “Cradle 2 the Grave.”

Flax: I think there’s a rule that Asian martial arts stars are not allowed to appear in good movies when working outside of Asia. This could be different, but somehow I doubt it.

Tash: An eclectic mix of talent could spell trouble or triumph. I just don’t know.

Jason: If I was forced to pick my favourite martial arts star based on acting ability, Jet Li would be my choice after seeing him in Zhang Yimou’s “Hero.” I’m hopeful that this looks more story-driven than action driven, and the fact Morgan Freeman is in this ramps up the interest factor a few notches.

May 19

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith


Erik: What needs to be said? It’s dark and exciting and amazing. Invent your own adjectives here. Please Lucas. Please make everyone believe again.

Dave: As I’m typing this, I’m wearing a “Star Wars” t-shirt and sitting next to a Mr. Potato Head dressed up like Darth Vader. So yeah, I kinda want to see this.

Flax: Please, George… please, just one more good movie and then you never have to do it again.

Tash: Please, let it be good. Please.

Jason: If you know me, you know that I’m a fan of the original trilogy in its unaltered form (get those on DVD already!), and not a fan of the prequels. At all. To me, they are over-busy visual worlds with hammy acting and god-awful dialogue. Kevin Smith recently “reviewed” “Sith” and said that he loved it, but whether that’s a “I love it because it’s new!” praise or the real McCoy is left to be seen. The trailer is very cool, although its effects may be dated in five years time (“Episode I” is already starting to look a bit “off”). Still, like the last two, I’ll get a few beers in me and get into the line for the midnight show.

May 27

The Longest Yard


Erik: The trailer is more rousing than particularly funny. The sight of Sandler giving a Wet Willy to the referee must be a sign of what level the humor will be at. Of course, Sandler is actually that sign, too. Could this actually knock “Revenge of the Sith” off of its perch in its second week?

Dave: Hey! Let’s take the single greatest football movie ever made and hand it over to the assholes who made “The Waterboy!” Ugh… my brain hurts.

Flax: Could be reasonable, but I wish the remake craze would slow down instead of speeding up. By 2015, every movie will have been remade and they’ll have to start making additional remakes.

Jason: I don’t know why, but I’m really looking forward to this movie. I haven’t liked all of Adam Sandler’s pictures, nor Chris Rock’s, and director Peter Segal made the pretty lousy “Anger Management” a few years ago, but it’s the awesome Burt Reynolds, who starred in the original (unseen by me, but it will be rectified soon), is front and center in this one, and that makes me very curious. It looks fun.

Tash: I can’t help but look forward to this. (Of course, I liked “The Replacements.”) Film football and funny guys are just too hard to resist.

Madagascar

Erik: Advertising the big name voice talent hardly worked for “Shark Tale” (in terms of quality; not dollars). The trailer is spotty, a bit too much Chris Rock attitude, but the animation is solid and the penguins could provide some huge laughs.

Dave: Eh, looks cute enough, I suppose. It’ll be this summer’s obligatory Big Kiddie Movie Hit That Makes Tons of Cash But Winds Up Forgotten In Five Years. I’m sure my daughter will want to see it fifteen times, though.

Jason: The penguins are funny. Damn funny. Every time they show up in the trailers for this movie, I giggle. Too bad that the rest of it looks like yet another computer animated comedy with far too many in-jokes, referential humour and a “Hot, all-star cast” taking credit over the many animators. Let’s hope it ain’t “Shark Tale” and more along the lines of the comedy of Pixar.

Flax: Until someone who isn’t Pixar makes a great CGI animated movie, I’ll always have my doubts.

Tash: Could be colorful.

June 3

Cinderella Man


Tash: Two of my least favorite Oscar winners together in one film!

Erik: Universal is going for that summer “Seabiscuit” money after taking it out of the 2004 Oscar race. After “Seabiscuit” and “Miracle,” this is another sports story that “brought America to its feet” at a time it was down in the dumps. This looks to be more of a contender than a bum, but how many “Caddyshack” jokes will be made about the title?

Dave: Too close to “Million Dollar Baby” for comfort. Even if it’s similar in genre only, it’ll have to work extra hard to shake off comparisons to Clint’s Oscar-winning masterpiece. (What’s that? Paul Giamatti’s in it? Hot dog! And no, it’s not a remake of “Cinderfella.” Darn it.)

Flax: Oscar bait! Oscar bait! Like “Seabiscuit,” seems to vastly overstate the overall importance of its subject in American history.

Jason: Will someone just tell Ron Howard to shoot a Dogma-95 picture, a 16mm documentary or a Kung Fu picture already? I’m starting to get a little weary of the simplistic, James Horner-composed movies that he has been making for so long, and this boxing picture with Russell Crowe looks like everything else he’s ever done. But here’s hoping it’s better than “The Missing”…

UDM: Russell Crowe beats people up. Feels good to stretch your talents, don’t it, Russ?

High Tension

Dave: I have no idea what this is about, but the trailer gives me the willies. Can’t wait.

UDM: “French horror” has roughly the same connotations to me as “Swedish comedy” or “happily married,” but I’ll give it a chance.

Flax: Ooh, a movie that exists basically to kill as many people as possible in as gory a fashion as possible (NC-17 for violence!) for as little reason as possible. Sign me up!

Tash: Looks to be less about tension and more about aggression.

Lords of Dogtown

Jason: A darn good trailer, inspired casting (“Elephant’”s John Robinson is a good Stacey Peralta clone) and I’m a huge fan of Catherine Hardwick’s last movie (“Thirteen”) so I’m definitely in line. Here’s hoping that it has a lot of the same energy that “Dogtown and Z-Boys” (the inspiration for this film) exuded a few years back.

Erik: Did they really “change everything”, other than have a bunch of annoying skateboarders clogging up the streets? Maybe the skateboarding footage is phenomenal, but does anyone remember “Gleaming the Cube” or “Grind?” And yes, I know it’s a true story, but who cares other than those who skateboard?

Flax: Looks like “Boogie Nights” with skateboards.

Tash: If it captures the spirit and soul of the documentary, I will be happy indeed.

Dave: Dude, like, this movie’ll be, like, EXTREME!!! Dude! Dude. EXTREME!!! Like, dude.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Tash: Do these make my butt look big?

Erik: POSITIVES: (1) Joan Girardi & Rory Gilmore are in it. (2) Co-adapted by Elizabeth Chandler who wrote the scripts for two of the better young lady flicks (“A Little Princess” & “What a Girl Wants”) (3) Looks like it could be a pleasant charmer. NEGATIVES: (1) Ken Kwapis is a great TV director but his film projects include “He Said, She Said” and “The Beautician and the Beast.” (2) Co-adapted by Delia Ephron (yes, Nora’s sister). (3) Could be this year’s “Now and Then.”

Jason: Yeah, I’ll be seeing this one, although it has “Divine Secrets of the Blah-Blah Sisterhood” written all over it, and there’s also a massive cult-fanbase for the book on which it is inspired. I was in Vancouver while this film was shooting and met two of the stars (Jenna Boyd, who plays a best friend to Amber Tamblyn’s character, and the ridiculously cute Blake Lively who plays one of the lead girls) so I’m curious to see them in action on the screen. ‘sides, I have no problem seeing a movie with Joan Girardi AND Rory Gilmore in it.

Dave: Ya know, “pants” is a damn funny word. Say it with me, won’t you? Pants. Pants, pants, pants. That said, there is no way in hell you can convince me to watch this movie.

Flax: A magical pair of jeans… yeah, just stop right there.

June 10

Mr. and Mrs. Smith


Erik: Everyone thought “The Bourne Identity” was going to be a disaster, too, and Doug Liman really reigned it in. If people stop trying to “Proof of Life” it and calling Jolie a homewrecker, this could be a lot of fun. Does anyone remember the Scott Bakula/Maria Bello series on CBS this is loosely based on?

Dave: Apparently, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie may have engaged in sexual intercourse with each other. And apparently, I am supposed to care. Which I do not. I’ll see their damn movie - and may even like it, too - but not if “Us Weekly” and “People” keep bugging me about it.

Flax: So, there’s basically one hook to the film – wow, they’re both assassins, and they get hired to kill each other! That’s going to be awk-ward! – and that's supposed to hold up for two hours?

Tash: This looks like sex on a stick to me. Ignore tabloid tomfoolery and enjoy Liman, Pitt, and Jolie doin’ their thing.

Jason: Damn you, Angelina Jolie! This spy-versus-spy flick looks like a gas.

The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl In 3-D

Tash: Here’s to the creative force of nature that is Robert Rodriguez.

Dave: Once again, Robert Rodriguez makes a movie in his basement in four days. As long as this one’s more “Spy Kids” and less “Spy Kids 3-D,” it should rock. (No Stallone in the cast list. We’re safe.)

Jason: It’s Rodriguez. Written by his son. Looks like fun. I’m in.

Flax: I’m pretty sure that three “Spy Kids” movies were more than enough.

The Honeymooners

Jason: I have yet to see previews, TV spots or anything for this film….but cmon, “The Honeymooners?” With Cedric The Entertainer? I like the guy but this looks like yet another black-themed film that won’t open in Canada. And from the director of “Like Mike?” Can’t find fans of that movie. (The only person I’ve met who likes that movie is Jonathan Lipnicki.)

Erik: This is the last straw. What a way to crap on one of the greatest sitcoms in history. I’m done with Cedric the Entertainer. Let’s move on.

Dave: Wow. Just… wow. I mean… wow. The mere idea of this makes me feel like I’m on the bottom level of a two-story outhouse.

Flax: It’s nice that Hollywood is willing to cast black actors in roles that were previously played by white actors rather than sticking to what’s on the sheet – ten years ago, this movie probably couldn't have gotten made. On the other hand, who’s to say it should have gotten made, no matter who’s in it?

Tash: “Hello, ball.”

June 17

Batman Begins


UDM: Batman begins not to suck anymore, if we’re lucky.

Erik: 1992 was the last time anyone was actively excited about a Batman film. Until now. Christopher Nolan is going to bang this out of the park like he was on steroids. Or like Barry Bonds. This is the kind of trailer we love; an extended teaser that doesn’t reveal too much, but hints at true greatness. Bring it home, Chris!

Dave: What, no bat-nipples? (Seriously, though, this should prove to be the fanboy wet dream we’ve been waiting for. But will it be too dark for the kids?)

Flax: I’ve got faith in Christopher Nolan. This may not be the greatest movie ever or anything like that, but it should go a long way towards removing the scars left on the franchise by Joel Schumacher.

Jason: Now if they had a midnight show for this movie in May, THIS is the movie I would be lining up early for. I have only seen teasers so far and wish to see no more. Absolutely everything looks breathtaking in this film, from Chris Nolan’s solid-looking direction to Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne. I’m so there, and should this movie become the next “Catwoman” I will retire as a filmgoer.

Tash: A new beginning is never a bad thing.

June 24

Herbie: Fully Loaded


Tash: Somebody was loaded when this idea came through.

Erik: I’ll admit I respect the Lohan for fulfilling that Disney contract of hers, but that’s about all I can respect anticipating this thing. The director of “DEBS” meets the writers of “Taxi” (who should be doing something far more up to par like their work on “Reno 911!”) Michael Keaton, what are you doing? Get away from the tween flicks. Call Tim Burton. Do a movie with Johnny Depp.

Jason: Aah, the movie where Lindsay Lohan was reported drunk and partying at clubs in Vancouver while shooting. Signing to do a HERBIE movie would do that to all of us, don’t’cha think? As for Michael Keaton and Matt Dillon, who really knows why they WANTED to do this movie…

Dave: Breckin Meyer, you are no Dean Jones. (I’m not even sure what that means, actually…) Oh, and if you are above the age of six and have any desire to see this movie, may I suggest punching yourself in the face instead?

Flax: The more movies like this Lindsay Lohan is in that do well, the longer it takes before she has to take her top off to get noticed. I say it’s time for a boycott.

Bewitched

Erik: There’s probably a great satire buried in here somewhere, but this revisionist approach to the old TV show looks very confused and unworthy of the talent it has. Kinda like last year’s “Stepford Wives.”

Dave: I don’t care about the old show. I loathe Nicole Kidman. And yet it’s got Ferrell and Carell, which means I’ll have to see it.

Flax: The trailer for this? Pain. If this had to be remade, couldn’t they have mostly stuck to the plot? Why turn it into this mind-numbing, meta-plotted garbage?

Tash: Confuse me? Here’s hoping the movie is less oblique than the trailer makes it seem.

UDM: “Bewitched” or “Herbie” - "Gee, honey, which useless remake should we see tonight?"

Land of the Dead

Erik: The master returns with a last-minute addition to the summer season. What serious horror fan ISN'T excited about this one?

Dave: A new Romero zombie movie? Did you just say there’s a new Romero zombie movie? I’m sorry, I just soiled myself. (Oh, and I can’t wait for “George A. Romero’s Land of the Lost.”)

UDM: I'd like to say something obnoxious about this, but I actually wanna see it.

Flax: The latest film in what is apparently a resurgence of interest in zombie movies, but this one is by the guy who made them famous, George Romero. The question is, is it possible for even Romero to do anything new with zombies at this point?

June 29

War of the Worlds


Jason: Never heard about this one. What is it about? Steven Spiel-who? I kid, of course, and this movie looks huge.

Erik: The marketing on this has been brilliant, much the same way “Jurassic Park” barely showed you any dinosaur footage. This looks to have surprises galore and put that crap called “Independence Day” in its place.

Dave: Sure, it’s Spielberg and Cruise, and the last time they teamed up, they gave us “Minority Report,” one of the best sci-fi movies in recent memory. But it also looks like they’re using the famous title and little else, which, as a Wells fan, cheeses me off. Of course, I’ll see it anyway.

Flax: I like Spielberg, I really do. But I just can’t see any way that this is more than a CGI-laden time-passer, and I’m the guy who thinks “Jurassic Park” is one of the best movies ever made.

Tash: Let’s hope this doesn’t confuse Bush into ordering a pre-emptive strike on Mars.

July 1

Rebound


Erik: Did someone just take the “Juwanna Mann” script and rewrite key passages? And did I hear Lawrence actually use the Gene Hackman “scoreboard…winners” line from “Hoosiers?” How dare you?! How dare you, sir?!! I’ve got “Kicking & Screaming” with a spread of minus 40 over “Rebound.” Any takers?

Dave: Martin Lawrence movies, by their very nature, make me ill. Pass.

Flax: Nothing like a movie with a ridiculous premise to get me fired up to see it. Martin Lawrence vehicles do seem to have that problem.

Jason: I guess Martin Lawrence has to do this to either get out of his contract with Fox, or he REALLY wants to do “Big Momma’s House 2” and has to do this one first. Whatever the case, the trailer ain’t funny.

Tash: Everyone knows the rebound relationship is temporary and ill-advised.

July 8

Fantastic Four


Erik: A lot to live up to after last year’s “Spider-Man 2” and this year’s “Sin City” and impending “Batman Begins.” It doesn’t get much better as comic book adaptations go, and I don’t know if Tim “Barbershop”/“Taxi” Story has the stones to pull it off. It ran running from “War of the Worlds” and could be this year’s “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.”

Dave: I’ll tell ya, this was one of the worst trailers I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen the trailer for “Racing Stripes.” And it just keeps looking dumber. Expect a massive first weekend box office take… followed by a drop-off bigger than that of “Hulk.” At least we get to see more of the Commish.

Tash: Less iconic figures seem to have a tougher sell. We’ll see if they can stir the imagination enough to get non-fan butts in seats.

Jason: Either we’ll have something very cool in the vein of “X-Men,” or we’ll have “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” on our hands. I’m REALLY hoping for the former…

Flax: You know this is going to suck.

Dark Water

Erik: A supernatural horror film from the director of “The Motorcycle Diaries?” Could be interesting. As long as the original Japanese directors aren’t on board the American remakes (ahem, “The Grudge,” “The Ring 2”), there’s been some success. Though can we lose creepy children, nursery rhymes as horror clichés, and the ultimate life source as a deadly metaphor?

Dave: There’s a good chance that Jennifer Connelly will spend a good chunk of the film wearing a wet, clingy shirt. Gentlemen, the line forms behind me. (And please, no “Pirates of Darkwater” jokes. Thank you.)

Flax: I think I would be a lot less annoyed by all these J-horror remakes if they didn’t all seem like more or less the same film.

Jason: A horror flick from the director of “The Motorcycle Diaries?” I’ve seen that noisy trailer too many times…

Tash: Must be an air-tight lease.

July 15

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


Erik: An appropriately bizarre teaser has to get fans of both the book and the original film giddy. Anyone else smell a third straight Oscar nomination for Depp? Maybe this is his year.

Flax: The new Willy Wonka, guaranteed to scare the hell out of your kids or your money back.

Dave: Well, if anyone’s going to soil the memory of “Wonka,” it might as well be two guys oddball enough to deserve a try. And so far, it’s looking downright brilliant. One false step, though, and there won’t be a review around that doesn’t bring up the “Planet of the Apes” debacle.

Tash: Depp and Burton give me hope that this will be ooey-gooey, non-sacharine family fun.

UDM: The summer release most likely to spawn a porno parody.

Hustle & Flow

Dave: I’m sorry. I keep seeing Isaac Hayes name in the credits, and all I can think about is “Chocolate Salty Balls.” As for the movie itself, I dunno. Haven’t heard a thing yet.

Flax: I accept rap as a viable form of music, but that doesn’t mean I want to see more than a couple movies where the plot is “a guy tries to break into the rap game.” That plot was old when “rap game” was replaced with “moving pictures.”

Tash: Mid-life career changes are always somewhat of a challenge, pimp-to-rap star perils notwithstanding.

Into the Blue

Dave: Paul Walker, Jessica Alba, and Brandon from “The Goonies.” Make up your own punchlines, people.

Flax: On the one hand, Jessica Alba in a bikini. On the other hand, Paul Walker is the star, and if you can think of a worse actor I will give you ten dollars.

Tash: Girls in bikinis; boys doin’… something.

The Wedding Crashers

Erik: David Dobkin got his “Shanghai Knights” star and his “Clay Pigeons” star together. Now he has to deliver. The trailer is a good start which promises to be the great, raunchy comedy guys have been dying for. And if crap like “Old School” can make $70 million…

Dave: All you need to do is mention “Vaughn” and “Wilson,” and I’m there.

Flax: Vaughn and Wilson look funny, but I just can’t get past the premise.

Tash: Crash into me.

July 22

The Island


Erik: The first Michael Bay film I’m actually intrigued to see. Lots of Bay’s standard slow motion and crashes, but nothing to make you physically ill the way “Pearl Harbor” or “Bad Boys II” did. At least, not yet.

Dave: Being one of the twelve people on the planet to like “Pearl Harbor,” I don’t have this anti-Bay grudge so many others have. (Although “Bad Boys II?” Yowza, that blew.) So yeah, I really want to see this one. Killer cast, intriguing (if derivative) premise. And Shawnee Smith is in it, and I’ve been crushing on the Shawnee Smith since, well, forever.

Flax: So… “The Matrix.” Plus “Logan’s Run,” maybe? It looks more interesting than most Michael Bay stuff, but certainly not any more creative.

Tash: Sci-fi in the summertime! Wherever Ewan goes, I will follow.

The Bad News Bears

Tash: Hopefully the news isn’t all bad.

Erik: I wish I could be more excited about remaking a genuinely subversive classic, but doesn’t Billy Bob look like he’s revisiting that “Bad Santa” role a bit too much? Then again, if you liked “Bad Santa” (which I didn’t), maybe you’ll be front-and-center.

Dave: Hey, Erik, I liked “Bad Santa.” But I’m still iffy on this. Here’s hoping genius casting makes up for the fact that nobody should’ve touched this classic title in the first place.

Flax: It’s a good thing this doesn't come out until July 22, because I’m going to need those three months to invent a device that can harness the energy generated by Walter Matthau’s spinning corpse.

The Devil’s Rejects

Erik: I have no idea why I’m looking forward to this film, considering Zombie’s “House of 1000 Corpses” is a serious piece of garbage. Maybe it’s the hard “R” compared to all the kiddie “PG-13” we’ve been inundated with. Plus Lt. Callahan is in it. I don’t know why that’s worth mentioning. But it’s a fact.

Dave: Didn’t care for “Corpses,” don’t care about this one. But I’ll probably go see it anyway, because I can’t stay away from the horror flicks.

Flax: If there’s a more random movie pitch than “Rob Zombie writes and directs this film about crazy characters going on a killing spree, and also at least two of them are named after Groucho Marx characters,” I’m not sure what it is.

Tash: If the devil doesn’t want them, I just don’t know.

The Perfect Man

Flax: The perfect movie to keep me out of the theater.

Erik: “Sleepless In A World Where Heather Locklear Can’t Get A Man?” It’s hard to buy this movie from the get-go when the first half is about how old Locklear is looking and after loser-after-loser she finds Mr. Big. Please! Put Bonnie Hunt in the role and we might have something interesting. Right now it’s hard to gauge how cloying or melodramatic this thing could be. Could just be harmless mediocrity.

Dave: Hilary Duff movies are the works of the devil… yet I’m curious about Carson Kressley’s name in the credits. Could be a fun cameo in an otherwise miserable, terrible, putrid, god-awful, no good film.

Tash: Duff and Locklear - are we sure this wasn’t made for the ABC Family Channel?

UDM: To steal a line from screenwriter Terry Rossio, movies with the word “perfect” in the title ALWAYS suck.

July 29

Stealth


Erik: Could be the funniest film of the summer. The “Iron Eagle III” of this generation. Jessica Biel is in a bikini. Key Line: “I don’t think war should be some kind of video game.”

Dave: Jamie Foxx’s first post-Oscar movie, and he goes with… a giant dumbass action flick, made by the numbnut who gave us “The Fast and the Furious” and “XXX.” My guess: numbnut dumbness beats out Foxx goodness.

Flax: Seems like an interesting concept, but I’m willing to guarantee a mediocre execution.

Tash: How will we find it?

The Brothers Grimm

UDM: Insert Weinstein brothers joke here.

Dave: It’s Terry Gilliam, which means it will be great. Also: It’s Terry Gilliam, which means no one will bother to see it.

Erik: It’s Terry Gilliam. Period!

Flax: The plot sounds weak, like a “Frighteners” retread or something, but with Terry Gilliam directing, it could still be cool.

Tash: This is the film I most desperately want to see. I’m a-flutter just thinking about it.

Must Love Dogs

Dave: Oh, must I?

UDM: Does this mean the movie’s a dog?

Tash: I don’t think this is supposed to sound dirty - but it does.

Erik: Great. Another Diane Lane comedy about not finding a good man. Did they officially stop offering these roles to Ashley Judd and Meg Ryan?

Flax: A romantic comedy! I bet it won’t be formulaic!

Sky High

Erik: “The Incredibles” meets “Spy Kids?” Cool to see Kurt Russell AND Bruce Campbell on board, but director Mike Mitchell is responsible for not only “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo” but “SURVIVING CHRISTMAS!!!”

Dave: Dude, this one’s giving me a “Thunderbirds” vibe. And I’ll tell you a secret: I actually liked “Thunderbirds.” So when even I tell you that a “Thunderbirds” vibe may not be a good thing, you know things might not be too good. Then again, Kurt Russell, man. Bruce Campbell, man. That’s cool casting, man.

Flax: I liked it better the first time, when it was called “The Incredibles.”

Tash: Clever family films are at a high premium. Fingers crossed.

August 5

The Dukes of Hazzard


Flax: Annnnnd, stop.

Erik: Sue me, but I’m looking forward to this. I think the casting is perfect. Jay Chandrasekhar really proved something with his work on “Club Dread.” We’ll see once the trailer is unleashed.

Dave: Well, I actually hated “Club Dread,” but I did like “Super Troopers,” so that cancels that out. It’ll all come down to one question: can the super cool casting of Scott and Knoxville win out over the complete obnoxiousness of the talentless Simpson?

Jason: Those Broken Lizard people can be darn funny; but can they take one of my favourite shows from my youth and make a good movie out of it? It doesn’t help that Jessica Simpson is in it…

Tash: Cheers to some good ol’ boys.

Red Eye

UDM: Terror has a new name...Visine Eye Drops.

Erik: Slyly deceptive trailer lures you into what looks like a remake of “Turbulence.” But Wes Craven is due after getting past the whole “Cursed” debacle and while it may not sound as much fun as “Snakes on a Plane,” this could be a late summer surprise.

Dave: If the movie’s even just half as cool as the trailer, we’ll have ourselves a winner.

Flax: Interesting to see Craven go for one that seems more like suspense than horror, but maybe that’ll mean it’ll actually be worth seeing. I’m not holding my breath.

Tash: Traveling can be so stressful, even when Wes Craven isn’t your booking agent.

3001

Erik: Judge hasn’t done anything theatrically since “Office Space,” but he’s a solid satirist and this could be “Sleeper” 30 years later.

Dave: Sure, it looks like an obvious Woody Allen/”Futurama” rip-off, but c’mon. It’s Mike Judge, people. It’ll be gold.

Flax: Sounds a little bit like a live-action version of “Futurama,” with any number of differences. It'll be interesting to see how Mike Judge envisions the future.

Tash: I hope the smartest guy on the planet premise doesn’t spell dumb humor from the rest.

August 12

Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo


Tash: European Gigolo? I’m not buying.

Flax: Yeah, I’m sure this was necessary.

Erik: Did you ever thought you’d hear the words “Deuce Bigalow…IS BACK!” Animal and midget jokes. Great. The trailer sums it up pretty well “Same Ho…New Lo.”

Dave: May God have mercy on us all.

UDM: Clearly, Rob Schneider has pictures of somebody fucking a donkey.

Domino

Erik: Could be just quirky enough to entice the “True Romance” and “The Professional” crowds. Not Keira’s best haircut, but the trailer looks cool and a script by Richard “Donnie Darko” Kelly has to excite.

Dave: Oh, come on. I should not have laughed this much during the trailer. Knightley as gun-totin’ badass? Really? Really?? I don’t buy it.

Flax: I guess this is as good a time as any to see if Keira Knightley can actually carry a movie.

Tash: It looks like it has style to spare. Substance may be optional.

Everything Is Illuminated

Dave: Liev Schreiber directing Elijah Wood? I don’t care what it’s about. I’ll be there.

Flax: Based on what I’ve read, the book on which this is based seems like it would make a difficult adaptation. On the other hand, I haven’t read the book, so it’s not like I’d notice.

Tash: Liev Schreiber in the director’s chair is enough to intrigue me.

Four Brothers

Erik: John Singleton does another remake. Yay----wwwnnnnnn! Admittedly his remake (“Shaft”) was miles better than his sequel (“2 Fast 2 Furious”).

Dave: “Katie Elder” goes ghetto, eh? With Singleton in charge, I’ll take a look… but I’ll go in with low expectations. Very low.

Flax: The current plot outline for this is about six words longer than the film’s title, so I’ll withhold comment for the moment.

Tash: Family ties can be binding.

Skeleton Key

UDM: “From the screenwriter who brought you that inexplicable horde of crazed deer in ‘The Ring Two’…”

Erik: The writer of “The Ring 2” and “Reindeer Games” meets the director of “K-PAX.” Wake me when it gets scary.

Dave: Quick! Name the last good Kate Hudson movie! It’s been five years since “Almost Famous.” And it doesn’t look like this’ll be the one to end the losing streak.

Flax: Ehren Kruger seems to be a busy boy this summer. That said, I have no interest in this at all.

Tash: I’m gonna leave this one locked up.

August 19

Valiant


Erik: If you can understand the international trailer, let me know what was said. That obstacle aside, it looks like “Chicken Run” with pigeons that starts off looking funny and builds to some cool-looking action. Delayed from April to August. Late August. Maybe not the best sign, but I’m down.

Dave: So Disney’s freaking out already about losing Pixar, they’ve gone and snapped up another animation company’s film to release? Interesting. As for the actual movie, I haven’t seen much about this yet, but from what I have, it looks like it’ll work. Sign me up.

Flax: What an odd concept. Does Ewan McGregor like getting in front of the camera anymore, or has “Star Wars” burned him out and he’s going to stick to voice acting?

The Cave

Erik: Delayed from April into the summer. Can’t be as bad as an Uwe Boll flick, but when even the trailer refers to them as “expert cave explorers” we’re probably looking at some serious MST3K fodder. How intense can that creature violence be with a PG-13?

Dave: The tagline reads: “There are places man was never meant to go.” Like theater seven, now playing “The Cave.”

Flax: Let’s see… generic title, no stars, minor change to an otherwise pretty standard horror plot, late August release date. Yep, this is going to blow.

Tash: No mention of Plato in the trailer, so I’m guessing there’s no relation.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

UDM: Gary Coleman’s comeback film!

Flax: Well, it certainly wins the prize for “Most Self-Explanatory Movie Title.”

Tash: With the talent involved, this screams sleeper to me.

Erik: Steve Carell may actually be hotter than Will Ferrell is right now. Who would have guessed it? He stole “Bruce Almighty” in one scene from Jim Carrey. He stole “Anchorman,” and that’s saying a lot. He’s helped do the impossible by making the American remake of “The Office” actually damn funny. This could be a surprise little hit.

Dave: I drank a lava lamp once. It wasn’t real lava.

Zu Warriors

Dave: About. Damn. Time. Been waiting four years for this puppy. Damn you, Miramax!!

Flax: Along with “Hero” and “Shaolin Soccer,” one of the films that Miramax bought and then decided, for whatever reason, not to distribute until years later. In this case, “Zu Warriors” was made in 2001! “Hero” was good and “Shaolin Soccer” got more or less good notices, so that this film has been sitting on the shelf is probably not indicative of its quality. That plot seems more out there than the average wuxia film, though.

August 26

Cry Wolf


Tash: Never cry wolf.

Erik: Trying for that late (and dead) final week of August where the “Jeepers Creepers” and “Anacondas” money awaits.

Flax: I’d say this sounded interesting if it weren’t a “thriller” being released in the dregs of the “Summer’s Over” season. Terrible shame, that.

Dave: Jon Bon Jovi’s in it. Need I say more?


link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=1465
originally posted: 05/03/05 07:04:48
last updated: 05/04/05 02:56:06
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