Bring on the sequels, the sillies and the superheroes
As the school year winds down in a last-minute rush of assignments and final exams, everyone's looking forward to a well-deserved summer break. With releases ranging from "The Dark Knight" to "Wall-E" to "Get Smart," this is certainly a season to suit anyone's tastes. Moviegoers may be overwhelmed by the selection of movies but, fortunately, Silver Chips Online is here with an epic preview to cover all your cinematic desires.
Sex and the City - May 30
After six seasons and a two-year break, the cast of "Sex and the City" is back in a full-length feature film, picking up four years since the series left Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon). Most movies based on television series feel like lengthy episodes, and "Sex" is likely no exception. Carrie and Mr. Big get married and the Fab Four's parade of gossip continues. A must-see for anyone who cares about shoes, nails, sex and men, "Sex and the City" will please its original fans, but not anyone else.
Kung Fu Panda - June 6
Being a panda seems pretty sweet, but not when you're Po the Panda (voiced by Jack Black). A waiter in a noodle restaurant, Po is a martial arts fanatic whose large shape and laziness don't exactly make learning kung fu easy. But when snow leopards threaten the jungle, the animals have no choice but to turn to Po to save them. With an inane plot and as much action as a PG rating allows, "Kung Fu Panda" will need witty dialogue and its talented voice cast to come through to pull off anything special.
You Don't Mess With the Zohan - June 6
Zohan (Adam Sandler), a deadly Israeli commando, realizes that his lifelong dream is to style hair, so he fakes his death and moves to New York City. But when his real identity is exposed, chaos ensues. Sandler's recent comedies have been sub-par at best ("I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry") and every movie in which Sandler dons a fake accent has tanked. But with a scriptwriting team that includes Jude Apatow ("40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Superbad") and Robert Smidgel ("Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog"), "Zohan" can't go too terribly wrong.
The Happening - June 13
M. Night Shyamalan returns to the big screen after a two-year hiatus with this new paranoia thriller. Mark Wahlberg stars as Elliot Moore, a high school science teacher who flees with his family into Pennsylvania farmlands when a strange and mysterious toxin erupts around the nation, leaving a trail of inescapable death. Now, in order to survive, Moore must discover the origin of the toxin before the human race is exterminated.
Since his classic "The Sixth Sense," Shyamalan movies have been gradually declining in quality, especially with his last two attempts "The Village" and box office failure "Lady in the Water." Enlisting the Oscar-nominated composer James Newton Howard to compose its score, "The Happening" will hopefully not sink into this downward trend and make for a chilling Friday the 13th thriller.
The Incredible Hulk - June 13
The next in the many superhero based films from Marvel Comics, "The Incredible Hulk" plays out as a loose sequel of the 2003 "Hulk." Edward Norton plays fugitive super-genius Dr. Bruce Banner, who is now in South America searching for a cure to his uncontrollable transformations into the Hulk as the United States Army closes in. After General "Thunderbolt" Ross (William Hurt) and soldier Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) fail to contain Banner, Blonsky volunteers as a subject for one of Banner's formulas, which transforms him into a powerful monstrosity that can match the Hulk. With the recent success of "Iron Man" and past successes of franchises like "Spiderman," Marvel Comics continues the endless film adaptations of its classic comics. Although it certainly has potential, expect "The Incredible Hulk" to be more of the same – action-packed but nothing too special.
Get Smart - June 20
Steve Carell stars as the blundering Maxwell Smart and Anne Hathaway as the competent Agent 99, two secret United States agents, in the film adaptation of the 1960s spy parody television series. When the command center of the U.S. spy agency control is attacked, the Chief (Alan Arkin) is forced to send Smart to combat the evil forces of KOAS. Fans of Carell, who is perfect as the inept Smart, can expect his trademark comedy, electrifying personality and on-screen chemistry with Hathaway to combine into one of the funniest screwball flicks of the year.
Wall-E - June 27
Pixar films never disappoint (think "Monsters, Inc." or "The Incredibles"), and the newest film, from the director of "Finding Nemo," will certainly be no exception. Mankind has evacuated Earth and "Wall-E," a robotic trash compactor, is the sole inhabitant of the planet. Over the years, he's developed a personality and he falls for Eve, a robot who comes to probe Earth. Even though most of the movie, which has only one English-speaking character, will be in robo-gibberish, the film looks to have been made with enough skill that it will be what the characters do that matters, not what they say.
Wanted - June 27
Boring Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) lives a dull existence in a cubicle, without the courage to do anything extraordinary - until his assassin father's partner (Morgan Freeman) invites him to follow in his father's footsteps. Wesley, once a cowardly nobody, is transformed into a force to be reckoned with. "Wanted" sports dazzling action sequences, complete with slow motion bullets and speeding trains. With Angelina Jolie in her classic action prance as Wesley's mentor and Freeman in another omniscient role, "Wanted" is sure to dazzle.
Hancock - July 2
Will Smith is "Hancock," a not-so-super, alcoholic superhero hated by the general public. He hires a publicist (Jason Bateman) to help him, but Hancock begins an affair with the publicist's wife (Charlize Theron). This premise doesn't seem too promising, but the movie does have redeeming scenes. Hancock, intent on saving a whale, picks it up and throws it back into the ocean, crushing a sailboat in the process. Hopefully, such action scenes and Smith's acting will save "Hancock" from its severely lacking plot.
Hell Boy 2: The Golden Army - July 11
The first "Hellboy" wasn't an average superhero movie, and the sequel likely won't be one either. Tough and headstrong, Hellboy (Ron Perlman) is back again, this time to save the world from creatures from another plane of existence. The supernatural creatures have their ultimate weapon, and they want to take the world back from mankind. Written by director Guillermo del Toro, of "Pan's Labyrinth" fame, and the original comic book creator Mike Mignola, the sequel focuses more on folklore and fairy tales than the pulp aspects of the first movie. But del Toro pulled off an excellently creepy and touching "Pan's Labyrinth" and he'll likely work his magic on "Hellboy 2" as well.
The Dark Knight - July 18
After the events of 2005's "Batman Begins," Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) returns as vigilante Batman in perhaps the most anticipated film of the year, "The Dark Knight." In this thrilling sequel, Batman teams up with "two-faced" district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) to square off with the psychotic and deadly Joker (Heath Ledger, in his final role). The movie will also focus on Wayne's personal struggles, including his growing love interest for assistant D.A. Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal). "Dark Knight" takes the "Batman" series on an even darker and exciting path, with the modern revamping of the Batman costume and Gotham City, as well as disturbing and sinister character designs for the Joker and Dent. Be sure to check out this epic superhero adventure when it races into theaters this summer.
Mamma Mia! - July 18
This adaption of the famous West End musical of the same name tells a story of the young English girl, Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried) and her quest to discover her true father. To find out his true identity, she invites three of her mother Donna's (Meryl Streep) past suitors, Sam Carmichael (Pierce Brosnan), Bill Austin (Stellan Skarsgard) and Harry Bright (Colin Firth), to her wedding on a Greek island where chaos ensues.
This quirky yet cute comedy musical features Oscar-winning Meryl Streep and songs from 1980's Swedish pop group ABBA. Although it faces heavy competition and will most likely be overshadowed by same-date-release "Dark Knight," "Mamma Mia!" is sure to win over audiences much like "Hairspray" did just a year ago.
X-Files: I Want to Believe - July 25
Following a television series that ended seven years ago and a dismal first movie, the second "X-Files" finally comes out in theaters this summer after being in development for six years. Agent Moulder (David Douchoveny) and Agent Scully (Gillian Anderson) return as investigators of the supernatural, six years after the events of the series. Thankfully, the producers recognized that the "mythology" arc wouldn't work after seven years and made the movie as a standalone supernatural investigation. But even so, the X-Files series lost momentum a long time ago, and chances are this movie will flop like the first.
Step Brothers - July 25
Will Ferrell as Brennan Huff and John C. Reilly as Dale Doback team up in the comedy "Step Brothers" - this time as middle-aged men living with their widowed parents. When their parents marry and move in together, the pair must live together as stepbrothers. Just as they are about to tear their parents' marriage apart, the pair hatches up a crazy plan to bring the family back together and make new bonds along the way. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly make for a formidable team, as shown in "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby." Although its premise is certainly overdone, crude comedy lovers might want to give "Step Brothers" a chance.
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - Aug. 1
The blockbuster "Mummy" series finds its way from Egypt to China in its third installment, "Tomb of the Dragon Emperor." Brendan Fraser returns as archaeologist Rick O'Connell, along with his son Alex (Luke Ford), wife Evelyn (Maria Bello) and brother Jonathan (John Hannah) to seal away the resurrected Han Dragon Emperor (Jet Li) and his 10,000 soldiers. The O'Connell family must now race around China from the ancient catacombs into the freezing Himalayas to stop the mummy emperor before he plunges the world into darkness.
The series has lost many old favorites, such as Rachel Weisz, Arnold Vosloo and Oded Fehr in its transfer to Asia. With a massive budget of $175 million, "The Mummy" is still sure to entertain audiences with even more eye-popping visual effects and intense action.
Sisterhood of Traveling Pants 2 - Aug. 8
The sisterhood is back and the pants still fit, even after the freshman 15. Based on the fourth book in the teen series, the second "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" follows the four girls – Lena (Alexis Bledel), Bridget (Blake Lively), Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) and Carmen (America Ferrera) – as they move on to college, discover themselves and come to cherish their friendship even more. The first "Pants" movie stayed unerringly close to the book, and the second will do the same. Fans of the book will be unsurprised, and the film will be exactly what the predominately teenaged female audience expects.
Tropic Thunder - Aug. 15
Directed by and starring Ben Stiller, "Tropic Thunder" tells the story of a group of actors, Stiller as action hero Tug Speedman, Jack Black as comedian Jeff Portnoy and Robert Downey Jr. as Academy-Award winning Kirk Lazarus, playing in a Vietnam War film. When their frustrated director (Steve Cooligan) suddenly disappears, the band of actors is left stranded in the middle of an actual war zone. Heralded as the most politically incorrect comedy of the summer, "Tropic Thunder" will most likely polarize audiences with its crude comedy.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Aug. 15
"Star Wars" returns to the theaters for the first time since "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" in 2005, but this time in full animated CGI. Familiar characters, such as Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, Padme Amidala, Yoda and Palpatine return in "Clone Wars," set between "Episode II: Attack of the Clones" and "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" in the "Star Wars" timeline. Wars are raging between the Seperatists and the Galactic Republic, and Jedis find themselves in the middle of the everlasting struggle between good and evil.
With "Star Wars" in its title, "Clone Wars" is all but guaranteed for box office success even though its trailers disappoint, depicting cartoonish animation and cheap CGI. Producer George Lucas himself claimed that the film "was almost an afterthought" to the animated TV series of the same name that will debut on Cartoon Network in the fall.
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