Hollywood’s summer movie season kicked off on Friday with The Avengers, and with it begins another summer of reboots, prequels and sequels. As with recent summers, the next four months at the movies are going to be dominated by movies about superheroes and the familiar story of good versus evil. There’s the franchise reboot The Amazing Spider-Man with Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker this time ‘round. There are also several sequels to popular and well-known film franchises on tap such as G.I. Joe: Retaliation and The Expendables 2. Summer movie season is beginning to feel a little bit like déjà-vu. Still, I’m excited about this summer’s fare. Despite the fact that studios are trotting out the familiar, there’s promise of a little something for everyone.
The summer of 2012 could be one of the best in years and it’s going to be one crowded landscape of films. There will be comedies – The Campaign and Neighborhood Watch; musicals – Rock of Ages and Sparkle, and even a film based on a beloved board game – Battleship. You’ll want to spend your hard-earned money wisely by weeding out the must-see movies from the ones you’ll want to skip while paying close attention to those films you shouldn’t let slide under the radar. Without further ado, here’s a brief round-up of the most hotly-anticipated films, the indies and some must-see movies in between.
Dark Shadows (May 11)
A Tim Burton-Johnny Depp collaboration is always intriguing and this time proves no different as Burton reworks the late 60s gothic soap with a whimsical approach and a stellar cast which includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham-Carter and Eva Green.
The Dictator (May 16)
Sacha Baron Cohen is back at it again with another of his wacky characters. This time he plays an unsympathetic dictator who hates women, kills his rivals and even hurts children. If Borat and Bruno are any indication, this film is sure to be one of the most talked about films of the summer season.
Men in Black III (May 25)
Fifteen years after the last film, Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith re-team to bring us a third installment in the once popular franchise that has Smith traveling back in time to change the course of history. Josh Brolin joins the cast as the young K who splits screen time with Tommy Lee Jones’ cold, hard, contemporary K.
Snow White and the Huntsman (June 1)
This film adaptation is a dark take on the beloved classic fairytale. Kristen Stewart leaves the vampires and werewolves behind to play an imprisoned Snow White who is “destined to end the darkness” by overthrowing the evil Ravena. It’s being touted as an action-packed revenge film and a stunning visual masterpiece with cool imagery. Based on the trailer and on early buzz, it appears that this film may be more appealing to audiences than Julia Roberts’ film Mirror, Mirror.
Moonrise Kingdom (June 1)
It’s hard to know what to expect with a Wes Anderson film. Known for his offbeat comedy and penchant for infusing humour with tragedy, one never knows what his latest effort will offer. Starring Bill Murray and Frances McDormand as parents searching for runaway kids, the film is certainly a compelling option for those looking for a reprieve from superhero movies.
Take this Waltz (June 29)
Also on the indie front is this Sarah Polley directed vehicle starring Michelle Williams as a married woman who becomes obsessed with her neighbour. Seth Rogen takes a break from comedy and tries his hand at something new by playing Williams’ supportive and endlessly understanding husband.
Prometheus (June 8)
Next to The Dark Knight Rises, this is the film that I’m most excited about seeing this summer. You simply cannot go wrong with a Ridley Scott sci-fi film. It’s being called an Alien prequel of sorts with Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace and Charlize Theron as explorers on a journey to uncover the origins of life on Earth.
To Rome With Love (June 22)
Woody Allen continues his European tour by taking us from Paris to Rome. With a great cast including Penelope Cruz, Alex Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg and – the long absent – Roberto Benigni, Allen tells a story about people in Italy and the romances and adventures they experience.
The Dark Knight Rises (July 20)
The studio earned my money for this film after the credits for the The Dark Knight rolled. I can’t remember the last time that I was this excited to see a film. Perhaps it was for The Dark Knight. The epic conclusion to the Dark Knight saga has no room for failure. With a superb cast which includes Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard, and with Christopher Nolan at the helm, can the final film in a remarkable trilogy be anything less than spectacular? I’m going to go out on a limb here by saying, hell no.
Total Recall (August 3)
I know that remakes are all the rage these days, but the original Total Recall still holds up and is still so good that I’m not sure it warranted a remake, but that’s just my humble opinion. Colin Farrell is stepping into Arnold Schwarzenegger’s shoes in a film that I’ve read looks much like the original, but made on a big-budget scale. It will be interesting to see if director Len Wiseman manages to capture the same trippy, quirky and cool entertainment value that made the original film so good.
ParaNorman (August 17)
If you liked Coraline then chances are good that you’ll enjoy this animated feature too. The same production team is to thank for this film about a kid named Norman who can communicate with the dead and defends his town against a century-old curse by taking on ghosts and zombies.