Your Summer in Movies

Here are a few short intros to just a few of the films you can expect from Hollywood this summer. I know, the summer is half over already, but shut up. Don’t act like you’ve seen ALL the summer movies already. And there are plenty more coming out before it’s over. So you’re welcome.

Thor: The Dark World – Finally, the not-that-long awaited sequel to the beloved action movie whose plot you can’t remember. Wait, wasn’t it the one where…  No, that was The Avengers. Thor and his enchanted hammer, Mjolnir, are back for another action-packed unmemorable extravaganza. Get ready to play “what was that movie about again” again!

thor-odin-movie-marvel(something about this, maybe?)

This is the End – Get ready to get your yearly comedy fix for this quarter of the decade. Though plenty of comedy’s are produced, Hollywood is only allowed 1 (maximum) actually funny movie per year; this is it folks. Insider tip: best ending of any summer movie this season.

The Lone Ranger – Get ready for the return of the greatest action hero your parents ever told you about that one time. Along with trusty steed, Silver, and sidekick, newly racist Johnny Depp, the Ranger will do his best to remind you why he faded into obscurity. As you watch remember that someone thought this was a good idea.

Pacific Rim – Giant Robots, extra-dimensional monsters, Ron Perlman in gold wingtips, Pacific Rim’s got everything! Try to follow the action as earth’s poorly thought out last line of defense battles its greatest, poorly coordinated threat at night and in the rain. Switch your mind off and enjoy the ride.

Man of Steel – Watch Superman the way you never wanted to see him: dark and moody with an incoherent origin story. Watch as Superman develops his moral code entirely independent of any positive influences in his life, and then disregards it completely for the rest of the film. If you like near-genocidal super heroes and mind numbing action, this is the movie for you.

After Earth – Watch as Will Smith, marooned on a far-future Earth, learns the harsh lesson that there’s only one thing that can negate his star power: Jayden Smith.

Will smith disappointment

World War Z – Zombies, Brad Pitt, that actress from The Killing; what’s not to like?

Now You See Me – Now you Don’t.

Kick Ass 2 – Watch the sequel to the inexplicably popular crapfest that was the first Kick Ass. Get your bad-taste violence, bad acting, and ridiculous story kicks for the summer all in one place courtesy of Mark Millar, the Michael Bay of comic books.

White House Down – A black/white buddy cop movie with a twist! The black one’s the president! Channing Tatum plays a Secret Service washout with a…. What? No one cares? Ok then…

2 Guns – A black/white buddy cop movie without a twist! Denzel and Marky Mark give us another derivative movie to round out the last 3 decades.

R.I.P.D. – Men in Black 4!

The Wolverine – Get ready for the sequel to the worst super hero movie of all time, and yes, that includes Spider-Man 3 and Green Lantern. Hugh Jackman suits up for another insultingly stupid, unforgivably poorly written and developed bag of garbage. Seriously, how do you mess up Wolverine?? Watch and see… again.

wolverine 2(if you think something cool is about to happen, you are wrong.)

Now I saw it. Hope you don’t.

So my wife and I saw Now You See Me last week… and I’m still thinking about it.  Oh no, not because it was thought provoking, almost the polar opposite.  I think I was noodling what exactly it was that bothered me about it, and I think I have it.

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This movie is the perfect vehicle to show why FYMPlanet is necessary.  There are so many people like Pete Hammond, from Movieline, who think that this movie was “highly entertaining, extremely clever & and thrilling to watch”, but he’s wrong, wrong, wrong.  Thankfully, Rottentomatoes, which does a reasonably good job calling out the stink bombs, gives this movie a 46%, which it deserves.

I don’t blame Pete Hammond, who will be a stand-in for everyone who doesn’t really know what “highly entertaining” and “extremely clever” actually are.  What this movie actually IS is a Hollywood ATTEMPT at being those things without actually crossing the threshold.  With such an entertaining/talented cast (Dave Franco and Mark Ruffalo excluded), there was an opportunity to make something special.

Jesse Eisenberg does a great job playing a supposedly smart, pompous, slightly annoying,  <insert any past role here> magician. The more we learn about the actor the more this is clearly less due to his acting ability and more just freebasing what is already there.  Woody Harrelson is the most interesting of the bunch, playing a talented, but seedy mentalist.  However, his power over people is showcased in a way that makes it unlikely he would ever be “down on his luck” or unsuccessful – he can literally make people say or do anything he wants.  With this super power, there are probably much more interesting ways he could be spending his time than faux dodging the FBI in pursuit of membership in some second rate Magic Mason cult. Isla Fisher is always fun to watch but her character bio is about as shallow as the Houdini tank she jumps in in one of the opening scenes.

Oh right, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are also in this film, proving that old male actors can still get a substantial paycheck for doing basically nothing.  Also there is a French girl, who neither represents Europe or Interpol well.  I should have auditioned my 3 year old daughter for how much intelligence and real world experience the character brings to the table.  The first 10 minutes of the movie hints at greater things through its brief, almost intriguing, character introductions/background sketches.  But like a street artist, the sketch is all there is and it culminates in a silly but admittedly creative bank heist.  If the movie ended there, I actually would have been intrigued and wanted more… but then there actually WAS more.

What follows is so silly and unbelievably orchestrated that all the suspense and enigma of the puppeteer behind the scenes is lost.  There is never a sense of danger or reality to the proceedings.  The plot is just a vehicle for the writers to try to show how clever they are.  The protagonists lose all of their humanity and just become avatars to this end.  The twist at the end, which I THINK was trying to recall much better movies like “the prestige” had none of the weight or consequence of that movie.  It was so yawn worthy and unbelievable that my brain wanted to self-destruct – it’s possible it did and this one is a loaner.

You may ask, what did I expect?  And, true, I didn’t expect a lot.  I still enjoyed the experience because I was spending time with my lovely wife, but that makes the movie irrelevant.  What this movie tells me is that there is still a significant number of people in Hollywood and elsewhere who don’t know what “highly entertaining” and “clever” really are.  If you must constantly state how funny or witty you are, you probably aren’t.  This should be a rule in film and life.  In the season finale of Game of Thrones, Tywin Lannister scolds his nephew in much the same way.  A real king shouldn’t have to remind everyone else of the fact.

Don’t waste your time watching this movie unless it is just a means to another end.  Watch the Prestige ( not the Illusionist) instead.  It’s got its flaws, but there are some real questions about magic, humanity, and commitment that make it worth the trip.

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Good luck out there!