Thursday, April 4, 2019

Reserved Seating Previews the 2019 Summer Movie Season

by Adam Riske and Rob DiCristino
The review duo who are the Butch & Sundance of stealing from ice cream trucks.

Adam: Welcome to Reserved Seating. I’m Adam Riske.

Rob: And I’m Rob DiCristino.
Adam: This week, Rob and I are discussing the upcoming Summer Movie Season. We’re each picking three movies we’re looking forward to checking out and some we don’t think look all that great. Let’s get started.

My most anticipated movie this summer is coming out on July 26th, and that’s Quentin Tarantino’s latest, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Despite controversy, Tarantino is still the filmmaker whose movies I get most excited about before I see them. His latest looks terrific (based on the first trailer) and features a cast stacked with actors I dig like Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and (of course) Mr. Al Pacino. The prospect of seeing Pacino utilized well in a Quentin Tarantino movie puts a big smile on my face. To be completely honest, I’m dreading the Manson aspect of the film. I avoid that story in popular culture deliberately (modern true crime gets to me). It’ll be interesting to see how Tarantino tackles the tragic story of Sharon Tate. Maybe in a revisionist way like he did with Inglourious Basterds? Would that be disrespectful or humane? I’m sure he figured it out. Anyways, it’s nice to see auteur cinema being released in the summer.
Rob: There’s not much else I can say about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It’s easily my most anticipated movie of the summer. I just hope the second trailer features a big, Spider-Man-esque Pacino reveal. Once I get that, I’ll be all set.

My first pick is John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum. I love that this series blocks out all the noise around it, keeps its head down, earns our trust, and spends that currency in the most audacious and bombastic ways possible. I love the addition of Anjelica Huston as the Director, and I’m always rooting for Halle Berry to find a role that rewards her considerable talent. Have you noticed some revisionist contrarianism going on recently about Chapter 2? I’ve seen a bit of it floating around. I don’t know why we’re looking this particular gift horse in the mouth, but whatever. Both John Wick films are glorious, tragic ballets of violence, and I have no reason to believe Parabellum will be anything else. John Wick on a horse? Hell yes. My only major concern is the absence of my girl Ruby Rose. Seems like we’ve traded her in for Jason Mantzoukas as a character called “Tick Tock Man,” though, which I’ll consider an even exchange.
Adam: People have turned on John Wick: Chapter 2? Is this a regional thing? I would have once been annoyed about this, but nowadays I pity those people. These movies are awesome. They’re good throwbacks while at the same time also working as trendsetting action cinema. When I’m watching a John Wick movie I get giddy, like his is the only quest that matters anymore. Great choice!

My next pick is Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame. Around the time of Infinity War, I turned around and started to appreciate the MCU more than before because it really is an achievement when considered as a whole. The filmmakers backed themselves into a corner with the ending of Infinity War so at the most basic level I want to see how they handle paying off the situation they set up. Also, I’m kind of excited that the runtime of this movie is supposed to be 3 hours and 2 minutes. I love three-hour movies (there’s a presumption they will take their time and tell a full, epic story) and I think movie fans are getting a little carried away these days about wanting movies to be short. It’s like people complaining about the length of baseball games. Why do you want less of something you enjoy? Anyways, I’m excited to see who pops in Endgame. One of the best parts of these mash-up movies is seeing which characters shine.
Rob: Let me put it this way: There are plenty of legitimate criticisms to be made about each individual Marvel movie and the overall effect the series has had on the collective identity of tentpole blockbusters, but anyone who argues that the MCU isn’t a monumental achievement in filmmaking is flat-out kidding themselves. It’s bigger than Star Wars. It’s bigger than Harry Potter. It’s bigger than James Bond. The cultural impact is undeniable. There is an entire generation of future filmmakers who are going to be doing what they do because they saw Iron Man connect to Captain America: The First Avenger connect to The Avengers, and so on. They’ll build on what inspired them and push the envelope even further. I see these bloviating think pieces on the narrative failures of Infinity War and think, “My god, look how spoiled we are.” These people have forgotten how movies work and would have hated The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. I am beyond excited for Endgame.

My next pick is Booksmart, the feature directorial debut of Olivia Wilde. I don’t know too much about it yet, but the trailer pitches it as a kind of female-driven neo-Superbad, and reviews out of South by Southwest have compared it favorably to teen coming-of-age comedies like Eighth Grade, Lady Bird, and the surprisingly-good Blockers. There seems to be a little bit of Thoroughbreds mixed in there, too. Even if it’s a little disheartening to realize I’m too old to really connect with teenage stories anymore, I’m really happy to see the genre evolving to reflect the sensibilities of its target audience. Leads Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein — neither of whom I think I’ve seen in too much else? — pop right out of that first trailer. I’m definitely putting this one high on my list.
Adam: The worst thing I could have done regarding Booksmart is what I did, and that’s watch its trailer back-to-back with the trailer for Good Boys. They both look like neo-Superbad, both have Molly Gordon (who looks like a next-gen Emma Stone, so of course I’m sold), and both feature the song “Nobody Speak” by DJ Shadow featuring Run the Jewels (I can’t believe I just had to write that) in the trailer. I so hope the same person put these trailers together and was subtly rebelling. That aside, I’m happy this is a new career success for the awesome Olivia Wilde and I’ve been a fan of both Dever and Feldstein before, so it’s a pairing I’m interested seeing in another movie.

My next pick is Midsommar, which is the new horror movie directed by Ari Aster (Hereditary), starring Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, and Will Poulter. There’s a lot that clicks with me so far based on the trailer and early word: the cast, this movie being a follow-up to such a strong horror debut by Aster, The Wicker Man vibe I’m getting from the early footage, and Aster’s recent description of the film as “Wizard of Oz for perverts.” I can’t wait.
Rob: I hadn’t actually seen the trailer until just now, and yeah, that’s got a nice Wicker Man/The Witch vibe going. And Pugh! I know how much Pugh means to you, so I’m definitely rooting for this one. It’s great to see a voice like Ari Aster establish itself so quickly. Two films in two years? Again, look how spoiled we are. Can we talk for a second about how much more time the A24 logo is taking up in each new trailer they cut? It’s like the 20th Century Fox fanfare for Film Twitter.

My last pick is The Dead Don’t Die, a new...let me see if I have this right...zombie comedy from Jim Jarmusch. There’s no trailer yet (not that I could find, anyway), but the cast includes Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Selena Gomez, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Chloe Sevigny, Carol Kane, Tom Waits, and Caleb Landry Jones. That’s good enough for me. Quick question: What did you think of Only Lovers Left Alive? I don’t think I had the patience for it in 2013, but given Jarmusch’s return to genre this year, I think I should give it another shot. Also, is it weird that my first Jarmusch film was Ghost Dog? I have a friend who was obsessed with it in high school. I wonder if that’s also worth a revisit.
Adam: I just heard about The Dead Don’t Die this week. That’s a great cast. I haven’t seen a ton of Jim Jarmusch movies (I have seen Dead Man, Ghost Dog, Broken Flowers, Only Lovers Left Alive, and Paterson) and I like 3-½ of those movies. Ghost Dog might have been my first Jarmusch movie too (can’t remember if it was that or Dead Man). Anyways, Ghost Dog is my favorite of the bunch. He’s an interesting filmmaker. Personally, I’m not a fan of Only Lovers Left Alive, but I know I’m in the minority opinion on that movie. For everything I like about it (Yelchin, Wasikowska) there’s vampires or Tom Hiddleston, which I’m not really into.

A few runners-up of other movies I’m looking forward to: Long Shot, starring Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen, Ma with Olivia Spencer, Toy Story 4, even though I think they’re out of story to tell in that franchise, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and Blinded by the Light, which sounds like a Sing Street type of movie centered on the music of Bruce Springsteen. I hope that one is normal-reverent and not scary-reverent like the fan hosts on E Street Radio. Did you have any others you were anticipating?

Rob: Agreed on Ma and Long Shot. Spider-Man: Far From Home is opening weekend for me. Not even Velvet Buzzsaw can dilute my Gyllenhaalia. Angel Has Fallen and Shaft will be out of morbid curiosity, and I cannot wait to rent 47 Meters Down: Uncaged out of a Redbox. I also can’t help but notice we’re both whistling past Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. The less said about that, the better.

Adam: That’s one of the two movies I’m dreading most this summer that I know I’ll still wind up seeing. I hate that two characters who helped ruin my beloved Fast & Furious movies are getting a Brawndo victory lap. Deckard Shaw killed Han! Hobbs was the manifestation of the F&F series turning into a bullshit show on the USA Network with hacker shitheads. I hope Hobbs & Shaw flops and Vin Diesel wins back the hearts and minds with F&F 9. Truthfully (to me), the series ended with Furious 7 and everything after is some Fantastic Beasts bullshit.

The other one I’m dreading is Men in Black: International. I think Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are so essential to that original movie working that replacing them with Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson can’t help but feel J.V. I like both actors, but these roles are owned elsewhere. I’d rather see them as buddy cops in a different, original movie.

A few more thoughts before we close:

1. Is it just me or does Pokémon: Detective Pikachu look fun?
2. Rocketman looks hilarious.
3. Why are they still making X-Men movies?
4. Why isn’t it called Shafts? (P.S. that’s not my original joke, but it’s a great question.)
5. Do you think Annabelle Comes Home will have jump scares?
6. What is the message of the movie Yesterday? That if you love something enough you should steal it and claim it as your own?
7. Where does Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book end and The Lion King begin?

Rob: I’m pretty much done with Fast & Furious, so I’ll wait for your report on Hobbes & Shaw. You made a hilarious comment about all Sony trailers looking the same, so now I can’t take MIB: International seriously. As for the rest, I’ll close with this bit of wisdom from the Rocketman trailer: “You have to kill the person you were born to be in order to be the person you want to be.” That’s an actual line of dialogue in an upcoming major motion picture. What are we doing next week?

Adam: Next week our baseball series returns with Eight Men Out, a movie I’ve avoided my whole life because it’s about how my Chicago White Sox once threw the World Series after they got bad advice from the Rocketman trailer.

Rob: Until next time…

Adam: These seats are reserved.


  1. Update: THE DEAD DON'T DIE now has a trailer:

    1. Wait wait wait whaaat?! What is this movie, how have I not heard about it, how do I watch it immediately?!

  2. I saw Long Shot on Monday, it's great & very sweet. Yeah, it should've been called Shafts of Triple Shafted!

  3. I love your final thoughts/questions. We need these answers! I love everything here, really!