Summer movies NOT to see

(Originally published in buzz magazine on 5/14/2009)

Thanks to blockbusters such as WALL-E, The Dark Knight, Iron Man and Kung Fu Panda, summer 2008 turned out to be a smash success from a popular and critical standpoint. Those films were entertaining and original — a great bang for your buck. This summer, however, does not look as promising. With the major studios quite content to churn out crappy sequels (such as the ones below), Hollywood is practically begging everyone older than age 16 to spend their leisure money at ballgames and theme parks instead of multiplexes.

Angels and Demons (May 15): A fitting subtitle for this Dan Brown adaptation about antimatter and the Illuminati might be The Return of the da Vinci Mullet. Tom Hanks returns as Robert Langdon, a Harvard symbologist with no personality but an uncanny ability to pick up hot European ladies. It’s a must-see for people who love plot contrivances and formula fiction one step above Goosebumps. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (May 22): Night at the Museum (2006) had a kind of kiddy charm, but Battle of the Smithsonian just rehashes the same historical figures to cash in on old jokes. Factor in a different museum, a love interest with Amelia Earhart and a replacement of Jonah Hill for Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney, and presto! A few million more for Twentieth Century Fox.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (June 24): Michael Bay has proven time and time again that he’s incapable of directing anything besides a compilation of explosions punctuated by cliché character interactions. Although the teenage protagonist’s wisecracking father (Kevin Dunn) injected some life into the first installment, the unconvincing romance and overlong action sequences sucked it out. Judging by the trailer, this sequel looks to be more of the same.