One month down in the summer movie season. We got a decent opener, certainly not a grand start. Joss Whedon’s box-office juggernaut and Wes Anderson’s lovely Moonrise Kingdom aside, we faced disappointments. The Dictator was hit and miss. Battleship was more bloated than big. Although it was better than its harsher critics suggested, Dark Shadows didn’t exactly win over any of Depp and Burton’s naysayers.
Now, with June, we’ve got an even more promising month; 30 days packed with Abraham Lincoln killing vampires, a rock musical, and a talking bear movie.
All the required ingredients for a proper moviegoing month.
This is such a busy month the honorable mentions are more honorable than usual, even Adam Shankman’s Rock of Ages, that movie being marketed as a celebrity karaoke party. Even though The Loved Ones is apparently a must-see movie, 99.9% of you will not be able to see it this month, hence why it’s not on the list. But what is?
Opens June 8th
Prometheus marks Ridley Scott’s return to sci-fi, and it’s doubtful many will come away dissatisfied by his world building, the questions posed, and Scott’s 3D glorification of those Godly men us mortals call “Michael Fassbender” and “Idris Elba.” Scott’s film has its chilling horror sequences, but it’s the ideas Prometheus explores which marks it as the most brainy blockbuster in recent memory: the relationship between creator and creation, the need for answers, and how death leads to life.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World/Safety Not Guaranteed
Opens June 22nd/June 8th
This would make for a perfect double-feature, so it’s been counted as such. These are both films that leave you on a high walking out of the theater. Both films use their high-concepts to explore true feelings, making for two intimate, funny, and surprisingly dramatic journeys.
Your Sister’s Sister
Opens June 15th
If you don’t get the buzz about Emily Blunt, see this movie. Writer/Director Lynn Shelton’s improved – and yet tightly told yarn – is a showcase for Blunt. As proven by Your Sister’s Sister, she has the movie star glamor, but also the impressive talent behind it all. She’s the real deal. Of course, it helps when you have the likes of Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass by your side, also giving notable performances.
Opens June 22nd
Pixar is a sure thing factory. With the two obvious exceptions whose titles require no need to mention, their track record still speaks for itself. Not only is Brave exciting because it’s the company’s first foray into a female-driven film, but, at the end of the day, it’s a summer Pixar film. Expect the tears, the laughs, and all the other sentimental crap which usually comes with their pictures, along with that delectable Kelly MacDonald voice.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Opens June 22nd
One would think based on the jokey title this would fit comfortably into Timur Bekmambetov’s wheelhouse, but if you’ve read the book, you know that’s not entirely true. What’s so appealing about Seth Grahame-Smith’s story is how serious it takes itself. If Bekmambetov adapts the book’s tricky tone correctly, his adaptation will most likely divide audiences. How he’ll handle those dramatic elements of Lincoln’s life is a mystery. Luckily, if the Wanted director executes all the vampire elements half as well as he did with Night Watch and Day Watch, at least expect one bloody and playful R-rated blockbuster.
To Rome With Love
Opens June 22nd
Woody Allen is coming off a hot success with Midnight in Paris, and whether he’ll recapture that magic is still a question mark. With Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, Ellen Page, and Penélope Cruz, it’s difficult to see how he couldn’t. With that cast and those locations, Allen would have to pull a lot of crap to make To Rome With Love one of his missteps. Still, the most exciting part of To Rome With Love is the fact we’re getting a double-dose of the Baldwin goods in a span of a month.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Opens June 27th
This was the film which made a huge splash at Sundance this year, and much of that praise was called for. Beasts of the Southern Wild is a real piece of beauty. It’s packed with images, scenes, and lines that’ll stay with you and make Terrence Malick wet himself in jealousy. Malick will go down as the film’s inevitable comparison, but Beasts of the Southern Wild is a much more accessible piece in the vein of Malick’s works.
Take This Waltz
Now on VOD and opens in theaters on June 29th
If Magnolia rightfully pimps this movie come awards season, expect to see a handful of nominations heading Michelle Williams’s way. Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz is a lovely, charming and sad story. This is the type of relationship film which can effortlessly make you crack a smile in one scene, and then quietly break your heart a few scenes later.
Opens June 29th
No matter how generic-looking Magic Mike continues to come off, it will still bare the must-see status. We’re getting close to Steven Soderbergh’s possible retirement, so even if Magic Mike is the worst of the romantic comedy crop – which is something the powers that be are selling it as – it couldn’t tarnish the film’s importance. Really, what could be more important than a movie starring I Am Number Four’s Alex Pettyfer?
People Like Us
Opens June 29th
When you watch Orci & Kurtzman joints, “character” and “drama” are usually not what one would call those products’ strong points. Kurtzman knows pace and how to get characters from point A to point B for stuff to blowup nicely, but is he capable of doing the opposite with People Like Us? His character-centered directorial debut appears as a writer going outside of his comfort zone, or perhaps getting a chance to finally do what he’s always been best at.
Honorable Mentions: Nacho Vigalondo’s Extraterrestrial (have you seen Timecrimes?), Ted (have heard promising reactions about Seth MacFarlane’s feature film), and Rock of Ages (Shankman could easily repeat the success of Hairspray with this material)
What are you looking forward to the most?