By Chris Kavan - 07/24/14 at 07:08 AM CT
Another weekend, another chance for Hollywood to try to get out of the year-to-year slump they've been suffering this summer. It's going to be a battle between two one-name warriors at the box office: one a titan of mythological proportions, the other an enhanced human with curves and a serious drug problem. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has ruled the last two weeks, but I have a feeling the reign of the apes will be over as one of these two, new ass-kicking title characters is sure to be at the top of the box office.LUCY
Now, I know the whole "humans only use 10% of their brain" saying is a total myth - but the truth is, the human mind still holds plenty of mystery in regards to exactly all that grey matter works. Scarlett Johansson plays a woman who is made into an unwitting drug mule - but instead of heroin or some other basic drug, this special mix opens up the brain - literally. When the drug seeps into her system, Lucy finds herself gaining access to full functionality of her mind - from the trailers this seems to involve manipulating time, data, learning, appearance and controlling those around her. Of course, this also means that the more she unlocks, the less humanity she retains. Director Luc Besson is no stranger to mixing sci-fi and action - The Fifth Element was a rollicking good time - and he has shown with Leon: The Professional, he can craft a deep story. We'll have to see if Lucy can balance the action with characters and story or if it's going to be a more mindless romp through scientific babble. The cast is a nice mix of talent - Morgan Freeman is always a welcome addition while Besson also adds a bit of foreign flair with the addition of Min-sik Choi, Amr Waked and Julian Rhind-Tutt. I know this movie is going to be entertaining, but I just hope Besson can go more than skin deep and provide more than just flash.
When one takes on the role of demigod, one had better not take things lightly. I don't know if anyone has put as much effort into preparing for a role as Dwayne Johnson has for Hercules. From his diet to his training regimen to how seriously he took this - this is an all-out effort and if you have seen the trailers, you know it paid off. But looking the part is one thing - Hercules is going to succeed or fail based on what kind of story is crafted. The movie is going to skip over the early stuff - the 12 Labors is most likely going to be a small part (though the marketing has focused on that aspect a lot - probably because that is what most people know) - what we have is a broken man - betrayed by the gods and taking a much darker path. But when redemption presents itself - will the man be able to rise up again and become something more than the bloodthirsty mercenary he has become? Once again, on the surface, this movie looks highly entertaining - a lot of action, big sets, great effects - but is this going to be more Gladiator or more Pompeii? Whatever the outcome - this looks like the perfect summer movie.
AND SO IT GOES
With two epic characters fighting for the top spot, where does that leave Rob Reiner's latest dramedy? My guess - there's going to be nary a peep from this. Reiner has been playing it safe for a long time - Rumor Has It... , The Bucket List, Flipped and The Magic of Belle Isle - all are a far cry from his 80s efforts like Stand by Me, When Harry Met Sally... and This Is Spinal Tap. Plus his two leads, Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, aren't exactly going to be big draws for the 18-25 crowd that marketers are so keen to draw. This is a movie that is going to play to older crowds - crowds who don't tend to rush out opening day to see a film. We'll see if this effort can even crack the top five - though I have huge doubts about it. Reiner hasn't been on his A-game for awhile, and I think this is just going to be another in a long list of disappointments from the director.
If nothing else, this is going to be a fun weekend - Hercules and Lucy should duke it out for the right to be number one at the box office, while I think Dawn will continue to show some impressive staying power as well. As for And So It Goes - it's not going to be pretty. I'll be back Sunday with the final results.