Looking at this year’s slate of summer movies, purists must finally succumb to the fact that 3-D is the new 2-D. Movies that were not shot in 3-D have been reconfigured for 3-D exhibition. If My Dinner With Andre came out in July 2010, it would be released in 3-D. I find all this a ridiculous marketing ploy, and it’s one of a handful of overriding themes this summer movie season. Here’s a look at many of the turkeys, and the promising bright spots, that will be emanating from our multiplexes for the next couple of months. (Release dates for smaller, independent movies are subject to change.)
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23
Knight and Day
File under: Action blockbuster, Hollywood comeback
I tend to like Tom Cruise when he takes acting seriously, which isn’t very often. This actioner casts him alongside Cameron Diaz in his first role in two years. Knight and Day won’t be awards bait, but it’s nice to see Cruise actually working for his publicity this time.
File under: ’90s comedy redux, arrested development
A master of the middling and middlebrow, director Dennis Dugan reteams with Adam Sandler (they worked together on Happy Gilmore and Big Daddy) for another infantile regression film about old friends (Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider among them) reliving their reckless youths over a holiday weekend. This looks excruciatingly unfunny.
Twilight Saga: Eclipse
File under: Tweenybopper thriller, dead horse
Good soundtrack, as always, but I’m so looking forward to skipping this.
The Last Airbender
File under: Action blockbuster, 3-D overkill, pretentious director
The first of inevitably many post-Avatar movies about avatars, this one’s helmed by the increasingly cuckoo M. Night Shyamalan, and it centers on a war between fire, water, air and earth. Whether this sucks or not, it’s the first in a trilogy, so be prepared for more.
File under: Family film, eccentric cast
A who’s who of cutting-edge comedy — Steve Carell, Kristin Wiig, Russell Brand, Jason Segel, Will Arnett — lend their voices to this animated tale about a monster planning to steal the moon. It’s probably just kids’ stuff, but with a cast like that, I hope it’s at least a little subversive.
File under: Art-house, mumblecore, highly anticipated
This lo-fi comedy about a domestic war between a single mom’s overprotective son and her potential new beau is directed by Mark and Jay Duplass, whose debut feature, The Puffy Chair, is one of the wisest, most-honest movies about relationships I’ve ever seen. Cyrus marks their ascent to mainstream moviemaking, with a cast that includes John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill and Catherine Keener.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
File under: Action blockbuster
More family-friendly fantasy fluff from the creative team behind National Treasure, director Jon Turteltaub and star Nicolas Cage.
File under: Sci-fi thriller, highly anticipated
Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to The Dark Knight promises to be an intriguing, existential mind-bender, exactly the kind of cerebral genre pic we need more of in the summer movie season. Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page star.
File under: Spy thriller, highly anticipated
This film’s pretzel of a plot stars Angelina Jolie as a CIA spook and possible double agent, and it’s directed by one of the genre’s foremost practitioners: Phillip Noyce (Clear and Present Danger, The Quiet American). The Kids Are All Right
File under: Indie drama, gay and lesbian, highly anticipated
The second of at least three 2010 movies dealing with artificial insemination, this one’s about a lesbian couple (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) whose oldest daughter decides to look up her sperm donor. Directed by Lisa Choldenko (High Art), The Kids Are All Right received raves at Sundance.
Dinner for Schmucks
File under: Comedy, paying the rent
The good news? Steve Carell and Paul Rudd. The bad news? The movie they’re in — an idiotic comedy from the Austin Powers auteur Jay Roach.