25 May 2011

Top Numbered Somethings - UPCOMING SUMMER MOVIES! And shouting.

Summer time means that it's blockbuster season at the movies, where stories take a back seat to special effects, spinning cameras and explosions...so many explosions. I'm a big a fan of loud, stupid movies as anyone, so here's a list of movies I plan on definitely seeing, in order of their release date, along with how horrible I imagine they will be.

The Hangover: Part II - Let's be perfectly honest: this looks terrible. Everything about the trailers suggest that it is the exact same movie as the first one with an added layer of Asian racism since it takes place in Thailand as opposed to Las Vegas. I hope that my low expectations mean that it's better than my initial impression, but there's nothing I have other than hope to back that up. Alan will be weird, Stu will scream and Bradley Cooper will try to play it cool. Meanwhile, the characters should probably be dead or destitute, if any of these events actually happened.

X-Men: First Class - Here we have an X-Men film set in the 1960s with mutants in their original blue and yellow superhero outfits and a Magneto that uses his powers in a tremendously original and awesome way, judging by the trailer. For a comic fan like me, it's like the producers consulted me on how to approach the X-Men correctly. At first, it sounded so weird and out there that I couldn't help but predict doom and gloom for it because of the track record for the previous two films. Wolverine and X-Men: Last Stand were just so awful that another trip to the well, and a prequel at that, felt wrong. However, each trailer and clip released online look pretty cool and the reviews coming in have been positive, comparing the film to the J.J. Abrams reboot of Star Trek. Overall, I'm tentatively excited for this one and think it might be the dark horse movie of the summer.

Super 8 - Speaking of J.J. Abrams, his latest film looks to be what would happen if the alien from E.T. was a monster and the dad from Friday Night Lights along with his kids have to fight it. Abrams channels Spielberg in terms of look and tone and possibly Cloverfield in terms of story. The secrecy surrounding the plot has made the hype for this one out of control, and I wonder if it can deliver. So it might be horrible. Or it might be awe-inspiring. 

Green Lantern - The first trailer made this movie about a guy that gets a power ring that can make anything he can imagine look way too much like Iron Man, and Ryan Reynolds, while a good actor who gets way too much heat from most people for being a 2011 Ben Affleck, is no Robert Downey Jr. Fortunately, every single piece of footage since that initial trailer has allayed all of my fears because this looks like one of the top two movies to beat. In fact, it feels like this one might be too faithful to the source material, and the big problem appears to be that it's stuffed to the gills with all of the weirdness that took the comic 45 years to accumulate. I'm hoping that it's an accessible movie for those not in the know about the history of the Green Lanterns, but even if it isn't, it'll still be enjoyable to me. And ultimately, I am the only person that matters.

Captain America: The First Avenger - Here's my number one because everything I love about America can be summed up in this character. Plus, Marvel Studios have done a great job so far of creating the kind of expanded film universe that people never thought they'd be able to see accomplished on screen. It's a Captain America movie that takes place in World War II! That is amazing. Go back in time and tell 16 year old me after having suffered through things like Steel and Batman & Robin that Marvel movies like this would exist but also be quality popcorn flicks and I would have been amazed that you used the ability to go back in time to tell me about trivial Hollywood news, but I also would not have believed you.

Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon - And now we've come to the Michael Bay portion of the show. All indicators point to the fact that this will be the worst of the Transformers movies and they've all been awful. Michael Bay is good at two things: spinning the camera around and blowing stuff up. He's also good at disregarding anything that would make sense in a film and taking something that seems relatively simple (robots turn into cars and fight each other) and convoluting it with wacky human hijinks that involve Shia The Beef.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 - Considering all that's left in terms of the story of the final Harry Potter book is a gigantic battle at Hogwarts, I don't think this will be bad. The last film saw my wife and I fall asleep in the theatre, but it seemed to cover all of the parts of book seven that I hated anyway: namely, the 250 pages of pointless camping that JK Rowling insisted was so important to the development of the characters even though it was completely unnecessary. But I don't think of raucous battle scenes when I think of Harry Potter movies, so I'm tentative to think this will be great.

Cowboys & Aliens - Jon Favreau has earned enough credit from me as a director that I'll follow him into something new like this, and it's got a title that can't be beat. I hope that if sequels ever arrive that they just keep adding to the title with some new group: robots, astronauts, zombies, cavemen. It would be pretty tremendous and the cast is pretty awesome, too.

The final week before, well, finals was focused mostly on you finishing your Score TKAM assignment. Monday and Wednesday were devoted to work days in your groups where you should have spent time justifying five of the ten song choices you matched with the scenes provided along with a justification for the cover your group created. I'm writing this now after having collected the assignment, and it seems that a few groups only heard what they wanted to hear based off some of the justification papers I see. That's too bad because you earn a majority of the points based off those justifications.

Tuesday, you took the final on To Kill a Mockingbird.

Thursday and Friday were spent watching the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird. Despite the numerous plot changes, its 50 year pedigree and being in black and white, it's a film that manages to stand up today compared to many other film adaptations of novels. In fact, I'm surprised that Harper Lee's novel hasn't received the remake treatment, but I think that's more of a testament to Gregory Peck's performance. There isn't an actor alive today that could pull off Atticus Finch in such a distinctive and convincing fashion. Perhaps George Clooney might be able to do it, but, knowing how Hollywood operates, it'd probably go to Matthew McConaughey or Sam Worthington.

And then you took your department final and turned in your Score TKAM project on your respective final day.

On the last regular Monday of your high school career, you turned in your Table of Contents assignment and took your Cuckoo's Nest final.

Tuesday, you turned in all of your Cuckoo Final Project components. You also presented that day and on Wednesday. The presentations varied, but some of the originality the groups displayed really impressed me. From singing to sort-of puppet shows to metaphorical recreations of the ward to quarter hour long multimedia lectures, there was a width and breadth to the proceedings that I hadn't seen before. Good job, overall, and I look forward to using some of what you folks did as examples next year.

Thursday and Friday were the final days of class. We watched Milos Forman's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and signed some yearbooks.

And that's that with that. You're done. There will be an entry devoted to the idea of "done" later since I don't want it to get bogged down by including it with my usual account of the day-to-day happenings in class.

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