Sunday, May 04, 2008

Summer 2008 Movie Preview, Part 2

The second half of the summer schedule is typically filled with a heavy dose of escapist fare, with July particularly targeted by movie studios for their big-budget releases. But, August usually manages to unearth some sleeper hits, as the dog days of the season wind down.
Here’s a look at some of the notable releases set to hit theaters in the latter half of the summer.

Starring Will Smith, Jason Bateman, Charlize Theron
Directed by Peter Berg

Playing a superhero who’s a bit less than heroic, Smith looks like he has another hit on his hands. Having previously had huge Fourth of July weekend movies, he is one of the few movie stars that can draw in big crowds, no matter what film genre he appears in. Having Oscar-winner Theron on board, portraying a possible love interest, sure can’t hurt. (July 2)
Official Web site

“Hellboy II: The Golden Army”
Starring Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, James Dodd
Directed by Guillermo del Toro

The first movie in this adaptation of the comic book became a big hit on DVD, which led to Universal Pictures taking on the sequel. Clearly, it’s a big boost to have Guillermo del Toro still very much involved in the franchise, as he’s become a big-time director since the first film, following the success of “Pan’s Labyrinth.” (July 11)
Official Web site

“The Dark Knight”
Starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Morgan Freeman
Directed by Christopher Nolan

Nolan’s successful relaunch of the franchise in 2005’s “Batman Begins” led to this even darker looking sequel, which has unfortunately been overshadowed to some extent by the tragic death of Ledger earlier this year. In this one, Batman (Bale) has to deal with a devious and twisted bank robber (Ledger), who becomes known as The Joker. (July 18)
Official Web site

“Step Brothers”
Starring Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins
Directed by Adam McKay

From the same goofballs that brought you “Talladega Nights” and “Anchorman” comes the latest Ferrell vehicle, with him and Reilly playing a pair of competitive guys who are forced to live together after their formerly single parents get married. There likely won’t be too many surprises for those who have seen previous comedies from Ferrell and his collaborators. But then again, if it makes you laugh, it’s hard to complain too much. Gotta love that poster, too. (July 25)
Official Web site

“The X-Files: I Want to Believe”
Starring David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, Mitch Pileggi
Directed by Chris Carter

Ten years have past since the first “X-Files” movie, with many fans possibly having given up hope that a sequel would ever be made. The first film was a hit, but because so much time has passed, it’s uncertain what kind of success the follow-up will have. But agents Mulder (Duchovny) and Scully (Anderson) are both back, as is creator Carter, who is also serving as writer and director. (July 25)
Official Web site

“The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”
Starring Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Maria Bello, John Hannah, Luke Ford, Michelle Yeoh
Directed by Rob Cohen

Well, look here, it’s another sequel! Cohen takes over for Stephen Sommers as director, while Fraser is the only major player from the previous two “Mummy” films to return. But Li is on board as a mummy, who will probably be a bit more nimble than the slow-walking stereotypes that were popular in the early years of monster movies. Still, how much more gas could this franchise still have in the tank? (Aug. 1)
Official Web site

“Pineapple Express”
Starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, Gary Cole, Rosie Perez, Danny McBride
Directed by David Gordon Green

The comedic reach of Judd Apatow seems unlimited nowadays, as he is producing this action-comedy written by the team that released last summer’s hit “Superbad.” Rogen stars as a pot-loving process server who is forced to go on the run with his drug dealer buddy after he witnesses a cop-related murder. The trailer shows the promise of a really good movie, and the calendar slot looks to be just about right to produce a hit. (Aug. 8)
Official Web site

“Tropic Thunder”
Starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Brandon T. Jackson, Jay Baruchel, Steve Coogan, Nick Nolte
Directed by Ben Stiller

Stiller stars and steps behind the camera for the first time since 2001’s “Zoolander” in this action-packed comedy about a group of actors who think they’re shooting a big budget war movie. However, when complications ensue, the actors find themselves having to become the very soldiers they’re portraying (which includes Downey as you’ve never seen him before). Go seek out the trailer to see what I mean. (Aug. 15)
Official Web site

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