Summer of Same: June 2009

Director: Michael Bay
Film: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Studio: DreamWorks
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro
Website: http://www.transformersmovie.com/
MPAA rating: PG-13
First date: 2009
US Release Date: 2009-06-24 (General release)
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/blog_art/t/transformers2poster.jpg

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24 June

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Love him or loathe him, but Michael Bay is overcoming a great deal of geek-fueled hate to build a resume of reasonably effective schlock cheese spectacles. From The Rock to Armageddon, Pearl Harbor to The Island, he’s the go-to guy when you want mindless action and awesome effects. After Transformers became one of 2007’s biggest surprises, Dreamworks and Executive Producer Steven Spielberg demanded a sequel. Bay decided to amplify everything that made the first movie so much fun, adding more stunts, more robots, and more Megan Fox. This time, the Decepticons kidnap Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and he discovers the truth about the Transformers. Massive pyrotechnics ensue. The recent trailer promises a wide array of shape-shifting machines, and the battles look even bigger than before. Leave it to Bay. If he can find a way to enhance his already steroided vision, he will — and it looks like he’s done so here.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Director: Nick Cassavetes
Film: My Sister’s Keeper
Studio: New Line Cinema
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin, Abigail Breslin, Sofia Vassilieva, Thomas Dekker
MPAA rating: N/A
First date: 2009
US Release Date: 2009-06-26 (General release)
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/m/mysisterskeeper.jpg

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26 June

My Sister’s Keeper

What do you give the moms and sisters who just aren’t interested in seeing two hours of cars and helicopters turn into fighting automatons? How about a four handkerchief weeper featuring Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, and Alec Baldwin? This story of a teenage girl who discovers she was conceived as a genetic “harvest child” donor for her dying sibling already has fans of Jodi Picoult’s 2004 novel outraged over rumors that a last act “tragedy” has been changed for something more “Hollywood-friendly”, and with stiff competition from Bay’s boys, it’s hard to see this making more than a minor dent in the pre-July 4th weekend.

My Sister’s Keeper

Director: Dennis Lee
Film: Fireflies in the Garden
Studio: Senator Distribution
Cast: Julia Roberts, Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson, Carrie-Anne Moss
MPAA rating: PG-13
First date: 2008
US Release Date: 2009-06-26 (Limited release)
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/blog_art/f/firefliesinthegardenposter.jpg

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26 June

Fireflies in the Garden

As one critic recently pointed out recently, dysfunctional families are a dime a dozen. Instead, film should focus on normal clans just for the sheer narrative novelty. No such luck here. Julia Roberts is on hand to add a sense of heft to this indie production, and she’s joined by other noted performers as Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Heroes Hayden Pannetierre. Still if you’ve seen one collection of reeling relatives rocked by a sudden tragedy, you’ve seen them all.

Fireflies in the Garden

Director: Stephen Frears
Film: Cheri
Studio: Pathe
Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Friend, Kathy Bates, Felicity Jones, Frances Tomelty
Website: http://www.cherithemovie.co.uk/
MPAA rating: R
First date: 2008
US Release Date: 2009-06-26 (Limited release)
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/blog_art/c/cheriposter.jpg

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26 June

Cheri

Stephen Frears is back, and it’s taken three years since his Oscar nominated work in The Queen for him to return to theaters. This time out, he has a fetching period piece about a young man who retreats into a fantasy world when his courtesan mother forces him to end a relationship with a much older woman. The costume drama looks spectacular, and the cast including Michelle Pfeiffer and Kathy Bates appears can’t miss. Audiences expecting blockbusters won’t be showing up, but brainy viewers may want to give this a go.

Cheri

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