Ah, the summer movie season: next to autumn (and Halloween of course), it's pretty much my favorite time of year. You can keep your crowded beaches and sunburns, thank you. I'll be sprawled in a theater chair, a bag of popcorn slathered in pseudo-butter planted in my lap while I zone out to a number of explosion-filled, alien-blasting, vampire-battling, superhero-filled blockbusters.
We all know going to the movies isn't exactly a cheap outing these days. The ticket alone can cost upwards of $14 if the film is 3D (and don't get me started on that. Seriously, Hollywood, NOT EVERY MOVIE NEEDS TO BE 3-BLOODY-D!). Popcorn and a drink can set you back around ten bucks. Honestly, it's going to get to the point where the theater is going to need to do a credit check before letting us in.
To that end, I've become very selective about the movies I'm willing to pay to see in theaters and which I can wait to come out on DVD. Given what's slated for this summer, however, I suspect my wallet will be crawling out of my pocket, waving a white flag and crying "Dude, I give up!"
Here's a list of some of the films I'm planning to catch this summer, separated into several categories:
The "I'm Only Missing These Movies If I'm Dead...And Even Then Just Prop Me Up In The Back" Movies:
• The Avengers: This is it...the big one. Marvel Studios has been carefully planning this the last couple of years with the standalone "Iron Man," "Captain America," "Thor" and "Hulk" films. Many predict this will be the one that all superhero films look up and aspire to moving forward (myself included). I already know I'll be seeing this twice: First with my friends, and then with my equally excited boys.
P.S. Hey Warner Brothers? You may want to get your collective butts in gear on that "Justice League" movie. Just sayin'.
• The Dark Knight Rises: Chris Nolan's Coup de grâce. The first two Batman movies were nothing short of genius and there's high expectations for a spectacular finish to the trilogy. Nolan's been given alot of free reign in his vision of The Dark Knight, so one has to wonder: with this being his final Batman film (though by no means last Batman film ever), could we see the Caped Crusader actually meet his end in this one?
The "Most Likely To Be a Matinee" Movies
• Dark Shadows: My wife loves to tease me about it, but I'm a huge fan of the "Tim Burton/Johnny Depp/Danny Elfman" collaborations. Between you and me, I think she thinks the three of them need to just get a room and be done with it. I also loved the old "Dark Shadows" series so I'm definitely interested to see what Tim comes up with. Alternatively, I'll admit there probably wasn't a huge calling for a retelling of "Dark Shadows" (it was tried a few years back and didn't pan out so well). But vampires are popular again, and as long as this one doesn't sparkle, I'll probably catch it. (That's right, 'Twilight' fans...I went there).
• GI Joe: Retaliation: The first 'Joe' movie was disappointing, so news of a sequel was a bit of a surprise. But the trailer, featuring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Bruce Willis and an awesome-looking Cobra Commander, suggest the filmmakers picked up on their mistakes the first time around and are giving the fans of the '80s cartoon exactly what they want. Still, I'm gonna be as cautious as Duke or Gung Ho sneaking up on a pit of Vipers. (If you're a fan, you know what I mean).
•The Amazing Spider-Man: While Marvel's guaranteed my cash thanks to 'The Avengers,' I'm still on the fence about the newest Spider-Man movie. It's true that Sam Raimi's trilogy started off strong and ended rather poorly, but I don't think it was necessary to reboot the franchise so soon. Personally, I'd have recast the principal actors and moved along. That being said, the trailer for "Amazing Spider-Man" looks interesting, though the costume looks a bit goofy.
The "I Probably Would Have Seen It Even If I Didn't Have Kids" Movies (Alternate Category Name: "No Chipmunks? No Problem!")
• Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted: The Madagascar series has been pretty satisfying so far, and not just for the kids. The trailer shows the friends trying to get back home to the Central Park Zoo, stumbling through Monte Carlo, traveling with a circus and catching up with the crazy penguins. We all laughed watching the preview, which is a good sign.
• Paranorman: While technically geared towards the kids, this stop-motion movie certainly appeals to the Halloween lover in me: A quirky boy named Norman who can see ghosts (they pretty much make up his circle of friends), joins forces with several other outcasts when a centuries-old Witch raises a zombie army. With shades of "The Goonies," "The Sixth Sense" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas," this could be a fun little movie - though maybe a bit too intense for some younglings.
The "It'll Be On Netflix Eventually" Movies
• Prometheus: Is it a prequel to "Alien" or isn't it? Director Ridley Scott has been somewhat ambiguous about how this film fits into his Alien franchise. Frankly, I haven't seen enough to convince me to plunk down the cash for Mr. Scott, even with films such as "Blade Runner" and "Gladiator" under his belt. Will definitely need to see another trailer or two.
• Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Based on the book of the same name, the film is an 'alternate-history' where the sixteenth President of the United States was secretly a Civil War Vampire Slayer. I didn't read the book (which got just 'OK' reviews), but the movie looks silly and fun. I'm just not sure if it's $14 worth of silly and fun.
- Men In Black III: Really, Will Smith...Really?
BONUS...My "Sleeper Hit" Prediction
• Moonrise Kingdom: Nary a monster, robot, alien or superhero to be seen here. 'Moonrise Kingdom' tells the tale of a New England town in the 1960s turned upside-down (and no doubt brought together) as they search for two young star-crossed lovers who run away.
Echoes of 'The Darjeeling Limited,' 'Rushmore' and 'The Royal Tenenbaums' are apparent in the quirky trailer -- which makes sense since it comes from the mastermind behind those films, Wes Anderson. The ensemble cast includes Tilda Swanson, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Frances McDormand and Bruce Willis, each playing their own damaged, eccentric member of the town. It's getting good hype, and I have a feeling it will be justified.
(What films are you looking forward to this summer? Tell us below!)