To start some early buzz for the summer, I thought I’d round up information on the big releases so you can be better informed about what’s coming down the pipe. Below you will find a chronological listing of 16 featured upcoming summer of 2008 movies and links to their respective websites. Fair Warning: most of these films are made by non-Christians and may contain questionable material. Hopefully you can save this list for when things begin to thaw out, to help you decide what to see this summer.
Hancock – July 2nd
Synopsis: There are heroes; there are superheroes; and then there’s Hancock (Will Smith). With great power comes great responsibility; everyone knows that; everyone, that is, but Hancock. Edgy, conflicted, sarcastic, and misunderstood, Hancock’s well-intentioned heroics might get the job done and save countless lives, but always seem to leave jaw-dropping damage in their wake. The public has finally had enough; as grateful as they are to have their local hero, the good citizens of Los Angeles are wondering what they ever did to deserve this guy. Hancock isn’t the kind of man who cares what other people think, until the day that he saves the life of PR executive Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), and the sardonic superhero begins to realize that he may have a vulnerable side after all. Facing that will be Hancock’s greatest challenge yet; and a task that may prove impossible as Ray’s wife, Mary (Charlize Theron), insists that he’s a lost cause.
Verdict: This could go either way. The story could be really funny if they play their cards right. However, I don’t see that happening. Even with Jason Bateman there, it’s going to be tough to pull this one out of the gutter. This is not to say that the movie won’t make a fortune. You can take Will Smith to the bank. I just hope this is better than My Super-Ex Girlfriend but I have little hope that it will be as funny as Men in Black.
Director: Peter Berg (The Rundown, Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom)
Actors: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman
Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D – July 11
Synopsis: No official synopsis has been released, but based upon the pictures on IMDB, I don’t think that this is the story from the Jules Verne novel of the same name. It appears that Fraser is reading a copy of Verne’s novel to his son. And an unnamed woman (could be the Icelandic guide) or Fraser’s wife or some other cute female counterpart like Rachel Weisz. It could be a retelling but instead of the parchment with the secret message, the boy reads the book in school and comes home with wild ideas about the story being real and not fiction. Then they take off on a whirlwind journey to Iceland to see if it is true.
Verdict: There is probably a great story to be had here, but I expect big budget effects and Brendan Fraser (I haven’t seen him in anything since Crash) to offer his generally bland performance. If it is a depiction of the original and the Icelandic guide has been turned into a cute blonde woman just so Fraser can have a love interest I think Hollywood will have sunk to a new low.
Director: Eric Brevig (Debut)
Actors: Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, Anita Briem, Giancarlo Caltabiano,
The Dark Knight – July 25
Synopsis: Christian Bale once again embodies the man behind the mask in “The Dark Knight.” The film reunites Bale with director Christopher Nolan and takes Batman across the world in his quest to fight a growing criminal threat. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman has been making headway against local crime…until a rising criminal mastermind known as The Joker (Heath Ledger) unleashes a fresh reign of chaos across Gotham City. To stop this devious new menace–Batman’s most personal and vicious enemy yet–he will have to use every high-tech weapon in his arsenal and confront everything he believes.
Director: Christopher Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins, The Prestige)
Actors: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Pineapple Express – August 8th
Synopsis: Judd Apatow conquered the sex comedy with 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up and the high school comedy with Superbad. Now he is aiming his sights at the stoner comedy. Lazy stoner Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) has only one reason to visit his equally lazy dealer Saul Silver (James Franco): to purchase weed, specifically, a rare new strain called Pineapple Express. But when Dale becomes the only witness to a murder by a crooked cop (Rosie Perez), he panics and dumps his Pineapple Express at the scene. Is the weed is so rare that it can be traced back to him? As Dale and Saul run for their lives, they quickly discover that they’re not suffering from weed-fueled paranoia; incredibly, the bad guys really are hot on their trail and trying to figure out the fastest way to kill them both. All aboard the Pineapple Express.
Verdict: Official website and trailer not available yet but there is a 4 minute uncensored clip circulating online, beware lots of language. While I’m sure it will be funny in places, I don’t think this movie will have nearly the following as Knocked-Up and Superbad. And to end on a sweet and poignant lesson without seeming preachy, as Apatow has shown himself readily capable, will be tough from what I have seen thus far. Although, these guys have much to learn and I have been surprised before.
Director: David Gordon Green (George Washington, All the Real Girls, Snow Angels)
Actors: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Amber Heard
Dragonball – August 15
Synopsis: No official word has been released, but the scuttle but is that The movie will be based upon the King Piccolo Saga of the original Dragonball series. Catwin plays Young Goku and Marsters plays Piccolo.
Verdict: I’m a big fan of the series and I hope they do it well. There are many fans around the world that love this series, if they do well it could mean dozens of sequels, there is plenty of source material to work from.
Director: James Wong (Final Destination, The One)
Actors: Justin Chatwin, James Marsters, Chow Yun Fat, Emmy Rossum, Jamie Chung
What a summer. It looks to be a very exciting and entertaining year at the movies. This list doesn’t include independent movies that do well at film festivals like Sundance and others that break into the mainstream. I have always been wary of big summer films, and though I can’t say for certain that any of these are going to be great, my feeling is that it looks like it could be one of the best summers in years. There are some that could be superb, especially based on the trailers. I hope you look forward to their unveiling as much as I do.