2007 Summer Movie Preview: May
We know, we know: May isn't technically a summer month, but don't tell the big wigs in Hollywood that, lest they miss an opportunity to empty your pockets. Of course, the start of the summer season isn't quite as jam-packed as the other three months, but it's more than a little scary to think that between just three films, the movie industry will bank more than a billion dollars alone. Granted, those movies are "Spider-Man 3," "Shrek the Third" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," but there's not much more to look forward to until the real season begins.
Spider-Man 3 (Sony, May 4)
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, James Franco, Bryce Dallas Howard, Elizabeth Banks, J.K. Simmons
Director: Sam Raimi
The Pitch: An alien symbiote gives Spider-Man (Maguire)
incredible new powers, but at what cost? Meanwhile, a new villain --
Sandman (Church) -- terrorizes the city, and a jealous news reporter
(Grace) uncovers Spider-Man's true identity.
The Buzz: Incredible, as it should be. A "teaser" has already been released that shows far more than anyone was expecting, and the fact that Raimi is willing to tackle the infamous Venom storyline says a lot about his confidence. Plus, it's not very often you see a film with the potential to trump both the original and the sequel, but this could very well do it.
Trailer Highlight: Black Spidey staring at a reflection of the original costume while hanging upside down.
Bottom Line: Let's just say "Dead Man's Chest" won't be enjoying that box office record for very long.
Official Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/spiderman3/site/
Weeks Later (Fox Atomic, May 11)
Starring: Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Harold Perrineau, Catherine McCormack, Imogen Poots, Idris Elba, Mackintosh Muggleton
Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
The Pitch: Six months after the end of "28 Days
Later," the United States Army announces that the British Isles
have been purged of the virus that wiped out the population, and that
reconstruction efforts may begin. This being a sequel, however, the
odds are that the United States Army is wrong.
The Buzz: The original earned positive reviews and had enough box-office mojo to command a sequel. Of course, sequels are nearly always subject to the laws of diminishing returns, but this crew has earned the benefit of the doubt, no?
Trailer Highlight: The simple fact that it doesn't give away much of anything about the movie, perhaps?
Bottom Line: If you see only one film this year about the aftermath of a horrible virus, make this the one.
Official Site: http://www.foxatomic.com/#movie:TitleId=7
Farce (Lionsgate, May 11)
Starring: Larry the Cable Guy, Bill Engvall, DJ Qualls, Marisol Nichols, Danny Trejo, Keith David
Director: C.B. Harding
The Pitch: Three idiots (Cable, Engvall, and Qualls) are mistaken for Army Reservists, then accidentally dropped out of a plane over Mexico. Believing they're in Iraq, the aforementioned idiots liberate a village from a karaoke-loving bandit (Trejo).
The Buzz: You'll need a buzz to think this is funny. In the trailer alone, you'll hear a "snap into a Slim Jim" joke, a "don't ask, don't tell" joke, Larry grunting "git-r-done," and poor Trejo -- whose character is named Carlos Santana -- doing some (hopefully very lucrative) slumming.
Trailer Highlight: Highlight?
Bottom Line: Every night, we pray for the Almighty to claim Larry the Cable Guy's soul before he can utter another unfunny "Lord, I aplogize."
Official Site: N/A
Georgia Rule (Universal, May 11)
Starring: Jane Fonda, Lindsay Lohan, Felicity Huffman, Dermot Mulroney, Cary Elwes, Garrett Hedlund
Director: Garry Marshall
The Pitch: A man (Fillion) who undergoes a near-death experience finds himself able to identify people who are about to die.
The Buzz: 2005's Michael Keaton-led first installment was a passable box-office draw, but if you didn't see the need for a Number Two, join the club.
Trailer Highlight: None available.
Bottom Line: Makes "Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties" look like an eagerly anticipated sequel.
Official Web Site: N/A
Ex (The Weinstein Company, May 11)
Starring: Zach Braff, Amanda Peet, Jason Bateman, Charles Grodin, Mia Farrow, Donal Logue, Amy Poehler, Amy Adams
Director: Jesse Peretz
The Pitch: A slacker (Braff) is forced to move to Ohio and work for his father-in-law (Grodin) after his wife (Peet) gets pregnant. A competition with her ex-boyfriend (Bateman) ensues.
The Buzz: Yes, Braff has gone from It Dude to Unbearably Annoying over the last few years, but as the trailer makes clear, "The Ex " rests more on Bateman's gifts than Braff's shtick, and that's a good thing. Also, Amanda Peet is not difficult to look at.
Trailer Highlight: Braff inadvertently insults an Irish client.
Bottom Line: The plot sounds tired, and being pushed back from January to May doesn't bode well for the movie at all, but this looks funny. Trust the cast and check it out.
Official Site: http://www.theexmovie.com/
Shrek the Third (DreamWorks, May 18)
Starring: Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, John Cleese, Amy Poehler, Antonio Banderas, Justin Timberlake
Director: Chris Miller, Raman Hui
The Pitch: Eager to shirk his royal responsibilities as heir to the ailing King Harold (Cleese), Shrek (Myers) tries to install Artie (Timberlake) as the new king. Meanwhile, Princess Fiona (Diaz) assembles a crew of girlfriends including Snow White (Poehler), Cinderella (Amy Sedaris), Rapunzel (Maya Rudolph), and Sleeping Beauty (Cheri Oteri) to fend off an attempted coup by Prince Charming (Rupert Everett).
The Buzz: Judging from the box office receipts, you probably liked the first and second installments; with Oteri, Poehler, Rudolph, and Sedaris added to the mix, odds are this will be superior to such second sequels as "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" and "Jaws 3-D."
Trailer Highlight: Ship-christening, Shrek-style.
Bottom Line: Whether you're young, young at heart, or simply nostalgic for the days when Myers and Murphy made us laugh in their non-animated incarnations, "Shrek the Third" seems like a safe place to drop your cineplex dollars May 18.
Official Web Site: http://www.ShrektheThird.com
(Lionsgate, May 25)
Starring: Ashley Judd, Harry Connick, Jr., Lynn Collins, Brían O'Byrne, Michael Shannon
Director: William Friedkin
The Pitch: A waitress (Judd) on the run from her abusive ex-husband (Connick) takes up with an eccentric drifter she meets at a bar. From there, things go about as well as you might imagine. Oh, and there's the added bonus of tiny, brain-eating bugs
The Buzz: It's been awhile since Judd made a movie that registered on most moviegoers' radar; this looks to be another in a long string of performances as lonely, damaged women, and Connick's acting career has essentially been limited to "Will and Grace" and the occasional film cameo. "Bug" seems likely to change neither of these things.
Trailer Highlight: Lots of jump cuts and spooky noises, but nothing resembling an intelligible plot. Oh, wait -- we're supposed to be talking about highlights...
Bottom Line: Movies like this are what Netflix and hard liquor were made for.
Official Site: http://www.bugthemovie.com/
of the Caribbean: At World's End (Disney, May 25)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush, Chow Yun-Fat
Director: Gore Verbinski
The Pitch: Will Turner (Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Knightley) team up with Captain Barbossa (Rush) to rescue Jack Sparrow (Depp) from Davy Jones' locker, with or without the aid of Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat). We hear one of the Rolling Stones shows up at some point, too.
The Buzz: The first two "Pirates" films made buckets of money -- despite scathing reviews, in the case of the second installment -- so there's no reason to expect "At World's End" to be anything other than a tentpole picture for Disney all summer long.
Trailer Highlight: The dizzying, quick-cut spectacle of it all.
Bottom Line: Yarr!
Official Site: http://pirates.movies.com/