2007 Summer Movie Preview: August
It's August, and summer's dog days are officially here, both in and
out of your local movie theater. Though August does contain some notable
high-profile releases (including "The Bourne Ultimatum" and
Rob Zombie's surprisingly cool-looking "Halloween" reboot),
you've also got Disney's inexplicable "Underdog" and the sure-to-be-wretched
"Bratz: The Movie." For a more in-depth look at how the studios
will be sending us into the fall, read on below.
The Pitch: The amnesiac killing machine known as Jason
Bourne (Damon) goes on a global ass-kicking rampage in an effort to
find out who he was before he lost his memory.
The Buzz: The first installment in Damon's "Bourne" trilogy ruled. So did the second one. Call us crazy, but we're expecting more of the same for the third.
Trailer Highlight: The action scenes, of course, which is just another way of saying "all of it."
Bottom Line: Before "The Bourne Identity," people snickered at the idea of Damon as an action star, and were lining up to see Ben Affleck in "Daredevil." Things change, you know? We're just saying.
Official Site: http://www.thebourneultimatum.com/
Underdog (Walt Disney, August 3)
Starring: Jason Lee, Peter Dinklage, Amy Adams
Director: Frederik Du Chau
The Pitch: Yes, it's a live-action version of the
old cartoon, featuring a real, CGI-enhanced dog. Can't imagine who asked
for this? Yeah, we can't either.
The Buzz: The odds of suckage are indeed perilously high. Let us not discount, however, the involvement of Jason Lee as the voice of Underdog.
Trailer Highlight: "So...you're a cat burglar, huh?"
Bottom Line: Pretty cool poster, no?
Official Site: http://www.disney.com/underdog
Bratz: The Movie (Lionsgate, August 10)
Starring: Yasmin, Jade, Sasha, Cloe, Chelsea Staub, Anneliese van der Pol, Malese Jow, Stephan Lunsford, Jon Voight
Director: Sean McNamara
The Pitch: Not to put too fine a point on it, but it's a movie about toys; specifically, scantily-clad dolls marketed to tweener girls. If you've got a bone to pick with the folks who market thongs and makeup to ten-year-olds, then this is not for you.
The Buzz: There's something in here about BFFs and peer pressure, blah blah blah, but honestly, the bottom line is that this is 90 minutes of product placement. We won't be the ones who have to break the news to your daughters, however. Best of luck to you.
Trailer Highlight: None available.
Bottom Line: You won't want to see it. You might have to anyway.
Official Site: N/A
Hour 3 (New Line, August 10)
Starring: Chris Tucker, Jackie Chan, Hiroyuki Sanada, Youki Kudoh, Max Von Sydow, Noemie Lenoir, Vinnie Jones, Yvan Attel, Roselyn Sanchez, Roman Polanski
Director: Brett Ratner
The Pitch: Chan and Tucker re-team for the third installment in Ratner's hugely successful (at least as of 1998) buddy-cop series, this time taking the action to Paris.
The Buzz: We're sure there are some people who are excited about "Rush Hour 3," but we haven't been able to find them anywhere; the prevailing reaction to this seems to be a shrug and a yawn. Chan's got an almost inexhaustible supply of goodwill among action fans, but Tucker's star has cooled considerably since the last "Rush Hour," and even when these movies were hot, they were still, at heart, a poor man's "Lethal Weapon."
Trailer Highlight: None available.
Bottom Line: If it looks like a dud, and it smells like a dud...
Official Site: http://www.rushhourmovie.com/
Stardust (Paramount, August 10)
Starring: Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Ricky Gervais, Jason Flemyng, Peter O'Toole, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Ian McKellen (narrator)
Director: Matthew Vaughn
The Pitch: We're not entirely sure, to be honest. There's something in here about a falling star, a doofy kid who wants to win his girlfriend's love, a witch, and a pirate, with plenty of special effects to go around.
The Buzz: Were it not for the fact that this is being adapted from a graphic novel by Neil Gaiman, we'd be extremely suspicious, dazzling trailer or no -- but we trust Gaiman, and this looks like it has just the right blend of action, fantasy hooey, and knowing comedy to make it work.
Trailer Highlight: Gervais trying to sell Pfeiffer a two-faced dog.
Bottom Line: Like a little cosmic adventure mixed in with your popcorn butter? Check this one out.
Official Site: http://www.stardustmovie.com/
Fanboys (The Weinstein Company, August
Starring: Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell, Carrie Fisher, Ray Park, Danny Trejo, Billy Dee Williams
Director: Kyle Newman
The Pitch: In the winter of 1998, a group of "Star Wars"-obsessed guys drives across the country to honor their friend's dying wish by breaking into George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch to steal an early cut of "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace."
The Buzz: Could be funny, in a "Meatballs" sort of way...but it could also be horrible, in a "Meatballs 3" sort of way. The presences of Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher would seem to tip this toward not sucking, if only slightly.
Trailer Highlight: The Shatner cameo. Always the Shatner cameo.
Bottom Line: Do enough people still give enough of a shit about "Star Wars" that they're willing to make a movie built around the hype surrounding its crappiest installment into a hit?
Official Site: N/A
(Columbia, August 17)
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Bill Hader
Director: Greg Mottola
The Pitch: Geeky high school seniors tryin' to get laid. Yeah, baby, it's 1983 all over again!
The Buzz: ...And 1983 was pretty cool, wasn't it? This looks like another winner from the "Talladega Nights" / "40 Year-Old Virgin" crew, and boasts a typically understated performance from Cera (George Michael of "Arrested Development").
Trailer Highlight: Lots of laughs in here, but the slo-mo replays of "McLovin" getting punched in the face by a convenience store robber are as good a top choice as any.
Bottom Line: See it.
Official Site: http://www.areyousuperbad.com/
Good Luck Chuck (Lionsgate, August 24)
Starring: Dane Cook, Jessica Alba, Dan Fogler
Director: Mark Helfrich
The Pitch: Ten-year-old Charlie Kagan spurns a goth chick during a game of spin the bottle, and she curses him for it. Now all grown up (and played by Dane Cook), Charlie discovers that the curse is real -- and that every woman he sleeps with will find her true love with the next guy she dates. In the short term, naturally, this makes Charlie's love life pretty interesting -- but when he meets Cam (Alba), he frantically sets about breaking the curse.
The Buzz: The Dane Cook backlash is in full effect, and Cook has thus far proven himself less than adept at choosing scripts, but this looks relatively funny -- and it's got Alba in full-on righteous babe mode, too.
Trailer Highlight: "I'm gonna ride you 'til you die!"
Bottom Line: Even if you hate Dane Cook with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns, Alba's presence will make this one tough to miss.
Official Site: http://lionsgate.com/goodluckchuck/
(Dimension, August 31)
Starring: Scout Taylor-Compton, Malcolm McDowell, Sheri Moon Zombie, Dee Wallace Stone, William Forsythe, Danny Trejo, Adrienne Barbeau, Clint Howard, Brad Dourif
Director: Rob Zombie
The Pitch: The Weinsteins give Rob Zombie the keys to the "Halloween" franchise.
The Buzz: Not many details yet, but Zombie promises an "entirely new" take on the Michael Myers saga, and one that won't copy previous installments. Fans of "Halloween III: Season of the Witch," expect to be disappointed yet again.
Trailer Highlight: Surprise! The whole thing looks pretty goddamn spooky.
Bottom Line: Nothing Zombie has done up 'til now would seem to suggest he'd be the right man for this job...but if the movie's as good as the trailer...
Official Site: N/A