BIGGER THAN A REDBOX
Summer 2014 movies you might actually see in a theater
Full disclosure: I gave the Matthew Broderick Godzilla three stars out of five, mostly because I got this really cool sippy cup at the screening, see. So maybe I’m not the guy you wanna trust to handicap the chances that Warner Bros. has rebooted the big green galoot in a way that will prove more, uh, enduring. From what we’ve seen so far, this one sure looks more like a Godzilla movie than an ersatz Jurassic Park, which is a step in the right direction. But it’s probably too much to hope for that WB has gone all the way past Raymond Burr and back to the Hiroshima-haunted somberness of the franchise’s origins. Either way, get ready for another fun and challenging round of “What Is Ken Watanabe Saying?”
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
“I’ve watched a lot of people die,” Wolverine snarls in the trailer — a neat reminder of all the Brett Ratner-inflicted canon damage Bryan Singer is going to have to undo here. Hopes are high, given that Singer is the guy who made X-Men and X2: X-Men United (let’s just agree to forget that he then went on to make Superman Returns and that shitty Munsters pilot). And how time flies: Now it’s Jennifer Lawrence inspiring the coos of “Oooooh, they got her back,” while Halle Berry’s fleeting appearances in the promos engender whispers of “Hey, who did that used to be?”
A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST
Future Kid: Dad, why did so many people hate Seth MacFarlane? Future Dad: Because us liberals are humorless sons of bitches, just like that tub of lard Limbaugh used to say. Future Kid: Then why did A Million Ways to Die in the West make a bajillion dollars anyway? Future Dad: Because progressives don’t pay for movies, son; we pirate them.
(limited release June 6)
Ex-SNL cast member Jenny Slate portrays an up-and-coming standup comic in a movie that promises to provide a nuanced and sympathetic portrait of one woman’s lot in show business and society. In a world where In a World actually got the accolades it deserved, maybe there’s room for another feminist hero in our meta-comedies.
22 JUMP STREET
Magic Mike might get all the attention, but it was Channing Tatum’s surprisingly sensitive turn in the wonderful 21 Jump Street that showed he was going to be a major force to contend with. Two years later, he and Jonah Hill are back for a follow-up that looks set to do for obligatory sequels what the original did for obligatory reboots. This time, our heroes are on assignment in college, which opens the door to all kinds of winking self-exploitation. In other words, this shit just got unreal.
(limited release June 13)
Learn everything that’s wrong with America’s debt-inducing system of higher education in this probing documentary. NOTE: No student passes accepted for this engagement.
THEY CAME TOGETHER
(limited release June 27)
The latest collaboration between Paul Rudd and filmmaker David Wain (Role Models) is a romcom spoof set in the high-stakes world of candy manufacturing. No matter how the movie turns out, we’re all but guaranteed two ancillary benefits: another airing of the non-Wings nonhit “Love Take Me Down to the Streets,” and Rudd yet again Rick-rolling Conan O’Brien with that ridiculous clip from Mac and Me. Never gets old!
THE PURGE: ANARCHY
Last summer’s The Purge was crap with a conscience: home-invasion porn that actually had something worthwhile to say about 21st-century class warfare. Ten months later, its closing line — “This country has taken everything from me” — remains one of the most daring and bracingly honest observations I’ve heard in a major release. The flick made all sorts of serious, unexpected bank, too, which is why there’s already a sequel ready to go. Now, ask yourself: With a schedule that tight, which element of the original do you think it was easier for the filmmakers to preserve: the wholesale bloodletting or the pithy social commentary? Yeah, me, too.
A MOST WANTED MAN
(limited release July 25)
This indie thriller, based on the writings of John le Carré, represents Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s last starring role to reach theaters. What’s that, you say? You could use a really good punchline here? Hey, then why don’t you make one?
GET ON UP
Chadwick Boseman (42’s Jackie Robinson) is Godfather of Soul James Brown in a biopic directed by The Help’s Tate Taylor. Apparently the role of onetime Brown confidant Al Sharpton is played by no one — hey, just like on TV!
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
While Warner Bros. abandons all hope of ever making a profitable DC Comics movie that doesn’t involve a trip to the Batcave, Disney does the nyah-nyah dance by anointing one of Marvel’s more obscure titles as its end-of-summer hopeful. And whaddaya know, the thing looks like it could be a monster hit, distilling the space opera, caped heroics and funny animalhood that represent the shared character of the Mouse House’s latter-day acquisitions. If those Star Wars sequels underperform somehow, don’t be surprised if Rocket Raccoon gets a makeover as a Disney Princess.
FRANK MILLER’S SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR
A lot has happened in the nine years since the sequel to Frank Miller’s Sin City was announced: Robert Rodriguez fell in love with Machéte, and Miller’s solo directing debut, The Spirit, was such a bust he had to settle for establishing himself as the Islamophobic pariah of comics. So what’s left to anticipate now that a second Sin City is finally limping out of the gate? Well, there’s a featured role for Lady Gaga. And 3-D. And maybe I’ll get a sippy cup.