Inception – July 16
Leonardo DiCaprio plays a corporate spy-turned-fugitive who steals from people’s minds in this new sci-fi thriller from The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan. That’s pretty much all of the plot info that’s been released so far for the film, whose trailers and ads have remained vague, helping to build a lot of hype out of curiosity.
Why it could be good: It’s one of better-looking big-budget films coming out this summer that isn’t a remake/reboot/adaptation/sequel. It also has an excellent director and an outstanding cast to boot.
Why it could be bad: It’s PG-13. But then again so was The Dark Knight and that kicked all kinds of ass the summer it came out. Honestly, it‘s hard to tell what could be bad with Warner Bros. showing so little of the movie, but maybe that‘s saying that there isn’t a lot of good to show either.
Salt – July 23
Why it could be good: It’s always good seeing more female leads in upcoming action movies, and Angelina Jolie has definitely cemented her status as an action-heroine (even if it took two Tomb Raider movies to do it).
Why it could be bad: Movies like this generally tend to rely too much on star power rather than on actual story and interesting characters. Besides, after three Bourne movies aren’t audiences tired of watching CIA-officials getting falsely accused?
Step Up 3-D – August 6
This film concludes the Step Up trilogy, a saga chronicling disadvantaged youth and their struggles in life while trying to pursue their dreams of becoming street dancers. Could this final installment solidify the Step Up movies as one of the most epic and influential trilogies of our time? As the trailer states, “one dance move can set a whole generation free.”
Why it could be good: It gives fans of the previous Step Up movies a chance to see another chapter of their favorite franchise in a whole new dimension.
Why it could be bad: Judging from the aforementioned trailer, Step Up 3D doesn’t really look to be a movie so much as a 90 minute-long music video/MTV special, with a thinly-stretched plot and recycled characters.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – August 13
Based on a popular comic book series, this movie focuses on Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), a lazy 23 year old who falls for the new girl in town. The only problem is that in order to win her heart he must defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends first.
Why it could be good: The comic is critically-acclaimed and award-winning, and this adaptation will be in the hands of Edgar Wright, the guy who directed Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. It also looks very visually impressive, with Wright appearing to have captured the videogame-inspired universe of the comics successfully.
Why it could be bad: The high concentration of videogame references, indie bands, ninjas, and those deliberately awkward scenes Michael Cera specializes so well in could get too off-putting for this movie to work.
The Expendables – August 13
This latest action flick directed by Sylvester Stallone (who also co-wrote and starred in it) is a tribute to 80s action movies, featuring a who’s-who of action movie stars from that time as well. Mercenaries, treachery, explosions, and other clichés abound in what looks to be one of the most fun and entertaining action romps this summer.
Why it could be good: The cast (according to the trailers and posters: Stallone, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, yes, THE Arnold Schwarzenegger) will hopefully make this 80s throwback everything it should be and more. Plus, with the most recent Rocky and Rambo movies Stallone has proven to be a pretty credible director.
Why it could be bad: Being so self-aware, The Expendables could easily fail and end up being an underwhelming mess of bad shoot-outs and ironic one-liners. Here’s to hoping Stallone finds a good balance between parody and respectful homage.