Friday, April 21, 2017

Countdowns with The Rock Otaku 06: Top 10 Summer Movies I’m Most Excited and Least Excited For

Hello degenerates, heathens, weirdos, and deviants.  I am the Rock Otaku, and I’m here to show you worlds such as hard rock, metal, punk, alternative rock, movies, TV, anime, video games, and anything that makes us scream, shout, and let it all out.

As some of you may have noticed, I tend to have that opening slogan in my blogs when I do something big or based on a series, but I seem to only discuss the first two (and three after that when the opportunity arises) in my blog overall.  As for the others, they end up serving as times to make references or jokes in my main series.  And this is the main reason why I am now going to try to fit in more anime reviews, news, and countdowns into my blog.

You know what, I’ll use the extra week I’ve added to my time to make my LET THEM EAT METAL series bi-weekly to create a series of countdowns.  And they don’t have to be just about anime.  I can use this to mention movies, TV shows, episodes of shows, news, games, and even other musical artists I want to talk about but aren’t able to usually thanks to my current load.  But I’ve set my mind to movies this week.

Why?  Because in two weeks, the Summer Movie Season officially starts.  Yes, I’m aware that the “Summer Movie Season” has felt like it’s been pushed earlier into the year (with The Fate Of The Furious having come out this month and the releases last march) while also expanding into September a bit.  That and the kind of big, high-octane, wild blockbusters we’re used to are not being pushed into the holiday season.  But when you get to it, Summer Movies are the kind of movies that make us go, “Wow, did you see that movie, Jim?  It was so awesome, especially with the scene featuring a tank driving off a military plane.”  You know, big, dumb action movies and colorful family films.  Plus the occasional horror fare.  And all the genre movies that get loads of critical praise but are ignored by the dumb masses.

And this list is for my picks for the summer movies that I, myself and probably a few family and friends, are excited for the most.  The ones that I’ll try to check out this summer.  If you’re wondering about how this works, well here are some pointers:

1.    It has to come out between May 5th, 2017 and September 1st, 2017 (the Friday before Labor Day).
2.    My excitement has to be based around if the franchise it’s based on had great installments beforehand, or the cast and crew’s current resumes and premise if it’s not a sequel, reboot, or franchise film.
3.    If it’s getting a limited release, I have to be able to determine if it’s playing in the Atlanta, Georgia area (or where I’m at during the summer) during the set time frame.  Obviously wide releases won’t get that distinction.
4.    If I have some shred of optimism for the film, it has a chance to be on the “most excited for” list.  If not.

As a result, don’t expect certain big movies that’ll come out in November or December such as Coco, Justice League, Thor: Ragnarok or Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  This is all about the summer.  And because there are so many “big” movies coming out this summer, I’ll also have honorable mentions for those that don’t make the main list as well as, for the first time in forever, a dishonorable mentions list, which will be for the movies I have little-to-no faith in.

Anyway, let’s get to the main list:

10.       Despicable Me 3 (June 30)
It’s the new Despicable Me movie, the only film franchise where the whole Minion crap is at its tolerable.  Let me rephrase that.  When the focus of the plot is on Gru, Lucy, the girls, or anyone BUT the Minions, then the Minion stuff doesn’t hurt the movie.  And while the latest trailer revealed way too much of the plot, I do find the fact that Trey Parker of South Park fame playing the main antagonist here to be very amusing, especially with the 80s theme of the character.  Let’s just say that if nothing else, there’s a good chance of comedy from Steve Carell, Kirsten Wiig, and Trey Parker here to sustain the movie, and I think that (outside of Sing, which I didn’t see) this is the only thing Illumination Entertainment is good at.  I’m in, sort of.

9.         The Mummy (June 9)
Did we need another Mummy movie?  Well, this is the era of reboots and sequels.  And Universal is trying to have their own cinematic universe like Marvel, but with their classic monsters.  It’s as if this is trying to take what didn’t work about Dracula Untold, ignore it, then take a franchise that has a modern fan base because of its goofier aspects and fun moments and make it “dark and gritty.”  But when they get Tom Cruise to do a physically exhausting action movie, I’m in thanks to the last few Mission: Impossible movies and Edge of Tomorrow.  That and where I’m concerned is that the movie is removing Imhotep in favor of a female mummy who’s similar in appearance and personality to the version of Enchantress from Suicide Squad.  And that can be an issue to me as it makes the film feel like a studio effort rather than a directorial one.

8.         Wonder Woman (June 2)
It has been almost 75 years, and NOW we’re getting a Wonder Woman movie.  The good news is that Gal Gadot was pretty good, even if I wasn’t initially impressed with her in the role, as Wonder Woman while her Diana Prince was alright, so we know the superhero stuff will rock.  Also we have Patty Jenkins, the director of Monster, directing this, even if she hasn’t directed a theatrical movie since, and her last directing job was the pilot for Betrayal (and we know how that worked with George Lucas).  Plus the cast is great, with Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, David Thewlis, and Danny Huston playing major roles here.  And the plot does have an interesting idea of having Princess Diana’s first exposure to the world outside Themyscira being during World War I, and it does allow for an interesting concept of having a morally righteous character in a morally grey world (even if Man of Steel tried that then forgot that Superman was supposed to be completely good).  But if there’s a problem with this movie from the get go, the first part involves the DCEU being less-than-stellar currently, and that Warner Bros seems to be both trying to rush the franchise into Justice League and reactionary to the most basic of criticism towards their films, especially the tone, even if it’s really the storytelling and characterization that’s been bogging the movies down.  While I am super-scared that Warner Bros will screw this up and we end up calling Captain Marvel the first “true” female-led superhero movie, I’m still very interested in seeing this as the reasons for this existing will be more historical and meaningful to the post-Iron Man superhero movie landscape.

7.         Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (July 21)
Holy, holy crap does this look like a fun little space opera.  And it’s from the director of Leon The Professional, The Fifth Element, and Lucy, Luc Besson?  And it’s visually and thematically different from every other major blockbuster that’s out this summer OTHER than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2?  This seems like it’s not exactly going to be the best movie other.  But it does have the possibility of being the most visually striking movie of the year with a slightly more unique, almost animesque style to it.  And it’s French too, so there’s a sense that the international feel to it that will bring something interesting to the table of the Summer Blockbuster scene this year.  In short, I will definitely give this a shot.

6.         Alien: Covenant (May 19)
While Prometheus wasn’t the movie to set the world on fire and get audiences interested in a new prequel series to the Alien franchise while being its own thing, this film looks to remedy that.  With a great cast, a great concept of being a bridge between the aforementioned film and the first Alien, and Ridley Scott returning to truly helm something in the franchise that is distinctively Alien, I am already on board.  Yes, I should be a little cautious about this thanks to movies like Scott’s Exodus movie and Prometheus, but with his last movie being The Martian, I really hope that this movie is the movie to continue the Alien franchise at its most primal: a space crew stumbling across the titular creature (or Xenomorph for those who want true clarification) and slowly being killed off one by one (like in a slasher movie) until the main female lead gives it the coup de grace and kill it.  Plus I do think that it’s smart to incorporate the best aspects of Prometheus while completing the bridge between it and the first Alien.  However, on the other hand, I do feel that it’s weird to give the Xenomorph a convoluted backstory when the mystery about it alongside the basic aspects of its biology make it arguably more terrifying than if we know more about where it comes from.  Making it a weapon of mass destruction may hinder its legacy, but this has a lot of potential to rock.

5.         Dunkirk (July 21)
Do I need to say anything?  This is Christopher Nolan’s latest movie after Interstellar.  And while seeing him go from sci-fi to war is a weird choice, picking a battle that involves his native United Kingdom in a difficult conflict during World War II might lead to one hell of a war movie.  Especially considering Nolan’s old-school filmmaking style, from shooting on film to using primarily practical effects, there’s a guarantee for probably the most gritty, realistic WWII movie since Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, even with most likely a PG-13 rating.  Even if I didn’t like Interstellar, which had issues more around the plot than the science used and the way it was filmed, even I admit I’m on board here.

4.         Baby Driver (June 28)
So we got an action comedy about a guy that drives for gangs, and it’s from the guy that directed the Cornetto Trilogy and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World?  I’m definitely in.  Hell, I’m sure I’m gonna try to watch this before Despicable Me 3, even if most people pick that one.

3.         Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7)
Oh great, another Spider-Man movie, what a joy.  Aside from the sarcasm, this is still an MCU movie (despite being distributed and possibly marketed by Sony, which explains the spoilerific trailer that came out recently), and their standards are to the point where a “bad” movie by them can still get a Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes (unless you’re Iron Fist).  But where I’m excited for Spider-Man: Homecoming, it’s not just the MCU factor.  It’s supposed to be a high school comedy-drama dealing with Peter Parker’s social life and responsibilities as Spider-Man while gaining a possible father figure in Tony Stark.  And the way Iron Man is being brought into this, as a supporting character than the star, should allow for a captivating performance by Robert Downey Jr., while Tom Holland is shaping to be Tobey Maguire’s successor in playing the perfect live-action Spider-Man, as his mannerisms, personality, and humor is on point with how the character works, even as a high schooler.  Plus Michael Keaton, the first true cinematic Batman, is the Vulture here, and I’m sure he’s going to rock that character into the MCU.  So yeah, count me in.

2.         War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14)
Apes!  At war with jerkass humans!  Possibly great movie!  No seriously, while I haven’t seen the original Planet of the Apes in its entirety (I do know the twist, though), I feel that one of my favorite franchises so far is the new Planet of the Apes series, starting with Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  But why I’m excited is because of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  That is quite honestly one of the best sequels I have seen because it continues Caesar’s story rather than rehash the first film.  And from what it looks like, this looks to follow suit with the battle scenes from the last few films (like the Golden Gate bridge scene from Rise and the apes on horseback with machine guns from Dawn) being ratcheted up to 11, being full on human-ape war.  And I’m excited because this really is the end of a storyline for this series, and we are promised a big bang, with the cast and crew returning for this massive finale.  And yes, I do find it strange that I feel something for a CGI character, and that has to do with the storytelling of this series in general.  And plus, it’s a great way to understand how we went from this:
To a future earth where Apes are like this:

And now, here are the Honorable Mentions:

HM1:   Baywatch (May 25)
Holy crap, a Baywatch movie?  And it has The Rock and Zac Efron?  Hopefully, the movie has enough tits and ass to make the price of admission worth it and the story is equally alluring.  That and there’s a bunch of explosions going around.  Meanwhile, there’s also there’s a bunch of jokes here, as well as a lot of weird parts here.  Plus did we need to see Efron in drag in the trailer?  Overall, this looks like a fun movie.

HM2:   It Comes At Night (June 9)
What the hell is that thing in the trailer?  Whatever it is, I am definitely interested in giving this a shot.

HM3:   All Eyez on Me (June 16)
A movie about Tupac?  As a metalhead, I am somehow more interested in this movie due to the subject matter, and the possibility of, due to my interests in the world of cinema, gaining a greater respect for the rapper/artist/activist.  Hopefully.

HM4:   Atomic Blonde (July 28)
A wild, sleazy action movie that feels like John Wick but with a girl in the lead.  This should be an interesting ride.

HM5:   The Dark Tower (August 4)
This should be an interesting ride.  Hopefully we get a good Stephen King movie this time, and with Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba, you know I’m in.

1.         Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5)
Are you serious?  You want me to explain why this is on my list?  Well, have you not seen the first movie?  Well, that, the fact that it’s a direct continuation of the storylines from the first movie, including Star Lord’s heritage, Gamora and Nebula’s relationship, and Groot, now in baby form.  The cast is also back, the crew is back as well, the new characters, such as Mantis, are interesting, and the new addictions to the cast, including Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell do add a sense of credibility to it.  Plus the trailers are great.  I don’t need to know a lot about it to be excited for it, it’s that awesome.

Sorry for how short this is, but this is one of those movies where the marketing and the movie itself speaks for it more than myself, and enough has been revealed to ensure that most of you is on board.  

And in order of how uninterested I’m in these movies, here’s my Least Exciting Movies:

10.       Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (June 2)
Wait, we’re NOW getting a Captain Underpants movie?  And it’s from DreamWorks?  To a certain degree, I get the sense that this movie will be a juvenile, cheesy, and dumb movie with absurd plotlines.  But what I think made the book series so fun was that it was blatantly juvenile, cheesy, and dumb, focusing on two fourth graders who somehow turn their principal into a half-naked superhero.  And from the get-go, I do like that the art style is based on the art style of the books but done in CGI, it looks to allow for some funny slapstick humor, and while I’d prefer someone like John Goodman to play the titular character, Ed Helms has both Mr. Krump and Captain Underpants down.  Where I’m concerned is that they’re meshing the first four books into a single narrative rather than doing it book-by-book (which might lead to a better franchise), and that they clearly have two adults playing George and Harold (don’t tell me Kevin Hart is a good choice because of how high-pitched he sounds, it’s still Kevin Hart, and that drove me a little nuts hearing him in The Secret Life of Pets) rather than having kids play them or even Cree Summer and Tara Strong (or any great or upcoming female voice actor or even male actor than can play a little boy) play them respectively.  I do have some hope for it, but this isn’t the animated movie that’s coming out this summer I’m excited for.

9.         King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (May 12)
This looks a little interesting, and Charlie Hunnam needs something to ensure his credibility.  I’m not sure if it will be this.  But the idea of Guy Ritchie directing a medieval fantasy film is interesting.

8.         Amityville: The Awakening (June 30)
Not sure about this one.

7.         Pixar’s Cars 3 (June 16)
Do we need another one of these?  Not really.  Hopefully the plot makes things more interesting and lead to an all-around good movie, and that we get less Mater here.

6.         Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (May 19)
ANOTHER ONE OF THESE?!  At least the first sequel outgrossed Sucker Punch when both came out, and I know for sure one of them sucked.  Why do we need this again?

5.         The House (June 30)
A comedy with Will Ferrell in it and he’s playing an idiot?  Why does this sound like a generic Will Ferrell comedy to me?

4.         Annabelle: Creation (August 11)
I have not seen The Conjuring, nor the spinoff this is a sequel/prequel to, so I have no reason to see this.

3.         The Emoji Movie (July 28)
So we have a movie about emoji’s now.  I’m starting to think that Animat may not be alone on this one in how stupid this is.

2.         Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (May 26)

First, we have some new directors (a Scandinavian duo here) helming this project, hopefully breathing new life into this overlong, tired franchise (unlike another movie coming out this year).  Plus the new characters have a shot of giving Captain Jack Sparrow something to work off of, from Will Turner’s son to a female explorer here.  And having Javier Bardem, an actor who’s probably one of the best villain actors today, playing the villain is brilliant, even if the character may be not as dangerous or interesting as his characters in No Country for Old Men and Skyfall.
We still have Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow, and the trailers do hint that we’re getting more of the same here, from his performance being a rehash of his performance in the first film to his character having a major role in the plot, which, again, is the case.  And there’s also the case where, like On Stranger Tides, this movie will feel like a dull, tired, and unnecessary film in the series due to going on plot points that we really did not need, like where Jack Sparrow came from, what he’s doing after the pirate war, and so on.  It’s as if the last “good” movie in the franchise was At World’s End, and that movie’s bloated nature was a major con, despite having enough interesting plot points and expanding on what made Dead Man’s Chest a surprisingly fun follow-up to the first film, which is arguably one of the most important movies to have come out in the last decade.  And that’s mostly why I’m not as interested in this movie.  Sorry.

1.         Transformers: The Last Knight (June 23)
It’s too easy to know why I’m not as excited for this one, even if the action looks outright awesome and the Optimus Prime twist lead to somewhere interesting.  It’s because Hasbro has not figured out that simply convincing Michael Bay to continue directing their big live-action robot franchise, even if the writers are different here, is somehow not a way to cause issues with their movie.  While I can be an optimist and hope for the best, even I admit that we’ve already been through this song and dance before.  What do I mean?

Revenge of the Fallen.  We get a trailer promising a darker, grittier, and more intense movie after the jaw-dropping, action-packed, but somehow disappointing first installment.  We think that this movie will do away with the lame humor and nonsensical, and sometimes migraine-inducing action and replace it with something more meaningful.  We also think that the robots will be the focus of the main movie, since we figured that it was a good idea to have an E.T./Gremlins approach to introducing the Autobots and Decepticons to a mainstream audience that may or may not have grown up with the original 80s toyline, cartoon, and movie with a kickass hair metal soundtrack.  That the humans and their plot will be in the background while the Autobot-Decepticon battle will be developed more.  The movie we got had more lame humor (if not worse), the action was even more migraine-inducing, and the plot made no sense (the WGA strike can be blamed for the last one).  And we come out in rage, hoping that Michael Bay gets booted, but he doesn’t.  The film was a hit and we’re getting another one.

Dark of the Moon.  The trailers are amazing, and the reveal of Leonard Nimoy being in the cast, returning to the franchise after the 1986 animated movie, gets us pumped.  With his involvement, we think that we’re finally getting a movie that focuses entirely, if not mostly, on the transformers’ story and develops their war and characters.  The likelihood of bad humor is probably going to not be as likely, and that the action will be better.  And plus it won’t feel like 2 and a half hours of nothing.  What do we get?  Most of the movie still involves the humans, with the transformers still being side characters, again.  The humor becomes unbearable, to the point where, with the previous film making fun of African Americans, Asian Americans are thrown under the bus with the worst Ken Jeong performance in a movie.  The newcomers are wasted, and the climax, which was promised to be awesome, is only great for having the best action shots and visuals to that point while still being long enough to not cause migraines, but to lull people to sleep (and does the destruction of Cybertron look like the destruction of Vulcan from the Star Trek reboot to you?).  And most of the transformers are killed off in embarrassing ways, with it being clear that Michael Bay is repainting Optimus Prime as a psycho.

Age of Extinction.  Same old song and dance with the marketing, despite having Mark Wahlberg replacing Shia Labeouf as the lead, promising us something darker, more mature, and more plot-driven than the non-sequiter-laden, filler-laden last three installments.  And we have the Dinobots, a group of characters that are definite fan favorites in the franchise while getting Frank Welker to play Galvatron, the revived Megatron, after Hugo Weaving didn’t answer the casting call.  And the movie looked to actually give the humans a meaningful way to tie into the story of the transformers.  And what did we get?  This movie BORED me.  Somehow, the finale, despite being set in Hong Kong and having some cool moments like the ship that causes weird things with gravitation (though Man of Steel did that) and the Dinobots themselves, was exhausting to watch, and the fact that I gave as much of a crap to the characters as Goku would to anything other than fighting really made things worse.  The villains were boring, and did we need Optimus Prime killing Fraiser?  Isn’t he supposed to be a hero and not a psychopath?  And if you’re wondering, I gave ROTF and DOTM more credit than AOE.  This was that bad, and its near-three hour runtime not just felt like it, but lead to, again, MORE FILLER!

And now we’re at The Last Knight, which is being advertised the same way.  I don’t give a crap that Anthony Hopkins is in this.  I don’t give a crap that we might be getting Unicron, or hints to him, here.  I don’t give a crap if the new main girl (who’s thankfully young enough to not be used for fan service like the other female leads in the past) might be the best thing about this movie.  I really don’t give a crap if Optimus Prime is evil this time.  I’ve been burned by this franchise enough to say ENOUGH!  Unless you’re like a Marvel or indie movie, I will not give you good word.  But let’s face it, we’re going to see it anyway because we’re too optimistic for it to not be a jumbled mess.  And because it’ll be the only new release that week.  If I had a chance, I’d binge watch anime the day this comes out and/or just rewatch and riff the first movie (either the 1986 animated one or the damn live-action movie that started this damn franchise).  That or do something My Little Pony-related that day as well.

So that was my countdowns for the movie’s I’m most and least excited for this summer.  If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.  If you feel like I missed a movie or two, feel free to leave your opinions in the comments below.

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Until next time, this is The Rock Otaku.  Love Loud and Play Hard.

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