The Coming Thing: June Movie Previews

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The Coming Thing:  June Movie Previews

Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Coming Thing, our new monthly series that gives you the rundown on what movies will be gracing the screen in the near future.  We’ll give you the skinny on the stories, the stars, and the trailers, and then Erik and I will break it down with our recommendations:  see it or skip it.  We’ll cover the major releases and try to bring you the juicy limited release gems that tend to slip through the cracks.

June 5th Releases

Wide Release:

Entourage

pre posterStudio:  Warner Brother’s Pictures.  Director:  Doug Ellin (Grudge Match.)  Starring:  Jeremy Piven, testosterone.

This is the big screen continuation of the fairly successful HBO series of the same name.  A rising movie star and his gaggle of best bro’s team up with their former agent (Piven) who is now in charge of a major movie studio.  Hijinx and male bonding ensue.  Apparently the studio is under the assumption that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as this feels like just another episode of the show, right down to the returning cast and director (who hasn’t made much worth watching with the exception of Entourage the show.)

Neil’s Take:  Skip it.  Even if you’re a die hard fan of the show, watch this the way it was meant to be seen…on your TV.  This thing reeks of Sex and The City levels of movie fail.

Erik’s Take: See it. Neil, How dare you!? To even compare this to Sex and The City on any level is borderline criminal.  Perhaps you are not familiar with Ari Gold…

Insidious Chapter 3

Lionel Richie would approve...
Lionel Richie would approve…

Studio:  Focus Features.  Director:  Leigh Whannell.  Starring:  Dermot Mulroney, Stephanie Scott.

The third chapter in this horror franchise is actually the first chapter?  Setting itself up as a prequel to the original, Leigh Whannell (writer of the first two installments) gets behind the camera to show audiences the events that transpired to create the haunting that terrorized the Lambert family.  While it sounds complicated, it looks like a straightforward possession/haunting set up, so you’re not necessarily screwed if this is your first exposure to the series.

Erik’s Take: Skip it. The trailer is fairly well done, but this reeks of a franchise cash grab.Unless you are a hardcore fan of the horror genre, wait for VOD.

Neil’s Take:  Skip it.  Save this one for a Halloween rental.  The word Prequel is becoming synonymous with “we ran out of ideas, time to soft reboot” in the horror franchise genre.

Spy

Studio:  2oth Century Fox.  Director: Paul Feig.  Starring:  Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Jude Law.

spy posterA mild mannered CIA operative (McCarthy) longs to live out her James Bond fantasies and is given the chance when the agency needs an unrecognizable face to go undercover.  Aided by a sauve super-spy (Law) and a brash enforcer (Statham) our heroine must go into the field and prevent an arms deal involving nuclear weapons.

Neil’s Take:  See it.  Melissa McCarthy is extremely funny when paired with a script and a director who do more than make fat jokes.  While there are a fair number of fat jokes, the rest of the trailer seems to promise some intelligent and convention-breaking material.

Erik’s Take: Skip it. My hatred of Jason Statham combined with the social justice warriors creating the genre of “fat chic” turned me off on this film from the start. After watching the trailer, Melissa McCarthy is as funny as ever and got a few belly laughs from me. Spy may put it’s best foot forward in the trailer, but I am fairly certain that’s as good as it gets.

Limited Release Pick:

Police Story: Lockdown

Director:  Well Go USA.  Director:  Ding Sheng.  Starring:  JACKIE CHAN.

lockdown poster
Jackie has heard your pleas, and is unmoved. See his film, or perish.

Detective Zhong Wen (JACKIE CHAN!) has moved up the ladder to become a police chief…but he still knows how to get his hands dirty.  Estranged from his daughter because of his violent work, Wen takes an opportunity to meet up with her at the night club owned by her mysterious fiance…who has a dark history with Zhong Wen.  Naturally, this leads to amazing fights and bone crunching stunt-work.

Erik’s Take: See it! This man has a hole in his head from performing his owns stunts!  Neil and I saw Rumble In The Bronx in theaters when we were teens and were blown away. Now almost twenty years later, Jackie Chan is still kicking ass! Go see it, and realize why the cast of Expendables can’t hold his jock strap!

Neil’s Take:  See it!  See it even if you have to fly to Hong Kong to see it.  See it even if you have to kidnap Jackie Chan’s real-life daughter and force him to re-enact the movie, punch by punch, on your undeserving body.  See it.

June 12th Releases

Wide Release:

Jurassic World

Studio:  Universal Pictures.  Director:  Colin Trevorrow.  Starring:  Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, dinosaurs.

Tagline:  We're about to jump the shark, dinosaur style!
Tagline: We’re about to jump the shark, dinosaur style!

Human’s create dinosaurs, create a theme park to house the dinosaurs, and the dinosaurs then turn the theme park into an all you can eat buffet.  This film isn’t breaking any molds, but it may break a few eyeballs with the sheer amount of crazy action going down.  Once again, the series assumes that the only thing it needs to do to make money is add bigger dinosaurs and more CG.  Time will tell if that strategy is good enough for a modern audience who can see insane visuals on HBO any day of the week.

Neil’s Take:  See it.  I think this movie is going to be dino-droppings in terms of story…but it may just achieve the status of gonzo creature-feature train wreck.  I’m on board, just to see how silly this thing actually gets.

Erik’s Take: See it. Jurrassic World will be an IMAX spectacle, worth the price of admission.

Limited Release:

Vendetta

Get ready to regret your life choices!
Get ready to regret your life choices!

Studio:  Lionsgate.  Directors:  Sylvia and Jen Soska.  Starring:  Dean Cain, The Big Show.

Fuck me sideways, another movie starring a wrestler trying to go legit.  When a criminal (The Big Show) gets out on a technicality and kills the wife of the cop who put him away, detective what’s his name (Cain) goes berserk and kills the criminal’s family, in order to get locked up in the same prison as his target.  From there, a lot of choke-slams and silly looking group fights take place.  This is probably the last time we’ll hear from Dean Cain, so I guess that’s too bad.  We’re losing Supermen left and right recently…

Neil’s Take:  Burn it with fire.  Renting this for a dollar at Red Box means you’ve spent 99 cents too much.

Erik’s Take: Burn it with fire.  Remember the days when Lionsgate had cutting edge indie titles? Well apparently those days have past.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Studio:  Fox Search Light.  Director:  Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.  Starring:  John Bernthal, Olivia Cooke, RJ Cyler.

A shy teen is desperately trying to finish high school without any drama, but learns that a childhood friend has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.  With the help of his long time “co-worker” and buddy, he sets out to turn his quirky hobby of making short movies into a tribute for his ailing friend…and along the way learns to see the person underneath the diagnosis.

Erik’s Take: See it…in fact it’s a must see. If you are lucky enough to have an indie theatre nearby.  I am a sucker for character pieces and this film had me laughing and nearly in tears with just the trailer. If you don’t watch Me and Earl and the Dying Girl you are a terrorist.

Neil’s Take:  See It…on VOD.  This film has a definite art-house vibe that is reminiscent of Be Kind, Rewind, mixed with the bitter-sweet musings of Wes Anderson.  If you can catch on the cheap, this looks to be a rewarding way to spend an evening on the couch.

June 19th Releases

Wide Release:

Inside Out

I guess just calling her "bitchy" would have upped the MPAA rating level.
I guess just calling her “bitchy” would have upped the MPAA rating level.

Studio:  Disney.  Director:  Pete Docter.  Starring:  Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, Bill Hader.

A young girl, Riley, has to adjust to life in a new city after her parents move to San Francisco.  We get to see into her head and witness the actions of her emotions, each one represented by a colorful character who embodies part of her personality:  Joy, Anger, Fear, Sadness and Disgust (huh?  Really, that’s a dominant emotion?  We need to talk, Disney.)  The dynamics between these little brain gremlins is almost as chaotic as Riley’s home life!

Neil’s Take:  See It.  I was extremely disappointed in Big Hero 6, so I’m hoping Disney gets back on track with this computer animated outing.  The voice talent is top notch, and the duality of the mental/physical story lines interacting seems ripe for comedy.

Erik’s Take:  See It. “There are no bears in San Francisco” “I saw a really hairy guy, he looked like a bear”  Disney has not lost a step in its sexual innuendos, apparently.

Dope

Studio:  Open Road Films.  Director:  Rick Famuyiwa.  Starring:  Zoe Kravitz, Forrest Whitaker (voice.)

Malcom is an aspiring high school student with the brains and talent to get into a top-rated university, despite living in a crime-ridden neighborhood and being the object of jealousy and anger from many of his peers.  A chance invitation to an underground party throws his squeeky clean ideals into turmoil when he finds both love and a backpack full of drugs.  Now he’s one step away from disaster and trying to make things right, all while keeping his life on track and trying to stay true to himself.

Erik’s Take:  See it. Dope has a lot of promise, It has the feel of a Napoleon Dynamite and while it could fizzle, I’m betting cult status for Dope

Neil’s Take:  See it…on VOD.  There’s a lot to like about this story, but some of the more hackneyed elements may weigh down the film.  It has an excellent retro vibe and a strong cast of young characters, so my hopes are high that this film will turn out fine in the end.

Limited Release:

Manglehorn

Studio: Rough House.  Director:  David Gordon Green.  Starring:  Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, a cat.

Creepy cat ladies, hello!
Creepy cat ladies, hello!  (I hope the cat’s named Charlie…)

AJ Manglehorn is a reclusive and eccentric ex-cop who works as a locksmith.  His only interaction with the world appears to be in writing letters to his deceased wife, until he meets a woman who manages to draw him out of his shell.  Unfortunately, Manglehorn has been hiding in his shell for some good reasons, and some of those dark secrets may be better off locked away forever.

Neil’s Take:  See it.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen a performance by Pacino that really grabbed me, but Manglehorn feels like the real deal.  It has an intriguing story about aging and fitting into a society that has passed you by, and I’m all for films that acknowledge that the population isn’t only 20-30 year-olds.  Add in the mysterious dark past angle, and I’m eagerly awaiting this one.

Erik’s Take: Skip it. 36 seconds in the trailer the line “Loving you is the only thing that I did right” was uttered. That alone warrants a pass. As I continued to watch the trailer I did feel myself emotionally drawn to this film. Pacino is spot on, and invokes feelings of past meaningful relationships lost, but can it sustain that feeling for 90 minutes?

June 26th Releases

Wide Release:

Ted 2

The poster is actually a scratch-and-sniff.  Hint:  It smells like bong water and farts.
The poster is actually a scratch-and-sniff. Hint: It smells like bong water and farts.

Studio:  Universal Pictures.  Director:  Seth MacFarlane.  Starring:  Seth MacFarlane, Mark Wahlberg.

Sentient Teddy Bear, Ted, has finally settled into a reasonably approximation of a normal life, but is going to need to the help of his old friends in order to overcome society’s stigma against furry-sex weddings.  Ted takes his case to court in order to prove that stuffed bears are people too.  Along the way, assume lots of dick-and-fart jokes get made.

Erik’s Take:  See it. Cheap laughs and low-brow comedy. Ted 2 won’t reinvent the wheel, but one can never tire of hooker poo jokes.

Neil’s Take:  Skip it.  Despite finding the original to be fairly amusing, I’m pretty much tired of MacFarlane’s schtick.  His jokes are all starting to blur together now.  I also am thoroughly over Mark Wahlberg, and he needs to be taught a lesson for Transformers 4.  Vengeance shall be mine, Marky Mark!

Limited Release:

Big Game

Studio:  EuropaCorp.  Director:  Jalmari Helander.  Starring:  Samuel L Jackson, Ray Stevens.

The US President (Jackson) is betrayed and stranded in the wilderness of Finland with a squad of terrorist out to capture him.  Luckily, he finds a young (very young) Fin hunter who is more than a match for baddies with uzi’s.  Get ready for ridiculousness and crazy action.

Neil’s Take:  See it!  This film is going to be released VOD day one, so there is no excuse not to settle in with a six pack and watch Jackson and Stevens try to kill each other while shouting bad-ass one liners.

Erik’s Take: Gotta see it. My first thoughts were Snakes On A Plane with shitty marketing, but the trailer sucked me in. Sam Jackson is always on point and the premise seems fun, worth a $3.99 rental. VOD has changed the game indeed.

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