It isn’t easy finding an anticipated summer movie that isn’t a sequel. Unfortunately, the summer is made up almost entirely of them. No one wants to chance losing hundreds of millions of dollars, so what do we get but more of the same. It makes for what I consider to be a dull and forgettable summer yet again. In looking for something to get excited about, I will have to navigate through the endless Part 2s and 3s and 4s. If you’re starving, you’ll eat anything, whether it tastes good or not, whether it’s good for you or not.
10. Knocked Up (June 1). Judd Apatow’s The 40 Year-Old Virgin was too smart and funny for its own good, had one too many gay jokes for its own good, but was something rarely seen these days in blockbuster entertainment: an original. Apatow next teams up with Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy) and Seth Rogan (Virgin) to examine the fallout of an unexpected pairing that results in an unexpected pregnancy. Here’s to hoping Apatow continues to make lots of moneymaking original films.
9. Hairspray (July 20). Okay, so Hairspray is the movie version of the stage version of the John Waters film. Both film and Broadway versions were hits. How this film will do is still a crapshoot – but it stars a cross-dressing John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer, in what will be the third singing role of her career.
8. Milos Foreman’s Goya’s Ghosts (Summer TBA), starring Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård. This is a film about painter Francisco Goya and his muse. It’s been a while since Foreman put out a film, and his project stands out amid a sea of temporary thrills.
7. An American Crime (Summer TBA). Catherine Keener plays an abusive monster that imprisons a teenage girl (Ellen Page) in her basement. While it is ugly to watch a film about the “most terrible crime ever committed in Indiana,” watching Keener stretch her acting wings is a must-see.
6. Atonement (August 31). Keira Knightley stars alongside the red-hot James McAvoy in a film directed by Joe Wright, who last teamed up with Knightley for Pride & Prejudice. This film is based on the best-selling 2002 novel about a classic British romance that spans several decades. McAvoy could be doing a Geico commercial and it would be riveting, but nonetheless the film looks to be one of the best of the summer.
5. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (May 25). Okay, it’s a threequel, but who can resist the urge to disappear out of the blasting heat back into the Pirates cave? It’s impossible at Disneyland and it’s impossible at the multiplex. There is magic there, no matter how botched the films are. It doesn’t even have to be that great to deliver the goods. We come for the pirates, argh!
4. Black Sheep (June 22). At first it seemed like a joke – nasty sheep that get mad and start ravaging humans, but upon further inspection this seems to be an out-and-out horror flick. A genetic experiment tips the population in the sheep’s favor and they take their revenge. Whether for laughs or chills, this could be the movie everyone’s talking about this summer.
3. Live Free or Die Hard (June 29). Yes, another sequel but it is not just an ordinary sequel – it’s the return of John McClaine from the Die Hard series. Remember when Bruce Willis owned the ‘80s? It follows in the tradition of the old Die Hard movies – one little bald tough guy saves the world by becoming a fly-in-the-ointment. Nonetheless, curiosity alone is enough to make this one of the most anticipated of the summer.
2. Spider-Man 3 (May 4). Of all of the sequels, only this one has everything to live up to. Both Spider-Man movies were critically acclaimed blockbusters that did not disappoint fans. It’s a toss-up as to whether this film will top out the summer as the biggest moneymaker (probably), but Pirates will give it a run for its money.
1. Dinosaurs Alive! (May 30). This IMAX film will be presented in 3-D and shows “life- size” dinos in the Cretaceous period. The film will follow modern day paleontologists on the hunt for new fossils and look for dino descendants that are still living among us. It may not be a sequel, but this one has the authentic “wow” factor.