It’s May. The start of the big summer movie season. For the next several months, we’re going to be inundated with HUGE BLOCKBUSTER FILMS that need to be seen on the biggest screen possible with the best sound available! And hopefully, maybe three or four of them will actually be good!
MAY 5, 2017
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 v. 3 GENERATIONS
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Probably the biggest movie of the year (at least until The Last Jedi comes out), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the follow up to one of the MCU’s biggest critical and commercial hits yet, as well as being one of the most successful big studio gambles in recent memory. Plus the reviews have been terrific (86% fresh, 7.1/10 average rating). And since there’s really not much I can add to everything else that has been said, let’s move on.
3 Generations – The first major small movie of the summer is 3 Generations, which originally played the festival circuit in 2015. A Weinstein Company release, 3 Generations takes on one of today’s biggest current issues – transgenderism, with the today’s top big-and-small screen ingenue Elle Fanning (The Neon Demon, Live by Night) as a character coming to terms with gender identity with mother (Naomi Watts) and grandmother (Susan Sarandon). Despite its topicality, it’s clear that any plans for a what-should-be-obvious awards push is probably not going to happen by shelving it for 2 years and releasing it in the summer. Additionally, 3 Generations has been met with mixed-to-negative reviews (31% positive, 5.1/10 average rating) with comments deriding the movie for taking its concept and pushing it towards more conventional plots.
MAY 12, 2017
KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD v. SNATCHED v. THE WALL
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – Following the actually enjoyable (though financially disappointing) The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Guy Ritchie returns with a movie that asks – what if Guy Ritchie made Lord of the Rings? It’s a question that no one has ever asked, and with good reason. With a mix of poor CGI and an overwhelming hue of greyness, Legend doesn’t seem particularly fun or exciting or even King Arthur-y. Most of the positive vibes from the trailers has to do with their heavy Led Zeppelin soundtrack, which can make anything look more exciting than it actually is. But beyond a decent music choice? We have a sneering magical Jude Law (soon to be sneering magical young Dumbledore) as Villain, and Charlie Hunnam who seems less King Arthur and more Charlie Hunnam. It’s even difficult to discern the plot from the movie or the presence (or absence) of the Knights of the Round Table. Yet the biggest problem is probably the title. Much like : Origins, Legend Of doesn’t bode well for its quality. Or did we forget the lessons of The Legend of Hercules and The Legend of Tarzan or The Legend of Bagger Vance? Plus the studio (Warner Brothers, predictably) is ostensibly burying it by releasing it the week after Guardians 2 after moving it from March 24. Still has to be better than 2004’s lifeless and dour King Arthur that featured Clive Owen as Arthur and posed the question “what if King Arthur was real?!?” Turns out, he would be very boring indeed.
Snatched – Just in time for Mother’s Day comes this year’s first woman-centric comedy, Snatched. Starring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn as a mother and daughter who go on an exotic adventure and get into hijinx. Netflix ratings controversy aside, Schumer has proven herself at least once at the box office, while Goldie Hawn was a cinematic comedy queen for over a decade. Combine that with how the two of them are probably going to go on every morning, afternoon and late night show in the free world together to promote this movie with attempt after attempt to generate viral clips, and it could be a modest hit.
The Wall – Two American soldiers (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena) are trapped behind enemy lines being hunted by an Iraqi sniper. While this seems like the type of small movie that would otherwise be ignored or shoved onto VOD (or sell a single ticket its opening weekend), what makes The Wall somewhat interesting is that it’s directed by Doug Liman, a big time director responsible for Edge of Tomorrow, the first Bourne movie, and Swingers. Note: Do not go to the Wikipedia page for this movie because I’m relatively certain it spoils everything. Or do, odds are you weren’t going to see it anyway.
MAY 19, 2017
ALIEN: COVENANT v. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE LONG HAUL
Alien: Covenant – Ridley Scott is back, and ready to make amends for Prometheus – the first prequel to his 1979 classic Alien – that irritated people by pretending to be way smarter than it actually was and ultimately answering none of the pointless questions it posed. But this time, Fox has learned its lesson and are delivering what looks like another conventional Alien movie. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, but at least Prometheus tried to be something different, albeit badly. It would be interesting to consider how that movie might have played out had it not been so tied into the Alien franchise and been allowed to evolve into something other than people running down hallways as a space monster chases them. Regardless, we have your classic xenomorphs, Michael Fassbender’s David’s back with a second Michael Fassbender android around to cause trouble, and the online prologue pieces (both The Last Supper and The Crossing) has been effective viral marketing. Some iffy CGI shots in the trailer aside, it could be a good, atmospheric thriller. Let’s hope it has something to offer … before it essentially becomes Aliens.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul – Without an animated movie this month, there must be something out there for parents to suffer through so their kids shut up for an hour plus. This May, it’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. It’s simultaneously officially the fourth film in the series and recasts everyone from the previous three films, which had its last installment in 2012.
MAY 26, 2017
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES v. BAYWATCH
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – I guess they’re trying this again. After everyone hated #2 and #3 and forgot about #4 (which was released in 2011), Pirates 5! In the six years since this franchise last hit theaters, Johnny Depp has lost most of his box office appeal. And what better way to try to recapture it than bringing him back to the series where his shtick simultaneously peaked and turned the world against him. With a trailer that make this look exactly like the first one (Jack Sparrow helps a prissy man and a ahead-of-her-time woman; Geoffrey Rush; already revealing the return of 4th installment abandoners Knightley and Bloom), Disney has to try really hard to get this film to recoup its reported $320 million price tag. (For comparison Transformers: The Last Knight has a reported production budget of $260, Batman v. Superman had a reported production budget of $250.) This could easily be the end of the franchise – at least until 2030, when an elderly Depp returns at Jack Sparrow for the soft reboot where he has to guide his long lost son.
Baywatch – Second nautical theme movie of the week, and it’s probably going to be the overall more successful one. Baywatch is primed to be this summer’s huge comedy with likable, proven stars in Efron and Johnson and actually utilizing something people remember for the nostalgia bump (unlike this year’s earlier TV to movie reboot, CHiPS). Plus it seems to retain enough of the Jump Street spirit to lure people in.
And that’s May. After you get past Guardians, it’s really an unimpressive month with most weeks having two noteworthy movies at most. Maybe Alien: Covenant might be could be good? But even at it’s best, it’ll probably be just another retread of the almost certainly superior Aliens. Then onto June, where we get both Cars 3 and Despicable Me 3. Plus yet another Amityville Horror reboot!