Mike’s U.S Summer Movie Preview

ussummer

It’s becoming a summer tradition.  For the past few years the movie season has started off with a Marvel Comic-based film;  “Ironman 2,” “Thor” and the biggest of them all, “The Avengers.”  This year the season started off officially with “Ironman 3.”  And next year will probably be the same – “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is only a year away!  Here is a look at many of the films heading to a multiplex near you between now and September 1st.    An (*) next to the title denotes a film I’m especially excited to see!

Special thanks to the Internet Movie Database for certain synopsis information and remember, as always, the opening date noted is subject to change at the whims of the studios.

 

MAY 10

AFTERSHOCK

Starring:  Eli Roth and Selena Gomez                                                                                                                                                        

Directed by:  Nicolas Lopez

While vacationing in Chile a group of travelers decide to party at an underground nightclub.  After a massive earthquake hits they must tunnel their way out unaware of what waits for them.

 

THE GREAT GATSBY*

Starring:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire                                                                                  

 Directed by:  Baz Luhrmann

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel is brought to the screen for the third time, this time in 3D.  Leo is Jay Gatsby, Mulligan is his beloved Daisy and Maguire is neighbor Nick.  In the hands of Lurhmann it should be incredible in 3D.

 

NO ONE LIVES

Starring:  Luke Evans and Derek Magyar                                                                                                                                                               

Directed by:  Ruyhei Kitamura

A gang of ruthless highway killers kidnap a wealthy couple traveling cross country only to shockingly discover that things are not what they seem.

 

PEEPLES

Starring:  Craig Robinson and Kerry Washington                                                                                          

Directed by:  Tina Gordon Chism

Commoner (Robinson) crashes his girlfriends family’s swanky reunion in the Hamptons to ask for her hand in marriage.

 

MAY 17

BLACK ROCK

Starring:  Kate Bosworth and Lake Bell                                                

Directed by:  Katie Aselton

Three childhood friends reunite for a girls weekend on an island off the coast of Maine where a mistake leaves all three fighting for their lives.  Written by Mark Duplass.

 

POPULAIRE

Starring:  Berenice Bejo                                                                                                                                            

Directed by:  Regis Roinsard

Working girl Rose is a terrible secretary but an incredible typist.  Her boss sets out to establish her as the fastest in the world.  Bejo co-starred in the Oscar winning “The Artist.”

 

STAR TREK:  INTO DARKNESS*

Starring:  Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto                                                                                                  

Directed by:  J.J. Abrams

The crew of the Enterprise are called into battle when a member of Star Fleet becomes a one man weapon of mass destruction.  Can anyone say “KHAN!!!!!!”  (Maybe)

 

MAY 24

BEFORE MIDNIGHT

Starring:  Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy                                                                                                     

Directed by:  Richard Linklater

The third film in the almost two decades old “Before” series finds Jessie and Celine in Greece nine years after we last saw them.  Hawke, Delpy and Linklater wrote the script.

 

EPIC

Starring the voices of:  Jason Sudeikis, Christoph Waltz and Chris O’Dowd                                               

Directed by: Chris Wedge

 A teenager finds herself transported to a deep forest setting where a battle between the forces of good and evil is taking place. She bands together with a rag-tag group of characters in order to save their world — and ours.  Director Wedge created the first “Ice Age” film and is the voice of Scrat!

 

FAST AND FURIOUS 6

Starring:  Vin Diesel and Paul Walker                                                                                                                         

Directed by:  Justin Lin

I’m not even going to look this one up:  Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Conner team up with others, including Dwayne Johnson, to drive really cool cars really fast.  The fact that I know Diesel and Walker’s characters names actually scares me.

 

THE HANGOVER PART III

Starring:  Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis                                                               

Directed by:  Todd Phillips

After Alan’s father passes away the Wolfpack take him to Vegas.  But things go wrong when Doug actually IS kidnapped by a gangster looking to settle a score with Mr. Chow.

 

MAY 31

THE EAST

Starring:  Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgard                                                                                             

Directed by:  Zal Batmanglij

An operative for an elite private intelligence firm finds her priorities irrevocably changed after she is tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group known for executing covert attacks upon major corporations.  How cool to actually have a last name that begins with “Batman”

 

THE KINGS OF SUMMER

Starring:  Nick Robinson and Nick Offerman                                                                                                           

Directed by:  Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Three friends decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land.

 

NOW YOU SEE ME

Starring:  Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher and Mark Ruffalo                                          

Directed by:  Louis Leterrier

An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money.

 

THE PURGE

Starring:  Ethan Hawke and Lena Heady                                                                                                                

Directed by:  James DeMonaco

If on one night every year, you could commit any crime without facing consequences, what would you do? Over the course of a single night, a family will be tested to see how far they will go to protect themselves when the vicious outside world breaks into their home.  Summer movie number two for Hawke!

 

JUNE 7

AFTER EARTH

Starring:  Will Smith and Jaden Smith                                                                                                                     

Directed by:  M. Night Shyamalan

A boy and his injured father crash land on Earth 1,000 years after events forced the evacuation of the planet.

 

THE INTERNSHIP

Starring:  Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson                                                                                                           

Directed by:  Shawn Levy

Two former salesmen find their way into a coveted internship at Google, where they must compete with a group of young, tech-savvy geniuses for a shot at employment.  Vaughn co-wrote the screenplay.

 

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Starring:  Nathan Fillion and Clark Gregg                                                                                                          

Directed by:  Joss Whedon

How else do you follow up “The Avengers?”  A modern take on Shakespeare’s classic tale.

 

WISH YOU WERE HERE

Starring:  Joel Edgerton and Felicity Price                                                                                                            

Directed by:  Kieran Darcy-Smith

Four friends decide to take an exciting South-East Asian vacation.  Only three come back.

 

JUNE 12

THE IS THE END

Starring:  Seth Rogen, James Franco and Danny McBride                                                                                      

Directed by:  Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg

A party at James Franco’s house turns crazy when the apocalypse hits.  The stars (and others, including Michael Cera and Jonah Hill) play over the top versions of themselves.  If the “R” rated trailer is any indication this could be this years “TED.”

 

JUNE 14

THE BLILNG RING

Starring:  Emma Watson and Leslie Mann                                                                                                           

Directed by:  Sofia Coppola

Inspired by actual events, a group of fame-obsessed teenagers use the internet to track celebrities’ whereabouts in order to rob their homes.

 

MAN OF STEEL*

Starring:  Henry Cavill, Amy Adams and Michael Shannon                                                                             

Directed by:  Zack Snyder

Seven years after Superman returned he does again, this time in a retelling of the tale by fanboy favorite Zack Snyder.  The addition of “Dark Knight” writer/director Christopher Nolan as producer makes “Man of Steel” this summer’s “Avengers” in way of anticipation.

 

STUCK IN LOVE

Starring:  Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connely                                                                                       

Directed by:  Josh Boone

An acclaimed writer, his ex-wife, and their teen-aged children come to terms with the complexities of love in all its forms over the course of one tumultuous year.

 

JUNE 21

MANIAC

Starring:  Elijah Wood                                                                                                                                                  

Directed by:  Franck Khalfoun

Just when the streets seemed safe, a serial killer with a fetish for scalps is back and on the hunt.

 

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY*

Starring the voices of:  Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi                                          Directed by:  Dan Scanlon

In this prequel to “Monsters Inc,” Mike Wazowski (Crystal) and James Sullivan (Goodman) meet in college where they learn they have nothing in common.

 

UNFINISHED SONG

Starring:  Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave                                                                                                     

Directed by:  Paul Andrew Williams

Grumpy pensioner Arthur honors his recently deceased wife’s passion for performing by joining the unconventional local choir to which she used to belong.

 

WORLD WAR Z*

Starring:  Brad Pitt and Matthew Fox                                                                                                                       

Directed by:  Marc Forster

A United Nations employee traverses the globe in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments; threatening to decimate humanity itself.

 

JUNE 28

COPPERHEAD

Starring:  Peter Fonda and Billy Campbell                                                                                                            

Directed by:  Ronald F. Maxwell

A family is torn apart during the American Civil War.  This is director Maxwell’s third film covering the Civil War after 1993’s “Gettysburg” and 2003’s “Gods and Generals.”

 

THE HEAT

Starring:  Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy                                                                                            

Directed by:  Paul Feig

An uptight FBI special agent is paired with a testy Boston cop in order to take down a ruthless drug lord. The hitch: neither woman has ever had a partner – or a friend for that matter.

 

WHITE HOUSE DOWN

Starring:  Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum                                                                                                          

Directed by:  Roland Emmerich   

Emmerich had so much fun destroying the White House in “Independence Day” that he’s back to do it again.  In this original story terrorists attempt to take over the presidential mansion and it’s up to a wanna be Secret Service agent to save the day, which sounds nothing like this past springs “Olympus Has Fallen.”

 

JULY 3

DESPICABLE ME 2*

Starring the voices of:  Steve Carell, Benjamin Bratt and Kristen Wigg                        

Directed by:  Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud

Gru is asked to join an Anti-Villains League to help combat a new bad guy named Eduardo, formerly voiced by Al Pacino but now played by Bratt.

 

THE LONE RANGER

Starring:  Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer                                                                                                          

Directed by:  Gore Verbinski

Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice.  Things go well until Reid discovers what the word “Kimosabe” really means!

 

JULY 5

THE WAY, WAY BACK

Starring:  Sam Rockwell, Toni Collette and Steve Carrell                                                                                         

Directed by:  Nat Faxon and Jim Rash

Over the course of his summer break a young man gets a job at a local amusement park, where he comes into his own thanks in part to the friendship he strikes up with one of the park’s managers.  Two Steve Carrell films in (2) days – his fans will have an overdose.

 

JULY 12

CRYSTAL FAIRY

Starring:  Michael Cera and Gaby Hoffman                                                                                                           

Directed by:  Sebastian Silva

A boorish, insensitive American twenty-something travels to Chile, managing to create chaos at every turn.

 

GROWN UPS 2*

Starring:  Adam Sandler and Kevin James                                                                                                                  

Directed by:  Dennis Dugan

Lenny (Sandler) moves his family back to his old hometown to rekindle the hijinx with his childhood buddies.  Remarkably Rob Schneider is NOT in this film, which means whatever debt Sandler owed God has now been repaid.  Sadly he now apparently owes another because Nick Swardson is in it.

 

PACIFIC RIM*

Starring:  Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba                                                                                                                

Directed by:  Guillermo del Toro

When an alien attack threatens the Earth’s existence, giant robots piloted by humans are deployed to fight off the menace.

 

JULY 17

TURBO

Starring the voices of:  Ryan Reynolds and Paul Giamatti                                                                          

 Directed by:  David Soren

A freak accident might just help an everyday garden snail achieve his biggest dream: winning the Indy 500.  I’m assuming it makes him 6 feet tall and gives him feet so he can drive a car?

 

JULY 19

THE CONJURING

Starring:  Patrick Wilson and Lili Taylor                                                                                                      

Directed by:  James Wan  

A husband and wife team of Paranormal investigators work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful entity, the couple find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives.  Director Wan helmed the original “Saw.”

 

GIRL MOST LIKELY

Starring:  Kristen Wiig and Annette Bening                                                                                               

Directed by:  Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini       

A failed New York playwright awkwardly navigates the transition from Next Big Thing to Last Year’s News.  “Glee” fans who hate Darren Criss and/or his character, Blaine (guilty), will be sad to see that he’s also in this.

 

ONLY GOD FORGIVES

Starring:  Ryan Gosling and Kristin Scott Thomas                                                                                                

Directed by:  Nicolas Winding Refn

A drug-smuggler thriving in Bangkok’s criminal underworld sees his life get even more complicated when his mother compels him to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother’s recent death.

 

RED 2

Starring:  Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren                                                                                                                        

Directed by:  Dean Parisot

Retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses (Willis) reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device.  Anthony Hopkins joins the cast of oldsters.

 

R.I.P.D.

Starring:  Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds                                                                                                            

Directed by:  Robert Schwentke

Based on a popular graphic novel, a recently slain cop joins a team of undead police officers working for the Rest in Peace Department and tries to find the man who murdered him.

 

JULY 26

BLUE JASMINE

Starring:  Alec Baldwin and Cate Blanchett                                                                                               

Directed by:  Woody Allen

All I know about this film is what was sent to me in a press release by Sony Classic Pictures: “the film tells the story of the final stages of an acute crisis and a life of a fashionable New York housewife”  It also co-stars Louis C.K., Sally Hawkins and Andrew Dice Clay.

 

FRUITVALE

Starring:  Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer                                                  

Directed by:  Ryan Coogler

The true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.  If my memory serves me, Oscar is the young man who was arrested at a local Oakland-area transit station and then, as horrified onlookers watched, was shot in the back by a policeman who later claimed he thought he was tasing him.

 

THE WOLVERINE

Starring:  Hugh Jackman and Will Yun Lee                                                                                                               

Directed by:  James Mangold

Wolverine makes a voyage to modern-day Japan, where he encounters an enemy from his past that will impact on his future.  Mangold is the director of films like “Walk the Line” and “CopLand.”  I’m anxious to see his take on an action-based film.

 

JULY 31

THE SMURFS 2

Starring:  Neil Patrick Harris and Hank Azaria                                                                                              

Directed by:  Raja Gosnell

The Smurfs team up with their human friends to rescue Smurfette, who has been kidnapped by Gargamel, since she knows a secret spell that can turn the evil sorcerer’s newest creation – creatures called the Naughties – into real Smurfs.

 

AUGUST 2

2 GUNS

Starring:  Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg                                                                                      

Directed by:  Baltasar Kormakur

A DEA agent and an undercover Naval Intelligence officer who have been tasked with investigating one another find they have been set up by the mob — the very organization the two men believe they have been stealing money from.

 

300:  RISE OF AN EMPIRE

Starring:  Eva Green and Sullivan Stapleton                                                                                                  

Directed by:  Noam Murro

The Greek general Themistocles battles an invading army of Persians under the mortal-turned-god, Xerxes.

 

THE SPECTACULAR NOW

Starring:  Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley                                                                                        

Directed by:  James Ponsoldt           

A hard-partying high school senior’s philosophy on life changes when he meets the not-so-typical “nice girl.”

 

AUGUST 7

PERCY JACKSON:  SEA OF MONSTERS

Starring:  Logan Lerman and Sean Bean                                                                                                                 

Directed by:  Thor Freudenthal

In order to restore their dying safe haven, the son of Poseidon and his friends embark on a quest to the Sea of Monsters to find the mythical Golden Fleece and to stop an ancient evil from rising.

 

AUGUST 9

ELYSIUM

Starring:  Matt Damon and Jodie Foster                                                                                                

Directed by:  Neill Blomkamp

In the year 2154 the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth.

 

LOVELACE

Starring:  Amanda Seyfried and Peter Sarsgaard                                                                                               

Directed by:  Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

The story of Linda Lovelace and her controlling husband/manager Chuck Traynor.  Also featuring James Franco as Hugh Hefner.

 

PLANES

Starring the voices of: Dane Cook and Val Kilmer                                                                                                 

Directed by:  Klay Hall

Like “Cars” but with airplanes.  Dusty is a cropdusting plane who dreams of competing in a famous aerial race. The problem? He is hopelessly afraid of heights. With the support of his mentor Skipper and a host of new friends, Dusty sets off to make his dreams come true.  Wow!  I should have said “Exactly like ‘Cars’.”

 

WERE THE MILLERS

Starring:  Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Anniston                                                                                                         

Directed by:  Rawson Marshall Thurber

A veteran pot dealer creates a fake family as part of his plan to move a huge shipment of weed into the U.S. from Mexico.

 

AUGUST 16

AUSTENLAND

Starring:  Keri Russell and JJ Field                                                                                                                    

Directed by:  Jerusha Hess

Obsessed with the BBC production of “Pride and Prejudice”, a woman travels to a Jane Austen theme park in search for her perfect gentleman.

 

KICK-ASS 2

Starring:  Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Jim Carrey                                                       

Directed by:  Jeff Wadlow

Costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass joins with a group of normal citizens who have been inspired to fight crime in costume. Meanwhile, the Red Mist plots an act of revenge that will affect everyone Kick-Ass knows.

 

AUGUST 17

AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS

Starring:  Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck                                                                                                     

Directed by:  David Lowery

An outlaw escapes from prison and sets off to find his wife and introduce himself to the daughter he’s never met.

 

THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS:  CITIES OF BONES

Starring:  Lily Colins and Jamie Campbell Bower                                                                                                

Directed by:  Harald Zwart

Based on a popular novel, when a woman is attacked and taken from her home in New York City by a demon, a seemingly ordinary teenage girl finds out truths about her past and bloodline on her quest to get her back.

 

THE WORLD’S END

Starring:  Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Martin Freeman                                                                                      

Directed by:  Edgar Wright

Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind’s only hope for survival.  From the same team that brought you “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.”

 

AUGUST 28

YOU’RE NEXT

Starring:  Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall                                                                                                                

Directed by:  John Crowley

Bana and Hall are lawyers — and ex-lovers — who find themselves put at risk after they join the defense team for an international terrorist’s trial.

 

AUGUST 30

GETAWAY    

Starring:  Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez                                                                                                               

Directed by:  Courtney Solomon and Yaron Levy

Hawke stars as Brent Magna, a man who must get behind the wheel and follow the orders of a mysterious man to save his kidnapped wife.  Movie number three this summer for Hawke.

 

ONE DIRECTION:  THIS IS US

Starring:  One Direction                                                                                                                                           

Directed by:  Morgan Spurlock

A documentary featuring the goings on of One Direction in concert.  Documentarian Spurlock is an odd choice as director, unless the band plans to eat at McDonalds a lot.

 

DON JOHN

Starring:  Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson                                                                               

Directed by:  Joseph Gordon-Levitt

JGL plays a man who is addicted to online pornography and must work to find intimacy with his potential true love.  Gordon-Levitt also wrote the screenplay.

 

PRINCE AVALANCHE

Starring:  Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch                                                                                                                  

Directed by:  David Gordon Green

In the summer of 1988 two highway road workers decide to leave their city lives behind. The isolated landscape becomes a place of misadventure as the men find themselves at odds with each other and the women they left behind.