Thursday, April 24, 2008

Top Ten Movies I'm Looking Forward To This Summer

It's just about time for the Summer Blockbuster Season to roll around, so I'm starting to plan what I actually want to see. Usually I INTEND to see most of them, but wind up only seeing half or less. Unlike many recent summers, I'm actually really looking forward to quite a few films.

So without further ado, here's the list (and not necessarily in order of looking-forward-to-ness)

1) The Dark Knight - This actually IS the one I'm most anticipating. I love everything director Christopher Nolan has done so far, and conventional wisdom would indicate that the combination of this being Nolan's second go-round with Batman, and the acting chops of Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhal, et al, should mean that The Dark Knight is destined to be a classic. As it's one of the last movies of the summer, we have a ways to go to make that determination.

2) Iron Man - Usually a movie's ad campaign wears me out long before the movie actually debuts. But I really have to hand it to Iron Man. I have loved every last thing I've seen from this film so far. Brilliant job of marketing this. I just hope that the movie turns out as fun as all the trailers would lead us to believe.

3) Narnia: Prince Caspian - I was only so-so on the first Narnia movie, but as with Dark Knight, I'm expecting them to successfully tweak the franchise to where it's even better than the first one. All trailers and imagery I've seen so far indicate that this will be much darker, and more adult than The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I remember really liking Prince Caspian the second best among all the books, and can't wait to see Reepicheep brought to life.

4) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - I'm actually REALLY dreading this film. I can't imagine it's going to be any good. I really detested Last Crusade, and I fear that this film will travel further down the overly-jokey path that film started. The trailer made it look like it was one over-the-top action sequence after another. I've had my fill with the last two Pirates films, and King Kong. But... I'm going to have to see it anyway, on the off chance that it somehow proves me wrong. Of course, if critical consensus is overwhelmingly negative, I don't know if I'll be able to force myself into a theater to see it.

5) Speed Racer - Yet another movie that looks like it's wall-to-wall silly action. Again, I can't imagine I'll like this. But... it has such a unique visual style it might be worth seeing just on that basis. Every image I've seen from the film has been dazzling.

6) The Happening - I've been really harsh on M. Knight Shymalan the last few years, and have enjoyed riding on the backlash bandwagon (which has been well-deserved). But I'm hoping and expecting that he'll return to form one of these days and make a visionary movie similar to Sixth Sense or Signs (I really liked it, even though it caught some flak from some corners). This is some sort of alien invasion film, and I don't know a lot about it, and I hope to stay that way so that whatever surprises M. Knight has in store for us, that they STAY surprises for me.

7) The Incredible Hulk - I was meh on the first Hulk, and so far all the trailers and images for this (as well as the behind the scenes stories) make me worry that this will be a disaster. But... here's hoping that I'm wrong and this film somehow pulls it out and makes a fun film.

8) Hellboy II: The Golden Army - I liked the first one, and since that movie came out, Guillermo del Toro has become something of a visionary. Everything he touches turns to gold, not unlike Christopher Nolan. And similar to Dark Knight, this is a second go-round, so I expect a much more confident film from del Toro. Everything about it so far looks solid.

9) Wall*E - It's a Pixar film, so there's no reason NOT to see it. Trailers turned me from an early doubter to someone that's very much looking forward to this film.

10) Tropic Thunder - This one kind of came out of nowhere to land firmly on my radar. Trailer and other promotional items so far look hilarious. Robert Downey Jr. as an actor who underwent surgery to turn himself black is a brilliant idea (at least in the trailer).


10.5) Hancock - A new trailer for this came out right after I posted this (actually it debuted on American Idol last night, but I didn't see it until this morning), and it makes it at least SEEM like it might be a fun ride. The early reviews I've read of this haven't been overly positive. But... we'll see, I guess.

11) Honorable mentions - The rest of these films I'm going to keep my eye on, but they all seem like DVD rentals at best.

Get Smart
Love Guru
Kung Fu Panda
Meet Dave

And as always, there's going to be at least one film that comes out of nowhere to become a surprise hit. What will be this year's Knocked Up?

Time will tell.

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