Hot Stuff

The PopMatters Summer 2012 Movie Preview (June)

by Bill Gibron

1 May 2012

 


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GI Joe: Retaliation

Director: Jon M. Chu
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum, Lee Byung-hun, Ray Park, Ray Stevenson, RZA
29 June
GI Joe: Retaliation

So, Stephen Sommers didn’t kill off this toy-based franchise after all. Of course, he’s not back in the director’s chair, either. Infusing the franchise with some major league star power—Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Bruce Willis—and casting aside from unnecessary names from the first film (bye bye, Sienna Miller, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Marlan Wayans), there’s hope that director Jon Chu can reboot this once promising tentpole. Of course, his previous experience helming such suspect entertainments as Step Up and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never doesn’t bode well for his action mantle.

 

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Madea’s Witness Protection

Director: Tyler Perry
Cast: Tyler Perry, Tom Arnold, John Amos, Eugene Levy, Denise Richards, Romeo Miller, Doris Roberts
29 June
Madea’s Witness Protection

This promises to be an interesting year for Tyler Perry. He experienced his first major league failure (the less than stellar Good Deeds) and was named the highest paid man in Hollywood by Forbes. Now, he reverts back to his standard drag act before taking on a rare acting only role as psychologist, detective Alex Cross in Rob Cohen’s take on the famed Robert Patterson character. Fans who aren’t quite sure to make of such events can at least rest easy knowing that everyone’s favorite gun-totting granny is back, bringing SCTV‘s Eugene Levy along for the ride. Sounds… interesting?

 

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Magic Mike

Director: Stephen Soderberg
Cast: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Cody Horn, Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer
29 June
Magic Mike

Channing Tatum got his start as a male stripper, so it’s no surprise that he would star in a film about the subject. What is odd is the choice of director, Steven Soderbergh. After the less than favorable response for his action foray, Haywire, he’s obviously attempting to reach a more mainstream audience. The comedy, centering on Tatum’s title character and his attempts to leave the exotic dancing game, has some interesting elements, many of which center on the casting. Indeed, with Matthew McConaughey as a mentor and Alex Pettyfer as his protégé, we could have the makings of something slick and sexy.

 

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Beasts of the Southern Wild

Director: Benh Zeitlin
Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly, Lowell Landes
29 June
Beasts of the Southern Wild

With its parallels to Katrina and its wistful, surreal style of storytelling, this has been a hit on the festival circuit. It’s nice to see the studios picking up on fare like this and leading it to a more mainstream viewership. Some may find the setting—a poverty stricken area known as “The Bathtub” on the farthest outskirts of the Gulf Coast—as a tad depressing, but first time filmmaker Benh Zeitlin truly delivers. Expect this one to be around longer than just the Summer season, like when annual awards and Best of kudos are handed out.

 

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People Like Us

Director: Alex Kurtzman
Cast: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfeiffer, Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, Jon Favreau
Review [19.Nov.2009]
29 June
People Like Us

While we were hoping for a sequel to the Talking Heads’ terrific True Stories (which featured a song entitled “People Like Us”), the reality seems to be more… serious. Apparently, Chris Pine plays a prodigal son who returns for his father’s funeral, only to find he has been given the job of delivering $150,000 to the alcoholic sister he never knew he had. As the first feature film to be directed by longtime Hollywood scribe Alex Kurtzman (Watchmen, Star Trek, Transformers), the pedigree and cast argues promise. Still, one wonders if the writer can move from fantasy to reality as effectively.

 

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Take This Waltz

Director: Sarah Polley
Cast: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman, Luke Kirby
29 June
Take This Waltz

Sarah Polley started out as a child actress. She is best remembered, perhaps, as the pipsqueak pain in Baron Munchausen’s side. As she’s grown, she’s made a name for herself in more adult fare, such as Zack Snyder’s solid Dawn of the Dead remake. Today, she’s a known triple threat, writing, directing, and acting in such award season favorites as Away From Her. With this latest effort, she takes on marriage and misunderstandings among Canadian cut-ups. With Seth Rogen as a co-star, you know there’s going to be a certain level of humor. Polley, on the other hand, is all about the heart.

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