Aniston, James & Spacey: Gorilla Sidekicks or Loathsome Bosses?

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There’s a reason we go see films between now and Labor Day, and it usually has to do with a craving for extreme entertainment.  It’s rare that you hear someone say “Boy, that ______________ was easily the summer’s most subtle and nuanced movie!”  Why? Because summer’s all about the “– est” stuff. If the studios do their jobs right, their upcoming releases will hopefully come to be known as the funniest or the scariest or the gnarliest or the raunchiest film of summer.

Two new movies will take on the competition this weekend, and while they might be fun we already know that they will not unseat the –est films currently atop the box office heap (Transformers is the profitablest movie of  summer, so far). In fact, this weekend actually marks the calm before the storm that is Harry Potter (did you know that tix for the final HP flick are already selling out and it doesn’t even open til next week?)

First up in theaters we have Horrible Bosses. Which has, right out of the gate, a tremendous cast. Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Jason Sudeikis are what make this worth catching, methinks. This is a revenge comedy of the first order, with three pals who are so miserable in their work environs that they actually plot to do away with their employers. Looks funny, if dark.

For those craving something lighter, with say, talking animals and Kevin James, there’s Zookeeper. This is based on the idea that a down-on-his luck animal park employee really can gain sage dating advice from the zebras and giraffes in his care. While this doesn’t look like it’s any great shakes, I suspect it will be very popular among kids and a certain Paul Blart-loving crowd. Also significant is the fact that Kevin James is being groomed as a new kind of family icon. In fact, if you look at the posters for Zookeeper, he’s presented as a latter day action here with confidence and a very winning hands-on-hips stance – which is odd because the dude in the film has a terrible time meeting ladies. That is, until he brings a gorilla along to dinner. Watch out for lots more Kevin James because his career as the ultimate (and leading) everyman is on the ascent.

Finally, there’s that stunning documentary I’ve been telling you about that profiles the hip-hop band A Tribe Called Quest and it’s called Beats Rhymes & Life. Unfortunately it’s only playing in a few major metropolitan cities, but it will probably expand and will certainly be out on DVD before too long so you’ll have ample opportunity to catch it. Which I’d emphatically recommend you do since it’s absolutely one of the best movies of the year, and even if you don’t know (or care) about A Tribe Called Quest, it’s worth seeing. In fact, even if you don’t know (or care) about about hip-hop at all it’s still worth seeing, because they tell an amazing story of four guys who grow up together and change the face of modern music – almost accidentally. The whole thing has a Shakespearean feel; ultimately it’s about the dissolution of a family and what happens when family members falter. Beats Rhymes & Life also features lots of cameos from some of the music’s biggest artists. The whole thing is fantastic.

There you have it. While we wait for Harry Potter, which will no doubt be the biggest and popularest movie of summer, let us know what looks good this weekend…

Today’s poll:

Voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which movie you’re most excited to see this weekend:

1)   Zookeeper

2)   Horrible Bosses

3)   Transformers

4)   Cars 2   

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