It’s going to be hard for any film this summer to meet the bar The Avengers set this Spring. In Hollywood terms Memorial Day has always been (more or less) the start of the summer movie season. So what do they have in store for us this year? A couple more super-hero flicks, new films by director Wes Anderson and Woody Allen, time travel, a fictional character literally brought to life, and the end of the world. Not all of these look to be box office winners, but with all do respect to that Schwarzenegger remake (which didn’t make my list), these are your best bets at finding some real movie magic this summer.
Set in the 1960s, Wes Anderson’s latest stars Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman as a pair of young lovers who flee their New England island town, prompting a local search party led by the Sheriff (Bruce Willis) and the girl’s parents (Bill Murray, Frances McDormand) to fan out to find them. Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Jason Schwartzman, and Bob Balaban also star. The trailer looks overflowing with Wes Anderson’s trademark touches and style. Moonrise Kingdom opens in limited release in select theaters on May 25th.
In director Ridley Scott‘s return to the Alien franchise a team of explorers (Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green) discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race. The marketing for this one has been great, as was the news it would keep it’s original R-rating. Prometheus opens in theaters on June 8th.
Looking for a fun story to boost sales three magazine employees (Aubrey Plaza, Jake M. Johnson, Karan Soni) head out on an assignment to interview a man (Mark Duplass) who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel. The quirky comedy looks like it could be quite a bit of fun or go way off the reservation, but it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize and Sundance and I’m willing to see where writer Derek Connolly and director Colin Trevorrow take the concept. Mary Lynn Rajskub, Jeff Garlin, and Mark Duplass also star. Safety Not Guaranteed opens in select cities in limited release on June 8th.
The latest Pixar animated feature is set in the Highlands of Scotland where a young archer named Merida (Kelly Macdonald), the daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), defies tradition inadvertently unleashing chaos and fury into the kingdom. Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, Julie Walters, and Craig Ferguson also lend their voices to the project. You can always bet on Pixar to entertain, but I’m also intrigued by the look and story of the film which feels a little more grown-up than most of their features. Brave opens in theaters everywhere on June 22nd.
With an asteroid on a collision course with Earth, and only days before the end of the world, Penny (Keira Knightley) convinces her neighbor (Steve Carell) to take a road trip to reunite with the one who got away. Patton Oswalt, Melanie Lynskey, Adam Brody, Gillian Jacobs, Connie Britton, T.J. Miller, William Petersen and Rob Corddry also star. Honestly, I’ll see Knightley in just about anything, but it’s nice to see her doing something a little more lighthearted than usual (even if the world does come to an end). Seeking a Friend for the End of the World opens in theaters on June 22nd.
Woody Allen brings some familiar faces, and some new ones, to Rome for his latest film about Italians and Americans and the romances and adventures and predicaments they get into. The cast includes Allen, Penélope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, and Roberto Benigni. It’s Woody Allen, a beautiful locale, and a great cast – what’s to stop you from giving this one a chance? To Rome with Love opens in limited release in select cities on June 22nd.
After the trainwreck that was Spider-Man 3 the Spidey franchise gets a reboot here with Andrew Garfield cast as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. It looks like the film is going for more of the Ultimate Spider-Man feel, but this version of Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) looks to be the original (although with no Green Goblin don’t expect a big death scene). Rhys Ifans stars as Dr. Connors and his alter-ego The Lizard, and Martin Sheen and Sally Field step into the roles of Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Denis Leary, Chris Zylka, Annie Parisse, Embeth Davidtz, and C. Thomas Howell also star. The Amazing Spider-Man swings into theaters on July 3rd.
After giving us his version of Batman: Year One (mixed with Batman: The Long Halloween) with Batman Begins, writer/director Christopher Nolan ends his Bat-trilogy by giving us his take on Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (mixed with Knightfall?). Almost a decade after the last sighting of Batman (Christian Bale) the Caped Crusader is lured out of retirement by a new threat of Bane (Tom Hardy). Along with Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, and Liam Neeson (reprising his role as Ra’s al Ghul) also return. Anne Hathaway gets all leathered-up to play Catwoman and Marion Cotillard may or may not be Ra’s daughter Talia. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Juno Temple also star. The Dark Knight Rises into theaters on July 20th.
Hey, it’s another quirky indie comedy from the co-directors (Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris) of Little Miss Sunshine! Paul Dano stars as a writer involved in an unusual love story when the female character he’s written for his novel (Zoe Kazan, who does double-duty as the project’s first-time screenwriter) comes to life. Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Steve Coogan, Elliott Gould, Alia Shawkat, Chris Messina, and Deborah Ann Woll also star. Ruby Sparks opens in select cities on July 25th.
Taking over the franchise for the departing Matt Damon, Jeremy Renner stars as another deadly agent trained by Treadstone. Joan Allen, Albert Finney, Scott Glenn, and David Strathairn reprise their roles from the previous films. Edward Norton, Rachel Weisz, Stacy Keach, and Michael Papajohn also star. Renner’s stock in Hollywood is at an all-time high right now and seems a natural fit to step into a role like this. I’ll be interested to see much of the feel from the earlier films is still intact with a new star and new director. The Bourne Legacy opens in theaters August 3rd.