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Summer Preview in Oxford Town

May 7, 2009


By Melanie Addington
As published in the Oxford Town

Although the season officially kicked off last week with the weak box office contender “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” the summer intensifies beginning today with Star Trek. Here is a look ahead at some of summer’s biggest blockbusters:

Today: “Star Trek” (PG-13) started off with little buzz and weak support from critics, but after last week’s screenings, critics are raving about the film and claiming its one of the best big screen “Star Trek’s” to date. J.J. Abrams (“Cloverfield”) directs the origin story of our U.S.S. Enterprise crew and even has Leonard Nimoy in a cameo role as an elder Spock. The film stars Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock. I assume we shall see some Trekkies filling the seats of Malco this weekend.

May 15: “Angels & Demons” (PG-13) , directed by Ron Howard, is the follow up to the “Da Vinci Code” but has been long touted the better novel by fans, so the film may exceed expectations. Tom Hanks reprises his role as Robert Langdon and seeks to solve a crime against the Vatican and the Pope. Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer and Stellan Skarsgard round out the cast.

May 22: A battle will occur at the box office this week as “Terminator Salvation” (PG-13)  and “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” (PG) spar for number one. “Terminator Salvation” is directed by “We Are Marshall” McG and stars Christian Bale as John Connor in this fourth installment of the series, this time set in the apocalyptic future 2018 (which is now only 9 years away!).

Night at the Museum catches us back up with Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) and some old favorites from the first film (Owen Wilson as Jedediah and Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt) and new famous figures (Amy Adams as Amelia Earheart) when Larry must rescue Jedediah and Octavius from the Smithsonian.

May 29: Pixar’s first 3-D movie, “Up,” (PG) will surely be the big hit at the end of May but may have to contend at the box office with Sam Raimi’s excellent return to the horror genre, “Drag Me to Hell” (PG-13).

Raimi will be sure to delight new and old fans with his gypsy cursed Christine (Alison Lohman). Also starring  Justin Long as Clay, the boyfriend, the horror film shows that Raimi has come a long way since the classic “Evil Dead.”

“Up” stars the voice of Ed Asner as Carl Fredricksen who wants to see the wilds of South America and so ties thousands of balloons to his home to travel. Unfortunately, a child was on the porch when he set off, so he and Russell explore the world together, along with a talking dog they meet on the way. It’s Pixar, so pretty bound to be a success.

June 5: “Land of the Lost” was always campy when the show brought humans and dinosaurs together along with some bad but early CGI effects in the 1974 TV series. On his latest expedition, Dr. Rick Marshall is sucked into a space-time vortex alongside his research assistant and a redneck survivalist. In this alternate universe, the trio make friends with a primate named Chaka (Taccone), their only ally in a world full of dinosaurs and other fantastic creatures. Combine that with Will Ferrell and Danny McBride and you are bound to see a delightfully awful film. I can’t wait! The film is not yet rated but will likely get a PG.

June 24: Love him or hate him, Michael Bay’s films always gross over $100 million and the second in the series, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” will likely do more of the same. Sam Witwicky (Shia Lebouf) discovers the origins of the Transformers and unwittingly starts a new battle. Now in college, Rainn Wilson returns as a professor and Megan Fox reprises her role as Mikaela Banes. The film is not yet rated but will likely get PG-13.

July 1: “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” or Ice Age 3 brings back Manny, Ellie, Diego and Sid for a changing world after the meltdown. Of course, in this one Scrat the squirrel may find love. Typically a part three like this on an animated film would not bring back quite so many big names, but all the stars are set to reprise their vocal roles including Ray Romano as Mattie and Queen Latifah as Ellie. This is not yet rated but will likely get PG.

Another film out the same day may attract a different audience as Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard bring back the classic “Public Enemies” (R). Michael Mann directs the story of Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger (Depp) and his girlfriend Billie (Cotillard) who seem uncatchable by anyone but FBI agent Melvin Purvis (Bale). Early test screenings of the film brought mixed reactions from audiences not to mention this is the 18th attempt to make a film on Dillinger. Somehow though, I think it will be the new “The Untouchables,” in respect of true story cat and mouse crime story on the big screen. Note: Channing Tatum will star in this and “GI Joe” in August, Bale stars in this and the earlier “Terminator Salvation”)

July 10: “Bruno” may not fit the classic “blockbuster” scenario but if one film is set to stir the angry cries from the public this summer, it will be the film of Sacha Baren Cohen’s newest character, Bruno. The Australian fashionista comes to America and in the true spirit of pop culture, adopts a baby to be more like Madonna. He hits the talk show circuit as well as a variety of other events to test the moral center of America’s stance on gays. From the footage I have seen, which is not the full film but only some select scenes, people will be screaming and rolling in the theaters with laughter. But the true test will be to see how fast someone begins protesting the film.

July 17: “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (PG) finally will open after promises of seeing it last fall (you can thank “Twilight” for that one). Our favorite ragtag magicians will once again return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for their sixth year. Potter discovers a book that leads him into Voldemort’s past. The always effortlessly talented Jim Broadbent joins the cast as Horace Slughorn. Get ready fans – only two more films to go – what’s that? Only one book left? Yes, but the producers decided to leave everything in so “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” will release as part one in 2010 and the second half of the book in 2011. And then what will fans do?

August 7: “GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra” is directed by Stephen Sommers of “Catch Me if You Can” fame. However, since that time Sommers has directed many of the failure action films, which does not bode well for GI Joe. However, the black leather outfit of star Sienna Miller will likely draw the teenage boy crowd to give it a modest box office hit. Plus Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as the Snake Commander, a far different role than his other summer film “500 Days of Summer.” GI Joe is not yet rated but will likely be PG-13.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 13, 2009 12:07 am

    I’m ready ! “Star Trek” has warmed me up. Give me my 3-D glasses and off I go !!!

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