By the time you read this, Spider-Man 3 will have already raked in approximately a kajillion dollars. But in a summer packed with superheroes, pirates, robots, and teen wizards, only one selection is destined to be the Best. Movie. Ever. (Hint: it’s animated, smells like a steak, and seats 35!) Still, what are you gonna do at the multiplex or the rep house on every other day that isn’t July 27? Arrange your vacations, hot dates, and Sno-Caps binges according to my highly biased, by no means complete guide to this season’s cinematic selections. All release dates are subject to change.
May 11 28 Days Later didn’t exactly have a happy ending I’d call it ambiguous at best and 28 Weeks Later explores what happens more than six months after the initial outbreak of “the rage.” Who’s the real villain in this one, zombies or the US Army? This sequel features a new director (Spain’s Juan Carlos Fresnadillo) and apparently an all-new cast, including Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, and The Wire‘s Idris Elba.
May 18 Who’ll be the next ruler of Far, Far Away? Shrek the Third investigates. New voices include Justin Timberlake (as a prince) and Ian McShane (as Captain Hook). And yes, your beloved Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) returns.
May 19 Prefer your movies under the stars? Film Night in the Park (www.filmnight.org) kicks off with The Graduate in Washington Square Park. Screenings continue through October at various locations in San Francisco and Marin County, with something for everyone from kids (Happy Feet) to thirtysomething nostalgics (Sixteen Candles) to campaholics (The Bad Seed) on the schedule.
May 25 You think your job sucks? Check out Severance, which is surely the raddest office horrorcomedysatiregorefest ever. Also today: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End attempts to outgross 2006’s Dead Man’s Chest, which scored the biggest opening weekend of all time en route to a $423 million total haul. That’s a lotta eye patches.
June 1 From Russia with vampires came 2004’s Night Watch; the sequel, Day Watch, looks to be the same kind of darkly cool supernatural noir. (Coming soon: director Timor Bekmambetov’s English-language debut, Dusk Watch, the third in the series.) I also wanna see Knocked Up, the latest sex-centric comedy from The 40 Year-Old Virgin‘s Judd Apatow.
June 8 If Eli Roth’s faux trailer for Thanksgiving in Grindhouse wasn’t enough to get you excited about Hostel: Part II, well, there’s no hope for you except to see this tourists-in-trouble follow-up and add a little more sleaze to your diet. Ocean’s Thirteen, a.k.a. George Clooney Would Like You to Please Pretend Ocean’s Twelve Never Existed, also opens today.
June 15 Experimental filmmakers, stop hiding your masterworks (and masterworks in progress) and share ’em with a supportive crowd at the San Francisco Cinematheque’s No Frame Cinema: Open Screening Event (www.sfcinematheque.org). Films and videos of 10 minutes or less will be compiled into a two-hour program on a first-come, first-served basis. Also today: did anyone really like Fantastic Four enough to necessitate Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer?
June 22 Dear Steve Carell, You are already a god to me, so I am all over Evan Almighty. Your pal, Cheryl.
June 27 McClane rules! Stop acting like you don’t want to see Live Free or Die Hard and like you don’t love the shit out of that ridiculous title.
June 29 John Dahl (Red Rock West) directs Ben Kingsley as a redemption-seeking hired gun in You Kill Me. Supposedly, there’s a Guardian cameo in this one. We’re famous, bitch!
July 1314 Ain’t really summer till Peaches Christ (www.peacheschrist.com) says it is. Her Midnight Mass kicks off this weekend with screenings of Desperate Living (with Mink Stole in person!) and Female Trouble (with John Waters in person!); the series continues through Sept. 1 with more special guests, live performances, and after-dark cult film madness.
July 4 Scoff if you will, but Transformers appeals to the tiny parts of me that have seen Independence Day and Starship Troopers approximately 567 times (each). You can be certain director Michael Bay ain’t gonna give us a quiet, subtle, thought-provoking film about war in the time of Decepticons. You can be certain there will be many, many explosions.
July 13 I haven’t read a single Harry Potter book. I have, however, seen and enjoyed all the films. Which means I’ll eagerly line up for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but while you’re camping out at Border’s to buy the final book in the series, I’ll be watching Werner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn, in which POW Christian Bale grabs a snake off the jungle floor and eats it raw, without the benefit of any magic powers whatsoever.
July 20 I’m on bridesmaid detail in Lake Tahoe this weekend, so I have an ironclad excuse to skip Hairspray (apologies to John Waters but none to John Travolta) and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Whew.
July 27 All of summer is a vortex, whirling around the only spool of celluloid that truly matters. It’s The Simpsons Movie. If you care to argue otherwise, I will choo-choo-choose to ignore you.
Aug. 3 Gadgets? Jason Bourne don’t need no stinkin’ gadgets. He’ll kill you with a rolled-up magazine, motherfucker. The new, improved James Bond was cool, but the secret agent movie I most want to see is The Bourne Ultimatum.
Aug. 10 Apparently, Rush Hour 3 is due today. I suggest mashing up Friday and Drunken Master II and getting your Chris TuckerJackie Chan fix thataway instead.
Aug. 16 The King is dead long live the King! Swingin’ cat Will the Thrill hosts Thrillville’s 30th Anniversary Elvis D-Day Party, at the Cerrito Speakeasy (www.cerritospeakeasy.com; www.thrillville.net), featuring a screening of 1964’s Viva Las Vegas (one of Presley’s best films with probably his best-ever costar, Ann-Margret), PB and banana sammies, and a live performance by Cari Lee and the Saddle-ites.
Aug. 31 Yeah, Michael Myers is back again but this Halloween is directed by Rob Zombie. Zombie’s previous films (The Devil’s Rejects, House of 1000 Corpses), proved fondness for horror themes in everything from music to home decor, and the mere fact that he changed his name to Zombie bode well for his reverence for the series. John Carpenter’s 1978 original is scary-movie perfection, but I’m ghoulishly curious to see what Zombie’s gonna do with ol’ Shatner-face. Werewolf Women of the SS forever! *