The lean times are over, kind of: on the horizon I can see the outlines of that rara avis, the Tentpole Blockbuster that will also be Good. And by "horizon" I mean "this Friday."
The series that made comic book movies great again comes to a well-earned close with Spider-Man 3, the one and only summer movie that I'm legitimately excited about. And why not? The first two were popcorn masterpieces of the highest order. I do think that there's a possibility of finale-itis, and the trailers certainly make it look like this film is going a bit too operatic for it's own good, but I will not let such considerations harsh my buzz. Sam Raimi has never done anything terribly wrong by me, and I don't expect that he shall begin now.
And now: the counter-programming! After months on the shelf, Curtis Hanson's Vegas-based romantic dramedy Lucky You finally gets its release on. Now, I like Hanson. I like him a whole lot. But this film looks a little bit floppy. Also: a Scottish sports hero movie, The Flying Scotsman, and while inspirational sporting movies usually give me a rash, something about the trailer here calls to me, and I think that something goes by the name Brian Cox. Also also: Peter Krause, whom I adore, is in the post-9/11 paranoia thriller Civic Duty, which has politics that I don't quite comprehend: is it wingnutty? Is it sane people? Time will tell.
The coasts: Paris, je t'aime. You lucky fucks.
Here is why I think that Spidey will take the summer's box-office crown: it's the only one of the Big Three* that doesn't have a major release to compete with the week after it premieres. Viz: three monstrously unlikable actors in Delta Farce, AKA "Larry the Cable Guy Goes to War." Or, Georgia Rule, the new Garry Marshall film (WHY WON'T HE RETIRE?), in which Jane Fonda and Felicity Huffman yell at Lindsay Lohan to stop being a druggy slut. I'm sorry, that's what happened on set. I don't quite care what the movie is about.
I guess you could argue that 28 Weeks Later... is going to do well for itself, being as it is a sequel to a gin-yoo-wine cult masterpiece, but that would require that most filmgoers are like me, and I think we can all agree that isn't the case.
I'm under strict orders not to say anything mean about Shrek the Third before I see it. So instead I'll talk about Shrek and Shrek 2, which were both smarmy and overly post-modern, typifying everything I hate about modern family films, and they were horribly animated to boot. But hey! The new one might be awesome, and I have no reason to assume that won't be exactly the case.
Of course I say that, and then I find that a Zach Braff comedy, The Ex, is the counter-programming. Bad week to be a film buff.
Also: Fay Grim, the sequel to Henry Fool, which I will hopefully see in the next two weeks, because that is the way I do these things. At any rate, the notion of a Parker Posey spy thriller makes me feel giddy
Arr, it be Pirates 3. I've pretty much run out of enthusiasm for this one, after each and every trailer and publicity still makes it look a little more bloated and pretentious than the last. I'll still be part of its record-setting opening weekend, of course, but I shan't be happy with myself.
Perhaps wisely, nothing else is getting a big push today (although there are some likely candidates in New York and L.A., damn your eyes) except for the long-delayed Bug, which I am told is a fantastic play, and certainly, the trailer is all full up of moody lighting and high tension.
Also, it appears that Lars von Trier is trying his hand at light comedy. Because life isn't weird enough.