Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lee Byung-hun, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren
Getting by on an unique premise (the first film focused on a group of over-the-hill ex-spies going toe-to-toe with their mindless modern counterparts) and some significant star power (Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Dame Helen Mirren), RED was a surprise hit in 2010. Now we have the sequel which substitutes a couple of additional famous faces (Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones) and a Cold War theme for the previous movie’s shoot ‘em up histrionics. Also MIA is previous director Robert Schwentke, having been replaced by Galaxy Quest‘s Dean Parisot (though the former is still part of this Summer’s strategy, as you will soon see).
Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker
Yes, this is where Robert Schwentke landed instead of being on the set of RED 2. Although it sounds an awful lot like the Joe Piscopo/Treat Williams horror comedy Dead Heat, it’s actually based on a comic book series. (What isn’t these days?) The story centers on an dead policeman who is recruited by the undead law enforcement agency known as the Rest In Peace Department (R.I.P.D.—get it?). Their job: to protect the living from bloodthirsty evil demons who refuse to move on to the afterlife. Jeff Bridges stars with Ryan Reynolds. Schwentke can deliver the action. The rest of the movie seems kind of iffy.
Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor, Mackenzie Foy, Joey King
James Wan is quickly becoming the Master of Post Post-Modern Horror. He got his start with the highly influential Saw, and through Dead Silence and Insidious, he’s proven that he can work in both gore and the tenets of traditional terror. This is another old school scare fest, the filmmaker offering up the based on a true story situation of the Perron family who, after moving into their dream house, face off against some particularly disturbing spirits. Enter The Amityville Horror investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) who try and figure out what’s going on. The trailer is terrifying, and with Wan’s reputation, that’s all we need to know.
Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Peña, Snoop Dogg, Maya Rudolph, Michelle Rodriguez, Samuel L. Jackson
Family films today are almost a guaranteed moneymaker. Even something as sloppy and innocuous as Epic can make more than $225 million at the box office. Apparently, parents all over the world need a regular dose of the electronic babysitter to keep their wee ones happy, and are willing to pay for the privilege. In this weird idea for a movie, we get a slow poke snail (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) who gets sucked into a race car, allowing his DNA to be fused with nitrous oxide. Suddenly, he’s a speed demon ready to emulate his Indy Car hero. Huh? Yeah, it makes no sense, but kiddie films don’t need to. All they need to do is make money, and one imagines this one banking a bunch come release date.
Only God Forgives
Nicolas Winding Refn
Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm, Ratha Phongam, Gordon Brown, Tom Burke
Only God Forgives
In May of this year, the buzz around Cannes centered on two things: 1. the ultimate winner of the Palm d’Or, the lesbian themed Blue is the Warmest Color, and 2. how critics absolutely hated the latest from Drive‘s Nicolas Winding Refn and his collaborator, actor Ryan Gosling. Apparently, this uber violent crime film, involves boxing, drug dealing, and revenge. From the plot synopsis posted all over the web, this sounds seedy and sensational. For many, Refn’s neo-noir from 2011 was a refreshing change of pace from the normal thriller dynamics. In this case, it looks like he might have gone a bit overboard, al though we are willing to give him and his movie the benefit of the doubt.