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Tearing Apart the Summer Movies 

Wednesday, May 6 2015
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5 Flights Up

Director: Richard Loncraine
Cast: Diane Keaton, Morgan Freeman
Concept: An aging married couple encounter comic complications selling their Manhattan apartment.
SC: Even if it's poorly written, it's still Keaton and Freeman finally onscreen together, and that's a good thing.
JK: I wonder if what you just said is the official pitch that got this movie green-lighted.

Hot Pursuit

Director: Anne Fletcher
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Sofía Vergara, others
Concept: An action buddy comedy about a cautious cop and a drug lord's widow.
JK: At last, gender equity in pandering forgettability!
SC: I'm guessing they won't forget to include jokes about Vergara's breasts.

Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll

Director: John Pirozzi
Cast: Cambodians you didn't know you'd forgotten
Concept: A documentary about rock and rollers vs. the Khmer Rouge.
SC: I don't care what the title implies — I still hope the rockers will win.
JK: Well, this should put low-stakes complacent American rebelliousness into perspective.


Mad Max: Fury Road

Director: George Miller
Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
Concept: The director of Happy Feet and Babe: Pig in the City returns to his postapocalyptic highway-marauder roots.
JK: This thing looks like it's going to herniate itself trying so hard to be badass.
SC: And yet it still probably won't be as badass as Pig in the City. (Seriously, that movie almost drowned a dog.)

Pitch Perfect 2

Director: Elizabeth Banks
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Hailee Steinfeld, Elizabeth Banks, Rebel Wilson
Concept: The pathos of college a cappella.
JK: This time with a German rival group, called "Das Sound Machine."
SC: Does this mean there'll be a Heino cameo? If anyone can round up Heino, it's Banks.



Director: Gil Kenan
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jane Adams, Jared Harris
Concept: A remake of the 1982 Tobe Hooper classic, now with an even scarier-looking clown.
SC: Of course, the point of the clown in the original was that it wasn't scary-looking per se, but who's counting?
JK: "This isn't just a few pissed off spirits we're dealing with," Harris' character says in the trailer, possibly referring to internet commentators.


Director: Brad Bird
Cast: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key
Concept: A girl gets a surprise peek at a glittering hidden world, and needs a reclusive inventor's help getting back there.
JK: Or, if you prefer, a big entertainment company turns another of its theme park attractions into another movie franchise.
SC: On the plus side, it's by the director of The Iron Giant and The Incredibles, who knows how to pull off retro-futurism.



Director: Cameron Crowe
Cast: Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bradley Cooper, Bill Murray
Concept: A defense contractor has romantic foibles while on assignment in Hawaii.
JK: Fun fact: "Aloha" can mean hello and goodbye!
SC: Soon it will also be synonymous with "Meh."

San Andreas

Director: Brad Peyton
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, Paul Giamatti
Concept: The big one finally hits, and chopper pilot The Rock must resolve some family estrangement issues.
JK: Every disaster movie must understand that San Francisco is the epicenter of disaster movies.
SC: New York is no doubt ruing that it's not near any well-known fault lines.



Director: Doug Ellin
Cast: Adrian Grenier, Jeremy Piven, Kevin Connolly, Jerry Ferrara
Concept: The douchebags from the HBO series splatter across the big screen.
SC: Is the fourth season of Arrested Development sufficient preparation? Because watching the Entourage TV show makes me break out in hives.
JK: But seriously, Hollywood is horrible.


Love & Mercy

Director: Bill Pohlad
Cast: Elizabeth Banks, John Cusack, Paul Dano
Concept: Dano and Cusack portray different ages of Brian Wilson, the troubled genius behind the Beach Boys' best 1960s work.
SC: Biopic producers always pick the most boring songs for their movie titles, especially since Wilson also wrote the clearly superior "You Need a Mess of Help To Stand Alone."
JK: Could have been worse; they could have named it after the Barenaked Ladies song, "Brian Wilson."


Director: Paul Feig
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Allison Janney
Concept: A CIA desk-jockey gets to live her dream of being an actual spy.
SC: Feig and McCarthy together means it's probably (hopefully!) better than it looks, plus Allison Janney makes everything okay.
JK: True that. I'm way more into this than certain other bro-dacious spy movies coming out this summer.


Jurassic World

Director: Colin Trevorrow
Cast: Chris Pratt, Judy Greer, Vincent D'Onofrio, Bryce Dallas Howard
Concept: Live-dinosaur theme park, formerly with PR problem, has a new attraction. What could go wrong?
JK: So this is the opportunity Trevorrow bought himself with Safety Not Guaranteed. Hmmm.
SC: The real tragedy is that Chris Pratt didn't insist on the title being changed to Jurassic Parks and Recreation.


Inside Out

Director: Pete Docter & Ronaldo Del Carmen
Cast: Diane Lane, Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader
Concept: Pixar's first original film since 2012 looks at the anthropomorphized emotions inside a young girl's head.
SC: Note to clever critics: Referencing Herman's Head in reviews will only confirm that you are lazy and/or old, so don't. (Such references in summer preview lists are of course exempt.)
JK: And thank God for that exemption, because the Herman's Head reference is pretty much all I got.



Director: Boaz Yakin
Cast: Robbie Amell, Lauren Graham, Thomas Haden Church, Jay Hernandez
Concept: A heroic soldier dog returns home from Afghanistan with PTSD, as they will.
SC: Not only will Mad Max: Fury Road still be in theaters, this has the same name as the movie where John Cusack offers to buy Hitler a lemonade. Well done, film industry!
JK: I didn't see that one. What happened? Did Hitler turn down the lemonade? Might John Cusack have swerved the terrible course of history a different way, if only the dictator had allowed himself some refreshment? Am I getting off topic?

Ted 2

Director: Seth MacFarlane
Cast: Liam Neeson, Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Seyfried, Seth MacFarlane, Morgan Freeman
Concept: A talking Teddy bear requires legal action to have a child with his human wife.
JK: Well, that is the concept. What do you want?
SC: A Million More Ways to Die in the West, that's what.


Terminator: Genesis Genisys

Director: Alan Taylor
Cast: Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, J.K. Simmons
Concept: The events of the original Terminator are erased from the timeline, because fuck you.
SC: Fuck me, movie? Fuck you!
JK: They should retcon the franchise-familiar dialogue too. May I suggest "Slum with me if you want to live"? "No fate but what we remake"? Still, can't be worse than the one Christian Bale had a tantrum while making.


The Bronze

Director: Bryan Buckley
Cast: Melissa Rauch, Gary Cole, Haley Lu Richardson
Concept: A bratty one-time gymnastics medalist gets threatened by a young upstart.
JK: So basically Eastbound & Down, but not baseball.
SC: We can only hope that Rauch is every bit as foul-mouthed as Danny McBride. #Feminism



Director: Peyton Reed
Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Hayley Atwell, Michael Peña
Concept: A man with the strength of an ant fights the forces of evil (and presumably magnifying glasses) in San Francisco.
SC: Last year, we had Godzilla. Now we get Ant-Man. Was it something we said?
JK: Rudd's borderline smarmy self-effacement seems like a shrewd counterpoint to the Marvel MO of "Yes, seriously, an Ant-Man movie, too."


Director: Judd Apatow
Cast: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson
Concept: "A modern chick who does what she wants," raised to believe that monogamy isn't realistic, starts falling in love.
JK: Importantly, Schumer wrote it too, and she's on fire lately. Not literally.
SC: The only people who should be literally on fire are the critics who will inevitably describe the movie itself as a trainwreck.



Director: Chris Columbus
Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage
Concept: Aliens attack Earth, taking the form of videogame characters from the 1970s and 1980s.
SC: It's based on terrific short film, but that short didn't star Sandler or James.
JK: Sentimental local favorite director Columbus might just pull off the goofy charm this movie needs.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg
Concept: An elite troupe of super-spy heroes encounters its nemesis, an elite troupe of super-spy antiheroes.
JK: So what I'm getting here is that Tom Cruise is not afraid of heights.
SC: He did make it all the way up to OT VII, after all. (Hail Xenu!)


Ricki and the Flash

Director: Jonathan Demme
Cast: Meryl Streep, Sebastian Stan, Rick Springfield(!), Kevin Kline
Concept: An aging guitar goddess tries to make amends with her neglected family.
SC: Demme's first narrative film since 2008, and Streep sings Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance." Sold American!
JK: Note too that this was written by Diablo Cody, whose singular voice, whether you love it or hate it, should sound interesting coming out of Streep's mouth.


Fantastic Four

Director: Josh Trank
Cast: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Michael B. Jordan
Concept: Scientists become superheroes. There are four of them, and they're pretty great.
JK: Why, it's just the Marvel reboot we all haven't exactly been waiting for! (As we'll probably say again when they have another go at Ant-Man 10 years from now.)
SC: Director Trank claims he was influenced by the body-horror films of David Cronenberg, and I hate him for toying with my emotions like that.

Straight Outta Compton

Director: F. Gary Gray
Cast: Rebecca Olejniczak, Keith Stanfield, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Alexandra Shipp
Concept: The birth of N.W.A., and West Coast gangsta hip-hop.
SC: That a major studio film posits "Fuck tha Police" as a victory of free speech (which it was) makes me happier than I can adequately express.
JK: So this is what Gray bought himself with the remake of The Italian Job. Hmmm.


Sinister 2

Director: Ciaran Foy
Cast: Shannyn Sossamon, James Ransone, Nicholas King
Concept: A mom moves with her young twin boys into a deadly house that was previously moved into by a crime writer played by Ethan Hawke.
JK: I kinda wish they'd called it Sinister Too!
SC: The full title of which would no doubt be Sinister Too: 2 Sinister 2 Furious.

Hitman: Agent 47

Director: Aleksander Bach
Cast: Zachary Quinto, Rupert Friend, Ciarán Hinds, Thomas Kretschmann
Concept: A genetically engineered assassin stands up for himself.
SC: And then the summer hits a wall, hard.
JK: Just imagine: They could do at least 46 prequels!


About The Authors

Sherilyn Connelly

Jonathan Kiefer

SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.


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