Location: Los Angeles, California

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Summer Movie Season

So, the summer movie season officially began yesterday with "Spider-Man 3" grossing $59 million, the largest single-day gross ever. I'll get around to see the movie sometime next week, although I've been hearing some pretty negative things about it.

This summer looks to shatter box-office records. There's the third Pirates, the third Shrek, the third Harry Potter, the third Rush Hour, the third Bourne, not to mention The Simpsons Movie, Ratatouille, Transformers, Evan Almighty, and Ocean's 13. Expect to read stories all summer long about how much money these movies are making.

And yet, I'm not really looking forward to most of them. If "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" is anything like "Dead Man's Chest," we're in for one long slug of a movie (the reported running time is 170 minutes).

The trailers for "Shrek 3" haven't impressed me. The movie is looking really desperate in searching for jokes; it seems to be simply relying on previous jokes in the series instead of searching for true satirical inspiration.

Don't get me started on the reasons why we don't need a third "Rush Hour."

Not to mention yet another "Ocean's" movie.

"Transformers" is directed by Michael Bay, so that pretty much means there's a 1% chance it'll be good.

"Evan Almighty" might be fun, but its bloated $170 million budget (this is a comedy, folks) is disconcerting.

So, it's a summer of excess, sequels, threequels, remakes, and a whole lot of moneymaking because the masses love to go see things that remind them of things they've seen before.

It's a strange phenomenon - people are much more eager to see something if they know what's it's going to be like (hence the record numbers for "Spider-Man 3"). But, offer the public something truly original, and they scratch their heads.

That said, this summer may contain a few gems. I'm looking forward to these pictures:

May 25 - Paprika

I'm an anime buff, and this looks to be one intriguing, weird, mess of a movie. Directed by Satoshi Kon, who made the complex and absorbing "Perfect Blue."

June 1 - Knocked Up

Early reports are saying Judd Apatow's new comedy is even better than "The 40-Year-Old Virgin."

June 22 - Black Sheep

Gotta see the New Zealand zombie sheep movie.

June 29 - Ratatouille

Pixar can do no wrong, and Brad Bird ("The Incredibles") is one of the most talented animation directors around. The 9-minute preview at is breathtaking.

July 13 - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I've enjoyed all the Harry Potter movies, and the trailer for this one is rather striking (beautiful cinematography by ace Slawomir Idziak).

July 27 - The Simpsons Movie


August 10 - Stardust

I cherish Neil Gaiman's books, so I'm hoping for the best. If anything, it'll be nice counter-programming to all the big-budget gluttony.

August 17 - The Invasion

This started as a picture by Oliver Hirschbiegel, who directed the masterful "Downfall," and has since been taken over by James McTeigue ("V for Vendetta") and the Wachowski Brothers ("The Matrix"). Who's artistic vision will win out? Will it be a complete disaster? Either way, I'm intrigued.


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