Summer is slowly winding down, giving Hollywood just a few more weeks to unload the last of its annual sequels, prequels and remakes before Oscar season begins in earnest. The bad news, for some: School will be back in session soon. The good news: August packs a promising lineup of big-screen spectacles, including:
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Aug. 5)
The primates: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis
It might be one of the first films conceived as a trailer and later expanded into a feature. Machete, Robert Rodriguez’s story of a Rambo-like ex-Federale betrayed by his bosses and out for revenge, began as a tongue-in-cheek teaser for Grindhouse, the director’s 2007 homage to ’70s exploitation fare. But it soon evolved into something more.
“Once we made the trailer, I thought that was as far as it was going to go,” says Rodriguez, 42, who cast cousin and longtime friend Danny Trejo as the titular tough guy at the center of his cheerfully gruesome thriller, which opened Friday.
It began as a joke, two minutes of over-the-top mayhem tacked onto the agreeably bloated Grindhouse double feature, a trailer touting a coming attraction that would never be coming. Yet Machete struck a nerve, at least in the mind of director Robert Rodriguez, and three years later the joke, stretched out to nearly two hours, is reborn as a feature.
At 48, George Lopez has starred in his own hit sitcom, amassed a loyal following over 27 years as a stand-up comic, and, most recently, joined the suddenly contentious ranks of nighttime talk-show hosts with Lopez Tonight on TBS. Why not add a surefire blockbuster to his résumé?
That’s what Lopez was thinking when he joined the A-list cast of Valentine’s Day, in which he co-stars as a florist’s assistant with Ashton Kutcher, Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner and Jessica Alba, among many others. That, and he wanted to work with director Garry Marshall.