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Summer Movie Preview: San Francisco Once Again Prepares for Devastation by Blockbuster 

Wednesday, May 7 2014

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JK: Or should I say a tailspinoff?

SC: In a more just world, we'd be saying "straight-to-video-off."

Wish I Was Here

Director: Zach Braff

Cast: Braff, Mandy Patinkin, Kate Hudson, Josh Gad

Concept: Ten years after Garden State and still searching for meaning, here's Braff's new indie-ish dramedy of self-discovery.

JK: Your Kickstarter dollars at work.

SC: Though it would probably be more entertaining to stay home and re-watch the Tim Heidecker spoof of Braff's Kickstarter.


Sex Tape

Director: Jake Kasdan

Cast: Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz, Rob Corddry, Jack Black

Concept: A married couple makes a sex video, then freaks out when it goes public.

SC: PROTIP: Be very, very careful if you Google this movie.

JK: Its title's quaint reference to antiquated media notwithstanding, this does appear to be a contemporary movie. Probably it's just that Sex MPEG doesn't yet roll off the tongue, and Sex QuickTime implies a different angle on zany-frisky comedy.


Director: Brett Ratner

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Irina Shayk, John Hurt, Ian McShane

Concept: This year's second megamovie action spectacular about the legendary Greek demigod doing demigodly things. (The first was a January flop.)

SC: Hey, it has John Hurt, and also that guy who said "cocksucker" a million times on Deadwood! Happy thoughts, folks!

JK: And Irina Shayk continues the proud tradition of supermodels in movies gumming up the works by looking like supermodels.

Happy Christmas

Director: Joe Swanberg

Cast: Swanberg, Melanie Lynskey, Anna Kendrick, Lena Dunham

Concept: Mild upheavals in the domestic lives of young creative types.

SC: It's being released in July and has little to do with Christmas, which is about as "quirky indie comedy" as it gets.

JK: Or maybe it's because the prolific Swanberg works so efficiently now that his movies actually travel backward in time upon release.


Magic in the Moonlight

Director: Woody Allen

Cast: Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Marcia Gay Harden, Jackie Weaver

Concept: A romantic comedy set in the French Riviera during the Jazz Age.

JK: Speaking of prolific directors traveling backward in time....

SC: Will there be lengthy medium shots of awkward dialogue by a talented yet under-directed cast? Well, um, see, um, maybe yes.

Get On Up

Director: Tate Taylor

Cast: Chadwick Boseman, David Andrew Nash, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer

Concept: A James Brown biopic.

SC: As James Brown song titles go, "I Don't Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing (Open Up The Door I'll Get It Myself)" would look much catchier on a marquee.

JK: I also would have accepted "Doing It to Death."

Guardians of the Galaxy

Director: James Gunn

Cast: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana

Concept: A band of misfits, a valuable stolen orb, and the quirkiest Marvel Comics superhero team to date.

JK: I think what this needs, just to give it a little extra punch, is a Jupiter Ascending crossover.

SC: For that matter, Jupiter Ascending would probably benefit from the addition of a raccoon that talks and wears clothes. (Not counting Mila Kunis. Zing!)


The Dog

Directors: Allison Berg, Frank Keraudren

Concept: Documentary about the man who in 1972 tried to rob a bank to finance his lover's sex-reassignment surgery — and, in turn, inspired Dog Day Afternoon.

JK: Just the thing for your "Backstories of Early Pacino Movies" double feature, paired with James Franco's Interior. Leather Bar.

SC: I'll be very disappointed if it turns out the "Attica! Attica!" scene didn't happen in real life.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Director: Jonathan Liebesman

But Perhaps More Importantly, Producer: Michael Bay

Cast: Johnny Knoxville, Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Tony Shalhoub

Concept: Turtles who are ninjas, and mutants, and teenagers.

JK: I wasn't really into TMNT as a kid, so at least I won't feel betrayed.

SC: I mostly feel betrayed by a system that lets the director of Wrath of the Titans keep working.


Director: Luc Besson

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman

Concept: In Taiwan, a reluctant drug mule gets poisoned by a drug, which gives her superpowers.

JK: Guess Besson hasn't lost his borderline-creepy fixation on young female warrior-badass fantasy objects.

SC: Nor have people lost their borderline-creepy fixation on Scarlett Johansson. (I just do not get her.)


The Giver

Director: Philip Noyce

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgård, Taylor Swift

Concept: A young lad considering his options in a pseudo-utopian society beset by "Sameness," as adapted from Lois Lowry's YA novel.

SC: Philip Noyce returns to Matrix-style territory, which is weird, because he was never there in the first place.

JK: You mean the richly mind-warping, never-seen-anything-like-it world of Patriot Games doesn't count?

The Expendables 3

Director: Patrick Hughes

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and more — introducing Mel Gibson!

Concept: An old group of muscular mercenaries gets reinforcements from a young group of muscular mercenaries.

SC: Maybe it'll finally explain which ones are "expendable," since they keep not getting killed.

JK: Now, were it The Expendables 3-D, I'd buy my ticket right now.


Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Directors: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez

Cast: Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson

Concept: Another stylized adaptation of Miller's comics series, involving a gambler, a stripper, a thuggish billionaire, some corpses, some vengeance, and stuff like that.

SC: Robert Rodriguez's habit of giving work to notorious cranks and sociopaths is admirable, but there are limits.

JK: Aw come on, what did Jessica Alba ever do to you?


The Congress

Director: Ari Folman

Cast: Robin Wright, Jon Hamm, Harvey Keitel, Paul Giamatti

Concept: A partly animated adaptation of a Stanislaw Lem novel from the director of Waltz with Bashir, in which an aging actress makes a Faustian deal to sell off all rights to her digital likeness.

JK: This absorbing oddity was a highlight of San Francisco's own IndieFest this past February, and maybe also a grim augury of summer-movie seasons to come.

SC: I have deep love for both Tarkovsky's and Soderbergh's versions of Solaris, so I'm just happy there's another Lem adaptation coming out. (Also, ever notice how our pretensions always resurface at the end of August?)

About The Authors

Sherilyn Connelly

Jonathan Kiefer

SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.


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