Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, April 06, 2015

Checking out some Summer Blockbuster contenders at the Movie Trailer Park

I know that it's only April but since the summer movie season begins in May these days, there's no time like the present to start looking at the upcoming crop of big bang for your bucks flicks.

There are a number of genres to consider, from animated features to early Oscar nominee fare, but in the interest of brevity I thought that it would be best to narrow it down to three of the major commercial categories.

So, grab your popcorn bucket and let's what will be shaking the box office at your favorite multiplex this summer:


At this point, Marvel movies are their own category, especially since there are no other superhero films in play until next year. While DC is still twiddling their thumbs, Marvel has three movies ready to go this summer, starting with Avengers: Age of Ultron.

This sequel(which thankfully still has Joss Whedon behind the scenes) has our superhero team facing a threat that was inadvertently created by one of their own. Yep, Tony Stark's brainchild turns on humanity and is joined by a pair of twins( soon to be known as Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch) with extraordinary abilities.

The quality of this film looks to be as good as it's predecessor, which doesn't always happen, and due to the consistent continuity thread of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, should be the standard bearer for all other superhero sagas to follow, regardless of the comic book/graphic novel series they originated from:

After that, Ant Man is set to arrive in July and that film looks to me to be the weak link in the Marvel chain. Sorry, Paul Rudd, but I find it hard to get into such a hokey character even if the F/X looks pretty awesome there.

August is usually not a good month for quality releases but sometimes it can be a nice place to let a smaller scale surprise slip in. The reboot of The Fantastic Four has the same opportunity as last year's Guardians of the Galaxy did to wow blockbuster weary audiences at the end of the summer season and I hope it does just that.

Mind you, I am one of the few folks that enjoyed the earlier FF films with their fun Saturday Matinee vibe(plus, Michael Chiklis was excellent as The Thing). This revamp appears to be a bit more serious in tone, with a much younger cast and slightly different origin story(instead of a spaceship accident, this quartet gets their powers from a teleporter experience).

I'm willing to give this a try as perhaps a better focus on the source material might elevate the easily dismissive campy cartoon elements of prior adaptations and allow a more mature yet still action adventure entertainment to emerge for fans and newcomers alike:


Funny ladies will be making their presence known on screen, with Melissa McCarthy returning to the summer movie race with Spy, which gives her not only her Bridemaids director Paul Feig but action movie vets like Jude Law and Jason Stratham on board.

The plot has McCarthy's character, a smart yet mild mannered CIA office worker,go out into the field to take down some enemy agents due to her James Bond/Jason Bourne like co-workers having their covers blown. McCarthy's skills as a comedic actress who's not afraid to battle with the big boys was proven in her team-up with Sandra Bullock in The Heat and this looks to be as solid a laugh fest as that action movie comedy was.

McCarthy has a lot riding here, as last year's Tammy did extremely poorly with critics and movie goers alike. Yet, I truly believe that she can overcome that minor setback and be seen as the amazing movie diva that she's meant to be:

Making her big screen debut, Amy Schumer has Judd Apatow at her side for Trainwreck, along with the likes of Tilda Swinton and Bill Hader co-starring as well.

The story line(written by Schumer) has her determined to be single party gal finding herself in a serious romantic relationship with a more down to earth guy. The advance buzz has been good so far and with Schumer's Comedy Central series,Inside Amy Schumer, doing so well, her coronation as the new
reigning queen of comedy is pretty much a done deal.

I'm fine with that but I'm just not a fan of hers. Maybe it's my age bracket or threshold for raunchy humor but the whole "look at me, I'm as gross as the guys!" schtick doesn't impress me much. It's not only Schumer, it's also the likes of Chelsea Handler and the double trouble duo on Broad City. Why is drunken humor suddenly okay for women? It wasn't great when men did it either yet that persona has been rightly ditched for a long time now and I honestly don't think that it's enpowering for women to take up that mantle.

Sorry for the mini-rant; Schumer will no doubt make her mark on the pop culture world with this film but I really prefer Melissa McCarthy to come out a head in this cinematic bout. Not that they are or should be competing yet we all know that comparisons will made between them nonetheless:


Going without a remake of a science fiction blast from the past must be harder than quitting smoking for Hollywood as another round of remakeitis is set to infect the silver screen.

Terminator:Genisys is not just the fifth installment in this series, it's supposed to be a "retcon" that flips the already worn out script. As John Connor sends back Kyle Reese to save his mother Sarah from being killed by the title killer robot, a somewhat new scenario is about to be played out.

*Sigh* How many damn times do we have to expand upon this story yet again? By this point, I think babies coming out of the womb have been imprinted with this franchise's DNA. Each generation since the original film can recite chapter and verse about Skynet and Judgement Day, as well as debate which Terminator was best, Arnold Schwarzenegger's(and yes, he's back!) or the many T-1000s that followed him.

In my opinion, the first two movies were great but the rest are pointless spinning of the cinematic wheels(Terminator Salvation had some decent material, I grant you). This one could either rake in the cash or crash and burn; I'm hoping for the latter. Nothing against the folks who worked hard on this film(except Arnie,of course) but if it doesn't do well, perhaps an original concept or script might get a chance to dazzle us with creative wonder next time around:

Speaking of cinematic dinosaurs, Jurassic World is openly embracing their marketing and merchandising might as the ultimate in interactive theme parks is finally allowing the tourists in.

Chris Pratt stars as the resident Indiana Jones, who sees trouble a-foot as one of his fellow scientists decides to experiment with of that ancient DNA and makes a hybrid monster that's a danger to humans and newly created dinos alike. Yep, Frankenstein and dinosaurs, that goes together like crunchy peanut butter and cheap chocolate.

To be fair, it has been awhile since we've seen a Jurassic Park sequel and dinosaurs are a classic movie menace that can age like fine wine. Kids will love this sight unseen(it helps that a young visitor to the park is one of the major characters) and that first opening weekend ought to please the money men greatly. As for me, I'll sit this one out:

All in all, this is not a bad year for summer movies. Sure, it would be nice to have something truly fresh and imaginative splash across the screens but there's nothing wrong with some well done genre fare giving us our time and money's worth. Even on that level, putting your best foot forward should be a major priority as even the most jaded of audiences want to be honestly entertained or at the very least, properly amused:

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