Bring on the Summer Movies

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of seeing trailers and teasers for a variety of upcoming films. I must confess I have always had a soft spot for trailers, even occasionally going to an all day marathon and watching previews for films that came out decades ago. One of the really nice things about this assortment was that they weren't really sorted by genre the way they can be in the theater, for instance how you only see spots for upcoming romantic comedies when you at a rom-com; these were all over the map ranging from Superman Returns to a film about Mexican masked wrestlers. Surprisingly, that last one was the one I think I enjoyed the most.

Opening on June 9th is Pixar's animated film Cars. It's the story of a little hotrod called Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), who has an accident and ends up in the small town of Radiator Springs. He's not exactly thrilled to be there but he perks up when he meets Sally Carrera (Bonnie Hunt), a cute Porsche. Larry the Cable Guy is the voice behind Mater, the goofy tow truck and Paul Newman voices Doc Hudson, a Hudson Hornet who doesn't seem to have much patience for the new kid in town. Director John Lasseter (A Bug's Life, Toy Story) says that this is the most complex film Pixar has ever made, with each frame taking an average of seventeen hours to render. Most animated cars use the headlights as the eyes but these guys have moved the eyes up the windshield, allowing them to give the cars more expression and vitality. Lasseter says that the evocative, melancholy scenes that take place along Route 66 were inspired by family trips when he was a child and by the work of acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki who uses interstitial shots of quiet beauty throughout his films.

June 16th is the launch date for Nacho Libre, the aforementioned wrestling movie. Before you decided this is not a film for you do take the time to watch the trailer. Yeah, see, you didn't know it was a Jack Black vehicle did you? He plays Nacho, a cook for an orphanage who lives in a monastery, but not just any cook, a really terrible cook whose food should be outlawed. He says it's not his fault the food is so awful, it's because the ingredients are sub optimal. One day he gets a plan to make life better for the orphans; he's going to go out and earn some money to buy them better food. He puts on his mask and becomes a Lucha Libre wrestler and is amazed to realize he's not so bad at it. The film also stars Hector Jimenez as Esqueleto (the skeleton, Nacho's wrestling partner), Ana de la Reguera as Sister Encarnacion and Richard Montoya as Guillermo, Nacho's rival. It's brought to us by the folks who did Napoleon Dynamite and School of Rock so if you liked either of those there's a good chance you'll dig this one.

June 30th (or possibly the 28th or even the 27th, depending on who you're talking to) brings us a film that should need no real explanation of plot or characters; Superman Returns. We have all heard of Superman, right? Directed by Bryan Singer with Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane and the relatively unknown Brandon Routh as the Man of Steel himself, there is a lot of speculation about how good the movie will be. Personally I'm going to see it if for no other reason than the interesting performance by Kevin Spacey as villain Lex Luthor and the score by John Ottman. Plus it will be fun to see how well clichés like "millions are going to die!" and "You're insane!" are used in the new story and how well they work. I'm hoping the whole thing will be great big popcorny fun. Since it's also being released in IMAX, it's pretty much guaranteed to be at least great big.

The Ant Bully, another film that is in both regular theaters and Imax, opens on August 4. This is an animated movie voiced by some very big names, including Lily Tomlin, Nicolas Cage, Julia Roberts, and Meryl Streep. It's about an unhappy boy who takes his anger out on the anthills in his yard. He has absolutely no idea that the ants are about the turn the tables on him and shrink him down to their size where he'll be forced to look at life a little differently. The Ant Bully comes to us from the same people who did Polar Express and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. I liked the promo where the ants are auditioning best and will see this film just for the silly bug that was willing to fake being an ant.

One trailer that leaves me totally cold is the promo shot for Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Despite some claims that this film is actually science fiction, (after all it is about something mechanical that doesn't happen in real life, it defies gravity and it has scantily clad women) I cannot get excited about the idea of actually watching this thing for an hour and a half. Ten or twenty seconds of car crashes is usually quite enough for me. Maybe one of you could go and see it when it opens on June 16th and tell me what you think.

Next time - four words - Johnny Depp in eyeliner (aka, Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man's Chest.) Squee!