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Paul Peterson tackles the rumours of summer

Picton's Mustang Drive In opens May 6 - for weekend movies, until mid to end of June.

I always enjoy writing the summer movie guide, usually a fair bit more than I actually enjoy the movies. Where’s Annette Funicello when you need her?
There’s always an interesting mix of sequels and reruns and even the odd original idea.
For the most part, summer movies are either comedies, action flicks or animated. Last year Inception snuck in and turned conventional wisdom on its ear. It was remarkable and if I watch it just a couple more times I think I’ve got a real shot at understanding what it’s about.
I used to try and rank the films of the summer but first of all no one ever bothered to keep track and secondly, I was rarely right so why bother?
This year we’ll just go with the bingo ball of thought that helps drive my thought process. In other words, when I think of them, I’ll write it.
Fast Five – They steal cars and break the law and then Paul Walker takes his shirt off. I don’t know if they even bother to give Van Diesel one. This time the boys are on the road in Brazil or some such nonsense and they’re joined by Duane Johnson who no longer wants to be called The Rock. Maybe it gets in the way of his return to his Shakespearean roots. Here’s the summary: Cars go fast. Opening weekend 83 million. I think that makes it a blockbuster

Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides. Well, now that the Keith Richards experiment has failed, it’s all back to Johnny Depp to carry this year’s version of the movie based on a ride at Disney. I’m actually looking forward to this one. It’s always loud and creepy and Jack Sparrow is the ultimate bad boy and apparently this time they’re looking for the fountain of youth. Doesn’t matter. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer don’t make mistakes. At least that’s what I’m required to write, or they will make me disappear.

Speaking of Disney, they have the sequel to Cars and that’s going to be a monster. No idea what the plot line is other than Lightning and the crew join the race of champions which takes them all over the world. Expect a whole lot more cuteness and product tie-ins. Again, I’m not sure how being 3D enhances this movie-going experience but Herbie never needed gimmicks because he was a good actor. Hey, sometimes I just say it to amuse myself. This will do 200 million in its sleep.
Super 8 – Directors JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg combine to give us a retro look at kids and summer and some found footage that might just tell a secret. Speaking of secrets, they’re keeping the story line under wraps but my guess is this won’t disappoint, unlike Abrams ending to Lost. He tells good stories and breathed new life into Star Trek and that Spielberg guy knows a thing or two about making movies. This one at least is original and creative. Of course, if it works there’ll be a Super 9.
The Hangover 2 – The boys are back in town and this time the town is Bangkok. I don’t know if they can pull it off but Stu’s getting married and so it’s a slightly longer road trip. Mel Gibson was bounced from this project because of his bad behaviour off set and so maybe someone in Hollywood does have scruples. I don’t know how they worked Mike Tyson into this year’s model but he’s always good for a few laughs. We’ll see if they can keep it fresh. The original was great but this has lame-o written all over it. I hope I’m wrong.
Mr. Poppers Penguins – Jim Carrey, a beloved childrens book and cute penguins and this could be a bit of a return to form for the king of on camera mugging. The simple story of a businessman who turns his home into a sanctuary for penguins could be just the tonic for a summer that’s usually loaded with too much special effects and not enough story. I’m not a Carrey fan but hopefully he leaves the thigh slapping to the birds.
Green Lantern – Ryan Reynolds in yet another superhero film this summer. I always loved The Green Lantern. In brightest day in darkest night etc etc. However this will be the weakest of the three. I think it’s just overload. Captain America is going to be big, or at least the previews look stellar and there should be a surge of patriotism now that Obama got Osama. However both of them will pale in comparison to Thor. All reports have this being a great film. Not that Thor is the most accessible of the superheroes and I was never much of a Marvel guy anyway but they made a great movie and that trumps everything.
The previews of this just kept getting better and all the audience testing has been through the roof. There are huge expectations for this film but it sounds like it’s going to be the best action film of the summer.
There’s also an X Men movie which has a strong following of its own so if you’re a comic book geek, I mean nerd, I mean virgin, I mean some guy who lives in his mom’s basement, then this really is your time.
Bad Teacher – I like Cameron Diaz when she isn’t feeding A-Rod and this looks to be a perfect vehicle for her. She gets dumped by her sugar daddy and gets a job as a teacher. She manages to set the bar at a disturbingly low level and is content to just nurse her hangovers while the kids sit vapidly until she realizes she can win a teaching award which will help her pay for certain enhancements she believes will help her trap a certain teacher into marrying her and it’s on. Bad behaviour always amuses me and this kind of role is great with a woman instead of Billy Bob Thorton who is dirty enough to play this.
Bridesmaids – Hangover for the ladies. Again it’s women behaving badly and looks funny. Looks funny isn’t the same as actually is funny though and so I’m not sure this has legs.
Kung Fu Panda 2 – This is the only time I’m looking forward to a Jack Black film. Even though the Panda embodies certain Blackisms they manage to keep him in check enough for the charm of the film to come through. Great animation set the table for the first one and I think this one looks great. He’s a superhero without the power or motivation. My kind of guy.
Transformers 3 – Dark of the Moon. It’s such a collision of story and special effects that it’s almost too much, too loud, too intense, but then, I’m old. The first two were huge and there’s no reason to think this one won’t be a monster as well. People may have to decide which of all this carnage they choose to see and I don’t know if they’re starting to max out this brand. In other irrelevant news, Megan Fox worrying that she might be typecast isn’t in this film. If anyone finds her, can you let her know her career is officially over?
The Zookeeper – People just like Kevin James and this is Night at the Museum with live animals. I just don’t totally get it but I think it’s going to be mildly funny and hugely successful.
Larry Crowne – Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in an adult drama which might be a mistake for this time of year. These two used to be box office gold but can they make a little picture about a guy who loses his job and takes a position teaching at a college. Probably. If anyone can, it’s them.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2 – How is it possible that this film ends up near the bottom of the list? Because it’s a very busy summer. It’s over Johnny. Huge box office and no surprises for people who read and loved the book. I parted company with Mr. Potter a while back but I know they make great films – if a little dark – and I’m sure this will put the franchise to bed with a bang.
The Smurfs – I want to see this. Little blue trolls with slightly magical powers and a way too positive attitude singing and working together. Reminds me of one particularily magic night back in the 60’s. This time they’re in Manhattan. Expect a world of hijinks. It should be cute.
Finally, the best for the end maybe. Jon Favreau makes good movies. He gave us Elf and Ironman among others and Cowboys and Aliens looks to be clever, creative and a whole lot of fun. It just sounds good. Cowboys and Aliens. Think about it. John Wayne tackles ET. Ok, that’s a stretch but you get the idea. It’s got a great cast – Daniel Craig Harrison Ford, and a great story line. A spaceship crashes in the old west. I’m excited about this one and I don’t get excited about anything
We’ll see.
There’s a ton of films and some of them might even be good. Regardless, I’ll be charging people to get in and smiling shamelessly.
Have a great summer at the movies.
Or not.
As always, other opinions are wlecome but wrong. That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul

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