So, this week's "Wolverine" movie release kicks off the official big bang summer blockbuster season (or winter season if you're down here, mate). After last summer's Dark Knight/Iron Man/Hulk/Hellboy bonanza, this one's lighter on the comics stuff. I generally only get to the theaters six or seven times a year, so it's got to be a big spectacle or very interesting Oscar bait to make it away from the DVD player. Here's my rambling thoughts on a dozen or so of the season's offerings, with my Excite-O-Meter ratings for how motivated I am to check 'em out.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
So apparently this leaked on the Internets or something? Another attempt to wring money out of the X-Men franchise -- I've generally enjoyed these movies, and will probably see this one, but not expecting greatness. Hugh Jackman is always good as Logan, but they're scraping the bottom of the barrel for mutants in this one. One of the pluses of the first three X-Men movies is that they managed to avoid Gambit, the most idiotic, pointless X-Man ever created whose introduction pretty much coincided with my giving up reading "X-Men" comics. Guess who's in this one? Gambit. Argh. But heck, I even found "Daredevil" and the first "Fantastic Four" movies enjoyably corny, so I'll be seeing this.
Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen:
OK, I saw the first one, and enjoyed it for what it was, but even I have no real interest in seeing it all done again. You've seen one car turn into a robot, you've seen 'em all.
I have to admit, I've always preferred Next Generation Trek over the original. Does that make me a heretic? But I generally love J.J. Abrams' work on "Lost" and the enjoyable "Mission Impossible 3," the trailers for this reboot of Kirk, Spock & co. are unspeakably cool, and it's got Simon Pegg in it. Can it combine the cowboy charm of the original series with a dash of '00s f/x and slick action? Beam me up, I'm there for this one, particularly with advance word of mouth pretty positive.
Angels & Demons
I never even saw "The Da Vinci Code," so no, not my thing.
Meh.... Another case of wringing money out of franchises (has there ever been a great "Part IV" other than maybe the somewhat overrated "Star Trek IV"?). No Arnold, the end of the world already happened in "Terminator 3" (which unlike most folks I actually rather liked) and it's directed by one-named McG. I'm just not that interested yet, despite the reliable Christian Bale on board and killer robots galore. A maybe.
The latest PIXAR production. I'm sure it will be great, but for some reason I usually end up waiting for DVD to see these ones (too many danged kids in the theaters!).
Land of the Lost
Ah, I kinda liked the old TV show, but this one seems to be going for a goofball comedy vibe. I do generally have a weakness for Will Ferrell silly, but don't think this will make me run to the theaters for a spoof. I am curious if the nightmare-inducing Sleeslak are quite so freaky to my modern 30-something eyes, though...
Director Michael Mann, Johnny Depp, Christian Bale again, Depression-era gangsters galore? The new "Heat" and summer's token attempt at adult entertainment Oscar bait. If the reviews are solid as the advance buzz, I'm in.
After seeing this trailer, I can't wait to see how offensive Sacha Baron Cohen is this time. Sure, gay-baiting jokes and pointing out how some Americans are awfully ignorant is rather pre-Obama, but as a kind of big-screen "America's Most Racist Home Videos" sort of thing, this looks fun. Can he duplicate the "Borat" effect?
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
Other than the third flick, "The Prisoner of Azkaban," I'll be darned if I can really sum up any vivid memories of the first five movies in this series. The books linger far longer in my mind. They're almost always decent enough films, but none have quite made the leap to iconic. A DVD rental, I imagine.
G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra
Or, the movie that makes "Transformers" look like "The Godfather." Sorry, I am just a bit too old to be nostalgic about these military toys from the '80s, and the trailer looks 10 different kinds of dopey. Plus it's by the guy who directed "The Mummy" and "Van Helsing," in the process utterly screwing up two very interesting iconic concepts. I'll only ever see this one out of morbid curiosity I imagine.
Quentin Tarantino can usually be counted on to at least dazzle you with wordplay and hyperkinetics, even if some of his movies are more flash than substance. The sheer oddball nature of the story here -- vicious Jews fight back in World War II by scalping and terrorizing Nazis? -- and the promise of Brad Pitt in preferred full goofball "Burn After Reading" mode make this worth seeing, even if it's a tacky disaster.
The Time Traveler's Wife
Love the book, don't know much about the movie starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, but am quite curious to see how it comes out, particularly if it's well reviewed. But good books don't always equal decent movies (did you even know there was a Love In The Time of Cholera film?), so we'll see.