Here we are at the end of July, and the summer movie season has been very hit or miss so far. Early releases came and went faster than Al Gore at a massage parlor. IRON MAN 2 had a lot of impressive flying and explosions, but failed to provide the entertainment of its predecessor. Ridley Scott’s ROBIN HOOD seemed to bore the few who saw it. SHREK 4 made its money, got good reviews, then cleared the way for TOY STORY 3, which made more money and got better reviews, and then the kids who saw that enough times to memorize it went to see DESPICABLE ME as many times as their parents could take. THE A-TEAM was a fun time but too overloaded with CGI and loud noises (yet great performances from Sharlto Copley and Patrick Wilson), and while KNIGHT & DAY provided a couple of fun chase scenes and pretty locations, it failed to spark any interest, either in itself or in its star, Tom Cruise. TWILIGHT: ECLIPSE came out, and TWILIGHT fans loved it (nobody else really saw it). Adam Sandler teamed up with his old SNL cohorts Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, and David Spade, plus brought Kevin James along to be the fat guy in GROWN UPS, which performed well but didn’t seem to be much of a must-see for most of us. The PREDATOR franchise got a new member with PREDATORS, which looked cooler than it probably is, and Disney, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Nicolas Cage put out THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE, which will probably make itself disappear from theaters soon. Oh, yeah, M. Night Shaymalan released THE LAST AIRBENDER and got almost unanimously terrible reviews. SALT was a fun, fast-moving spy thriller with some great action sequences and good work from the always-reliable Angelina Jolie and Liev Schreiber, though in my opinion while it was a great popcorn flick, it failed to make much of a lasting impression. The highlight of the summer season thus far has been INCEPTION, a film that had a lot of pressure to be great simply by being Christopher Nolan’s first film since THE DARK KNIGHT. It lived up to the hype, got people talking, and got people going to see it, many going for repeat viewings.
August is now right around the corner. August used to be the traditional dumping ground of the summer, not usually when tent-pole, event movies would be released. This August could provide the saving graces for this summer’s movie season. On August 6th, we have Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay’s new collaboration, THE OTHER GUYS, a promising buddy cop send-up starring Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, and co-starring the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Michael Keaton. On that same day, MIDDLE MEN also comes out. From the trailers, this seems to be in the same vein as BOOGIE NIGHTS and BLOW, but is set in the mid-90’s and focused on the innovation of internet porn. This may not be a must-see in theaters but it looks like it has the potential to be good. Friday August 13th is the day a lot of us pop culture geeks have been waiting for. On this day, Edgar Wright’s graphic novel adaptation SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD will come out, and so far the advance word on this one is insanely good and it should catapult Wright’s name to the top of the list of Hollywood’s new crop of A-list directors. While SCOTT PILGRIM promises to be innovative and fresh, the 13th’s other big release is an action-packed throwback to the testosterone-loaded action films of the 80’s, Sylvester Stallone’s magnum opus, THE EXPENDABLES. For this film Stallone brought together as many action stars as possible to make one giant ass-kicking machine. It’s got Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, NFL’s Terry Crews, Ultimate Fighter Randy Couture, former WWF champ Steve Austin, Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, and Dolph Lundgren. The trailers also promise a scene featuring Stallone, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and a “rematch” of sorts between Stallone and Lundgren. If only Carl Weathers would’ve put down his free Burger King refill and joined the party! Seriously, if this isn’t just over-the-top awesome (much like Stallone’s last flick, RAMBO), it’ll be a let-down. Oh, and fellas, don’t worry – EAT PRAY LOVE comes out in August so while you’re getting your mind blown through your head at THE EXPENDABLES, your ladies can spend time with Julia Roberts, and everyone can be happy. So, August 2010, we’re counting on you to bring us some awesome movies. Don’t let us down.