Thursday, June 22, 2017

Riske Business: Random Thoughts on 2017 Movies (July-August)

by Adam Riske
Some interesting things on the horizon…and some whatevers.

The Big Sick – Could this movie have any more going for it? It stars Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter and Ray Romano; it’s produced by Judd Apatow, is directed by Michael Showalter and has terrific reviews/festival buzz. I watched the trailer for The Big Sick and thought halfway “I’d see this,” and then they play the U2 song “Wild Honey” and I’m crying. Note: This is actually coming out in late June, but I didn’t know that at the time of the May-June preview. That probably saved a someone correcting me in the comments!

Spider-Man: Homecoming – I thought Tom Holland was a good Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, Marvel movies are usually entertaining and I love the character, so why am I not that excited for this? I think it’s because I hold the Raimi movies so close to my heart. They’ll always be my Spider-Man movies. I think Homecoming will be solid because 2017 has been the best year in a long time for superhero movies.

A Ghost Story – I’ve yet to see the unparalleled genius that is David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pete’s Dragon) that most people have, so I’m not expecting to like his latest as much as critics and festival audience have so far. I’ll see it based on the buzz, but this has all the earmarks of one of those movies where I drive an hour to Chicago to see the movie and then think afterwards “Why the hell did I drive an hour to see this?” Also, the trailer for A Ghost Story must be stopped. Like many indie trailers, it has the most pretentious pull quotes from reviews (e.g. “A Meditative Poem about the Enormity of Time”….barf). Also, this movie has a character wearing overalls that says the line “A writer writes a novel, a songwriter writes a song…we do what we can…to endure.” You can’t just say things and expect them to be THE ANSWER. Grow up. Stop whining. I hope I’m wrong about all of this and I like the movie. I just really get douche chills from that trailer.

Patti Cake$ - This look so Fox Searchlight. By that, I mean generic indie nonsense. I want to see just one of these up-and-coming artists movies where the person is not that good and they don’t go anywhere (or find catharsis) because they’re just not that good. That movie would be revolutionary.
War for the Planet of the Apes – At risk of pissing people off, I don’t “like” these new Apes movies all that much. I recognize they are of quality, but they’re such joyless affairs that I have trouble wanting to revisit this world. I get that they’re intentionally despairing, but these are way more self-serious than the original Apes series, which had some camp value too as well as sci-fi allegory. I’ll still see it, but I’m not excited really. Sorry, everyone. I know this franchise is beloved. Hope the fans dig it.

Wish Upon – A horror movie about wishes should be up my alley, but this looks too stupid even though I like stupid. There is no way Wish Upon can top Wishmaster (unless it’s a secret Wishmaster sequel…could it be??) so why bother? Also, fuck this movie for life for just reusing the tagline from Wishmaster. Big shoes to fill, Joey King!

The Little Hours – I’m a fan of many of the performers in The Little Hours (especially Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza and Dave Franco), but the “let’s curse a lot because we’re naughty” thing is old to me (see last summer’s Sausage Party for another example). Who knows? It may be great, but movies like this usually wear out their welcome pretty fast.

Dunkirk – I like Christopher Nolan movies (I think they are mostly good with greatness in them), and though I don’t count myself as a super-fan, I do recognize how important it is to celebrate a blockbuster director of his skill having a new release coming out. I hope Dunkirk blows me away like my favorites of his have (those are Insomnia, The Prestige, The Dark Knight and Inception).

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – I went through a single day where I was on Team Valerian big time, and then the Valerian Twitter account found out and said something dumb (i.e. I should see it in 3D) and I felt like Valerian was getting too involved and needed to back off. Visually, the movie looks great, but Luc Besson has fooled me with that before and I swear to G-D, Dane DeHaan better not fuck up another movie for me. That dude needs to course correct but quick or just get out of my house.
Girls Trip – I mean…I guess I want to see this more than Rough Night? It’s directed by Malcolm D. Lee (Undercover Brother, The Best Man’s Holiday) and I like those movies. Plus, the trailer does something that always gets me pumped (I don’t know why). It’s when they dole out the title one letter at a time and in between letters are a hot song (“That’s My Girl” by Fifth Harmony…shut up) and a barrage of moments from the movie. I’m weak in the face of marketing.

The Emoji Movie – WTF? It’s like Inside Out…but for your phone? I’m sure everyone is really trying hard with this one.

Atomic Blonde – I want to be more excited about this, but the dingy location setting makes it look like a visual drag. A stupid, nitpicky reason for sure. I’m there, though, for James McAvoy the Boutella (#MyBou), and I will watch Charlize Theron in action anything for life after Mad Max: Fury Road. She still is on my shit list for The Fate of the Furious but it won’t take much to get her off of it. I read she trained for this with Keanu Reeves when he was prepping for John Wick: Chapter 2. I’m not the first to say this, but if footage exists of them sparring, please include that as a post-credits scene.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power –I didn’t see the original, so I honestly don’t think I’ll go to this one. It’s not that I don’t care; I just can’t imagine watching this in a theater. I respect the hell out of this movie’s agenda, though, if that’s any consolation. It’s probably not.
The Dark Tower – When I heard about a Stephen King adaptation coming out this summer starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, I was excited about it. Then I saw the trailer, and my goodness does this look like hot garbage (that CGI..ugh); the kind only Sony could make. It looks more like R.I.P.D. than Stephen King. Are the books good? Fans of the book, are you feeling the same way as I am based on the trailer or do you think it appears they got it right?

Detroit – I’ll see Detroit, but if it weren’t directed by Kathryn Bigelow, I’m not sure I would. Her pedigree puts this one over the top for me. I’m also starting to become a big enough John Boyega fan where I perk up when I see he’s cast in something. I find his American accent soothing.

Wind River – I’m really looking forward to this one. It’s a mystery thriller starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen written (and directed this time) by writer Taylor Sheridan, the man behind great works like Sicario and Hell or High Water. Those two movies made my top 10 lists in their respective year of release. Will this be three for three? Oh G-d, I just sounded like an entertainment reporter from the ‘90s just then. (Vomits)

Annabelle: Creation - This is the trailer that is currently getting on my nerves the most, and I’m a fan (one of few) of the first Annabelle. I don’t like the preview for two reasons – 1) Annabelle: Creation explicitly has a drop that this is the new chapter from The Conjuring universe, which just makes this sequel aggravate me, especially with movies of Conjuring spin-off characters like The Nun and The Crooked Man still on the way. 2) I’m tired of the faux-'70s aesthetic to horror. It’s done. James Wan moved on from it. I don’t need to see his Wanderers riff on the material. That said, Ouija: Origin of Evil was very good, so maybe I should just ignore the marketing and take these on a case by case basis. I don’t even know anymore. What was once fresh is now clichĂ©.

Ingrid Goes West – This dark comedy-drama starring Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen has an intriguing premise and trailer so I’m definitely in. It also comes from the new distributor, Neon, who made the really strong Colossal earlier this year. I’m hoping they become another A24.

The Glass Castle – I like Brie Larson. I like Woody Harrelson. I liked Short Term 12, but Destin Daniel Cretton’s follow-up, The Glass Castle, looks like Captain Fantastic, only more somber. Hard pass. Like the hardest pass. I’m not gonna watch it. Gimme a break. Get out of here with your sad bastard movie.

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature – I’m not going to see it because I’m an adult, but I have to give props to whoever came up with the title. It’s so dumb; like something I would have come up with to make you roll your eyes.

The Trip to Spain – I want to see this movie immediately. I’m a big fan of the series (which is sweet and funny and sad in all the right measures) and no male comedian makes me laugh harder than Steve Coogan right now (female comedian and ultimate champion is Kristin Wiig, in case you were wondering). I want to take trips and bullshit like this with my personal Rob (DiCristino…not Brydon). What do you say, bud? It’ll be like The Sausalito.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard – I’m glad the marketing pivoted from just making fun of The Bodyguard. That movie has some flaws, but it will probably still be better than The Hitman’s Bodyguard. Respect your elders. Hoping for the best with this action comedy since I like the cast (Samuel L. Jackson, Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek, Gary Oldman) most of the time. Just be fun and not over-plotted and we’re good.

Logan Lucky – With that cast (Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough) and the return of Steven Soderbergh as a feature film director, this movie could be about anything and I would see it. That it’s a heist comedy also makes Logan Lucky the movie I’m most looking forward to in August.

Tulip Fever – I usually wouldn’t be eager to see a Weinstein Company forbidden romance/costume drama starring Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz and Dane DeHaan, but it’s coming out on a slow weekend, so who knows what could happen?

Which July-August releases are you looking forward to?


  1. Ah, now I understand why you didn't really comment on War For the Planet of the Apes when I mentioned some upcoming releases I'm anticipating. I'm sorry that franchise hasn't been more of a hit for you, too. For me, I like my Planet of the Apes movies like I like my Batman movies: Dark and joyless.

    The Dark Tower has multiple things going for it that should have me squarely on board with the whole thing, but I just have a looming cloud of doubt about the whole thing. I hope I'm wrong and it's as awesome as it seems like it should be(though I have never read the books).

    Same goes for Spider-Man: Homecoming and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. I'm sure they will be fine...but I can't help but not be completely on board with them yet. I'm at least intrigued by Michael Keaton playing the villain in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

    Dunkirk, Detroit and The Big Sick, along with War For the Planet of the Apes, are some of my most anticipated movies of this part of the summer, so hopefully they all deliver at least to some degree.

  2. Replies
    1. Wait. Do I do any impressions? Shit, I don't do any impressions!

  3. - Adam and Rob should totally do a Reserved Seating on Menashe.

    - Looking forward to The Big Sick, Spider-man, War for the Planet of the Apes, Dunkirk, and Detroit.

    - I tend to watch movies with Aubrey Plaza in them. That resulted in me seeing Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and Dirty Grandpa last year. At some point I may need to revisit this policy.

    - There's an in-fiction reason for why The Dark Tower movie is different from The Dark Tower book. There is not an in-fiction reason why the trailer looks bad.

    1. I don't know, I just feel like there's a conversation there. Partially because in addition to watching every terrible summer blockbuster that comes out, you also make an effort to watch stuff like Lowriders and Slamma Jamma (even if you didn't end up getting a chance to see it). Granted those movies are ostensibly about cars and basketball respectively, but you don't shy away from movies that examine culture and faith.

      Plus depending on what's opening in your area your options that week might include Atomic Blonde and The Emoji Movie.

    2. I probably have to call Atomic Blonde. #HeavyActionLyfe

    3. Menashe looks interesting. Strong maybe.

  4. I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it because it annoys everyone, but if Girls Trip was titled "Bitches be Trippin" it would break $100M domestic. And I feel comfortable saying that because Queen Latifah says "Lets go bitch" like 10 times in the trailer.

  5. I don't like the idea that Spider-Man is a lesser character in the MCU than Iron Man; that Spider-Man (do you know, for my entire life I've spelled it in my head as Spiderman, like Superman or Batman. Why don't we say Super-Man or Bat-Man? Why isn't it Ironman, for that matter?) is almost a creation of Tony Stark's. Isn't 'Spidey' the most famous and beloved Marvel hero? Don't make the king of Marvel superherodom subservient to another person in your universe just because Robert Downey Jr. is popular, Columbia Pictures/Disney/whoever the cock makes these films nowadays.

  6. My enthusiasm for Spider-Man: Homecoming is at about 5%, and if I have to sit through another trailer for it, it's gonna drop to zero. I'm a big fan of the new Planet of the Apes, so War is pretty high on my list of things to see this summer. I'm cautiously optimistic about Dunkirk (the four Nolan movies you listed are also by far my favourites of his). I agree that Atomic Blonde looks a little bland, but I still gotta see it. Thanks for the heads up on Wind River! Hell of High Water was my favourite movie last year, so this one's a must-see. Super excited for The Big Sick and Logan Lucky. Probably gonna watch Girls Trip cuz the trailer made me laugh. I actually really dug the Dark Tower trailer. I liked but didn't love the books, but this one is probably the movie I'm most excited for this summer.

  7. Cillian Murphy in Dunkirk. Hey August - remember, Dirty Dancing!

  8. The Dark's hard to describe how immersive, vast, inventive, engrossing, seductive, and thought-provoking King's seven part series is. It's truly his magnum opus and will be regarded as a literary sci-fi-fantasy-western-adventure masterpiece as people catch up with it in time.

    That not The Dark Tower. I really can't describe how disappointed I was when I watched it. The tone...just wasn't right. Unfortunate.