Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Summer ’07 Movie Mayhem!

Summer '07 Movie MayhemIn anticipation — and trepidation — of this Summer’s movie offerings, the Geeks of Doom run down the list of 25 films worth watching and why they just might disappoint you.

In a world of $500 million sequels, 14 geeks … of doom … were faced with the daunting task of deciding which films would get their $10 and which ones would wind up as shakey cam divx files downloaded into a folder full of porn.

And so it was that The List of 25 anticipated movies of Summer 2007* was forged, complete with the accompanying potential suckage factors that will surely cause much debate in geek circles for years to come (ahem, Grindhouse).

Fanboys, take your stand, cash in hand, and brave the movie mayhem!

Spider-Man 3Spider-Man 3 (May 4) — A symbiotic being has attached itself to Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), making him more powerful but cruel. Meanwhile, a villain known as The Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church) is threatening to destroy New York City. With Peter Parker’s life turned upside down, Spider-Man is forced to look within for answers.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: Director Sam Raimi has said that he has every intention of giving us a rich film that will be full of character development while dazzling us with incredible action sequences and special effects.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: Too many dazzling action sequences with dopey special effects. No character development.

– Disco Volante

28 Weeks Later...28 Weeks Later (May 11) — In this sequel to “28 Days Later,” it’s now 28 weeks later and the virus is declared wiped out (but is it really gone?). It is now time for the denizens of earth to recover, repopulate, and restart.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: Zombies rule! (Though one may argue that these are not zombies in the traditional horror sense). Close enough. It also serves as a reminder that people who have had the chickenpox are susceptible to shingles later in life.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: Although reducing, reusing, and recycling work well together with regard to waste management, they don’t work on zombies. This is only a concern I often have when it comes to sequels. My instincts tell me that this will be a movie worth seeing.

– The EnviroGeek

Shrek the ThirdShrek the Third (May 18) — The ogre Shrek (Mike Myers) is about to become the reluctant King of Far Far Away unless he can find a suitable replacement. Along to help out are Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss (Antonio Banderas), while Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) gathers her royal girlfriends to fight off Prince Charming (Rupert Everett).

Shrek — $420 million.
Shrek 2 — $920 million.
Somebody geekier than me with some complicated algorithms can work out what is expected of “Shrek 3,” but who cares about money, Eew.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: The issue is this… Have we not seen enough of that friggin Ogre’s face EVERYWHERE already? PDI/Dreamworks does not have enough memory in both its enormous animation studios to even name all the products that damn green bastard is on. “THAT’LL DO DONKEY, THAT’LL DO.”

– Groovespook

Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's EndPirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End (May 25) — Elizabeth (Keira Knightly), Will (Orlando Bloom), and Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) sail to the edge of the world to rescue Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). They must then ally with Pirate Lords from around the world, including Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat), to fight Davey Jones (Bill Nighy), Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), Admiral James Norrington (Jack Davenport), The Flying Dutchman, and the East India Trading Company.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: The cast is awesome: Geoffrey Rush and Bill Nighy are back, Chow-Yun Fat is a welcome addition, and we finally get to see Johnny Depp and Keith Richards as father and son.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: The second movie “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” was more “Back To The Future Part II” than “The Empire Strikes Back” — a serviceable, but not outstanding sequel that was more setup for the trilogy’s Final Act. “At World’s End” will fail unless it has the great lines, the compact plot, and the taut action sequences that made the “The Curse Of The Black Pearl” so great.

– Dr. Geek, Ph.D.

Day WatchDay Watch (June 1) — Mystical undead cops vs. mystical undead villains fighting a hidden war after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: Foreign imports that gather enough steam to warrant a U.S. release have a track record of being worth the effort. Need proof? Think “Shaun of the Dead,” “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon,” “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Hero” et. al.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: Subtitles in action films. I’m a closed-caption person, but it’s not for everyone. Subtitles can lead to bad or incorrect translation, the misunderstanding of subtle cultural nuances, and lots of annoying theater chatter, that is if anyone know where to go see it. “Day Watch” is getting a limited release in theaters, so good luck with that.

– Dave3

Rise: Blood HunterRise: Blood Hunter (June 1) — Lucy Liu is a reporter that wakes up in a morgue realizing that she is one of the Undead. She teams up with Michael Chiklis, whose daughter was murdered by the same cult responsible for Liu’s condition, for revenge.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: You never know, movies like this sometimes tend to be hidden gems that no one is aware of. I usually love movies that Lucy Liu is in and the director, Sebastian Gutierrez, is responsible for “Near Dark” and “The Hunger,” two movies I must say I enjoyed.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: My first reaction to the title of this movie was the assumption that it was based on a Playstation or XBox game. Also, though some films tend to be hidden gems as I said earlier, more often than not these movies are typical, cheesy, and really badly written.

– Kevin of Nine

Ocean's 13Ocean’s 13 (June 8th) — The fun-loving Ocean crew is back. Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his gang (Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle, etc.) are out for another score. This time, it involves a new casino owned by Willie Banks (Al Pacino) after he double crosses Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould). Ellen Barkin and Andy Garcia are also along for the ride. Steven Soderbergh again directs.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: The actors know this is a fun movie and from the previews, play it just like it’s for a hoot and light entertainment, which is what made the 1960 original “Ocean’s 11″ so great. It seems to be full of snappy one-liners and comebacks. There’s no need to ask for realism or anything like that, just turn off your logic and enjoy the show!

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: You wonder if the absence of Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones means that the storyline is weak, even for this kind of film. Third movies in a series not adopted from literature are usually pretty awful, with some rare exceptions.

– Smed

Surf's UpSurf’s Up (June 8th) — No, it’s not a film about the making of that great Beach Boys album in 1972, it’s a movie about … wait for it … surfing penguins. This animated feature is shot in a mock documentary style and stars the voice talents of Jeff Bridges, Jon Heder, Jane Krakowski, Michael McKean, and James Woods.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: Well, um … hold on, I’m thinking … oh, my daughters may like it, because there’s nothing funnier to pre-schoolers than surfing penguins.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: ENOUGH with the penguin movies already! Can we move onto another cute animal, like platypi or wallabys?

– Smed

Hostel 2Hostel 2 (June 8) — Three beautiful college girls studying abroad in Europe get suckered by a handsome face into staying at a hostel which uses its “guests” in sickening and violent ways for murder.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: If you liked the first film and are a fan of gore, then you will be in your glory with this sequel.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: In the first movie, I really didn’t give a crap about the three guys that were suckered in. I highly doubt that I would give a shit about what happens to these three girls either. I don’t care if you haven’t seen the movie, if you’re an American then you should know better than to follow a stranger in Europe, especially if you’re three hot chicks studying aboard who obviously have no common sense.

– Kevin of Nine

Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver SurferFantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer (June 15) — Dr. Doom dies, Reed Richards and Sue Storm get hitched, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm are still smartasses, and the mighty Galactus and his interstellar herald the Silver Surfer pay Earth an unwelcomed visit.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: There are few comic book characters more mysterious and compelling than the Silver Surfer, and Galactus is the ultimate villain and the classic foil for the Fantastic Four. If they get the Surfer and Galactus right, this movie will kick some major booty.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: What are the odds they’ll get it right? The first film was a fun popcorn movie, but it didn’t exactly show much dramatic depth. Both films were directed by Tim Sale, the auteur behind “Barbershop” and “Taxi.” Needless to say, his ouvre doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in his ability to handle the darker tone required of a storyline involving Galactus and the Silver Surfer. Plus, the Surfer effects shown in the trailers don’t look that impressive — he mostly just looks like a T-1000 on a surfboard. That was an impressive effect 16 years ago, but we need a bit more these days to get our blood pumping.

– Slayve

Nancy DrewNancy Drew (June 15) — While accompanying her dad (Tate Donovan) on his business trip to Hollywood, the young sleuth Nancy Drew (Emma Roberts) comes across evidence about a long-unsolved crime involving the mysterious death of a beautiful movie star.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: Hey, I LIKED Emma Roberts in “Spymate” and I’d hate to think “Bra’s And Broomsticks” was as good as her career will EVER get! I also want to see if a new generation will show any interest in an old classic.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: Whoever heard of Emma Roberts, much less Nancy Drew? You can use an unknown to play a well-known character (think Brandon Routh as Superman) or a well-known star to play a little known character (think Nicholas Cage as Ghost Rider), but will audiences respond to a little-known star playing a little-known character?

– T.E. Pouncey

Evan AlmightyEvan Almighty (June 25) — This sequel to Bruce Almighty ditches Jim Carrey and focuses on Evan Baxter (Steve Carell), the pompous newscaster whom Bruce tormented in the first film. Evan is now a congressman, but God has a different plan for him: build an ark, Noah-style.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: Steve Carell is friggin’ hilarious, and the film is directed by Tom Shadyac, who also directed “Bruce Almighty” and the original “Ace Ventura.” It seems like a perfect character for Carell — a well-meaning but slightly vain regular guy whose life isn’t working out exactly as planned. The supporting cast is good, too, with Wanda Sykes, John Goodman, and, of course, Morgan Freeman as God (he must be getting tired of always playing himself).

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: There are an awful lot of animals in the trailers, which conjure terrible memories of Eddie Murphy’s “Dr. Dolittle.” Whereas Carell’s “40 Year-Old Virgin” appealed mostly to an adult audience, this one looks like it’s going for the family crowd. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it might disappoint his adult fans. Hopefully Shadyac can make animal humor funny for adults like he did in “Ace Ventura.”

– Slayve

Live Free or Die HardLive Free or Die Hard (June 27) — When a criminal plot is hatched to take down the entire computer and technological structure that supports the economy of the United States — and the world — John McClane (Bruce Willis) steps in with “old-school” detective work to stop the conspiracy.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: John McClane is the master detective. His smarts, grime, and MacGyver-like scenarios and weapons leave you on the edge of your seat. Three words: action, fighting, VIOLENCE.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: “Die Hard” was awesome; “Die Hard 2″ was bad; and “Die Hard with a Vengeance” redeemed the franchise. So, there’s a chance that Part 4 will leave us cursing at the stupidity. Let’s hope Len Wiseman does not go director nuts on us as he did with “Underworld: Evolution.”

– Meegatron

Mama's BoyMama’s Boy (June 29) — A 29-year-old slacker (Jon Heder) who still lives with his mom (Diane Keaton) enlists the aid of his only friend (Anna Faris) to help him get rid of his mom’s new boyfriend (Jeff Daniels) who interfers with easy living situation.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: The only name I need to see is Jon Heder and I know I’ll enjoy it. That’s right, “Benchwarmers,” “School for Scoundrels,” “Blades of Glory,” bring it! I look forward to seeing the crazy things he’ll do to get rid of his mom’s boyfriend. And I love Anna Faris, she’s one of my favorite actresses and she plays his love interest, so I want to see that.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: They could take the idea of the film to the extreme just to try and get the laughs, but over-the-top isn’t always the best way to go. The movie isn’t being promoted that much and probably won’t stand a chance against the summer blockbuster movies, even if it turns out to be hilarious.

– Duchess of Doom

TransformersTransformers (July 4) — The warring alien robots Autobots and Decepticons continue their battle on Earth, threatening all of mankind.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: Three letters — C.G.I. — CGI has come a long way since the days of the “Last Starfighter.” I expect these robotic automatons to look hella frakin’ cool when they’re transforming asses are tearing through our world.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: Michael Bay — Yeah, he’s just as good a reason for a movie to suck as for it to be awesome. He’s had his name attached to some stinkers *cough* pearl harbor *cough*. His choice of Hugo Weaving over Frank Welker as the voice of Megatron is enough to prove how suspect his decisions can be. Also, Optimus Prime may have lips?!

– Dave3

Harry Potter and the Order Of The PhoenixHarry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix (July 13) — The young wizard Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) gathers an army of his schoolmates to battle his evil nemesis Lord Voldemort’s forces while dealing with the new wicked headmistress.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: Little Harry is growing up right along with his target audience. He also gets a bit more sinister each movie. At this rate, Harry will be a Batman movie villain by the time the series ends.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: There always seems to be controversy about how much of the book is actually being adapted. Rumor has it that this movie drops some major plot element included in the book.

– T.E. Pouncey

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and LarryI Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry — (July 20) Two straight Brooklyn firefirghters Chuck (Adam Sandler) and Larry (Kevin James) secretly pretend to be gay so that they can collect domestic partner benefits. But when their secret is out, they have to face discrimination from the people in their lives, as well as possible criminal charges if the real truth to their relationship is revealed.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: The concept for the film has “funny” written all over it, and seems to play to Adam Sandler’s comedic strengths (”Chuck & Larry” looks to be more like the excellent “Happy Gilmore” and hilarious “50 First Dates” than the horrible Sandler flops like “The Waterboy”). On top of that, the movie trailer is actually funny, with a decent supporting cast and plenty of laughs.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: While the idea for the film has a lot of comedic potential, there’s a real danger that the humor will come at the expense of milking a one-note stereotype about how straight tough guys view gay relationships. If the filmmakers don’t add any other layers to the story, things could get boring and repetitive very quickly.

– Bad Monkey

Simpsons MovieThe Simpsons (July 27) — After reading the official synopsis and watching one trailer and three teasers, I still have no clue what the plot is. “Homer must save the world from a catastrophe he created himself.” The rest is unknown, save the certainty of unnecessary and hilarious slapstick violence that’s typical of The Simpsons.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: Because it’s The Simpsons, damnit! They’ve been kicking our collective ass for eighteen years, and I see no reason why the sock-rocking won’t continue.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: The only thing I can come up with is that some writing teams that are used to working in half hour or hour-long formats don’t do so well when it comes to telling a feature-length story. But “The Simpsons” team is a crack commando unit, let’s not send them to prison for a crime they didn’t commit!

– 1-900-HEY-NICK

The Bourne UltimatumThe Bourne Ultimatum (August 3) — Trained assassin Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is back and he’s on the run again from the authorities while trying to find out about his true past.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: The Bourne movies, based on the novel by Robert Ludlum, have proven to be a decent franchise, so I’m sure this third installment will offer up more action goodness. Plus, I look forward to finding out if this time it’s personal or if Bourne is out for vengeance.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: Unfortunately, sometimes more of the same isn’t exactly great, especially when it’s just more generic foreign villains and barely memorable love interests.

– Empress Eve

UnderdogUnderdog (August 3) — “There’s no need for fear! Underdog is here!” Jason Lee stars as the voice of Underdog in this live-action movie from Disney. A regular ol’ dog named Shoeshine becomes a superhero, and will do anything to save the citizens of Capitol City and Sweet Polly Purebred (the voice of Amy Adams) from Simon Bar Sinister (Peter Dinklage) and his henchman Cad (Patrick Warburton).

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: The villainous duo is magnificently cast, and seeing Underdog as a real live dog adds a bit of freshness to what will probably be a plot recycled from several of the old cartoons. It’s also nice to know that there’s a back story behind Shoeshine’s transformation into Underdog.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: It will be a tall order to replace original “Underdog” voice actor Wally Cox in many fans’ eyes and ears. Will they keep it so Underdog/Shoeshine only speaks in rhyme? Where does he keep his secret energy pill? The wrong answers may cause some fans to stay away from it. Seeing real dogs may be disconcerting to those who love the Jay Ward originals. Jim Belushi is in this as well as the father who finds Underdog as a stray. Yes, Jim Belushi. You are warned.

– Smed

StardustStardust (August 10) — The young Tristan (Charlie Cox) goes on a mysterious quest to a magical realm to retrieve a fallen star to win the heart of Victoria (Sienna Miller) and encounters dangers of the most unusual kind.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: It’s based on the fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman, which I loved, and Sir Ian McKellen is the film’s narrator. There’s a cast of big names for this and the studio felt confident enough about the flick to move it from its original March release date into the Summer line-up.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: The movie adds elements, like Robert DeNiro’s character Captain Shakespeare, that don’t appear in the book. The fact that every synopsis so far has given away the entire story makes me wonder what’s left to reveal. Whatever it is, it’s most likely been invented for the movie adaptation.

– Empress Eve

Rush Hour 3Rush Hour 3 (August 10) — L.A. detective Carter (Chris Tucker) partners up again with Hong Kong Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) to go up against Chinese gangsters in Paris.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: Chan is the ultimate in light-hearted martial arts action, and Tucker is pretty in that old-school Eddie Murphy way. The two have a great on-screen chemistry. The franchise has just enough action to keep you awake, but isn’t so hardcore that it doesn’t appeal to the general masses.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: It’s been 6 years since the previous installment, which is long enough to be forgotten about, yet too short a time to be missed. Putting the duo in a country foreign to both of them might make for a foolish, rather than humorous backdrop. And why are there Chinese gangsters in Paris exactly? Might be better to wait for the DVD.

– Empress Eve

FanboysFanboys (August 17) — A comedy about a group of friends who take their friend on a cross-country trip to Skywalker Ranch in hopes of fullfilling the friend’s dying wish to see the advanced screening of “Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace.”

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: What is there NOT to anticipate? A group of total “Star Wars” fanboys — one of them being Kirsten Bell (star of “Veronica Mars”) sporting the Slave Leia metal bikini — on a pilgrimage to Skywalker Ranch. That’s so kickass! Plus, George Lucas loved an early cut of “Fanboys” enough to give his approval to add special effects from the “Star Wars” saga.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: The only thing that could possibly suck about this movie is the fact that I’m not in it.

– Empress Eve

HalloweenHalloween (August 31) A re-imagining of the classic Michael Myers film, promising an entirely new take on the legend and makes claims that it is not a copycat of any previous “Halloween” films.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: Rob Zombie’s previous films, “House of 1000 Corpses” and “Devil’s Rejects,” were both brilliant films in their own right, so there’s no one better suited to do a “re-imagining” of this classic horror movie. This is one movie I am totally looking forward to, being a big fan of the first two “Halloween” films.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: I cannot imagine how Zombie can do a Halloween movie without it being a “copycat” of the previous films. Even the premise of “Corpses” was very similar to the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” though Zombie did deviate away from it in “Devil’s Rejects.” Also, it’s being released in August instead of the more appropriate end of October, which means the film studio isn’t confident that their movie can compete against “Saw IV” (due out October 27, 2007).

– Kevin of Nine

Resident Evil: ExtinctionResident Evil: Extinction (September 21) — Alice (Milla Jovovich) along with friends old (Mike Epps, Oded Fehr) and new (Spencer Locke, Ashanti, Ali Larter) attempt to finally defeat the evil Umbrella corporation in and around the ruins of Las Vegas as the T-virus continues to kill millions.

ANTICIPATION ELEMENT: Alice is back to kill even more undead zombies and mutated animals as she tries to destroy the Umbrella Corporation.

POTENTIAL SUCKAGE FACTOR: Alice may only be a puppet in the Corporation’s evil plans. The plot may be even more convoluted than “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” to gratuitously include elements of the videogames.