Friday, May 13, 2011

Future Markets 2011

April showers have already brought May flowers, which have in turn brought allergies. Yes, in the grand scope of things, the showers were preferable. However, the blight of flowers brings summer movies. We're not entirely sure why this line of causation exists, but such is the way of things.

Summer movies bring a respite from the coming heat, though they carry a hefty price tag. As such, no one can see them all. Indeed, who wants to?

For years now, The Middle Room has consulted various tools of augury in an attempt to predict which movies would be worth seeing. Our results were less than satisfactory, and we've discarded such tools in order to make room for more toys.

This year, we'll focus on the fulcrum; the point on which our decision to see the movie hinges. We will discuss the piece of information we're waiting on before making up our mind, sort of a Schrodinger's Cat of film, but with 30% fewer quantum entanglements and 100% fewer dead cats.

Here, then, in one fell swoop, is every film we're considering:

May 6
While we were somewhat disappointed by choices made in the movie, it clearly continued Marvel's unbroken record of solid superhero flicks.
What We're Waiting For: Nothing: we already saw it. There was virtually no chance we were ever going to skip this or any Avengers tie in.

May 13
This looks like something we wish were good but fairly obviously isn't. Current Tomatometer stands around 20%, and we've yet to see any indication this will improve.
What We're Waiting For: Strong word of mouth could pique our interest. At this point, it seems extremely unlikely we'll bother, however.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
May 20
The original film stands as a testament to what light summer fare can be. Indeed, it's one of the best adventure movies ever made. Unfortunately, its sequels - which weren't actually bad, per se - just didn't live up to the first. While a film focusing on Sparrow sounds like a good idea at first, it strikes us as potentially pandering.
What We're Waiting For: Despite our reservations, we'll almost certainly go see this. A plummeting Tomatometer score could give us pause (if, say, the film drops below 40% without being offset by good word-of-mouth). However, the Pirates franchise maintains enough goodwill from The Middle Room to deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Kung Fu Panda 2
May 26
Kung Fu Panda is a solid movie with two major flaws: it was far too short and it failed to delve into its world and supporting characters in the depth needed. The very existence of a sequel could make these criticisms meaningless. On top of that, the trailer looks extremely promising.
What We're Waiting For: A Tomatometer score and reviews. Negative feedback (say, below 50% and/or word the movie lacks a sufficient quantity of kung fu fights) could easy convince us to skip this. We consider this scenario unlikely: as stated above, the trailers give us very little to worry about.

The Tree of Life
May 27
This is the movie to pay attention to, we've been told. No one seems to know what it's about, but the director has supposedly made several intriguing movies we haven't actually seen.
What We're Waiting For: Tomatometer, reviews, word-of-mouth, and the weather. If this movie sounds like it lives up to its vague hype, then perhaps we'll see it in theaters. Assuming, of course, the weather isn't great. Otherwise, perhaps we'll wait for DVD. Sorry: summer's the time for action and spectacle, and, while there do seem to be some dinosaurs in the film, we've yet to see verification of even a single superhero.

X-Men: First Class
June 3
Tough one. The trailers certainly look good, and early word of mouth is strong. However, Fox has repeatedly shown a profound talent for destroying this franchise, and we've yet to be truly impressed with a single film made by Matthew Vaughn. Kick-Ass may have had some brilliant scenes, but the whole was far less than the sum of its parts. And Stardust remains, in our humble opinion, one of the worst big-budget adaptations ever made. The fact that trailers for both of those movies had us extremely excited has us weary, as well.
What We're Waiting For: It's unlikely we'll skip First Class, but not impossible. A Tomatometer south of 40% would likely cost the film our money. We're actually not putting much stake in word-of-mouth this time: we seem to be in the minority in our assessment of Vaughn's work.

Super 8
June 8
Like Cloverfield before it, very little information about the Abrams/Spielberg collaboration has been made public. We sincerely hope this is the only parallel we need to draw to Cloverfield, which despite some decent creature work, was tedious to sit through.
What We're Waiting For: A Tomatometer above 80%, along with some promising buzz, would pique our interest. We'd also like to know a little more about this movie, so we can decide whether it's something we're interested in seeing. We're funny that way.

The Troll Hunter
June 8
This looks extremely interesting. The trailers have held our attention for a long time.
What We're Waiting For: Well, one of two things really. We either need the movie to open at a theater worth going to (i.e.: not the over-priced art house theater with the tiny screens), or we need this to show up on DVD. This is definitely a movie we'd like to see. Time will tell how we end up viewing it, however.

The Green Lantern
June 17
While the early trailers inflicted no small amount of pain on geeks of the world, later versions have subsequently improved our outlook. In fact, the footage we've seen looks downright fantastic, in spite of some questionable costume design choices.
What We're Waiting For: At this point, we're mainly waiting for the movie to open. It would take extremely negative reviews and word-of-mouth to make us even consider skipping this.

Cars 2
June 24
Yes, the first Cars is among the worst Pixar movies made to date. However, there are far worse classifications to be in than "worst Pixar movie." In fact, we actually enjoyed Cars quite a bit, despite its many flaws. On top of that, the genre switch from racing to spy doesn't hurt, either.
What We're Waiting For: While there are obviously other things we'd rather Pixar was devoting their attention to instead of a Cars sequel, as a rule we give every Pixar movie the benefit of the doubt. There may come a day when the studio lets us down and we start exercising discretion about which of their movies to see in the theater... but that hasn't happened yet.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
July 1
The first Transformers movie was far from perfect, but it managed to convey the fun of the original cartoons. On top of that, the simple casting of Peter Cullen to reprise his role as Optimus Prime forgave a lot of design mishaps. Then... we saw Transformers 2.
What We're Waiting For: Verification there's some substance. It wouldn't actually take a lot: we don't need Transformers 3 to be brilliant or groundbreaking. We just need it to be not awful. We let the second movie slide on visuals alone, and we accepted it (after all, the visuals were awfully pretty). But now we've seen that. We've seen Prime spin around and kill a bunch of Decepticons. That won't be enough a third time, and if the reviews don't reflect a return to at least the level of the first, we will skip this one.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
July 15
This is part two or eight, depending on your count, of the Harry Potter series. While the movies haven't felt great in a while, they've remained consistently enjoyable. We've previously compared the experience to a really good television show, and we believe the comparison holds.
What We're Waiting For: Come on. We've seen the other seven; we'll see this one, as well. Just not opening day. Why? Because it's opening against....

Winnie the Pooh
July 15
They hired one of the original animators to adapt several of the unadapted Pooh stories from A.A. Milne's books in the same 2D animation that was used in the Disney Classic.
What We're Waiting For: We'll see you there or you can go to Hell. Winnie the Pooh rocks, and this is precisely the way to make another movie - exactly like the first.

Captain America: The First Avenger
July 22
The second Marvel-produced Avengers-tie-in of the year. In our opinion, Marvel has yet to drop the ball, and this period piece - set in World War II - is unlikely to change course.
What We're Waiting For: It's more or less impossible for this movie to get reviews so bad we'll skip it. We're extremely excited to see this.

Cowboys and Aliens
July 29
Jon Favreau made Iron Man into a good movie, but that's not saying much. Any decent director could have made a decent Iron Man with Downey Jr. in the role. But how many could have made Zathura into an intriguing and intelligent SF flick? How many could have made Elf into one of the best Christmas movies ever made?
What We're Waiting For: We're waiting for Favreau to make a bad movie. Until then, we expect we'll need to check out his western/alien invasion flick. Because it looks awesome.

The Smurfs
July 29
Well, it's an adaptation of an 80's cartoon, so we should at least discuss it.
What We're Waiting For: Hell to freeze over*.
*Disclaimer: should Hell freeze over, no one associated with The Middle Room makes any sort of promise to see this movie. Not even then.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
August 5
We have no idea what to expect from this. Planet of the Apes isn't exactly a property that we feel needs to be constantly revisited: honestly, we'd be just as happy if it died out. However, as long as it is around... well... we do like intelligent monkeys. And, should those smart apes rise up and start a revolution, all the better.
What We're Waiting For: Reviews. A Tomatometer score north of 80% would be a good way to at least get our attention.

Conan the Barbarian
August 19
We're big fans of both Howard's stories and Milius's movie, and we're intrigued by the idea of seeing Conan attempted using today's technology and budgets. Unfortunately, the footage we've seen so far has rode a line dangerously close to made-for-TV, at least as far as the acting is concerned. Conan may be barbaric, but there's a surprising amount of depth in the original stories.
What We're Waiting For: A preview that shows the movie could be worth seeing. Oh, we'll most likely see it regardless, but we'll feel better about the whole thing if there's some indication that someone put some effort into this.

Fright Night
August 19
We don't really know what to think of this. The original has some things going for it, but it's hard to understand why a remake is called for.
What We're Waiting For: Really positive reviews. If this tops 80%, we might try to catch it in theater. Otherwise, we'll either wait for the DVD or skip it entirely.

Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World
August 19
Are we the only ones deeply disturbed by the subtitle of this movie? The phrase, "All the Time in the World," has some history in the spy genre. We always expected to see it used for a Bond movie (it was, after all, the mirror to Bond's family motto, "The World is Not Enough" - read or watch "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" if you have no idea what we're talking about). Using it with Spy Kids is either a horrible joke or a brilliant subversive reference.
What We're Waiting For: Reviews, as usual. There's actually a soft spot in our hearts for the franchise, though we doubt it's enough to get us all the way to the theater, even if the reviews are positive (which is far from a given).


Shiraz said...

I would like for Winnie The Pooh to come out now please.

Erin Snyder said...

The best part is they're opening opposite Harry Potter, so THE THEATER WON'T EVEN BE CROWDED!

Super-Duper ToyBox said...

excited about GL and Cap!