20 Apr 2009

Movie Madness: Looking forward to the Blockbuster Season!

It's so frustrating the way Hollywood seems to have divided up the year into 3 movie seasons: Blockbusters in the summer, "Serious" or "Prestige" films (i.e. Oscar-bait) in the fall and early winter, and then mostly lame, empty films in late winter and early spring (with the occasional surprise). This often results in my not finding much to tempt me into the movie theatres for almost half a year, whereas during the other half I'm running around like crazy 'cause I don't have time to get to all the movies I want to see! Thankfully here in Europe (or Belgium and Spain where I've been living these past x years) I've also got European fare (and every once in a while something from even further away) to help me tide over the doldrums (and make the rest of the year even more hectic). Then there's also the fact that although most of the "big" blockbusters (i.e. the tentpoles) have a single international release date, all the other films get spread out over the calendar a bit better here than they do in the U.S. (this has allowed me to catch up to some of this winter's "serious" fare recently).

So, why this sudden movie-calendar rant? Well, I came across a couple of articles (Summer 2009 Preview, parts 1 and 2) by Noah Forrest over at Movie City News (part of his column "The Frenzy on the Wall") that reminded me that we're due for a change in the movie weather, and that Blockbuster Season is about to start!

Now I'll be the first to admit that most summer blockbusters are like a meringue, full of air and empty inside... but aren't meringues yummy?! Sure, an overdose will send you to the dentist with cavities, but there's something about them that keeps us going back for more. It could be looking for the one gem in the bunch (some damn fine movies have been discovered in blockbuster season, in spite of all their booms and bangs and shiny lights), or it could be just looking forward to some pure 100% escapist entertainment that lets us just forget the world for a couple of hours and enjoy the movie/actors/effects etc. You could be looking forward to the next instalment in a series (and we know how much HWd likes those!), happy to be reunited with old friends. Or you could be intrigued by such and such excellent (previously "serious") actor and wonder whether they've sold their soul for a paycheck or are actually guiding you to a top-notch blockbuster. Whatever the reason, this is the season the movie industry depends on to make most of its profits, what with holidays (so more time available to go) and possibilities of repeat viewings. These movies cost a fortune to make (sometimes up to 10x the budget of a "serious" film), but they're hoping to get that back and more... at least enough times to cover the ones who end up losing money (inevitable, some of them are really crap!).

So I've been going through Noah's calendar of movie releases (dates for the U.S. obviously; we'll see how long it takes them to cross the Atlantic), and these are the ones I'm most looking forward to (clicking on titles leads to trailers on YouTube -for those I could find). How 'bout checking into the comments and sharing the films you're looking forward to this summer?!
* Wolverine (May 1)- Why? 1- I really enjoyed the X-Men movies (the 3rd not so much) with their great balance of a meaningful story, good acting and smashing special effects. 2- Hugh Jackman! ;o) 3- I actually saw parts of this being filmed when vacationing in New Zealand last year (South Island stands in for British Columbia apparently)!!! So I'm going to be scrutinising the film to recognise landscapes, mountains and the farm and helicopter that I saw and were made to be blown up! :o)
* Star Trek (May 8)- O.k., I'll admit it, I'm a big Trekkie! Not so much a fan of the original series (I have trouble getting past how dated it feels), I grew up with Captain Picard and the crew of Next Gen, got caught up in intricate story-telling with DS9, enjoyed Voyager, and got bloody frustrated with the ending of Enterprise. And I am damn curious as to how they're going to "reboot" this mythic series. Looking forward to seeing both the "old" and the "new" Spock. And am looking forward to JJ Abrams action packed take on the origins of the first crew.
* Terminator Salvation (May 22)- If we ignore the 3rd movie (as the wonderful series The Sarah Connor Chronicles did!), we've got an excellent premise in the first two and some great storytelling (let's also ignore the bad 80s hair!). Moving this story forward, past Judgement Day, is risky. It becomes less "be careful, technology must be controlled, or it might some day take over the world", and more your typical post-apocalyptic scenario with a hero (our old friend John Connor) who is the last hope of the human race. And although it's been told before... I'm still looking forward to it! Christian Bale being the number one reason for that. Also curiosity as to how they'll move the story forward (in comparison to T:TSCC). Will miss the "Governator" though!
* Public Enemies (June 1)- Johnny Depp. Need I say more?! ;o) O.k. then, Christian Bale (double dose this summer, yes!)! Add in the lovely and talented Marion Cotillard and I'm really looking forward to Michael Mann's new period film about a bank robber! Hmm... this one actually doesn't feel like a summer flick, which is good news to me!
* Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 15)- Best book in the series (except perhaps for Prisoner of Azkaban), and from what you can glimpse in the trailers we're finally going to get some more quidditch!!! Am still pissed off at the studio for delaying this one... we should have had it at Thanksgiving!!! grrrrrr

* Julie and Julia (Aug 7)- Meryl Streep... she's good in anything! And Nora Ephron has brought us some delicious films in the past, so looking forward to her latest. Although from what I've read I'd better head straight to a meal after this one! It's said to make you hungry what with all the cooking and food on display! ;o)
* Inglourious Basterds (Aug 21)- No those aren't typos, apparently it's the correct quirky spelling for Tarantino's latest explosive outing. I'm not a huge Tarantino fan (I tend to cringe at excessive effusions of blood), I just judge each film as it comes. But the trailer looks like a hoot and after Burn After Reading I'm looking forward to Brad Pitt showing his acting chops in another odd-ball role!
* The Boat That Rocked (Aug 28)- new British comedy by director Richard Curtis (of Love, Actually and Notting Hill fame). All I know is the trailer is a blast and we'll be guaranteed at least 90' of excellent music! Am actually hoping we get this sooner as it is from this side of the pond... fingers crossed!

Am also curious about (but wary of):
* Angels and Demons - Dan Brown is a lousy author who knows how to weave a good yarn, but once you know how it all ends revisiting it is boring. Still curious about it, wondering if Tom Hanks will be as wooden and artificial as in DaVinci Code... will probably wait for the dvd.
* Up, new Pixar outing. Every year I drag my heels at going to see these, each time I come out pleasantly surprised!
* Whatever Works - New Woody Allen film... Hmm... never sure what to expect from him with his recent work. Loved Match Point and Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Admired Cassandra's Dream. Loathed Scoop. Good points for this movie: no Scarlett Johansson! :o)
* The Post Grad Survival Guide - no idea what this is about, but the title intrigues me! Stars Gilmore Girl Alexis Bledel.


  1. I loved X-Men, with the exception of the last one. And I'm thrilled about the one that was affiliated (director?) with Love Actually. One of my all-time favorites. But I just haven't been interested in going to the movies much. It is just too easy to wait for them to come out on Netflix, and watch them at home. With the exception of the big-budget large screen type movies, home can be just as good. My husband has one of those floor-shaking surround sound mega speaker sound systems.

    Oh and I agree about the Pixar movies - I'm pleasantly surprised every time!

  2. There are quite a few of those I want to see...particularly X-Men and Harry Potter.
    As for Angels and Demons, I didn't even realize it made it to movie status. Tom Hanks totally phoned it in for the DaVinci Code. I was very disappointed.

  3. LoL, you guys are lucky over there to have the Netflix option! I still have to head on over to the neighbourhood video store with their seriously limited selection, and pay only 2€ less than I would for the movie theatre... so I choose to a/ not wait until it comes out on dvd and b/ get the big screen experience! True if I had a better TV and sound system I might stay at home more, but I still like the experience of going out to the movies! Particularly for the big-budget special-effects films that just lose so much of their omph! when transfered to the small screen! ;o)

    I am noticing though that I go to the movies a lot less since I returned from Belgium... over there I lived smack in the middle of downtown and had 2 excellent theatres (one with European/International films all in original language!) within walking distance! Now that I have to get in the car to go see dubbed films... well let's say I miss out on quite a few I wouldn't have a year ago! :p

    Nicky, I hear you on that Tom Hanks phoning it in bit! He was the main reason I went to see DaVinci in the first place! (well, also Audrey Tatou and Ian McKellan, excellent actors) But the source material was just soooooooo bad, there really wasn't much they could do, and I believe Hanks actually managed to make it worse! The only good part was McKellan, the guy looked like he was having a blast with his character!

    Hmmm... X-Men is out on April 30th here... and I'll be in Barcelona where they do have theatres that show undubbed films! I'm going to have to try and sneaking away from the housewarming party weekend to catch it! Hugh Jackman in Spanish just isn't the same! :p

  4. Public enemies - that's the big one for me although I have to admit I am a closet Harry Potter fan! My brother works at a newspaper and he's been sending me a photo-a-day the past week from his phone camera of Hugh Jackman. I'm not sure if he's trying to make me jealous or if he's trying to tell me something else.. haha. I love Barcelona - have fun!

  5. Hmmm... sounds like Chinese water torture to me! You know, one drop at a time? Definitely meant to at the very least tease you to death!!!

    I was a closet Harry Potter fan for a while... then when I realised how many of my friends/family around me were also, we just all came out of the closet together! :p Except for my Dad... he has developed the singular ability to fall asleep in every single HP film! It drives the rest of us INSANE!!!


Hey there! Yes you! The quiet one in the back... I'd love it if you hung out for a bit and shared your thoughts!

I might stop by your place with an answer, but I'm more likely to reply right here so click on "email follow up comments" if you'd like to see what I and others have to say and come continue the conversation! ;o)