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Summer Movies - 2013!

Prior to 1975 summer movies were primarily for the kids; Beach Blanket Bouncy Babe in Bikini with rock & roll music and cameos of stars passed their prime; innocent and fun. Then the shark attacked and devoured the beach babe - literally! Jaws (1975) put Steven Spielberg on the map. Prior to this he had one well-received made-for-TV movie (Dual 1971) and one feature film (The Sugarland Express 1974). After scaring the bejesus out of everyone Spielberg immediately followed Jaws up with Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Because of this one filmmaker summers were now the time for blockbusters and tent-pole movies. Movies that would prop up the studio with box office sales out of this world.Sugerland Express

This summer of 2013 is more of the same with the studios still searching for that blockbuster. We have sequels and prequels and reboots galore. We have zombies, super-sized slight-of-hand magic and Shakespeare. The following is a list of movies coming out this summer in alphabetical order but picked for no particular reason but for a spark of interest here at the Toast:

2 Guns - a black and white buddy film with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as a DEA agent and an undercover Naval Intelligence Officer. What is this with the Naval Investigative services? With the massive popularity of the television series NCIS and now this giant Hollywood feature film with a Naval Intelligence character you would think that the Naval investigative services were the be all and end all of super Federal law enforcement. What about the Army CID or the Air Force OSI? Duck soap perhaps? This movie has some talented, reliable character actors: Bill "We're all gonna' die!" Paxton and the marvelous Fred Ward who we don't see enough of.

The Bling Ring - a movie about obsessed teen-age groupies. Written and directed by Sofia Coppola who made the sensitive but funny Lost in Translation (2003), this movie stars, among others, the lovely Emma Watson formerly of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft. We at the Toast aren't particularly into teen groupies but Ms Coppola hasn't made a bad movie yet.

Blue Jasmine – Woody Allen’s latest with Cate Blanchett as a fashionable New York housewife. In the story she’s dumped by her wealthy husband (Alec Baldwin) and to save money she moves to San Francisco (to save money???) Another San Francisco movie! Allen has been here before. In the opening scenes of Take the Money and Run (1969) we see a school marching band walking on Mission near 18th Street. It’s not identified but anyone who lived in the area in the 1960s will instantly recognize it.

ElysiumElysium - a science fiction movie set 140 years in the future where the split between the haves and have-nots is way worse than it is now. With Matt Damon and Jodie Foster and directed by Neill Blomkamp, a visual effects specialist who previously directed the terrific District 9 (2009). Matt Damon plays a mercenary who wears a powered exo-suit. A combat exo-suit like which the director Paul Verhoeven deliberately left out of Robert Heinlein’s exciting Starship Troopers that he made into a movie in 1997.

The Heat - the interest here is a rising star and another star who may be passed her expiration date, or not. With Sandra Bullock who we last saw in the true story The Blind Side (2009) and Melissa McCarthy who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Bridesmaids (2011). Another buddy cop movie with an FBI agent and a Boston cop pursuing a Russian mobster. Who knows, with Melissa McCarthy this could be a pretty funny R-rated movie.

The Internship - Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn as interns at Google. Need we say more?

Iron Man 3 – at one time sequels were cheap knock-offs of previous seasons big hits. Not anymore; in the summer of 2013 there will be seventeen sequels released. Iron Man 3 it one of those, already released, being a sequel to both Iron Man (2008) and Iron Man 2 (2010). Robert Downey Jr. is back as the wise-cracking multibillionaire Tony Stark and the delicious Gwyneth Paltrow is once again the faithful Pepper Potts.

The Lone Ranger – for Baby Boomers - many who work here at The Toast - Clayton Moore from the television show of the same name which ran for 8 seasons (1949 to 1957) and endless Saturday morning reruns is “The” Lone Ranger. However to see Johnny Depp as Tonto may be worth seeing this update. With Mr. Depp in the cast and Gore Verbinski directing Disney may be trying to create another long-running franchise a la Pirates of The Caribbean.

Man of Steel – a reboot, here we go back to the origin story with Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van, parents of the baby Superman on the dying Krypton and Jonathan Kent, his adopting dad here on Earth. We have Lois Lane and The Daily Planet and then we have that megalomaniac General Zod so this movies reboots a couple of the Superman films.

Monsters University – this is our summer prequel – prequel to the 2008 Monsters, Inc which was about the scary monsters in the closet or under the bed. This animated prequel goes back to where the monsters learn how to be scary. Pixar strikes again and we can’t hardly wait.

Now You See MeMuch Ado About Nothing – Joss Whedon wrote the screenplay for Buffy the Vampire Slayer – the original 1992 movie starring Kristy Swanson from which the very successful television series was made. He created that wonderful ‘outer-space western’ Firefly (2002-2003) and wrote and directed the 2005 feature film Serenity (the Firefly universe writ large). And he also wrote the screenplay for last year’s exciting and twisted The Cabin in The Woods. In other words he’s got his finger on the same cultural zeitgeist that we here at The Toast live in. This version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing is in modern dress and was mostly made, it’s said, in Whedon’s own back yard. We love Shakespeare and we love Joss Whedon and we anxiously await the release of this movie.

Now You See Me – a crew of super cool stage magicians pull off bank heists and give the money back to the people. Wheee, we like the idea. With Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo and Jesse Eisenberg. Should be a lot of fun.

Pacific Rim – the abundantly talented Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro made The Devil’s Backbone in 2001 and scared the pants off of us. In 2006 he made Pan's Labyrinth and our fantasies will never be the same. Now he’s made this movie about giant robots piloted by humans (and you thought drones were bad) deployed to fight monster aliens coming up from a deep ocean interdimensional portal. Sounds like great fun to us.

Star Trek Into Darkness – the villains are the key to Star Trek’s success. Without great villains then Kirk, Spock, Bones and Scotty, whether just out of the Academy or going boldly where no man has gone before, would merely be crewman on a boring old starship. One of the best, if not the very best villain in all of Star Trek was Khan Noonien Singh from the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). Khan, played by Ricardo Montalbán, was so mean he even killed Spock and laughed. This latest reboot of the Star Trek series appears to have a particularly nasty villain in Commander John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) who seems bent on destroying Star Fleet Section 31. We’re sworn to secrecy and can’t say anymore for now.

This Is the End – The apocalypse played for laughs. With James Franco, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd.

World War Z – in the 1950s there were Westerns everywhere; western movies and western TV shows galore. But after a while audiences started getting tired of westerns and they started to decline. Now we can’t seem to avoid yet another zombie movie. We’re hopeful that soon audiences will tire of yet another zombie movie and we can move on. Even with a Class A movie star (Brad Pitt, who also produced) it’s still just a zombie movie. And in this movie the zombies run. All devotees of George A. Romero know that zombies only shuffle. They never run, they can’t run.

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