The movies of summer: Part II

What better way to usher in the return of the sun than to resign yourself to the recesses of a sticky movie theater in an effort to maintain the porcelain complexion you managed to develop, and vowed to rid yourself of, over the course of the rainy months that are most characteristic of our city?

What better way to usher in the return of the sun than to resign yourself to the recesses of a sticky movie theater in an effort to maintain the porcelain complexion you managed to develop, and vowed to rid yourself of, over the course of the rainy months that are most characteristic of our city?

Yes, it’s Summer Movie Season. It comes once a year (funny how that works) bringing promises of absurd over-the-top action and budgets so astronomical as to make corrupted Wall Street officials salivate.

Last summer saw some goddamn awesome movies delivered to the screen including, but certainly not limited to, perhaps the finest summer movie of all time, The Dark Knight. And how will the films of the 2009 Summer Movie Season compare? Let’s take a look at some of the most hotly anticipated flicks headed to the silver screen.

Year One—June 19
In this comedy from director Harold Ramis a couple of hunter-gatherer types, Zed (Jack Black) and Oh (Michael Cera) are banished from their tribe, and stumble into a whole slew of Bible stories. It’s unclear exactly what the flick’s plot is concerned with, though it looks like it might actually be funny.

Naturally, it wouldn’t be a summer movie season without something produced by Judd Apatow, Year One being only the first of Apatow’s summer movies.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
—June 24
LaBeef is back in this sequel to 2007’s giant angry robot movie, Transformers. Naturally, Michael Bay is back at the helm, and true to form, the robots are bigger, badder and explode-ier.

After being totally dissed by the Autobots at the end of Transformers, Megatron is back and is seriously pissed. Commence a shit-ton of metal-on-metal battling. Yeah, there are some humans here and there, but the only one worth mentioning, based solely on the fact that she is hotter than holy hell, is Megan Fox.

Don’t expect much in the way of a deep plot. This movie is based on a set of Hasbro toys from the ’80s and helmed by one of Hollywood’s most over-the-top directors, making it intellectually vacant, needlessly explosive and totally awesome.

Public Enemies—July 1
This one confuses me a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a pretty huge fan of Michael Mann, sans Miami Vice (that flick was garbage). But 2004’s Collateral was a neo-noir masterpiece and almost redeems Tom Cruise for being coo-coo for Coco Puffs. Almost.

Public Enemies, given its all-star cast and historical nature, seems like it would be reserved for Oscar-bait. But hey, I ain’t complaining.

Enemies follows notorious American gangster John Dillinger, played by Johnny Depp, as he evades lawman Melvin Purvis, played by Christian Bale. Just about all the characters in the film are based on real-life people, including Billy Crudup as famous cross-dressing FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Although my understanding is there will be no cross-dressing. Too bad. Crudup in a dress and fedora with a Tommy Gun? Now that’s a summer movie.

Bruno—July 10
After Sacha Baron Cohen ridiculed middle-American values by portraying the absurd and often disturbing Borat in 2006’s Borat, one would think he wouldn’t be able to pull off a similar stunt with any degree of success.

One would be wrong. Taking on the guise of the only of his three alter egos from Da Ali G Show without a feature film, Cohen is back on the silver screen as Bruno, the homosexual Austrian fashionista, in a film called … well, I think you can figure it out.

The tagline for the film is “Borat was so 2006.” True! So would people please stop proclaiming “very nice!” and “ya-ess!” You’re just embarrassing yourselves. Plus, I’m sure there will be plenty of new lines for you to steal and use on drunken club patrons who confuse funny with the number of times you can repeat material that isn’t yours.

Funny People—July 31
In Judd Apatow’s second production of the summer, and third directorial effort, Adam Sandler and, shockingly enough, Seth Rogen, play a couple of stand-up comedians. Sandler’s character, George Simmons, is a seasoned veteran of stand-up who happens to be at death’s doorstep.

Doesn’t sound too funny, does it? But George learns that his disease has gone into remission and he may yet survive, leading him to re-evaluate his life and revisit some of the people he has known. Namely, Laura Anderson (Leslie Mann, real-life wife of Apatow), the one who got away, or George pushed away, who now lives with her loving husband (Eric Bana, in like his 18th film this summer) and children (played by Apatow and Mann’s adorable daughters, Maude and Iris, who were featured in Knocked Up as well).

Apatow’s brought the goods before. Can he do it again without making it sappy enough to trap a mosquito for 60 million years?

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra—August 7
In this big-screen, live-action adaptation of another damned Hasbro franchise, Stephen Sommers brings us an origin story of the evil Cobra Organization, the primary enemy to our first and last line of defense: the elite, special forces unit G.I. Joe.

It sounds moronic as hell, and likely will be, but like any film based on a popular toy line (are there any besides Transformers?), it should prove action-packed, over-the-top and, dare I say, entertaining.

Inglorious Basterds—August 21
From Quentin Tarantino comes Inglorious Basterds. Inspired by Enzo Castellari’s 1978 correctly spelled film, Inglorious Bastards, Tarantino’s World War II Spaghetti Western (as it’s being billed) follows a group of eight Jewish-American soldiers (one for every night of Hanukkah!) who are recruited by creepily mustachioed Brad Pitt to exact targeted acts of retribution against the Nazis.

Along for the ride are Eli Roth (best known as the director of the Hostel films) as Donny Donowitz, B.J. Novak (best known as Ryan the temp from The Office) as Smithson Utivitch and Samuel L. Jackson as a character dubbed “The Raconteur.”