A summer of blockbuster wannabes, sequels, adaptations, 3-D - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

A summer of blockbuster wannabes, sequels, adaptations, 3-D

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Posted: Sunday, May 16, 2010 5:30 am | Updated: 11:33 am, Tue Oct 18, 2011.

No Will Smith, but Jaden Smith.

No Harry Potter, but the “Twilight” team.

No Johnny Depp as a pirate of the Caribbean but Johnny Depp as documentary narrator.

No comic-book movies ... actually, that’s not true. Just seeing if you were paying attention.

The summer of 2010 is shaping up as one of sequels, even more movies in 3-D and adaptations of books (comic and otherwise). Big names, from Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise and Leonardo DiCaprio to Angelina Jolie and Julia Roberts, will be sprinkled throughout the season.

“Iron Man 2” will allow the summer box office to roar to life May 7, and, as always, a sure thing will crash and burn, a sleeper will emerge and Hollywood will be astonished (again) that women will turn out for a “Sex and the City” sequel or a big-screen version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat Pray Love.”

Other snapshots, predictions and reel riffs:

A star is born: Jaden Smith, the long-legged son of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, seems poised for stardom as “The Karate Kid.” In the preview, we see him training along the Great Wall, learning at the fast-moving hands of Jackie Chan and being bullied by Chinese boys as stereotypes are karate-chopped.

Can’t miss: “Toy Story 3.” Old favorites along with fresh characters and celebrity voices, plus new playthings on store shelves, such as an Ultimate Buzz Lightyear Programmable Robot with 100 sayings, some in Spanish.

Double duty: Adrien Brody, Oscar winner for “The Pianist,” appears in “Splice” and “Predators,” while Jonah Hill turns up in “Get Him to the Greek” and “Cyrus.”

Shouldn’t miss: “Iron Man 2,” “Robin Hood,” “Shrek Forever After” (here’s hoping it’s better than “Shrek the Third”), “Sex and the City 2,” “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” “Karate Kid,” “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” “The Last Airbender,” “Salt,” “The Other Guys” and “Eat Pray Love.”

Movie for grown-ups: “Inception” from director Christopher Nolan, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as an idea thief who taps into people’s dreams. Los Angeles Times writer Geoff Boucher, who visited the set in Cardington, England, suggests it “may be Hollywood’s first existential heist movie.” Or, he adds, a brainy “Mission: Impossible” by way of “The Matrix.”

3-D test: Will moviegoers want to pay to see a third “Step Up,” this time in 3-D? And what about “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore”? Or “Piranha 3D”?

Withholding judgment: Can a TV skit such as “MacGruber” really be stretched into a coherent feature film? Will “Grey’s Anatomy” fans forgive Katherine Heigl, co-starring in “Killers” with Ashton Kutcher, for her shoddy treatment of the show? Will grown-ups want to see “Grown Ups”? And doesn’t George Clooney’s “The American” deserve a more favorable slot than Sept. 1?

Last year, as you may recall, was the summer of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” “Up,” “The Hangover” and “Star Trek.”

This summer will bring the following, although, as always, dates are subject to change and more titles will be added and subtracted by the time Labor Day rolls around.


“Iron Man 2” -- In the summer’s most anticipated movie, Robert Downey Jr. returns as billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, and this time, he’s joined by Mickey Rourke, Don Cheadle (replacing Terrence Howard), Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell.

“Babies” -- Documentary tracking four babies, from Namibia, Mongolia, Japan and the United States, from birth to first steps.

MAY 14

“Robin Hood” -- Director Ridley Scott and leading man Russell Crowe reunite with this adventure about the birth of the Robin Hood legend. Cate Blanchett is Lady Marian in this film that will open the Cannes Film Festival in May.

“Letters to Juliet” -- Romantic drama starring Amanda Seyfried as an American who travels to Verona and joins a group of volunteers who respond to letters to Juliet seeking advice about love. After answering one from 1957, she inspires its author (Vanessa Redgrave) to seek out a long-lost love.

“Just Wright” -- Romantic comedy starring Queen Latifah as a physical therapist who scores a great gig working with a pro-basketball player (Common). She falls for him, but he tumbles for her childhood friend (Paula Patton) who wants to be an NBA trophy wife.

“Everyone Else” -- A young couple’s relationship is pushed to the brink while vacationing in the Mediterranean in filmmaker Maren Ade’s second feature. Birgit Minichmayr took Best Actress honors at the Berlin International Film Festival for it.

MAY 21

“Shrek Forever After” -- Longing for the days when he felt like a real ogre, Shrek is duped into signing a pact with the smooth-talking Rumpelstiltskin. That lands Shrek in an alternate version of Far Far Away in this fourth installment, in 3-D.

“MacGruber” -- Will Forte brings his “Saturday Night Live” clueless soldier of fortune to the big screen in an action comedy also starring Val Kilmer, Ryan Phillippe and Kristen Wiig.

“The Secret of Kells” -- Magic, fantasy and Celtic mythology come together in a story about the power of imagination and faith to carry humanity through dark times in this animated feature.

“Vincere” -- Marco Bellocchio directs and co-writes this little-known story of Benito Mussolini’s first wife and son. Based on the book “The Secret Son of Il Duce: The Story of Albino Mussolini and His Mother Ida Dalser” by Alfredo Pieroni.

MAY 27

“Sex and the City 2” -- The four fashionistas head to Abu Dhabi, where Carrie runs into a former beau while the others have crises involving children, work and the eternal quest for youthfulness.

MAY 28

“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” -- A rogue prince (Jake Gyllenhaal) reluctantly joins forces with a mysterious princess (Gemma Arterton), and together they race against dark forces to safeguard an ancient dagger that will allow its owner to rule the world.


“Killers” -- Trying to recover from a sudden breakup, Jen Kornfeldt (Katherine Heigl) believes she’ll never fall in love again. But she meets the man of her dreams (Ashton Kutcher) on the French Riviera and marries him, without knowing he’s an international superspy.

“Marmaduke” -- The Great Dane makes the leap from the comic pages to the big screen, with a little help from Owen Wilson, who speaks for Marmaduke. He’s living large in Orange County, Calif., but having trouble fitting in with new four-legged friends and a potential romantic interest.

“Get Him to the Greek” -- Jonah Hill and Russell Brand star in this comedy about a record-company intern who has two days to drag an uncooperative rock legend to Los Angeles for the first stop on a $100 million tour.

“Splice” -- Sci-fi thriller with Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley as superstar genetic engineers who specialize in splicing together DNA from different animals to create incredible new hybrids. They get unexpected results when they secretly use human DNA in their work.

“Mid-August Lunch” -- Gianni Di Gregorio, co-writer of “Gomorrah,” stars in his directorial debut as a middle-aged man who resides with his 93-year-old mother in their ancient apartment and finds himself looking after three other elderly ladies one summer.


“The Karate Kid” -- Jaden Smith, a second-generation actor who proved himself a fine young actor in “The Pursuit of Happyness” and “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” is the title character, with Taraji P. Henson as his mother and Jackie Chan as a maintenance man and secret kung-fu guru.

“The A-Team” -- Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, mixed-martial-arts champ Quinto “Rampage” Jackson and Sharlto Copley are members of the new A-team, here set up for a crime they did not commit.


“Toy Story 3” -- Can little Andy really be going to college? Yes, and as he prepares to leave, Buzz, Woody and the rest of the toys are worried about their uncertain future. They end up in the sticky hands of untamed tots and try to make sure no toy gets left behind. In 3-D and IMAX 3-D.

“Jonah Hex” -- A Josh Brolin movie based on the DC Comics character, a scarred drifter and bounty hunter of last resort. Megan Fox is his twisted love interest, a woman whose life in a brothel left its own scars, and John Malkovich is a terrorist.


“Knight and Day” -- Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz star in an action comedy in which a chance encounter propels a woman and a charming but lethal operative into globe-trotting adventures involving assassins and world-shaking secrets.

“Grown Ups” -- Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider and David Spade play friends and one-time teammates who reunite to honor the passing of their childhood basketball coach. They pick up where they left off, proving that growing older isn’t the same as growing up.


“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” -- With her high-school graduation approaching, Bella has more on her mind than parties, college roomies and separation anxiety. She is the target of a vampire bent on revenge and torn between love for Edward and friendship with Jacob, even as nearby Seattle is subjected to mysterious killings.


“The Last Airbender” -- M. Night Shyamalan writes and directs this big-screen movie based on the Nickelodeon animated series “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Dev Patel, Jackson Rathbone, Shaun Toub, Aasif Mandvi and Cliff Curtis star.


“Despicable Me” -- A 3-D CGI feature about a villainous character named Gru (voice of Steve Carell) who is plotting to steal the moon. But the arrival of three orphaned girls throws a wrench in his plans.

“Predators” -- Adrien Brody is a mercenary reluctantly leading a group of elite warriors who come to realize they’ve been brought together on an alien planet as prey. Also featuring Topher Grace, Alice Braga and Laurence Fishburne.


“Inception” -- Leonardo DiCaprio leads a sensational cast in this contemporary sci-fi action picture, set within the architecture of the mind. Christopher Nolan, who made “Memento” and “Batman Begins,” writes and directs.

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” -- Nicolas Cage is a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan trying to protect the city from his archnemesis (Alfred Molina). Jay Baruchel, the hapless suitor in “She’s Out of My League,” is the sorcerer’s reluctant protege.


“Salt” -- Angelina Jolie stars in this contemporary action thriller as a CIA officer accused of being a Russian spy. She goes on the run, using her skills and experience as a covert operative to try to elude capture. Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor also star.

“Dinner for Schmucks” -- Paul Rudd and Steve Carell appear in this comedy based on a 1998 French movie about wealthy cynics who humiliate and mock their dinner guests. Carell is the invitee, a man who re-creates great works of art using costumed mice.

“Ramona and Beezus” -- The best-selling books (more than 30 million sold so far) by Beverly Cleary inspired this comedy starring newcomer Joey King as Ramona Quimby and Selena Gomez as older sister Beezus.


“Beastly” -- A spell turns a hot popular rich kid into an unrecognizable and unattractive person in this teen romance starring Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen and Peter Krause. Only way to reverse the curse is to find someone who loves him in new form.

“Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” -- A blend of live action, puppetry and computer animation, with 3-D thrown in for good measure, about a crazed feline who goes after former kitty comrades and canine enemies.

“Charlie St. Cloud” -- Romantic drama, starring Zac Efron, based on the Ben Sherwood novel “The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud.” He’s an accident survivor forced to see the world in a new way.

AUG. 6

“The Other Guys” -- Comedy featuring Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson as top New York cops and Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as the other guys. Ferrell plays a detective and forensic accountant more interested in paperwork than the streets and Wahlberg is his partner, stuck with him since an unfortunate run-in with Derek Jeter.

“Step Up 3-D” -- Street dancers team up with a New York University freshman and -- surprise -- find themselves pitted against the world’s best hip-hop dancers in a showdown that (you guessed it) will change their lives forever! This time, it’s in 3-D.

“Middle Men” -- Luke Wilson, James Caan, Giovanni Ribisi and Gabriel Macht star in this story about the early days of the online-adult-entertainment business. Based on a true story.

AUG. 13

“Eat Pray Love” -- Julia Roberts stars in a film adaptation of the Elizabeth Gilbert memoir about a newly divorced woman who discovers the pleasure of eating in Italy, the power of prayer in India and, unexpectedly, inner peace and true love in Bali.

“The Expendables” -- Sylvester Stallone directs, co-writes and stars in this action picture about mercenaries hired to infiltrate a South American country and overthrow its dictator, only to realize that things aren’t as they appear. Cast also includes Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts and Steve Austin.

“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” -- Michael Cera is a bass guitarist for a garage band who has met his dream girl, but her seven evil ex-boyfriends are coming to kill him. Based on the comic-book series by Bryan Lee O’Malley.

“Hubble 3-D” -- Documentary about the Hubble space telescope and how it has changed the way we view the universe and ourselves.

AUG. 20

“The Switch” -- Jennifer Aniston is a single woman who decides to have a baby thanks to a charming sperm donor (Patrick Wilson). But, unbeknownst to her, a friend (Jason Bateman) substitutes his own sperm. How could that be? Well, the movie once was called “The Baster.”

“The Lottery Ticket” -- A young man in the projects, his $370 million winning lottery ticket, opportunistic neighbors and a three-day holiday weekend are the building blocks of this comedy starring Bow Wow, Ice Cube and others.

“Nanny McPhee Returns” -- Emma Thompson is back, Colin Firth apparently not. Nanny McPhee appears at the door of a harried young mother (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who is trying to run the family farm while her husband is off at war.

“Takers” -- A hardened detective (Matt Dillon) is determined to stop notorious criminals who pull off perfectly executed bank robberies and leave no evidence behind. Cast includes Idris Elba, Paul Walker, T.I., Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen and Michael Ealy.

AUG. 27

“Going the Distance” -- Drew Barrymore and Justin Long star in a romantic comedy about a long-distance relationship. She’s an aspiring journalist who moves to San Francisco to finish school, and he’s a music scout in Manhattan.

“The Last Exorcism” -- Just when a preacher has a crisis of conscience and decides to come clean about his fraudulent ways, he is summoned to a Louisiana farm where a pious fundamentalist believes his teenage daughter is possessed. Patrick Fabian and Ashley Bell star.

“Piranha 3D” -- A tremor causes the floor of an Arizona lake to open, unleashing scores of prehistoric piranhas and putting the sheriff, played by Elisabeth Shue, to the test.


“The American” -- George Clooney plays an assassin who vows his next assignment will be his last in this suspense thriller directed by Anton Corbijn (“Control”) and based on the Martin Booth novel “A Very Private Gentleman.”


“The Kids Are All Right” -- Julianne Moore and Annette Bening play a Los Angeles lesbian couple whose teenage children (Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson), conceived by artificial insemination, secretly seek out their donor father. Complications ensue. (July)

“Grease Sing-Along” -- Call the Pink Ladies. A newly restored print of the 1978 musical returns as a sing-along. (July)

“Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky” -- Anna Mouglalis is Coco and Mads Mikkelsen plays Igor Stravinsky in this chronicle of a love that sprouts at the premiere of “The Rite of Spring” at which a near-riot ensued. (July)

“Micmacs” -- A Jean-Pierre Jeunet film starring Dany Boon as a man plotting sweet revenge against the arms manufacturers who killed his father (a victim of a roadside bomb) and left him with a bullet in the head due to a freak drive-by shooting. (July)

“Cyrus” -- John C. Reilly plays a man who, still single seven years after the breakup of his marriage, finds romance with a single mom (Marisa Tomei). Only problem is her 21-year-old son, played by Jonah Hill. (July/August)

“The Concert” -- Comedy about a once-celebrated conductor of the Bolshoi orchestra, fired for hiring Jewish musicians and now working as a cleaning man. When he learns the current orchestra has been invited to Paris, he schemes to reunite his former musicians and perform in their place. (July/August)

“The Tillman Story” -- Actor Josh Brolin narrates this documentary about the professional football star and decorated American soldier Pat Tillman, whose family takes on the U.S. government when he dies in a “friendly fire” incident in Afghanistan in 2004. His mother leads the crusade to reveal the truth behind the mythology of Tillman’s life and death. (August)

“When You’re Strange” -- Johnny Depp narrates this Tom DiCillo film about The Doors.

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