As the weather begins to get hotter everywhere else except for Colorado (which has been banished to the land of ice), and as all the young kids and adults taking community college classes begin to get out of school our thoughts turn to lemonade, swimming pools, and what movies we can duck into to forget about how the lemonade is too sweet, the pool is too crowded, and it’s too hot outside. Thankfully, Hollywood has heard our call and answered it, like a certain superhero group, to give us these fine summer entertainments. Thank you, Hollywood, because without you we’d only have Parcheesi to take our mind off of the skin-melting heat and inevitable wildfires. Aside from a brief synopsis of each story, we also have how many explosions are promised to be in each movie.
Iron Man 3 (Released May 3rd)
America’s favorite Vitamin-themed superhero is back after last summers excursion with The Avenglings, and he’s back telling America about the benefits of a diet high in iron. This health crusade is interrupted, however, by Sir Ben Kingsley’s Vitamin-C themed super villain The Mandarin Orange. The Mandarin Orange begins a one-man assault against Iron Man, doing his best to convince the superhero that iron isn’t a necessary supplement. Kingsley gives one of the most menacing performance ever to be captured on screen, and the scene where he leans in close to whisper in Iron Man’s ear “As we go on, we remember, all the time we, spent together” will give viewers nightmares for decades to come. Though ostensibly a movie about health it will still have a few explosions thrown in (and not just the metaphorical explosion of flavor that the omnipresent mango The Mandarin is eating oozes).
The Great Gatsby (Released May 10th)
Dircetor Baz Luhrmann took a few liberties in the adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Firstly, this film doesn’t take place in the roaring twenties, but rather in 1984. It still features Jay Gatsby (played by Leonardo DiCaprio doing his best New York accent, because real actors do accents) who falls in love with a light bulb at the end of a dock, and Tom Buchanan, now related to Pat (played by Joel Edgerton). Gatsby decides that enough is enough, I’m going to get that light bulb, and so he hops on a raft and sails down the Mississippi with a former slave named Jim. Along the way, Gatsby angers Poseidon who send him way off course and he and his crew crash onto a deserted island. Gatsby tries to build a functional society, but everything eventually devolves into chaos with Nick Carraway (played with spunk by Tobye Maguire) ends up talking to a severd pigs’ head. Gastby and George Wilson (who is more a mostly-harmless man-child with a love of rabbits in this story) are able to find a way off of the island to a farm in California where they work. There Gatsby falls in love with a woman from another rival farm, and in trying to woo her heart ends up killing her and going on trial. Luckily, Gatsby has Atticus Finch as a lawyer (with Gregory Peck reprising his role, they edit around the fact that he’s dead). Gatsby is released, or rather he runs away from the jail holding him, and tries to find his way home again, running into a former teacher who tries to come on to Gatsby. This is when Gatsby realizes that life is bullshit and everyone’s a phony. He lives the rest of his life on a farm. An Animal Farm. Though it’s mostly a coming-of-age story that thinly masks truths about the American Dream, there will still be some scattered explosions (after all, it’s every American’s dream to see an explosion).
Star Trek Into Darkness (Releases May 17th)
Footsteps echo through the halls of Starfleet; it’s Future Spock and he has terrible news for Commander Pike. Future Spock’s adventures through time have caused a tear in the very fabric of reality itself, causing Starfleet’s #1 Most Wanted, the insane eugenics-obsessed clone Khan, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s master detective Sherlock Holmes, and Leonid Brezhnev (history’s greatest monster) to merge into one unstoppable killer who uses spaceships as weapons. It’s up to Captain Kirk, the crew of the enterprise, and Future Commander Sulu who Future Spock has pulled from his magic time bag to go on a deadly trek to stop this crazed madman before he can wipe out the galaxy with a Death Star. Fan favorite Edward James Olmos stars in a side plot as a Starfleet agent who has to makes sure Future Sulu’s allegiance is with the men of Starfleet and not the Machines of Skynet. This movie will only have around twelve explosions, but one of them will be the sun going into Supernova, so it’ll still be worth the ticket price.
The Hangover, Part 3 (Releases May 23rd)
The Hangover, Part 3, From Russia with Beer finds the Wolfpack Gang (a notoriously drunk gang of ne’er-do-wells) back in Las Vegas. Only there’s something wrong: Russia has taken over Las Vegas and turned it into basically the same thing only with a Kremlin-themed casino. Still, the Wolfgang Pack won’t let Socialism take over that easily. So they come up with a plan: everyone knows Las Vegas runs on alcohol, so if they drink all of the alcohol in Las Vegas they’ll successfully defeat the Russians! Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Ken Jeong, and John Goodman star as Wolf Blitzer’s Pals, with Jeff Tambor stepping into the role of Premier Vadislav Niet, the head KGB agent of Las Vegas who is tasked to find and destroy the Wolfblood Wanderers. The third part promises to be darkest of all the Hangover movies, with a long scene of Galifianakis crying into a bottle of whiskey and talking about how he killed his wife (rumor on the street is that Galifianakis wasn’t acting during this scene), and Ken Jeong walking out of the movie halfway through by saying “Guys, this isn’t funny anymore. I need to leave this circle of self-destruction”. There will be somewhere around 25 explosions in this movie, but they’re all hidden and the first person to find all 25 will win a trip to Las Vegas to visit the tombs of the Wolf-woof Wiffleballs.
Epic (Releases May 24th)
This movie will surprisingly be about the Edora Pool and Ice Center in Fort Collins, Colorado where I grew up. I find it as hard to believe as most people that the story of a Northern Coloradoan indoor pool and ice rink would be the subject of a hit summer blockbuster, but it does look like Hollywood will spruce it up a bit. Firstly, Maxwell P. Edora (played with gravitas by Mark Wahlberg) creates the pool and ice center as a way of covering up a massive Colorado state conspiracy, and every night when the ice rink closes Edora goes to his underground laboratory to try and get to the bottom of it alongside his talking dog (voiced by Parks and Recreation‘s Aziz Ansari). The conspiracy is as follows: The river that runs through Fort Collins (The Cache le Poudre) was a hiding ground for gun powder for French fur trappers, and it seems as though a group of trappers happened upon not only the motherload of all gunpowder, but also on a hidden cache of gold (This part is told in flashback by Tom Hanks, doing a french accent of course). In order to make sure no one would find their gunpowder and gold, they set up a series of trap-ridden catacombs in the area surrounding the river. But wouldn’t you know it, Colonel William O. Collins (Played by Alan Rickman) purposefully set up his military fort near where the trappers were rumored to have their catacombs built. Collins did this, because he wanted the gold and he was going to use the gunpowder to blow up the fort after he had found the gold so he could retire from the military in peace and not have to fight in the Civil War. Edora finds out that the city counsel led by Collins’ descendant Anton E. Collins (played by Vince Vaughn in a surprisingly effective performance) are still searching for the underground french catacombs, and more still he finds out that he may have only five days to save the town from complete annihilation. Based on a true story, and featuring a special appearance of Donald Sutherland as local activist/hero Thomas Sutherland. As you can imagine, this movie feature plenty of explosions thanks to the heavily feature gunpowder.
Fast & Furious 6 (Releases May 24th)
Fast & Furious 6: Several Tickets and an Anger Management Class Later picks up the ball right where the fifth installment left it: Vin Diesel is tied to a chair, wondering why in God’s name was he cursed to only appear in Car movies (Your last name is “Diesel” and you went into acting, Vin. Don’t worry, I’m only going to appear in bread-based movies). Suddenly, a grenade is thrown in: EXPLOSION. Dwayne Johnson walks through the smoke and flames and extends an arm to Vin: “Wassup, I’m Dwayne. I’m busting you out of here”. “But Dwayne, we’re surrounded by lasers and dinosaurs and Nazis probably”, “Yeah, well it’s a good thing I brought my helicopter”. Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, goes the helicopter as Dwayne and Vin fly out of Alcatraz in 2068, but that’s not the end, oh no it’s only the beginning. Gina Carano stars as an FBI agent with a chip on her shoulder and a badass attitude, and Cristoph Waltz plays a Nazi sent by Hitler into the Future to re-grow Hitler’s brain… IN THE BODY OF A T-BIRD. Vin and Dwayne will have to race against both the HiT-Bird and Time, as a comet is also going to be crashing into Earth that will awaken a Dark Dragon and bring forth 1000 years of terror. Can they make it? Their muscles say “Yes”. This movie will be at least 66% explosions, although my money is on 95% (The other 5% will be driving while talking about cars and how they blow up).
After Earth (Releases May 31st)
The shadow of last summers “The Anvenglings” hangs heavy over the newest film by M. Night Shyamalan. Why? Because After Earth combines EVERY SINGLE SHYAMALAN MOVIE INTO ONE. Will Smith plays Captain Hobarth Gondola, a man who doesn’t get sick, and real-life son Jada Pinkett Smith plays movie the movie son Cowabunga Gondola, who can see dead people. That part’s obvious from the trailers. What the trailers don’t tell us is that the Smiths come from a secluded Village in the woods that is the only place that hasn’t been taken over by baseball-hating plant aliens (in order keep people from leaving the Village, the adults tell the children stories about how great baseball used to be. It’s all a lie, though, all a fear-mongering lie). The first twist comes about a third of the way through the movie when we find out that the aliens have struck up a truce with the Aqua-wolves who are actually what are left of the water-benders. It seems that the aqua-wolves (formerly grass wolves, but the Lady in the Water drove them to the sea, this is explained in a flashback) are trying to completely destroy the fire-benders who now control a sizable portion of the world (there’s twist number two). Things get really crazy after that, but I can’t give away any of the other five twists. Needless to say, Captain Hobarth and Cowabunga are going to have to fight a bear voiced in unison by Steve Buscemi and Chris Tucker. As this movie takes place “After Earth” it’s a part of the movie-world that 33% of the Earth’s atmosphere is now explosions, so I think we all know that there will be plenty of fireballs and water balls and, most important of all, BASEballs.
Now You See Me (Releases May 31st)
Though billed as a magician movie, this is actually going to be the last film of a highly prolific experimental filmmaker known as “The Terrier”. Terrier has an impressive oeuvre, but unfortunately he has always been plagued by the fact that he’s never gotten a wide theatrical release (though he’s won a number of experimental awards, and was even congratulated on his dedication to the cinematic art by former president Jimmy Carter). Somehow he managed to get Now You See Me released ans shot in wonderful Hollywood, California. Fans of Terrier’s past works will be very fond of the floating color forms and the way he uses photographic anomalies as a means of exploring identity and sexuality, however what I found very jarring (and certainly indicative of why Terrie is retiring after this film) is the fact that the entire soundtrack is Terrier saying “Oh, so now you see me? Now? You didn’t see anything I made when I had a festival in Berlin, but now you’re interested that I have Jesse Eisenberg and Common in it? Well thanks. Thanks a lot” and so forth. Eisenberg and Common are featured, however only briefly and it’s more like a macro shot of these men’s teeth as they eat a carrot. There aren’t any explosions in the traditional sense, but it’s certainly a worthy experience. Although I suggest turning off the sound (I hear that it synchs up well to “Dark Side of the Moon”, though).
The Purge (Releases June 7th)
In the second of this summer’s Vitamin-themed movies, the Purge follows the rivalry between two dieticians: One who claims that high fiber is the key to eliminating excess chemicals and fats, the other who claims that it’s a diet rich in anti-oxidants. The rivalry grows, much like the one in “The Prestige”, and eventually the two dieticians take the rivalry too far. The Fiber Dietician asks help from Dr. Atkins in order to create a machine that will measure diet effectiveness. While the ending is being kept a secret for now (as it should, it’s quite a doozy. Or should I say “Juice-y”?), needless to say David Bowie’s cameo as Dr. Atkins will be nominated for at least three Oscars. The movie promises to have two, possibly four explosions. Don’t worry, though, because they’re going to be good explosions.
Man of Steel (Releases June 14th)
This movie will be about the 1952 Steel Strike, as told from the perspective of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, President Harry Truman, and of course the group of dedicated and underpaid steel workers. As the story goes, the United Steelworkers of America wanted to go on strike against U.S Steel for a wage increase (as they thought that their wages were help intentionally low during World War II in an attempt for their employers to make more money). President Truman quickly tried to nationalize the steel industry (which would mean that the workers wouldn’t be able to go on strike), however the steelworkers sued the government and took the case to the Supreme court. Surprisingly enough, the steelworkers won and were allowed to go on strike and get their wage increase (much to the chagrin of Sen. McCarthy, as this was early in the era of McCarthyism and we were only ankle-deep in the next Red Scare). For those of you who may fear that this movie will get too political, though, don’t worry because Director Zack Snyder has made a few changes to the historical account: President Truman is now a muscle-bound pro wrestler, Sen. McCarthy is a giant robot, and the Steelworkers are a group of sexy teens with a devil-may-care attitude. Also, instead of working in a steel mill, everyone works at an Explosion factory. It’s still history, just sexier and more exciting.
Monsters University (Releases June 21st)
In this sequel to the hit 2001 film “Monster’s Ball” starring Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry, we find Leticia Musgrove alive and kicking and teaching at Yale (she’s teaching French literature, of course). Things get complicated when Hank Grotowski shows up with a devastating bit of news: The affair they had some twelve years ago resulted in a child (Musgrove was pretty out of it, because she was in a bullet-wound induced coma for all those nine months), and that this child was a genius and is now ready to enroll in college. Grotowski wants only whats best for his son, as he wants you Hank Jr. to become a doctor and not be stuck in the horrible family tradition of prison guarding. Musgrove is shocked: Does she really want this terrible part of her past walking into her life again, but at the same time can she say no to her own genius son? While Musgrove and Grotowski go through their personal drama and sort out their pasts and prejudices, Hank Jr. gets involved in some whacky college hijinks (it’s obviously comedic relief, and the performance of Burn Gorman as Hank Jr. who just doesn’t have the presence for slapstick college humor, plus he pronounces “Frat” wrong). To just make matter all sort of worse, Mos Def’s Ryrus Cooper shows up in the last third of the movie demanding “The Money”. Who is Cooper talking to? What money? Is Hank Jr. really who he says he is, or is actually an escaped convict? These are all questions that Grotowski and Musgrove will have to answer in Monsters University. There will be no explosions in this movie, though, and I think we’re all a bit disappointed in that.
World War Z (Releases June 21st)
ZOMBIES! Oh No! And this time they’re like ants and they can climb on top of each other and there’s SO MANY ZOMBIES! Who’s going to kill these zombies? Brad Pitt, that’s who! “Wait a second, doesn’t Brad Pitt have a family?” I hear you ask. YES. Yes he does, but he has to leave his family behind because of zombies. Meanwhile the zombies are EVERYWHERE and they’re eating EVERYTHING and turning it into MORE ZOMBIES. Lucky for Brad Pitt, zombies are allergic to explosions. So Brad Pitt kills the zombies by exploding them. THE END. Oh, and Brad Pitt looses a wife but gains a daughter or… something like that.
White House Down (Releases June 28th)
In this HILARIOUS Stoner comedy, an Aide to President Obama tries to get the President to loosen up a bit with a wild night on the town. “Come on, Prezy-O, this is your last night of freedom before the next filibuster from Congress. Let’s go KAH-RAZY!” says the Aide (played by an always-welcome James Franco). President Obama (who will be playing himself) shrugs and says “Yeah, okay. The White House is Down with that”. What follows it a mix of “Dude Where’s My Car?” and “An American President” as Obama learns the true meaning of America (Parties) and why exactly he loves his wife Michelle (Because of parties). Anheiser-Busch has made a beer specifically for this film called the “Bar-Hop O’Bama” which will be sold in super markets for as long as the film is in theaters. Also, the release date will be a national holiday, because Obama is a socialist dictator akin to Kim-Jong Il. Unlike Kim Jong-Il’s hundreds of thousands of movies about him, though, this one promises to have the White House blow up at least eight times, only two of which will be in dream sequences (directed by David Lynch, of course).
The Lone Ranger (Releases July 3rd)
The year is 1949. People are happy that World War II is over, unhappy that the Korean War is about to begin, and generally scared of everything. Also: Televisions are starting to be a thing. This proves to be vital in uniting our troubled nation, as one television producer hears a radio show and decides to turn it into a television show: The Lone Ranger. We follow the ups and downs of the shows near-decade on air as the producer, Jack Chertok (played by Mark Ruffalo), struggles to cast a horse for Silver (They ended up going through thirteen different horses during the shows run, prompting the television industry to call such a show plagued by horse death as having “Silver’s Curse”), fend off rabid Lone Ranger fans (there was a sizable group of fans who were actually rabid, it was in the California newspapers), and has to put up with Jay Silverheels (played by Johnny Depp) who had the ridiculous idea to have Tonto wear a crazy hat. The casting of Johnny Depp in the role of Silverheels is proving to bring up quite the discussion of race and native culture in cinema, but the choice is sound because Depp is 1/16th Cherokee. Oh, and I almost forgot: Chernok also had to deal with lead actor Clayton Moore’s obsession with dynamite and blowing up any hotel he stayed in (Eventually Chernok had to replace Moore’s dynamite collection with chocolate, leading to Moore gaining a great deal of weight).
Pacific Rim (Releases July 12th)
In Pacific Rim a crazed AI has broken out of it’s computoral prison in Black Mesa and taken over an army of gigantic robots. These robots begin destroying all of civilization, and there’s nothing we can do to stop them or the crazed AI, when suddenly a rumble comes from the ground: It’s Godzilla! Godzilla does his best to fight the robots, and he almost succeeds with the help of Ghidora and even King Ceasar (It’s a huge step for Godzilla lore, I know, but it’s a dire circumstance)! Then the AI laughs: You didn’t think I’d let you win that easily, did you Godzilla? Mechagodzilla, controlled by the AI, rears its ugly head. Things look bad, really bad. Then a robot steps on Monster Island, and that can only mean that it’s incurred the wrath of its winged insect-like protector. As the Mothra, Godzilla, Ghidora, etc. fight the evil robots the humans below scream and get crushed. One team of scientists tries to figure out a way to stop the robo-threat, but they kind of figure Godzilla has it covered. Also, they get crushed by a falling building. This movie actually won’t have many explosions (it’s by Guillermo del Toro, after all, so it does have a touch of class), instead it focuses mainly on knock-out brawling between giants. Plus, when you’re the size of a skyscraper there is no difference between an explosion and a firefly.
Grown Ups 2 (Releases July 12th)
Grown Ups 2: Sorry Guys We Weren’t Actually Grown Up the First Time, Adam Sandler (played by golf legend Happy Gilmore) hangs out with three of his friends (one of whom is black, because Adam Sandler isn’t racist). He might go to a pool, mostly they just hang out and drink beer. Fart? They fart too. Honestly, this movie is mostly just padding for Gilmore’s Oscar reel. It still promises to have one explosion. One poop-Explosion. Also, despite evidence to the contrary, Rob Schneider will show up playing a Dutch Midget. It’s going to be HILARIOUS.
The Wolverine (Releases July 26th)
This wonderful nature documentary follows one little wolverine pup as it grows up in Alaskan wilderness. It faces a particularly difficult winter, hot-headed hunters (Spoiler Alert, the wolverine’s mother dies early, but it is able to find it’s father again. Which is nice), and a riveting section where our little wolverine gets trapped in an ice drift. The documentary will be narrated by Hugh Jackman. Fun Fact: Jackman had no idea he was narrating a documentary when he entered the studio for every day of recording. Even more fun fact: Jackman has never actually seen a wolverine, and spends most of the documentary talking about wolves and tangerines (as you can imagine, Jackman gets incredibly excited when the Wolverine sneezes at a Tangerine while being chased by a wolf). This movie has one explosion at an oil factory, but most of the focus is on the wolverine scavenging for food in the snow. It’s adorable, and will certainly take your mind off of the hellish inferno outside.
Elysium (Releases August 9th)
So, something like 10,000 years ago there was a race of alien super-beings called the “Forerunners” who destroyed all of the life in the universe by using a series of gigantic space halos. These halos continued to exist, and many centuries later humanity happens upon one of these halos and colonizes it. This Halo becomes home to the wealthy upper-class who live a life of excess that crosses a dimensional barrier and angers a race of beings known as Vortigaunts. The Vortigaunts escape through a dimensional rift into our world and begin to go on a killing spree, destroying life on the halo and moving outwards to other human colonies. The films hero, Samus Shepard (played by Matt Damon), sets forth on his starship Ishimura to get to the center of Vortigaunt “Hive-Brain”, which controls all of the Vortigaunts and is rumored to be a centuries-old Forerunner who now wishes to destroy humanity (which it sees as a heretical parasite) by turning all of mankind into it’s undead necromorphic slaves. Shepard blasts through asteroid fields, Vortigaunt battle fleets, and former Forerunner defense drones to get to the center of all this madness: The Penal colony on Mars. It seems as though this is all tied to the opening of a portal to hell that was all fostered by a rogue AI and a fleet of centuries old machine-beings who also want to destroy humanity and saw the Covenant of the Vortigaunt as a prime way to do it. It’s very complicated, and the movie decides that it would be better to have Damon shoot things instead of trying to let us understand what’s happening. This generally works, and there are plenty of cool outer-space explosions, and zombies, and robots, and there’s even a bit with Mars-Nazi’s who are trying to capture the essence of hell and put it into a an Ark. Plus, Damon’s spaceship is populated by sexy women and sexier androids.
Kick Ass 2 (Releases August 16th)
Kick Ass 2: Ass Harder, based off of the novel “Push” by Sapphire will be surprisingly divergent from both the first movie and the novel it’s based off of, as it will primarily follow Jim Carrey, not as the character of Sargent Stars and Stripes, mind you, but as himself. The film promises to be a combination of Being John Malkovich and JCVD, following Carrey as he lives a tormented life doomed to constantly make funny faces while in his heart he feels only darkness and sorrow. Carrey’s struggle with manic depression and his own thoughts on the devolution of comedic form all inter-mingle in one of the most fascinating films of the summer, and needless to say Carrey gives a tour-de-force performance. Also, Hit Girl has been replaced with a fat black girl from the ghetto who can’t read because they needed something to cut to in between Carrey’s personality breakdowns. There will be no explosions in this movie, which is certainly a downside and will limit its theatrical showings, but this may be the closest thing we’ll ever get to a sequel of The Mask (and that includes Son of the Mask).
The World’s End (Releases August 23rd)
Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright return for another delightful romp through the English pub scene. There’s only one problem: They’re in Detroit! Desperate to find at least on good pub in Detroit, Pegg, Frost, and newcomers Martin Freeman (fresh off his role as famed short person and sexual pun Bilbo Baggins) and Rosamund Pike (fresh off of her role in Wrath of the Titans) travel for weeks, searching for the perfect pub. “I swear to bloody God if I don’t find some good Bangers and Mash soon I’m going to sodding flip a bilke!” yells Pegg in the middle of Robocop stadium (there’s only a Robocop-themed bar there, it’s terrible) with Frost and Freeman being too scared to tell him that they have no idea what a “bilke” is. As the movie goes on the situation becomes more and more desperate, the characters pushed to their pub limits. Before the last scene, most of the characters will die in delightfully English ways (Freeman gets suffocated with a bowler hat by a man in a gorilla suit, before dying he utters “Oh bother”). Wright tried his best to keep to the English “No explosions, guv’na” policy, but it’s difficult to avoid them in the lawless city of Detroit. So keep your eyes on the background and I’m sure you’ll see plenty.