By Luke Phillips
Imperial Valley summers can be brutal, but luckily we’ll have a plethora of eye-popping entertainment on the silver screen to keep us out of the heat and in the theater.
The summer movie season, which seems to start earlier every year, is already in full-swing this year, kicked off by two big Marvel Entertainment movies last month. Marvel’s Thor was released May 6 to mostly negative reviews, but big box office numbers and has already earned approximately $176,000,000 in the U.S. X-Men: First Class, also released by Marvel on June 3, was mostly liked by critics and also had a good haul at the box office, but wasn’t able to match Thor’s numbers, taking in about $120,000,000 domestically.
Also this month, we’ve already seen the release of monster movie Super 8, director JJ Abram’s tribute to old Stephen Spielberg movies. Abrams has been quoted as saying that he was trying to bring back the genre of ‘Alien wonderment’ found in films like E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and in fact Spielberg even served as an executive producer on the film.
Abrams refused to show the film’s monster or give away any plot points in the teaser trailer for Super 8, a move that some Hollywood insiders said would hurt the film’s box office numbers, but so far that hasn’t been the case. Since opening June 10 Super 8 has made about $87,000,000 worldwide. Super 8 has also done fairly well with the critics and currently has a score of 82 percent positive reviews on the web site Rotten Tomatoes.
This past week DC Comics made their latest entry into the movie arena with Green Lantern. Except for the latest Batman movies, DC hasn’t faired nearly as well as Marvel when it comes to comic book movies, releasing such flops as Catwoman and Superman Returns. But Green Lantern earned $75 million it’s first week and could turn out to be their biggest movie since the mega-successful Dark Knight in 2008.
On June 24 we’ll get to see the first big comedy of the season, Bad Teacher starring Cameron Diaz as a drinking, drugging and incredibly foul-mouthed high-school teacher trying to win the heart of a wealthy substitute teacher.
Also being released June 24 is the sequel to Disney/Pixar’s 2006 animated feature Cars. Cars 2 will reunite the entire cast and crew including director John Lasseter and stars Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy and Michael Caine.
On June 29 director Michael Bay rolls out his third movie about everybody’s favorite robots in disguise. Transformers: Dark of the Moon will have all the elements of a great summer popcorn movie: Giant robots, explosions, more special-effects than you can shake a stick at, along with star Shia Lebouf and whichever sexy girl he’s wearing on his arm this time around.
On July 15 the decade-long Harry Potter saga will come to an end with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, featuring young wizard Harry Potter in the ultimate face-off against his mortal enemy Lord Voldemort, all in jump-off-the-screen digital 3D. Don’t fall off your broomstick!
We’ll get another dose of comic-booky goodness on July 22 when Marvel releases it’s third big feature of the summer: Captain America: The First Avenger. Closely following his comic book origins, Captain America will star Chris Evans (Not Another Teen Movie, Fantastic Four) as a WWII soldier who is deemed too wimpy to enlist and is instead volunteered for an experiment that turns him in to a super soldier. Captain America, along with his sidekick Bucky Barnes, fight the Red Skull, the fictitious head of Hitler’s advanced weapons program.
One of the most anticipated movies of the summer, Cowboys & Aliens, will be released July 29 and will feature Daniel Craig (James Bond!) and Harrison Ford (Han Solo!) as cowboy bad-asses that are forced to fight off an alien invasion in an old west town. What more could a moviegoer ask for?
Also on the 29th, 80s cartoon favorite The Smurfs will get their first big-screen adaptation featuring CGI renderings of our favorite blue characters set lose on New York City. The film stars Jonathan Winters as the voice of Papa Smurf, Taylor Swift as Smurfette, Neil Patrick Harris as Brainy Smurf and Hank Azaria as bad guy Gargamel.
Set for an August 5 release, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a prequel to the famous Planet of the Apes series starring James Franco, will tell the story of how a race of super-intelligent apes came to rule the earth.
On August 19 the Summer movie season will wrap up with a trio of big releases.
First up, we’ll get a new interpretation of the film that made Arnold Schwarzenegger famous: Conan the Barbarian. The filmmakers insist the new movie is not a remake of the original and will take the franchise in an entirely new direction. The film stars Jason Momoa in the titular role, along with Rose McGowan, Stephen Lang and Ron Pearlman.
Next is a remake of the classic 80s horror movie Fright Night. The new movie will feature a plot nearly identical to the original about a teenage boy who suspects that his neighbor is a vampire. Anton Yelchin is set to play the lead with Colin Farrell in the neighbor/vampire role.
And last but not least, director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Planet Terror) will give us the 4th installment of his Spy Kids series. Spy Kids: All the Time in the World will be the first movie in the series since 2003s Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over and will feature twins Rebecca and Cecil teaming with their hated step-mother Marissa (played by Jessica Alba) to help save the world from a Nazi wizard.
By Luke Phillips