Hot Stuff

The 2012 PopMatters Summer Movie Preview (May)

by Bill Gibron

30 April 2012

 

18 May


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Battleship

Director: Peter Berg
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano

18 May
Battleship

Basically, it’s Transformers in the ocean… and those who have already seen it argue that it mimics the board games it’s based on a bit too closely (we can just imagine characters shouting out “B! 4!”). Still, director Peter Berg understands action and the trailer seems to suggest enough spectacle to make up for the movie’s many narrative misgivings. Of course, any time you include a famous non-acting face (in this case, hit-making chanteuse Rihanna) in the mix, you are asking for a Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions level of trouble. Still, as part of an otherwise pure popcorn conceit, aliens invading from their dormant undersea sleep is an acceptable entertainment ideal.

 

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Director: Kirk Jones
Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Matthew Morrison, Rodrigo Santoro, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Brooklyn Decker, Cheryl Cole

18 May
What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Oh boy - after the limited demographic success of Think Like a Man, it appears we have another self-help book turned RomCom on the horizon, and this one looks just awful. In fact, it has the stink of something by Gary Marshall (ala New Years Eve or Valentine’s Day) mixed with the mindboggling bad He’s Just Not That Into You. While UK director Kirk Jones might be able to avoid many of the genre’s likeability landmines, his all star cast (including J-Lo) argues otherwise. On the bright side, the script is from a pair of women who’ve authored some excellent efforts (Freaky Friday, Whip It! )

 

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The Dictator

Director: Larry Charles
Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Bobby Lee, Kevin Corrigan, J. B. Smoove, Megan Fox, Ben Kingsley, Anna Faris

18 May
The Dictator

After the less than successful returns of Bruno, British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is trying something a bit different. Gone is the mock documentary approach that made Borat such a sensation, and in its place is a standard set-up complete with recognizable co-stars (Anna Faris, John C. Reilly) and a fish out of water premise. Apparently, the despotic overlord arrives in America, is stripped of his signature beard, and is mistaken for an illegal immigrant. All manner of poor taste hijinx must ensue - it’s Sacha Baron Cohen after all. The trailer speaks to this proposed change, and it does look promising.

 

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Hysteria

Director: Tanya Wexler
Cast: Felicity Jones, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Rupert Everett, Jonathan Pryce

18 May
Hysteria

A film about the invention of the vibrator? Set in Victorian England and featuring a cast of first rate UK thesps. Only those masterminds over in Britain could get away with something so… snarky. Hugh Dancy plays a doctor trying to ‘cure’ the commonly misconstrued and misdiagnosed illness in women nicknamed ‘female hysteria’. In the name of advancing medical science, he initiates a kind of carnal revolution. Of course, everything is very tasteful and above board. Still, it seems surreal that one of the most popular and permanent fixtures in bedrooms around the world was first thought of and fabricated in the 1800s.

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