Tuesday, June 21, 2011


JOHNNY CHAZZ: Take a moment and log onto Fandango.com and type in your local zip code. Now, what is playing today near you? Well, I did just that yesterday and what happens each and every summer happened again, thus leaving me longing for those months that end in ‘B-E-R. Let’s discuss:

The films playing at my local Regal Entertainment theater as of today, June 21, 2011 are as follows: “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”; “Green Lantern 3-D”; “Super 8”; “X-Men: First Class”; “The Hangover II”; and “Bridesmaids”. Now let’s break down each one to determine if we should feel inclined to pay to see any of these.

In theater #1 we have “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”: Jim Carrey in the role of a businessman whose life begins to change after he inherits six (6) penguins turns his apartment into an igloo circus. His professional and personal life is also affected. Well, in this one it is likely that you will get exactly what you can expect: another ridiculous Jim Carrey movie where he overacts and provides us with physical comedy that is no longer funny. The penguins might be cute and we may perhaps feel sorry for Carrey in this role having to put his life back in order, but this animal “poop and scoop” behavior is too much and simply insults an audience unless you are between the ages of 2 and 8. There is no way to endorse something like this or to ever think about heading to the box office to spend over $10 on a ticket.

So, we walk next door to theater #2 and see the title “Green Lantern 3-D”. Here we have another summer sci-fi based on comic book movie that is regurgitated on the screen year in and year out. Starring Ryan Reynolds the plot follows a test pilot who is given a mystical green ring giving him; well let’s call them “superpowers” so that he can be the one who saves the universe from destruction. Yet, as in any other summer sci-fi film it is a guarantee to crumble apart after the first 20-30 minutes due to a lack of vitality, performance, writing and believability. We can call this just another lackluster effort thrown on screen for summer movie-goers who think this is worth both $10 and 2 hours of their time.

Theater #3 blesses us with the showing of the new “Super 8” – a trailer I have seen over 100 times on television in the past two weeks. Still, the trailer is typical for Abrams by not giving away too much about the movie. Director J.J. Abrams along with the presence of Spielberg brings us a cast of no-namers in “Super 8” who begin noticing strange things occurring in a small town and begin to investigate the phenomenon. Unfortunately, this film has the look of taking us through an experience only to let us down at the end. Is this just a marriage of “Blair Witch” meeting “E.T.” and “Stand By Me?” Child actors are dull and the genre here is appears to be completely overdone while totaling lacking the element of suspense of surprise.

Theater #4 finds us on a collision course with “X-Men: First Class”. Another super-human, super-hero movie? The action here is always full-blown and there is complete lack of character, cinematic technique, and only provides us with yet another does of mutant battles on screen that offer little in the way of audience satisfaction. Next please.

We head over to theater #5 and see the sequel “The Hangover II” as if the first one was not forgetful enough. This goofy and careless movie focuses on the years after the bachelor party in Las Vegas as the friends and pals all plan for a wedding that turns into a nightmare. It is a movie that is cheap looking, devoid of talent, offers unnecessary violence and is just plain raunchy. Here is a prime example of a movie, a director, writers and a cast that really want us to be shocked by what they can do on screen. What is shocking more so is the fact that anyone would ever spend a dime to go and see it.

The last theater is #6 and is showing “Bridesmaids”. Kristen Wiig is “Annie” who is neither talented nor funny, plots to make her way through the rituals of a wedding with other bridesmaids as her own life is falling apart. This is a “Saturday Night Live” cast at best and very rarely does anyone from that show really make an impact on the big screen in the cinematic-quality sense. This is just another movie that tries to show us how funny the female-sex can really be on screen. It neither qualifies as great comedy nor as anything memorable.

How sad that summer films rarely give us any reason to go to the movies anymore. Audiences today should expect nothing and by doing that may be satisfied that you get precisely what you expect out of summer films. Herein lies the pathetic trend that has been predictable for the past decade or longer showing no sign of relief. Maybe this is why we have, at least in recent years seen an academy-award nominated film appear during the summer months since it tends to stick out like a sore thumb and remain in the minds of movie-goers for months afterwards and sometimes up until the awards. Still, summer movies leave a great deal to be desired and continuously leave this critic hunting for OctoBER!

JER: Let me see if I can help better define what my buddy JC is implying… all Summer films are crap- filled, popcorn chomping, bloated pieces of fluff thrown at us to help numb the sweat glands that boil over during the months beginning in May and ending around September! Whew!

JC has never been a fan of Summer films, with maybe only a very slim select few that might have raised a curious eyebrow or caused a knee-jerk reaction of what could only be determined or defined as a “chuckle”…I don’t know, it could have been gas! In his opinion, the months ending with ‘BER’ could only refer to October, November and December; thus the Fall to Winter films in which the Academy of Motion Pictures takes a serious look at the caliber of films that would deem worthy of the title of “For Your Consideration” aka ‘possible future Best Picture nominated films!

As much as I now wait (with hope) for a great Summer film to blow me out of the water…I find myself paddling amongst shallow puddles. I almost fear to say the same of the Fall and Winter line-ups at times.

The Summer films, for me, were what I looked forward to…maybe years ago. It now seems as if all we get are endless sequels to films that boasted ‘no more sequels’ (SCREAM 4, PIRATES 4, TRANSFORMERS 3) a slew of ‘comic book’ action films (THOR, GREEN LANTERN, X-MEN, CAPTAIN AMERICA) and you can’t forget a family film or two (MR POPPER’S PENGUINS, CARS 2) and that’s about it…really?

Summer films of the past consisted of GHOSTBUSTERS, THE ROAD WARRIOR, JAWS, E.T.: THE EXTRA- TERRESTRIAL, THE BLUES BROTHERS, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, GLADIATOR, INCEPTION, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and STAR WARS! These were the kind of movies (films) that caused an emotional stir…a sense of excitement that could only be experienced within the dark walls of a movie palace: a theater.

I can present a confession in that I am very interested in both SUPER 8 and X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, though.

SUPER 8, judging by the trailer, reminds me of the era hay-days of Steven Spielberg… mixing what looks like a little CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND with a little E.T.: THE EXTRA – TERRESTRIAL. I honestly miss those kinds of films. Remember the Summers that POLTERGEIST, BACK TO THE FUTURE, WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT, INNERSPACE and GREMLINS were released? Fun movies…repeat…FUN! Oh…and original, too! No remakes,‘re-imagining’ or rip-offs. Were they Academy Award- nominated hits? No…they were ‘blockbusters’ that ruled the screens and created talks amongst friends and drove fans to fill the theater seats by the thousands. I actually have enjoyed the run of J.J. Abrams’ films including MISSION IMPOSSIBLE III and the new STAR TREK film…even the produced CLOVERFIELD! I believe that Abrams captures a sense of fantasy and magician- theatrics that Spielberg presented within the 80’s. I, for one, am looking forward to viewing SUPER 8 soon.

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS looks like the same kind of action packed fantasy fun we have come to expect from the franchise. X-MEN came to the screen long before we began experiencing the congestion of comic book films that have churned through since its original release in 2000. If done right, I enjoy a series to take us through different avenues and roads with past story lines and gap-filling plots to allow us to tie a full story together. X- MEN: FIRST CLASS is another reminder of what a “fun” Summer film was once defined as. I’d buy a ticket for this ride!

I will also admit to an interest in TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON and the final installment of the Potter series; HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HOLLOWS PT II and that pretty much makes the rest of the Summer list for me.

THE SMURFS??? Starring Neil Patrick Harris??? A remake- re-imagined CONAN: THE BARBARIAN that looks like some UFC rogue took on the role originated by Arnie and supplied by a heavy metal ear- piercing soundtrack layed over the film’s trailer quickly defused any interest what so ever. Please do not forget that both these films will be available through the wonderful world of 3-D! Be still, my heart!!

Well, I could go on, but why should I? I quickly type my last few words as I reach across the laptop for a paper bag to help express my true feelings as reality hits me! We are in mid- June and I haven’t been excited about running to the theaters to catch anything at this point. Remain optimistic? Maybe I will wait for the BERs as well!

So ends another chapter as we dispense more of the honest opinions…as we see it! Tune in next week when I take a stab at a topic of choice. So until then…SEE YOU NEXT WEDNESDAY!


  1. So your telling me that my ten or more bucks. I can enjoy the peoples conversation than the movies? Alright I CAN really listen to OPP whose down with me. David Guerra

  2. Fully agree with you guys. The SUMMER movies the last few years are sooooooo forgetful an are all starting to look the same.

  3. i am still realy enjoying this film site you both have created and love the topics. The summer movies are not really as good as the winter and fall ones, but every now and then there are some surprises. Ok - thanks. jessica ** ojai, california

  4. * I think Movies are only made just for money and that is really all there is to it. The graphics and special effects might be really cool but there is no storyline to these movies anymore. I agree with you guys that summer movies are pretty much worthless nowaedays. Kendra @ Yakima, WASH.

  5. Thank you Kendra and Jessica for your comments!

    Jessica: thank you for your continued support of our site and for chiming in! We greatly appreciate any and all feedback to make this a bigger and better site! I will agree with you that we do get a surprise here and there. My big Summer surprise last year was INCEPTION! Hands down the best film all Summer long!

    Kendra: It is a shame to admit that you pretty much summarized the industry year round! There is a rare chance for any originality and excitement for anything hitting theaters anymore! Sigh...

  6. Hello cinema counterpoint: What a piece of crap this Summer movie line-up looks like. My 3 year old could come up with better story lines than what is playing at theaters this year. Captain America? penguins? zookeepers? no way jose. - Ricky, San Antonio, TX.

  7. Ricky, I am still trying to wipe my tears away from my eyes as I type a response to your very truthful comment! LOL! I absolutely believe that your intelligent 3 year old can restore faith in our film industry! Please let me know when that child goes into pre- production on ANYTHING so I can start savin my pennies to buy a ticket! Thank you!

  8. The quality of the summer movies this year (and yes, I completely agree with you both) are the same as they were last year and the year before. To tell you the truth, they have actually become pretty boring. LINDSAY - SACRAMENTO, CA.