Doug: 2014 Summer Movie Preview

2014 Summer PreviewAfter Blogger pissed me off the last few weeks, I’m toying with moving all my future reviews over to The Hodgepodge Podcast page. So, I figured why not start with my 2014 Summer Movie Preview, which was taken down from my Blogger page for dubious reasons. Let me know in the comments if you want all the reviews in one place or if you like it the way it is now. Thanks for reading and listening!

2013 was a fantastic year for films, so it’s going to be tough for 2014 to measure up. While the summer movie season is technically from May through August, one could argue that the best blockbuster of the year has already been released in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but we’ll see if the rest of Hollywood can keep up.

Like I did last year, I’ll be focusing on a small list of titles, as there are over a hundred films due out over the next four months. I’ll detail some that I really want to see, a bunch that are interesting and will probably check out, some I’m on the fence about, and the few that I have absolutely zero interest in and may even actively campaign against. Don’t forget to click on the film titles to see trailers (if one has been released yet). I’ve compiled the lists in order of release—as of right now—and we kick it off with the return of a certain web-crawler.

Films I Have to See

Amazing Spider-Man 2 (5/2) – You wouldn’t be blamed if you thought you’d already seen this film with all the clips and footage that have been officially released online. Director Marc Webb is back with star Andrew Garfield to tell the continuing adventures of The Amazing Spider-Man. Sony is making a big push to make their corner of the Marvel Universe—they own the rights to all things Spider-Man—as big as what Disney has going on with Marvel Studios. The problem is, how can you do that when you only have one hero in your stable? The answer is two-fold: beat your hero like a dead horse and focus on the villains. Spider-Man has always had the most colorful rogues’ gallery next to DC’s Batman and if you’ve seen any of the trailers for the next installment, there will be no less than three classic Spidey villains brought to life with hints of several others sprinkled throughout. The film definitely looks good—truly a comic book come to life—but, the last time a Spider-Man film focused on three villains, we got the colostomy bag that was Spider-Man 3. After a first installment that basically remade Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, but just substituted the Lizard in for Green Goblin, part 2 has a lot of work to do to differentiate itself from the previous Spider-Man films. I’m still waiting for a great Spider-Man film to be made. I’m hoping Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be it, but the more I see of it, the more nervous I get. I love Garfield as Peter Parker and Emma Stone is fantastic as Gwen Stacy, but we’ll see if the writers nailed the story—with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci involved, I highly doubt it. Jamie Foxx stars as Electro and Paul Giamatti and Dane DeHaan also put in appearances to make Spider-Man’s life a living hell. Hoping for the best with this one, but there’s really no way I’m going to skip seeing it. (I should have skipped it. Here’s my review)

Neighbors (5/9) – Full disclosure, I’ll be screening this one nearly a month before it’s released wide, so I’m not really anticipating it per se. The film stars Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne as a young married couple who go to war when a raucous fraternity moves into the house next door. The frat is led by former Disney pretty boy Zac Efron with Dave Franco from 21 Jump Street acting as his partner in crime. The concept is completely implausible, but the trailers have been absolutely hilarious. If I wasn’t already seeing this in April, I would definitely be checking it out in May. It is the first of a few comedies I’m really looking forward to this summer. (Checked this out last month on a free screening. It’s funny as hell, but something kept me from loving it. Here’s the review.)

The Double (5/9) – The Double is the second doppelganger film I will be seeing this year, with the first being Enemy. However, The Double looks to be a much lighter affair even though there will definitely be creepy thriller aspects to it. The film is directed and co-written by Richard Ayoade, so it will definitely be funny, but what really drew me to this one was Jesse Eisenberg playing the role of Simon and his exact double, James. There’s a real Nutty Professor vibe in that Simon is a very timid and self-conscious man, while James is the exact opposite. Slowly, James tries to take over Simon’s life. It looks to be a solid dark comedy and Eisenberg has been great in pretty much everything I’ve seen him in so far. The film will be a simultaneous release in theaters and On Demand in the U.S.

Chef (5/9) – While the title of this film is Chef, it could also be called How Jon Favreau Cashed in on his Iron Man Clout. Favreau writes, directs, and stars in this film about a talented chef who decides to stop working for other people and go into business for himself running a food truck. The first trailer is absolutely charming and has an all-star cast including Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Dustin Hoffman, Bobby Cannavale, Oliver Platt, and Robert Downey Jr. Now, I’m not sure how big the roles are for Hoffman and RDJ, but just showing up in the film shows how much clout Favreau has since he launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man back in 2008. The film looks to be a sweet comedy and I’ve liked most of Favreau’s films. The premise could also be reflecting the director’s own desires for his film career as Chef gets him back to the indie film territory that made him famous. (Was lucky enough to catch this just this week at the NY Film Critics Series showing. Great flick. Here’s the review.)

Godzilla (5/16) – “Doug, what’s with all these small indie flicks? We want blockbusters!” Well, here’s one for you. After 1998’s disastrous attempt to launch a franchise, I was wary when I heard another Godzilla film was on the way. Then I saw the first trailer. Director Gareth Edwards has created the perfect vibe in all the trailers that have been released so far. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the star creature and the atmosphere has been downright spooky. In short, it looks like Edwards has succeeded in making Godzilla scary. The cast is topnotch, headed by Bryan Cranston with support from Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, and Ken Watanabe. The latest trailer explains a little more of Cranston’s character’s history with the creature, which sets up a real Jaws-type obsession for him. Then, I found out something troubling: Cranston’s character’s last name is Brody…just like Roy Scheider in Jaws. I don’t know if that’s intended to be clever homage or cheesy wink. Hopefully it’s the former, because aside from that, it looks like Edwards is doing everything right with this re-launch of Godzilla.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (5/23) – Director Bryan Singer returns to the franchise he started with 2000’s X-Men with the fifth—seventh if you count the two Wolverine films—X-Men feature, Days of Future Past. The title comes from the classic two-part story by Chris Claremont and John Byrne in 1981 that tells of a dark, post-apocalyptic future where mutants are hunted by the government and either executed or thrown into concentration camps. Kitty Pryde’s consciousness is sent back in time to her younger body to warn the X-Men of the future and to help them stop the event that will set the extinction of mutantkind in motion. Unfortunately for Ellen Page, Hugh Jackman is a bigger star, so in the film version, Wolverine replaces Kitty. Almost all the X-Men from the past films—at least those who aren’t dead—are back for this epic tale, along with some new faces. The bulk of the story takes place in the past—the 1970s, to be exact—and focuses on Wolverine’s interactions with the cast from 2011’s First Class. With this film, we’ll finally get the massive, robotic mutant-hunters the Sentinels, though they won’t be as large as they were in the comic books. Also, it looks like Singer is trying to clean up a lot of the continuity errors and hit the reset button on the X-Men franchise with this one. Time travel opens the door to basically erasing the error that was X-Men 3. I have my theories on how it will all end, but another X-Men film is already set for 2016, so the mutant train isn’t stopping any time soon. The latest trailer looks great after a first that didn’t really tell us anything. It looks like Singer is trying to give the audience as much as he can while still playing his cards close to his vest. I love the X-Men and I’m hoping that Days of Future Past will at least measure up to the gold standard in the franchise: X-Men 2. Singer directed that one too—go figure.

Edge of Tomorrow (6/6) – Based on the novel All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Edge of Tomorrow is a military science fiction film that borrows its conceit from Harold RamisGroundhog Day. That may sound stupid, but the trailers so far have been interesting. Tom Cruise plays a military officer sent to the front lines of a war with an alien invader. He is killed in battle, but then wakes up the day before the battle, caught in a time loop—like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. As he relives the same day over and over again, he meets Rita (Emily Blunt), a world class and world-famous soldier, who offers to train him in combat every day he wakes up. (Hilariously, Andie McDowell’s character is also named Rita in Groundhog Day, but the name also survives from the original novel). Basically, it is what it sounds like: an action-sci-fi Groundhog Day and it looks really great. No matter how nutso he gets in his public life, I like Cruise as an actor and will see pretty much everything he’s in. I’m hoping this is a little better than his last foray into science fiction, Oblivion. The film is directed by Doug Liman, who also has his list of hits and misses. So, this one could go either way, but I’m hoping it’s good.

The Fault in Our Stars (6/6) – Young adult fiction is all the rage in Hollywood these days and The Fault in Our Stars, based on the John Green novel of the same name, looks to be a winner. The film stars Shailene Woodley as Hazel, a teen terminal cancer patient. At a support group, she meets Augustus (Ansel Elgort) and the two share an instant connection, leading to a seemingly doomed romance. Woodley has become one of my favorite actresses, so that’s what initially drew me to this film, but there have also been a few great young adult adaptations as of late including The Spectacular Now and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The Fault in Our Stars looks to be in line with those two films and I’m really looking forward to it.

Trust Me (6/6) – I hadn’t heard anything about this film until I was ready to put this list to bed, but now that I’ve researched it a bit, it jumped into my Must-See list, (see kids, research can be fun!). The film is the baby of Writer-Director Clark Gregg—yes, Agent Coulson from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.—who also stars as a former child star-turned child actor agent. It’s a dark comedy in which Gregg’s character spars with his nemesis played by Sam Rockwell—always a reason to see a film. The rest of the cast includes William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, Amanda Peet, and Allison Janney. And, just when I was getting interested in this film, I was reminded that Gregg wrote and directed the adaptation of Choke by author Chuck Palahniuk. Boom. Sold…as long as it plays near me.

22 Jump Street (6/13) – 21 Jump Street was funnier than it should have been. Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the movie completely subverted the premise of the original television show to the point where the movie should have just been called Undercover Cops. That annoyed me, but I couldn’t deny that the film was hilarious. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum make a great pair onscreen and I’m hoping that the sequel, 22 Jump Street, will be at least as funny as the first. The problem with this, of course, is the fact that comedy sequels, moreso than any other genre, are often way worse than the original films they were based on. However, Lord and Miller have proven to have the golden comedy touch—hell, they even made a movie about Legos one of the best films of the year. So, I’m looking forward to this one and hoping for the best. Parts of the trailer look to be a rehash of the last movie, but as long as there’s more Rob Riggle than is revealed in the trailer, I’ll be happy. (TRAILER NSFW)

Snowpiercer (6/27) – Snowpiercer is a film with what you would call an interesting story of how it got to U.S. theaters. Co-written and directed by Joon-ho Bong, the film is a science fiction tale about a failed experiment that wipes out most life on Earth. The remnants of humanity exist on a train called Snowpiercer and a class system has developed onboard. It is a South Korean film, but its main cast is made up of mostly American and British actors including Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, and Captain America himself, Chris Evans. The Weinstein Company secured the distribution rights for the United States and then announced they would cut twenty minutes from the film to make it more palatable to the U.S. audience—i.e. dumb it down for the dummies. A huge fight erupted between the Weinsteins and Director Bong, who wanted his original cut—the one that was released in South Korea in 2013—to be released. Finally, after much complaining from cinema fans and facing a lot of bad PR, the Weinsteins relented and agreed to release the film as is…but on a limited release schedule. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this one and the premise is very cool. If there’s one film on this list that you should absolutely seek out this summer, it’s Snowpiercer.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (7/11) – 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a huge surprise that summer. No one was expecting much from this attempt to reboot the Planet of the Apes franchise, but what we got was one of the best movies of not only that summer, but the year. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes picks up the story as the remaining humans and the super-smart apes creep closer to war. The human cast is all new and includes Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, and the great Gary Oldman, but all fans of the first movie need to know is that Andy Serkis is back as Caesar. Serkis is the undisputed king of motion capture performance and Caesar was an amazing accomplishment in Rise. I’m very excited for this film. The trailers haven’t shown too much yet, but after the first film, I’m giving the filmmakers the benefit of the doubt.

Jupiter Ascending (7/18) – Whenever anyone says “The Wachowskis,” the first thing that usually comes to mind is The Matrix, quickly followed by the two sub-par sequels to The Matrix. However, since unleashing Neo on the world in 1999, the Wachowskis have done some interesting work. Speed Racer was a film that many people wrote off, but is actually pretty good, really capturing the feel of the old cartoons. Their most recent film, the adaptation of Cloud Atlas, was a mind-bending film that divided audiences—I liked it a lot, though. So, I’m looking forward to seeing their latest, Jupiter Ascending, this summer. From the trailers, the world of Jupiter Ascending is similar to the future-set chapters of Cloud Atlas, but on crack. The film looks to be a visual feast. The story comes across a little dopey, but I’m hoping there’s a lot more to it when I get into the theater. Mila Kunis plays Jupiter Jones—not the same Jupiter Jones from The Three Investigators—a young woman who has had a lot of bad luck in her life. All that changes when she comes across Caine (Channing Tatum), who reveals that she is next in line to be Queen of the Universe. Unfortunately, the current King of the Universe (Eddie Redmayne) isn’t too keen on this, so he sets out to stop Jupiter from fulfilling her destiny. It looks great, but the screenplay is everything. I’ll definitely check it out, but I’ll be cautious, knowing the Wachowskis like to make their movies as weird as possible.

A Most Wanted Man (7/25) – Directed by Anton Corbijn, A Most Wanted Man is adapted from the John le Carré novel of the same name. It is also one of the last films of the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman. The fact that this is one of Hoffman’s last films is reason enough to see it, but add to it that it is based on one of le Carré’s novels and it becomes a must-see. The story centers on Gunter Bachmann (Hoffman), a German intelligence officer who heads an anti-terrorism team. Bachman’s team tries to make inroads into the Islamic world in the hopes of shutting down high value terrorist targets. The stellar cast includes Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe, and Daniel Brühl. I enjoyed the last le Carré adaptation, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy starring Gary Oldman, but audiences should be warned, le Carré’s spy stories are not of the James Bond variety. They are generally slow-moving cerebral affairs as opposed to wham-bam action. I enjoy Corbijn’s work as a director, from his music videos to his two features, Control and The American. I’m confident he’ll hit this one out of the park and I’m especially looking forward to Hoffman’s performance in this.

Guardians of the Galaxy (8/1) – Even though Marvel Studios is currently conquering the Cineplex with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the studio didn’t have any plans to sit out the entire summer of 2014. However, their lone entry into the summer blockbuster season is perhaps the biggest gamble Marvel has undertaken yet. Guardians of the Galaxy is a straight-up space adventure with a bunch of bizarre characters general audiences have never heard of. In fact, the only thing going for this film with Joe Blow moviegoer is the Marvel name and the trust they’ve built up with consumers over nine previous films. Oh, and it looks like this one is going to be a comedy. The story centers on Peter Quill or Star Lord (Chris Pratt), a half-human, half-alien hybrid who bounces around the galaxy getting into trouble. He and his friends—two of which are a talking raccoon, Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and a walking talking tree, Groot (Vin Diesel)—come across an orb that attracts some powerful enemies. If you’re at all interested in Avengers 3—no, not 2015’s Age of Ultron, the one after that—it all starts here…I think. Everything about me wants to love this movie, but the first trailer left me a bit cold. To me, the comic beats felt a little off, like the timing wasn’t right or something. I’m hoping a new trailer will hit soon and allay these fears because the film looks great. I’m cautiously optimistic about this one and hoping it’s more Star Wars and less Fifth Element. Head over to The Hodgepodge Podcast where Dirty A, special guest Matt King, and I talk more about Guardians and Marvel.

Get on Up (8/1) – Chadwick Boseman, star of last year’s 42, takes another stab at a biopic as he stars as the Godfather of Soul, James Brown in Director Tate Taylor’s Get on Up. The film tells Brown’s story from childhood up through conquering the music scene. Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis also star with Dan Aykroyd, no stranger to soul music from his time as Elwood Blues, showing up as a talent agent. I liked Boseman a lot as Jackie Robinson, so I’m interested to see if he can bring the same level of performance to tell James Brown’s story. The trailer looks good, so I’m hopeful.

Let’s be Cops (8/13) – I knew nothing of this film until I saw the first trailer about a week or so ago. The film stars Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. as two buddies who go to a costume party dressed as LAPD cops and are mistaken by people for real cops. Then they take the joke too far and try to actually be cops. Eventually, they run afoul of some real criminals and hilarity ensues. The trailer is very funny and the summer needs more R-rated comedies like this, so I’m definitely going to check it out. Wayans is a chip off the old block and I enjoyed Johnson’s performance in last year’s Drinking Buddies. I know the two of them are on New Girl now, so it will be interesting to see their small screen chemistry projected up on the big screen. (TRAILER NSFW)

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (8/22) – Though it feels like this film has been in development forever, the sequel to 2005’s Sin City is almost here. Many members of the original film’s cast will be back. If you’ve seen that film, you’re probably asking yourself, “How?” Well, A Dame to Kill For is a prequel to Sin City, though the narrative structure could be all over the place since this film, like the last, is an anthology. So, some of the tales are definitely prequels, but others may just have flashbacks. Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller are both back in the director chairs with Miller adapting the screenplay from his own previously published comics. The stylized look of the first movie remains, which was half of the draw, honestly, and it’ll be interesting to see how this material plays almost a decade later. I enjoyed the first Sin City film, so I’m looking forward to this one.

Frank (8/22) – Frank is a story about music and a guy Frank (Michael Fassbender) who wears a big papier-mâché head. The movie is fictional and was a hit at Sundance earlier this year, but it is mainly inspired by Frank Sidebottom. Along with Fassbender, the film also stars Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Scoot McNairy. This one looks like it could be weird, but the right kind of weird. I’m really interested in seeing it. Hoping it turns up in my area theaters. Note: I found this somewhere online that it was being released this summer, but other sources don’t have it listed, so don’t be surprised if this slides to Fall.

Interesting Films I’ll Probably See

A Million Ways to Die in the West (5/30) – I laughed at Seth MacFarlane’s Ted the first time I saw it. The film definitely had its problems, but I laughed. The second time I saw it, those problems became glaring. When I saw the trailer for his western-comedy, A Million Ways to Die in the West, I laughed at some of it, but something about it really grated on me—21st Century speech and colloquialisms. The greatest comedy-western of all time is Blazing Saddles, and while it was a farce, the actors played it like a real western, even when they spilled onto the modern day film lot at the end. From the trailer, this movie looks like a couple of time travelers landed in the old west and started hamming it up, especially MacFarlane. If that’s the premise, great, but unless this film is absolutely hilarious, the modern day speech is going to stop me from loving it. (TRAILER NSFW)

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (6/13) – I’m not the biggest fan of Dreamworks Animation’s films. The first Shrek was great, but the series then devolved into what most other Dreamworks Animation films become: pop-culture-reference garbage cans. The one exception, or so I’ve heard, is 2010’s How to Train Your Dragon. I’ve yet to see that one, but I’m planning on watching it before the sequel comes out. If I like it, I’ll check this one out; even if I think hearing Jay Baruchel’s voice for two hours will be the same as listening to nails on a chalkboard. We’ll see how it goes. (Also, don’t take that to mean I don’t like Baruchel—he was great in This Is the End—he just doesn’t have a voice for animation).

They Came Together (6/27) – Besides its hilarious title and the fact that it stars Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler, I don’t know much about They Came Together, which is why it didn’t make my Must See list. From what I understand, it’s supposed to be a send-up of romantic comedies, which could be a disaster or epically funny. It’s the brainchild of The State veterans David Wain and Michael Showalter, so it definitely has potential. I’ll more than likely check this one out unless I see a trailer that is absolutely awful.

Boyhood (7/11) – This is probably one I’ll end up catching on video because its listed running time is 163 minutes, but it’s a fascinating project. Writer-Director Richard Linklater has been filming this movie over the course of a decade. Why? Because the young man at the center of the story, Mason (Ellar Coltrane) is the same actor from age 5 to age 18. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke—Linklater’s collaborator on the Before trilogy—play Mason’s parents. I’m really curious about this one, but that’s a daunting runtime and I’ll probably have to take it in on the couch instead of a theater.

Sex Tape (7/25) – Sex Tape is another comedy that could be a huge hit or an unmitigated disaster. It stars Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz as a couple who films a sex tape and then tries to prevent the tape from getting out once it’s been uploaded to “the cloud.” The film is directed by Jake Kasdan, who also directed Walk Hard and Orange County, but it stars Diaz who is hit and miss. The first trailer had its moments, but it didn’t totally pull me in. This one will require more thought. (TRAILER NSFW)

The Giver (8/15) – Adapted from the 1993 novel by Lois Lowry, The Giver tells the story of a future society where one person holds the entirety of the world’s past. Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is the Receiver of Memories and he will receive them from The Giver (Jeff Bridges). The society they live in is a utopia, but what did humanity give up to get to that place? The premise is interesting and the book won all kinds of awards, but since I never read the book, I can’t name this a must-see. I’m definitely interested, though. I may read the novel beforehand, which could push this one into must-see territory.

On the Fence

Maleficent (5/30) – The premise behind Disney’s Maleficent is interesting, in that it tells the origin of Disney’s most notorious villain from Sleeping Beauty. However from the trailers, it looks like they’ll almost be turning Maleficent into a heroine, which doesn’t work. She put a curse on a baby. There’s no real way to walk that back. Still, Angelina Jolie looks great in the role and there are some other great cast members in Sharlto Copley and Elle Fanning. I’ll probably check it out, but I’m definitely wary.

Transformers: Age of Extinction (6/27) – I’m still on record as saying that the only good Transformers film was the 1986 animated one with Judd Nelson and Orson Welles, (“You’ve got the touch!”). However, there is only one reason why I would see this Michael Bay-sure-to-be-awful-crapfest: The Hodgepodge Podcast. There’s no denying that Transformers 4 will be one of the biggest movies of the summer and I kind of feel obligated to see it for the podcast. Dirty A isn’t so sure, so we’ll see what we decide by June 27th. Also, a friend of mine made an excellent point—how is this film not titled Trans4mers?

The Purge: Anarchy (7/18) – I know. I know. HOW is the sequel to one of the worst films of 2013 even on my “maybe” list? Quite simply, after seeing the trailer I remarked to Dirty A, “See, that’s a smart way to continue the series.” Instead of following the characters from the first film, Anarchy focuses on a new set of characters caught in the insanity of The Purge. For those who don’t know the premise, in a future America, crime is legal for one night a year—ALL crime. This film focuses on some folks who get caught outside during the chaos and it looks like Frank Grillo plays a vigilante of some sort trying to bring sanity to an insane world. It will probably be terrible, but maaaaaayyyyybe….

Hercules (7/25) – Didn’t this movie already come out in January? Anyway, Hercules looks like a Conan rip off judging from the trailer, except this one stars The Rock—doesn’t that make it more of a Conan rip off then? Now, I like The Rock. While I don’t love all his movies, he’s usually good in the—WHAT? BRETT RATNER IS DIRECTING? Ooh boy…gonna need a minute over here. This could jump from bad movie to unmitigated disaster.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (8/8) – The first trailer of the rebooted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arrived a week or so ago and…it doesn’t look terrible. Of course, it’s just a teaser, but the turtles look all right. Now, I’m not sure why they cast Caucasian William Fichtner as the Japanese Shredder, nor do I understand how Shredder and April O’Neil’s (Megan Fox) father teamed up to create the turtles—as the trailer implies—but will all these changes to the heroes’ origin derail this latest attempt to re-launch their movie careers? At the same time, the comic that all of this is based on was originally intended as a send-up of Daredevil and Uncanny X-Men, so does it really matter? I’m interested, but will wait for a more detailed trailer before I make a decision on whether to see this one or not.

Lucy (8/8) – Lucy looks to be a cross between Limitless and X-Men. The film stars Scarlett Johansson as a woman forced to be a drug mule. When the package bursts inside her, she begins to gain super powers because the drugs allow her to “use more of her brain.” Okay…. The film is written and directed by my personal favorite filmmaker, Luc Besson. It could be a fun film or it could be a struggle to sit through. Morgan Freeman also stars. Hey, I sat through The Family, this can’t be much worse, right?

Hell No

Blended (5/23) – It’s another Adam Sandler “comedy.” Need I say more? This one has Sandler re-teaming with Drew Barrymore as two single parents who can’t stand each other, but through a ridiculously contrived coincidence end up together on an African safari trip along with their kids. Cue embarrassing stereotypes and awful attempts at humor.

Earth to Echo (7/2) – Some kids discover an alien and try to protect him from nefarious forces while trying to help him get home. Sound familiar? From the trailer, Earth to Echo looks like a complete rip off of E.T. but with a found-footage bent. E.T. is a classic that does not need to be remade or ripped off. Super 8 came dangerously close to it a few years ago and the make-up of the group of friends in Earth to Echo looks closer to Super 8 than E.T., but just…no. And the found footage thing was over after Chronicle. Just stop.

Tammy (7/2) – This is the one film on my “Hell No” list that I may reconsider after seeing a better trailer. However, from the teaser that was released not so long ago, it looks to just consist of Melissa McCarthy hamming it up for no good reason. Don’t get me wrong, I like McCarthy. She was great in The Heat and in Bridesmaids, but Identity Thief was an affront to God. Right now, Tammy, written and directed by McCarthy’s real-life husband, Ben Falcone, looks to be more Identity Thief than The Heat. Tammy (McCarthy) gets fired from her job, finds out her husband is cheating on her, and then takes off on a wild road trip with Grandma (Susan Sarandon). Another trailer may change my view, but for now, Hell No. (Saw the most recent trailer – it’s definitely a hell no for sure)

Planes: Fire & Rescue (7/18) – Go away Dane Cook! No one likes you! Although this movie isn’t technically a Pixar film, can we all agree that the “CarsUniverse” needs to take a nice long dirt nap?

And that’ll do it for my 2014 Summer Movie Preview. Aside from the films that I listed in my “Hell No” list, I’ll probably see most of these films and you can be sure that reviews will follow right here. Thanks for reading and if you want a more comprehensive summer preview, I suggest checking out Entertainment Weekly’s just-released issue on the subject.


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