Cardinal Arts staff previews summer movies
""The Bourne Ultimatum""
Fresh off his Oscar nominated film ""United 93,"" Paul Greengrass reunites with Matt Damon to bring us ""The Bourne Ultimatum,"" the third film of the ""Bourne"" series.
This time, Jason Bourne comes out of hiding when a journalist who has been following Bourne's story claims to have details about Jason's true identity. As they seek to expose the secrets of Treadstone, the CIA organization that trained Bourne, they must avoid Treadstone's assassins and the American government on their trail.
The last of the Bourne titles written by Robert Ludlum, ""Ultimatum,"" will probably provide some closure to the series, even if the film is not the last time we see Jason Bourne in action.
""Delta Farce"" stars none other than Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall, of Blue Collar Comedy Tour fame. The two play hunters whose shooting prowess gets them mistaken for Army reservists. The boys think they are being shipped out to Iraq, but instead are dropped off in Mexico to save a village from a ruthless gang leader with a soft spot for karaoke, Carlos Santana (and no, it's not the guitarist). This war epic also stars DJ Qualls, from ""The New Guy,"" and Danny Trejo as Santana. ""Delta Farce"" comes out May 11.
""Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer""
Critical reception to 2005's ""Fantastic Four"" was, well, not fantastic. Despite bad review, however, the film went on to gross $329 million worldwide, which in Hollywood translates to one thing: sequels.
Not surprisingly, with the aftertaste of ""Spider-Man 3"" fresh in our mouths, June 15 stands poised to bring Marvel fans a second helping, hoping to spice things up with the arrival of an all new bad guy—the Silver Surfer.
Filmed with a CGI-capture technology similar to Gollum in ""The Lord of the Rings"" trilogy, the Silver Surfer is played by character actor Doug Jones, who was most recently seen as Pan in ""Pan's Labyrinth.""
Hoping to breathe fresh life into the series, the arrival of the Silver Surfer and Galactus, a planet-eating creature, threatens nothing less than the fate of Earth, a threat that can only be stopped by—you guessed it—the Fantastic Four.
Move over, Dreamgirls. There's another musical-turned-movie (or to be more accurate, movie-turned-musical-turned-movie) in the works, and it has the potential to outmatch Beyonce's star power and Jennifer Hudson's darling newcomer status.
""Hairspray,"" set in 1960s Baltimore, has a fun, but socially conscious plot that features talented newbie Nikki Blonsky as the lovable, plump Tracy Turnblad, a teenager looking for romance on the set of an ""American Bandstand""-esque television show. After seeing dozens of black teens protesting their exclusion from the program, Tracy and her best friend Penny Pingleton (played by the always hilarious Amanda Bynes) make it their mission to bring diversity to a show that, up until then, has only showcased the young, the beautiful and the white.
Queen Latifah, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken and John Travolta (in a hilarious cross-dressing role as Tracy's mom) round out the star-studded cast and make ""Hairspray"" a can't-miss summer film that has something for every audience member to enjoy.
""Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix""
It's Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts. His return is haunted by not only the death of hero Cedric Diggory, but also the renewed, physical presence of Lord Voldemort. This movie promises to be the darkest Potter-fest to date, as bigwigs in the wizarding world refuse to believe Potter's claim that the Dark Lord has returned. He must face bitchy, toad-faced High Inquisitor Umbridge as well as the newly visible Thestral population, quirky Luna Lovegood and his very first kiss in the Room of Requirement. Most Potter fans will agree that with the seventh book release coming just a week after the fifth film, this could be one of the most highly-anticipated sequels ever. Box office mayhem is pretty much guaranteed.
This movie brings the well-loved book character to the big screen with some changes in her life. Nancy Drew leaves her little town of River Heights to move out west and attend Hollywood High, and although her retro style sets her apart, she is too busy with a new mystery to worry about high school. Drew stumbles upon the case of Dehlia Draycott, a famous movie actress who mysteriously died, and as luck would have it, the Drews have just moved into her ""haunted"" mansion. ""Nancy Drew"" stars Emma Roberts and Rachael Leigh Cook and hits theaters June 15.
Danny Ocean and his crew return for one last score in ""Ocean's Thirteen."" Although the exact plot has been largely withheld, most of the rumors point to Ocean and his crew going back to Las Vegas to bankrupt Al Pacino's new casino. Joining them this time is Andy Garcia, the villain of the first film.
While most of the cast is returning along with director Steven Soderbergh, Ellen Barkin replaces Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones as the female lead.
Clooney and Soderbergh are both on record explaining how they were disappointed with ""Ocean's Twelve,"" and that ""Thirteen"" is the movie they should have made as the first sequel. Audiences will decide for themselves June 8.
""Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End""
This must have been the ideal decade for a movie trilogy about pirates. It's not as if the idea was ever a sure-fire success: Until ""Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,"" making a pirate movie was a taboo in Hollywood—a way to inevitable box-office failure and years of teasing from industry peers. (One wonders if the makers of ""Cutthroat Island"" are still crying themselves to sleep.) Yet here we are, awaiting the final installment of Gore Verbinski's ""Pirates"" trilogy, ""POTC: At World's End,"" which could easily become one of the five highest-grossing films of all time. And nobody seems to care that it's reportedly 170 minutes long. It's unclear how film scholarship will explain this phenomenon in years to come.
Regardless, ""At World's End"" really does seem poised to be a very fun movie, with Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) and Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) sailing to the end of the world to rescue Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from the beast that (apparently) ate him alive last time. Expect another massive summer canvas of awesome special effects. Expect, also, to be waiting in line for a long, long time.
—Eric R. Schmidt
""Shrek the Third""
As flowers begin to bloom and birds begin to sing, spring ushers in new life and... baby ogres? Shrek returns this March in the much-anticipated third installment of the popular Dreamworks series, with the same lovable cast and a few new members as well. Justin Timberlake plays the voice of Artie, Princess Fiona's bratty teenage cousin who is rightfully next in line to inherit the throne. Unfortunately, the young prince has no desire to rule, forcing Shrek, along with Donkey and Puss in Boots, to track him down and drag him back to Far Far Away, where, in the meantime, Prince Charming has returned with a vengeance to rule as King. If no one can be found to succeed the throne, the duty will land on Shrek—but can he permanently trade in his swamp home for a royal palace? Find out this summer in ""Shrek the Third.""
As promised when he visited Madison back in 2004 to plug Kerry during his election campaign, Michael Moore's next movie is about our troubled health care system and the pharmaceutical companies that keep it that way. Moore always keeps his projects secretive until release, so little is known about ""Sicko"" other than what he repeatedly tells reporters, that this film is ""a comedy about 45 million people with no health care in the richest country on earth.""
Considering the sad, corrupt relationships between pharmaceutical companies, politicians and the FDA, this is certainly a much needed film that will hopefully force 2008 presidential hopefuls to outright address the question of health care reform. And with any luck, Moore will avoid the fact-smudging and the senseless appeals to emotion that marred the credibility of his otherwise enlightening last two feature films. There's a damning indictment of America to be made with this film, and hopefully he'll make it without too many attempts to bring big, wet tears to the corners of our eyes.
""The Simpsons Movie""
This summer, ""The Simpsons"" will consummate 20 years of televised foreplay in a full-length film that has garnered the kind of wary anticipation usually reserved for singing monorail salesman. Clad in yellow skin, armed with worn-out catchphrases and swarming with every stereotype under its radioactive sky, ""The Simpsons Movie"" hopes to hit the box office this July 27 with a second-coming-of-Christ fanaticism similar to the final Harry Potter book.
While a pantheon of classic characters (94 rumored voice parts) will give diehards a chance to gloat their nerdy knowledge, three new characters will make debuts, including Erin Brockovich and ""a top secret character."" With three months until its release, the storyboard remains in fiddling stages and has been kept more hush-hush than a brothel of mimes.
Whether it delivers a closing crescendo or just redundant refrains, ""The Simpsons Movie"" will be the sunset for one spectacular series.
A star falls down from the sky for all the world to see. A young man sets off on an adventure to retrieve the star to woo the village beauty (Sienna Miller). He crosses the village wall and reaches his destination, only to find out the fallen star is not a star at all, but a vibrant Claire Danes, who he must take with him despite the odd circumstances.
Based on the book by Neil Gaiman, ""Stardust"" takes us on a journey through a magical world. Peter O'Toole, Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro also star in this fantasy ride, and will hopefully bring the film more notoriety. Whether fantasy movies are your fix, ""Stardust"" shows us what adventures may arise simply by crossing boundaries.
The summer's sweetest blockbuster has huge shoes to fill—the 1985 animated feature film ""The Transformers: The Movie"" is a sci-fi action classic, complete with a kick ass power ballad / techno / hair metal movie soundtrack. Michael Bay brings the Autobots and Decepticons to the big screen via live action and CGI this Fourth of July. If luck is with our heroes, Bay will stick to the essentials of the Transformers story-a group of explorers and scientists unwittingly forced into a violent war in order to save the populace of a foreign planet, that planet being ours. And, of course, the story involves the super-sweet action of robots kicking the shit out of each other.
When Bay sticks to straight action and cheesy dialogue, like The Rock, he can make a very enjoyable movie, but when he attempts to add meaning or emotion to a film, the results can be mind-numbingly dull—see ""Armageddon"" or ""Pearl Harbor"" for proof. Thankfully, the preview trailers of the Transformers look promising, presenting the film as a sci-fi / horror / action thriller. Best of all, Stan Bush—who wrote ""The Touch"" and ""Dare"" for the original Transformers movie—is back on board to pen a tune for this movie soundtrack. This movie will be hot fun in the summertime.
—Joe LynchSubscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter