Tahlequah Daily Press


May 16, 2012

Summer chock-full of blockbusters

Those who prefer DVDs and video games will find plenty to choose from, too.

TAHLEQUAH — There is no season quite like summer. School is out, baseball season is in full swing, Tenkiller Lake is full of boaters, the Illinois River is ripe for floating, and soon, the summer blockbusters will hit the theaters.

Perhaps no summer in recent memory has been as chock-full of silver screen entertainment as the dog days of 2012.

For inducing belly laughs, “The Dictator,” starring Sacha Baron Cohen, “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” with Steve Carell and Keira Knightley, “The Campaign,” featuring Will Ferrell, and “Ted,” starring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, and Wahlberg’s come-to-life teddy bear, are all set to do the trick.

But that lineup may take a back seat to director Tim Burton’s lead-off hitter “Dark Shadows.” The movie is a comedic play on the TV show by the same title that ran from 1966-’71, and again in 1991. The cast lineup includes Michelle Pfeiffer and Eva Green, but its homerun hitter is Johnny Depp, the king of black comedy.

Local residents are anticipating their favorites.

“I have signed up to volunteer in an orphanage in Delhi this winter and I am reading and seeing everything I can about India,” said Tahlequah resident Linda McCrary. “I’m a retiree and think ‘The Best Exotic Merigold Hotel,’ about a bunch of idealistic retirees going to live in India, will really over romanticize the country. But [I] think it will be a light-hearted bit of entertainment, while [at] the same time giving a glimpse into the streets of Delhi.”

Twilight star Kristen Stewart is Snow White in a dramatic twist to the fairy tale. First-time director Rupert Sanders leads a cast that includes Stewart and Charlize Theron in “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Mel Gibson makes a comeback in “Get the Gringo,” Jeremy Renner takes over “The Bourne Legacy,” and Robert Downy Jr. jumps back in the Iron Man suit to lead “The Avengers.”

The “Men in Black” series is back for more with “MIB3.” Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are on board, along with Josh Brolin as a young Agent K. With Smith’s recent track record, its tough to imagine a rare miss, but considering the dropoff from the original to “MIB2,” and taking into account the consistent downward progression of most sequels to sequels – “Major League,” “The Matrix,” “Karate Kid,” “The Godfather,” anyone? – another “Wild, Wild West” may be in play.

The most eagerly anticipated movie in years, “The Dark Night Rises,” hits theaters Friday, July 20. After back-to-back smash hits from director Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale is back for the final chapter.

This time, Anne Hathaway joins him as Catwoman, and the pair work to rid Gotham of terrorist leader Bane, played by Tom Hardy. The series has a chance to go down in history as one of the top trilogies of all-time.

“I think that ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is by far the biggest blockbuster of the summer,” said Green Country Cinema Manager Mike Bizzle. “‘Men in Black 3’ and ‘Chernobyl Diaries’ should also be big. ‘Chernobyl Diaries’ has the same producers and director as the ‘Paranormal Activity’ movies. It’s more of a superhero-type of summer with ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ coming out, as well. They’re re-doing that entire series with a totally different cast, and Marvel behind them this time.”

Bizzle said there will be plenty for the kids, as well.

“There are a couple of kids movies coming out that are good,” he said. “Pixar is putting together a title called ‘Brave.’ In it, the girl’s parents want her to marry the most noble man in the town, and she is more or less rebelling. She wants the epic adventure. ‘Madagascar 3’ comes out at the beginning of June, and ‘Ice Age 4’ comes out on the Fourth of July. Overall, it’s going to be an entertaining summer.”

Green Country Cinema will show movies in three time slots during the week: 4, 7, and 9 p.m. During the weekend, the theater will open with show times at 2, 4, 7, and 9 p.m.

For those looking to add to the DVD collection, Reasor’s Video Manager Leith Haines has a few selections – and one date – in mind.

“[I’m] looking forward to June 5,” said Haines. “On that day, DVD releases will be ‘John Carter,’ ‘Act of Valor,’ ‘Journey 2,’ ‘Machine Gun Preacher,’ and ‘Safe House.’ All on the same day. Wow.”

In addition to that quintet, the season will also play host to “Man on a Ledge,” “Red Tails,” and “Sherlock Holmes,” among others on DVD.

When the heat is demanding water or shelter, gamers and their sunburns can seek refuge indoors with a slew of video games hitting store shelves.

“Anarchy Reigns” is available for Playstation 3 Tuesday, July 3. The post-apocalyptic combat fighter features multiple online modes, as well as the ever-popular multi-player option. “Prototype” is back with the second installment from Radical Entertainment on Tuesday, July 24. The game’s predecessor was the best-selling open world action game in 2009.

Marvel Comic fans will anticipate the release of “The Amazing Spider-Man,” which debuts Saturday, June 26. The latest in a string of Spider-Man simulators promises open-world game play that allows players to web-shoot and wall-crawl.

In what is typically a light season for video game releases, EA Sports’ NCAA Football and Madden NFL franchises are annually the most anxiously awaited, prompting midnight release gatherings all over the country.

“Quite frankly, I plan on camping out inside of my apartment for about 72 straight hours after I get NCAA,” said NSU student and Muskogee resident Nick Lovelace. “I totally geek out for that game.”

A pair of Heisman trophy winners – Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and former-Oklahoma State standout Barry Sanders – will adorn the cover of NCAA Football ‘13 when it hits shelves Tuesday, July 10. No release date has been scheduled for Madden.

The summer music lineup is locked and loaded, with new albums on deck for everyone from Linkin Park to Flying Lotus.

The scene is dominated by hip-hop and R&B, as artists like DMX, Nas, T.I. and 50 Cent make comebacks, while Chris Brown and Usher remain relevant, and newbies A$AP Rocky and 2 Chainz make a run at iPod prevalence.

Rapper Big KRIT is the producer of T.I.’s album, “Trouble Man,” as well as his own album, “Live From the Underground.” KRIT’s album, slated for release Tuesday, June 5, features a diverse collection of collaborations, including B.B. King, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, and Atlanta hip hop legends 8 Ball & MJG.

The most anticipated album of the season is, without question, Justin Bieber’s “Believe.” Gone are the days of Bieber’s limited status as tween sensation.

Unsuspecting grown men made it all of the way through his smash single “Boyfriend” before realizing they were blaring the Biebs this spring. “Believe,” scheduled to drop Tuesday, June 19, is produced by an all-star lineup that includes Timbaland, Will.i.am, and Kanye West, and will include collaborations with Kanye, Lil’ Wayne, Drake, Usher, Ludacris and Taylor Swift.

“I love the Biebs,” said NSU student Hailey Meek. “Especially now that he’s a grown-up.”

Just in time for football and frat parties, the king of the college scene, Wiz Khalifa, is on the docket with “O.N.I.F.C.” Perhaps the most appropriate artist to cure the back-to-school blues, Khalifa’s latest collection is on tap for late August, and features collaborations with Chris Brown, The Weeknd, Adam Levine, Currensy, 2 Chainz and Pharrell, among others.

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