Man of Steel
It’s not too often that we’re treated to reboots of reboots, but here we go again, with another stab at the story of Superman. And there’s a lot of positive vibes to go with it, including great director Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300) and a very promising cast: Henry Cavill (Immortals) in the lead, Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Ma and Pa Kent, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, and Amy Adams as Lois Lane (only that last one doesn’t feel quite right).
This Is the End
You would think that a comedy like this would never work because it would be too much of a good thing. But I’m looking forward. It’s about a big party, attended by James Franco, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Jason Segal, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (you know, McLovin), all playing themselves – along with Emma Watson playing herself. Everyone’s having a good time till they realize that the end of the world is near.
The Disney-Pixar prequel to the wonderful Disney-Pixar film Monsters, Inc. jumps back in time to the days when Mike and Sully (voices of Billy Crystal and John Goodman) first met in college. Suffice it to say they were two opposites who did not attract. But the film explains how their friendship was formed. With voices of Nathan Fillion, Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina, John Krasinski, Frank Oz.
World War Z
Ah, yes, the film that was written, then shot, then scrapped, then rewritten by someone else, then shot again. Insiders say it was because the film just didn’t work. Can you say “Red Flag alert?” Still, the idea of Brad Pitt playing a U.N. employee who races around the world trying to stop a zombie apocalypse sounds pretty hot to me! With David Morse and the ever-chameleon-like James Badge Dale (Flight, Iron Man 3).
White House Down
How, one might ask, could Hollywood be so dimwitted to release this so quickly after the similarly plotted Olympus Has Fallen? It’s Hollywood. Don’t ask. Disaster master Roland Emmerich directs the story of a cop (Channing Tatum) who can’t make the grade to become a member of the Secret Service. But while he’s on a tour (as a tourist) of the White House with his daughter, things go very wrong and he must, naturally, save the day.
Despicable Me 2
Steve Carell reprises his voice role as brilliant heart-of-gold villain Gru, who, despite his former evilness, joins up with the Anti-Villain League to go up against new bad guy in town Eduardo (Al Pacino had the part, but left over “creative differences,” so the role is now played by Benjamin Bratt). Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, who co-directed the first film, return at the helm. With voices of Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, Kristen Wiig, Ken Jeong.
The Lone Ranger
Johnny Depp as Tonto. Seriously, what more do you need? Armie Hammer (soon to be playing Napoleon Solo) is in the lead as Texas Ranger John Reid, who dons a black mask, gets a white horse, and develops a new attitude toward the law, or at least toward justice. Gore Verbinski (those Depp pirate movies) directs, and Tom Wilkinson, Helena Bonham Carter and – again – James Badge Dale are along for the many rides.
A lot of people are already labeling it a Transformers rip-off, just from the posters. But this is going to be bigger and better (yet likely not louder or more confusing) than Transformers. Visionary filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, directing his first film since his triple threat of Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Hellboy 2, gives us an effects-crazy sci-fier about aliens attacking Earth and being fought off by human-controlled giant robots. Note: Pacific Rim 2 is already in development.
It stands for Rest in Peace Department, which is wear S.W.A.T. officer Ryan Reynolds finds himself stationed when he’s mowed down by bad guys. He becomes a ghost cop among ghost cops who go about tracking and catching their own killers. And he answers to a Western-style gun-slinger played, with tongue in cheek, by Jeff Bridges. Directed by Robert Schwentke (Red).
But Red 2 (nice segue!) is directed by Dean Parisot (who made the criminally underappreciated Galaxy Quest). Returning from the first spy caper-comedy are Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, and Mary-Louise Parker, who must work together to find a missing nuclear device. Also along are Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and David Thewliss.
We don’t get too many sequels to prequels, but then again, even comic book insiders aren’t sure when this story occurs within the X-Men universe. Three things that are known: It’s a solo Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) story, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) is in the cast, and it takes place in Japan (and features a large Japanese cast). Directed by James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line). Almost forgot, it’s in 3D.
Two guys rob a bank. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. But two guys (Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington) do rob a bank, and get away with much more money than should ever be in a bank, then things go wrong, then they find out the identities of each other. One, it turns out, is an undercover DEA agent; the other is an undercover Special Forces officer. Why are they working together and who hired them to rob the bank? Hopefully, that will be revealed.
Finally, another film from Neill Blomkamp, who wrote and directed the superb District 9. Sticking with the Science fiction genre, he tells the futuristic story of a mostly destroyed Earth, still home to the 99 percenters, contrasting it with the luxurious Elysium, a space station that’s home to the one percenters. It’s a rich vs. poor story, with the poor always trying to find a way in to Elysium. Matt Damon tries to make life more of an even playing field for both sides, while Jodi Foster plays bad guy politics by enforcing anti-immigration laws.
We’re the Millers
Every once in a while, you’ve just gotta have a good pot comedy. Jason Sudeikis plays a dealer who’s about to bring a small shipment from Mexico to the States, then has an epiphany. He gets a stripper pal (Jennifer Aniston) to pretend to be his wife, finds a couple of kids to pretend to be their kids, then, appearing much less conspicuous than a single white guy in Mexico, goes about turning the small shipment into a huge one. With Ed Helms and Emma Roberts.
Alas, Nic Cage’s name is nowhere to be seen on the cast list, but Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz are returning as self-made superheroes Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl, as is Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who played Red Mist in the first film, and plays someone in this one with a name that can’t be printed in a family publication. Jim Carrey gets to go over the top as bad guy Colonel Stars and Stripes.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
There are five books in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments young adult series, with a sixth and final one to be published next year. Meanwhile, here’s the first film, in which a supposedly normal teenager (Lily Collins) tries to save her mom (Lena Headey) who has been nabbed by a demon. Before long, the young girl finds out that she, and her mom, are anything but normal, are indeed descendants of an ancient group of half-angel warriors.
The World’s End
The gang from both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz – namely writer-director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost – are back for a third wild and comic outing. This time it’s all about a group of guys recreating an oh-so-British pub crawl from their younger days. Whether or not they still have the stamina to do it isn’t the question here. It’s what to do about the zombies.
No, thank goodness it’s not a remake of that silly robot movie. It’s a contemporary thriller about two lawyers (Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall), who used to be an item, and are now members of a terrorist’s defense team. The case is tough and their lives might be in danger.
When his wife is kidnapped, a former race car driver (Ethan Hawke) is ordered to get behind the wheel and do as he’s told – by a voice belonging to someone who can see and hear everything he does – or else. He’s assisted (in a plot turn that sounds remarkably like one in Live Free or Die Hard) by a young hacker (Selena Gomez), who’s along for the ride.