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A Summer Of Movie Sequels

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Aired 5/5/11

"Thor" opens in theaters this weekend, launching the summer movie season. KPBS film critic Beth Accomando says to expect lots of sequels.

Australian import Chris Hemsworth stars as Thor, the latest Marvel superhero to get the big screen treatment. "Thor" opens in San Diego this weekend.
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Above: Australian import Chris Hemsworth stars as Thor, the latest Marvel superhero to get the big screen treatment. "Thor" opens in San Diego this weekend.

"Thor" opens in theaters this weekend, launching the summer movie season. KPBS film critic Beth Accomando says to expect lots of sequels.

Guest:

Beth Accomando is the KPBS film critic and author of the blog Cinema Junkie.

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This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, You're listening to These Days on KPBS of the super hero movie, Thor, opens in theatres this weekend, launching the summer movie season with a very -- the swing of a very large hammer.

(Audio Recording Played).

I now take from you your power! In the name of [CHECK AUDIO].

CAVANAUGH: KPBS film critic, Beth Accomando, joins us to talk about Thor. I give back to you your power! And many other movies coming out this summer, Beth, takes for being here.

ACCOMANDO: Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: Thor is part of a larger series from marvel comics?

ACCOMANDO: Yes, well, what marvel's trying to do is now that they have their own production branch of their industry is they want 2067 this franchise going with each of these characters has their own individual movie, and then all these characters, iron man, Thor, Black Widow, Nick Furo, Captain America are all gonna be joined together for Joss Wheadon's film, the avengers, that's planned for May of 2012. So it's a very smart financial move buzz you're getting all these individual films out of it, and you're keeping people interested all long the way, and then you have this big final film that's going to join them all together in who knows what kind of franchise that'll launch.

CAVANAUGH: I see. It's for artistic purposes.

ACCOMANDO: Yes, it is.

CAVANAUGH: Now the real trend for the summer seems to be sequels. There are more sequels than in summers past?

ACCOMANDO: It certainly feels that way. And films that aren't sequels signed of feel like sequels like we've seen them before. We've got a lot of remakes as well. But this summer we're gonna see -- there's gonna be cars two, hang over two, Harry Potter seven. Gosh, I forget how many other ones there are. We just had fast five, which is the 5th the fast and the furious franchise. That's pirates four, can you think fu pandas two, transformers three. So pretty much all the films have numbers after them.

CAVANAUGH: Are there any of these sequels that are being looked forward to, of course Harry Potter which we're gonna talk about later. But any of them that are generating any buzz?

ACCOMANDO: Well, I mean fast five just opened. They're doing an early launch to the summer season. And that got a huge box office response. It produced like over 80-million, I believe and Justin land who attended UCSD, was the director to that. And that was big dumb fun. Hang over two I think people are probably looking forward to. Because that film was a big surprise when it came out. It was kind of a sleeper hit for people. Harry Potter is definitely though the one that's on everybody's raid area. It's gonna be the final film in the franchise. So people are really looking forward to that.

CAVANAUGH: Now, we're talking summer movies, and one of the prequels to the summer movies is the Cannes film festival. It begins next week. Terence Malick's next film, Tree of Life, is screening. Beth, Malick's films are always very highly anticipated. Why is that?

ACCOMANDO: Well, he is a brilliant visualist. When you talk about film makers who know how to use the film medium, he's really one of them. And his images tell as much of the story -- possibly even more than dialog or words do in his films of he's done films like bad lands, days of heaven, the thin red line. He's an amazing film maker. He takes a long time to make his films as well of so part of the anticipation and excitement is part of the fact that we haven't had a Terence Malick film for six years -- The last one was the New World, the one about --

CAVANAUGH: Oh, yes.

ACCOMANDO: The Pocahontas, John --

CAVANAUGH: Sure.

ACCOMANDO: I've just seen trailers so far, and it's just breath taking imagery. You see this stuff, and you just go, yeah, this is what films on the big screen should be about. They should make your mouth kind of drop open in awe.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So what is the tree of life and what do we know about this movie?

ACCOMANDO: Well, Brad pit and Shawn pen are in it. Bred pit plays kind of a stern father in midwestern America, and Shawn pen is gonna be the adult son grownup later. But most of the time, with malic's films the obvious storyline is not really necessarily what the film is about. So the film is supposed to be more about nature versus grace, and kind of this philosophical exploration of some of these ideas through this particular story. But I highly recommend that anybody who likes malic, just take a look at the trailer on line 'cause it really is beautiful.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: When does it open in San Diego?

ACCOMANDO: In San Diego it is scheduled to open to June 10th. But his films, sometimes they go on a slow release date across the U.S. instead of a concerted day and date opening all across the country because it's a smaller film, and the studios like to try and give it some extra care opening it up. Because even though, I think critics and film mans really look forward to it, he's not really a mainstream popular film maker.

CAVANAUGH: And when they roll a film out like that, slowly, it builds momentum? Is that the idea.

ACCOMANDO: It's meant to do that. You open it in big cities like LA and norm, you get reviews, hopefully positive, you get some reviewed started like that, and then when it rolls out into small theatres or mall theatres or art house theatres issue the thinking is that people are already talking about it, so when it opens, it's not something that people know nothing about, and they're eager to see it because it had good buzz.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: A couple other big releases rolls out this summer, super eight. What makes this project stand out?

ACCOMANDO: Well, I think even before anything was seen from it or even discussed in terms of subject matter, the fact that it's Steven Spielberg producing and J. J. Abrams directing got a lot of people's attention. , a Abrams is from TV's lost, and Spielberg, his name on a project generally generates a lot of interest. So just the pairing of these two big Hollywood film makers drew a lot of attention. Of the story, very Spielbergesque in the sense of dealing with children, dealing with -- you're not sure what kind of phenomenon it is, it may be extra terrestrial, it may be supernatural. The trailers so far have been a little ambiguous. But it's generating a lot of interest. That is probably gonna be one of the big summer ones upon they have been pretty secretive about exactly what the story line is.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I see. So the very secretive nature of it is generating a buzz.

ACCOMANDO: I think that's probably done on purpose too. Abrams did lost, which he was fairly secretive about when was going on with that, and not teasing too much.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Right.

ACCOMANDO: So a film like that doesn't need a whole lot in advance to get people to come out and see it.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now, as we said before, this is the summer of the final Harry Potter movie. These films always generate such advanced ticketing, people wrapped around the blocks. I tremble to think what the last one is gonna generate.

ACCOMANDO: I upon. And I'm sure the studio is trembling to think about the end of their franchise example they tried to milk it by splitting the last Harry Potter into two parts so they could drag it out just a little bit longer.

CAVANAUGH: Was there any justification to doing that besides just simply dragging it out.

ACCOMANDO: Well, I think if you talk to Harry Potter fans, they do feel that the last book has a lot of justification in it that needed to be spread out over two movies. If your somebody who's only been familiar with the film series through the films themselves and not through the books, you may have felt that the last -- the second to the last film felt a bit padded and felt like it was stretched out a little more than it needed to. But most of the fans that I talked to, I went to the midnight show and talked to fans who had been waiting in line for over 24 hours. They loved it. For the most part they were really happy with what the film had done.

CAVANAUGH: Because most real Harry Potter fans already know --

ACCOMANDO: They know the end. Yes.

CAVANAUGH: So this far do you think that this particular film is going to have that same feeling of being padded? Or did they save enough to actually make a really good movie for the final one?

ACCOMANDO: Well, making a really good movie is always a tough challenge. I mean, I think there's definitely enough material to make that a really strong and powerful end to the series, whether or not -- David Yates is the one doing it, this is gonna be his fourth potter film that he's directing. Franchises are always tough 'cause there's a certain comfort zone in them because they're so much predictable, they're so much formula, and so much built in, in terms of expectations and how it's done and studio control. But you can hope that the finale will be good.

CAVANAUGH: As you said, the studio is trembling because their franchise is ending. Are there any other big franchises for that sort of age range coming down the pike?

ACCOMANDO: Well, there's still a lot of animated films coming out this summer. You're gonna have cars two, and you're gonna have can you think fu panda two, and I'm sure those will appeal to slightly younger fans. These are the things about Harry Potter, too is the kids who came to it with the first film who may have been ten are now 18, seniors in high school or off in college. So when you talk about that fan base, it has been shifting and changing. And so now they're an older crowd, I think, compared to where they started out. So I'm not sure, you know, trying to tailor something to that fan base. I'm not sure which films you might want to --

CAVANAUGH: And we've been talking about so many sequels and so many movies based on other animated movies.

ACCOMANDO: And the Smurfs is coming out, you know? Based on the old TV show.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Anything that is sort of like a really adult film? Something that might really grab the older crowd?

ACCOMANDO: Well, I think tree of life is definitely that film.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Yes.

ACCOMANDO: A film for older audiences but I wouldn't necessarily say mature audiences would be a film that I have a spot in my heart for, which is a film called hobo with a shotgun. And this film was made -- the film makers entered the grind house trailer contest, which was to make a fake trailer, and they made a film -- a trailer for a film called hobo with a shotgun. Which is a violent, '70s style grindhouse film. They're Canadian. They had the trailer tacked onto the head of the grind house movie, the Quentin Tarantino Robert Rodriguez film, and it went viral on the Internet, that the film actually got made. And Rutger Hauer is in the lead, and it's a great 70 -- homage to '70s grind house films. It's a blast, it's gory and bloody and over the top. And just such great fun. So for me, horror is always a great thing in the summer. And there's that, and it's coming out, it's available on demand now on Amazon. It's coming to a theatre in San Diego in June, late June. And then bloody disgusting, the website about horror is partnering with AMC theatres and the collective to bring a series of horror films over the summer. And once a month, they're gonna bring a film, mostly foreign films, so these films that you may have read about, and as horror fans you don't get to see on the big screen, you'll have an opportunity to see them in the summer. So for a horror fan, I'm looking forward.

THE COURT: But you didn't tell us anything about a twilight sequel.

ACCOMANDO: Technically, that's not gonna be summer I don't think.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Okay.

ACCOMANDO: So we'll have to skip that twilight one. But that's another breaking dawn who's another -- I think that's gonna be the final one and I can't remember if they're splitting that into multiple parts it drag out that franchise.

CAVANAUGH: Well, thank you so much, Beth, I appreciate it. And coming up after the break, we'll go behind the scenes at the food network as a San Diegan eats his way around the country. And since we're talking food, there's a track from veteran blues man, Robert Craig. Robert Craig band plays the belly up tavern at Solana Beach tomorrow night. And this is chicken in the kitchen. You're listening to These Days on KPBS.

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