Summer Blockbusters 

The stars, the flicks, the flops and the air conditioning for when you're not outdoors

The Internship

Dir. by Shawn Levy. Starring Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson,

Rose Byrne

Vaughn and Wilson, merry fortysomethings both, return to the bromantic comedy stylings that brought them such critical acclaim and box-office success with Wedding Crashers. The Internship centers around two dudes who soamehow secure -- you guessed it -- an internship. Only it's with Google, the improbability of which we won't go into here. It's a weak (and frankly, sort of tired) concept, but director Shawn Levy found salvageable matter in both Real Steel and Night at the Museum -- both those films were nowhere near as awful as they ought to have been -- and in his paws, Vaughn's script might be granted a visible touch of humanity. If nothing else, the two comedians play well off each other, and the scene work should be enjoyable even if the project at large falls flat on its PG-13 face.  


Man of Steel

Dir. by Zack Snyder. Starring Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon

Oh, who the hell knows? The trailers have been almost piously solemn -- foremost among them the initial teaser set to the Lord of the Rings Gandalf-death dirge -- but still incredibly captivating. Right? Snyder will more than likely unleash a smorgasbord of outlandish CGI effects and kill what little chance it has at success. Sucker Punch (Snyder's most recent disaster) was just so irredeemably godawful that one is almost embarrassed to hope Man of Steel is any good. The cast is solid, though, and Clark Kent looks like the role Cavill was born to play. I can't explain the chills I get when I see these damn previews -- sue me! -- but my fingers are cautiously crossed; I just can't overlook the evidence that suggests that Snyder will condemn this one to a glossy grave.

This is the End

Dir. by Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen. Starring: Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, etc. Also Emma Watson

All the relevant comedic celebrities are playing themselves in a movie about a party at James Franco's house and the apocalypse. (Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Jack Black, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Will Ferrell et al. are so pissed they didn't come up with this one 10 years ago.)  


Monsters' University

Dir. by Dan Scanlon. Starring Billy Crystal, John Goodman

College-years prequel to the 2001 Pixar classic about monsters scaring children to scream-power their city.   

World War  Z

Dir. by Marc Forster. Starring Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Matthew Fox

Zombie movie based on the book of the same name. Pitt's a UN employee hopscotching the globe trying to nip a calamitous pandemic in the bud. Though the book billed itself as an "oral history" 10 years after a zombie invasion, this one sets us down in the thick of the ugly (not the least of which is Pitt's Hanson-style haircut). Mireille Enos, who's incredible on AMC's The Killing, co-stars.


The Heat

Dir. by Paul Feig. Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy

Notwithstanding a few legitimate complaints about Bridesmaids, the 2011 comedy knocked my socks off, so I'm expecting Feig and McCarthy to reunite with success. This one, about two individualistic police officers forced to work together to take down a drug lord, may be one of the funniest movies of the summer. Bullock is the perfect straight lady to McCarthy's brash Boston street cop. In unrelated trivia, Feig directed the "Cleveland" episode on 30 Rock's first season.   

White House Down

Dir. by Roland Emmerich. Starring: Channing Tatum. Jamie Foxx

This time, Olympus Has Fallen.


The Lone Ranger

Dir. by Gore Verbinski. Starring Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Helena Bonham Carter

From Jerry Bruckheimer and the team that brought you Pirates of Caribbean comes an adventure tale from the railroad-era frontier. Depp's the Native American Tonto -- who speaks like a comic's impression of Johnny Depp -- and Hammer's the handsome sheriff-turned-outlaw. Count on lots of those guilty-pleasure choreographed action sequences that made the first Pirates such a blockbustin' swashbuckle.  


Pacific Rim

Dir. by Guillermo del Toro. Starring Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day.

SMH, am I right??? Prepare for a Transformer-esque massive budget summer destructo-romp that will probably collect a billion dollars worldwide. Sweet Jesus. The scale of this shit is almost unthinkable. In the trailer, a robot half-again the size of the Burj Khalifa manned by two human pilots takes an ocean liner and smashes it into the head of an alien lizard thing of equal size and combat-readiness. I love both Idris Elba and Charlie Day (for roughly opposite reasons) and it's frustrating to see their faces in something based on a video game.


The Wolverine

Dir. by James Mangold. Starring Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Rila Fukushima

Here we go again, comic book fans! This time, the hirsute healing X-man travels to contemporary Japan and faces his stiffest competition to date: MORTALITY. Dun dun dun! Wolverine is purportedly chock-full of Ninja-style choreography and a metalloid boss that looks like a miniature of the Destroyer in Thor, (but with a sword). Hugh Jackman remains brawny and spry as ever.


We're The Millers

Dir. by Rawson Marshall Thurber. Starring Jennifer Anniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts

Fake family drives to Mexico to pick up "a smidge" of marijuana. A snoozer whose promotions hinge on Anniston strip teases.

AUG 16

Ain't Them Bodies Saints

Dir. by David Lowery. Starring: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Ben Foster

More or less the inverse of Lone Ranger. Meditative drama about an outlaw who escapes from prison and treks across Texas to return to his wife who has taken up with the Sheriff who sent him packing. Rookie Director Lowery has an artsy flair, and the cinematography alone (with that yellow retro Texas look that made No Country for Old Men so mesmerizing) should be worth a trip to the Cedar Lee. Ben Foster, one of the most electric, underappreciated actors in Hollywood, is another.   

AUG 23

The Mortal Instruments:

City of Bones

Dir. by Harald Zwart. Starring Lily Collins, Lena Heady, Jonathan Rhys Myers

The death knell for movie adaptations of YA paranormal bestsellers has already sounded loud and painfully clear, but here's yet another doomed enterprise. It's Blade meets Twilight, directed by the guy who brought us Agent Cody Banks. Sold yet?

The World's End

Dir. by Edgar Wright. Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Rosamund Pike, Martin Freeman

If Shawn of the Dead and Hot Fuzz were your speed, buckle up for something extremely similar in tone and content. A group of buddies face the apocalypse vis-a-vis killer robots in a small British town. The brand of comedy's not for everyone, but it's quick and clever and, if nothing else, a cilantro-fresh modification to the zombie fare that's been monopolizing the horror (and horror-comedy) market like pickle juice.

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