2014 Summer Movie Pool Preview | Guardians of the Galaxy | Transformers: Age of Extinction | Maleficent

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2014 Summer Movie Pool Preview

Guardians of the Galaxy
Transformers: Age of Extinction
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
22 Jump Street
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Edge of Tomorrow
Let's Be Cops
The Purge: Anarchy
Think Like a Man Too
Planes: Fire & Rescue
If I Stay
Into the Storm
Jupiter Ascending
Jersey Boys
The Giver
A Million Ways to Die in the West
The Expendables 3
Earth to Echo
Sex Tape
Million Dollar Arm
Get on Up
When the Game Stands Tall
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Mom's Night Out
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return
Break out your spray tan and pump up your water wings, the 18th Annual Summer Movie Pool is just around the corner!

Will the new Spidey stick this time or is he like a black & white Superman TV show in a post-Avengers world?

Can X-Men mark the spot or has Generation Y already moved on?

More importantly, when will it "dawn" on James Franco that he wasn't cast in the new Dawn of the Planet of the Apes film? By the end credits?

In case if you don't know what's coming out for this summer season of 2014, check below for my detailed list of this year's crop!

May 2
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Since 2007 a Marvel movie has opened-up the Summer Movie Pool and all but two of them (take a bow or, err, hide in the corner Marvel Origins: Wolverine and Thor) have finished in the Top Five of the season. However, The Amazing Spider-Man reboot made less than any of the Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man films. What, did people really prefer Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 3 taking over a jazz club like Jim Carrey in The Mask to show he was "ooh, so dark?" Does the shrugs the first reboot received doom the second or will the increased wattage of the villains (pun not intended but not deleted either) carry this Spidey to even greater heights?

May 9
- Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return
For those who like to judge the quality of their animated movies by the voice cast assembled, I suggest you look away. This will feel like Quest for Camelot or some other forgotten 90's attempt to break into the animation market. Legends of Oz features Lea Michele (OK, not bad), Patrick Stewart (alright), Kelsey Grammer (uh, sure), Dan Aykroyd (wait, really), and Oliver Platt (oh, good Lord). Then again, in a summer where there's a Planes sequel, you're pretty much guaranteed not to be the worst animated film of the season.

- Mom's Night Out
And for those who like to judge the quality of their comedy movies by the TV casts assembled, the word TV should've already scared you off. A group of mom's leave their husbands in charge for a night and you know nothing wacky at all can possibly go wrong. We've got Sarah Drew from Grey's Anatomy, Patricia Heaton from Everyone Loves Raymond, and Trace Adkins from, uh, A Country Christmas. Why does this sound like something Madea would show up in?

- Neighbors
It's mind-boggling to think "From The Makers of 'This Is The End'" can be applied to any other movie. That was an enjoyable (to me) throw everything at the wall/kitchen sink type gonzo film. How can it be applied to something with a plot? Seth Rogan plays a devoted father who's world is turned upside-down when Zac Effron and his jerkish gang of jeryk jerk fraternity brothers move next door. This feels like the exact same premise as Gran Torino, but maybe I never actually saw that one.

May 16
- Godzilla
I try to do due diligence and look-up the actual premise of each film for the pool. Then I realized this was Godzilla and I think I've got this one covered. And unless you were frozen in a block of ice like Captain America, I figure you've already gotten the gist about this flick as well. Now, if Pacific Rim kind of flat-lined last year with a bunch of different monsters, how does going back to emphasize just one bring the crowds back. Maybe they're following Curly's logic from City Slickers and making sure it's the right "one."

- Million Dollar Arm
Jon Hamm seems to be one of those guys people expected to make "the jump" from TV to movies as soon as Mad Men debuted in 2007. That's pre-Katy Perry/Lady Gaga territory. That's like a million years ago! If it hasn't happened yet, I'm not sure a Disney movie about a failed sports agent going to India to find pitching prospects from their deep cricket-playing pool is the one to hang your wicket on.

May 23
- Blended
The couple that's warmed your heart and tickled your funny bone in the 90's with The Wedding Singer and the 00's with 50 First Dates, reunites for something that absolutely has nothing to do with a cash-grab and both stars looking for a hit in the 10's! Yes, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore are back for more and their onscreen chemistry is inarguably better than Adam Sandler and Adam Sandler. The good news is that even if this trilogy isn't better than Lord of the Rings, it's definitely shorter!

- X-Men: Days of Future Past
Much like Warner Bros. scrambled to add Batman to the Man of Steel sequel because Superman apparently wasn't super enough, Fox realized if they just mashed-up all their X-Men franchises together, they might mutate into an Avengers size hit. Of course, given how their last few films have played-out, they should be happy settling for a Thor: The Dark World type hit.

May 30
- A Million Ways to Die in the West
Just like The Eagles made the head-scratching decision to make a concept album as old west gunslingers after their first success, Seth MacFarlane goes from the smash Ted to making this modern day Blazing Saddles. Let's just forget all the Westerns that have been taken out to pasture the past few summers like Cowboys & Aliens, The Lone Ranger, and Jonah Hex. Then again, when you know no matter what they're still going to pay you to make a Ted 2, do what you want to do, Seth. There's a million more ways to die in Hollywood.

- Maleficent
Angelina Jolie skips the musical reinventing of the Wicked Witch of the West and instead gives us a Wicked-esque look at Sleeping Beauty. Can this film be more than the ho-hum Snow White and the Huntsman? There's no question Sleeping Beauty's Once Upon a Dream song trumps the fingernails-on-a-chalkboards like trilling in I'm Wishing from Snow White. Isn't it a little weird, though, how you can't quite tell where Angelina ends and CGI begins in the trailer? I guess she's kind of like that in real life too.

June 6
- Edge of Tomorrow
It's the Groundhog Days of War! In the future, Tom Cruise keeps reliving the same day of oddly embarrassing himself and yet people continue to see his movies. No wait, that's the present. In this movie, Tom Cruise relives the same day where he dies in a losing battle of a war. Can he break the time loop to move forward? And if co-star Emily Blunt brings anything she learned in The Seven Year Engagement, this is going to be very, very long day.

June 13
- 22 Jump Street
The only way to top the surprise success of 21 Jump Street is to make a sequel and drop the undercover cops in college so we don't have to feel creepy for 90 minutes that Jonah Hill's crushing on a 17 year-old girl. Channing Tatum brings his Magic Mike charisma back as well by keeping his abs in the front. Now the only question is whether 23 Jump Street will be set in graduate school or a retirement home. The Academy Award Nominated make-up guy from Bad Grandpa can make it happen!

- How to Train Your Dragon 2
The first How To Train Your Dragon was one of the highest soaring DreamWorks Animation films outside of the Shrek series. Has the franchise been able to keep enough momentum in the four years since the last film? Will anyone check if Hiccup is actually a Viking name? And, without a competitive Pixar or Disney movie this summer, will this be the de facto Family Film of the Season... or is that where Step Up: All In comes into play?

June 20
- Jersey Boys
If Glee versions of 80's metal tunes wasn't box-office gold in 2012's Rock of Ages, how are actual doo-wop versions of doo-wop songs going to wreck havoc in 2014? If this wasn't directed by Clint Eastwood, I'd say this film had no chance. As it is, I still have to ask the Dirty Harry question: "I know what you're thinking, punk. Can you name six Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons songs or only five? So you gotta ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya... punk?"

- Think Like a Man Too
Given how The Best Man Holiday stuffed plenty of stockings six months ago, there's no good reason why Think Like A Man Too can't clean-up as well. The first made almost $100 million. Then again, thinking like a man hasn't always worked out to my benefit in real life.

June 27
- Transformers: Age of Extinction
Michael Bay is to Transformer movies like Cher is to farewell tours: "I wish I knew how to quit you!" It's not enough that he said the last one was the last one... It's that he's somehow telling us there was something so special about this new one that he had to do it himself! Oh yes, no other director could give justice to talking special effects. Sure, Mark Wahlberg is an improvement from Shia LaBeouf, but given the source material, that's like saying Adele can sing Gangnam Style better than Psy.

July 2
- Earth to Echo
This film looks like it's trying to mine the 80's kid movie formula of films like E.T. Unlike Super 8 which was a more serious homage to classic Spielbergism (He is at least an "ism" now, isn't he? Does it have to be posthumous to become like Confucianism, Freudianism and Three Stoogesism?), Earth to Echo seems to be aiming for the family-friendly PG route. Considering some families find the Transformers friendly and they open just a few days earlier, I'm not sure anyone will be around to hear this Echo.

- Tammy
The rise of Melissa McCarthy as bona fide box-office superstar is one of the most unexpected occurrences in cinematic history. I'm not here to explain it, I can only applaud it. Anything that stops Katherine Heigl and Kate Hudson from making the same film 27 times because women actually might want to see something different (and the men who don't mind seeing films starring women... Believe me, we can't live on Adam Sandler alone... in fact, quite the opposite happens if you try!) is all good with me.

July 11
- And So It Goes
Have we already hit the senior deal section of the movie pool? [These jokes are going to get less and less funny the longer I keep doing this thing!] If you order by 4:30 P.M. for only $5.99 you can get Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton in a Rob Reiner film about a self-centered real estate agent (played by Douglas?! What range!) who suddenly has to take care of the granddaughter he's never known. Films like this usually are saved for August after the bigger blockbusters have had their day. This feels like a Gabe Kaplan in a Tosh .0 world.

- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
What's with James Franco getting the boot after the first Apes prequel? Sure, according to imdb.com he's got 10 other projects coming out in 2014, but he couldn't squeeze a few minutes in for a loving reunion with Caesar before getting his arms ripped-off? I'm pretty sure this is something all the fans would've been behind. Regardless, as much as I'm looking forward to this film and love how they're keeping most of the details under wraps to pique interest, it sort of feels like we know what's coming here... And it's not going to go well for the humans.

July 18
- Jupiter Ascending
The Wachowski sibblings seem to have decided that full-on crazy is the only way to go with their projects, but I guess no one gets brownie points for being normal. If you actually got brownies though, that might be worth something. They're anticipating making another trilogy with this series which features Mila Kunis as a humble human with a genetic code that could make her the queen of the universe. Wait, does that make her "the one." Well, at least they'd only be plagiarizing their own work this time for a change.

- Planes: Fire & Rescue
I... Uh... Don't know what to say about Disney releasing substandard, Direct-To-OnDemand tripe on the poor American public, yet I guess it's the ole "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me" routine. Unless parents got liquored-up and passed-out during the first Planes with their kids, there's no way any of them are taking them to Fire & Rescue. Hold up, why didn't I think of that before I watched Planes the first time?!

- The Purge: Anarchy
The little horror film that could from 2013 returns in 2014 to see if it could a little more. At its best, The Purge was almost something Hitchcock would've done. When you replace Jimmy Stewart for Ethan Hawke, however, things are going to degenerate pretty fast. While it might seem hard for lightning to strike twice with this premise, I'd have said the same thing about the Paranormal Activity series and that's why I'm sitting in my Wii pajamas at home typing this and not making power broker deals at Spago.

July 25
- Hercules
Look, we all like The Rock. We smell what he's cooking even when he's billed as Dwayne Johnson. That said, isn't this a huge step backwards? We've all tried to forget how bleh The Scorpion King was and instead he's all, "If you thought I was all swords and sandy then, wait till you see me now... I'm super swords and sandy!" Adding the words "Directed by Brett Ratner" only decreases the anticipation. Now if Brett could've talked his Rush Hour pal Chris Tucker into making his way into this movie, then we'd be getting somewhere. Nowhere good, but we'd be getting somewhere.

- Sex Tape
Aiming for that Wedding Crashers vibe that made raunchy into date night material, Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel try to spice up their plateaued marriage by making a sex tape. A tape that ends up being uploaded to the cloud, downloaded onto all of the iPads they handed out to friends as gifts, and now they have to get them all back before anyone finds it. Look, I was already trying to suspend my disbelief that being married to Cameron Diaz would get boring after she's let herself all go to a size 2 (the nerve!), but now I'm supposed to buy a normal couple hands out iPads as presents? The only "normal couples" who would do that actually want you to find their sex tape!

- Step Up All In
There is no one more versed in the Step Up movies than me. I mean, I saw the poster for the second one like 100 times. The first one is even where Channing Tatum and his wife met, which I learned about 13 seconds ago. While the casts are known for never being seen in public again, All In features the girl from #2 and the guy from #4. This just proves that #3 is the Fight Club of Step Up movies and the first rule of Fight Club is to not talk about Step Up 3D.

August 1
- Get on Up
I'd like nothing better than to Get On Up with this bio-pic on James Brown starring Chadwick Boseman from 42. It reminds me of the dream I once had about James Brown and Bob Dylan playing a concert together at the Hollywood Bowl and not a single person being able to understand a single word they said. Though the Godfather of Soul certainly deserves his time in the sun, it's hard not to wish they'd mash this movie with 42 and have James Brown dancing on the field during a baseball game.

- Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel Studios hasn't missed a step since they started making their own movies back with Iron Man 1 in 2008, yet they're taking their first big risk here with this tale of rag-tag, space-travelling misfits. It's a series that is nowhere near as popular or well-known as The Avengers ilk and the film itself doesn't have any A-list firepower. Unless star Chris Pratt being the voice of Emmet from The Lego Movie counts, then a lot of 8 year-olds will be really excited. The comic crowd will come because, well, it's what they do, but unless the mainstream follows they might just be the Guardians of something like Northwest Iowa.

August 8
- The Hundred-Foot Journey
We've entered the double whammy area of August where more films come out and all have less chance of ever making the Top Five (or even making a profit). Could this Helen Mirren film be the French/Indian chef version of Julie & Julia that wasn't even that big of a hit in 2009? Maybe. Would most people rather watch an old episode of Iron Chef? Probably.

- Into the Storm
A found-footage version of Twister? Unless they can explain how Helen Hunt's white tank top stayed white during an F5, I don't think there will be anything new to see here.

- Lucy
It feels like Luc Besson is always making tough women action movies (Le Femme Nikita, The Professional, The Fifth Element), but the reality is he hasn't made one since The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc in 1999. Holy crap, I think Mad About You was still on television back then! [Wow, two Helen Hunt references in the same preview? I've got to get out more!] Here he's back to his roots with Scarlett Johansson, natch, who "transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic." When someone else writes copy that unintentionally amazing, there's no reason for me to re-word it.

- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
You know, when other people cut class in high school they did fun, nefarious things. Me, I went and saw a matinee of the first TMNT movie. Such a dork. Besides the obviously ADHD seven year-old next to me continually shaking the seat in front of him, it was a mostly enjoyable film that's Citizen Kane compared to the Super Mario Bros. movie. Is it time for a live-action reboot? Sure. Is it time for DJ Snake and Lil Jon to do an amazing remake of the Turtle Power theme song (T-U-R-T-L-E Power!). Definitely. Are we more likely to get Wil.I.Am doing it? Crap.

August 13
- Let's Be Cops
What if we made The Other Guys with actually... other guys. Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr., anyone? Anyone? This can't be good.

August 15
- The Expendables 3
We always know what's "old" with The Expendables. What's new? Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson and the living legend of testosterone himself, Kelsey Grammer! I love how these films have moved from dusting-off former great action stars to any guy still living over 60.

- The Giver
Since this Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges movie is based on a book, I'll just go ahead and pre-empt all those who say the book is always better by saying, "Unless I can read it in 90 minutes, the movie wins!" Look, I fall asleep during Geico commercials at night. You think I can possible actually stay awake and do something that involves effort like reading?

August 22
- Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
I remember really liking the first Sin City for what it was and then haven't given it a second thought in nine years. If I, in any way, resemble the target audience for this film, they're going to be looking for a crowd to kill for.

- If I Stay
The genre "drama" shows up a lot in these August films. Do studios think we're just so worn out from all the roller coaster rides from May through July that all we want to do is sit in people movers now? Sure, you make take 20 minutes to jump on It's A Small World in the middle of the day, but no one wants to stay there a whole month! It's not that big a small world.

- When the Game Stands Tall
This "drama" based on a true story tells the tale of a football coach who led his high school football team to a 151-game winning. Big deal. I've done that in the Madden video game a dozen times, if you don't include the games where I turned it off because it was about to record a loss. A gamer is nothing without his ethics.

August 27
- November Man
Pierce Brosnan is back in the spy game as an ex-CIA operative thrust into action. Apparently, it's based on the seventh book of a 13-part series. So, is this like Leonard Part 6 or is there going to be a really long "Previously on..." before the movie even starts?

August 29
- Jane Got a Gun
Every Labor Day weekend there's a film like this. Something that stars people that have all been in much better movies and you wonder what could be so bad about this one that they're burying it this week. There's not usually a big secret. It's just a big bucket of meh. This one stars Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor and it's about... Oh, you don't even care.

- The Loft
I'm bummed this one's getting dropped here (for probably the same reasons as Jane Got a Gun), as its premise reminded me of Shattered and other fun late 80's/90's thrillers before Basic Instinct pumped them all full of steroids. Karl Urban, James Marsden and three other married guys all share "a place" where they can do their un-married things. When some woman is found dead there, they know one of them must be the killer. Insert the "duh duh duuuuuuh" here. This film was made to have Tom Berenger do a cameo!

by Matt Neuenburg on 04/23/2014

Movies Mentioned in this Post: 22 Jump Street, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Blended, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Earth to Echo, Edge of Tomorrow, Get on Up, Godzilla, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hercules, How to Train Your Dragon 2, If I Stay, Into the Storm, Jersey Boys, Jupiter Ascending, Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return, Let's Be Cops, Lucy, Maleficent, Million Dollar Arm, Mom's Night Out, Neighbors, Planes: Fire & Rescue, Sex Tape, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Tammy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Expendables 3, The Giver, The Purge: Anarchy, Think Like a Man Too, Transformers: Age of Extinction, When the Game Stands Tall, X-Men: Days of Future Past
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