2006 Summer Movie Preview: July
Let’s not mince words, because our very lives depend only upon truth: there is only one movie that matters in the month of July – and no, we did not intend to invoke so much alliteration – and that is “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.” Sure, there are some other noteworthy movies both major (“Miami Vice”) and cult (“Strangers with Candy”), but let’s be honest: they’re just taking up space, trying to find a weekend safe from the inevitable box office and cultural phenomenon that is “Snakes on a Plane.” Only one more month, only one more month….
The Pitch: Captain Jack (Depp) owes a small debt to one Davy Jones (Nighy). Okay, maybe it’s not a small one: he owes him his soul.
The Buzz: Buzz hardly matters for a movie like this. The general consensus of the first “PotC” movie was “Oh, great, another movie named after a Disneyworld ride.” $300 million and a Best Actor nomination later, they had a franchise on their hands. The most amusing part for us is how much Knightley’s stock has risen since the first installment, while Orlando Bloom’s has fallen in inverse proportion.
Trailer Highlight: That creepy children’s reading of the “yo ho ho and a bottle of rum” song.
Bottom Line: It’ll be just like the first one: average, and massive.
Official Web Site: http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/pirates/
The Pitch: IMDb said it best: Bob is a dealer of a new drug called "Substance D." Fred is a cop, and is assigned to bring Bob down. However, what they don't know is, due to a personality-splitting side effect of Substance D, Bob and Fred are actually the same person.
The Buzz: In a likely effort to get the taste of his “Bad News Bears” remake out of his mouth, Linklater goes all “Waking Life” on us again, shooting his adaptation of a popular Philip K. Dick story in live action and then animating the whole thing. Is it just us, or is Warner Independent turning into the coolest studio in Hollywood?
Trailer Highlight: It’s gotta be Woody’s line: “What if they came in through the bathroom window, like that famous Beatles song?”
Bottom Line: Beats the hell out of a mammoth, Sharon Stone, and Larry the Cable Guy. Sign us up.
Official Web Site: http://wip.warnerbros.com/index.html?site=ascannerdarkly
Little Man (Revolution, July 9)
Actors: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Tracy Morgan, Brittany Daniel, Alex Borstein
Director: Keenen Ivory Wayans
Read our review
The Pitch: A midget criminal on the lam poses as the adopted son of the man who unknowingly possesses the diamond the thief just stole.
The Buzz: That sound you hear is the entire staff of Warner Brothers’ Termite Terrace spinning in their graves. This is the Baby Face Finster cartoon (“Baby Buggy Bunny”), done Wayans style. Lord help us.
Trailer Highlight: “Percy, it’s me.” “Did you get the diamond?” “No, I’m in time out!”
Bottom Line: You know that PT Barnum saying about how you’ll never go broke appealing to the lowest common denominator? These guys are living proof of it.
Official Web Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/littleman/index.html
Strangers with Candy (ThinkFilm, July 7)
Actors: Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello
Director: Paul Dinello
The Pitch: A prequel to the short-lived but rabidly adored Comedy Central show, about a mid-40’s ex-convict (Sedaris) who enrolls in high school in order to get her life back in order.
The Buzz: Holy complications, Batman. This movie has been in the can for ages, but a legal issue and distributor change delayed it until now, and that’s probably a good thing; the show has blown up on DVD, and the movie is stacked to the gills with cameos (Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Allison Janney, Ian Holm).
Trailer Highlight: No trailer available at press time.
Bottom Line: We’d call it the cult movie of the year, but that honor is saved for a certain movie starring Samuel L. Jackson
Official Web Site: http://strangerswithcandymovie.com/
Pulse (Dimension, July 14)
Actors: Kristin Bell, Rick Gonzalez, Ian Somerhalder
Director: Jim Sonzero
The Pitch: When a young man commits suicide, his friends begin receiving strange emails and transmissions, and before you can say “White Noise,” the dead are about to take over the world.
The Buzz: Yet another Japanese horror flick remake, this one seems to be a blend of “The Ring” and “The Grudge,” though the comparisons to “White Noise” cannot be ignored. And hey, what’s another four month release delay? (This was originally slated to come out in March)
Trailer Highlight: The WWII bomber plane falling from the sky. Pity it’s from the original Japanese version.
Bottom Line: They always suck us in, but almost never deliver. Color us skeptical.
Official Web Site: No US site yet, but you can check out the original at http://www.pulsefilm.com/
The Pitch: After losing his job in order to attend his best friend’s wedding, Randy Dupree (Wilson) is invited to crash on the newlyweds’ couch.
The Buzz: The Russo brothers’ last directing gig (“Welcome to Collinwood”) didn’t yield spectacular results, but after working on the set of “Arrested Development” for the past few years, we’re willing to give them another shot.
Trailer Highlight: The money shot of Hudson in a pair of sexy briefs.
Bottom Line: You might as well see “The Break-Up” at the discount theater.
Official Web Site: http://www.youmeanddupree.com
Monster House (Sony, July 21)
Actors: voices of Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Lee, Kathleen Turner, Jon Heder
Director: Gil Kenan
Read our review
The Pitch: A CGI tale about two boys who have reason to believe that the abandoned house across the street has a life of its own.
The Buzz: We’re shocked that Tim Burton or Peter Jackson didn’t find the time to get involved with this one, since it has their sensibilities all over it. It does, however, have Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg as executive producers, along with a nifty cast of voice talent. It also has the coolest movie poster we’ve seen at the multiplex this year.
Trailer Highlight: The two cops laughing at the boys’ claims that the house is alive, only to be swallowed by the house, police car and all.
Bottom Line: When it comes to animated movies, we’ll take an evil house over talking animals any day of the week.
Official Web Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/monsterhouse/site/
The Pitch: Thurman plays Jenny Johnson, an overly possessive superhero who doesn’t take getting dumped lightly. In response to her latest ex (Wilson), Jenny unleashes her super-powered fury on his new romance, Hannah (Faris).
The Buzz: We’ve been waiting for Ivan Reitman to get back behind the camera and wash away the bad memories of “Evolution” for the past five years. This could be the film that revives the comedic director’s career. Then again, it could be even worse.
Trailer Highlight: No trailer available at press time.
Bottom Line: If there’s one film to see this summer starring a Wilson brother, it’s this one.
Official Web Site: N/A
Miami Vice (Universal, July 28)
Actors: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Li Gong, Luis Tosar
Director: Michael Mann
Read our review
The Pitch: The big screen adaptation of Mann’s ‘80s detective drama. Plot unknown, but we’re guessing it involves hookers, drugs, money and guns.
The Buzz: Mann is reportedly going waaaaaaay over budget, again (he did the same thing on “Collateral”). He’s gotten away with it in the past because his movies are almost always hits…but we think he has his work cut out for him this time around. Despite landing plum role after plum role, the only hit that Farrell’s résumé can boast is “Minority Report,” and we can’t even tell you which part he played in that one.
Trailer Highlight: Ooh, speed boats!
Bottom Line: When the Linkin Park song shouted “I feel numb” in the background of the trailer, we thought, “Yeah, that sounds about right.”
Official Web Site: http://www.miamivice.com/main.html
Barnyard (Paramount, July 28)
Actors: voices of Kevin James, Courtney Cox, Danny Glover, Sam Elliott, Andie McDowell, Wanda Sykes, Maurice LaMarche
Director: Steve Oedekerk
The Pitch: Cows steal a car, make fun of humans. Wheee.
The Buzz: Is there that much demand for talking animals? Coming on the heels of “The Wild” and “Over the Hedge” – not to mention “Chicken Little” – this movie would have to be extraordinary in order to survive…and it looks anything but extraordinary.
Trailer Highlight: If we can think of one, we’ll get back to you.
Bottom Line: Just because it’s made for kids doesn’t mean you have to take your kids to see it. Show some discretion; it’s the only way they’ll learn.
Official Web Site: http://www.barnyardmovie.com/
John Tucker Must Die (20th Century Fox, July 28)
Actors: Sophia Bush, Ashanti, Arielle Kebbel, Jesse Metcalfe
Director: Betty Thomas
Read our review
The Pitch: Three scorned ex-girlfriends of a serial philanderer (Metcalfe, a.k.a. the shirtless lawn boy from “Desperate Housewives”) conspire for their ex to fall for the new girl in town and get his heart broken.
The Buzz: A pitch-black teen comedy starring the adorable Arielle Kebbel (the only thing in “American Pie presents Band Camp” worth watching)? Now, THIS is something we can get behind.
Trailer Highlight: “He lost his virginity at 14, to the French teacher and the English teacher. At the same time.” A man can always dream.
Bottom Line: This could be the sleeper comedy of the summer.
Official Web Site: http://www.myspace.com/JohnTucker
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Alan Arkin, Abigail Breslin
Director: Jonathan Dayton
The Pitch: When their seven-year old daughter (Breslin) is chosen to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant, Richard and Sheryl Hoover (Kinnear and Collette, respectively) gather up the family for a road trip from New Mexico to California.
The Buzz: One of the hottest properties at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, “Sunshine” was snatched up by Fox Searchlight for a cool $10 million.
Trailer Highlight: A family dinner discussion that has Carell trying to explain why he attempted suicide as Arkin blows his nose.
Bottom Line: We’ve been waiting for Carell to hop on the Jim Carrey Drama Express for some time now, and this role has Oscar written all over it.
Official Web Site: Trailer can be seen at http://www.apple.com/trailers/fox_searchlight/littlemisssunshine/hd/