The following feature was published in iMAGES on the 4th of April 2010 in MKJ’s column Animadversion.
The Big 10 in Summer 2010
By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid
As a prelude to the upcoming season here’s my list of the must see top ten movies of Summer 2010.
1 – Inception
Christopher ‘The Dark Knight’ Nolan teams up with Leonardo DiCaprio for the dark, scifi – thriller Inception. Cobb (DiCaprio) invades people’s dreams to steal potential ideas that can reshape the future. “What’s the most resilient parasite” asks Cobb at the beginning of the trailer. “An Idea”, “a single idea from the human mind can build cities”, “transform the world and rewrite all the rules”. As evident from its surreal plane-enveloping design (and its cast of Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gorden-Levitt and Ken Watanabe) Inception has the vibes of a thinking man’s blockbuster.
2 – Iron Man 2
After the revelation at the end of the first movie, Tony ‘Iron Man’ Stark faces pressure from the government to turn in his armor to the government. “Forget it”, he answers at the government press hearing. The Iron Man technology is “my property and you can’t have it”, he says; and besides “we’re safe. America is secure”. Look at it this way, he says, “I did you a big favor. I’ve successfully privatized world peace” with one indestructible armor.
With constant recruitment efforts from the eye-patched Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), a energy-tendril slashing villain with a vendetta (Mickey Rourke, with a Russian accent), an acrobatically inclined red-haired Scarlett Johanson (playing Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow from the comics), Robert Downey Jr. and returning director Jon Favreau pump up the tongue in cheek humor and the hot-rod red and golden armor in Iron Man 2. The uber-cool unfolding mini-armor is alone worth the price of admission (catch the second trailer to know what I am talking about).
Iron Man 2’s comes to Pakistani cinemas on the 15th of May.
3 – The Last Airbender
M. Night Shyamalan (Sixth Sense, Signs) directs this adaptation of one of the best American animated series since Batman: The Animated Series – Avatar, The Last Airbender. Renamed as The Last Airbender to avoid confusion from Jim Cameron’s Avatar, this first part of a trilogy follows the recently awakened Aang, a bald, tattoo-headed monk, who is the last Airbender (someone who controls, or bends Air to his will), as he journeys on a mission to stop the evil Fire-benders and their lord Ozai. The trailer made me forget all about Shyamalan’s The Happening and compelled a revisit to the animated series – for the fifth time.
4 – The A–Team
Joe Carnahan directs the big screen remake of the hit television series about a group of soldiers of fortune who are wanted by the government for miscarriage of justice. Liam Neeson steps in for George Peppards “Hannibal” Smith, as the leader of the on-the-run group, while former Ultimate Fighter, Quinton Jackson plays B.A. Baracus made famous by Mr.T. The bam-a-minute trailer looks as good as the series. Expect typical – and goofy – blockbuster action, especially when they shoot out of a military cargo plane, riding a tank and tearing down fighter jets.
The A–Team comes out in Pakistani cinemas sometime July.
5 – Robin Hood
Reworked from its original screenplay, Nottingham, about the Sherriff of Nottingham, this fact-inspired remake of the Robin Hood story is directed by Ridley Scott, who tries to fine tune Russell Crowe into another Gladiator-like epic. Robin Hood is a big-budget rebellion of bows and arrows and Mr. Scott’s typical gray-cast color tone.
Robin Hood’s Pakistan release is in August.
6 – Toy Story 3
In Toy Story 3, we revisit Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) as they decide to return to Andy – their owner, who is now ready for college – by escaping from their new abode the Sunnyside Daycare Centre. New characters include a smooth talking Ken doll (Michael Keaton) and as usual things aren’t what they seem to be. Expect Pixar’s unadulterated emotional blackmail to the limit.
7 – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) directs Jake Gyllenhaal as Prince Dastan in the big screen adaptation of popular video game. Gyllenhaal with the fine-looking Gemma Arterton as Princess Tamina set out to rescue the time controlling sands (aptly named Sands of Time) from a wicked Ben Kingsley. The film is primarily based on the Sands of Time video game but will feature elements from The Two Thrones and The Warrior Within games as well as ample wall-crawling and vigorous back-flips.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time’s cinema release in Pakistan is 28th May.
8 – Shrek Forever After
This fourth and final Shrek film has the green ogre living one day he didn’t wish he’d had to. The day he never existed. Shrek (Mike Myers) is conned into making a deal with Rumplestiltskin and is now in a future where Fiona (Cameron Diaz) is a leader ogress, Puss (Antonio Banderas) is a fat, lazy cat and Donkey (Eddie Murphy) is a intellectual, um, donkey. Mike Mitchell (Sky High) takes over the directing reigns of this off-center franchise. Forever After looks fresher then the last one. Having kids and settling down was never up Shrek’s alley.
9 – A Nightmare on Elm Street
Michael Bay continues his almost–yearly cycle of releasing remakes of vintage horror movies. Robert Englund is replaced by Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen’s masked vigilante Rorschach) as Freddy Krueger, who according to the film’s producers will lose his surreal sense of humor but will retain the four-bladed glove, fedora and red and green striped sweater. No sign of Heather Langenkamp or Johnny Depp in this one, though.
10 – Knight and Day
Directed by James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line), Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz are an odd couple on a blind-date. Diaz is unlucky in love (I can’t understand the reason though) and Cruise is a sharp-witted and a little eccentric looking secret agent. Knight and Day is a serious comedy about protecting a powerful battery that serves as a source for infinite power. Yes, it does sound silly.
The Ones I’ve Purposely Left Out of the List:
“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”, because it offers nothing we haven’t seen in the first two movies. The greek-myth “Clash of the Titans”, because Louis Leterrier, its director has bowled us over with the Incredible Hulk (yes, I am being sarcastic). The big screen adaptation of “Marmaduke”, because, well, it looks as good as “Alvin and the Chipmunks”. The “Predator” remake is nearly good enough to be on the list (nearly being the key-word here). And “Salt”, with Angelina Jolie has the sparks of a typical action flick.
The published version can be found at: