What's interesting about this summer and what could make it one of the best movie summers in quite some time is that, while there are still quite a few tentpole films, there's also plenty of variety. It's not just sequel after sequel. Interesting filmmakers are making interesting films this summer.
Oliver Stone of the past ten years has been wildly inconsistent. Any Given Sunday was fun, but after that, he really started to go downhill. Alexander, World Trade Center, W, Wall Street 2... they're all just kinda uninteresting. There's no gusto, no controversy. I often forget W was ever made, so do most other people. But "Savages" is a rare genre film from the once-great filmmaker. A sexy crime-thriller with a great cast (Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively, Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta, Emile Hirsch). Will "Savages" be the return of Oliver Stone's swagger? I hope so.
9. To Rome With Love
Speaking of returned swagger, Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" wasn't just one of his best films of the last decade, it was his most successful film... ever. The trailer for To Rome With Love looks fun and it has a great cast (Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Roberto Benigni, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, Ellen Page) . Even Woody Allen is stepping in front of the camera again and whenever he chooses a new location in Europe to shoot in, he usually comes out with something good. Two good Woody Allen films in a row tends not to happen, but I have a good feeling about this one.
8. The Amazing Spider-Man
I really don't know about this one but I like Andrew Garfield. Marc Webb, the director, is a wild card. 500 Days of Summer was a great film, lots of fun, but can he do a big-budget blockbuster superhero film? This is a huge challenge as the Sam Raimi Spider-Man is still very present in people's minds. It was only five years ago since Spider-Man 3. Will The Amazing Spider-Man be a refreshing return to form for Spider-Man? It better be, or else, where do they go from there?
Keeping in line with the return to form theme of this list, Brave should be a return to form for Pixar. At this point, it's hard not to look forward to the next Pixar movie as long as it's not another Cars movie. Brave will be their first fantasy film and their first film with a girl being the main character. It was only two years ago when Pixar was at the height of their greatness (with Toy Story 3). Can they get back there with Brave?
6. Magic Mike
[no poster yet]
One of Steven Soderbergh's last films will also be a pretty peculiar one. I know it's kind of weird for a guy to look forward to a movie about male strippers, but Soderbergh is the right guy for a film like this. Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey star in this film. This is perhaps one of the most intriguing films to come out this year. If you're uncomfortable with your sexuality, just bring a woman to this movie. Afterward, tell her you liked it because you appreciated the cinematography.
[no poster yet]
A film formerly known as "The Wettest County" is now called Lawless, but that shouldn't take away from what could be a movie that garners serious awards attention at the end of the year. Not only that, Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, and Gary Oldman star in this western/gangster film mashup. Definitely keep an eye out on this film when it comes out at the end of the summer.
4. Moonrise Kingdom
I'm sorry, but for me, Moonrise Kingdom looks freakin' awesome. Those who are familiar with and are fans of Wes Anderson should definitely be looking forward to this. Judging from the trailer, this looks like it could be Wes Anderson at his most fun and imaginative. It looks wonderfully shot and it has such a great cast (Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel). Whatever you think of Wes Anderson, you have to admit this looks like his most interesting and funnest film in years.
3. The Avengers
Well, it's finally happening. We're finally getting the Avengers movie. Written and directed by Joss Whedon, we've seen all these superheroes' individual stories and now we'll get to see Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America together as well as a few other characters. This is what all the other Marvel films were a prelude to so let's hope we are left with something truly satisfying.
The Avengers would've been number 2 but the marketing for Prometheus has been outstanding. Something about this film makes it feel like this could be Ridley Scott's best film in a long time. It has the right atmosphere, it has that hint of the possibility that this relates to the Alien franchise. Ridley Scott's first sci-fi film in 30 years. There's a lot going on with this film and it looks amazing judging by the trailers.
1. The Dark Knight Rises
This is a pretty obvious one. The Dark Knight Rises is easily my most anticipated film, it has been since The Dark Knight came out. Some aspects of the trailer that came out left me scratching my head but I'm hoping it'll all make sense and come together well enough when it comes out in July. Christopher Nolan's final stamp on the Batman franchise, I don't expect it to be as good as The Dark Knight because Heath Ledger was a force to be reckoned with in that film. Regardless, this should be the movie event of the summer, an easy number 1 pick.
next up: movie trailers
[Note: not all of the 20 movies I talked about have trailers yet]