Flash Cuts – Movies & Musings

Summer popcorn season gets into full swing with Marvel rebooting its longest running superhero series, DC’s attempt at catching up, the last entry in the Transformers series, an R-rated bad role model comedy and a J.J. Abrams/Steven Spielberg sci fi that’s been shrouded in secrecy.

X-Men First ClassX-Men: First Class  (June 3) After three X-Men films and a maligned offshoot (Wolverine), Marvel has rebooted the series with a younger cast, hoping for a new trilogy, much like Paramount did with Star Trek two years ago.  Story is set in 1962 at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis and focuses on Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) before they became known as Professor X and Magneto.  As young mutants, Xavier and Lehnsherr are just coming into their powers of telekinesis and magnetic control.  Xavier and Lehnsherr seek out young mutants and found a mutant academy.  Though friends, Xavier and Lehnsherr have very different ideas about their differences with humans.  Xavier wants to show humans that mutants can be trusted, but Lehnsherr believes mutants are naturally superior.  The two join forces to prevent a nuclear catastophe, but in the process the former friends become the adversaries known as Professor X and Magneto.  Hugh Jackman makes a brief cameo as Wolverine.

Super 8Super 8 (June 10) The most closely-guarded secret of the summer is undoubtedly this J.J. Abrams/Steven Spielberg collaboration.  The first enigmatic trailer appeared more than a year ago depicted a train wreck in a small town.  And something is trying to get out of an overturned car.  Abrams, the creator of the TV conundrum Lost and the unseen monster movie Cloverfield, is the master of withholding information.  So perhaps it’s no surprise that plot details are scarce, but what has emerged seems very much a Spielberg (who’s producing)/Abrams melding, like E.T. crossed with Cloverfield.  In 1979, in a small Ohio town a group of teenagers are making a super-8 home movie when a train overturns, unleashing something that wreaks death and destruction in their town.  The train turns out to be a military train bound from Area 51 transporting secrets, one of which escapes in the perhaps not accidental crash.  Elle Fanning toplines mostly no-name cast.

Green LanternGreen Lantern (June 17) With Marvel rolling out three superhero movies this summer (Thor, X-Men: First Class, Captain America) in their leadup to The Avengers movie,  DC Comics found itself playing catchup and is only now bowing its first second-tier superhero movie, preferring to concentrate on Batman and Superman first.  Basically an origin story, Green Lantern stars Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, a cocky Air Force test pilot who is the first human to be selected one of the Green Lantern Corp, an intergalactic order of warriors sworn to keep peace.  When the nemesis of the Corp, Parallax, appears the  Corp turns to newest Green Lantern to save the universe.  Strong supporting cast includes Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett and Tim Robbins.  Early buzz on the 150M production has not been good, one industry insider describing it as “troubled.”  Reports of reshoots and a rush to finish effects do not bode well for the film.

Bad TeacherBad Teacher (June 24) Columbia has followed up on their 2003 worst-possible role model R-rated comedy Bad Santa with Bad Teacher.  Cameron Diaz stars as Elizabeth Halsey, the worst seventh grade teacher imaginable whose only ambition is to find a rich man to take care of her.  In the meantime, Elizabeth curses out her students, and abuses substances, all the while waiting for her rich boyfriend to marry her so she can get quit her gig.  But after being dumped, Elizabeth sets her sights on rich, handsome substitute Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake) while simultaneously fending off the advances of an irreverent gym teacher (Jason Segel).  While saving up for a boob job, Elizabeth finds herself in a competition for Scott’s affections with the an energetic colleague, Amy (Lucy Punch), who happens to be the best teacher in school.  After nearly going out of existence, R-rated comedies seem to be making a comeback this summer with the two hits Bridesmaids and The Hangover Part II doing boffo business.  Columbia hopes for a third.

Transformers: Dark Side of the MoonTransformers: Dark of the Moon (June 29) Although universally reviled as films, Michael Bay’s Transformers series has raked in over $1.5B worldwide box office.  Transformers: Dark of the Moon will be the last in the series.  Shia LaBeouf and all the principals return except for Megan Fox, whose character has been written out.  English model Rosie Huntington-Whitely has the tough assignment of Sam’s squeeze.  Synopsis: The Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, are back in action, taking on the evil Decepticons, who are determined to avenge their defeat in 2009’s Transformers Revenge of the Fallen. In this new movie, the Autobots and Decepticons become involved in a perilous space race between the U.S. and Russia, and once again human Sam Witwicky has to come to the aid of his robot friends.