Call for Music Writers... Rock, Indie, Urban, Electronic, Americana, Metal, World and More

Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA

In the first act of this four-part production, Tinsel Town decides to do some unbelievable front loading. We’ll see the start of a new franchise (hopefully) for Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr., as well as a Matrix-less Wachowskis, the fourth installment in another beloved blockbuster series, along with the second in a proposed seven film arc based on a popular set of children’s novels—and all of this happens in a mere three weeks. Will there be room for independent offerings, or former HBO carnal comedy divas? Who knows? Without a doubt, it’s an interesting way to start the season.



cover art

Iron Man

Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Shaun Toub, Faran Tahir, Leslie Bibb

(Paramount Pictures; US theatrical: 2 May 2008 (General release); UK theatrical: 2 May 2008 (General release); 2008)

Review [1.May.2008]
2 May In the Center Ring



Iron Man


To say that director Jon Favreau has his work cut out for him is an understatement. Here he is, the maker of such marginal hits as Elf and Zathura taking on one of Marvel’s mainstays—and using the action picture canvas as his calling card into Summer season success. Iron Man has had one of the more troubled production paths of the celebrated superheroes. Luckily, the buzz is already big—early screenings have the geeks going ape over the casting (including the incredible Robert Downey Jr. as the mighty metal Tony Stark) and the trueness of Favreau’s vision. And the trailer has offered its own comic book fanboy freak out facets. How mainstream audiences will respond to the rather unfamiliar character (aside from Black Sabbath fans, he’s not that well known) will remain to be seen. Favreau’s effort could be the blockbuster to beat. It could also be the under-performing shape of cinematic things to come.





cover art

Made of Honor

Director: Paul Weiland
Cast: Michelle Monaghan, Patrick Dempsey, Kadeem Hardison, Kevin McKidd, Kelly Carlson, Busy Philipps

(Sony; US theatrical: 2 May 2008 (General release); 2008)

Review [2.May.2008]
2 May The Outer Circles



Made of Honor


Given his previous career as subpar generic John Hughes teen knockoff—Can’t Buy Me Love ring a bell?—the newfound ascension of Dempsey into the ranks of the romantic lead is slightly surreal. Of course, a four year stint as Dr. Derek Shepherd on the hit show Gray’s Anatomy helps, as does a decent turn as Amy Adam’s human love interest in the animated fairytale come to life, Enchanted. How he’ll hold up in this otherwise anemic looking rom-com will all depend on his chemistry with co-star Michelle Monaghan. Advance word is not too promising.





cover art

Mister Lonely

Director: Harmony Korine
Cast: Diego Luna, Samantha Morton, Werner Herzog, Anita Pallenberg, David Blaine, Joseph Morgan, Denis Lavant

(IFC Films; US theatrical: 2 May 2008 (General release); 2008)

2 May Sneaking in Under the Tent



Mister Lonely


Harmony Korine, the mind behind the scripts for Kids and Ken Park offers up his third take behind the camera (after Gummo and
Julien Donkey-Boy) and the premise looks tempting. A Michael Jackson impersonator is invited by a Marilyn Monroe clone to join a celebrity lookalike commune in Scotland. Themes of identification and hiding from the world are obvious, and the symbolic struggles of fame are present as well. With a stellar cast including Samantha Morton and director Werner Herzog.





cover art

Son of Rambow

Director: Garth Jennings
Cast: Bill Milner, Will Poulter, Jules Sitruk, Jessica Stevenson, Neil Dudgeon, Ed Westwick

(Paramount Vantage; US theatrical: 2 May 2008 (Limited release); UK theatrical: 4 Apr 2008 (General release); 2007)

Review [7.Sep.2008]
Review [5.May.2008]
2 May Sneaking in Under the Tent



Son of Rambow


Will, a young boy living an isolated existence under his family’s strict religious code, befriends Lee, the local renegade outsider. After exposing the entertainment exile to a bootleg copy of the Sylvester Stallone classic, the duo decide to make their own homemade celluloid celebration of the character. Of course, it all has to be kept secret from Will’s faith-led clan. After his less than successful adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, this looks like director Garth Jennings big breakthrough.





cover art

Speed Racer

Director: Andy and Larry Wachowski
Cast: Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Fox, Roger Allam, Paulie Litt, Benno Fürmann, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rain, Scott Porter, Richard Roundtree, Kick Gurry

(Warner Brothers; US theatrical: 9 May 2008 (General release); UK theatrical: 9 May 2008 (General release); 2008)

Review [9.May.2008]
9 May In the Center Ring



Speed Racer


Will the Wachowski’s ever fully live down the last two acts of their Matrix trilogy? Seems that everything they do—or did—is now measured against those confounding psychobabble sequels. It’s not there fault that expectations failed to mesh with what was purposefully put onscreen. Or maybe it was. Anyway, with its pinball machine color scheme and retro-cartoon compunction, the boys seem poised to take back a bit of their revisionist reputation. One thing’s for certain, this digitally enhanced movie looks amazing. The race sequences recall anime on acid, while the visual cues and directorial flourishes have a firm foundation in the old ‘60s series. Perfectly cast—especially Emile Hirsch as the title character, Christina Ricci as his gal pal Trixie, and John Goodman as the jovial Pops Racer—and overloaded with enticing imagery, this could wind up the film that wipes out the last vestiges of Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity forever.





cover art

What Happens in Vegas

Director: Tom Vaughan
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Ashton Kutcher, Rob Corddry, Treat Williams, Lake Bell, Dennis Farina, Queen Latifah

(20th Century Fox; US theatrical: 9 May 2008 (General release); UK theatrical: 9 May 2008 (General release); 2008)

Review [28.Aug.2008]
Review [9.May.2008]
9 May The Outer Circles



What Happens in Vegas…


Here’s an original idea (wink, wink). Take a pair of unlikely lovers, give them a drunken night in Sin City, pile on the inebriated nuptials (which no one remembers) and toss in a hefty jackpot. Sounds like a winner, right? Filed under Number 12432 in the standard cinematic formula department, there’s very little hope for this so-called comedy. The casting of Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz as the leads aside, this take on the already tired tagline to the Nevada hotspot seems like an exhausted idea looking for a place to die. Let’s get the eulogy ready, shall we?





cover art

Redbelt

Director: David Mamet
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tim Allen, Emily Mortimer, Alice Braga, Rodrigo Santoro, Joe Mantegna, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ricky Jay, John Machado

(Sony Classics; US theatrical: 9 May 2008 (Limited release); 2008)

Review [9.May.2008]
9 May Sneaking in Under the Tent



Redbelt


How does the combination of David Mamet and Mixed Martial Arts happen? Better yet, what does the Tony winning playwright bring to this world that makes his insights any clearer? Of course, there’s his way with character, and early reports have lead Chiwetel Ejiofor already lining up for his awards season run. But others have pointed to the lack of action, the convolution of the narrative and motivational issues as potential problems.





cover art

Frontier(s)

Director: Xavier Gens
Cast: Karina Testa, Aurélien Wiik, Patrick Ligardes, David Saracino, Chems Dahmani, Maud Forget, Samuel Le Bihan, Estelle Lefébure, Jean-Pierre Jorris

(Lionsgate; US theatrical: 9 May 2008 (Limited release); 2008)

9 May Sneaking in Under the Tent



Frontier(s)


The French have had a fabulous string of luck with their genre efforts as of late. With Haute Tension, Ils, and Inside out-scarring their American competition, one has high hopes for this Xavier Gens helmed effort. While the story sounds like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre by way of a concentration camp (Parisian criminals end up in an inn run by vicious Neo-Nazis), there’s the potential for some potent bloodletting here. Here’s hoping this material is more solid than sordid.





cover art

The Tracey Fragments

Director: Bruce McDonald
Cast: Ellen Page, Libby Adams, Ari Cohen, Julian Richings, Max McCabe-Lokos, Erin McMurtry, Slimtwig, Daniel Fathers, Todd Sandomirsky, Kate Todd, Ryan Cooley

(THINKFilm; US theatrical: 9 May 2008 (Limited release); 2008)

9 May Sneaking in Under the Tent



The Tracey Fragments


Current young actress “IT” girl Ellen Page stars in this faithful translation of Maureen Medved’s novel. Taking the book’s monologue heavy foundation and forcing it into a mainstream movie may be tough. Even worse, the subject matter deals frankly with the typical teen angst/dysfunctional family issues. Director Bruce McDonald decides to forgo the normative and employ a vignette heavy, non-linear storytelling style. Many early reviews have pointed to this scattershot approach as the film’s main stumbling block.





cover art

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Director: Andrew Adamson
Cast: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Ben Barnes, Peter Dinklage, Warwick Davis, Vincent Grass, Ken Stott, Pierfrancesco Favino, Sergio Castellitto, Liam Neeson, Eddie Izzard

(Walt Disney Pictures; US theatrical: 16 May 2008 (General release); UK theatrical: 26 Jun 2008 (General release); 2008)

Review [15.May.2008]
16 May In the Center Ring



The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian


Disney seems destined to force all seven of the C. S. Lewis penned fantasy epics down film fans throats—and as long as the movies make as much money as the first installment (2005’s The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe—$800 million worldwide and counting), the House of Mouse is full steam ahead. Caspian promises to be more action-oriented than its predecessor, with an expanded world and more battle scenes. But the Tolkien-ish nature of the storyline (evil king won’t let rightful ruler reign) may give this sequel an unnecessary sense of déjà vu. It will be interesting to see if this installment draws in as many new fans as old. Those already familiar with the revisionist religious allegory, loaded with good vs. evil elements and numerous talking critters, are already lining up. Other studios clearly view the series as unstoppable. There is nothing else scheduled to open this weekend. Wow.





cover art

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent, Ian McDiarmid

(Paramount Pictures; US theatrical: 22 May 2008 (General release); UK theatrical: 22 May 2008 (General release); 2008)

Review [21.May.2008]
22 May In the Center Ring



Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull


This may sound cynical, but something just doesn’t feel “right” about this fourth film in the ultimate ‘80s adventure series. Given George Lucas’ knack for unnecessary undermining and the questionable content already revealed (a main character named Mutt? What, Short Round was too subtle?), one has to pray that a rock solid Spielberg can pull this one out of the approaching abyss. For many blinded by their love of the character and the three previous installments offered, anything featuring this archaeological superstar will suffice. But audiences are also far more sophisticated than they were in 1989, when Last Crusade bowed. Now, we expect more from our action films and heroes, and if there was one thing that was constant about this franchise, it’s the over the top spectacle of the stunt work. Maybe this will work and work well. But don’t be surprised when the negative reviews start pouring in—reluctantly, of course.





cover art

Postal

Director: Uwe Boll
Cast: Zack Ward, Dave Foley, Chris Coppola, Jackie Tohn, Ralf Moeller, J.K. Simmons, Michela Mann, Michael Paré

(Freestyle Releasing; US theatrical: 23 May 2008 (Limited release); 2008)

22 May Sneaking in Under the Tent



Postal


What better way to counterprogram the mega-media blitz that will surround the return of an American icon than by giving bad movie mavens something to celebrate in the form of Dr. Uwe Boll. In his long standing tradition of tapping video games for his films, this latest entry is a supposed political satire with the splattery shoot-em-up as its basis. The most shocking thing—some critical responses have actually been good! Maybe there’s hope for Boll after all.





cover art

Sex and the City

Director: Michael Patrick King
Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, Jason Lewis, Jennifer Hudson

(New Line Cinema; US theatrical: 30 May 2008 (General release); UK theatrical: 30 May 2008 (General release); 2008)

30 May In the Center Ring



Sex and the City: The Movie


Clearly, someone outside the creative process thinks this is a good idea. After all, the lax standards of cinema should allow the carnal cravings of these contemporary Manhattan minxes to flow in a way that HBO couldn’t, right? Well, not really. Especially since the aforementioned pay cable channel was fairly open in its approach to the well-received series. Still, for those who’ve worn out their DVDs and demand more of Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte, here’s your chance to celebrate onscreen what you enjoyed at home for years at a nominal fee. Potential plot points have been leaked all over the Internet—Carrie marries! Someone special dies!—as well as well-reported rumors of cast infighting and personal salary demands. Seems like much ado about nothing, when you really think about it. Still, after four weeks of freewheeling eye candy, there may just be an audience ready for some saucy big city snarkiness.





cover art

The Strangers

Director: Bryan Bertino
Cast: Scott Speedman, Liv Tyler, Gemma Ward, Kip Weeks, Laura Margolis, Glenn Howerton, Alex Fischer

(Rogue Pictures; US theatrical: 30 May 2008 (General release); UK theatrical: 12 Sep 2008 (General release); 2007)

Review [30.May.2008]
30 May The Outer Circles



The Strangers


In a tradition as recent as the fine French film Ils (aka Them) and the ‘70s shocker Last House on the Left, the home invasion as horror show offers several cinematic pros and cons. On the plus side, everyone can relate to having their privacy and personal domain violated. On the negative… well, Funny Games was an ineffectual pile of pompous crap. The recent theatrical trailer tries for unconventional bumps in the night, but unless Bryuan Bertino has mastered the art of suspense, this shocker is set up to stink…and stink bad. Subtlety in scary movies may be making a comeback. The Strangers may hinder the genre redefinition more than help it.





cover art

The Foot Fist Way

Director: Jody Hill
Cast: Danny R. McBride, Ben Best, Mary Jane Bostic

(Paramount Vantage; US theatrical: 30 May 2008 (Limited release); 2006)

Review [6.Jun.2008]
30 May Sneaking in Under the Tent



The Foot Fist Way


Sitting on the cinematic shelf for any considerable length of time is never good news, but it looks like this low budget kung-fu comedy just might be the exception to the rule. After premiering in 2006 at the Los Angeles Film Festival, this starring vehicle for solid supporting player Danny McBride may have a tough time finding an audience, especially with the soiled memories of the miserable Kung Pow: Enter the Fist floating in their mind.



Since deciding to employ his underdeveloped muse muscles over five years ago, Bill has been a significant staff member and writer for three of the Web's most influential websites: DVD Talk, DVD Verdict and, of course, PopMatters. He also has expanded his own web presence with Bill Gibron.com a place where he further explores creative options. It is here where you can learn of his love of Swindon's own XTC, skim a few chapters of his terrifying tome in the making, The Big Book of Evil, and hear samples from the cassette albums he created in his college music studio, The Scream Room.


Tagged as: alice braga | anna popplewell | ashton kutcher | ben barnes | ben best | benno fürmann | bill milner | busy philipps | cameron diaz | cate blanchett | chiwetel ejiofor | chris noth | christina ricci | cynthia nixon | danny r. mcbride | dave foley | david eigenberg | denis lavant | dennis farina | diego luna | ed westwick | eddie izzard | ellen page | emile hirsch | emily mortimer | evan handler | faran tahir | georgie henley | glenn howerton | gwyneth paltrow | harrison ford | hiroyuki sanada | ian mcdiarmid | indiana jones and the kingdom of the crystal skull | iron man | j.k. simmons | jason lewis | jeff bridges | jennifer hudson | jessica stevenson | jim broadbent | joe mantegna | john goodman | john hurt | jules sitruk | kadeem hardison | karen allen | kelly carlson | ken stott | kevin mckidd | kick gurry | kim cattrall | kristin davis | lake bell | leslie bibb | liam neeson | liv tyler | mary jane bostic | matthew fox | michelle monaghan | mister lonely | neil dudgeon | patrick dempsey | peter dinklage | pierfrancesco favino | queen latifah | rain | ray winstone | rebecca pidgeon | richard roundtree | ricky jay | rob corddry | robert downey jr. | rodrigo santoro | samantha morton | samuel le bihan | sarah jessica parker | scott porter | scott speedman | sergio castellitto | sex and the city | shaun toub | shia labeouf | skandar keynes | son of rambow | speed racer | summer movie preview | susan sarandon | terrence howard | the chronicles of narnia: prince caspian | the foot fist way | the strangers | tim allen | treat williams | vincent grass | warwick davis | werner herzog | what happens in vegas | will poulter | william moseley | zack ward
Related Articles
15 Jun 2014
Suddenly, movies from all walks of the Marvel Universe began to rage against the big screen with three distinct universes vying for control of box office gold.
8 May 2014
Chef comes alive when it resembles a cooking procedural, going through the details of preparing a meal for a food critic or cleaning and re-assembling a taco truck.
21 Feb 2014
Will and Marcus “grow up” together in bite-sized portions, learning to put away their respective childish things in the course of each episode. Then they regress.
By PopMatters Staff
7 Jan 2014
The best male film performances highlight how masculinity, managed within a more considered and complete character overview, can turn even the most rugged rogue into an equally strong if sensitive cinematic center.
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.