Alright, so June didn’t exactly kick us into high gear the way it should have. We didn’t get another Avengers, a movie everyone lost their nuts over. From the blockbusters to the little guys, there was a lack in unanimous love and praise to be found. We did finally get Prometheus, a movie which could go down as this summer’s main topic of movie conversation over whether “It was awesome! No, it sucked!” but we get those all too often during this time of year.
If we’re going to get one movie to feed the millions with true, big summer entertainment where all the harshest critics will be beaten across the world, then we got one ‘lil superhero movie coming up that may provoke such a reaction… The Amazing Spider-Man! Actually, no, but Marc Webb‘s reboot does pass the time nicely and, at the very least, gives us a new Peter Parker we can care about.
But that doesn’t mean it made this list. Find out what did:
Opens July 6th
This is by far Oliver Stone‘s most fun, brutal, and energetic movie in years. Even as a fan of his most recent work, Savages represents the man at his most controlled and experimental. Although the scope of his violent and super-cool adaptation is never “epic” in the traditional sense, there’s an operatic feel to the story, never afraid of going big with the drama or the dark laughs. This is the type of hard-R, violent, and counter-programming picture every summer needs to have.
Opens July 13th
Here’s another festival favorite on the site. Kate Erbland was blown away by it at SXSW, and after reading her plot description, I want to know no more about this film before seeing it for myself. Here’s a sneak peek: “In 1994, a thirteen-year-old boy named Nicholas Barclay disappeared while on his way home from playing with his friends in San Antonio, Texas. Three years later, a French con artist named Frédéric Bourdin placed a prank phone call to the police in a small Spanish town, claiming to be a man who had found an American child who had been abducted. When the police arrived, it was Frédéric Bourdin who huddled in the phone booth, clad in oversized clothing and a baseball cap pulled low.”
Opens July 13th
Red Lights is a methodical, stylish, and grounded supernatural film starring Cillian Murphy and Robert De Niro. Some critics have described it as the “realistic Ghostbusters,” and that’s not a bad way of putting it. Rodrigo Cortés‘s followup to the underseen Buried is an intriguing and tactful film which happens to end with a major, major thud. The buzz out of Sundance was spot on when it comes to the final minutes — it’s a big miscalculation. Bad ending or not, Red Lights remains an involving film with plenty to discuss afterwards, even that finale…
Opens July 13th
Freida Pinto‘s post-Slumdog Millionare career hasn’t exactly done her performance from Danny Boyle‘s film justice. In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, she was a blank slate. Immortals reduced her to eye candy. And — how could we forget? — she was in one of Woody Allen‘s most recent misfires and it’s fair to say not many remember Miral. If anyone’s going to give her time for a showy performance, it’s director Michael Winterbottom.
The Dark Knight Rises
Opens July 20th
I know, I know, I can’t believe this movie made the list, either… If one film is going to bring the epic this summer, it’s Christopher Nolan‘s final chapter in his “see how serious I am!” Batman trilogy. The level of expectations for this film makes Prometheus‘s pre-buzz completely fadeaway in comparison. After The Dark Knight — a film Nolan could easily top — extremist batfans are holding their breaths for a “masterpiece.” Based on some early buzz out of a recent screening, Nolan delivering somewhere near that expectation is quite possible.