The Big Summer Movie Preview

If you didn’t know the date and you saw that a big Tom Cruise Sci-Fi Action/Adventure movie was opening this weekend wouldn’t you assume it was the middle of summer? What about a Michael Bay Oblivion and Pain & Gain (both of which are good, by the way) are serving as great reminders that the Summer movie season is coming up fast. What does the Summer of 2013 look like? Here is all you need to know:
movie starring Mark Wahlberg and The Rock? Well, we are still very much in April but

The Summer Of The Geek Part 3*

Iron Man 3 May 3rd

Can Tony Stark beat The Avengers all by himself (all due respect Roady and Pepper)? No, probably not. The Avengers was not only a terrifically fun movie it also had the advantage of coming out on the heels of the worst April for movies perhaps of all time. We were, as a movie going public, starving for something to see and that helped fuel The Avengers to shatter all sorts of records. Then The Avengers took advantage of one of the worst May movie line-ups in recent memory to keep on going. Iron Man 3 is following one of the best April’s in recent memory and a May slate that seems loaded. Having said that this is still Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark and that means Iron Man 3 will almost certainly be the biggest movie of the summer and the year (unless Catching Fire can build upon The Hunger Games and at this point it is scary to bet against Jennifer Lawrence). So, we can expect a box office behemoth that is a lot of fun and will remind us why sits atop the geek world now and for the foreseeable future.

Man of Steel June 14th

Can it finally be happening? 33 years after the last good Superman movie. 35 years after Richard Donner’s Superman became the first great comic book hero movie. Could we actually see a good Superman movie again? I don’t want to jinx it but I would be lying if the trailers aren’t really starting to make it look that way.

Wolverine July 26th

X-Men Origins: Wolverine gets unfairly labeled as a creative disaster. It wasn’t. However, like Ed Norton’s The Incredible Hulk, Wolverine’s stand alone debut was only entertaining and entirely forgettable and extremely profitable. Now comes the second go at making a Wolverine movie and it sure looks like they did everything right. The trailers have looked really cool and they seem to be embracing a Wolverine who isn’t for kids, a necessity if you want to stay even a little bit true to the comics.

* The original Summer of the Geek was 2008 when Iron Man got the summer started and The Dark Knight blew everyone’s mind. Each of the summer’s between 2008 and 2012 had a lot of geeky stuff to be sure, particularly the summer of 2011 which brought us seven major releases based on comic book titles (Thor, X-Men First Class, Priest, The Green Lantern, Captain America, Cowboys & Aliens and Conan the Barbarian) plus a Planet of the Apes movie, the problem with 2011 was that it was a summer owned by the last Harry Potter film meaning the geeks can’t claim it as their own. The Summer of the Geek Part 2 was 2012, The Avengers would have made it that all by itself but when you add The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man it becomes indisputable. 2013 is looking more like 2011, just without a Harry Potter movie to steal the geeks thunder and comic book films that are bigger than anything that came out that year.

Wait! What If I Am A Sci-Fi Geek?

Star Trek Into Darkness May 17th

As if to prove my point about May’s movie line-up we get the next Star Trek movie only two weeks after Iron Man 3. I thought J.J. Abrams last Star Trek was not only the second best Star Trek movie it was one of only two good Star Trek movies (Wrath of Kahn is still the best). The previews make this seem like it may be even more action heavy and anyone who watches BBC’s Sherlock (and you all should) is excited about seeing Benedict Cumberbatch play the villain. It seems a reasonably safe bet that this will be the third good Star Trek movie.

After Earth June 6th
This movie has me a little bit worried. I truly can’t put my finger on it. Oh, wait, now I remember, this movie is an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Look, I love Will Smith as much as the next guy (I saw part of Hitch the other night on TV and wondered why he doesn’t make another rom-com, he was really good as the romantic lead), but take a look at The Sixth Sense directors last few films:
  • The Last Airbender
  • The Happening
  • Lady In The Water
  • The Village
  • Signs
  • Unbreakable
The movie he did before Unbreakable was The Sixth Sense. I can’t think of any actor or director whose downward path as been as consistent as that. Literally every movie is worse than the one before it. I can not imagine After Earth will be worse than The Last Airbender… it couldn’t be, right?
World War Z June 21st
This was supposed to come out last fall but the release date was pushed back to allow for some reshoots and added CGI. That is usually not a great sign and I think a lot of people have been prepared for this to be dreadful until they saw the trailers. The trailer isn’t mind blowing or anything, but it reminds me of the Rise of the Planet of the Apes trailers from a few years back. You watched that trailer, saw the apes attacking, and said to yourself “looks like they got it right.” You watch the World War Z trailer, see the zombie apocalypse and think the same thing, “looks like they got it right.”
Pacific Rim July 12
This may be the movie I am most excited for. Having said that Prometheus was the movie I was most excited for last summer, so there is your grain of salt. Giant robots fighting monsters! Come on, how awesome is that!
Elysium August 9th
If you haven’t seen District 9 go watch District 9. After you watch District 9 and you learn that the same writer and director of that film is the writer and director of this film you will be really excited about seeing Matt Damon in this tale of the future of the have’s and the have not’s.
What About The Kids?
Epic May 24th
From the creators of Ice Age and Rio. If you have kids you’ve seen this trailer, the one where the girl gets shrunk and finds herself in the forrest with all the the little creatures who are fighting to protect it. You know, that one. Will it be fun and entertaining? Sure, why not. Will it be Pixar good? Of course not, don’t be silly.
Monsters University June 21st
Last year, before Brave came out, I did some number of write-ups about Pixar, including ranking all of the Pixar movies. I printed my rankings of the films and my the 8 year old son’s rankings and my sister-in-law got her boys to do their rankings as well. As you can imagine, as is the case whenever you do rankings, there was quite a bit of discrepancy and a lot of people who thought we were all wrong. What surprised me, bring this back to this movie, was how universally high people had ranked Monsters, Inc. I had always thought of it as a kind of second tier Pixar movie, there with It’s A Bugs Life and Cars but not on the Toy Story/ The Incredibles/Nemo level (I put Wall-E and Up kind of in their own category), but most people that sent me their Pixar lists had Monsters, Inc. in the top 3 or at least the top 5. Not saying I disagree, just saying I am surprised. Anyway, Pixar, Mike and Sully are back, what’s not to love? Having said all of that, the re-release of Monsters, Inc. 3D last Christmas was a HUGE disappointment, so maybe my sample size was too small to draw any real conclusions about the affection for Mike and Sully and the rest of the gang.
Despicable Me 2 July 5th
Well, I now know what I will be doing for part of my 4th of July holiday. I didn’t think the first one was great. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. But man alive did my son love it. He will drag my wife and I to see this movie. By the way, we will be far from alone. Most prognosticators are putting Despicable Me 2 in the 3 or 4 slot for biggest box office hit of the summer.
Turbo July 19th
A freak accident might just help a snail achieve his biggest dream, to win the Indy 500. Dreamworks animation is not Pixar, but they do really consistently put out entertaining movies. In fact, in the last decade the closest thing they have had to a bomb was Flushed Away, which is a pretty entertaining little movie (Rise of the Guardians has been called a bomb by many, but the movie has grossed over $300 million world wide, I think bomb might be the wrong word). So Turbo will be fun and funny and your kids will love it.
The Smurfs 2 August 2nd
I know that I am a little too old, so I missed the whole Smurfs thing when it was a cartoon, but if the cartoon is as unwatchably, painfully dreadful as the first movie was then I am confused. I can’t make it through more than two minutes of the last Smurfs movie when it is showing on the TV’s at Costco. If you liked the first one I am sure this will be more of the same.
Planes August 8th
This is important, Planes is NOT a Pixar movie. Planes comes from DisneyToon Studios, the people who make all of those direct to video movies for Disney, like Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue and Mulan II. In fact, they have already announced a Planes 2, whether it will be direct to video or in a theater likely depends on how this does in August.
What If My Kid Is A Little Older Than That?
The Lone Ranger July 5th
This movie is on a bunch of lists for the predicted “bust” of the summer (along with After Earth, The Hangover Part III and World War Z). I suppose that wouldn’t shock me, but neither would this being the horribly reviewed movie that becomes a massive blockbuster anyway. In fact, I think that is the more likely scenario. Forget about last summer’s Dark Shadows (which did better than you think, particularly internationally), these are the domestic box office totals for Mr. Depp’s last six big budget movies:

  • $241 million (the last Pirates movie)
  • $334 million (Alice in Wonderland)
  • $309 million (Pirates 3)
  • $423 million (Pirates 2)
  • $206 million (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
  • $305 million (the first Pirates)
There are two other things those movies have in common. First, they were all massive international hits. Second, with the exception of the first Pirates movie, they were all lambasted by critics. In other words, don’t bet against Johnny Depp.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monster August 9th
Rick Riordan’s book series is terrific. It is that rare kind of book that kids devour and they are pretty entertaining for the adults too. Having said that Chris Columbus really missed the mark with the first Percy Jackson movie. But wait, having said that the first movie was a pretty solid international hit even if it only did ok at the domestic box office. The movie wasn’t bad, but it could have been great. So where does that leave us? Well, Percy and company are decidedly stuck as a poor man’s Harry Potter, and while that is too bad because the books don’t feel anything like the Potter books, from a box office perspective that is not a bad thing at all. Anyway, I am sure this will painless entertainment if not great entertainment.
OK, Forget The Kids Already! I Want Some Inappropriate Comedy!
Peeples May 10th

NEVER underestimate an African American themed movie that has Tyler Perry associated with it in any way. And this might play more broadly since Mr. Perry isn’t in it and instead it stars Craig Robinson, Kerry Washington and David Allen Grier. Those are three really talented, and in the case of Robinson and Grier really funny people. I’m not saying it will be great, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was really good (something I have never said about anything involving Tyler Perry before).

The Hangover Part III May 24th

Ah, the original blockbuster “R” comedy. I think most of us felt like the second one was going back to the well once too often, so what could a third installment be? There are some rumors that it will surprise people (I don’t know how), that it won’t just be a re-do of the original and that this will remind people why they liked the wolfpack so much. I am dubious (and, for the record, I loved the first one).

The Internship June 6th

For all of the love The Hangover gets, and even though I literally just referred to it as the original, the truth is in 2005 Wedding Crashers was the movie that showed hollywood raunchy and blockbuster could go together. Now we have a re-teaming of many of the people involved in Wedding Crashers with The Internship. The previews make me chuckle, I am a little worried they don’t make me laugh.

This Is The End June 14th

Oceans 12 often gets killed by reviewers for feeling like you are watching George and Brad and Matt’s vacation video. This Is The End is taking that to a whole other level. James Franco has a party at his house and all of the celebrities you’d think would be there are there…and then the end of the world happens. Yup, that’s the whole movie. This could either be hilarious or a disaster of epic proportions. I got to say, I am really looking forward to finding out which one it turns out to be.

Grown Ups 2 July 12th

Was the first one a hit? I always thought of it as kind of the beginning of the end of the box office dominance of Adam Sandler. Maybe I am wrong, let me check…yup. I was wrong. Grown Ups was a $162 million hit. Kind of shocking. And I didn’t hate the first one, like many a Sandler movie I kind of thought it was what it was. I guess you just can’t bet against the sandman.

We’re The Millers August 9th

Will Jennifer Aniston ever be a real movie star? What about Jason Sudeikis? It’s funny because I, like most people, like them both very much but they never seem to fit quite right into the movies that bring the masses to the multiplexes. Here they aren’t even trying to. This is one of those Breaking Bad/Weeds stories where the all-American looking family are pot dealers. It might be funny, it might even be really good, but what it wont be is a HUGE hit.

The To Do List August 16th

Hey, it’s August, that means it is time for another raunchy comedy, set in a high school, that has heart. Superbad, Easy A, now The To Do List. Feeling pressured to be more sexually experienced before heading off to college, Brandy… you know the rest.

What About Some Good, Old Fashioned, Hollywood Blockbusters?

Fast & Furious 6 May 24th

Look, by the time any franchise reaches #6 everyone knows whether they are in or out. I am in. I am 1000% in. It is impossible for me to be any more in. In, in, in. The mere thought of this movie puts a smile on my face. Did I mention I was in on the whole Fast Furious thing? Well I am.

The Heat June 28th

This movie was supposed to come out in March. Then Identity Thief became the unlikely hit of the spring and it seemed insane to not put a movie with Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock into the summer rotation. To be honest, the trailers don’t really work for me, but hey, what do I know, I didn’t think the Identity Thief trailer looked all that great either.

White House Down June 28th

On the one hand you have a red hot Channing Tatum, a red hot Jamie Fox and the director who brought us Independence Day making a big action movie. On the other hand this is the director that gave us 2012 and we just saw the White House go down in Olympus Has Fallen (which was quite entertaining, by the way). So, where does that leave us? With an entertaining “popcorn” blockbuster, that wont challenge Iron Man 3 or Man of Steel for the box office crown but will have enough people show up to make everyone happy.

That’s All Fine and Good, But I Like My Movies To Mean Something, To Be Art…

The Great Gatsby May 10th

My wife and I were talking about this just the other day, is The Great Gatsby part of everyone’s high school curriculum anymore? From people I have talked to it doesn’t seem like it or has been for many years. If you are my age (in your mid 40’s) or older you have either read or were supposed to have read The Great Gatsby. But if younger people haven’t or were never even supposed to, I have to wonder how many are going to want to see it in stunning 3D. The second and in many ways more pressing problem is that The Great Gatsby has never been made into a good movie and anyone that has read it can kind of see why (some books read like movies, some don’t, The Great Gatsby really doesn’t). I guess all I’m saying is that I am dubious. Maybe they pulled it off. Maybe the spectacle will be engrossing. Maybe they found a way to translate one of the five greatest American novels of all-time** into something worthy of the book. Maybe, maybe, maybe…but I kind of doubt it.

**In no particular order, The Great Gatsby, Moby Dick, To Kill A Mockingbird, East of Eden and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

Before Midnight May 24th

For a certain segment of the population checking in on Jesse and Celine every so often represents one of the great simple joys of their lives. It has been 18 years since Richard Linklater had those two crazy kids meet on a train going to venice and 9 years since they ran into each other again on Jesse’s book tour and for many they will anxiously wait another 9 years to see what happens next. By the way, if you haven’t seen Before Sunrise and Before Sunset you really should, they are both charming movies, as I am sure Before Midnight is as well.

Much Ado About Nothing June 7th

Joss Whedon does Shakespeare. That either sounds awesome to you (as it does to me) or silly. Of course Much Ado About Nothing is, on some level, a silly play, so it all works. And if you were a fan of Angel the tv show than this will really be the movie for you when you see who the players are.

I’m So Excited June 28th
The latest from Pedro Almodovar. Because it is from Pedro Almodovar you should know that trying to describe the plot would be pointless, so I won’t. What I will do is see and thoroughly enjoy this movie. I know this because it is written and directed by Pedro Almodovar and that is all I need to know.
Byzantium June 28th
The latest from Neil Jordan. See description of I’m So Excited and simply replace Pedro Almodovar with Neil Jordan. Boom, all done.
So What Could Possibly Be Left? How About Some Grown Up Geek Stuff? Yup, Graphic Novel Turned Into Movies.
RED 2 July 19th
RED holds a special place in my heart. It was the first review I ever wrote that was published online. Ah, good times. Anyway, I said at the time that RED was a movie about expectations. If you went into it with really high expectations you might find yourself less than thrilled but if you went in with no expectations you’d find yourself pleasantly surprised. RED 2 will be the same way. If you go in looking for nothing more than spending a couple of hours with the characters you got to know last time you’ll be golden.
R.I.P.D. July 19th
Another favorite for the “summer bust” lists, R.I.P.D. is Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds doing their best Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith impersonations as police hunting the dead who are haunting this world. Watch the trailer and you will no doubt feel the way I do, this is either going to be silly entertainment or a massive train wreck.
300: Rise of an Empire August 2nd
None of the stars are back Lena Heady (everyone else was dead). The director is busy with Man of Steel (although he did co-write the screenplay). So will you want to go back to ancient Greece to see if Xerxes can actually be defeated? And is there any way this sequel can live up to the original? Expectations Rob, you’ve got to manage your expectations.
2 Guns August 2nd
There were some original rumors that this graphic novel adaptation was going to be made as a comedy. Then Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg became the leads and the movie became something closer to a straight forward two cops against the world movie, which could be fine. Some early buzz is already calling this the surprise hit of the summer. I don’t know that I see that, but it wouldn’t suprise me if this movie was really good and performed quite solidly.
Kick Ass 2 August 16th
If Kick Ass wasn’t my favorite movie of 2010 it was really close. So, it is fair to say I am really excited for the sequel. Will it disappoint me? Sure, probably. But Jim Carrey looks to continue to pile the dark humor on and as long as Hit Girl is in it it can’t be bad.
Is That It?
That was 36 movies, and the scary thing is no, that really wasn’t it. It is, however, all I am going to do. I’m going to get back to writing my book. Before I go I will say this, this looks like an awesome summer.
But hey, what do I know? I’m fat.

2 thoughts on “The Big Summer Movie Preview

  • April 30, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    This was amazing–I am sure i will be returning to this information as the summer progresses, I will also be seeing Iron Man this Friday!

  • April 30, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Thanks. I think we are doing Iron Man on Sunday. Always fewer crowds Sundays in Utah.

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