2007 Summer Movie Preview: June
Having rolled out three of their biggest guns in May, the studios are
playing it suspiciously low-key this June; sure, we've got "Ratatouille,"
"Fantastic Four 2," "Ocean's Thirteen," "Hostel
Part II" and the fourth "Die Hard" on the schedule,
but none of them carry the same expectations or anticipation as their
May brethren. Delve beneath the surface, though, and you'll see there's
a fine bunch of films slated for June release. Some stinkers too, but
hey, nobody's perfect, right?
Day Watch (Fox Searchlight, June 1)
Starring: Konstantin Khabensky, Vladimir Menshov, Valery Zolotukhin, Maria Poroshina, Galina Tunina, Victor Verzhbitsky, Dima Martynov
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
The Pitch: A centuries-old battle between the forces
of light and darkness is rekindled in this effects-heavy action epic.
The Buzz: "Day Watch" broke box-office records in 2004. Okay, so they were Russian box-office records, but still.
Trailer Highlight: Horses! Running through brick walls!
Bottom Line: The plot looks pretty ridiculous -- something about a piece of chalk -- and the reverb on the narration is hee-larious, but this is some neato chop-socky action. We're there.
Official Site: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/daywatch/
(Picturehouse, June 1)
Starring: Elisabeth Shue, Dermot Mulroney, Carly Schroeder, Andrew Shue
Director: Davis Guggenheim
The Pitch: Gracie Bowen (Schroeder) is a 15-year-old
girl in a family full of soccer-obsessed boys. When one of her older
brothers dies, and Gracie petitions the school soccer team to let her
play in his place, it sets in motion a life-altering chain of events.
The Buzz: The film is based on a true story connected with the Shue family, and has been something of a pet project for Elisabeth and Andrew; that being said, neither of them seem to have been fighting packed schedules lately, and just because an inspirational sports movie is based on actual events doesn't mean we haven't seen the same story a million times already.
Trailer Highlight: None available.
Bottom Line: We're not passing judgment until we see a trailer. The arc might be tired, but the film's got the whole birth-of-girl's-competitive-soccer angle going for it, and if the Shues haven't screwed it up, it could be worth seeing.
Official Site: http://www.graciemovie.com
Up (Universal, June 1)
Starring: Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, Martin Starr
Director: Judd Apatow
The Pitch: A dopey slacker (Rogen) and a journalist (Heigl) have a drunken one-nighter; eight weeks later, they get some unexpected news. Hilarity ensues. Allegedly, anyway.
The Buzz: Let's see, we've got the writer/director and some of the cast responsible for "40 Year-Old Virgin," we've got a storyline a lot of people can relate to, and we've got Katherine freakin' Heigl in the female lead. Yep, looks like a slam dunk from here.
Trailer Highlight: Sorry, weren't you listening before? Katherine Heigl.
Bottom Line: Okay, so it's difficult to believe Heigl would ever allow her naughty bits to be seen or fondled by someone looking like Seth Rogen. But it's also hard to believe in a Death Star, and the "Star Wars" movies did okay. Trust us -- go see it.
Official Site: http://www.knockedupmovie.com/
Mr. Brooks (MGM, June 1)
Starring: Kevin Costner, William Hurt, Demi Moore, Dane Cook
Director: Bruce A. Evans
The Pitch: Successful husband, father, and businessman Earl Brooks (Costner) isn't everything he seems -- actually he's more than he seems. He's got an alter ego named Marshall (Hurt) who goads him into giving into his darkest urges -- which, unfortunately, seem to center around killing people.
The Buzz: Costner, Hurt, and Demi Moore in the same wide-release film? Gosh, it feels like 1991 all over again!
Trailer Highlight: We aren't sure if it's just the guilt over "Employee of the Month" that's feeding his performance here, but Dane Cook might actually be able to act.
Bottom Line: A nifty premise and three old pros doing what they do best. It's bound to get lost in the summer shuffle, but this looks good.
Official Site: http://www.theressomethingaboutmrbrooks.com/
Part II (Lionsgate, June 8)
Starring: Lauren German, Bijou Phillips, Roger Bart, Richard Bugl, Vera Jordanova, Heather Mattarazzo, Stanislav Ianevski, Milan Knazko
Director: Eli Roth
The Pitch: A "friend" lures three American art students from their campus in Rome to a Slovakian weekend "getaway." Very bad things happen.
The Buzz: The clock is winding down for the torture horror genre; that being said, the folks who show up to the theater too late to see "Ocean's 13" or "Fantastic Four 2" have to see something, right?
Trailer Highlight: It all depends on your definition of "highlight" -- if watching women tortured is your idea of fun, then hey, the whole thing will make you very happy. Everyone else is liable to find this movie fairly disturbing, and not in a good way.
Bottom Line: When given the choice between Rome and Slovakia, always choose Rome.
Official Web Site: http://www.hostel2.com/
Ocean's 13 (Warner Bros., June 8)
Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin, Carl Reiner, Elliott Gould, Ellen Barkin, Al Pacino, David Paymer
Director: Steven Soderbergh
The Pitch: Ocean's crew teams up with old nemesis Terry Benedict (Garcia) to take down Willie Banks (Pacino).
The Buzz: The first installment in Clooney and Soderbergh's affectionate Rat Pack homage was a well-oiled action thriller, made all the more enjoyable by its cast. The second film in the trilogy struck many viewers as a lazy excuse for a paid vacation for its stars, however, putting something of a damper on enthusiasm for the third (and supposedly final) go-round.
Trailer Highlight: Clooney taking a quiet pre-heist moment to mock Garcia.
Bottom Line: We may hate ourselves in the morning, but we'll be in line.
Official Site: http://www.oceans13.com/
Surf's Up (June 8, Columbia)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Shia LaBeouf, Zooey Deschanel, James Woods, Jane Krakowski, Jon Heder, Mario Cantone, Brian Benben, Michael McKean
Director: Ash Brannon, Chris Buck
The Pitch: "Surf's Up" tries to make us forget it hasn't been all that long since we were treated to a CGI feature with talking animals -- talking penguins, even -- by giving the format a mockumentary twist: the idea here is that penguins invented surfing, and examines the leadup to the Penguin World Surfing Championship.
The Buzz: Even with the cast, it's hard not to assume a lot of people are going to skip this one due to animated talking penguin burnout.
Trailer Highlight: Every time you think CGI can't get any more dazzling, some damn army of nerds comes along to prove you wrong.
Bottom Line: If you're in a pinch for something to take the kids to see, this'll do; then again, it'll probably also be out on video in a few months.
Official Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/surfsup/index.html
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
(June 15, 20th Century Fox)
Starring: Michael Chiklis, Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans, Jessica Alba, Julian McMahon, Beau Garrett, Andre Braugher, Vanessa Minnillo
Director: Tim Story
The Pitch: The return of Doctor Doom (McMahon) couldn't come at a worse time -- the Silver Surfer (Doug Jones), herald of the planet-eating badass known as Galactus, has arrived to announce Earth's impending demise.
The Buzz: The first "Fantastic Four" was horrible, but it made enough money to justify this sequel, and the Silver Surfer has enough comic-geek cache to entice at least a few hardcore fans back to the theater. It's also impossible to overestimate the ticket-buying power of horny teenagers who are waiting, Beavis-style, for Alba to show us the goods.
Trailer Highlight: Watching the Surfer drag a flameless Johnny Storm helplessly into space and drop him to Earth. Would that he could do that with this entire movie.
Bottom Line: We will be, as the Texans like to say, "gomper-jawed" if this does not utterly suck. But hey, you never know.
Official Site: http://www.fantasticfourmovie.com/
Drew (June 15, Warner Bros.)
Starring: Emma Roberts, Josh Flitter, Max Thieriot, Tate Donovan, Rachael Leigh Cook, Barry Bostwick
Director: Andrew Fleming
The Pitch: Tween detective Nancy Drew (Roberts) investigates a murder mystery while accompanying her dad (Donavan) to Los Angeles.
The Buzz: Sounds horrible, doesn't it? Well, odds are you thought "High School Musical" and "Hannah Montana" sounded horrible too, and that didn't keep them from grossing obscene amounts of money, did it? Expect "Nancy Drew" to do the same.
Trailer Highlight: The running gag about Nancy being a nerd an an irritating suck-up is a nicely knowing twist.
Bottom Line: Your daughter or daughters will want to see it, and as these things go, "Nancy Drew" looks fairly painless. Thank your lucky stars.
Official Site: http://nancydrewmovie.warnerbros.com/
DOA: Dead or Alive (June 22, The Weinstein
Starring: Devon Aoki, Jaime Pressly, Brian J. White, Kevin Nash, Sarah Carter, Silvio Simac, Holly Valance, Derek Boyer, Natassia Malthe, Matthew Marsden, Robin Shou
Director: Corey Yuen
The Pitch: Based on the bestselling game franchise about a group of female fighters in a competition to the death.
The Buzz: The game is great eye candy and the animated feature was entertaining, but whose idea was it to turn this into a live action film? The first trailer isn’t very promising, complete with candy color-haired girls running around with samurai swords.
Trailer Highlight: Jamie Pressly in an American flag bikini.
Bottom Line: We’ve seen this movie before. It was called “Mortal Kombat.”
Official Web Site: N/A
Almighty (June 22, Universal)
Starring: Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman, Lauren Graham, John Goodman, Wanda Sykes, John Michael Higgins, Jonah Hill, Jimmy Bennett, Graham Phillips, Johnny Simmons, Meagen Fay, Rachael Harris
Director: Tom Shadyac
The Pitch: Obnoxious newsman Evan Baxter (Carell), newly elected to Congress, is commanded by God (Freeman) to build an ark.
The Buzz: What do you do when you make a hit movie and your star doesn't want to come back for the sequel? Well, if you're Universal, you just build the second installment around the bit player whose career is suddenly hotter than your former leading man's.
Trailer Highlight: Hard to say. Is it Carell channeling David Letterman on Jack Hanna day? Carell trying to explain his sudden interest in ark-building to his wife (Graham)? Carell trying to...oh, you get the idea.
Bottom Line: Carell is unstoppable right now. See it.
Official Site: http://www.evanalmighty.com/
Live Free or Die Hard (June 29, 20th Century
Starring: Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Maggie Q, Timothy Olyphant, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Director: Len Wiseman
The Pitch: What, you've never seen a "Die Hard" movie before? All right, here's the pitch: John McClane (Willis) has to save the city/country/world from assorted bad guys (in this case, "techno-terrorists").
The Buzz: It'll be 12 years between installments by the time "Live Free or Die Hard" makes it to theaters; there's either a lot of pent-up anticipation for this movie, or its time has come and gone already. Take a guess.
Trailer Highlight: Action sequences even more absurdly over-the-top than the last third of "Die Hard With a Vengeance."
Bottom Line: This could be good. But we wouldn't bet our paychecks on it.
Official Site: http://www.livefreeordiehard.com/
Martian Child (June 29, New Line)
Starring: John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Joan Cusack, Bobby Coleman, Sophie Okonedo, Oliver Platt, Bobby Coleman
Director: Menno Meyjes
The Pitch: A man (Cusack) loses his fiancée and turns his sorrow into an excuse for adoption. His adopted son, as it turns out, believes he's from Mars. The kid must be crazy...right?
The Buzz: It's got Lloyd Dobler, a script based on a Hugo Award-winning novel, and it's opening during the softest weekend of the month. Movies like these tend not to make a ton of money, but in January, with the right word of mouth, anything can happen.
Trailer Highlight: "There's nothing you can do that will change the way I feel about you."
Bottom Line: If there's an actor of his generation that plays the droopy sad sack better than Cusack, he's doing it someplace where no one can see him. Toss in a wacky kid, and you've got a date movie everyone can agree on.
Official Web Site: http://www.martianchild.com/
(June 29, Pixar)
Starring: Patton Oswalt, Brian Dennehy, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo, Ian Holm, Peter O'Toole, John Ratzenberger
Director: Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava
The Pitch: It's the story of a rat named Remy, and how his dreams of becoming a chef lead him to forge an unlikely alliance with a dishwasher in a five-star restaurant.
The Buzz: The pitch sounds a little lame, no? But did we mention that it's being brought to you by Pixar, the folks who gave us "Toy Story," "Finding Nemo," and all sorts of other super-awesome animated goodness? Until proven otherwise, the studio can do no wrong.
Trailer Highlight: "I hate to be rude, but...we're French."
Bottom Line: What are you waiting for, an engraved invitation?
Official Site: http://www.ratatouille.com/