Last Friday’s release of Iron Man 3 marks the beginning of the bombastic summer blockbuster season. While Brandon here at With a Bang will fill you in on higher-brow offerings throughout the summer, sometimes you just want to watch something explode, dammit. Here are the guilty and not-so-guilty pleasures our staff is looking forward to. -AG
For once, there might be a Superman movie in the works that’s not designed to make my eyes roll for hours at a time. Don’t get me wrong, I love Superman as much as most people love Batman. I just don’t drink the Kool-Aid over Richard Donner’s Superman being anywhere close to “The Best Comic Book Movie of all Time.” Can we all agree to hop off that nostalgia train to nowhere? Please? I don’t care how much you try to make the earth rotate counter clockwise, there’s no way to make it any better than it is.
Thankfully, it seems Snyder and Nolan have completely abandoned the Donner-verse. Also, Thank Zod for Michael Shannon deciding to be in the film. Aside from the wheelbarrows full of money he was probably offered, I take his involvement as a sign that the script is more than just serviceable and EVERYTHING I’ve seen by way of trailers double confirms that. This might actually be the movie that makes Superman relevant again to a general audience.
I’m a sucker for vapid LA-based reality TV and Sofia Coppola’s gauzy, dreamy aesthetic, so I’m counting the days for Coppola’s next movie, The Bling Ring, starring Hermione herself, Emma Watson. It’s the based-on-a-true story of a group of affluent teens who burglarize celebrity homes. Paris Hilton’s home got robbed in real life and Paris Hilton makes a cameo in the movie. How should you prepare for this film? First, Google “Pretty Wild” – it’s the ill-fated reality TV show starring real-life Bling Ring member Alexis Neiers, and once Neiers’ Cali-girl drawl sears into your mind, watch The Bling Ring trailer (embedded below) – Watson absolutely nails the voice and mannerisms. Here’s hoping this is another Coppola winner like Virgin Suicides or Lost in Translation and not a snoozer like Somewhere.
Monsters vs. giant robots. That’s pretty much all I should have to say to sell you on Guillermo Del Toro’s latest, Pacific Rim, but I know some of you might be of the ilk who claim art is dead and Hollywood is dancing on its corpse, so I’ll give you a bunch of other reasons why this is the one movie you do not want to miss this summer.
I recently attended Wonder Con 2013 in Anaheim and sat in on the Pacific Rim panel, which Del Toro attended. He screened a new trailer and answered fan questions and basically came off as the coolest movie director on the planet. Seriously, I would love to hang out with that guy. Del Toro spoke of his new project with childish glee and it was obvious he was extremely passionate about the subject matter. This may be one of the more bombastic blockbusters to ever hit theaters, but it isn’t a cash grab. Hell, it’s a bit of a risk when you consider it’s not part of a larger franchise nor an adaptation and is only vaguely connected to the kaiju genre that the Godzilla films popularized.
What really sealed the deal for me were the hints Del Toro dropped as to the larger mythos of Pacific Rim, and how the arrival of the kaiju doesn’t only devastate our cities but completely redefines how our society operates. When he said “oh, and Ron Perlman is playing a black market kaiju organ dealer” I went, “done. Sign me up. Game over. I’m on Fandango, on my phone, right now, preordering tickets.” Del Toro’s films may have grown exponentially in scale since his days making low budget Spanish language horror films, but his ability to craft an engaging story has not diminished, even when said story revolves around a completely batshit insane premise. I’m coming for the monsters, but I’m staying for the world.
I love future wars and giant monsters and superheroes, and this summer has plenty of fare to fill that appetite for the otherworldly. Yet I often miss the old days of summer blockbusters, where you just had some guys, some guns, a little vengeance, and a lot of explosions. That’s why I’m most excited for 2 Guns coming out August 2nd, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.
Based off of a graphic novel by Steven Grant and Mateus Santalouco, the story follows two thieves, Bobby and Stig, who rob a mob bank. Simple, right? Well, then you find out that Stig is an undercover DEA agent investigating Bobby, who turns out to be a Naval Intelligence Officer investigating Stig. And that mob bank? It’s actually CIA stash house, and they are super-angry, forcing the thieves to go on the run. The story only gets crazier from there, leading to heaps of pulpy, action fun.
The director of the solid crime feature Contraband helms the movie, and with a cast that includes Edward James Olmos and Paula Patton, this film may prove to be the comic book movie for people who don’t like comic book movies.
The movie I’m most excited to see this summer is Neil Blomkamp’s Elysium, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. Blomkamp is famous for writing and directing District 9, which I thought was the most inventive science fiction movie I had seen since The Matrix. Sometimes I get so excited to see a movie that I need to see it alone because I don’t want my experience to be colored by another person’s enjoyment (or lack thereof). District 9 was such a movie: my anticipation was so high that I trekked to the Ward Megaplex like a solipsistic monk and it totally surpassed my expectations. I went to my job waiting tables that same afternoon and ranted for hours to anyone who would listen about how great it was.
Like District 9, Elysium seems to deal with the complicated relationship between class, nationality, and alienation. Named for the Greek and Roman conception of the afterlife, the eponymous space station offers a haven for the rich from the perils of Earth, which is even shittier in 2154 than 2013. The trailer shows Blomkamp’s signature camera work, with a lot of ground level views of dusty proletarian–types gazing up at flying machines. If it’s half as good as District 9, it will be well worth your time. If it’s as good or better, we can start getting excited for a long run of great films from one of the genre’s new masters.
About The Author
Alison is a community coordinator at a large internet conglomerate. She claims to be a nerd, not a geek.