Summer Movie Preview: July

My second favorite month of summer (but then again, who's isn't it), July has a lot of big releases from Harry Potter to Funny People. Yes, the movie theater will have very diverse audiences come 7/09.

July 3rd

I'm guessing that Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs has the widest release. DreamWorks has been hyping up Ice Age 3 for a long time now after a successful The Meltdown, which grossed $651.9 million worldwide and the original $383.3 million. Dawn of the Dinosaurs once again stars Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary and Queen Latifah. Although this time Simon Pegg joins the cast. Fresh off Star Trek, Pegg plays a dinosaur hunter who Mannie, Diego and Ellie run into. One of the directors is Academy Award proposed Carlos Saldanha. The one in question also conducted Ice Age: The Meltdown and helped direct the first Age and Robots. Other camera boss Mike Thurmeier was a lead animator for Ice Age and a supervising animator for Robots, The Meltdown, and Horton Hears a Who!

Public Enemies has also been long-awaited by movie fans. In enemies, Johnny Depp is blatant gangster John Dillinger. The regency attempt to take down Dillinger along with Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham) and Pretty Boy Floyd (Channing Tatum) in a breach ripple in the 1930s. The movie also stars Christian Bale as an FBI chief, Marion Cotillard as Dillinger's love interest and Billy Crudup as J. Edgar Hoover. Public Enemies looks a lot like 3:10 to Yuma. Not because of its plot, because of the general feel of the movie. Another thing I love about Enemies is the black-and-white posters. They give the film an old fashioned shoot-em-up feel. Writer/director Michael Mann to me seems like an up-and-coming director. Mann directed Collateral, Miami Vice and Ali, a biopic of Muhammad Ali. However, directing is third to what he's best known for-Mann produced Hancock, The Kingdom and The Aviator and wrote along with directed Heat, Ali, Miami Vice and this movie.

Nia Vardalos seems to be the "it" girl at the moment. With My Life in Ruins out this Friday comes I Hate Valentine's Day a month later. Unlike Ruins, this is from studio IFC Films. You guys know by now that I love IFC; I think they make the best movies. So it's my sudden attraction to the film is no surprise! In I Hate Valentine's Day, a florist (Vardalos) attempts to persuade saloon holder Greg (John Corbett, wonderful) to go out with her without the relationship turning into anything serious. It also stars 30 Rock
funnyman Judah Friedlander. Nia Vardalos makes her debut as a director in this romantic comedy. She also writes the screenplay. Looking forward for this one; Vardalos is really starting to prove herself in Hollywood!

July 10th

This day will have the MPAA cringing, as the deliverance of Sacha Baron Cohen's BrünoBrüno is the official sequel to 2006's breakout hit Borat in which Cohen plays a gay Austrian supermodel who ventures to American soil. Larry Charles, who filmed Cohen as Borat and Bill Maher in Religulous, is an awesome mockumentary director. When I saw Borat, I hadn't seen anything like it before. Religulous wasn't as good, but believe me, it was sensational! I just hope that Brüno can be equal to Borat, which I'm expecting it will be since original writers Anthony Hines, Dan Mazer and Cohen himself join Jeff Schaffer (EuroTrip) to compose what I'm guessing are ideas as to what Brüno does, because the rest of the dialogue I'm sure is purely spontaneous. The writers and Jonah Hill produce. Paula Abdul came out saying that she was fooled into the movie and same with the Alabama National Guard. The rating has been trimmed down to an 'R', originally an 'NC-17' (a.k.a 'X'). "Borat was so 2006."
has arrived.

I Love You, Beth Cooper seems like another Sex Drive or Superbad. However unlike similar comedies, Beth Cooper has…a 'PG-13' rating. Uh-oh, Fox Atomic, bad move. Everyone knows movies like these are raunchy and hilarious. Sadly, with a plot like Beth Cooper has, you can go a lot of ways when it comes to funny, however it chose not to. We remember Judd Apatow tried teen humor as a producer of last year's Drillbit Taylor and I don't have to tell you how bad that went over. The movie is about a high-school graduate nerd admits his love for a hot cheerleader in his good-bye speech. There's no surprise that Hayden Panettiere plays the blonde bombshell. Most known for her role on Heroes and Bring it On: All or Nothing, Panettiere has always had men drooling. Not that they watch Heroes for her, heavens no! The bookworm who acknowledges his crush on Cooper is Paul Rust. Rust has done the same kind of work mostly on TV; an episode of a show here, another episode of different shows here. He wrote an episode of Human Giant, Moral Orel, and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and has had small roles in Semi-Pro and the upcoming Inglourious Basterds.

The war in Iraq has been going on for years. We've had multiple dramas about real life problems like American obesity, the Holocaust etc. Why not one on the war in Iraq? That's exactly what The Hurt Locker is. Locker is about a group of U.S Army bomb squad unit who must come together in a city where everything is a danger. The Unusuals' Jeremy Renner has the lead role as Staff Sergeant William James, along with Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes and Evangeline Lily. With a movie like this with such an awesome cast, it's a shame a lot of America won't see Kathyrn Bigelow (Point Break) and Mark Boal's (In The Valley of Elah) war production.

Baghead was a silent hit. So was Hannah Takes the Stairs. Now Mark Duplass is heading for the moon, and Humpday may be his last indie flick. And he just might go out with a bang. Sounding a lot like Zach and Miri Make a Porno, Humpday is about two guys who try to create a gay sex movie featuring the two. Director Lynn Shelton makes movies that require thought. That's something a lot of people can't say they do. I've never seen her work on We Go Way Back, What the Funny or My Effortless Brilliance but you can bet that I intend to before the release of Humpday. For Brilliance, Shelton won a "Someone to Watch" award earlier in the year. Humpday may be her most talked about movie to date, and that definitely "deserves a watch".

July 15th

Potter is back. That's right, the sixth movie, Half-Blood Prince. I read the book a long time ago when the pages fell into stores, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. But the movies…not so much. After 2, they started to get too dark. After 4, they got bad. And after 6, I was ready to blow my fucking brains out. In the fantasy-filled sixth installement, Dumbledore continues to help out Harry into learning more of the evil Lord Voldemort. Now they've found a book titled simply "This is the property of the Half-Blood Prince". Chris Columbus dropped out of directing after Chamber of Secrets, Alfonso Cuarón after Prisoner of Azkaban and Mike Newell after Goblet of Fire. But I believe the Harry Potter series has finally found its Spielberg (a little too late) with David Yates. Yates did the last movie Order of the Phoenix and is currently filming/planning the two-part Deathly Hallows. Despite the series' constantly-changing directors, screenwriter Stev Kloves has stuck with 'em since Sorcerer's Stone and stays until the end (he's confirmed that he will write for Deathly Hallows Part II and I). Potter himself Daniel Radcliffe was talked about for a bit in 2007 when he starred in PBS' TV movie My Boy Jack, but nothing else (not even the controversial Equus play he did a few years back) has been as big for Radcliffe has the J.K Rowling-adapted movies.

July 17th

Pre-G.I Joe, it's nice to see that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is taking the time to be in a quality movie. (500) Days of Summer also stars one of my all-time faves-Zooey Deschanel. Deschanel was Sarah Jessica Parker's roommate in Failure to Launch, the counterpart to Jim Carrey in Yes Man and Mark Wahlberg's wife in The Happening, but she's never really had a leading role in a movie before. Let (500) Days be her breakout into becoming a major actress. The movie is about a greeting-card scribe named Tim (Gordon-Levitt) who meets a girl named Summer (Deschanel) and grows a crush for her. Director Marc Webb, who's breaking out from music tapes to Hollywood blockbusters, has created a film that many fans called the "Best Film at Sundance". Fox Searchlight always makes awesome stuff; they're like IFC Films. No matter how strange a movie sounds, it always delivers.

July 24th

Disney has done some dumb stuff. But nothing really as crazy as this. G-Force is about a group of guinea pigs who try to stop a rich dude from taking over the world. Good God, how many times do we have to suffer through this? This reminds me a lot of Cats and Dogs, except that I remember that as an entertaing movie. This just sounds…meh. Not even word-worthy. Disney always casts huge stars, and G-Force is no exception to the golden rule. It stars Nicolas cage, Penélope Cruz, Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), Bill Nighy, Sam Rockwell, Steve Buscemi, Jon Favreau, Will Arnett, Tracy Morgan and Niecy Nash (Reno 911!). WHOO! Director Hoyt Yeatman is known more for visual effects than camera operations. Yeatman has worked on movies from Underdog to E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial. Along with directing, Yeatman also came up with the story for G-Force. Huh.

Recently broken away Grey's Anatomy star Katherine Heigl (I love that last name!) is back in a movie by Legally Blonde director Robert Luketic called The Ugly Truth. It's about a morning show personality who makes a bet with a producer that she can land a guy (and keep him) if she follows his love advice. Some people are thinking that the roles filled by Gerard Butler and Heigl sounds mysteriously like something Kate Hudson or Matthew McConaughey. Yeah, I can see that. Luketic also directed 21 and Monster-In-Law. Screenwriters Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith don't seem to be leaving their comfort zone, combined works including Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You, Ella Enchanted, She's the Man and The House Bunny; now they can add The Ugly Truth to their list of hits. Or can they…?

This movie is weird. Orphan is about a couple who loses a child and adopts an evil one to fill the void. Is it just me or does this sound a lot like The Omen or some other straight-to-DVD "666" movie? Director Jaume Collet-Serra could get the job done with Orphan-his time in the sun was 2005 with the "sexy, scary" House of Wax. Vera Farmiga, who portrays the leading female role, has been in a movie similar to this called Joshua back in 2007. Her being in the George Ratliff directed horror is causing a lot of buzz that this movie is pretty much just a copy of it. Although don't expect that since David Johnson is breaking out into the writing world! Johnson has been a production assistant in The Shankshaw Redemption, an assistant to Frank Darabont in TV's Black Cat Run and yet again in the big screen's The Green Mile, so he's no stranger to the horror franchise.

The Answer Man stars a guy who's starting to love independent movies: Jeff Daniels. Ever since I first noticed him in The Squid and the Whale in 2005, I've loved him in Good Night, and Good Luck, Infamous and Away We Go; he's always been an essential to every great limited release movie. Daniels stars as a self-help guru who meets a chiropractor and falls in love. Answer Man is written and directed by debut filmmaker John Hindman. Along with Daniels, it also stars Lauren Graham (welcome back to the movies) and upcoming Carriers actor Lou Taylor Pucci.

In limited release is a movie called Shrink. I haven't heard of this movie either until recently; it's about a shrink who gets into a slump. Shrink stars Kevin Spacey, Mark Webber and Keke Palmer and directed by television writer/director/producer Jonas Pate.

In The Loop may be unheard of (I know you're scratching your head right now) but I have been eagerly waiting for the British comedy to come out. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival a while ago with the reviews rather well. The film stars James Gandolfini, Tom Hollander, Peter Capaldi, Gina McKee and Paul Higgins and tells of an English government representative who accidentally gets the country in the middle of an American war in the Middle East. It's co-written and directed by Armando Iannucci, whose best known for his BBC show The Thick of It, which Capaldi has starred in. A sleeper, maybe, or a movie that nobody goes to see or remembers. I'll be there.

July 31st

A highly anticipated day for Judd Apatow fans, as his highly-awaited third film as a writer/director Funny People is released. The plot is solid: a comedian who discovers that he has a deadly disease helps a bad joke-teller his apprentice. It stars Eric Bana and once again, his golden boys Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman along with his hysterical wife Leslie Mann with cameos from Sarah Silverman, Norm MacDonald and Andy Dick. One problem: the lead is Adam Sandler. NO!! Critics know that Adam Sandler is a horrendous actor, and while I'm not agreeing with them (I liked a lot of his movies) there's a time and a place for everything. And Sandler's breakout into 'R' flicks is not in a Judd Apatow film. Although it makes sense; Apatow did produce last summer's You Don't Mess With the Zohan. Maybe he'll surprise us! That's what I'm hoping since Knocked UpThe 40-Year-Old Virgin (all written and directed by Apatow) are now cult classics and fans (and me) are hoping for his first role behind the camera since 2007 to be his best yet.

Competing with what's sure to be top of the box office come that weekend is Aliens in the Attic. Sweet Jesus, how many of these movies can we have?? This summer alone we already have G-Force along with this December's Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. It stars Ashley Tisdale, Robert Hoffman (Step up 2: The Streets), Kevin Nealon, Andy Richter and Doris Roberts, although the main attraction is High School Musical's Tisdale. And Roberts please don't go there. Her last real hit was the raunchy yet funny Grandma's Boy and she of course had the exemplary role as Marie on Everybody Loves Raymond. I just hate to see great actors and actresses do dumb stuff. The director has done some pretty cinematic greats like The Honeymooners and Like Mike with geniuses Mark Burton (Madagascar, Chicken Run, Wallace & Gromit: in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Adam F. Goldberg (Fanboys, Still Standing, Aliens in America, upcoming DreamWorks' How to Train Your Dragon) concocting the screenplay. The movie theater will be filled with girls with Hello Kitty printed on their T-shirt and 40-something-year-old guys with "Protect Your Nuts" on thiers. That'll be funny.

P.S: The director thing? I was being sarcastic.