This summer we have a lineup of some pre… Okay yeah I guess I should explain where I have been. I had final assignments and final exams to do for my university, and once those finished I just flat out needed a break from writing. Seriously, I had too many essays to write (five for one day even). But before I continue with my first world problems, I took a break mostly because I thought my work on here would have suffered more, since having written so much, writing became a task and not a hobby. Well, here I am, and to make it up to you, here’s a guide of summer movies that could very well be the best of this summer. The Avengers is coming out tomorrow for North Americans (of which I will review as well, I mean, shit, there goes my surprise. It’s not like I can delete this line and not post it, but screw it), so that’s already made quite a mark on the summer of 2012. Let’s see what else there is that may also blow our minds.
Now before I continue, yes, The Amazing Spider Man is NOT on this list. I am sorry to disappoint (not really) if you were expecting it, but I’ve seen the promotional shots for at least over a year now and have seen the trailers and tv spots, and to be honest, it just does not look that, well, amazing. If it is, I will bite my tongue, but for now it really is not that exciting to me. Also, Ted’s not on here either because it just looks terrible.
10. Savages (July 6th)
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Actors: Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively
Now I know what you’re thinking. Am I not the guy that completely shat on Taylor Kitsch in my John Carter review? Why yes. Yes I am. To be honest, this film could go either way. The main reason why I am interested in seeing this is, well, it’s an Oliver Stone movie. The man’s got potential to make fantastic films as we have seen before. To be honest, Wall Street 2 wasn’t that bad. I think it got a lot of flack because it didn’t compare to its older brother. That being said, Savages is your usual drug business film that results in success and downfall, all with a pinch of crime and action. This is the only kind of iffy entry because, as I said, it could go either way. This film could easily be bad, but it seems like it has potential to be pretty sweet as well. All we can do is wait, I guess.
9. To Rome with Love (June 22nd)
Directed by: Woody Allen
Actors: Woody Allen, Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Roberto Begnini
I’ve already heard hit or miss things about this movie but you know what, I still want to see it. After Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen proved that he still has something to give. The cast is gigantic and all are talented. When I said that Savages was the only iffy movie on this list, it is and isn’t. Unlike Savages, this movie could either be great or just okay. I don’t see it being completely terrible though (save for one part in the trailer where you hear one of the worst Italian accents since… well, Nicholas Cage). Even so, the trailer alone shows that there is Allen’s usual sharp wit in the dialogue, and that always helps bring a bad movie up (or a good movie even higher). This is an obvious low spot on the list because, well, I don’t expect anything revolutionary from this. However, I do expect something light and entertaining, and hopefully that’s what this film is.
8. The Dictator (May 16th)
Directed by: Larry Charles
Actors: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsly, John C. Reilly, Anna Faris
I swear I do not have a thing for this man or this movie. Anyways, this movie is more exciting because, unlike before, I had no idea what it was truly about. Early trailers for this film suggested a stupid film just about an unruly dictator with a few funny moments (tell me you didn’t laugh at that race scene and I will call you a liar), but now we get the whole story. It’s about a fallen dictator robbed of his powers and having to face the world as, gasp, a normal citizen. Now there is depth in this film and far more to look forward to. Also, as I have said once before, this is a film like Borat and Bruno but without the realism. It’s all scripted, and that can only mean that a lot more can be added to this story. Will it have the same natural flow as the other two films? Probably not, but it’s better than getting the same joke thrice. I’m expecting a Team America: World Police kind of film that bashes world politics and, while funny, has a bit of truth in its harsh words (and another film on this list, coming up shortly, will do the same).
7. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (June 22nd)
Directed by: Lorene Scafaria
Actors: Steve Carrell, Keira Knightly, Patton Oswalt
Last year we had Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia, setting up a pessimistic and optimistic look at the end of the world. This year we, well, kind of get the same thing, but instead of an intensely heavy film we have this nice dramedy. The world is to end in about three weeks, and the world does not know what to do with itself. This calls for awkward humor since, well, what does one do when everything will end in under a month? Instead of twiddling his thumbs like most of the world, Dodge is encouraged by his neighbor Penny to find the girl he liked in high school, because, hey, why not? This concept is very fascinating because it allows for so much creativity in the story’s characters, even its minor ones. It seems to be less of a film about impending doom than it is about the actions of those when there is nothing to lose in trying.
6. God Bless America (May 11th)
Directed by: Bobcat Goldthwait
Actors: Joel Murray, Tara Lynne Barr
Okay, so this movie was released technically in April, but not in worldwide theaters until this month. Does it matter? Not when a film has gotten so much buzz like this one has. This film is everywhere, just like Hobo with a Shotgun was last year. Just like said film about a homeless man on a rampage, God Bless America is a very dark comedy about, well, Americans. Frank is told that he is going to die from a brain tumor and wants to commit suicide. After watching television in his final moments, he decides to kill nearly everyone else instead. With a girl who should know better (or knows too much about manufactured imagery), this unlikely duo teams up and blows down anyone in their path that resembles any form of MTV show or Hollywood tabloid. This is a film that is really extreme in its opinion of American pop culture, and not a film to watch if you are easily offended. But in the end, this film’s message is that life is too short to be offended. It’s too short to have safety blankets of cotton candy and glitter when reality is becoming skewed by hyper unrealism (such as girls complaining about what cars they get on their 16th birthday). Does this film say too much? Why not have a look at what everyone is going on about this month.
5. Brave (June 22nd)
Directed by: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Actors: Kelly Macdonald, Julie Walters, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly
Jeez, a lot of movies are coming out on June 22nd. Anyways, first off, this is a Pixar film, so why wouldn’t you at least check it out? Most of the time, Pixar’s movies are nothing short of brilliant, and Brave, so far, seems to be no exception. The animation and art direction are more realistic than usual (save for Wall-E pre-spaceship moments), and there seems to be a more serious approach to this film overall (again, save for Wall-E). As usual, the cast is a great one (including and starring the savagely underrated Kelly Macdonald). The story of a young prodigy finding a way out of society’s norm is not a new one, but, with Brave, it seems like Pixar is going to try and explore new branches with this theme. Either way, the final result will most definitely be interesting, and whether or not the film is as good as we hope it is (or if it is even better), an interesting result is better than a downright terrible one.
4. Moonrise Kingdom (May 25th)
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Actors: Jared Gilman, Suzy Bishop, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand
Wes Anderson is a perfectionist and a half. Whether or not his films are good (and they usually are), you can always tell when he’s made the film. Since Rushmore, many directors have tried to take Anderson’s awkward, colour coded and innocent-yet-blistering style and one-up him, to which they have not succeeded. Well, we don’t have to wait for knock offs anymore because Anderson is back with his claustrophobically clustered sets and double entendres. This bizarre film is about a young boy and girl that run away together to explore the wonders of life on their own. Well, it’s about that, and also about the incredibly absent minded adults that set up a search party to find them, ranging from a helpless camp counsellor, a cop that thinks he knows more than he does, and some incredibly bizarre parents. It’s tough to tag these characters, since it’s only the vibe I get from the trailers and tv spots, and there is probably (or most definitely) a lot more to these characters than we know so far. Isn’t that a good enough reason alone to watch this? If not, the humor and neat story line, along with, well, Wes Anderson’s direction, should be good enough.
3. Lawless (August 31st)
Directed by: John Hillcoat
Actors: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce
One of two movies named Lawless that are sure to be great (Terrence Mallick’s film of the same name comes out next year), this one is almost guaranteed to be a ride. Written by Nick Cave (who penned the wonderful The Proposition and is a fantastic author as well), this film is centered around prohibition in the United States. It’s got an incredible cast including Shia LaBeouf and… wait… Shia LaBeouf. Well, okay, maybe he’s not my favorite actor in the world, but if he’s up with the rest of the incredible cast, he must have done something right. Will this movie be as good as some other gangster films? Will it match Hillcoat’s other films (The Proposition and The Road)? Will Guy Pearce finally be freaking nominated for what already looks to be an incredible performance? Only time will tell. Sadly, we’ll have to wait until the end of summer for this one, but I’m sure it will be well worth it.
2 (1). Prometheus (June 8th)
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Actors: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba
You’ve probably seen the promotional videos (including one for the android David) and the many amounts of trailers long and short, revealing and cryptic. If you aren’t excited for this film yet, why the hell not? This cast with some of this generation’s finest teamed up with the ultimate director of the frightening future (Scott) is sure to be at the very least okay. A film with this much preparation and thought put into it is rarely a disaster. Is this film going to be over hyped? Potentially, but that’s really up to you to decide once you see it (or how much you let hype get to you). I for one am excited. The original Alien is one of my all time favorite films and is basically the film that made me love movies. Prometheus is the closest I may get to having this kind of feeling with a film since, with its alarming sirens and its team of smart scientists that finally cannot come up with solutions. The huge rise of this film’s beckoning is much like that of 2010’s Inception, and look at how good that film ended up being. Hopefully Prometheus is as incredible as I hope it is, but it will for sure be one thing: The ultimate return us fans of Alien and Bladerunner have been hoping for.
1. The Dark Knight Rises (July 20th)
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Actors: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine
I won’t lie, it was difficult to pick a number one spot between this and Prometheus. In fact, it was pretty much a tie for me, so consider it that. What nudged this film just barely in front is the fact that it’s the ending of a trilogy that, so far, has proven to be nothing short of unbelievable. The Dark Knight Rises is the final installment in the Nolan Batman series, and it ends with Bane: The most powerful villain in Batman history. This is it. The film that decides if this is truly the best comic book movie series of all time (because, really, comic book movies are still very recent and have only been good a few times). While The Avengers is a great movie and one that had so much build up, that build up was forced by movies upon movies upon movies. Thor, Captain America, Iron Man 2, all of those were made just to build up to this climax (even though they were still pretty good). The Dark Knight Rises and its build up were mostly made up of eager fans waiting since 2008. The posters and stills were only released late last year, so what kept us waiting so patiently? The quality of the second film, The Dark Knight. That alone made us excited for this long. Batman Begins talked about Bruce Wayne’s inner fears and how he used that to propel his want to help society. In The Dark Knight, Wayne questions his use of vigilantism to help the city, wondering if it does the city more bad than it does good. This final film seems to be about the city of Gotham itself. Bane is the most personal of all of the villains, dealing with his own personal demons much like Wayne did. We get to meet more of Wayne’s co associates (Cotillard) and even some of Gordon’s workers (Gordon-Levitt), as the film will echo a theme throughout the upper class worker to the middle and lower classes. What is that theme? We will have to see. Until then, we wait for this film, the number one film to look out for this summer.