Summer Preview

Summer is almost upon us, and it is time for an examination of that most reverent of summer passtimes: the Summer Event Movie Extravaganza!!! Never known to be a bastion of quality, at least the summer fare promises to entertain, or fall flat on its face trying. Here’s a roundup of what I expect to be the best (and the worst) of the summer season ahead. As always, the release dates are subject to change…so some of these may miss the season. Check my Coming Attractions List for the latest release dates.
After seeing the movies in question, I’ll add additional comments in this bold type.

Let’s start out with the one’s I’m not looking forward to (though I always could be surprised):

7. Almost Heroes
Hmmm…Chris Farley’s epitaph. Does anyone remember Wagons East?
Boy, was I right about this one. Farley’s worst film.
6. Quest for Camelot
After seeing Fox make a grab at Disney’s animation quality, and with superb buzz brewing around Dreamworks’ Prince of Egypt, this Saturday-Morning-Cartoon-Wannabe from Warners brings shivers to my spine. I hope I’m wrong…I like Arthurian legends and all…but that trailer! Ugh.
Better than the trailer…but the animation quality wasn’t up to the best of Disney (or even Fox). WB needs some work if they want to be a player in feature animation.
5. Jane Austen’s MAFIA!
When was the last good Airplane!/Naked Gun style parody? Nearly ten years ago!
And MAFIA! doesn’t break the streak
4. Wrongfully Accused
But this one has Mr. Magoo himself, Leslie Nielsen. Wait a sec… that may be a liability.
3. Knock Off
It’s been ages since Van Damme has had a decent movie to kick at. This one already has two strikes against it: Judge Dredd’s Rob Schneider, and the bottom-of-the-barrel August release date.
2. The Extreme Adventures of Super Dave (formerly Be the Man)
Hey, Super Dave Osborne has his own movie! Does anyone remember who he is? Talk about missing the window of opportunity!
1. Dirty Work
This one sounded interesting. Then I saw the surprisingly laugh-free trailer. An ominous feeling of dread approaches…
Not worthy of the #1 spot on the avoid list, but not much better, either

And now, the films which better be good:

25. BASEketball
Until the South Park Movie, we’re stuck with watching the live action antics of Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
Funny! South Park fans should feel right at home.
24. Dr. Dolittle
Is there life after The Nutty Professor for Eddie Murphy. The trailers have been funny…but it doesn’t look like there’ll be much highbrow stuff in this one.
Yet another comedy in which the trailers have all the best bits.
23. Bulworth
With an atrocious ad campaign, Warren Beatty’s latest will likely fade quickly. But political comedies have been good so far this year…so far…
Not worthy of the intense buzz surrounding the project. It starts well, but fades fast.
22. Blade
The trailer is good, but the concept is tired. Can Wesley Snipes carry the film?
20. 6 Days 7 Nights
I’m cautious after seeing the trailer. Harrison hasn’t made many wrong turns before, though.
Mildly entertaining…but unpolished
19. Out of Sight
Universal is hoping for another Get Shorty, but George Clooney is merely hoping for a hit.
One of the better written action films of the summer. Good ensemble work.
18. The Horse Whisperer
One of the most prominent dramas of the season…but I’m strangely detatched from this one. At least they’re no longer showing that inane teaser trailer.
A mixed bag here, the drama was good…but for a romantic drama, this one was surprisingly romance free.
17. Something About Mary
A comedy from the makers of Dumb and Dumber usually leaves me queasy, but this one has one of the funniest trailers of the year…can it live up?
It sure does…The funniest movie of the summer!
16. The Negotiator
An action thriller with two great actors: Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey. Could we hope for an actioner with substance???
Despite the year’s most annoyingly spoiling trailer, this one delivers.
15. Mulan
The second trailer is better than the first, but has Disney lost its magic?
Nope. Though they need to be more self confident, Disney is still the animation king
14. Snake Eyes
Nicolas Cage in a Brian De Palma thriller? Should be interesting.
13. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Reportedly the most bizarre Terry Gilliam film yet…and that’s no small feat. It’s not likely to surpass Godzilla at the boxoffice, but then, what is?
It’s a trip…Works best as a visual experience, rather than a coherent movie.
12. Small Soldiers
This one could have been great if it concentrated on the dark side of Toy Story. With a lighter outlook, the film could still be good…but we shall see.
Not a perfect film, but has enough good scenes to make it worthwhile.
11. Lethal Weapon 4
The extended teaser sequence in the recent trailer isn’t quite up to the quality of the earlier three entries. However, Chris Rock is a riot, and the series hasn’t disappointed (too much) so far.
Until now…Jet Li is the only thing worth watching in this sequel
10. Pi
A black and white thriller about a mathematician going insane. Intriguing.
9. The Mask of Zorro
Do we need another Zorro film? If the film can live up to the energy of its trailer, the answer is ‘yes’.
And it does. A shamelessly entertaining summer film.
8. Deep Impact
It’s the asteroid (ok..ok…comet) film that hits first. Tackling the subject as a drama could be interesting…but can the film pull it off?
A good start to the summer season…but things can definitely get better from here (at least, I hope so).
7. Godzilla
The lizard film. It will probably end up at the top of the summer box office. But can Devlin and Emmerich make a good film or just a moneymaking one?
Watch the giant tumble! Mildly amusing, but much more derivative than I’d thought it would be (even for a remake!).
6. The X-Files Movie
This one looks good…but there are a lot of questions? Will there be any answers?
Nope…you’re better off sticking to the small screen.
5. Armageddon
Can it emerge from the shadow of Deep Impact? It’s got the date right, and Bruckheimer films have always been entertaining, if not necessarily good for you.
Some good destruction here and there, but one of the worst in the Bruckheimer bin.
4. A Perfect Murder
There’s been lots of negative buzz over Gus Van Sant’s working over of Hitchcock’s Psycho, but few seem concerned about this retelling of Dial M For Murder (which I and few others consider to be a superior film). Personally, I’m intrigued at what they can do with it…Michael Douglas seems to fit perfectly.
Doesn’t quite dislodge Dial M For Murder from my heart, but an entertaining thriller anyhow.
3. The Avengers
The biggest two stumbling blocks for this one: Warner’s lack of confidence (they moved it to the August dust bin), and the potential to be too bizarre for its own good. However the film has the best trailer currently out there, and the star power to make it work.
2. Saving Private Ryan
Will DreamWorks ever create a hit? If it does, I’m banking on this one, which has the star power of Tom Hanks and Matt Damon behind it. Oh yeah, the director’s done a few good things as well.
Whoa! One of the best films I have seen in several years. See this one now!
1. The Truman Show
Advance buzz seems to be good on this one, but unfortunately the marketing seems to be aiming for the Ace Ventura audience. Didn’t they learn the lesson of The Cable Guy?
Well, it’s not perfect, but it is Carrey’s best film. Carrey’s acting talents bode well for his portrayal of Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon.
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