Summer movie season is about kick off, and it is going to be a nerdy one. Once again, sequels andsuperheromovies will rule the multiplex, but the indie circuit looks a little dead this time around. Here’s to hoping for a sleeper hit or two…
The Avengers (5/4)
Joss Whedon is on a roll. The cult icon and creator of “Buffy the VampireSlayer” and “Firefly” co-wrote this year’s “Cabin in the Woods.” Marvel tapped him for the mammoth duty of combining its decade-spanning cashcow into asuperheromelee. The role call includesIron Man(Robert Downey, Jr.),The Incredible Hulk(Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Did I miss anyone? The Avengers assemble on May 4.
Moonrise Kingdom (5/25)
Often imitated, never duplicated, Wes Anderson is one of the most revered and under-rated American filmmakers of his generation. Often dismissed for being merely quirky or repetitive, critics miss the cleverness and sincerity that his work always delivers. This time around, Anderson takes us to a New England town where a boy escapes his Boy Scout troop to flee with his girlfriend. Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman join newcomers Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Frances McDormand and Bob Balaban. “Moonrise Kingdom” is set to open Cannes before spreading to the States.
Is it an “Alien” prequel or not? Buzz has surrounded Ridley Scott’s return to sci-fi horror since its multiple rewrites. The trailer certainly plays off its “Alien” kin. Everything I have seen so far in promo videos looks simply amazing, as does the cast, which includes Noomi Rapace (the originalgirl with the dragon tattoo), Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba and Michael Fassbender as ateamof explorers who traverse the universe in search of clues to the origin of mankind.
Rock of Ages (6/15)
Set in 1987 in L.A., this musical, based on the Broadway show, follows two young lovers as they try to make it in the music business. I know little about the show, but, coming from the director of 2006’s “Hairspray,” this looks to be a solid and enjoyable lob down the middle. The musical stars Julianne Hough (“Footloose”), Diego Boneta, Malin Akerman, Bryan Cranston, Russell Brand, Mary J. Blige, Catherine Zeta-Zones, Will Forte, Paul Giamatti, Alec Baldwin andTom Cruise.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (6/22)
Bear with me on this one. The summer is full of silly and ridiculous blockbusters, so why not go for the gold of silly and ridiculous. The title alone should be reason enough to see this one. Fans of goofy schlock should enjoy this alternative take on history wherein the Great Emancipator hunts vampires by night. Only two requests: 1. Please be as silly as you can be; and 2. Please kill Bella and Edward.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (6/22)
With the doomsday clock counting down,Steve Carellis alone. His wife left him in panic. He goes on a roadtrip to track down his high school sweetheart, Keira Knightley (age difference, much?) to spend the Armageddon with. Melanie Lynskey, Adam Brody,PattonOswalt, Connie Britton, T.J. Miller, Rob Corddry, William Peterson, Rob Huebel, Derek Luke and Melinda Dillon round out dramatic comedy’s cast. While the premise sounds silly, the trailer looks sharp. If only the camera can avoid Knightley’s taxing facial expressions for most of the film.
To Rome with Love (6/22)
The King of Comedy is back, y’all. In an age of “Superbad” “American Reunions,”Woody Allen, at the ripe age of 76, has still got it. Last year’s delightful “Midnight in Paris” proved there’s still some wit left in the comedian’s pen. This time, he returns to the screen alongside Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg (a perfect choice for an Allen film), Penelope Cruz, Alison Pill (Ella Fitzgerald from “Paris”), Alec Baldwin, Robet Benigni, Greta Gerwig and Allen-veteran Judy Davis, for the next stop in his European tour. Beautiful cities, beautiful people.
Take This Waltz (6/29)
Sarah Polley gained critical esteem in 2007 with her debut feature “Away from Her.” After acting on the side in films like “Splice” and HBO’s series “John Adams,” she returns to writing and directing with this light drama about marital infidelity. “Away from Her” boasted acting giants like Olympia Dukakis and Julie Christie. “Take This Waltz” relies upon Seth Rogen, MichelleWilliamsandSarah Silverman.Williamsis a great actress, but we will see how well Polley can direct actors based on the performances of Rogen and Silverman.
The Amazing Spider-Man (7/3)
Yeah, I know, it is too soon for a “Spider-Man” reboot, but after “Spider-Man 3,” I am excited to see someone other than Sam Raimi give thesuperheroa shot. Marc Webb (“(500) Days of Summer”) directs the screenplay from the scribe of the “Harry Potter” series. The trailers boast that this is “the untold story” and seem more concerned with Spidey’s backstory than Raimi’s films. Andrew Garfield (“The Social Network”) takes over for Tobey McGuire, and undoubted improvement.EmmaStone,Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, and Rhys Ifans as The Lizard round out the cast.
The Dark KnightRises (7/20)
There’s no way it can be as good as “There’s no wayit can be as good as “The Dark Knight,” that’s true, but the last installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy may have just enough steam left. It is hard not to be excited about this film, even though some of the ingredients are looking a little doubtful, namely Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, and some heavy-handed references to Occupy Wall Street. Either way, this nerd will be lined up on opening night. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Matthew Modine, Aiden Gillen, Marion Cotillard and Juno Temple join Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman for the legend’s end.