Apr 4, 2012


Time for the tentpoles! Despite an unseasonably warm winter throughout our country, summer is coming soon. This is the time the studios release there most commercially appealing (i.e. expensive) films. Here’s my ‘Top Ten Summer Movie Preview’ followed by a bonus list of ‘Top Ten Summer Films Flying Under the Radar’.

I am excited about this upcoming blockbuster season, even though it resembles 2011 much in the fact that it is mostly sequels and remakes, with little original storytelling. But for some, I have more faith in these retreads. I’ll explain as the list goes on. First, the cautionary tales…er, I mean, the TOP TEN  BLOCKBUSTERS:

10. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – June 22nd – I was more excited about this one before I saw the trailer which made it look like a basic vampire action flick that just happened to be about honest Abe. Deemed list-worthy based on the merit of the source material.

9. The Dictator – May 11th – Logline: The heroic story of a dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed. Can’t wait to root for him.

8. Rock of Ages – June 15th – Tom Cruise is just, ahem, metro enough to knock this out of the park, plus the guilty pleasure that personifies cock-rock hair metal takes me back.

7. The Amazing Spider-Man – July 3rd – This one is a win-win for me. If it’s terrible, then I can feel good that this pathetically shameless moneygrab didn’t fool people. If it’s good, then I can forget about the nosedive the franchise was put into after the painfully messy Spider-Man 3.

6. Brave – June 22nd – Pixar will not have two stinkers in a row after the banal Cars 2, right? I don’t think so. They’ll center the rudder here and be back on course for Monsters University in 2013.

5. Dark Shadows – May 11th – Finally, a movie where Johnny Depp SHOULD look like Michael Jackson. I loved the TV series so I am curious where Tim Burton takes this one.

4. Men in Black III – May 25th – Josh Brolin mugging Tommy Lee Jones throughout will be what makes this film for me. That, and there is no way they can do worse than the last one.

3. Prometheus – June 8th – Ridley Scott has been very coy as to whether or not this is an ‘Alien’ prequel. After the latest trailer, I don’t think there is much doubt about it.

2. The Avengers – May 4th – It took five films, seven hundred and eighty million dollars in production budgets, two billion two hundred and ninety million in worldwide gross, and a bunch a people who would rather just work with Mark Ruffalo than Ed Norton to finally culminate this.

1. The Dark Knight Rises – July 20th – Duh. This will end Christopher Nolan’s superb take on this comic series, the best film adaptations by far. The fact that this will mark the end of this franchise’s era will hopefully allow it to avoid the 3rd movie curse that hit X-Men 3 and the previously mentioned Spider Man 3, which both had hopes of continuing.

Now here’s the stuff you may not hear about, the TOP TEN SUMMER FILMS FLYING UNDER THE RADAR:

10. Jack and Diane – June 1st – I only know that it’s a lesbian werewolf film. That should be enough.

9. Your Sister’s Sister – June 15th – Mark Duplass comes between sisters Rosemarie Dewitt and Emily Blunt.

8. Trishna – July 13th – Based on Thomas Hardy’s classic novel and starring Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire).

7. Take this Waltz – June 7th – Written and directed by Sarah Polley (Away From Her), and starring Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen in an intense drama about a married woman falling for an artist neighbor.

6. Beasts of the Southern Wild – June 27th – The winner of the Best Cinematography at this year’s Sundance Film Festival is about a six-year old girl looking for her mother after her father falls ill while the world crumbles around her. Sounds like The Painted Bird set in the Mississippi delta, with a family friendly PG rating.

5. Magic Mike – June 29th – Soderbergh film starring Channing Tatum and based on his real life experiences as a teen stripper.

4. Ted – July 13th – Not really sure how under-the-radar Seth MacFarlane’s first feature will be but here we are. It’s about a guy (Mark Wahlberg) who can’t let go of his precious teddy bear (voiced by MacFarlane).

3. 360 – August 3rd – Early reviews for this film directed by Fernando Meirelles (City of God) are not too good. But I have faith in a stellar cast including Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz, Ben Foster, Jude Law.

2. To Rome With Love – June 22nd – Woody Allen continues his own Eurotrip. Plot details are sketchy, but you can never count out the recent Oscar winner.

1. Moonrise Kingdom – May 25th – Wes Anderson film starring Bill Murray, Ed Norton (I knew he’d be fine), Bruce Willis, and Frances McDormand about two twelve-year olds who fall in love and run away together in 1965 New England just as a huge storm is coming.

Some others worth a NOTABLE MENTION:

*Total Recall – Aug. 3rd – Colin Farrell does fantastic work given the proper script and constraints- In Bruges,Crazy Heart, he was great. But larger projects like SWAT and The Recruit were lackluster. Len Wiseman’s no Altman, and I hate unnecessary remakes anyway.

*The Bourne Legacy – Aug 3rd – Speaking of SWAT. Review is same as above, just replace Jeremy Renner with Colin Farrell and a couple of the movies. Although Tony Gilroy is an upgrade from Len Wiseman.

*Ice Age: Continental Drift (July 13th), Madagascar 3(June 8th), Pirahna 3DD (June 1st) – These were the three most unwanted 3D sequels I could track down.

*G.I. Joe Retaliation – June 29th – The last film featured sinking ice, I wonder if they will just say f*&^ it and ignore gravity this time.

*That’s My Boy – June 15th – Now all Andy Samberg has to do is sacrifice Adam Sandler with a wooden menorah and he will have then assumed his identity. Then he must make about 12 more goofy movies followed by 2 or 3 decent and pseudo-serious roles before he completely regresses past goofy into pathetic until someone eventually stabs him in the chest.

That’s my Top Ten, which looks about closer to thirty titles, but who’s counting. Get relaxed and ready for summer. Leave us a comment and tell us which films you are most excited about!