2010 Summer Movie Preview - July

In July, Christopher Nolan unleashes his eagerly awaited new film Inception, M. Night Shyamalan returns with The Last Airbender and Adrien Brody stars in a Predator remake.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Film: The Last Airbender

Cast: Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Jackson Rathbone, Dev Patel, Shaun Toub, Aasif Mandvi, Cliff Curtis

MPAA rating: PG-13


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2 July
The Last Airbender

There is so much riding on this live action adaptation of the Nickelodeon network fave that it's hard to keep track of all the divergent interests. Primary is the still sinking career of former "future Spielberg" wunderkind M. Night Shyamalan. He will really have to deliver to wipe the stench of The Happening out of audience's noses. Then there is the franchise itself, which needs a substantial hit to warrant more than a one and done dynamic. Paramount would also like to warrant their gamble. While Iron Man 2 and Shrek 4 will definitely deliver, this could be one of the substantial sleeper hits that puts them over the popcorn top.

Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud, Sergio Pablos

Film: Despicable Me

Cast: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig, Danny McBride, Miranda Cosgrove

MPAA rating: PG-13


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9 July
Despicable Me

For some reason, this reminds us of Igor - which is a good thing. Few saw the revisionist CG family horror comedy which tried to turn the whole mad scientist/assistant conceit on its head. This time around, it's a supervillain that gets the warm and fuzzy treatment. Nasty bad man Gru wants to steal the Moon and a trio of orphans tries to convince him otherwise. Add in the requisite amount of genre specific gags and smarmy sense of irony and you've got a very conflicted cartoon. One imagines that if its clicks with the right audience, it will be a smash. Don't be surprised, however, if a toy and ogre weary demo doesn't merely ignore it.

Director: Nimród Antal

Film: Predators

Cast: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo, Walton Goggins

MPAA rating: R


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9 July

When it first was hinted that Robert Rodriguez was interested in remaking the Arnold Schwarzenegger 'classic' Predator, Geek Nation went gonzo. After all, what better guide for a all-out action horror hybrid than the man who made the glorious Grindhouse segment, Planet Terror. Then, the truth came out. RobRod was only producing. He hired Vacancy's Nimrod Antal to handle the directing reigns, and then greenlit a script that plays like The Most Dangerous Game meets Aliens. Still, the creative combination here has a lot of potential, and with a cast as diverse as Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, and Laurence Fishburne, the result could be something explosive -- literally.

Director: Lisa Cholodenko

Film: The Kids Are All Right

Cast: Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson

MPAA rating: PG


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9 July
The Kids Are All Right

A lesbian couple has two kids from the same sperm donor. When they reach adolescence, the duo decides to look up who their father really is. Deep drama ensues. Co-writer/director Lisa Cholodenko may not be a household name, but her intense indie efforts like High Art (with Ally Sheedy) and Laurel Canyon (with a veritable who's who of high-profile talent) show she has the chops to handle such thought-provoking material. Whether this will succeed in big commercial terms is another story, but starring turns from A-class actresses Annette Bening and Julianne Moore promise this should appeal to the discriminating filmgoer.

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Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

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Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

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Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

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