I’ll be honest, my initial look at August was pretty weak, but after further review there are some quality films coming out! Oddly, no big-budget blockbusters though (even DARK TOWER cost under $100 mil). So there’s still lots to check this month!
So there’s more than expected for August! Not nearly as big as years past, but maybe that’s for the best. September has some great films in the wings, so get ready for that in, oh, four weeks or so.
July! Summer is in full swing, with lots of blockbusters clogging up the theatre! It’s been a pretty rough summer overall, with lots of franchises sputtering and dying, but cheer up, quality films are here in spades! Let’s break it down.
That’s July! I’m not gonna lie, August looks like shit with one glowing exception, but we’ll leave that for next month. Get to the movies!
As mentioned in this week’s podcast, here are links for two of the panels I moderated at Motor City Comic Con.
Martin Starr and John Francis Daley via Detroit Free Press Co-stars of FREAKS AND GEEKS, Martin Starr also stars in SILICON VALLEY and PARTY DOWN, John is in 5-25-77 and is the co-writer of SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING.
Ron Perlman via Facebook Live Ron is best known as HELLBOY as well as SONS OF ANARCHY and from the brilliant BEAUTY AND THE BEAST show from 1987.
June! The summer movie season is in full swing. This month, every weekend has a potential $100m opening, but there’s blood in the water. Not everything will succeed, but what will be worth your hard-earned cashola? Let’s take a look.
So lots to choose from this month! But oh doctor, does July have some big titles. See you in a few!
MAY! IT’S MAY! SUMMER MOVIE SEASON IS HERE! And what better way to kick it off than a sequel to Marvel’s biggest surprise hit? Not much counter-programming this year, so there’s only eight movies on the list this month! Let’s take a look.
So that’s May for you. June has a megafilm every week, it’s gonna be a bloodbath. See you then!
April! The appetizer to the Summer madness. This year, we’ve got another entry in a megafranchise to set the tone for the coming season, with some nice sides to go with it. Let’s take a look.
Aaaaand that’s it. So be sure to catch FREE FIRE in theatres to support great filmmaking and great theatrical experiences. See you in May!
Just two new releases this week, but one is a… MONSTER
KONG: SKULL ISLAND – Solid big-screen epic entertainment. Easily the largest version of the classic creature, and he’s got lots of terrifying friends to throw down with, not to mention an incredible cast of humans. Definitely a must-see in IMAX3D.
BALLERINA – This was called LEAP! in the rest of the world, not sure why they had to change it here. What makes this stand out is the setting in fin-de-siecle Paris. The trailer I watched seemed to be more focused on the boy inventor rather than the, well, ballerina, but I’m sure it’s a delight. For your kids. Not you. Well, maybe.
Ever since 300 debuted to big numbers back in 2006, March has gotten Summer-level respect from the big boys, and we’ve got some monster releases to prove it. Let’s dig in!
So basically, you should be in a movie theatre pretty much every week this month. April, on the other hand…
This week’s releases were so close to being good, but all of them (save one) are lacking something important. Still lots to see though!
PATERSON – Jim Jarmusch is a national treasure, and his works should always be celebrated. His latest stars Adam Driver as, um, a bus driver, just gettin’ through the day. It’s actually a very quiet film, a meditation on how folks with medial jobs can still find joy in the little things. Maybe we all need a story like this right now.
THE GREAT WALL – The massive Chinese experiment finally hits North American cinemas. Can a Chinese production gain a worldwide audience? What if Matt Damon is the star, even though he’s really not? What if the film is mediocre? I’d say if you’re interested at all, see it in IMAX3D, there are supposed to be some spectacular moments but not enough to really warrant a viewing.
FIST FIGHT – It’s Charlie Day VS Ice Cube! A meek teacher gets a disciplinarian fired, and they’re gonna settle it outside! It looked terrible, but it’s better than it looks, though still not worth your money.
A CURE FOR WELLNESS – A young man goes looking for his missing boss, last seen at a sanitarium where the treatments are… DEADLY. Gore Verbinski’s latest is frustrating, since it looks amazing but it’s all style, no substance, and it’s TWO AND A HALF HOURS LONG.
I realized while writing this that though I did make that preview for ALLLL of 2017, I didn’t actually make a preview for February. Meh, most of the good films are out this week anyway, so you’ll have to make do with the weekly previews. I’ll try to get the others up on Thursday though. Regardless, here’s a look at your Valentine’s Day options!
JOHN WICK CHAPTER 2 – The first film was a revelation. Keanu was already skilled in Martial Arts, and he went hard to become a master of tactical gunplay as well. Here all those abilities come to fruition with the continuing story of a retired assassin getting pulled back into the game. Jamie’s already seen it and was utterly blown away by the action, so yeah, you’re gonna get your money’s worth. Go see it on the big screen this time to help make sure we get another trip to The Continental.
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE – THE LEGO MOVIE was a surprise critical and commercial hit, and one of the best elements was Will Arnett’s Batman. Now he has his own film, complete with pretty much every character ever created in the Batman comics. It’s funny as hell and a visual delight to boot. Oddly enough the IMAX version seems to be 2D, so no glasses this time!
FIFTY SHADES DARKER – Blander than the first. Unless you’re a real fan of the series, a completely underwhelming night at the movies.
THE SPACE BETWEEN US – A young man secretly born on Mars (!) sneaks back to Earth to meet a girl he likes. Basically Nicholas Sparks’ version of THE MARTIAN. This opened last weekend with a resounding thud, thanks to a lame screenplay and lack of chemistry. But hey, Gary Oldman!
RINGS – Yeah, it’s another RING movie, this time without bringing anything new to the table. Meh, dammit, meh!
I got to meet Richard Hatch at Toronto ComicCon 2011 when I moderated his Q&A. I excitedly combed through his IMDB to grill him about his other, non-Battlestar Galactica roles but when the time came, he said he’d run the show himself, which was fine. I still got to help steer him back to questions the fans were asking. I wasn’t sure what to expect with him. He was one of the first actors to really embrace cons, which I admit felt a bit desperate. Why wouldn’t an actor just act? Is he a has-been, pining for the old days, just looking for a paycheck? Or just a devoted actor, invested in his biggest role and looking to thank fans personally? Obviously the truth was somewhere in between.
Richard got his start in the legendary soap “All My Children”, and appeared on several TV shows throughout his career. His big break was a blessing and a curse, when he replaced Michael Douglas on “The Streets of San Francisco”. Imagine being compared to a force of nature like Douglas. It’s tough for any show to survive losing a big star, and it was a losing battle, ending after a single season. Even Battlestar was never a big success, only lasting one season. His IMDB list is impressive in its breadth if not depth, he played three different roles on both “The Love Boat” and “Hotel”, a testament to his ability to lose himself in a character, and also unfortunately to his lack of star power.
He seemed to be always hawking a new book, movie, or TV show that was poised to be the next big thing, but invariably it was another high-concept low-budget sci-fi misfire. He obviously always wanted to continue BSG, and was initially combative about the reboot, until they asked him to come on board in a new role. When I was in San Diego in 2013 he ran the panel for the 35th anniversary of BSG, and showed a clip from his attempted continuation of the series, which looked, well, cheap, but it’s understandable that he felt ignored after spending decades trying to bring the show back. When he wasn’t pursuing that, he ran acting workshops out of LA and was running a website with his son, “Who The Frak”, billed as “The World’s First Social Network Reality Drama!” He also made a whole lot of terrible short films, but I have to believe he was just helping out up-and-coming actors and filmmakers, using his name to give them a little boost. After his panel, I walked him back to his booth, and we talked a bit about his projects and life in general. A big part of his workshop is about life lessons, and I got the feeling he really wanted to be a motivational speaker, since it came to him very easily. Hell, after ten minutes I felt like I could make my own megaseries.
It’s so easy to dismiss Hatch as a one-hit wonder, but who can say what’s been made by those he inspired? In the end, most will remember him for a TV series he made, but for those of us who met him, we’ll remember his passion for what he loved, as well as his amazing warmth and friendliness.
I’m going to be blunt here; 2017 is shaping up to be an all-timer. There are some massive films coming out, several in rapid succession, and the creatives are running the show. Many filmmaking geniuses have been given the budgets they need to bring their visions to life in as spectacular fashion as they can imagine, and I’m friggin’ stoked. So I made a list of 25 big-ass films that are coming this year that you should get excited over.
And there you have it! This pretty much covers the big-budget action for the year, but there’s definitely lots more great films in the pipeline that won’t be on the radar for months, so think of this as an amuse-bouche. Keep checking in for your monthly and weekly looks as well.