The Last Airbender – July 2
Synopsis: In this M. Night Shyamalan adaptation of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon series, 12-year-old Aang (Noah Ringer), the new “Avatar,” must return peace and balance to his world and master “bending” all four elements – Fire, Water, Earth, Air – in order to stop the imperial Fire Nation.
Our Take: So far this film has looked like it will redeem Shyamalan’s bruised reputation as a filmmaker, but some lukewarm early word of mouth has us a bit wary. Still, we’re hoping for the best.
Predators – July 9
Synopsis: A group of elite warriors are abducted from Earth to be hunted by members of a merciless alien race known as Predators. A reboot of the popular sci-fi/horror franchise. Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne, Topher Grace, Danny Trejo, Alice Braga and Derek Mears star as the hunted humans.
Our Take: The trailer was cause for excitement, and it seems producer Robert Rodriguez and director Nimrod Antal have recaptured the magic and menace of the now-classic original Predator. We’ll definitely be in attendance.
Despicable Me – July 9
Synopsis: Super villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), is planning the biggest heist in the history of the world. He is going to steal the moon. Armed with his arsenal of shrink rays, freeze rays, and battle-ready vehicles for land and air, he vanquishes all who stand in his way – until the day he encounters the immense will of three little orphaned girls named Margo, Edith and Agnes.
Our Take: Maybe this film will be a surprise charmer, but early impression is that there are better animated movies to see this summer (read: Toy Story 3).
Inception – July 16
Synopsis: In Chris Nolan’s (The Dark Knight) mysterious new film, A CEO-type (Leonardo DiCaprio) becomes involved in a blackmailing scandal. Of course his company specializes in entering people’s minds to extract and implant thoughts, so you know things are going to get twisted. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger and Michael Caine all co-star.
Our Take: You had us at “Nolan,” but with an ensemble cast this talented and the mind-blowing visuals we’ve seen in the trailers, this is a must-see summer movie.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – July 16
Synopsis: Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) is a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan trying to defend the city from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). Balthazar can’t do it alone, so he recruits Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a seemingly average guy who demonstrates hidden potential, as his reluctant protégé.
Our Take: Cage and National Treasure director Jon Turteltaub are reuniting for this action/adventure, and believe it or not, early word of mouth is that it’s good. Wow… we may just have to see it now – if only to find out for ourselves.
Salt – July 23
Synopsis: As a CIA officer, Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) swore an oath to duty, honor and country. Her loyalty will be tested when a defector accuses her of being a Russian spy. Salt goes on the run, using all her skills and years of experience as a covert operative to elude capture.
Our Take: From the looks of it, this “Female Jason Bourne” flick is the type of movie we’ll forget about five minutes after leaving the theater. Then again, it’s Angelina Jolie as a tough badass, so expect an audience to show up.
Dinner for Schmucks – July 30
Synopsis: Tim (Paul Rudd) is a rising executive who “succeeds” in finding the perfect guest, IRS employee Barry (Steve Carell), for his boss’s monthly event, a so-called “dinner for idiots,” which offers certain advantages to the exec who shows up with the biggest buffoon.
Our Take: This movie has the makings of something funny, alright – but then again it’s the Americanized version of Francis Veber’s Le diner de cons, which is already pretty excellent. Carell and Rudd get the benefit of our doubt, for now.
The Adjustment Bureau – July 30
Synopsis: Based on a short story by sci-fi legend Philip K. Dick (Total Recall, Minority Report), this new sci-fi/romance stars Matt Damon as a politician who engages in an affair with a ballerina (Emily Blunt). But just as he realizes he’s falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart. David learns he is up against the agents of fate itself – the men of The Adjustment Bureau – who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from being together.
Our Take: Some Philip K. Dick stories are adapted into classic movies like Blade Runner, while others end up like Paycheck. The plot of Adjustment Bureau sounds intriguing, and having Damon and Blunt on board is a strong endorsement. For the sake of mid-summer brain stimulation, we may check it out.