As we move into the summer, I will continue to be posting reviews of movies periodically. However, before summer comes it might be helpful to share some of my most awaited upcoming movies. And don't kid yourself – this is going to be a rather exciting summer movie season with a number of extraordinary films on the way:
My number one most-expected movie for this upcoming summer 2012, directed by J Ridley Scott, and – thankfully – an original movie rather than a reboot of an older series or a remake of a comic book. It will be a sci-fi tale set within the Alien universe, where futuristic explorers looking for the origin of mankind among the stars find something horrific and unexpected. More along the lines of the original rather than the reboots, it should be an epic horror movie focused more on suspense and ethical dilemma rather than gore (although, from the previews, the scarce gore will probably be put to good use, as in the famous chestburster scene from the original Alien). Think about buying advance tickets for the June 8th release!
2. The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight Rises completes the Christopher Nolan reboot of the Batman franchise, with the introduction of Bane and Catwoman, among others. If the other two are any indication, this movie will likely be dark and full of deep ethical questions, but with an profound message for today's viewers. Especially as ending the series, I would expect a very good show. July 20th is the release date for the final installment of this epic series.
3. Moonrise Kingdom
Young teenage lovers run away from home, seeking out a place in the forest of their New England island home, leading to their village sending out a search party. The film is by director Wes Anderson and seems to promise a rather surreal comedy experience along the lines of I Heart Huckabees. While not the kind of traditional slapstick of someone like Will Farrell, Moonrise Kingdom will probably hold its own for those who are more interested in a bit more intellectual humor. If you liked the Fantastic Mr. Fox (another great Anderson film), I would expect the same high caliber in this film. It comes out May 16th.
4. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Steve Carrell and Keira Knightly are high school sweethearts living in the last days, awaiting an apparently inevitable asteroid which will destroy all life on the planet in a few months. In the atmosphere of apocalypse engendered by the imminent end, Carrell's wife leaves him in panic, leaving him to fend by himself. He rekindles his romance with Knightly as they try to find a purpose to their now-severely-shortened lives. Part comedy, part tragedy, it will be an interesting mix; it should be in theaters June 22nd.
From the creators of Wall-E and Toy Story comes what will surely be another Pixar classic about a young Scottish princess. She is a tomboy, preferring warcraft to the gender-typical roles assigned to her by her parents and culture. She defies the custom of her land, where princesses are wed at a certain age with their husbands chosen through a tournament. She enters herself in the tourney and defeats all her suitors in deeds of archery and strength. To solidify the deal, she goes to a witch to have her “fate” changed and, because of that choice, brings chaos to her kingdom. With a strong family-first message, this story promises to be beloved by both parents, children, and anyone else. The movie will be in theaters June 22nd.
First things first, Savages is a very intense, graphic, and gritty movie that you might not want to see if you're sensitive to graphic violence, nudity, or drug use on the silver screen. It tells the tale of two marijuana growers whose girlfriend is kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel. Based on a novel by the same name which was a summer crime hit, the movie promises to be an exciting crime movie. Like all crime movies, it promises some interesting human situations and plot twists. As a fan of gangster movies, I'm excited for what this movie could be, but the film won't appeal to everybody. It comes out July 6th.
7. Where Do We Go Now?
The Lysistrata by Aristophanes was a play written about women who refuse sex to their husbands to end the highly destructive Peloponnesian War in ancient Greece. Where do we go now? recalls some of the same themes from Aristophanes. A conflict over religion causes a rift between the Christian and the Muslim men in a small Lebanese village. The women, tired of the fighting, take council and decide to take a different route from Aristophanes' women – instead of denying sexual favors, they call in some heavy artillery in the form of buxom beauties from out of town to distract the men while the native women try to bring the conflict to a close. As an official Sundance film selection, it has already received great critical acclaim. May 11th is the US release, so this will shortly be a possibility for an early start on your summer movie marathon.
8. The Amazing Spiderman
While I am not as excited about this remake of the Spiderman series, it is sure to be a blockbuster ipso facto as a remake of a beloved comic. It might be promising, however, that the main actor seems to be a bit more mature than the prior series' lead and that the story seems willing to go a bit darker, injecting more realism into the series. But I wouldn't bank on The Amazing Spiderman being a comic book movie akin to the Dark Knight's quality. The Amazing Spiderman comes out July 3rd.
Other Summer Movie Possibilities:
A remake of the Schwarzenegger 90s film, Total Recall seems to promise a more gritty and less fantastic retelling of the same tale, especially with actor Colin Farrell as the lead. It seems to have some overtures toward Bladerunner and might be more in the league of classic science fiction. While I'm not a fan of remakes, I would keep an eye on this movie, as it has some significant potential. This comes out at the tail end of the summer, August 3rd.
While a little-known indie movie from Sweden that has not been released in the US, Iron Sky promises great laughs along the lines of Dr. Strangelove. It tells the tale of a modern-day invasion by Nazis that escaped to the dark side of the moon after the second World War, countered by a very Palin-esque US President who seems to possess great cowboy-bravado. Already a hit at the Berlin Film Festival, this is definitely a movie to look out for when it finally makes it across the pond, probably sometime late this summer although no definitive date has yet been set for the US release.
Safety Not Guaranteed
Safety Not Guaranteed won the screenwriting award at Sundance this past year and promises to be a very fun and original film for this summer. It is a movie about a classified ad which says that he wants a companion for “time travel,” advertising that they should bring their own weapons and that “safety is not guaranteed.” Three characters from a local newspaper try to write a story on the person who placed the classified, assuming him to be crazy, but, as it progresses, the time travel adventure leads them down an unexpected path. It's already gotten some rave reviews, so it promises to be money well spent; it will arrive in the US June 8th.
The Woman in the Fifth
The bottom of my “possibles” list has both received some good reviews, being nominated for a “Gold Hugo” award at the Chicago International Film Festival, but has also received some critical flak. The movie is French film about a college lecturer visiting (or, more accurately, fleeing to) Paris who encounters a mysterious widow. As he begins a romantic affair, it becomes more possible that she is behind a string of murders, which in turn leads to a series of unexpected events. Mystery and suspense are my kind of mix, so I am going to be on the lookout for this movie when it makes its stateside debut June 15th.