DVD Patrol: Summer movies we can’t (or can) wait to see

When you ask someone what their favorite time of year is, you usually get a general answer like spring or summertime. When someone asks the Toddster what his favorite time of year, I tell them May 1st - August 1st. I also get some head scratching when I give them this answer. Let me explain. All the good summer movies usually come out between May and August. Not to say there can’t be a few surprises in August, but in my experience, it’s mostly been no on that front. So I got the team together and they wanted to do the movies they are most looking forward to this summer (for Jeff, we’ll see). So here they are.


“Avengers” May 4

Being the old comic book ham that I am, this summer is just pure heaven for me. Not only are there some new super hero movies like “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Amazing Spider Man” coming to theaters. The Patrol has been hinting for months that this new movie is the one to look for. “The Avengers” will mark the first time that Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and The Incredible Hulk will all be featured on the Big Screen in one movie. This has never been done before.

I loved all of their movies and if you don’t believe me, just check my DVD shelf. Not even Superman and Batman have ever been featured in a live action movie together either. Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) recruits all the heroes to fight a threat to the world that no one hero can fight on their own. So take Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), and The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) along with the Black Widow (Scarlet Johannsen) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and you have quite a team of heroes that can make any bad guy think twice before causing trouble.

Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Huddleston) has come to Earth in hopes of ruling the world. Throw in an alien army under your thumb and there is a pretty big threat to stop. Now you just to have get all the heroes want to get along. Cap, Thor, and Iron Man don’t start out very well but we’ll see. We also won’t have to wait long for Captain America 2, Thor 2, or Iron Man 3 that are in the pipeline and will be made in the next couple of years. I tell ya, this will be the longest two weeks of my life. Can’t wait for this.


“Prometheus” June 8

As a long-time fan of Ridley Scott’s “Alien,” released (unbelievably) in 1979 and starring a young Sigourney Weaver as Warrant Officer Ripley aboard the commercial towing vessel Nostromo, I’ve been obsessed with the release of the Scott-directed “Prometheus,” due in theaters June 8, since the project was first announced.

And that’s putting it mildly.

Originally planned as a prequel to “Alien,” the film has since evolved into something more unique, according to the director, although it does, he added, share the same basic DNA, so to speak. Watching the teasers, trailers and other media that have been released to date, I can certainly see what he means.

The premise? Scott’s take on the origins of mankind, including a mysterious message found on Earth which leads to a space voyage aboard Prometheus, man’s most technologically advanced space shuttle in the late 21st century.

And then, of course – in pure Ridley Scott fashion – chaos, confrontation and ... more chaos, as the crew of Prometheus attempts to save the world as we know it.

I think what I’ve enjoyed the most since the filming of “Prometheus” was announced is the secrecy that’s shrouded its premise so far. And while I’d love to see Scott direct another Ripley/Alien film, I’m excited to see what kind of direction he’s taking with this prequel “of sorts.” Even without Ripley (or the Alien), any return to the science fiction universe Scott created back in ‘79 is a welcome one. And if you’ve never seen the original “Alien,” and you enjoy a good sci-fi flick (and a scare), I strongly recommend it.


“The Dark Knight Rises” July 20

After George Clooney’s far from award winning performance as Batman in the 1997 movie “Batman and Robin,” I thought that the Batman franchise was dealt a fatal blow and would never be able to recover.

Fifteen years later, the movie still easily ranks No. 1 on my long list of time-wasting films. But after the success of “Batman Begins” in 2005 and the blowout performance by Heath Ledger in “Dark Knight” in 2008, I not only have a rekindled hope for new Batman movies, but all-out excitement for the summer release of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

It’s an understatement to say the Batman franchise was due for an overhaul by the end of the 1990s. The Batman movies derailed into an almost cartoonish portrayal of an emotionally troubled superhero and the hero’s image needed to be revived. Director Christopher Nolan has done a fantastic job in doing just that – of course, that’s not to say I wasn’t a fan of Tim Burton’s directing in the 1989 “Batman” and again in 1992 with “Batman Returns.” And who can forget Adam West’s rendition of the comic book hero in the 60’s television series (“Aome days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”).

Naturally, given the rise and fall of Batman movies in the past, all the excitement of the upcoming release of the latest Batman flick isn’t without a little bit of apprehension. The movie, which has the caped crusader protecting Gotham City from its latest villains Catwoman and Bane, has fans holding their breath and crossing their fingers in hopes that this film won’t be the disappointing end of another successful run of Batman movies.

While no reviews of the movie have been released yet, it’s clear that expectations are high. The movie isn’t set to hit theaters until July 20th but given the success of Nolan’s previous films in his Batman trilogy, it’s a date to mark on the calendar.


“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” June 22

Well, there are certainly a few good looking movies coming out this summer.

There’s of course the now obligatory bunch of super-hero movies that seem fairly promising. With the success of Thor, Green Lantern and Captain America last year, I have fairly high hopes for Spiderman, Dark Knight and The Avengers.

However, I’m always on the look-out for nifty sci-fi flicks with a concept interesting and original enough to get past any gaping plot-holes.

There are a few that really caught my attention first including Ted - Seth MacFarlane taking his first crack at film with the hilarious Mark Wahlberg and the beautiful Mila Kunis - and Looper - a time-travel concept piece that pits Joseph Gordon-Levitt against future-self Bruce Willis. Boo ya.

However, there’s only one film that has me on the edge of my seat in anticipation: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

I’ve always had a passion for history - especially the American Civil War era - and my love for vampire lore goes pretty much un-matched among everyone I know. So where can this go wrong?

This isn’t director Timur Bekmambetov first foray into the vampire genre. He also directed Day Watch and Night Watch, two post-apocalyptic films that are truly art in cinema.

I’m also quite excited that they found a relative unknown to play the titular character because, at least for me, it often helps get into the film more especially when the role is such a famous historical figure.

Also in starring roles are Rufus Sewell (always creepy) and Alan Tudyk (Firefly, enough said).

So if anyone else is interested in watching 6’7” Abraham Lincoln lay waste to a bunch of viscous vampires that don’t sparkle, join me on June 22 for what will be an awesome way to start the summer.

And that’s no lie.


“Dark Shadows” May 11

So my boys (Toddster included) seem to have taken all the summer movies that I’m really looking forward too ... Dark Knight, Avengers, Prometheus (OK, maybe not so much Julian’s pick) ... so I thought I’d take a different tack and take a film that I really was looking forward to, but now won’t see if you paid me. Or loaned me the DVD, even.

I’m talking about Tim Burton’s take on the classic 70s soap opera, “Dark Shadows.” When I first heard Burton and his muse Johnny Depp would be reviving the gothic vampires-witches-and-werewolves drama, I was excited to see just what their spin would be. And then I saw the trailer. They’ve taken what was an admittedly campy melodrama and turned it into an all-out comedy, completely disrespecting the source material and alienating legions of hard core fans. I was a little young to have caught on to the ABC afternoon serial in the early 70s, but I was a huge fan of the 90s primetime incarnation, starring Ben Cross as vampire-cursed Barnabas Collins. Since then, I’d gone back and delved into the original, gaining an appreciation for the sub-par special effects, laughable sets and corny dialogue. The original “Dark Shadows” was indeed a product of its time, but now Burton and company have taken its campy aspects far too literally, as though that was the intent of the original drama. Depp’s Barnabas appears to be a fish-out-of-water 19th century vampire who’s awakened into the disco era of the 1970s. Hijinks, and hilarity, as they say, ensue.

Although I rarely base my decision to see a movie upon its theatrical trailer, I can tell you that this latest incarnation of “Dark Shadows” is certainly one I will skip. So while my brethren have taken all the movies that I really am looking forward to, here is one I am not.

One tip from the Toddster - just because something doesn’t look good at first doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give it a shot. I saw the same trailer for “Dark Shadows” and I had the same reaction that Jeff did. Then, I saw a different version of it and I thought maybe this isn’t too bad. Time will tell. Once they were going to do a comedy version of my favorite show when I was a kid called ‘The Six Million Dollar Man” starring Jim Carrey, but thank God this never happened. Make sure you catch all our picks. Also, check out the patrol every week to see which summer movies to see a future “Toddster’s Take” on. More DVDs for next time. The Toddster is back next week.

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