Welcome to part 3 of Geek's Super Summer Film Preview focusing on the month of July!
We put together a panel of experts to share their thoughts about their candid hopes, dreams and fears for the upcoming crop of prospective blockbusters. They are:
The Producer// a savvy maker of many well-known film and TV series.
The Fanboy// a devoted (and deodorant using) expert of geek cinema.
The Webmaster// behind one of the Internet’s most popular film and TV fan sites.
The Screenwriter// who has rewritten and rewritten some of the biggest genre blockbusters of the last decade.
Each expert weighed in anonymously to offer frank insight in this summer’s most eagerly awaited motion pictures.
The Lone Ranger
Release: July 3
Stars: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Helena Bonham Carter, William Fichtner
Writers: Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Eric Aronson
Director: Gore Verbinski
The Plot: The classic tale of a lawman, John Reid (Hammer), who takes justice into his own hands as The Lone Ranger in the Old West with the aid of Native-American warrior Tonto (Depp).
The Producer// If they don’t use the “William Tell Overture,” I’m done. I’m kinda excited about this one, but I was kinda excited about The Shadow too, until I saw it. Could be this year’s Cowboys & Aliens, unless Gore Verbinski delivers an actual story with all the visuals and Johnny Depp vamping as Tonto.
The Fanboy// Let’s see, reintroduce a hero nobody but old people remember and do it in a way guaranteed to piss off those old people, leaving you with an audience of exactly zero.
The Webmaster// This trailer started off great… all the way up to the point when the kid throws the bullet in slow motion and then they lost me. It went from a potentially great action movie to looking cartoonish. The fact that the team behind the Pirates movies did this doesn’t fill me with confidence either since those just got more and more mediocre as they went.
The Screenwriter// This interpretation from this creative team looks fun, regardless of what the audience may or may not know about the character. If it’s as smart and cool as the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, expect box-office success.
Release: July 19
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, Robert Knepper
Screenwriters: Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, based on the graphic novel by Peter M. Lenkov
Director: Robert Schwentke
The Plot: Recently slain cop Nick Walker (Reynolds) pairs up with Roy Pulsipher (Bridges) at the Rest in Peace department of undead cops. It’s up to him and his partner to find out who his killer is.
The Skinny: It’s been years since we’ve seen a really excellent buddy cop movie, and producer Neal H. Moritz thinks this film is it, as it evokes such films as 48 Hrs. and Lethal Weapon. “The best part about this movie is the relationship between Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds,” Moritz says. “I love the dynamic between the two.”
Moritz admits that coming up with a look for the undead cops was a challenge. “It was about how to make the dead different and unique, but also keep a lot of the things that were so interesting about the comic originally,” says Moritz, who adds that director Schwentke brought his own style into the mix. What he came in with was almost a 1970s vibe. It felt organic and brought a realistic feel to it, even though we were in a somewhat non-reality world.”
The Producer// From the studio that brought you Battleship. At least it has The Dude.
The Fanboy// What is this, a remake of the old Joe Piscopo movie Dead Heat?
The Webmaster// Schwentke proved he can make a solid comic book movie with RED, and I’d expect this should be just as entertaining. Kevin Bacon and Jeff Bridges should keep this from turning into just another shitty Ryan Reynolds vehicle.
The Screenwriter// In Soviet Russia, corpse investigates YOU.
Release: July 12
Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Idris Elba, Charlie Day
Screenwriters: Travis Beacham, Guillermo del Toro
Director: Guillermo del Toro
The Plot: It’s gigantic oversized creatures versus human-controlled robots in the kind of knock-down showdown battle that would make Godzilla flush with envy.
The Producer// I’m a big fan of all Guillermo’s small, low-budget films, like The Devil’s Backbone. This, however, is not a small, low-budget film. Wish he had stuck with The Hobbit, but if somebody’s going to make a giant robot movie fighting aliens then I can’t think of anyone better suited for it than del Toro.
The Webmaster// The concept is one that sounds like it came from a 10-year-old boy: “giant robots vs giant monsters” and I’m really starting to get excited for it. The casting isn’t great, but the hope is that the casting doesn’t matter ’cause the robots and monsters are too cool to notice the people.
The Fanboy// I hear it’s great, but the robots aren’t grabbing me. Give me a baby in danger, Lois Lane hanging off a helicopter, something to appeal to my human side.
The Screenwriter// It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Power Rangers in action. I’m excited to see what del Toro does with them, especially the pink one.
Release: July 19
Stars: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor
Screenwriters: Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes
Director: James Wan
The Plot: Based on the exploits of famed ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren, this 1970s-set story deals with the haunting of a New England farmhouse by a very powerful witch.
The Skinny: Farmiga plays Lorraine Warren and feels like this film has a very classic, stylized look, noting, “This has a very 1970s feel inspired by William Friedkin’s The French Connection and The Exorcist. And James allows reactions that might not be the stereotypical way someone might be scared, whereas a more commercial director might say, ‘That’s too unusual, we have to make it so they get it in Kansas.’”
The Producer// From the Paranormal films to all their imitators, the supernatural has been a license to print money over the past decade. Wan essentially reinvented the slasher genre with the Saw franchise and had a hit with Insidious. Could be a winner.
The Fanboy// Anything “based on actual events” has my attention, but I’m easy.
The Webmaster// Witchcraft never gets the respect it deserves.
The Screenwriter// Going back to the ‘70s is a smart way of getting around a bunch of annoying modern-day plot traps that ruin fright films, like the Web and cell phones.
Release: July 19
Stars: Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Anthony Hopkins, Mary-Louise Parker
Screenwriters: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Director: Dean Parisot
The Plot: Those cranky old retired assassins bypass the retirement home by signing up for another death-defying mission under the guidance of past-his-prime Frank Moses (Willis).
The Fanboy// The trailer should have Willis shouting, “How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice in another movie franchise?”
The Producer// Lionsgate can sell ice to eskimos. Now that they own Summit, they should have no trouble selling this, even though I don’t really think the world was clamoring for a sequel. At least, the great Dean Parisot is directing it, who should really be directing a sequel to Galaxy Quest instead.
The Webmaster// The first movie was a lot of fun and I have a weak spot for Willis, so I’m already a lock to buy a ticket. Plus, most of the cast from the first movie is back.
The Screenwriter// Parisot is the man. Put a sniper rifle back in Mirren’s hands and my ticket is bought.
Release: July 24
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Brian Tee, Tao Okamoto
Screenwriters: Mark Bomback, Scott Frank, Christopher McQuarrie
Director: James Mangold
The Plot: Taking some cues from the Chris Claremont and Frank Miller 1982 comic book arc, the movie follows Logan as he travels to Japan to train to be a samurai warrior.
The Producer// Mangold is the John Badham or Peter Hyams of the 21st century — a completely journeyman, competent filmmaker who doesn’t have a singular style. He’s perfectly suited to direct a feature at Fox, the studio whose favorite auteur is John Moore. Would have loved to have seen what Darren Aronofsky would have done with this if he hadn’t gone off to Noah, which could end up being the greatest fantasy movie of the year.
The Fanboy// Can’t be worse than the first Wolverine movie, can it?
The Webmaster// The last Wolverine movie was terrible. For comic fans especially, it had almost no redeeming qualities, which was a shame. The fact that they are now ignoring that movie entirely is a good sign. Now you’ve got Christopher McQuarrie dialogue and Logan as a Samurai in Japan — this has potential to be the best of the X-Movies to date.
The Screenwriter// The poster is awesome. Even if the movie is as bad as X-Men Origins: Wolverine, everyone will want that one-sheet.
Images: Legendary Pictures, Disney, New Line Cinema, 20th Century Fox, Original Film