I’ve been battling a sore throat and cough for a week and putting off virtually everything – including this GM/LM – because of it. And damn these wacky summer release dates; now one of these movies is already widely released in theaters as of today. Oh, well. There are still the others, right? Maybe I’ll be healthy again on Independence Day. Good thing Will Smith isn’t in a movie this season; otherwise there’d be back-to-back too late GM/LMs.
starring Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Josh Duhamel, and Frances McDormand. Directed by Michael Bay. Rated PG-13.
I am a fan of a certain kind of silliness – the kind that is self-aware and smart about its execution despite its seemingly brainless nature. A good example of this in an action flick (ironically, produced by Bay) is 1997’s Con Air. The entire film (about a plane taken hostage by dangerous convicts) winks with a vibe of “Look, just like the savviest of you in the audience, most of us on board this movie know the plot is nonsense, but let’s stamp it ‘duly noted’ and look past it.” The result of this mentality toward the silliness is a fun ride that to this day earns multiple viewings.
For the first installment of producer Steven Spielberg’s and director Bay’s Transformers films, I wanted a near exact replica of Con Air (This is, after all, a movie based on toys). It starts out that way with Sam Witwicky’s (LaBeouf) confusion over his new car, but the buzzkill starts once the robots open their mouths. They’re über-serious about their once classified missions, and since they are also giant space creatures capable of planet-dooming destruction, the humans follow suit. Autobot dialogue is a vacuum of fun. With the humans now mostly aware of the Autobot-Decepticon war, I found no reason to see the follow-up Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The evil Decepticons keep underestimating the power of the Autobots’ human assistants – the predictability bores me.
The trailer for this threequel Dark of the Moon seems to hint an improvement from the last dud (Oooh, a HUMAN baddie! Played by an Oscar-winning actress!), but it also seems like a return to form with the first film – one I would ultimately call a respectable effort. I would have probably at least rented this film, but wouldn’t I have to see Revenge of the Fallen to fully appreciate what’s happening? Why would I do a silly thing like that?
starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Cedric the Entertainer, and Bryan Cranston. Directed by Tom Hanks. Rated PG-13.
Fifteen years after Hanks’ feature film writing/directorial debut with the under-appreciated That Thing You Do!, he’s at it again. This time he has a partner at the typewriter – his and his wife Rita Wilson’s friend Nia Vardalos, the star/creator of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. And instead of casting an actor with Hanksisms in the lead role (sorry, Tom Everett Scott – truth hurts), Hanks cut the middleman and cast himself as Larry. Good call.
Though the movie is packed with stars (like George Tekei, Wilmer Valderrama, Taraji P. Henson, Pam Grier, etc. Oh, and that Roberts lady.), I can’t help but feel like this timely film about starting fresh and returning to school to gel with the economic downfall is mostly the product of Hanks being the super-nice guy he’s known for and lending a loving, helping hand to his wife and wife’s friend with his own star power. Everyone knows he’s the King of Hollywood, and Vardalos’ success was more or less a fluke (though I like to call it an “unsolved mysterious phenomena”).
Yet I’m still interested. I don’t see any chance of a little flick like this capturing the Academy’s attention, but Hanks – with his proudly dorky sense of humor – will no doubt be a pleasure to watch for this proud-to-be dork and many more alike.
starring Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, Katie Cassidy, and Cory Monteith. Directed by Thomas Bezucha. Rated PG.
How can a movie shoot a bulk of its entirety in Paris and look this lacking in art at the end of it all? The loosely based Prince and the Pauper story here looks to be used as an excuse for these young up-and-comers to put on their resumé that they have foreign location experience and nothing more. In the summer of Bridesmaids, this mini-Sex and the City is an ill-timed blemish to women’s entertainment.
starring David Hyde Pierce, Clayne Crawford, Nathaniel Parker, and Helen Reddy. Directed by Nick Tomnay. Rated R.
Debut writer/director Tomnay has a fascinating concept with his first feature length film. When I first read Pierce was going to be in a black comedy about a man taken hostage in his home by a fugitive, I thought “Here we go again – another movie like The Ref where the bad guy is tormented by the idiosyncrasies of the held captive…” As you can see by the 00:58-second mark of the trailer, it’s not quite the idiosyncrasies doing the tormenting. This movie seems dark and – if I’m judging correctly – psychologically absurd. Pierce is a great choice for the job; a talented character actor deserving of the chance for this kind of unique departure.
starring Jacob Wysocki, John C. Reilly, Bridger Zadina, and Creed Bratton. Directed by Azazel Jacobs. Rated R.
… This looks a lot like Cyrus. Are you sure this isn’t Cyrus, IMDb?…
Okay, it’s not Cyrus. This looks far more forgettable, actually. It doesn’t look as funny as the trailer implies it is. It flat out doesn’t look funny at all. If the purpose of this film is to highlight how an instructor in the educational field can make a considerably underestimated impact on a kid’s life with his own life, I can think of several other much better looking movies – indies even – with the same sort of message to go to instead. I’m sure this movie might be a couple of people’s cup of tea, but I see no value in watching a constantly and sadly mocked overweight teen stuck in an existential rut.
Return next Monday or Tuesday (I always shoot for Monday) for the GM/LM for July 8th, 2011 which will include Horrible Bosses with Jason Bateman and Zookeeper with Kevin James. If you routinely visit Twitter, feel free to follow @MEIER_in_a_CT along with @gttmovies for the skinny on whatever film we’re obsessing about at any given time.