At the box-office, the fireworks will be erotic not explosive, with more than a normal month's share of racy, R-rated fare. Let's face it, the last of summer's biggest-budget splashes will arrive with the June 24 release of TRANSFORMERS: and the upcoming HARRY POTTER (see below). That doesn't mean that July's multiplex movies aren't compelling. Let's take a look.
HUMPDAY's hetero buds are gay for art's sake.
HUMPDAY (July 10): Your match had better have very liberal leanings before taking him/her to this flick.
Winner of the 2009 Sundance Special Jury Prize, HUMPDAY is the story of two heterosexual college buds, Andrew and Ben (Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard) who attend a party at a sex-positive commune. As it happens, the party guests are making erotic films to enter in an amateur porn festival. Andrew wants to participate; Ben, not so much. After booze binging, the straight arrow buddies have only one movie concept between them for their entry: a flick in which they have on screen sex together. After all, it's not gay or even porn, it's an art project, or so they rationalize. Nothing stands in the way of their new kind of male bonding, except Ben's wife, their heterosexuality, and some pertinent how-to questions. It's a laugh riot, but not everyone's "cup of
Hirsute as BORAT, Sacha Cohen is a smootie as BRUNO.
BRUNO (also July 10): The R rating and the same sex implications continue with BRUNO, Sacha Baron Cohen's follow-up to BORAT, his 2006 summer movie mega-hit and cultural phenomenon. In his sophomore "outing" as would-be King (or Queen) of Summer Comedy, the hirsute BORAT has been laser and wax-transformed into the smooth as a baby's arse BRUNO, a flaming Austrian fashion star who brings his show to America.
In truth, fashionista Supreme, BRUNO, has already landed in America, or, more specifically, his smooth bare ass landed on the face of comeback kid Eminen at last month's MTV Movie Awards Show. Will lightning strike twice – and three years apart – for Cohen, or will Match-Flickers reject this gay blade the way California's Gay Community rejected its Supreme Court's discriminatory Prop 8 decision?
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE (July 15): HARRY isn't R-rated, even if its title-star's been exposing his genitalia on-stage in EQUUS, but the sexual tension in this franchise continues to increase as its young stars come-of-age. Most of the usual suspects have returned for Box-Office Summer's last super-big bang – the sixth installment of HARRY POTTER and the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
catalyst for HP 6 is the vintage book marked enticingly, mysteriously, "This book is the property of the Half-Blood Prince" that Harry discovers as his sixth year at Hogworts commences. Through the volume, Potter learns much more about Lord Valdemort's dark past.
Is HOMECOMING's Shelby just a woman in love, or is she a monster?
Industry analysts see HALF-BLOOD PRINCE as the domestic box-office's last best chance to have at least one 2009 member in the $300 million club. That's a lot of tickets for a teen to hawk, but then the adolescent in question is a wizard-in-training.
HOMECOMING (July 17): You can cut the sexual tension with a knife in this Morgan Freeman-directed thriller that might well have been titled I'M GONNA MAKE YOU LOVE ME.
HOMECOMING is an R-rated triangle of love, lust, obsession and stalking.
Here goes: Mike (Matt Long) is the former football hero in a blue-collar small town where pigskin rules. Now attending Northwestern University, Mike returns home over Christmas vacation and everyone is shocked that he's brought a new girlfriend Elizabeth (Jessica Stroup), a rich hottie from the Windy City. No one's more surprised (horrified) than Mike's homecoming queen ex-girlfriend, Shelby (Mischa Barton) who wants Elizabeth vanquished and Mike back in her loving arms. All hell,
not to mention brassieres, break loose as Shelby does whatever it takes to win Mike – and then some. Is Shelby just a woman in love, or is she a deranged human monster? Match-Flickers, you be the judge.
These FUNNY PEOPLE are also libidinous.
FUNNY PEOPLE (July 31): Writer-director Judd Apatow's PEOPLE may include funny girls and boys, but they're also sexual enough to earn the Universal comedy an R-rating.
If you've been to the movies in the last six months, then you've probably seen the trailer for this racy comedy about a celebrity comedian (Adam Sandler) who has a near-death experience. If you go to the movies regularly, then you've probably seen the previews often enough to recite the lines along with the actors.
SUMMER BOX-OFFICE WATCH: For the June 5-7 Weekend, THE HANGOVER squeeked into the Number One position by a nose. UP was down slightly, but still a solid second. The cheesy comedic camp of LAND OF THE LOST took in $18.8 million, winning third place.
Last weekend, the lush, R-rated-comedy, THE HANGOVER, wore the box-office crown once more, with UP, a high-flying second. The new, THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3, was a disappointing third.
Yes, your sexual orientation notwithstanding, July will be hot, and it will be followed by the DOG DAY AFTERNOONS of August
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Does advertising, public taste, or overindulged stars determine a movie's box office fate? Christoper Stone explores what's going on behind the box office.
Christopher Stone is the author of the international best seller Re-Creating Your Self. With Mary Sheldon, he co-authored three highly successful hardcover books of guided meditations.|
He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.
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