(ways to spend time inside…)
This is the first of a 3-part summer movie preview.
Going to the theater (I recommend Arclight Theaters)
It’s no secret that I LOVE the movie theater. It’s big. It’s roomy. It’s dark. For the most part, it’s quiet. Who gives a shit about $4 sodas, $5 popcorn and crowds of people? Go to the airport and these movie theater prices will seem like a bargain. AND the crowds are more well behaved. It is that shared experience of laughter and fright, that huge screen and deep, rumbling bass that shakes the theater which makes a trip to the movie theater a fun night out. AND, if you add cocktails to the mix, it can be one hell of a good time.
Before we begin, I want to mention one of the funniest times I’ve had with my “Cocktails & Movie” group. Years ago, when “Chicken Little” (with Zach Braff voicing Chicken Little) came out, a group of about 12 of us decided on a three hour happy hour before the movie started on a Friday night. We were NOT expecting the huge crowd of children and parents that night, but damn were those kids funny! I don’t think there was a parent in the theater who didn’t turn around at us at some point to figure out why there was a group of drunk 30-somethings laughing 10 seconds AFTER the funny part that happened on the screen… Good times.
If you want to be included in a Cocktails and Movies outing with a fun group of people, usually held on Sunday afternoons at the Arclight Beach Cities for the 4 p.m.-ish showings, please email email@example.com or post a comment. I won’t share your email with anyone; I don’t have the time…
I thought of one long column today about the whole summer schedule, but it’s Friday, so you’ll only get June. And, you’ll like it.
These are June’s movie picks to see. I’ve not been invited for advanced screenings of any of these films (ATTENTION MOVIE STUDIOS!!!!!), so my reviews are based on trailers and general gut feelings. As always at this site, my opinion is correct. Feel free to contradict, but home field advantage here gives me the tie:
June 1st (In Limited Release, unfortunately)
Piranha 3DD – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XIyJO6vf3c
You’re not going to get Shakespeare here. If movie posters are worth a 1000 words, then this film will probably have: scantily clad, buxom women, impossibly bloodthirsty fish terrorizing impossibly buxom women in a North American lake and some “killer” dialogue. If you haven’t seen the first one, (Piranha 3D), don’t worry. You’re not missing anything – besides Jerry O’Connell as a sleazy “Girls Gone Wild” type producer. Ving Rhames does make a return as the deputy who lost his legs in the first movie. Look for lots of boobs, and appearances by Christopher Lloyd (“Great Scott, Marty, look at those Piranhas!!!) reprising his role as the knowledgeable fish guy, as well as cameos by Gary Bussey and David Haselhoff – playing himself, the “Hoff.” Even though I am probably 3x times the intended age of this film chronologically, maturity wise I am in that sweet spot AND I can buy my own ticket as it is RATED R.
Suggested cocktail of choice for this film: cocktail? This one is PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) all the way, people!
June 8th (Opening wide release)
Prometheus – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0WUpsErUBA
I’ve been eagerly anticipating the arrival of this movie ever since the world was made aware that Ridley Scott, the director of the original “Alien,” was working on bringing this “not to be called” prequel to the silver screen. I have no idea if it will reveal the secrets that were left open in the original film – who was that big dude sitting in the chair of that alien spaceship before the crew of the Nostromo (who apparently didn’t watch any of Earth’s horror films from the 1980’s and 1990’s) decided to inspect the unknown alien eggs? But, this movie does look fun! Ridley Scott (“Bladerunner,” “Alien,” “Blackhawk Down,” “Gladiator”) is excellent at bringing sci-fi to the screen with nuanced noirish-ness, using human emotions well, so that a lot of the time he does a great job of suspending the disbelief that most times is inherent in a sci-fi film. Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender (“Shame,” “X-Men: First Class”) and Idris Elba (“The Wire”) make for a great, moody cast.
Suggested cocktail of choice for this film: I tried to put my mind into the heads of the explorers in the film, and since real absinthe is out of the question (legally, that is), I went with Midori sours to drink something green, as they always do in sci-fi films.
(Also, In Limited Release)
Safety Not Guaranteed – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73jSnAs7mq8
Also opening the week of June 8th, is this small, limited-release film called “Safety Not Guaranteed.” From the producers of “Little Miss Sunshine” and starring Aubrey Plaza (who plays the FANTASTIC April Ludgate on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”) and Mark Duplass (F/X’s “The League”), this film has all the makings of a charming, funny, smart little film that could make noise next January/February when awards nominations are announced…
Suggested cocktail of choice: be your own man/woman! It’s an indie film. Go for that drink that you NEVER try and then have a few, sit back and enjoy.
June 15th (Wide release films, unfortunately for all of us…)
Rock of Ages – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT_Ytd21mKg
Tom Cruise as an 80’s rocker… Hmmm. I HAVE heard that my lady friends are gathering up a group to go see this movie and I can’t suggest a drink more appropriate to go see this movie than straight up Jack Daniel’s so that you can forget it afterward. Look, eventually I had no problem with Mr. Cruise taking the lead role of the vampire Lestat in Anne Rice’s “Interview With the Vampire,” but couldn’t we let someone with more rock and roll gravitas star in this movie? When I think of rock and roll movie stars, I DON’T think of Tom Cruise. Still, this movie will probably do well. You are bound to see many local news reports interviewing middle aged women who have left their husbands and boyfriends at home in order to act all bachelorette-party-ish in a theater and gush over “how much they loved the musical” and “can’t wait to see the movie.” They’ll have another chance to act this way again in two weeks with Channing Tatum…
Cocktail of choice for this “movie:” If you’re a woman, whatever you want. If you’re the guy forced to go along with said woman try Jack Daniel’s, neat. Repeat several times.
That’s My Boy – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPV2L2CGWdQ
I really can’t say anything good about this movie. I really do like Andy Samberg from SNL. He did give us the SNL digital short craze (“Chronic -What?-les of Narnia,” “Dick in a Box,” etc.), but hitching your horse up to Adam Sandler for your first big project isn’t the greatest idea… There are some who will go see this, but Sandler’s steadfast movie supporters are all grown up now and not about to go see Sandler’s pratfalls and hijinx anymore if they have girlfriends and those girlfriends are asking them to take them to see “Rock of Ages…”
Cocktail of choice: if you still have anything left in the bottle of JD, consume it before you buy the tix, then see if you are still okay to see the film.
June 22nd (Wide Release)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZp7eBStN1U
Based on the new wave of novels taking historical figures and great pieces of literature and combining them with the popular monsters – vampires, werewolves and zombies, (“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is undoubtedly shooting), this film actually caught my eye for its director. Starring Benjamin Walker as Abraham Lincoln, it follows his hereto unknown career as a vampire hunter. Written by Seth Grahame-Smith, based on his own novel, it is directed by Timur Bekmambetov, who is one of Russian’s greatest sci-fi/thriller directors with such great movies as “Night Watch,” “Day Watch” – both fantastic Russian films, as well as “Apollo 18” and “Wanted” here in the U.S.
Cocktail of choice: Several rounds of good American Bourbons for everyone!
Also opening for the kids this weekend:
I was more than a little upset that they showed this trailer before the “Avengers,” as I didn’t see the connection between this movie and the the superhero flick, but I guess it’s got something to do with little girls feeling empowered or something. Listen, marketing geniuses – the people seeing the “Avengers” aren’t the ones who are going to go see “Brave.” But, I digress, and I don’t have the job deciding where trailers go, (sigh). This movie comes to us from Pixar, usually pretty good with movies, but I just don’t see it here. Even though I don’t have kids or know many kids, I don’t hear the clamor for seeing this movie like I did with “Toy Story,” “Cars,” or “Wall-E,” etc. Still, if you have kids, you’re probably going to see this.
Cocktail of choice: What? You’re going to drink and take your kids to a movie?!?! What are you, an asshole? Seriously, you are a poster person for “parental licensing.” Dick.
June 29th – the end of the month
Magic Mike – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMU7s6cwxEM
What’s really going to blow your mind is that this is directed by Steven Soderbergh (yes, THAT Soderbergh – “Ocean’s 11,” et al, “Michael Clayton,” “Syrianna” and so forth)!! Channing Tatum is slowly beginning to grow on me, much the same way that Mark Wahlberg and Justin Timberlake have done. All three had other careers before they turned into actors. Walhberg and Timberlake were “boy band” lead singers who transformed into pretty goddamned good actors in their own right. Tatum, while he still has a lot of work to do in honing his skills, is at home in this film as he was once a male stripper. (If you want to see him not stretch himself too far acting wise, watch him in “21 Jump Street” with Jonah Hill. Not much to it, but he’s hilarious.) In this film he plays a popular stripper with aspirations to get beyond that lifestyle. This film is like his autobiography and you think he should be able to nail it! Look for well known names like Matt Bomer (USA’s “White Collar”), Matthew McConaughey, and Olivia Munn as Tatum’s love interest.
Cocktail of choice: look, you’re probably going because YOUR love interest is dissatisfied with you and needs some eye candy for the night. Take her to a nice restaurant, wine and dine her and you’ll get what you want… (Yes, I am single, what about it?)
Ted – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxKfC77XAp8 (RED BAND TRAILER – NSFW!!!)
No movie has captured my buddy Eric’s attention more than this movie from Seth McFarlane (“Family Guy,” “American Dad”) who wrote it, directs it and gives the voice to Ted, a stuffed bear that Mark Wahlberg, (see? GREAT actor), has refused to give up even into his adult life. Now, thanks to an impending marriage, he must confront letting go of his childhood friend. (Women!) Thanks to Paramount Picture’s incredibly flawed, and therefore shelved until 2013 “GI JOE: Retaliation,” this movie has been moved up a few weeks. I couldn’t be more excited as well. That the bear is alive and smokes pot and drinks with Wahlberg’s arrested development John character is besides the point. So am I. This movie isn’t pretending to be anything that what it is. I think that the Red Band trailer I put up is enough to give you an idea what you’re going to get here.
Cocktail of choice for this film: look, you’re not going into this movie having been drinking. You’re going to be out in the parking lot, with the rest of the “Family Guy” devotees looking out for the cops. Grab a soda to go with your munchies.
Until next month, movie goers!