ALWAYS KEEPING AN EYE ON HOLLYWOOD!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

JER'S TURN: A LOOK AT SUMMER FILMS 2012


JER: To the average person or holiday traveler, the thought of Palm Springs, CA during the summer might create a visual picture of basking within warm mid-afternoons with a thinly disguised breeze blowing through the swaying palm trees whilst lying on a chaise lounge chair sipping a fruity cocktail drink. Friends, nothing can be farther than the truth for the locals like myself who deal with sweltering 120 degrees beating down on you like a frying egg while desperately dodging the pummeling solar rays and taking refuge in the malls or at home is more the case!

Summers essentially mean staying indoors, enjoying Dodgers’ baseball and escaping to the So-Cal amusement park for a lost weekend… and looking forward to catching Summer Films!

I can already see my counterpart’s veins pulsing in Johnny Chazz’ temples as he picks up on what my topic will refer to this week, as he is NOT a fan of the mid-year releases. I must say that after last year’s abysmal array of slimmed options to choose from (HANGOVER II, GREEN LANTERN, MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS, ZOOKEEPER, HORRIBLE BOSSES, THE SMURFS, CONAN THE BARBARIAN and PRIEST… to name a few) I, too, was ready to give up on Summer films all together.

Did Hollywood pick up its ears and realize its annual booking mistakes and make a pact to try harder for the 2012 Summer? I would give it a very strong YES! Tail end of Winter 2011 gave us hints of anticipated excitement with teasers from Marvel’s THE AVENGERS, BATTLESHIP, PROMETHEUS and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES… well, a long 5-6 months have passed and it is now time to discuss some of the Summer films I will be watching in an air- conditioned theater to get away from the summer rays flaying layers of flesh off my body!
MAY 4th: One would have to literally be living under a rock to have seen or experienced the high- profile impact that the highly anticipated Super Hero mash-up THE AVENGERS has made. Hey folks, we have been teased with this project since 2008’s IRONMAN when, right before the ending credits, we are introduced to Samuel L. Jackson’s portrayal of team leader Nick Fury as he candidly entices Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark with the idea of a super team alliance. Hints would continually drop in up-coming Marvel Super Hero films like THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008), IRONMAN 2 (2010), THOR (2011) and CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011).
PLOT SUMMARY: S.H.I.E.L.D.’s special agent Nick Fury forms an alliance of Super Heroes as “The Avengers” to band together and fight Thor’s villainous brother Loki, as he plots to destroy Earth. The film has already broke records with the biggest three- day U.S. weekend ever with striking a whopping $200.3 million!
MY TAKE: Are you kidding me? I saw this opening weekend and words couldn’t express how the film had over-exceeded my expectations! Bold, action- packed, humorous when needed to be and adventurous with greatly proportioned screen time for all heroes!

MAY 18th: Hasbro’s BATTLESHIP basically looks, feels and smells like a TRANSFORMERS film to me… and I am OK with it. Let’s just steer from the fact that there is absolutely no resemblance to the board game of the same name that I enjoyed when I was a child! Starring still un-knowner Taylor Kitsch (JOHN CARTER, gulp!) Universal Pictures is fronting a $200 million budget for a primary sci-fi/ action flick! Here’s hoping that the JOHN CARTER curse doesn’t taint this promising popcorn movie!
PLOT SUMMARY: Discoveries of aliens, known as The Regents, arrive onto Earth to use the oceans to build a power source when they come across a naval fleet of battleships.
MY TAKE: After seeing a more revealing trailer concerning plot-line and massive action sequences, I am ready to have my battleship sunk before missing this great popcorn flick!

MAY 25th: MEN IN BLACK III- Let’s be honest, there was no need to make the horrible sequel MEN IN BLACK II (2002) other than to cash- in on the name’s success. I good ten years has slightly washed away the residue of that insidious garbage when word came around to attempt yet another chapter. Admittedly, I immediately became concerned! I had not heard the plot summary at that point, nor cared to research it… it was pure chance that I saw the upcoming trailer and my mind was put on a more comfortable state. With the smart casting of Josh Brolin doing an incredible and uncanny performance of a younger Tommy Lee Jones as special agent “K” and the return of summer’s favorite box- office draw Will Smith as agent “J”, the film looks to be entertaining and profitable. Director of both previous releases, Barry Sonnenfeld (GET SHORTY, ADDAMS FAMILY) returns to the mix.
PLOT SUMMARY: MIB Agent Jay must go back in time to 1969 to meet up with a younger Agent Kay to stop an evil villain from the destroying Earth in the future.
MY TAKE: I am willing to forgive and forget the ghastly MEN IN BLACK II based on the trailers I have seen. Yes, I would definitely give this a viewing!

JUNE 8th: PROMETHEUS- I am concerned with the drama being played out by both the Fox studio and director Ridley Scott, who originally was slated to direct the highly- publicized ‘prequel’ to his 1979 sci-fi classic ALIEN. Now it seems as if both parties are avoiding calling it such, yet similarities between both films remain to be seen and compared. I am slightly confused and I really don’t know how else to approach it without curiosity needing to answer for itself.
PLOT SUMMARY: On the spaceship “Prometheus”, a group of scientists travel through the universe investigating alien life forms. As they become stranded on an alien planet, their discoveries not only pose a threat to the team but to mankind.
MY TAKE: Look, it seems like the only way to approach this is with a very, very open mind and a leap of faith. It’s Ridley Scott and it’s sci-fi…the two have never proven me wrong yet (BLADE RUNNER, ALIEN). I am gonna plunk down the extra cash for the full 3D presentation on this one for sure!

JUNE 15th: ROCK OF AGES- Based on the hit Broadway musical and directed by Adam Shankman (2007’s HAIRSPRAY), the true highlight is all of the great 80’s rock songs that play throughout the film to help illustrate the story…Def Leppard, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister, Joan Jett and Foreigner are just some of the hits you can expect! Look out for a break-away performance from Tom Cruise as rocker Stacee Jaxx (who can forget his portrayal of Les Grossman in TROPIC THUNDER?).
PLOT SUMMARY: The year is 1987 and the place to be is down the Sunset Strip in Hollywood! Drew and Sherrie are two small town dreamers chasing the stardom they wish for.
MY TAKE: Although I am seriously looking forward to this film, I can wait for the blu- ray release. I am not in any immediate hurry to catch this one.

JUNE 22nd: ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER- Co- Produced by (gulp) Tim Burton and directed by Timur Bekmambetov (WANTED) is based off of the best selling novel written by Seth Grahame- Smith about the 16th U.S. President and his declaration to destroy those pesky night crawlers! Budgeted at $70 million, Burton needs a hit (thus, not mentioning the unmentionable DARK SHADOWS as any kind of recommendation on this page!)
PLOT SUMMARY: While carving a name for himself as what will become one of America’s greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln learns that there blood- thirsty vampires wanting to take- over the United States. Lincoln then makes it his mission to do everything it takes to protect his great nation.
MY TAKE: The novel is one of many new books that puts a twist to either prolific characters or classic novels dealing with vampires, zombies or anything else to attract the new generation’s hunger for the macabre. I am actually looking forward to this one and will seek it out in theaters.
Honest Abe kicks arse! ABRAHAM LINCOLN- VAMPIRE HUNTER


JUNE 29th: G.I. JOE: RETALIATION- Dennis Quaid, Channing Tatum and Ray Park reprise the characters they originated in 2009’s G.I. JOE- THE RISE OF COBRA in the action- adventure sequel.
PLOT SUMMARY: The elite fighting team known as the G.I. JOES is framed for crimes against the USA and is immediately shut down by the President. The surviving team mates pull together to bring down the true nemesis and clear their names in the process.
MY TAKE: I am somewhat on the fence, although I do enjoy the current trailer displaying more of the storyline and action sequences…however, I might wait for the blu- ray release on this one as well.

JULY 3rd: THE AMAZING SPIDER- MAN- Has enough time passed to clear the heads of anyone who saw and admired the recent SPIDER-MAN films that began in 2002? That was only ten years ago, however, the Sony Studios would like to take your money again…I mean, take you on a “re-boot” account of the (again) origins of Peter Parker and how he (again) became the action hero known as Spider- Man.
PLOT SUMMARY: The young investigating mind of Peter parker is put to use to solve the mystery of what ever happened to his parents. This trail leads him to Dr. Curt Connors, his father’s former partner, who will turn out to be Spider-Man’s foe: The Lizard.
MY TAKE: I was a fan of the recent Sam Raimi- directed trilogy, in fact Sony Studios had several sequels planned with Raimi directing and Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/ Spider-Man before getting shut- down. The first trailer was all too familiar to the first film all over again. However, a new trailer steers away from the origins plot-line and presents the mystery of Parker’s parents. I still don’t know if I am convinced to see this in theaters…it might have to wait for home viewing.

JULY 20th: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES- It is somewhat hard to believe that four years have gone by since THE DARK KNIGHT appeared on the screen back on July 20, 2008…having grossed over $1 billion worldwide. So many questions have come and gone since…would The Joker return and could another actor take the irreplaceable spot of Heath Ledger since his premature death? Director Christopher Nolan decided to introduce two different characters that would test both Bruce Wayne and Batman at the same time.
PLOT SUMMARY: Fast forwarding eight years since the events that occurred in THE DARK KNIGHT, those being that Batman (Christian Bale) took the fall for Two Face’s crimes, a new villainous leader, Bane, rises to threaten Gotham City. This brings Batman from out of the shadows to once again protect the same beloved city that has branded him an enemy. At the same time, the Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) also makes a first appearance in the Nolan trilogy.
MY TAKE: After the cliff- hanger ending bestowed upon the faithful fans, I can say that we will all reunite opening weekend to give this film a grand box office run! With Nolan returning as both writer and director, I can believe that will receive critical praise as its predecessors did.

AUGUST 3rd: THE BOURNE LEGACY- I am just going to print the quote given by writer/ director Tony Gilroy, “This is not a reboot or a recast or a prequel. No one’s replacing Matt Damon. There will be a new hero, a whole new chapter… this is a stand- alone project.” Jason Bourne’s character will not be featured, another assassin who has trained within the same program as Bourne will be introduced instead. Actor Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye from THE AVENGERS) will play Aaron Cross. Question: Why the hell are the taking up the franchise name if the Bourne character doesn’t even appear???
PLOT SUMMARY: Not much plotline is revealed other than the fact that Cross is a CIA operative who is dealing with repercussioned events in the past.
MY TAKE: I don’t know exactly how much this film will earn in the box office, but it is a safe bet that will now earn more because of Renner’s high- profile appearances in THE TOWN and the recent juggernaut, THE AVENGERS!

AUGUST 3rd: TOTAL RECALL- No surprise that there would have to be a remake, reboot or re- something creeping out to catch some summer rays as well. Well understood that “RECALL” is a “RE-MAKE” of the 1990 summer sci- fi action film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger with the basic plotlines running similar. Colin Farrell takes over the role of Douglas Quaid helmed by action director Len Wiseman (UNDERWORLD, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD).
PLOT SUMMARY: Looks like we won’t be visiting Mars on this mind- ride, but Quaid suffers from delusions when he believes he is a spy after visiting a mind trip organization that implants the perfect vacation memories without the doctor’s office! His paranoid state has him running from the police…or is just running from himself?
MY TAKE: Of course I am a little iffy about this one…I love the Paul Verhoeven (ROBOCOP, BASIC INSTINCT) version and I am afraid that too much leeway for interpretation might get in the way. The film’s trailer is overly- bloated with CGI effects in every scene which causes continued reservations. I am gonna remain on the fence on this one for now…
Judge for yourself...TOTAL RECALL 2012

I know I left some films out along the way including (gasp) DARK SHADOWS (no interest in seeing whatsoever), Pixar’s BRAVE (don’t get me started on this one, really, Pixar???), THE DICTATOR (more BORAT, another rental for me), SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (two words for you: Kristen… Stewart, enough said!) and sequels to both the ICE AGE and MADAGASCAR animated franchises… but these films didn’t fall into my expectation list of films (movies) I plan on seeing… at least not in theaters or not at all!

Now comes the fun part, JOHNNY CHAZZ’ opportunity to lash out what I can only imagine as retained enthusiasm! Take it away, JC!

JOHNNY CHAZZ: Well Jer, there is little doubt that the continuing trend of Summer films disappointing audiences (including myself) will stop in 2012. Last year’s Summer films, as you mentioned, were a disaster and we are beginning to hear this year after year. So, this naturally leaves us several months away from any cluster of films that are worth of the box office price in my opinion. However, let’s take a moment to examine each of these titles that you have brought up this week so that we can at least give our audience a few tips on ways in which they might spend their summer:

THE AVENGERS: No interest in superheroes thank you. The topic is stale, phony, and far too imaginable - so I will of course pass. Johnny Chazz’s Box Office Price: $0.75
Overly anticipated or the best summer film?...Marvel's THE AVENGERS!

BATTLESHIP: The trailer states that the film is about battleships that “discover and thwart their destructive goals”. We are likely to see uninteresting special effects, a lousy screenplay and be subjected to an annoying and loud soundtrack in this piece……next please. Johnny Chazz’s Box Office Price: $0.50
Dive into the abyss or submerge a winner? BATTLESHIP

MEN IN BLACK III: The first two were abominable, so what are we expecting here? Johnny Chazz’s Box Office Price: $0.25


PROMETHEUS: Once again, we are subjected to this type of torturous genre – “Saving the human race” in a Universal battle. The cast is tiring (Patrick Wilson and Charlize Theron are completely forgetful in most roles they play) and the storyline simply appears to be modeling itself after “Alien” all over again. This is a most likely disaster in the waiting….. Johnny Chazz’s Box Office Price: $1.00
To prequel or not to prequel... RIdley Scott's anticipated PROMETHEUS

ROCK OF AGES: Drew and Sherrie are the main characters’ names? Oh mercy. What is intriguing is that this is written by Justin Theroux ( actor: MULHOLLAND DRIVE, AMERICAN PSYCHO) but in another facet it is also quite disturbing that he would involve himself with a project such as this. The cast has some impressive names (Zeta Jones and Alec Baldwin), but simultaneously it also seems like a cornball type of film. It will, of course, try very hard to be funny and to throw everything but the kitchen sink at the audience…..pass. Johnny Chazz’s Box Office Price: $1.50
Death to the 80's or long live hair-band rock? Bang to ROCK OF AGES!

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER: This is a complete insult to anyone who partakes in this movie. Is this really where we have landed this Summer? Johnny Chazz’s Box Office Price: $0.25


G.I. JOE: RETALIATION: Bruce Willis actually got involved in this project? Once again, a plot about humankind having its’ existence threatened. This is a tired and worn-out genre that makes no point whatsoever. Johnny Chazz’s Box Office Price: $0.00 (Free Entry)


THE AMAZING SPIDER- MAN: Nope. Johnny Chazz’s Box Office Price: $0.00 (Free Entry)


THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: Gotham again? The first film was highly overrated - so talk about a tired subject. By the way.....is this week’s topic almost complete? Where’s the wire? Where's the exit? Are there more of these movies for me to review? Johnny Chazz’s Box Office Price: $0.50
Is it RISE or fall for the DARK KNIGHT? The final entry to the trilogy!

THE BOURNE LEGACY: The presence of Edward Norton and Albert Finney actually give this movie a chance at the right box office price. We will wait and see, but let’s not get too excited about anything released in the summer. Johnny Chazz’s Box Office Price: $2.50


TOTAL RECALL: The original was abominable and completely forgetful. Now we get to live through this again? We are certain to get CGI’d to death in this movie that will try to impress us with a “mind-trip” – and I will pass on a hundred levels. Johnny Chazz’s Box Office Price: $0.25


Well, that’s that for Johnny Chazz’s take on this Summer’s upcoming films. To be real honest, I am not sure that I would spend $10 to see all of these films combined. Remember the torture scene in Kubrick's “A Clockwork Orange?” That is the experience that I encounter when I am subjected to this caliber of movies - and we dare not refer to any of them as "films" as we are months away from those. My only suggestion to our readers: Save your time, and save your money; go out and get a tan or get some exercise; take a much-needed vacation; see a play; and stay clear of the movie theaters until Mid-October, 2012.

Summer Hit: BACK TO THE FUTURE
JER: Well, there it is… much as you go on about the ‘expected’ delivery of summer films and the trends they follow…I have to admit that you, Mr. JOHNNY CHAZZ, are starting to become a victim of your own critique! Your words were exactly as I ‘expected’ in your views of the films I mentioned. Granted, they may not be Academy Award- nominated hopefuls, but you have to look at the shred of positivity in which we are not subjected to the unbelievable tripe we were served last summer. Some of these films actually prove to be promising. Do they reflect an ounce of hope or excitement as did previous Summer classics as BACK TO THE FUTURE, THE ROAD WARRIOR, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, STAR WARS or even THE TERMINATOR? Of course not, but if there is a lesson to be learned here… it is to take what you can get, when you can get it! All I can honestly say is that I thank the “film gods” for kick- starting things off with the wonderful and exciting gift of THE AVENGERS! If there is anything left to say: let’s just hope that the trend doesn’t fizz out now…hey, we have three months to fill the books with!

Summer Hit: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
I know where JC is coming from and maybe I am purposely turning a blind cinematic eye to it… however, I may continue to struggle to find a glimmer of hope and try to believe in cinema one way or another. I see the writing on the wall and it ain’t good! I don’t want to succumb to staying home and select any film I desire by the click of a button! Movie houses will probably see its continued demise and eventual extinction… this responsibility falls on the grubby hands of corporate America with am extended finger (you decide which digit) pointed directly at the Hollywood fat- cats!

Looking for truth, justice... and a great time this Summer!
Like THE AVENGERS and its continued success… could the draw be because we need something to believe in? Even if it is mythical? My world needs that super- hero, but a lot of expectations fall on those shoulders. I need to believe in Tinseltown, the glitz and the glamour. I want to say that it can never be too late to kick- start Hollywood and get that motor runnin’ again! Alas, maybe that is why THE AVENGERS works: we want a world of righteousness and protection. Maybe I just need to face my realities: walking out of the theater and taking that slumped stroll out of the palace and into our little worlds of woe and realism. But here’s the thing… even if it may cost a pretty penny and the fantasy takes me away for an average hour and a half, I will pay that ticket, take my seat and await those lights to dim and anticipate the ride I paid for!

How has your Summer experience been thus far? Is there a particular film you are looking forward to seeing or do you side with JC and think it's all basically crap? We always look forward to your opinions and all are welcome! Make sure to come back and read our replies in return!

Make sure you please visit us again on WEDNESDAY JUNE 6th 2012 when JOHNNY CHAZZ comes out swingin' with his very own blog topic! Until then... thanks for visiting and make sure you check out our previous topics as well!

Have you visited the official CINEMA: COUNTERPOINT page on YOUTUBE? Check out classic and contemporary trailers, scenes and other great trips down memory lane! Just click the link and check out the "Favorites" on our site! Enjoy!

4 comments:

  1. I read your blog every week and this week i do have to take sides a little with JC Chazz since movies that are released in the summer have gotten totally out of hands and ridiculous. I do not like the crap that is fed to us anymore in the summer months and the movies that come out later in the year near the holidays and around new year are always the best. I have not liked summer movies for almost over 15 years now. In a nutshell, summer movies are completely for kids and are total garbage for true film fans. --ALAN

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  2. Hi Alan,

    Your opinion is always welcomed and appreciated! That's a point for JC that is greatly received! I (JER) know what you mean, there is no way that Summer films of today are as exciting and thorough as they were some 15 years ago and beyond.

    It is truly unforunate! Thanks again!

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  3. Hi Cincema Counterpoint,

    I wanted to add something to your blog topic this week. Summer movies have become much to much over the top. The summer movies released back in the 1970s and through the 1980s were so far superior. I can think of over 20 excellent summer movies during that time period where movies released in the summer season today cannot compare.

    Thanks- Ronald, AZ

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  4. AGREED! There is NO WAY that the Summer films of my generation (late 70's throughout the 80's) could ever compare to what is out today! I can remember when it was two or three films opening up every weekend and catching them all that same weekend so that I wouldn't fall behind!!! Not the case this Summer and definetly NOT the case last year! Thanks Ronald!!!

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