The Cynic’s Summer Movie Preview 2012: The Somewhat Tolerable

Check out the awful movies here.

(Note: As always, the images in this post are meant solely for the promotion of the films they represent. All images are copyright the respective studios. No copyright infringement is intended and all images should be considered Fair Use.)

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (June 29)
How does a sequel to something that looked so bad look like a big improvement? Pretty easy when you hire the writers of Zombieland, who ditch the seriousness and gadgetry of the first film and focus on the action and banter. Plus, surprise Bruce Willis!

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (June 22)
I really admire Seth Grahame-Smith. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies became an unexpected hit and with good reason. And while I’m on board with the self-explanatory concept here, I can’t help but feel this film adaptation doesn’t look nearly tongue-in-cheek enough. Besides, a much better alternate-history comedy is on its way some time in 2012: FDR, American Badass!

Total Recall (Aug. 3)
Why is Colin Farrell starring in another unnecessary 3-D remake this year? Besides money? Well, because this might be kind of awesome. Based on Philip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale,” and ditching the Mars subplot, there’s a real chance this could be another great dystopian sci-fi thriller. Consider me cautiously optimistic.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (May 4) / Hope Springs (Aug. 10)
Hey there, over-50 crowd. There are movies for you too this summer! The former, a terribly titled adaptation of the novel These Foolish Things, follows the comings and goings of a hotel staff in India that caters to retirees. Pretty much every classy British geriatric is here: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy. But good lord does this look boring. Hope Springs on the other hand could sounds much better. Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones attend a marriage counseling class led by Steve Carell. Two great actors going toe-to-toe with Carell as referee? I’m in.

People Like Us (June 29)
Can the writers of the Transformers series turn it around and write a fine dramedy? That’s a tricky proposition. Lots of fine actors seem to think so. Chris Pine plays a man who inherits $150,000 but must split it with his estranged sister (Elizabeth Banks). This could end up being a sentimental but strong family movie or just another self-indulgent indie drama.

Magic Mike (June 29)
You can never predict what Steven Soderbergh will do next. He’s about to retire, but before he’s done he wants to do a comedy about male strippers? Why not? Soderbergh’s strengths lie in his ability to always keep things interesting, even when the rest of the movie can’t keep up. Excluding the Ocean’s franchise, he never makes the same movie twice. Given Channing Tatum’s recent turn in the hilarious 21 Jump Street, it’ll be interesting to see if he can combine his newly unleashed comedic skills with his well-known physique.

Neighborhood Watch (July 27)
I should be far more excited for this, given the team involved, but having been burned by The Hangover, Part II and other comedies in recent years, I’m lowering my expectations so they can be met or exceeded once the movie comes out. Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd) star as the quartet of dads who protect their neighborhood from an alien invasion. Akiva from the Lonely Island hopefully erases the bad taste of Hot Rod.

The Expendables 2 (Aug. 17)
Everyone who didn’t die in the first one is back, plus Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude van Damme. The manliest movie ever just got even manlier. Those two key additions took my middling reaction to near-excitement.

To Rome with Love (June 22)
Was Midnight in Paris just a fluke? That’s what Woody Allen now has to prove after his biggest success ever. The movie looks like business as usual though, with four vignettes about the Eternal City. The cast includes Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eiseberg and Roberto!

Snow White and the Huntsman (June 1)
We may have already had a Snow White movie this year (the visually stunning but mediocre Mirror Mirror), but we’ll know in June which was better. I shouldn’t be ranking a movie starring blank slate Kristen Stewart so high, but that’s how much faith I have in Charlize Theron to just eviscerate the scenery as the Evil Queen. Plus, the film aims more at teens than little kids. The director is a complete novice. We’ll see how he handles such a tentpole June 1.

Dark Shadows (May 11)
Something of a pet project for Tim Burton, he’s finally adapting the long-running soap opera for the big screen, but amping up the ridiculousness. Johnny Depp (of course) plays Barnabas Collins, the vampire who awakens to find himself in the gaudy ’70s. Burton and Depp are such big fans of the material, it’s doubtful they’ll deliver something terrible. But it’s really hard to trust the duo who gave us Alice in Wonderland, no matter how many great films they gave us before.

Men in Black III (May 25)
I’m not getting my hopes too high for this pricey sequel. It’s been 10 years since Men in Black II suffered from sequel-itis: going bigger while not getting better. I surely hope the movie aims for the heights of the first, but there’s no evidence (yet) to prove it does. J goes back in time to save K (played by Josh Brolin). I want to be excited for this, but I just can’t muster the enthusiasm I know I should be feeling.

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