Now that CAPTAIN AMERICAN: THE WINTER SOLDIER got the party started early; now that THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 has swung into theatres for the fifth time in 12 years; and now that NEIGHBORS, this year’s inevitable Seth Rogen comedy, is getting people in the mood to laugh at the utterly mindless again, it is time to look ahead at this year’s summer movie options. Over the course of the next few months, Angelina Jolie will try not to put us to sleep while putting a young princess to sleep in MALEFICENT; Mark Wahlberg will try to fill the enormously large shoes of Shia LaBeouf by taking over the TRANSFORMERS franchise; and the Wachowski siblings will attempt to eclipse the disaster that was CLOUD ATLAS with another extravagant experiment in science fiction, JUPITER ASCENDING. The theatres will be overcrowded; the air conditioning will be too high; and a handful of tiny movies will fight for one screen while Marvel forces audiences to watch GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY on all the other ones. Some big movies will bomb; some little movies will blow up; and there will be an abundance of explosions either way. This is Black Sheep Reviews’ 2014 Summer Movie Preview.LET’S GET LOUD Five big summer movies we can’t wait to see.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
Sex scandals aside (because it is that easy to toss these things aside these days apparently), the latest entry in the X-MEN franchise has got way too much going for it to not rouse excitement in fans and non-fans alike. Hugh Jackman returns to the ensemble piece as the “beloved” Wolverine and this time he travels through time! The time-travel element makes it possible to combine original cast members like Patrick Stewart, Iam McKellan and Halle Berry with newer sensations, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence. Bryan Singer returns the the franchise he launched years ago and throws every ball he has in the air in hopes of dazzling an audience that has wained over the years. The question remains, can he successfully manage to juggle them all at once? (May 23)
Ordinarily, I would not have any interest in this project. Not only has it been to death but the last couple of times Godzilla was tackled, the results were embarrassing bordering on insulting. With Gareth Edwards at the helm though, my interest is piqued once again. Edwards proved he knows how to handle the mystery of monsters with his indie hit, MONSTERS, so I am greatly intrigued to see how he handles the most famous monster of them all. If that wasn’t enough to get me, there is also the stellar and surprising cast, which includes Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche, Ken Watanabe, David Straithairn and Sally Hawkins. They aren’t the biggest names on the planet but they will bring a great deal of talent to the monster genre, which doesn’t always concern itself with actual acting. (May 16)
A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST
I am somewhat skeptical of Seth MacFarlane’s first foray into leading man territory but I was also weary of TED and I loved that so I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here. MacFarlane is back in the writer/director seat as well with this tale of how horribly unsafe the wild west once was. He has assembled a top notch cast too, which includes Charlize Theron, Neil Patrick Harris, Amanda Seyfried and Liam Neeson. If he manages to keep the plot simple and the laughs hearty, I’m sure he will pull it off. Although I’m not sure I want him to succeed too much. Can you imagine MacFarlane as a bankable Hollywood star? I’m not sure I want to. (May 30)
I’ve only just started reading John Green’s novel of the same name and I’m already falling completely in love with it. The young adult genre has been a force to reckon with for some time now and it is refreshing to meet a young person who isn’t tasked with saving the world from impending doom for a change. Shailene Woodley, who heads up the DIVERGENT series, will get the chance to show off her subtler side here as a young cancer survivor who meets and falls in love with another survivor (Ansel Elgort, who plays her brother in DIVERGENT) she meets at a support group. Despite the subject matter, the book is laugh out loud funny but I suspect that, this time given the subject matter, there are some tears to be expected before reaching the end. Either way, the main character is beautiful and I look forward to seeing her come to life on screen. (June 6)
I happen to think Cameron Diaz is hilarious. I loved her in BAD TEACHER and I loved her chemistry with her co-star, Jason Segel, so I am all set to love the both of them together again in SEX TAPE. The premise is a little banal – a couple make a sex tape to spice up their dull love life and it ends up being uploaded to a bunch of iPads they gave out as gifts so they need to get them all back before anyone sees them in all their naked, sweaty glory. Still, as long as the jokes are solid, I will be satisfied. Will I be so satisfied that I need a cigarette afterwards remains to be seen. (July 25)THE PERFECT SUMMER INDIE Five little movies hoping to break out
WISH I WAS HERE
The Zach Braff kickstarted movie is coming! You can question his methods but if you’ve seen Braff’s debut, GARDEN STATE, then you know you are in no position to question his motives for making another movie. His first was a touching film filled with promise for the budding filmmaker. That promise seemed to be going nowhere for a while though and now we will finally find out if the last time out was just a fluke or whether Braff really has what it takes to be a successful filmmaker. In it, Braff plays a father who home schools his children while trying to rediscover himself. Passion project or ego trip? We’ll just have to wait and see. (July 25)
We’ve got another Coppola to contend with. Gia Coppola, Francis Ford’s grand daughter, niece of Sofia and Roman, has adapted James Franco’s book of short stories into what is supposed to be one of the strongest film debuts of the year. The film has been playing the festival circuit for a while now and the word on this coming of age drama is pretty strong so far, despite all of Franco’s instagram shenanigans. Franco stars as a soccer coach who has some fairly inappropriate flirting going on with one of his students (Emma Roberts). The film is already playing in limited release and will hopefully be coming to a city near one of us very shortly.
Leave it to Richard Linklater, the man behind the “Before” series, including last summer’s BEFORE MIDNIGHT, to bring us one of the most daring films of the year. BOYHOOD was shot intermittently over the last 12 years, which allowed Linklater to capture the actual real time growth of its young star, Ellar Coltrane, as he tackles life between the ages of 5 and 18. Ethan Hawke and Patrcia Arquette co-star and the festival buzz around the film suggests that Linklater has once again crafted a singularly unique film experience just by trying something a little different. (July 11)
I’m not actually looking forward to seeing John Carney’s long awaited follow-up to the international success, ONCE. This is actually because I already saw the film when it played at last year’s TIFF (when it was still called CAN A SONG SAVE YOUR LIFE?). Now that the original title has justifiably been cast aside, I predict that this film will charm many a summer filmgoer with its whimsy and wit. Mark Ruffalo stars as a record producer without a hit and Keira Knightly co-stars as a hit maker without a record label. Together they make beautiful music throughout New York City and learn to believe again in both the music and themselves. PS. Knightly has a lovely singing voice. (July 4)
LOVE IS STRANGE
I’ve not actually seen anything from this film yet but after director, Ira Sach’s last project, KEEP THE LIGHTS ON, I’d be willing to watch almost anything he puts out. This film stars Alfred Molina and John Lithgow, as a long term couple who decide to finally marry. Their marriage is met with great support until one loses his job over it. They are then forced to live apart to remain afloat, each living with either friends or family. I have a great deal of faith is Sachs as he has clearly demonstrated in the past that he understands relationship dynamics in a very honest and real way. The strain this situation places on this new marriage will certainly be no exception. (August)WORRIED AND WEARY Five films I suspect may be the worst this summer has to offer.
I’m not a fan of jukebox musicals in general and this one is particularly plain, especially for a Best Musical Tony winner. The fact that it is directed by Clint Eastwood only makes me fear it more. (June 20)
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2
I was pleasantly surprised by the first film but consider this sequel to be entirely unnecessary. I know family films make tonnes of cash but I wish they wouldn’t ruin so many of them by forcing stories to go on without any justifiable reason. (June 13)
THE EXPENDABLES 3
Why is this series still going? The first instalment was amusing; the second was tiring. A third offering feels forced to say the least. And since when is Kelsey Grammar an old school action here? (August 15)
SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR
The title alone is cringe worthy. I know Robert Rodriguez’s original film struck a chord with many filmgoers but the only chord it struck with me was one of disgust at how misogynistic it was. I don’t have high hopes that this will be any less offensive. (August 22)
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
Live-action ninja turtles and Megan Fox reuniting with Michael Bay, as a supposedly credible reporter no less. Need I saw more? (One of the turtles is voice by Johnny Knoxville; there, I said more.) (August 8)
There you have it. A random sampling of some of our most anticipated summer titles, as well as some we hope to avoid along with sunburns and mosquito bites. What about you? What are you looking forward to this summer at the movies?