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April 2016

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CALLING OUT HATERS: 11 Most Anticipated Movies of Summer 2016 (SPOILERS)

Fluffyman Calling Out Haters New Complete.jpg

How some fanboys are likely going to react at a certain inclusion.

Next week the Summer movie season is upon us, and of the large output of films major studios put out I have 11 that I am anticipating more than others. Keep in mind, this doesn't mean I think these movies will be good (I had Prometheus as my #2 back in 2012 and that movie sucked), but merely movies I am really interested in how they turn out.

Honorable Mentions:

-Popstar: Never Stop Stopping: Does look like it could be amusing, so it's on my radar, and Andy Sanberg can be funny with the right material. I hope this isn't as drawn out of a mock musical biopic like Walk Hard was.

-Sausage Party: Interesting for the novelty of a mainstream R-rated animated film. I will be quite amused when parents take their kids to the movie thinking this is more childhood fare. Come on the Hot Dogs and buns are made to resemble genitalia... tell me in what way is that is kid friendly.

11. Suicide Squad

Now I know what you're thinking, after the trashing I gave Batman v Superman, what hope do I have for this film? Well for one it looks like it actually is having a blast with it's premise rather than miring it in angst, sorrow and more angst. Another is that it looks like it has a rich diverse cast that actually look to have fun including: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Mr. Eko as Killer Croc? I'm in), and Margot Robbie looking like she'll steal the show as Harley Quinn. It's also under the direction of David Ayer whose break-out film End of Watch I feel is underrated (Have yet to see Fury though and have NO interest in Sabotage).

Now that doesn't mean I don't have reservations as part of the film seems to try to be the next Guardians of the Galaxy: August release date, editing trailers to classic pop and rock hits, and an ensemble of misfit characters who have to save the world. I also feel like there are certain moments in the trailers involving the possible origin of Harley and her relation to the Joker that look possibly problematic. As well the light-hearted tone of the trailers might just be a lie, and we might end up with something as emotionally cold as Snyder's DC films especially since the rumors of "light-hearted reshoots" has been shot down.

But I am interested enough to see where this film will go, whether or not it will be the third time a charm for this DC Cinematic Universe.

10. Star Trek Beyond

I don't know if I need to explain why this is so low on the list, but I'll try anyway. Star Trek Into Darkness was really a sore point in not only being a disappointing follow-up to the 2009 Trek reboot, but a real big sore spot in the franchise in general. What could have been an interesting idea of conflicting Federation ideologies, was a 9/11 Truther Fan Fiction with Star Trek as it's setting with The Wrath of Khan slapped in. Not to mention the film decides to focus more on big action scenes, than actually settling down and discussing any of the concepts that it sets up. The moment Spock screams "Khaaaaaaaaaaaaan!" is a moment that will go down in history as one of the most misguided attempts at cashing in on nostalgia in any film.

Having said that Star Trek Beyond looks like it takes some steps in the right direction. We have the Enterprise crew stranded on a strange new world and getting into a conflict with some of it's inhabitants. It's also in fact being co-written by Scotty himself Simon Pegg who is a well-known fan of the franchise, so I hope he knows how to write a good Trek story at least even though it seems he has three other credited writers as well including 9/11 truther Roberto Orci *groans*. Also has some fresh blood behind the camera, Justin Lin director of 4 of the 7 Fast & Furious Movies, whose reputation as a films series actually got better as each film came. And hey Idris Elba is playing the villain, he makes a lot of things cool.

I will say part of me is really cautious as of course a Star Trek trailer that decides to set itself to "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys can do that. I know it was established with the 2009 film, but boy does it really feel very inappropriate to hype a Star Trek movie. I also feel that while it does look like it's being more in tune with Trek, there still looks an abundance of action that may take precedence over any sort of discussion of themes of the franchise. Then there's Sofia Boutella's character a kick-ass alien female who I dread is going to be Kirk's "Girl of the movie."

But still Into Darkness didn't quite kill every ounce of hype I had for this movie, so hopefully it will make me move beyond Into Darkness (See what I did there) and have some hope for this new series yet.

9. Warcraft

Just to get something out of the way, I never played a Warcraft game. Never played any of the Real-Time Strategy games nor played a session of the now over 11-year-old MMORPG. So my hype going into this film is basically not knowing a damn thing about Blizzard's biggest money-maker.

But damn does it look epic. Clashing armies of humans, orcs and other folks, people riding on birds, it looks like a fantasy buffet. Then there is fact that it doesn't try to make a tale of just humans trying to fend off against the orcs we're actually seeing things from the orcs perspective and some of whom actually have to form an alliance to fight off against a threat. The movie is also going to be directed by Duncan Jones, who made a little known film named Moon and the surprisingly really good time jumping science fiction movie Source Code, it's going to be interesting to see how he'll tackle his first major-budget blockbuster.

Though I got to say, as cool and as epic as the film seems, it does have a bit of a problem. The film is meant to be a live-action fantasy, but the designs of the orcs are trying to be very close to the video games which have very exaggerated proportions that do not lend themselves to live-action. The fact they use CG as opposed to make up too makes me feel like they should have probably made this film animated, make it a bit less jarring for these rather cartoonish orcs and the very realistic humans to clash.

Still am interested to see how this goes, it's been hard to find some great big medieval inspired fantasy post Lord of the Rings, hopefully this will fit the bill.

8. Finding Dory

Already I can hear groans: "A Pixar sequel why?"

I already feel it, Pixar the one grand champion of animation kind of has hit a slump. Inside Out did give them a good recovery, but then got a bit kicked back down with the underwhelming take of The Good Dinosaur which is officially considered to be Pixar's first ever flop. And then there have been the fact before that had the trifecta of underwhelming, Cars 2, Brave and Monsters University. As good qualities as they may have, just really doesn't scream the emotional heart that many of their films have come before it. It's going to get worse after this because the next film is going to be Cars 3, the movie nobody asked for yet is being to sell out a few more toys. Then Toy Story 4, the film series has already felt like it left on a perfect note... why ruin that? Well that's not to say I'm not looking forward to their Dia De Los Muertos film Coco (Though Fox beat them to the punch with The Book of Life) and the long-damn-time coming The Incredibles 2, but I find myself a little less excited for the company with the lamp for an I, because they seem a little more interested in making money than some truly thought-provoking ideas.

But why am I looking forward to Finding Dory?

Dory. The abscent-minded companion to Marlin (Albert Brooks) in Finding Nemo is probably one of the most endearing cartoon characters I have ever seen. Her rather bubbly energetic personality, who swims face first into unknown danger even if she might not remember it. Hell her philosphy in life is to "just keep swimming, just keep swimming." Helped a great deal is Ellen DeGeneres giving a lot of warmth and energy to the character, the delivery of some of the lines just makes her work, including one heart-wrenching monologue near the end. She was absolutely one of my favorite parts of Finding Nemo.

If there was a reason to look forward to the film it's seeing the journey continue primarily from Dory's perspective. The idea of Dory trying to put her rather sporadic memory in order to find her family seems like it could work out for a story in itself. For the most part the trailers have sold me on the idea, not looking like it's going to be a complete retread even if it will revisit stuff and possible themes from the old film, I mean Dory ends in a fish tank like Nemo was in the first but hopefully for not most of the movie.

Now of course there is a possibility things could go wrong, having a supporting character be the main star of a sequel didn't do wonders for Cars 2 which made the miscalculation of focusing it on the rather annoying Mater. I just hope this will be an exception and Andrew Stanton's return to Pixar after the disaster that was John Carter works out.

7. Ghostbusters (2016)

Now haters seem to want to analyze my brain tissue after this.

I feel like there is a lot of things people seem to be treating this movie from the onset and that is an overwhelming amount of pessimism, that they take any sort of slightly "off" moment from the trailers that have released as a reason to think this will do damage to the name Ghostbusters. Think the amount of downvotes is a way of judging quality too, I think it's just a bunch of fanboyism that's the reason for that. Well I will admit to having reservations about this movie anyway, I mean who wouldn't after waiting for years of another Ghostbusters movie only for it to be denied time and again, ultimately made rather difficult with the passing of the film series' co-writer/Egon Spengler himself Harold Ramis.

But is Paul Feig's gender flipped new interpretation of the paranormal investigators and eliminators look as bad as people seem to exaggerate it as? While it does strike as a little bit sillier than the old films and I am kind of having trouble with Leslie Jones' character being uncomfortably close to a stereotype, I feel like a lot of the hate just seems like people expecting the worst blinding their judgment on it.

I don't see a problem with Jones, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon taking up the mantles, aside from few reservations they look like they can make quite unique busters from the old group, especially McKinnon who looks like she's having a ball. I don't see the problem that this won't be the exact same film as the previous ones, do we really want all remakes to retread the same thing? I don't see the problem with the movie employing rather cartoonish CG, as great as some of the effects were of the old film, I don't think effects should be the main priority if the comedy strikes right.

Then there is the fact that trailers usually can paint a rather incredibly different picture to how a movie will go, especially in the case of comedies. Paul Feig's previous film Spy was marred by a rather mediocre ad campaign that seemed to make it like the Paul Blart of spy movies, yet the final result was something a bit more restrained yet still rather amusing. And I don't really feel that much of the Sony hack scandal is going to paint my perception of the film, but I'd rather put that far aside to tackle the film on it's own merits.

Just to say to people hating this movie, just wait and see. And if it turns out to suck, the old movies will not go away. Hell if you need a true Ghostbusters III with the original cast try the 2009 video game that even has a script penned by Dan Aykroyd and Ramis, you can probably still find it in game stores and on Steam.

Personally I feel like there is still things for me to be excited for, including the fact Hi-C Ecto Cooler will make a comeback as well. And let me tell you something, bustin' still makes me feel good.

6. X-Men: Apocalypse

I like to think of the combination of X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine as a dark spot we would like to put far behind us, because damn if the X-Men name hasn't been on a bit of a resurgence in terms of cinema. Spurred off by Matthew Vaughn's excellent First Class, and following a rather forgettable return to Logan with The Wolverine, we get the utterly fantastic film that crosses the old and new X-Men: Days of Future Past which also heralded the return of the director of the first two films Bryan Singer, as well as this year's big apology letter from movie sins past Tim Miller's Deadpool.

Now what to make of this, Singer's fourth directorial effort in the franchise? Adapting the Age of Apocalypse story is definitely a step in the right direction. Even more-so setting it in the 1980s where it opens up the big opportunity of putting the X-Men in rather colorful fashions even if it means in their civilian clothing. And let us look at some of the X-Men in this film, bringing back established franchise names like Professor X (Now we see him get to be bald), Jean Grey, Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, Beast, Mystique, Magneto and the scene-stealer from the last major film Quicksilver but also bringing others that haven't been done justice before but look to be now: Psylocke, Archangel and Jubilee though she hasn't been as prominent in the advertising which actually makes me rather worried. If only they had Dazzler this would have been perfect.

Then who do they have for Apocalypse? Oscar Isaac. In spite of his rather goofy looking appearance, looks to be the rather hammy theatrical villain this franchise would need. And making him a powerhouse to deal with would definitely make it all the more interesting to see how the X-Men will overcome the odds and save the world again.

But I will acknowledge that the film does worry me in that the franchise hasn't really been known to be a great juggler of characters, I feel some might actually turn out to be short-changed. In terms of short-changed characters I keep in mind that we still have yet to have a proper Rogue in this series and likely never will. The movie also quite controversially seems to put Mystique in a prominent position, making people seemingly angry for some reason, as though Jennifer Lawrence kicked a puppy or something. I also wonder we'll finally get the confirmation of Mystique being Nightcrawler's mum, we did get a great moment in the trailers of Quicksilver confirming Magneto is his dad, so why not them? I am still excited for the film mind you just I wonder if it will be the epic X-Men movie a lot of us have been waiting for.

Singer you have done some good films in the series but I do know to scale back some expectations, don't mess this up. Though I really wish this series didn't keep on bringing Wolverine in, like god, X-Men should survive without him.

5. The Nice Guys

Who knows better the buddy action movie than Shane Black? The guy pretty much popularized it with his Lethal Weapon films and pretty much can extend to a lot of his other works including The Last Boy Scout and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang which helped revive the career of once Hollywood punchline Robert Downey Jr.

This definitely looks like it could be an interesting buddy movie set in the 1970s between a rather tough-as-nails enforcer played by Russell Crowe consulting a rather squeamish private-eye played by Ryan Gosling trying to find a missing girl. Now of course we know Crowe for playing some tough guys, but how often do you see Gosling play the more restrained one? Make for an interesting dynamic that I hope carries the film through, played with all the witticism and dark comedy that is associated with a Shane Black movie, except 70s themed.

Now of course, the only issue I may have is a lot of the trailers, may have revealed too much of the movie. I mean is there something worth seeing a movie with a mystery if you've seen much of how the story plays out? I know I want to see the movie mainly for Crowe and Gosling playing off of each other, but I would like to see how the plot plays out as well, be left fresh for that.

Hopefully, grievances about marketing aside, this will be a blast from a filmmaker who pretty much popularized the term "I'm too old for this shit." I'm never too old for Shane Black.

4. Jason Bourne

Considering how much of an insignificant blip The Bourne Legacy was on this series, I bet some of you didn't think of this as the fifth entry in the series based upon Robert Ludlum's acclaimed series of spy novels. But things look a little return to form here, back is Matt Damon as Jason Bourne and Paul Greengrass in the director's chair, and no Jeremy Renner... sorry man.

Nine years after The Bourne Ultimatium the premise doesn't exactly strike of something original, agency is hacked into, forcing Jason Bourne to be on the run again, hell even echoing Supremacy by the fact he and a female companion are forced into a vehicle chase, which hopefully doesn't mean we'll get a reprise where Julia Stiles' Nicky ends up with a bullet in her head. Yep, I'm sour about Marie's death 12 years later, what of it?

But things definitely look promising enough, Bourne being chased, getting into a lot of action and spy twists. Seems familiar but I think the previous three Damon Bourne films are enough to make me excited to pipe my ass down for some shaky chase sequences. Tommy Lee Jones is even involved this time, guess he has to make a career out of hunting down dangerous people.

Now of course, this film comes with the fact that spy movies seem to be suddenly a thing again. I just hope in continuing the story of Jason Bourne it still keeps to it's strengths and not go into some contrived plot twists like the last James Bond film Spectre did. We're good too if it ends with Moby's "Extreme Ways."

3. Kubo and the Two Strings

A Japanese-inspired claymation film by Laika who did Coraline and ParaNorman? This is definitely on my radar for the idea alone.

Mainly my excitement comes from the studio's body of work, the American equivalent of Aardman animation just injects a whole lot of energy into their clay figures. It is just awe inspiring how much detail, how much energy they are able to pull off with developing these a single frame at a time. Even with a lesser movie like The BoxTrolls they are still giving a lot of effort into it.

The movie does seem typical Laika, a child goes into a fantastical journey. Except this journey involves Japanese mythology, where a hero dons a sword and a Shamisen to kick ass and make things to life out of paper. It does seem like a simple plot so far, but sometimes pretty simple stories can lead to amazing visual journeys and the visuals are striking so far.

Now to address a kind of elephant in the room, the fact most of the voice cast of the movie isn't Asian. With a movie that is Japanese influenced and does have George Takei as a principal character, it's filled with white actors like Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara, Charlize Theron and especially Matthew McConaughey whose southern drawl seems very out of place. I know there isn't as much weight put when white actors are cast as Asians in voice acting as you don't hear people decry Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra for doing the same thing. Though I just think that their last film The BoxTrolls is a very European influenced film and has most of it's main voice cast (Save for Elle Fanning and Tracy Morgan) be British, why not have Kubo get the cast mostly be Asian? Is Hollywood really thinking there isn't an abundance of bankable Asian actors?

Overall though I am still looking forward to what Laika would bring to the table, more than any other animated film that's going to come out this Summer.

2. Captain America: Civil War

I gave a Marvel movie coming out in a week that's been getting positive reviews got the second spot while the DC movie coming out in August that has gotten no reviews the eleventh. OHMYGOSH Marvel bias!

Well put it this way, before Civil War the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had 12 films, four television series', numerous spin-off comics and shorts that have developed it's universe to make it lead to this point, at varying degrees of quality to be certain but a consistent momentum. The DC Extended Universe films before Suicide Squad has only had two films that is trying to do it all at once as opposed to developing over time, to a much noticeably lesser quality. The first Marvel film chose to make a solo story about a hero and chose after the credits to get Nick Fury talking of The Avengers initiative. The second DC film just operates more like a trailer for the rest of the universe than an actual story and in a moment of utterly undeserved drama killing off one of it's principal heroes. I'm not asking DC to do the same exact thing but I just wish they had the idea to construct a better table before putting all their cards on it.

Back to Civil War, there is a lot of things being brought to this film. First off giving off big clash between Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), continuing the development between Cap and Bucky (Sebastian Stan) that left off on a sad note with The Winter Soldier, and bringing quite a few Avengers into it (Save for Thor and Hulk but they got Thor: Ragnarok in 2017), almost could call it Avengers 2.5: Civil War. This film will also be the big feature debuts of Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and "for the love of Zod finally" Spider-Man (Tom Holland). The latter definitely seems to be part of the major selling points as he was featured in a big way in one of the trailers and has been put in little parts on the TV Spots. And his eyes actually move this time, I think he and Deadpool can set a new precedent with heroes in masks, eat it Ben Affleck and your fake glowy light eyes.

As well for a big hero clash it doesn't seem to weigh to favorably on either side, just bringing serious ethics discussion in terms of superheroism to the table. This being in contrast in which the comic Civil War seemed to be too weighed in on Team Cap's side to a point it absolutely derails a lot of heroes on Team Iron Man including Tony Stark himself whose popularity was really tarnished by the comic story line until the first Iron Man movie pretty much saved the character. Made worse in the comic event Team Iron Man was supposed to be on the right side, even though they pretty much trash people's civil liberties in the name of superhero registration and overall just act like dicks. Hopefully this movie will be a bit more thoughtful in execution, particularly when it comes to handling heroes and collateral damage.

Now of course with a movie packed like this it does have me worried about in terms of how it handles the plots. One of the big faults of Age of Ultron was trying to juggle the plot of Ultron, Vision, the Maximov twins and setting up for the inevitable Infinity War, handling clout definitely wasn't one of the film's strongest suits. Of course too was seeing another superhero movie this year trying to handle a lot of plots and failing miserably, though at least in Civil War's case it wasn't being the second in a cinematic universe, it's the thirteenth. Then there is the fact this doesn't feel in particular as big in scope compared to it's comic counter-part though in some ways that can probably be a blessing since the Civil War event in Marvel Comics widely considered to be kind of a clustercuss.

But if the Russos can pull off juggling not just a Winter Soldier follow-up but Avengers as well, it makes me hopeful for how they'll bring a lot more to the table in the Infinity War two-parter. I know one thing this won't end though: The fanboy wars. I can only see things getting worse from here on in.

1. The BFG

Does seem unusual to put a film that hasn't been heavily marketed to death on the top isn't it? But if you look at the pedigree to this film, it might be understandable: It's a Steven Spielberg once again paired up with E.T. writer Melissa Matheson, adapting a Roald Dahl novel. Spielberg of course needs no real introduction as a lot of childhoods could be filled with the films he's either produced or directed. Dahl is the late great author that gave us such stories as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda and Fantastic Mr. Fox children stories that each have rather morbid and dark twists to them, all of which have had some very well-regarded and noteworthy adaptations.

Now of course we all know what the first thing that pops into people's minds hearing the letters BFG, but sorry Doom fans, Dahl came up with a definition 11 years before the Johns Carmack and Romero: Big Friendly Giant. The premise is simple a girl named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) befriends a Giant (Mark Rylance, reuniting with Spielberg after his Oscar winning performance in Bridge of Spies) and ends up on a fantastical journey including getting into conflict with other giants.

This definitely looks like it has a trappings of another Spielberg classic, an unusual friendship, absolutely gorgeous visuals, score by John Williams (Who was absent for Bridge of Spies due to a little known movie called Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and charming whimsy to it that looks like it would be a very feel-good movie of the summer, though obviously not completely because this is Dahl we are talking about. This also marks the first time Spielberg has ever done a movie distributed by Disney, which I find weird it took this long for it to happen, though his own studio DreamWorks hasn't quite been the notable force it once was.

Now I do keep in mind Spielberg isn't infallible, with a filmmaker whose body of work extends back to the 1960s and rarely letting up in that time frame, he has made a few clunkers in one form or another. I can name a few faults of his filmmaking that he often does try to strike the sentimental train a bit too hard (The Terminal being a blatant case) and there are a few questionable attempts to churn an emotion out that feel like complete misfire (The traumatic sex scene in Munich anyone?).

But I am still looking forward to the film nonetheless, and hopefully it will be worthy of the most anticipated film this Summer.

And now to movies I AM NOT ANTICIPATING:

-Alice Through the Looking Glass: Wasn't interested in the previous Alice film, not interested in this one either, although does look a bit more colorful than Burton's film and it's being done by Muppets director James Bobin. Still not enough incentive and it already lost me using Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" in one of it's trailers.

-The Angry Birds Movie: *smashes head into a wall* Sorry the mere existence of this just upsets me, even with the trailers they seem like a weak justification for it's existence. Hope you love a minute long pee gag!

-The Secret Life of Pets: I'm kind of annoyed by Illumination by now, and to be honest it just doesn't look funny. And goodie, Universal will own DreamWorks Animation now.

-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows: Sorry, as much as you try to dangle the promise of Bebop, Rocksteady, Krang and Casey Jones in front of me, it still looks like the same uninspired garbage as the last film.

-Independence Day: Resurgence: 20 years too late, no Will Smith, and looks like it is trying to just destroy more things for the sake of destroying them. Sorry but it just doesn't look anything exciting.

-The Legend of Tarzan: Looks like another boring reboot, nothing more.

-Ben-Hur: *smashes head through a wall* As much as I like seeing John Huston getting a lead role, this looks like another uninspired "re-imagining" of a Hollywood epic. Morgan Freeman... why do you sully your career in crap like this?

*breathes out*

Welp see you in the Summer.

End of Rant