Summer Movie Preview
By Tim Parks
It’s upon us again that time of year that facilitates pure escapism from reality, all in two hours or so, as the contents of popcorn tubs are eaten and sodas are drained of their last drop. The summer movie season is arguably the best chance during the movie going year to catch superheroes in action, a slew of sequels and other Hollywood event films.
And here is a look at a smattering of the offerings that will draw you in, like moths to the flickering light of the projector housed inside of your local Cineplex.
I’m Super, Thanks For Asking
The third installment in the Iron Man franchise has Robert Downey, Jr,’s heroic alter ego grappling with tried-and-true good guy existential crisis: does the suit make the man or does the man make the suit? This doubt is put to the test when he takes on The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and will be assisted with by a few other Iron Men and even one Iron Woman, his girlfriend, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). May 3
Man of Steel has Metropolis’ favorite son coming out of cinematic retirement after the disappointment that was 2006’s Superman Returns. This time around, Superman (Henry Cavill) attempts to figure out what his purpose is on Earth and how he can literally use his powers for good.
This search for truth, justice and the American way is impeded by the appearance of fellow Kryptonians General Zod (Michael Shannon) and his evil female cohort Faora (Antje Traue). Meanwhile, his Clark Kent persona does his best to fit into his Daily Planet reporter duties, including his dealings with Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and Perry White (Laurence Fishburne) in this film directed by 300’s Zack Synder and produced by The Dark Knight Rises’ director Christopher Nolan. June 14.
Hugh Jackman sharpens up his razor sharp claws as The Wolverine, the fifth film outing as the popular X-Men character. He travels to Japan and is literally confronted with a mysterious person from his past that may irrevocably alter his present and future. Could it be Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), who was allegedly killed off in X-Men: The Last Stand? July 26.
Kick-Ass 2 reunites amateur superheroes Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moritz) and their arch nemesis Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who know goes under the pseudonym of The Mother F%&*^r. When he launches a campaign to dispose of the dynamic duo, they join forces with Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey). August 16
Stop Me If You’ve Seen This One Before
One of the few remakes this summer is The Great Gatsby, which last made a cinematic appearance in 1974 and starred Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. The 2013 version stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire as the Midwest transplant who finds himself living in New York City and becoming entranced by the lifestyles of the rich and famous; most notably Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio). Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann is helming the adaptation of F.Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel and is giving it a modern day spin by filming and releasing the 1922 set movie in 3D. May 10
Boldly go where a 2009 reboot went before with Star Trek Into Darkness. The crew of the Starship Enterprise, helmed by Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), find their future world in a state of crisis when a lone wolf John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) declares war on the planet. Kirk sets off on a personal vendetta against the madman, who is rumored to be Khan, and in doing so jeopardizes the lives of his crew, including Spock (Zachary Quinto). May 17
Get ready to hit the nitro for the sixth time, as Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson headline the latest Fast & Furious. The movie picks up from the last chapter with Diesel and Walker on the lam from pulling a $100 million heist, but get pulled into a mercenary-based group of drivers that will encompass 12 countries. May 24
On the very same day, another franchise is looking to recapture cinematic lightning in a bottle. The Hangover Part III continues the misadventures of everyone’s favorite blackout drunks , and will be wrapping up the popular, and profitable, comedy series up in this final chapter.
The Wolfpack sets out on a road trip this time around, but not for a wedding or bachelor party and hilarity ensues with Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and newcomer to this installment in the guise of John Goodman. May 24
The Lone Ranger was originally a character created for radio in 1933, then went onto television fame from 1949-1957 and starred Clayton Moore as the masked man and Jay Silverheels as his kemo sabe. There was a film, circa 1981, and now a new edition with Armie Hammer as the “Hi Yo Silver” uttering vigilante and reunites Johnny Depp with Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski with role as The Lone Ranger’s trusted sidekick Tonto. July 3
Red 2 continues the ass-kicking adventures of retired CIA operatives Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren and Mary-Louise Parker in a plot to find the whereabouts a missing portable nuclear device, and brings Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones into the action-comedy mix. August 2
Do you like movies about gladiators? Then you will most assuredly be checking out 300: Rise of an Empire, which chronicles the tale of Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) and his quest to amalgamate all of Greece and stave off an attack from Persian enemies. August 23
It’s The End Of The World As We Know It
The recent box-office success of Tom Cruise’s Oblivion has paved the way for summer’s most common thread plotline, the end of the world as we know it
After Earth stars Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith crash landing on Earth one thousand years after cataclysmic events occurred on our world, setting its citizens off to colonize Nova Prime. 13-year-old Kitai is forced to explore the brave new world on his own to recover their rescue beacon, as his father lies dying in the cockpit of their spacecraft. May 31
The comedy Rapture-Palooza has two teens battling their way through the outcome of a religious day of reckoning and set out to take on the Antichrist. June 7
Another comedic look at the end of days is This Is The End, which features real-life celebrities portraying themselves as Los Angeles is besieged by strange occurences and forces them to take shelter from the apocalypse at a party thrown by James Franco. The other stars along for the humorous tale include Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Emma Watson and Paul Rudd. June 12
Brad Pitt headlines World War Z as United Nations employee Gerry Lane who travels the quickly unraveling world as a zombie pandemic makes its presence known. June 21.
Mankind is doomed when legions of gigantic monsters called Kaiju emerge from the sea in Pacific Rim. The only solution for humanity comes in the form of Jaegers, which are giant robots, who are aided by two improbable heroes a washed up pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and a trainee (Rinko Kikuchi) in director Guillermo del Toro’s clash of the titans tale. July 12
Five childhood friends reunite to celebrate on recreating a legendary pub crawl that transpired 20 years prior, only to discover that they are the only hope for human kind’s survival when they converge on the pub known as The World’s End. This English comedy stars Simon Pegg and re-teams him with his Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright. August 23
So there you have it, a mere smattering of the movies that may hold your attention during the summer months. And just remember, the Hollywood powers-that-be may change some of the release dates mentioned.