Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Essentials: 2012 Movies Edition

Here are my predictions for must-see movies of the summer!

1. The Avengers, 5/4
     A classic superhero movie that is as big as it promised! Not only does it provide spectacular
     action sequences, but the characters are fully fleshed out and give the audience something
     (besides the end of the world) to invest in, which is a true testament to, not only the actors,
     but Joss Whedon, the brilliant director.
     Update: Joss Whedon did a marvelous job at wrangling the whole giant group of superheroes and 
     making them all equally important. Probably his best piece of direction was to minimize the Hulk's 
     presence and maximize Dr. Bruce Banner's presence.
2. Men in Black III, 5/25
     They're back! Josh Brolin is sure to instill this somewhat aging franchise with a welcome
     dose of freshness and a little vitality. If they stick with what works, this movie is sure to be
     a ridiculous, fun, sarcastic romp.
     Update: This delivered in exactly the ways that I wanted it to - sarcastic, ridiculous, and just
     what I needed! Brolin is a marvel. I have no idea how he managed it, but I 100% bought him
     as a young Tommy Lee Jones. It was picture perfect. Smith, as the straight man was
     delightful. He grounded the movie just enough that it didn't get completely out of whack.
3. Moonrise Kingdom, 5/25
     For some necessary whimsy along the usual action films, see the latest from the king of all
     things whimsical, Wes Anderson. Just seeing the trailer makes me drool with the utter
     romanticism of it all. From the fresh sunlight to the kids it stars, everything about this
     promises to be the perfect escape from the typical summer movies.
     Update: This was perfect. PERFECT. Classic Wes Anderson, which some people might be
     sick of by now, but I, for one, am not. It was complete magic and hilarity and I wish I could be
     a khaki scout. Pure romanticism, played to brilliance by the two young leads. And an
     added bonus, all of the adults are so fantastic. McDormand, Murray, Willis, Norton - I can't
     even handle how pitch perfect they all were and how utterly amazing this movie was.
4. Snow White and the Huntsman, 6/1
     This intrigues me. In a few days, we'll see what people think, but it might be a new take on
     Snow White that gives it a little more oomph. Hopefully it also gives Kristen Stewart a little
     more oomph, because we all know she needs it! Whether she sinks or swims, it will be so
     much fun to watch Charlize Theron get her evil bitch on - it always is! Chris Hemsworth has
     been so reliably good lately that it seems unlikely that he'll let the movie down. Though I'm
     unsure about Stewart and the Burton-Alice-in-Wonderland-izing of the movie (Snow going
     into war???), I'm curious to see whether it works, and hoping it does.
     Update: This could have been good, but it was a little haphazard. Like I thought, Theron
     was fantastic, and wicked fun, but it tried to go in so many different directions that there was
     no real closure at the end of the movie. Also, Stewart didn't really have much to do - she
     hardly had any lines. Between the love triangle, the evil queen man-hater feminist, the huge
     war, Snow White bringing the land back to life, and the zillions of backstories, the movie
     was long and didn't wrap much up.
5. Prometheus, 6/8
     The trailers/viral campaign completely freak me out, which is why I think this will be good.  
     Not only that, but the cast is sick. Actually, most of the movies on this list have amazing
     casts, but that is beside the point. What with the original girl with the dragon tattoo, and
     Fassbender as the creepiest robot ever, not to mention the rest, this futuristic horror/sci-fi
     movie is too good to be true.
6. Safety Not Guaranteed, 6/8
     With two of my current favorite sitcom players and one of the more unique plot lines
     presented this summer, this movie should have a great voice to be heard. It should  be a
     great lesson on how to lose yourself and not always be reaching towards others
     expectations. Between Plaza and Johnson, there should be plenty of dry humor coupled
     with some hidden optimism, and a fresh take on life. Plus, who doesn't love a curmudgeon,
     and we all know that Johnson is great at fulfilling that need.
     Update: Kind of sad, extremely funny, and very warm, this little film does a lot right. It keeps you 
     on the cusp of believing the concept and mistrusting it, but the whole thing maintains the reality of 
     this whole separate little world. So original, touching, and wonderful.
7. Brave, 6/22
     Pixar, their first female heroine, and many accents! Need I say more? I really couldn't be
     more excited for this!
     Update: At its heart, Brave was less a movie about independence, and more a movie about
     the struggles in mother-daughter relationships. I found it particularly touching and warm.
     Merida is a wonderful first main heroine for Pixar, as she is brave, as the title indicates,
     spunky, funny, and chock full of gumption! I'm not going to go too far into details because
     I don't want to spoil anything, but it had a great twist that pulled the focus into Merida and
     Queen Eleanor's relationship perfectly. Not my favorite Pixar, but so fun and earnest and
     wonderful, all the same! Bonus: La Luna was magic. Pure magic.
8. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, 6/22
     Apocalyptic movies have never been timelier and after the brilliant, but not so uplifting
     Melancholia, it's time for a lighter take, which director Scafaria, and Carell and Knightley
     are aiming to bring us. This should prove to be charming and humble, as well as hopeless
     in the best way possible. Knightley reportedly took this role on after her mom begged her to
     do a less depressing role for once, and I can't wait to see what comes of it.
     Update: Charming and immensely underrated, this lovely little dramedy is unexpected and darkly 
     funny. One of Knightley's most comedic roles yet also happens to be pretty dark and twisty. She and 
     Carell have a weird, wonderful chemistry and all of the supporting players are wonderful.
9. To Rome with Love, 6/22
     Though my exposure to Woody Allen is limited (I'm basically only well-versed in Annie Hall
     and Midnight in Paris), I'm definitely a fan, and paired with Rome, one of the most beautiful
     cities, and one that is filled with character, I'm sure it's bound to be magical... and awkward,
     but enjoyably so. Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg should be fantastic additions to the Allen
     family (hoping this doesn't make it sound like a cult...), with their ability to be both awkward,
     funny, and warm at the same time.
     Update: Definitely not Allen's best, but the city of Rome shines. I could have used more Alec    
     Baldwin and a little less of certain story lines. Ultimately, it's a bit to schizophrenic.
10. Beasts of the Southern Wild, 6/29
     This will probably be worth seeing just for newcomer, Quvenzhane Wallis, who looks like a
     little spark of life and vitality. From the trailer that I've seen she's a breath of fresh air and
     one to watch!
11. Take This Waltz, 6/29
     Rogen charmed me with his nuance and subtlety (where it was needed!) in 50/50 and if he
     has any chemistry with the always lovely Williams, this could be a real game-changer for
     him. This will hopefully be funny, poignant, and touching.
     Update: This movie walks a very thin line and in the end, it had me feeling very mixed. It had some 
     quite funny moments, and some quite uncomfortable ones, but the nature of life is such, isn't it?
12. The Amazing Spider-Man, 7/3
     Some were worried about Marc Webb, but I couldn't be more excited for his involvement
     with this movie. Special effects are taken care of by many other people than the director, but
     his special skill set is with his character work. (500) Days of Summer was a delectable plate
     of fully fleshed out and human characters, and that is something that will make Spider-Man
     really work. This take could be spectacular, and the chemistry between Stone and Garfield
     should be electric. Bring it on.
     Update: I couldn't be happier with this movie. In fact, it was the rare action movie that I
     would have been happy to keep watching for hours. That, I will credit to Marc Webb and the
     actors. They gave the movie an almost indie quality. It was so character based and that
     gave the movie the right amount of both heft and levity because it was done so well, that the
     action sequences weren't overdone or absorbing the whole movie. Stone and Garfield do
     have excellent chemistry, which make the whole movie doubly fun to watch. Also, I
     personally love when the antagonist isn't simply a baddie. When they have redeeming
     qualities it makes the movie that much better and more interesting. Terrific on all levels.
13. The Dark Knight Rises, 7/20
     Nolan is too good to not turn the amp up to 11 for this last installment of his Batman
     franchise. With the addition of Hathaway, Hardy, Cotillard, and Gordon-Levitt it should be a
     ride to remember. Nolan knows how to take stories to mind bending levels and how to awe.
     This will hopefully be no exception! He's also kept the plot quite mysterious, which is only
     making the anticipation that much worse.
     Update: I loved it. I don't want to spoil it for my nonexistent readers, but I thought it was paced
     brilliantly - not all directors could do a 2:45 action movie and make it feel so vital, dark, and
     perpetually shifting. I loved Hathaway - the perfect femme fatale, you're never quite sure
     where her loyalties lie. Cotillard was used minimally until her shining moment, where she
     really shows just how good she is. The returning players were all excellent. Gordon-Levitt
     was superb as and average Joe, who isn't quite so average. He's a marvelous actor and a
     pretty damn cool person (HITRECORD MO'FOS CHECK IT!). Anywho, the main issue I had
     was with Bane - NOT Tom Hardy. He is so capable of playing a fantastic, formidable,
     unhinged villain. The mask, and the twist hindered his abilities immensely.
14. Ruby Sparks, 7/25
     Zoe Kazan, who wrote and stars in this playful, mystical treat is a revelation in everything
     that she does and this should be no exception. Dano, too, is always a pleasure, and the two
     will be one wonderful couple of indie goodness! If their voices continue to be prevalent in
     the film industry in the future as I think they will be, I'll be one happy girl! Who else could
     make a film about writing someone into existence so charming and non-creepy?
     Update: Kazan really wrote a gem here. Not only was it funny and charming, but it was also quite 
     intelligent and it looks at the way we have relationships and how society's penchant for obsession 
     and ownership within relationships can definitely be unhealthy. It was layered in both writing and 
     performance and was a pleasure to watch.
15. The Bourne Legacy, 8/3
     Oh Jeremy Renner, you can do no wrong! He has been a machine lately and he's just one
     of those actors who always delivers. He's also great for this franchise in particular. He's
     scrappy, sarcastic, and intelligent. It's time for Damon to move on, and Renner's the right
     actor to take over. Despite the fact that he's finally getting some exposure (people still don't
     know him after The Hurt Locker AND The Town), I doubt it will be overexposure because
     he was hardly known before Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol or The Avengers.
16. Premium Rush, 8/24
     A hipster indie action movie! To prove it: Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a bike messenger. I've
     been waiting for this for about two years and it looks exhilarating and scrappy, just like I was
     hoping for. Add in Michael Shannon and it's just about perfect.
     Update: Shallow in substance but fun all the same! Joseph Gordon-Levitt is proving that he can do 
     just about anything.

16 movies was about all I had the energy for, so there you have it, some of the movies I'm most excited for this summer!

XX I definitely won't get a chance to see all of these (supreme lack of indie movie availability in southern New Hampshire) but I'll do my best, and when I do, I'll update, so keep checking back!!!

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