20 big-screen blockbusters coming soon to a cinema near you
A look ahead at the 20 biggest movies set to open as early as May. Movie reviewers Jason Meserve and Denise Dubie examine which films have the star power to bring in big box-office bucks, which will make you laugh until you cry and which movies might just fall short of everyone's expectations
PINEAPPLE EXPRESS Meserve's take: When I go to a "summer movie" I am usually looking for something light that's not going to require much thought. Pineapple Express might actually be too light. Seth Rogen was great in Knocked Up, but I don't think he can carry this one. Dubie's take: This film is from the makers of last year's summer comedy hit Superbad and stars actors from TV's much-loved short-lived series Freaks and Geeks. I think it will take off in theatres if the comedy is similar.
THE DARK KNIGHT Meserve's take: While I have yet to see Batman on the big screen or even watch the TV series, I am going to be drawn to this film because of the untimely demise of Heath Ledger. Dubie's take: I have seen all the big-screen Batmans -- with Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney -- I had planned on seeing this film anyway because the first Christian Bale flick was one of my favorites. But I will be there to see Heath Ledger's final performance. And with this all-star cast, the movie is sure to be a big hit with audiences.
THE INCREDIBLE HULK Meserve's take: Not satisfied with Iron Man alone, Marvel Comics is out with its second big film with Hulk. It's also Liv Tyler's second appearance of the season. I'll be watching to see how Edward Norton pulls off the role of Bruce Banner. Dubie's take: I am surprised this film was made so soon after 2003's Hulk, which starred Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly and Nick Nolte -- though people were disappointed in that version. It will be interesting to see Norton as mild-mannered Bruce Banner and presumably the hulking beast as his alter ego.
THE X-FILES 2 Meserve's take: Not an X-Files fan, so while this movie will do well at the box office, I probably won't be one of those seeing it. Dubie's take: I didn't watch the TV series and I didn't see the last film so would I be lost seeing this movie? I am sure loyal fans will come out in droves to see their favorite FBI agents again.
STEP BROTHERS Meserve's take: I nearly spit coffee over my keyboard watching the trailer for this. Hopefully, it's not one of those films where the trailer is all the funny scenes in the movie, but I am thinking Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly will make audiences laugh throughout. Dubie's take: As much as I like some of Will Ferrell's characters in small doses and John C. Reilly in general as an actor, I am not sure I can take an entire film of Ferrell.
INDIANA JONES Meserve's take: 20 years between films, the fourth installment of the Indy series should live up to the hype. Interestingly, the movie was shot on film and not done digitally, as George Lucas has adopted for his other pictures. Dubie's take: This is a must-see. Even Spielberg's (director) bad movies are great. It will be fun to see what themes they've stayed true to -- for instance, Ford's one-liners and sometimes stumbling stunts -- and what new features they've incorporated to appeal to a younger audience -- except for Shia LeBeouf.
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS Meserve's take: While the woke-up-from-a-heavy-drinking-night-married-in-Vegas plot is a bit old, the addition of the shared jackpot makes this potentially watchable. I haven't seen the film yet, but I am guessing they fall for each other in the end. Dubie's take: Even though most romantic comedies are predictable, the two extremely attractive stars -- both that have a knack for physical comedy -- will make this entertaining. While there may not be an official review, I definitely will see the film.
STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS Meserve's take: I loved the original three Star Wars films and didn't see the overhyped prequels. Maybe this George Lucas written story will draw me back into the fold. Dubie's take: I was a big fan of the first set of Star Wars movies, but only saw one of the films in the more recent trilogy. Maybe an animated version will appeal to audiences that didn't enjoy seeing Hayden Christensen muck up his role as young Darth Vader.
GET SMART Meserve's take: I remember watching the original Get Smart in reruns as a kid. At the time, the humor was a bit over my head so I wasn't a huge fan of the show. As a huge fan of Steve Carell (and The Office), I am looking forward to seeing this movie. It should be good for some laughs. Dubie's take: The movie will make money off its stars, not the original premise because most young movie goers won't know what Get Smart is. Steve Carell is hot right now so I wouldn't be surprised if audiences unfamiliar with the TV series flock to the comedy.
TROPIC THUNDER Meserve's take: Ben Stiller and Jack Black are enough to get me to watch this one. It has "fun summer night at the movies" written all over it. Dubie's take: Robert Downey Jr. is the draw for me, though I will say I am a fan of a few Ben Stiller vehicles, like Dodge Ball, his shtick sometimes wears thin. But with Jack Black and others on the marquee, I think the film will draw huge crowds.
IRON MAN Meserve's take: Never read the Marvel Comic version of Iron Man, but saw the trailers for this - looks interesting and Robert Downey Jr. is an interesting pick for the lead. We'll definitely be reviewing this film. Dubie's take: Love Robert Downey Jr. If you couple an intelligent actor who can give the script more than the standard action hero delivery with good action sequences and great special effects, then I think you have a hit in your hands -- at least in terms of the box office.
HANCOCK Meserve's take: Will Smith should bring out the crowds with this comedy after the success of the more serious I Am Legend. Dubie's take: I will watch Will Smith in anything so if movie goers are like me and if this film combines comedy with action, then it will definitely bring in blockbuster box office bucks.
THE STRANGERS Meserve's take: Personally, I am not a big fan of horror films. I'll be passing on this one when it hits the theatres. Dubie's take: Being a big fan of horror movies, I prefer the type of suspenseful films that leave the outcome to the audience's imagination. This looks like one of the scary movies in which the horror isn't obvious with some chain-saw wielding maniac so I'd enjoy seeing how well it's done.
KUNG FU PANDA Meserve's take: Sounds like a kid's version of Karate Kid. I don't have children, so I don't typically see a lot of the kid flicks in the theatre. But I might get it on DVD when it comes out. Dubie's take: Most animated films hit on mature topics and slip in some adult humor so I generally enjoy them. Family films do well so this Panda's face may be on the next fast food value meal you get at McDonald's.
THE LOVE GURU Meserve's take: Let's see: Mike Meyers, Jessica Alba, a little person, hockey. What's not to like about this comedy? I am sucker for these movies, so I'll be in the theatre watching. Dubie's take: Mike Myers did well with the Wayne's World and Austin Powers films, but I don't think it's a given that every character he creates will be as entertaining. It will be interesting to see how funny this film actually is.
WALL-E Meserve's take: Pixar is like a pro sports team that doesn't rebuild, it reloads. WALL-E should be another dandy. Dubie's take: With Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Finding Nemo and Cars under its belt, Disney Pixar practically guarantees a new classic with its animated films.
THE MUMMY 3 Meserve's take: This series seems to be a modern day take on Indiana Jones. But with a new Jones movie hitting the screen also, will "Mummy" be left in the dust? Dubie's take: While I enjoyed the first Mummy movie, I am thinking by the third take the action, comedy and thrills of this series will be too watered down to be really good. But adding Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh should make for some interesting fight sequences.
SPEED RACER Meserve's take: I never got the appeal of the cartoon version when it came to America, so I am not totally sold on seeing this. But the special effects look good and the studio did shoot this with families in mind, so could be a flick for the whole gang to see. Dubie's take: This isn't one I plan to see, but I think it does have big family appeal and could do well with older kids that feel animated movies are too young for them, but still enjoy films that deliver some thrills before providing the expected happy ending.
THE HAPPENING Meserve's take: I am not sure I can get up for this one - I saw Signs and was disappointed and I typically don't enjoy Shyamalan's style of filmmaking. (Though I did like The Sixth Sense... but who didn't?) Dubie's take: The Sixth Sense makes you want to keep seeing his films, and I liked Unbreakable and Signs, but he lost me on The Village. I didn't see his last film, Lady in the Water, but The Happening might do well, considering Mark Wahlberg can carry a film and is a draw for a lot of movie goers.
SEX AND THE CITY Meserve's take: I am guessing it will do very well at the box office based on the popularity of the HBO series. The trailers look good and everyone loves a reunion - go see it on a date. Dubie's take: The HBO series had peaked and was on the decline when it ended, with the last two seasons not delivering the same quality as those that won the show's very loyal fan base. The movie will do well at the box office, but it seems to me some will find it disappointing if things don't play out perfectly for the characters. What if Carrie and Big really don't live happily ever after?