The 15 Must-See Movies of Summer 2011

10. Submarine

The Pitch: I don’t know a single person who has spoken ill of Richard Ayoade‘s debut film. Ever since its premiere at Toronto, this has been on my radar. Both of the fantastic trailers have sold it as something both unique and heartfelt, and the critical buzz agrees. The concept alone is worth anticipating: a young, wiser-than-his-age man looking for an evening of lovemaking. Can’t we all relate to that?

Release: June 3rd

9. The Guard

The Pitch: The Guard comes off as one of the few no-brainers of the summer. John Michael McDonagh’s film earned rave reviews at Sundance, has an excellent ensemble cast, and almost any movie with Brendan Gleeson and Mark Strong will get my 10 dollars. Many have been comparing it to In Bruges — and that’s not much of a surprise, considering John Michael McDonagh is Martin McDonagh’s brother — but a lofty comparison like that should make any film nerd get giddy with excitement.

Release: July 29th

8. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

The Pitch: This one has been on the shelf for a little while. After the whole Miramax apocalypse, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark was left without a home for awhile. But it ended up finding one and is finally coming out in August. Very little promotional materials have been put out, but the film’s long ago released teaser was a cool little glimpse at what to expect: an extremely atmospheric remake. Guillermo del Toro‘s name is attached as a producer, and he seems to put his name on nothing but good things. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark got a unanimously positive reaction at a screening in Germany, so hopefully we’ll finally get to see what the small great buzz has been all about.

Release: August 26th

7. Bridesmaids

The Pitch: Bridesmaids has been getting praised ever since its debut at SXSW, and for good reason. Paul Feig‘s comedy is hilarious, sweet, and raunchy when it needs to be. It has the exact amount of heart in a film that I’d expect from the creator of the classic Freaks and Geeks. People will be the obvious comparisons to The Hangover, but it’s a whole different beast. These are characters you actually come to love, rather than despise.

Release: May 13th

6. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

The Pitch: Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes film was a real buzz kill, mainly due to the fact it was a fairly bad and laughable action movie. Action isn’t what the Planet of the Apes series is about, and this upcoming origin story seems to understand that. It’ll have its fair share of action, especially with the impending climax that the film has, but from what I’ve heard, this is almost more of a drama.

They’ve taken a serious approach — a tricky tone to land when you got apes attacking people — but I have faith in director Rupert Wyatt to make it work. He made a strong debut film, The Escapist, and he’s got a reliable cast with him. Hopefully he’ll bring the Planet of the Apes series back to life.

Release: August 5th

All you really need to know about Jack is his favorite movies are: The Last Detail, Rumble Fish, Sunset Boulevard, The Truman Show, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, The Verdict, Closer, Shadow of a Doubt, Spider-Man 2, Jaws, Adaptation, Get Carter, The Last Days of Disco, Carnal Knowledge, Almost Famous, Ed Wood, Barton Fink, and L.A. Confidential.

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