2012 Summer Movie Pool Preview | The Avengers | The Dark Knight Rises | The Amazing Spider-Man

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2012 Summer Movie Pool Preview

The Avengers
The Dark Knight Rises
The Amazing Spider-Man
Brave
Ted
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
Men in Black 3
Ice Age: Continental Drift
Snow White and the Huntsman
Prometheus
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Magic Mike
The Bourne Legacy
The Campaign
The Expendables 2
Dark Shadows
Battleship
Great Hope Springs
The Dictator
Total Recall
ParaNorman
The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Savages
What to Expect When You're Expecting
Rock of Ages
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
That's My Boy
Step Up Revolution
Neighborhood Watch
Katy Perry: Part of Me
Sparkle
Chernobyl Diaries
People Like Us
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Piranha 3DD
Madea's Witness Protection
Stop Singin' in the Rain to those April Showers and get ready for the May Blockbuster Showers!

Yes, it's already here. The 2012 Summer Movie Pool!!!

We're beginning the reboot of Spider-Man with the last of the rebooted Batman. We're Madagascarring 3 and Ice Aging 4. We're prequealing Alien with Prometheus even though they're already here on Earth according to Battleship and Men in Black III. None of this may have been what you were expecting, nevertheless, at least after this summer you'll know What to Expect While You're Expecting. Avengers assemble, indeed!

In case if you don't know what's coming out for this Summer Season of 2012, check below for a detailed list of this year's crop!


May 4
- Marvel's The Avenger
This story is about... Oh, who cares?! It's frickin' Iron Man, Hulk, Cap, Thor and a few other whatnots from the Marvel Universe in the same movie! It's like WrestleMania with super powers! While even the most comic loving of geeks has felt there's been too many comic book movies lately, this is the one it's all been building toward. Now, if only they'd gotten Mickey Rourke to play the main villain here. I still want to know if he ever got his bird back from Iron Man 2. Talk about a cliffhanger!

May 11
- Dark Shadows
Anytime you remake something no one under-40 even knows about, that's always a good bet. Based on the 60's soap-opera that was Passions before Passions with vampires, werewolves, and witchcraft comes the fifth consecutive Tim Burton movie starring Johnny Depp. Don't think that's odd though, since Helena Bonham Carter tops this by having been in Burton's last seven film. It's like a high school theater group where no one ever graduates!

May 16
- The Dictator
Sacha Baron Cohen knows if he's going to swing, he's always going to swing big. His latest character is the leader of a fictional middle eastern country "who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed." What else can I say that the Paramount Pictures press release hasn't already said for me?

May 18
- Battleship
I can already picture it now. Darkened theater, heavy string music, background choir moaning in minor chords, bodies of sailors floating in the sea as the aft section of a ship (heh heh, I said aft) tilted up at a 45 degree angle slowly starts to submerge. In the distance, an Admiral observes from another ship, powerless to do anything about it, and says... "You sank my battleship." There may be other board games that are a worse basis for a full-length movie, but not many.

- What to Expect When You're Expecting
It's the Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve of pregnant couple romantic comedies! Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Brooklyn Decker, Dennis Quaid, and, of course, Chris Rock are just a few of the 3,000 people in this movie and that's not counting unborn fetuses. That actually brings up an interesting point, since babies can't be in front of a camera for more than 30 seconds at a time, how could these fetuses be allowed this much screen time? It's like their cutting in on the newborns' action. Oh, nevermind, just saw this at the end of the credits: "No actual women were impregnated during the making of this film."

May 25
- Chernobyl Diaries
What happens when kooky American kids decide to visit the site of a terrible nuclear disaster? They find a mutant colony of creeps. This is like such the polar opposite of Summer Lovers. Has the Greece economy really collapsed so far that horny co-eds would rather visit industrial Eastern European "notspots" than topless beaches along the Mediterranean. Youth really is wasted on the young.

- Men in Black 3
So many things weird about this one. It's Will Smith's first film in four years and he chose this? Director Barry Sonnenfeld's only directed one move in the ten years since Men In Black II and it was the forgettable Robin Williams family comedy RV, not to be confused with the actual Men In Black II that was also completely forgettable except for arguably the worst movie theme song of all-time, Will Smith's "Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head)." It's not a wonder Will handed off the theme song duties to Mr. Worldwide, Pitbull, this time around but even his effort is mailed-in at best. How is the least anticipated sequel of the year given the normally huge Memorial Day Weekend all to itself? Welcome to Hollywood... What's your dream?

June 1
- Piranha 3DD
The first Piranha 3D movie was a throwaway minor hit at the end of the summer in 2010. You're trying to be a throwaway minor hit in June surrounded by films people actually want to see? Ask Eli Roth how well that turned out for him with Hostel 2. There's a reason why he's spent more time acting than directing lately after that 200% drop in revenue.

- Snow White and the Huntsman
The "other" live-action Snow White film of the year is trying to be a lot more bad-ass than the slapstick Mirror Mirror. This film boasts the power of Twilight's Kristen Stewart, Thor's Chris Hemsworth, and Aeon Flux's Charlize Theron. Err, not Aeon Flux, maybe Mighty Joe Young. Wait, no, uh, Sweet November. I forget now, why do we care about Charlize Theron again? Regardless, this Snow White gets more than seven vertically challenged warriors to help her overthrow the Queen.

June 8
- Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
Marty, Alex, and the rest haven't been in Madagascar since the first movie. It's like calling a film Greenland 3 and having it be about travelling through the rain forest of Brazil. I could have referenced it being like Saturn 3 being about Pluto losing its full planet status, but the less said about 80's sci-fi films with Kirk Douglas, Farrah Fawcett, and Harvey Keitel turning himself into a killer robot the better. Instead, the third installment finds the animals trying to get back to the zoo in New York via a EuroRail pass. Not sure anyone's told them you'll need more than a train to get to the States from Europe. Crap, think I just gave DreamWorks the idea for the 4th Madagascar film.

- Prometheus
I love the thinking behind Prometheus. We've already screwed-up everything in the Alien series since Aliens, let's make a prequel to the first Alien so we don't have to deal with things like Ripley being bald or Winona Ryder androids. Ridley Scotts takes us back to the first ship to find the alien pods later found by the Nostromo. As long as they don't add new rules like "Don't feed them after midnight" and "Don't get them wet," to make the series more kid friendly, we're in good shape.

June 15
- Rock of Ages
What's more American than 80's rock, acid-wash jeans, Aqua Net, and Tom Cruise! The Mamma Mia of Hair Band music, this musical traces the path of a wannabe Rock God to the tunes we all knew from the era. Names like Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, and Catherine Zeta-Jones also play a role, but most will be focusing on Tom's side-character, the epitome of a metal mania, Stacee Jaxx. It may be Glee-tastic revivalist fun, though when Starship's "We Built This City on Rock 'n Roll" is prominently involved, what kind of rock are we actually talking about here?

- That's My Boy
It's been a rough year for Adam Sandler with all of his Razzie attention for his dual roles in Jack and Jill, and by rough I mean he had to deposit two paychecks instead of just one... I think he's just fine. Back in the saddle again, Adam returns with another Adam, Samberg, and plays Samberg's irresponsible dad who wants to live like the kid his kid doesn't want to be. It's like the role Sandler played in Billy Madison except... except... No wait, it's exactly like Billy Madison. My bad.

June 22
- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
They might need to change that whole "Honest Abe" thing, since our 16th President was certainly not very forthcoming about his vampire hunting past. I'm not quite sure why we've degenerated vampire lore from gothic castles and snappy dressers to the backwoods of Illinois. Is 1820's Peoria really a place Dracula would want to be one of his haunts? This film has a chance to be goofy, revisionist pulp fiction or Jonah Hex.

- Brave
After getting critically roasted for Cars 2, aka Larry The Cable Guy's The Man With One Red Car, Pixar attempts to return to its universally adorned ways with Brave. It the tale of a medieval Scottish princess who's an expert archer trying to pave her own way. On the surface, and based on the accents, it feels like How to Train Your Dragon without dragons, which sounds a lot like What to Expect When You're Expecting without the expects and that would be What to When Your're. Sounds less like a movie a more like something a parent would mumble after their kids say something that catches them offguard: "What to when you're?"

- Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Smaller budget, niche comedies have occasionally found their place in the summertime, i.e. Horrible Bosses on the lower end and The Hangover on the gigantic scale, yet placing Steve Carell as the man driving off to reunite with his high-school sweetheart after his wife leaves him due to an asteroid heading toward the Earth doesn't sound like any of those movies. Toss in Keira Knightley as the goofy neighbor along for the ride and it's like we've mashed Due Date with Deep Impact. Call it the opposite Reese's Peanut Butter Cups: two not-so-great tastes that go not-so-great together.

June 29
- G.I. Joe: Retaliation
What do you do with a film that did sorta OK but not as well as you'd hoped? Recast everyone who wasn't wearing a mask, bring in names like The Rock and Bruce Willis, and hope no one catches on to any of this... Whoops! Well, The Rock didn't hurt Journey 2 doing just as well as the first one. Paramount might be happy if this second Joe film can likewise just hold water. A middling series is better than a dead series when it comes to marketing and promotion. Not exactly the "Yo, Joe!" you'd want to get you pumped-up to see a movie.

- Magic Mike
I knew director Steven Soderbergh could make quieter films like sex, lies & videotape and big fun films like Ocean's Eleven, yet I never thought he'd make a modern day version of A Night in Heaven. Channing Tatum is the lead male stripper teaching a new guy the ropes in how to party, pick-up women, and make easy money. If Soderbergh's goal was to make a male version of Showgirls, I guess you could say mission accomplished. You just have to wonder who actually wanted that mission to succeed.

- People Like Us
A sweet, heartbreaking movie about real people going through real emotions opening around 4th of July weekend. Some suits pay a lot of attention to this stuff when setting release dates. Names like Chris Pine, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Elizabeth Banks were all fine and good in summer films when they starred in Star Trek, Batman Returns, and the Spider-Man series. Seeing them in a film where a brother delivers $150,000 to a sister he's never met after his father passes away... not so much.

- Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection
Wait, wasn't Larry the Cable Guy already in this movie? Oh, that was Witless Protection. Nevermind. Uh, Madea enters the summer season for the first time for reasons no one can understand. Maybe Tyler Perry is having visions of Tootsie and Dustin Hoffman wearing a red, white, and blue sequined dress for 4th of July. I, pretty much, don't want to see Madea in a sequined anything.

July 3
- The Amazing Spider-Man
After Spider-Man 3 jazz-handed its way out of fans' hearts (hey, who didn't want to see Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst each have a three-minute singing solo), Sony decided to reboot the whole kit and kaboodle with a new cast, new director, and, most surprising, a new storyline. Exploring a different Spider-Man universe where Peter's parents may have actually been spies, we go through a slightly different origin delivering a more edgy-Peter (if we're lucky) or a more Twilighty-Peter (if we're not).

July 5
- Katy Perry: Part of Me
Apparently, we can't handle all of Katy Perry, at least not in 3D, so we're only going to get a part of her in this concert movie. I guess she didn't think we were ready for this jelly.

July 6
- Savages
Oh goody, an Oliver Stone movie. Remember when people were excited about those? Me neither. Here good ole American pot growers battle a Mexican drug cartel over their shared girlfriend. Really? Pot heads and drug lords monogamous with only one girl being the right one for them? Was she forged in the fire of Mount Doom? How can one woman rule them all? With a plot like this, it's a good thing he has a cast with Taylor Kitsch, John Travolta, Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro, Blake Lively, and Uma Thurman.

July 13
- Ice Age: Continental Drift
There are kids franchises I can tell you everything about and those I've completely checked out on. Ice Age counts as the latter. Outside of the occasional prehistoric squirrel chasing the acorn cartoons they play before some 20 Century Fox movies, I know nothing about this series. Something about Ray Romano as a wooly mammoth, Dennis Leary as a sabertooth tiger, and they did something once and they'll probably do it again. Hilarity ensues, yada, yada, yada. Oh, did I mention they've each made almost $200 million each? That might be important.

- Ted
Marky Mark helped to redefine himself two years ago as one of The Other Guys and showed he could play against his stereotypical tough-guy persona for laughs. Now he's playing against a walking, talking teddy bear... no, really. Mark plays a man trapped between moving forward with his girlfriend or staying with his foul-mouthed and crude stuffed animal that's been his best friend since he was a kid. No offense, yet if Mr. Wahlberg can't figure out whether to be with Mila Kunis or Teddy Ruxpin, he's lost more than his funky bunch.

July 20
- The Dark Knight Rises
Oh, sure, everyone knew The Dark Knight was going to be a massive. Sequels to films that barely make $200 million always go on to make $533.3 million!!! I don't think I even had it in my top 5! Uhg. Even if the third film dips as the third Transformers or third Pirates movie did, does that dip mean it "only" makes $450 million this time? There could be a curse of the Catwoman in play and the unintelligible dialog of Bane can't be a plus, but ultimately the pressure of high expectation is this film's greatest challenge. Anything less than The Dark Knight and this film won't Rise the same.

July 27
- Neighborhood Watch
Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn reunite for the first time since Dodgeball as a team of local community dads who spice-up their boring lives by forming a neighborhood watch group go on to help defend the Earth from an alien invasion. Wait, they wha?! Stiller could barely handle geriatric Mickey Rooney in Night at the Museum and now I can trust him to go all Will Smith on these interplanetary suckers? Eh, maybe it can be like Stripes although without the heavily armed recreational vehicle. All they need is a Sgt. Hulka and this film could really go places.

- Step Up Revolution
We already had a Dance Dance Revolution. Do we really need a Step Up Revolution? A) I'm not even sure what these dancers are revolting against. Do dance crews have bad dental and low-return 401k plans? B) Even if you are revolting, is dancing really the best means to get your point across? I don't recall George Washington or Ghandi ever busting a cabbage patch in their quest for freedom. The moonwalk doesn't even move the moon, how's it going to change the world?

August 3
- The Bourne Legacy
Speaking of G.I. Joe: Retaliation's recasting everyone without a mask, here they recast everyone except Joan Allen. New Bournes, new legacies, and new directors. Do people want to enter the same twisted tunnel of espionage and deception without Matt Damon to be their guide? Jeremy Renner's kind of been "Oh, that guy" in his other films, but now he's been given the reigns and a chance to make the Bourne franchise reborn. Since he's from Modesto though, which is close to my Sacramento roots, I'm hoping the Central Valley represents.

- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
I may be bothered with fart jokes and poop gags in movies, however, when it comes in literature form, it's all good. Remember, fart and poop jokes are always better in the book. The previous films have fared fairly in the springtime, so it's curious to see what they're doing here packed between two big budget action films. Regardless, the best reason to see films like this is seeing how some of the pubescent actors have grown two feet between films and watching the rest of the cast act like nothing's changed since it's just a few weeks later in the movie timeline. That never gets old.

- Total Recall
I'm not sure what it was, yet I'm pretty sure I have a memory implant of already seeing this film just 20 years ago. I've heard all the mumbo jumbo about "how this is more true to the book" nonsense, but after seeing the trailer everything seemed just as it used to be. Only the hues have changed from orange to gray. I guess that's more true to the book. While Colin Farrell is nowhere near Arnold Schwarzenegger in the "big name" universe, recasting the legendary catfight between Sharon Stone and Rachel Ticoti with Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel? Yeah, I think that'll get my ass back to Mars.

August 10
- The Campaign
Will Farrell and a strange tattoo that kinda looks like you mixed with Zack Galifianakis star in a comedy about political rivals in North Carolina. It'll be a tough call to be any more ridiculous than the normal political process our country goes through. That said, Farrell's done well with these late summer release dates as Talladega Nights, Step Brothers and The Other Guys attest. The polls may stay open late for one last vote.

- Hope Springs
Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones play a married couple of 30 years going into a weekend long counseling session with Steve Carell to determine whether they should continue their marriage. Steve didn't even stay on The Office eight years. What advice could he possibly have on staying with something long after it was interesting? Cut bait, jump ship, and man are you suckers for not doing this 22 years earlier? Meryl's been a key adult alternative player in three summer seasons with The Devil Wears Prada, Mamma Mia, and Julie & Julia, yet she's going to need some help if she wants to be this year's The Help.

August 15
- The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Another film trying to be The Help, not thematically but in terms of attracting audiences with a non-CGI/non-star driven story, is this Disney film about a childless couple who bury a box with their wish list for a perfect child and the next day a ten year-old is on their steps. I like ideas that are out of the box, however I'm not sold on kids appearing the same way. Then again, the kid's already past diapers. Sounds like a pretty good deal.

August 17
- The Expendables 2
The Who's Who of action movie stars returns for a second go-round. This time adding Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris for good measure because you can never have enough Kumite and Total Gym action. My main question about whether Sylvester Stallone is a great writer who can't direct or a great director who can't write still remains. Of course, since the plot revolves around the team seeking revenge for one of their "expendables" getting murdered, I guess bad writing is the answer. I mean, this was guy proud to call himself expendable and we're supposed to be upset when he actually gets expended?!

- ParaNorman
From an animator who learned from Tim Burton in Corpse Bride and Henry Selick with Coraline comes the writing and directing debut of Chris Butler about a loner kid who's sixth sense abilities are needed to save the city from a ghost and goblins uprising. Feels like the film would've been served better with a fall release in fitting with its kindred Nightmare Before Christmas spirit, however studios do what studios do and this one's in August.

- Sparkle
A rose by any other name is still a rose, so if you're naming a movie which stars an actual singer chronicling a young singer's rise to fame, why on earth would you possible name it anything even remotely sounding like Glitter?! Do these people think we forgot the amazing Mariah Carrey breakdown of 2001?! She was falling apart before Britney's was even a slave 4 us and Glitter was her head shaving/getting carted away in an ambulance apex. I'm very happy she's turned her life around, become a respectable mother of two, and still wears as little clothes as possible. That still can't explain the ridiculousness of naming this movie Sparkle. Heck, sparkle is what glitter does! I wish Jordin Sparks well, even if most people are only going to be paying attention because this was the film Whitney Houston was working on at the time of her death. Sadly, that was a breakdown with no happy ending.

August 24 and August 31
The committee has determined that not only do the films on these weekends have zero chance of being in the Top Five, there's nothing funny that can be written about them without another Red Bull and my heart is already beating 180 beats per second after the last five.

by Matt Neuenburg on 04/25/2012

Movies Mentioned in this Post: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Battleship, Brave, Chernobyl Diaries, Dark Shadows, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Great Hope Springs, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Katy Perry: Part of Me, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, Madea's Witness Protection, Magic Mike, Men in Black 3, Neighborhood Watch, ParaNorman, People Like Us, Piranha 3DD, Prometheus, Rock of Ages, Savages, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Snow White and the Huntsman, Sparkle, Step Up Revolution, Ted, That's My Boy, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers, The Bourne Legacy, The Campaign, The Dark Knight Rises, The Dictator, The Expendables 2, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Total Recall, What to Expect When You're Expecting
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