Thursday, April 24, 2014

Riske Business: What Summer Movies Do You Want to See?

In this week’s RB, Patrick and I discuss the upcoming Summer Movie Season. Can you believe it’s almost here?

I typically start out so excited and then by White House Down I want to kill myself (for proof listen to the "Have You Seen Anything Good Lately?" portion of The Sandlot podcast #ShamelessPlug). Hopefully, this summer is better.

Adam Riske: I'm cautiously optimistic about this upcoming summer movie season. In large part because it looks odd compared to Movies: Days of Summers Past. May is the usual tentpole-a-thon, but June seems to have mostly mini-blockbusters. July is a big question mark and August is stuffed with genre fare.

Patrick: It's weird, because looking at the titles of all these films laid end to end feels depressing, mostly because so many of them are sequels or remakes or sequels to remakes. But there are still plenty of movies I'm excited about.

Adam Riske: There are a ton of movies where I don't know what to make of them and I think there's the potential for some pleasant surprises.

Patrick: The "sure things" I'm not excited about, but like you I remain hopeful about the question marks.

Adam Riske: Let’s start with one you and I are anticipating maybe the most.

Guardians of the Galaxy
Patrick: James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy is the only remaining superhero movie I'm genuinely looking forward to this summer, though I will totally see the other two big ones.

Adam Riske: Guardians of the Galaxy is probably the movie I'm anticipating the most, with Godzilla, Lucy and Let’s Be Cops following. James Gunn directing GOTG is enough to pique my interest and it looks fun, interesting and weird. Plus, green Zoe Saldana is super cute and I want to be friends with Star-Lord.

Do you think Guardians of the Galaxy should be R-rated? I'm reading that the GOTG crew are supposed to be like the Sex Pistols of the Marvel universe. With that and James Gunn directing, it makes me wish he had free reign to make an R-rated movie (Note: I don't know GOTG is PG13 for sure, but I pretty much do). Then again, Edgar Wright makes R-rated movies and did the PG-13 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and we’re all happy with how that turned out.

Patrick: I'm ok with Guardians of the Galaxy being PG-13, probably because I've never allowed my brain to consider an R-rated one. I like when James Gunn is dirty, but I'll be curious to see him working with some restraint. Besides, today's PG-13 is basically the R of 10 years ago, so the only thing that will probably suffer at all is Rocket Raccoon's potty mouth.

Adam Riske: I like swearing. I think it’s really funny to call a woman an “asshole.” I’ve never done it in real life but I’d imagine it would get a stunned reaction.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Patrick: This is another one I really want to see. I didn't even LOVE Rise but I'm weirdly excited about this one, probably because it's finally at the place I want a Planet of the Apes movie to be but also because I'm TEAM MATT REEVES.

Adam Riske: I'll split with you on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes because I didn't love the first one either, especially the special effects, which looked bad when the apes were moving. I'll still see the movie opening day, though, because I heart going to the movies and I want to be proven wrong.

Jupiter Ascending
Patrick: Ladies and gentlemen, meet your latest box office disappointment from the Wachowskis. I’m super excited about this one because somehow the Wachowskis are sneaking a fucking crazy/silly/beautiful looking original sci-fi movie into the summer marketplace. I do wish it had borrowed less of the Chronicles of Riddick's aesthetic.

Adam Riske: I am on a Cloud Atlas high, so I hope Jupiter Ascending works. I'm also always rooting for Channing Tatum at this point. I think the only thing that could hinder that movie right now is Mila Kunis who is extremely limited as an actress (cough, Oz, cough...she won best villain at the MTV Movie Awards for that performance...cough...I know it's the stupid MTV Movie Awards but cough...even they should have higher standards). #ThanksForNotHelpingWhileIWasCoughing

Patrick: Mila Kunis isn't the ONLY thing that gives me pause about Jupiter Ascending (because Channing Tatum Wolf Ears), but she is the biggest thing. It probably doesn't help that she appears to be wearing street clothes for much of the movie, like the Wachowskis made this incredible visionary sci-fi epic and the chick from That '70s Show accidentally wandered onto set carrying Ashton Kutcher's baby. I love Cloud Atlas so much that I'm really excited about the movie, but I have a feeling it's going to be more Speed Racer than Cloud Atlas. I still don't love Speed Racer as much as I'm supposed to. That's the true true.

Adam Riske: (a la Kirsten Dunst saying “I’d like a cheeseburger” in Spider-Man) I like Speed Racer. BTW...Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy rules. I still love them. SEGUE!!!!!

X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Adam Riske: You mentioned the other big superhero movies earlier, so I’ll mention that I am looking forward to X-Men: Days of Future Past because I’m almost always entertained the one and only time I watch each X-Men movie. I'll make a gentleman's bet with you that Jennifer Lawrence appears in the movie a great deal more as Jennifer Lawrence than as Mystique. Just playing a hunch on that one.

I'll see The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but only because I also saw Van Helsing (i.e. it's the first movie of the summer, yo).

Do you think the new X-Men will be one of the best, worst or middle of the road in the series based on the source material?

Patrick: I might have read DOFP a long, long time ago but have no memory of it, so I have no confidence in predicting where it will fall within the series. I don't really want every comic book movie that comes out now to adapt some famous story from the books (The Winter Soldier, DOFP), but choosing to do this story is a smart way to mix the Singer continuity (sorry...Singer/Ratner) with First Class. The scale of the movie looks huge (at least according the seventh trailer I just watched), which is cool -- that was one of the things I liked best about some of the sequences in X-Men: The Last Stand. Hopefully we'll get to see some huge mutant action inside of a better movie.

Adam Riske: Do the somewhat positive early reviews make you anticipate The Amazing Spider-Man 2 more?

Patrick: I remain completely neutral on ASM2. I'm sick of seeing trailers, but I'll withhold judgment until I see it. And while I haven't read any full reviews, the excerpts I've seen haven't been entirely positive -- more like "not great, but fun enough!" I must be reading the wrong out-of-context pull quotes.

If you could only see X-Men: DOFP or ASM2, which would you see?

Adam Riske: I'm looking forward to X-Men: DOFP much more than ASM2. I've enjoyed every X-Men movie to various degrees -- yes, even Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine. Not being a comic book reader helps I think.

Patrick: Liking Origins makes baby Xavier cry.

Patrick: I'm still really excited for Godzilla, which has more to do with the terrific marketing than my affection for the franchise (Roland Emmerich's masterpiece notwithstanding).

Adam Riske: I agree with you that Godzilla's marketing has been terrific. I commented to a friend of mine when we saw the trailer before Oculus that I am as excited as I thought I could ever be for a new Godzilla movie. I love the balls it has for using part of the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey in the most recent trailer. Hopefully it turns out well.


Patrick: When we name all the movies coming out in a row, I get really happy. I know so many of these will let me down, but as a lover of movies I get excited at the potential of all of them to be great. Do I think I will get burned? Of course. Do I hump the stove anyway? You bet. Does it hurt? Sure. Am I practicing my Robert Evans impression right now? You better believe it.

Adam Riske: There are three sides to the story of this summer movie season: your side, my side and the truth. And no one is lying.

Edge of Tomorrow
Patrick: I'm even excited about Edge of Tomorrow, because even though it's just Groundhog Day it counts as "original" (I will continue to call it All You Need is Blunt).

Adam Riske: I think Edge of Tomorrow looks shitty, but I heart Emily Blunt so I will be there too. This will be the subject of a later column, but remember how great it was when Tom Cruise made movies for grown ups? He needs to mix in a regular old drama every once in a while. Shouldn’t he have been doing movies like Edge of Tomorrow 20 years ago and movies like A Few Good Men, Born on the 4th of July, Magnolia etc. today???

Patrick: I don't think Edge of Tomorrow looks terrible. All You Need is My Eyes. And while I understand what you're saying about Tom Cruise, I get what's going on. He's back to making the high-concept audience movies of when he was trying to establish himself as a movie star in the early and mid-'80s, I suspect because he's trying to hold on to his box office clout. It's like his career has come full circle. The Golden Age of Cruise was when he had spent several years as the biggest movie star in the world and decided he was comfortable fucking with him image and taking some chances -- that's how we got Eyes Wide Shut and Magnolia. He can't quite take those risks these days, even though he totally can. He just needs Xenu to show him the way.

Having said that, I'm looking forward to the future when we can look back at Tom Cruise's purely sci-fi period.

Adam Riske: Interesting point you make about Cruise. I'm just a grumpy old man who now WANTS to watch The Firm. In '93, I'm all (makes fart noise in my hands) "Dinosaurs" and then I slapped people in the face with wad of ice cream. In 2014, I'm all "Oooh, how is the lawyer going to get out of this one"?

Upcoming Comedies

Adam Riske: I think Neighbors looks funny. I don’t like Zac Efron at all (sorry Doug), but Seth Rogen is one of my favorite actors, Rose Byrne is good in comedies and I trust director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek).

Patrick: I'm excited about Neighbors. I hope it fills this year's This is the End slot.

Adam Riske: While we’re on comedies, others I think look decent are Chef, They Came Together (the new David Wain comedy which is a parody of romantic comedies), 22 Jump Street (I don't love the trailer for the new one but the first movie was super funny), Sex Tape and I can't wait for The Trip to Italy. Have you seen the first one?

Patrick: I still haven't seen The Trip, so I'm less excited to see The Trip to Italy. Isn't this the one where Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon get a hotel room and fight for 30 minutes? I'm not ready for that.

Adam Riske: Yup, that’s the one! BTW…Before Midnight almost ruins the Before series for me. I really don’t like that movie.

The comedy I want to see the most is the aforementioned Let’s Be Cops. I love Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. in comedy and the idea seems super funny to me.

The Fault in Our Stars

Adam Riske: I can't wait to cry like a big meow at The Fault in Our Stars, because how do you give the big C to Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort?

Patrick: I don't share your enthusiasm for The Fault in Our Stars, mostly because I have an aversion to disease movies. But it's also because I started to read the plot summary and the characters are named Hazel and Gus. 19-year old wannabe screenwriter me calls Douche Chills on that one.

Adam Riske: Haha, Hazel and Gus. Their friends are probably Schlomo and Hilda. The movie also stars Laura Dern, Mike Birbiglia and Willem Dafoe, so I’m pretty sure I cast the movie myself.

Indie Movies
Adam Riske: Before I forget, I want to give a shout out to The Sacrament, Life Itself and Happy Christmas, which will all be out this summer on VOD. Check those out. They range from "wow" to "very good."

Patrick: Yes! Summer is often a good time for counter programming. Most of that will be on VOD these days because the BIG movies take up all the real estate, but I'm ok with that. I'm crazy excited to see The Sacrament. I also am interested in Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. That's not the same thing as Richard Linklater's manhood, which I'm also excited to see.

AR: I don't know how to feel about Boyhood (or manhood, still figuring THAT ONE out). Isn't it just basically the 7 Up Series? Or the Sprite series? Some other indies I think sound promising are Obvious Child (a new comedy with former SNL cast member Jenny Slate), The Double (with Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska), The Signal (sci-fi movie with Laurence Fishburne), Snowpiercer (the long-awaited next movie from Bong Joon-Ho), Wish I Was Here (Zach Braff’s follow-up to Garden State) and Magic in the Moonlight (the new Woody Allen movie).

Jersey Boys and Lucy

Adam Riske: A couple of movies I’m looking forward to -- which sort of surprises me -- is Lucy, which looks like a really interesting idea, and Jersey Boys. I think the trailer for the latter is pretty rough but I realized just recently how big of a fan I am of the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Oddly enough, what sells me on wanting to see Jersey Boys the most is the jokes about it from The Other Guys.

Patrick: That trailer...the talking to the camera...the accents..."You're not from Jersey..." YIKES.

The Worst
Patrick: I hate to get all negative and complainy about what movies I'm least looking forward to, especially when most of my picks are probably pretty obvious -- Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Adam Sandler Listens to Classic Rock and Goes to Hooters: The Movie.

What about you? What summer movies are you dreading but know you'll see them anyway?

Adam Riske: So I'm dreading Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but will see it because sometimes it's good to be mad at things. But not Transformers mad. I'm done with that series. I don't even want to have an opinion on them anymore. I'll see A Million Ways to Die in the West but I don't know why. I guess to laugh? I’ll also see Maleficent, because someone has to and because Elle Fanning, who is a really good actress, is in it. I know you're all pumped because you’re such a huntsman.

The Expendables 3

Adam Riske: I’m going to see The Expendables 3 against every impulse of my better judgment.

Is the most exciting part of the Expendables experience when they announce casting? Because I think it's all downhill from there with the exception of Van Damme in part 2.

Patrick: Once the cast is announced for The Expendables, the work is done. They should just keep announcing dream casts and then not making the movies. They're never as good as the cast.

Who would you still like to see announced in an Expendables movie that doesn't get made?

Adam Riske: That’s easy: Keanu.

How to Train Your Dragon 2
Adam Riske: What do you think about How to Train Your Dragon 2? I think I was supposed to love the first one but even though I didn't, so now I have to watch the original and the sequel to feel secure in my opinion.

Patrick: Here's the weird thing about How to Train Your Dragon. I didn't see it in the theater but caught up with it on Blu-ray and really, really liked it. I regretted not seeing it theaters. So now the sequel is coming out and I can correct that mistake, but I'm STILL not really excited to see it. What gives, Toothless?

I am now calling you Toothless.

Adam Riske: Can I go by Toofless? Because if I ain't gonna have no teef, I want it to be non-threatening and appealing?


Adam Riske: I'll also see Hercules to support The Rock (who needs my money I'm sure) and to support Brett Ratner and his hairy back comfort food movies.

Patrick: I keep waiting for Brett Ratner to make a movie that justifies my defending him. He hasn't done it since the early 2000s. Now I can't picture anything but his hairy back. Unless I picture him sitting in a robe, dropping shrimp into his mouth and flashing his dick to a horrified Olivia Munn. Attack of the Show indeed.

The Purge: Anarchy

Patrick: I still haven't seen The Purge, but I'm weirdly excited to see The Purge: Anarchy. Is something wrong with me?

Adam Riske: If you watch The Purge it will cure you of your excitement to see its sequel.

Sin City 2
Adam Riske: And finally, there’s Sin City 2. Because "Hartigan. I'm your partner. I ain’t going out like that. I'm getting on the horn and calling for backup. Think of Eileen. You should go home to Eileen." I read a quote from Frank Miller who said that Jessica Alba is 9x the actress she was in the first movie. I want to see what that is. How did he come up with 9x?

Patrick: What's 9 x 0?

In Summation

Patrick: Here's how I feel about the summer movies: You can pick any one you want, as long as it's unique and amazing. Like you.

Adam Riske: A girl once told me she thought I was perfect because I said I didn’t play video games. My answer back applies to this summer’s movies: “Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll find a way to disappoint you.”

Your turn, guys and girls. Patrick and I want to know: what movies you are looking the most forward to this summer?


  1. When we talked about Godzilla at the beginning of the year, Adam, I didn't expect good things from it and was much more excited about other movies. But now here we are a few weeks out from Godzilla and I'm very excited about that movie and don't find myself looking forward to any of the other movies I thought I was excited about. Even X-Men: Days of Future Past has been overshadowed for me by the Singer controversy. Hopefully my low expectations for most of the summer's movies will work in my favor.

    Great stuff, fellas.

  2. I've heard super good things about Godzilla and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (including, I think, better effects on the latter), so I'm amped for those two. I'll of course see X-Men: DoFP, but my excitement for it has lessened as its relase date has approached, for some reason. I'm also way on board for 22 Jump Street, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and even Sin City 2. Yea, sequels!

    Good talk!

  3. Looking forward to Godzilla and The Sacrament especially, but I find my biggest excitement as we head into summer isn't for theatrical releases, rather it's the excitement of anticipating whatever shape this year's (30) Stars of Summer/Junesploitation will take. It's always a challenge, but it's always rewarding and for me it's fast becoming the cornerstone of the summer movie season.

  4. I don't think any summer movie this year has me as excited as I was for Man of Steel last year so...maybe that's a good thing?

    You're so right about the marketing for Godzilla - were it not for the trailers my interest would be tepid at best, but at this point it's what I'm most looking forward to. Followed closely by GotG and RotPotA (yeesh).

    As always though I'm trying to stay positive about everything until I see it and there's at least a lot of potential out there this summer!

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  6. Low expectations are the boon of my summer movie going experience. At this point Godzilla is the only one I retain some level of excitement for. I would feel it for Dragon 2, but I'm so angry that the trailer gives away a huge plot development for no good reason. It's How to Train Your Dragon Dreamworks, people are going to come even if you just put the title on a black screen. Why are trailers ruining our ability to see a movie for the first time?

  7. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (because of the first one IS good, with good FX. Stop being Wrong)
    Godzilla (because sometimes marketing gets it right)
    GOTG (because Gunn)
    TMNT (because im a kid of the 80s and I like to masturbate with a cheese grater)

    You havent seen The Trip? you must. its so good. and The Trip to Italy is shaping up to be just as good. The Trip is more than imitations and arguments, its about the value of art and its contribution to self worth, being an artist vs being an entertainer, and questioning a full but ongoing career. Its quite introspective and impressive. The Trip to Italy seems to be taking that a step further and is raising questions about life in general now that they are on the top of the hill about to be over it and looking back. but, the TV show is better than the movie. You still need to see it though.

    Im an unashamed Coogan Groupie. The man can do no wrong. AH-HA!

    1. I like RotPota just fine -- I didn't LOVE it.

      I know The Trip isn't just arguing. I was making a joke about a different movie.

      Please don't look forward to TMNT.

    2. Good. gooooood.

      Oh, ah, Yeah, i know. Jokes! ha

      I know you're right. But its the turtles! remember when i had that massive stack of collector cards from the first movie that got nicked by some kid through the activity room window while I was on lunchtime detention leaving a hole in my heart that Ive struggled to fill ever since? Remember? This could fill that hole! This! COULD!

    3. Coogan! I will see the new one right away because I saw the awful 2007 TMNT movie first show with my cousin on the day before his wedding day. I remember his now-wife was incredulous to us going to Turtles but we didn't see how it was even an option not to see it. TMNT (2007) sucks btw.

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  9. Do you ever have those movies that feel like they were made specifically FOR YOU? That is the Expendables series for me. I can recognize they are not great movies, or even great action movies really, but damn I love them for giving me what I spent so many years hoping for. CANNOT WAIT for EX-3 (Yeah, I called it EX-3).

    1. Knowing what I know about you Matt from the comments, I feel like you deserve better than The Expendables 1 & 2. Here's hoping, for all of us, that part 3 really nails it.

  10. I am looking forward to Godzilla and X-Men I suppose. Godzilla does have a great trailer, a solid cast, and good hype surrounding it. I just hope it leaves us with something that puts it above its "okay" contemporaries like Pacific Rim.

    For X-Men I just love the cast, and it sort of has a Game of Thrones mentality to me, where the interactions between characters is often more interesting than the story itself. Although to be honest I don't like Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, in part because she has so many cringe inducing lines (like the one at the end of one of the trailers).

    Also looking forward to Guardians, in more of an unknown quantity. I don't know what to expect from it, which is maybe a good thing. Hopefully they allowed Gunn free rein over the project, and didn't force him to make just another Marvel movie.

    I am sure I'll be forced to see Transformers, TMNT, and The Expendables. I haven't liked any of their predecessors, and I doubt there will be much change to any of these new entries.

    To be quite honest though the movies I am dying to see aren't out until the fall with Interstellar and Gone Girl leading the pack.

  11. Hate to be a broken record, but yeah, I am that guy who's genuinely really looking forward to more Amazing Spider-Man. Though I've never been a comics reader, Spider-Man has always been my favorite superhero on principle (the proper answer to the age-old "Bats or Supes?" question is, you guessed it, "Spidey"), and for all its imperfections, I just really love pretty much everything about ASM1. If I had to choose to highlight just one factor, it'd be that while Maguire always played a boring dweeb, Garfield has always played a cool geek. He's easily the most engaging hero personality since Downey's Tony Stark. Plus, Emma Stone. 'Nuff said.

    Days of Future Past should be good also, but after trying and failing to complete a second viewing of The Wolverine (once the novelty of the first go-round wears off, it's really pretty dull fluff) a while ago, I'm not hugely psyched for more Logan Scissorhands. I have no idea why anyone would want more Godzilla, but even I'll admit the trailers have been artful. (But then, so were Man of Steel's.)

    I haven't watched any GotG previews or read any of the comics, so apart from that one cast photo, I'll be seeing it pretty completely cold, which I find very cool - how often does that happen with such a big movie?

    Finally, I'm super psyched for the last four episodes of Arrow's second season. Seriously, this series is amazing in its relentless pace and operatic character drama, and Stephen Amell is started to display some very impressive acting; he's the real deal. With weekly thrills like this, summer is actually going to seem like a cooldown period!

    1. As a DC guy im really into Arrow too. I dont think im anywhere near your level of admiration for it but I am digging it, more from the dc fan side of things. They are certainly taking it in some interesting directions this season.

  12. Will see Edge of Tomorrow but expect it to follow the same path as Oblivion: summer sci-fi future-Earth movie that's marketed for six months only to receive the "It's fine" stamp of approving indifference. Looking forward to Emily Blunt: Action Star. Is Tom Cruise supposed to look like CGI?

    GotG looks like fun.

    Does "The Day After Yesterday" sound like a good title for a summer blockbuster?

    1. Good call on the Oblivion vibe for Edge of Tomorrow. It's like a magazine - your level of excitement for the next issue is based on your reaction to the last one.

  13. Guardians of the Galaxy is at the top of my list because I love the actors and am coming around on Super. Also, not sure when it is coming out, only date I can find is the Sundance premiere, but Whiplash looks fantastic and I am a fan of Miles Teller.

    1. Yeah, I really want to see Whiplash. Hopefully that comes out soon :-)