by HELEN GEIB
Why are there suddenly so many movies being released this month after all these months of two films per weekend? Some of these may yet disappear from the lineup, and several will certainly disappear quickly from theaters. There’s good news too though, and it starts with E….
The Other Guys– Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are mismatched partners in this cop buddy comedy. Written and directed by Adam McKay of Step Brothers, Talladega Nights, and Anchorman fame. The heroes are the “other guys” to Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson’s top cops.
Step Up 3D– Every generation needs its “let’s put on a show” musical, right? Follow-on to Step Up and Step Up 2: The Streets. This entry was directed by Jon Chu, who also directed number 2, and stars a group of unknowns who are presumably talented dancers. As the title indicates, it’s in 3-D.
Eat Pray Love– Julia Roberts stars in this adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling memoir/self help book. Directed by Ryan Murphy (some TV credits, mostly). Javier Bardem and Richard Jenkins appear prominently in the trailer, along with several exotic locations.
The Expendables– The Expendables is THE movie of August for action fans. Possibly the movie of the year for action fans. Sylvester Stallone co-wrote, directed, and stars, along with Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke, and Eric Roberts. If that lineup makes you simultaneously laugh and cheer, then this is the movie for you. Plus cameos by Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. And did I mention Jet Li is in it?
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World– I’m only looking forward to three movies this month and two of them would have to open the same weekend. It’s a surprising match-up too, since young men are presumably the main audience for this film, and a big part of the target audience for The Expendables. Anyway, this adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comics series was directed and co-written (with Michael Bacall) by Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz). Michael Cera is Scott Pilgrim, a basically normal, somewhat sad-sack sort of guy who must defeat his new girlfriend’s seven superpower-wielding evil exes. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays the young woman with the bad judgment.
Lottery Ticket– The story is set over the Fourth of July weekend, but the movie is getting a summer doldrums August release? Not exactly a vote of confidence from the studio. Bow Wow stars as the holder of a winning lottery ticket who must protect his prize from the machinations of all and sundry until he can turn it in after the holiday. The directing debut of Erik White; the cast includes Terry Crews, Brandon Jackson, Keith David, Ice Cube, and Mike Epps.
Nanny McPhee Returns– Emma Thompson returns in this sequel to a movie that evidently made more money than I realized. It was directed by Susanna White (extensive TV directing credits) and co-stars Maggie Gyllenhaal (sporting a war-time English accent) as the desperate mother who calls in the super-nanny with magical powers.
Piranha 3D– I don’t know anything about this movie beyond its title, but then, what else does one need to know about a movie with a title like “Piranha 3D?” Elizabeth Shue leads a cast filled with a surprisingly large number of familiar names. Directed by Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes).
The Switch– As if one summertime romantic-comedy revolving around artificial insemination wasn’t enough. This one stars Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman and was co-directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck, the team behind Blades of Glory.
Vampires Suck– Co-writer-directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer previously brought the world Disaster Movie, Meet the Spartans, and Epic Movie. Someone’s buying the tickets that keep their personal franchise afloat….
Going the Distance– Drew Barrymore and Justin Long play a couple trying to make a long-distance relationship work. It was directed by Nanette Burstein (American Teen) and written by a first time screenwriter, Geoff LaTulippe. The respective locations are Chicago and Los Angeles, which for those who don’t know is about three hours by plane and two time zones apart. Just in case you were wondering.
The Last Exorcism– Another movie where the title tells you all you need to know. The names in front of and behind the camera didn’t mean anything to me with this one.
Takers– And to wrap things up, the other movie I’m looking forward to seeing this month. This is a heist film starring Matt Dillon, Paul Walker, Idris Elba, Jay Hernandez, Michael Ealy, and Zoe Saldana. Most of them are the “takers” of the title; Dillon plays a detective trying to thwart their planned bank robbery. This is the second, and first major, film directed by John Luessenhop. There are four credited screenwriters, which I must admit does make me a little nervous, but the genre and cast have me sold.