Looking for a summer film? Dozens of websites tout the top 10 films of the summer. As a film educator, I understand the players, the buzz and the anticipation of these films. Here are some tips on navigating the top 10, as well as other coming attractions
GOOD ESCAPIST ENTERTAINMENT
Batman also returns in The Dark Night Rises, (July 20) with Christian Bale returning and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. Director Nolan is very good adding substance to an otherwise comic book storyline, so it should be interesting.The blockbuster action hero is back in the much-anticipated The Amazing Spider-Man, (July 3). This film features a new “Spidey” in Andrew Garfield (The Social Network). What’s interesting is fairly unknown director, Marc Webb. He’s critically acclaimed for 500 Days of Summer, but untested in the blockbuster market. Whether it’s a great film or a dud, the special effects are sure to be good.
If you like these kinds of movies, and I do, they won’t change your life or give you any insights into the human condition, but they can be great fun.
And then (finally) is a comedy. Men in Black 3 opened Memorial Day after a four-year lapse in the franchise and is doing well. The Avengers, which had the biggest box office opening weekend ever, showed that audiences want heroes with some humor who don’t take themselves so seriously. Will Smith deliver’s that.
FOR THE KIDS
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (June 8). The kids will love it. This series does have some interesting characters, so the parents should enjoy it too.
Brave. Pixar film finally with a girl hero!!! June 22 can’t come soon enough.
On July 13, Ice Age: Continental Drift opens. Will Scrat, the acorn-pursuing squirrel, finally get his acorn? The other films of this series have done big box office, so the kids should love this one as well.
On August 3, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days opens. The first movie based on the popular book series was very good so this is promising. Definitely a good family movie night pick.
And, just a word about Ted. Yes it’s a cartoon, but it’s NOT for kids. One reviewer called it a feature length Family Guy episode. If you’ve ever seen the series you know what I mean. If you haven’t, don’t bother, as it contains lots of sexual innuendo and cynicism.
ONES TO AVOID
The Bourne Legacy has a new face in the lead role, Jeremy Renner. He’s a good actor, but the franchise has lost steam. Better to rent later.
Total Recall, a remake of the 1990s Schwarzenegger film. This is one film that doesn’t need to be remade.
Magic Mike stars fairly known actors and is about male strippers. Director Steven Soderberg is a fantastic director, but I can’t see many people, male or female wanting to see this one.
Piranha 3D. Piranhas – 3D – enough said.
Sparkle, starring American Idol winner Jordin Sparks. The story centers on a Motown era girl group. Hmmm, singer does a movie, sounds like Mariah Carey’s failed Glitter. And you can’t beat Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls, so why try.
GI Joe: Retaliation. The first one flopped, so I doubt the second one is going to be like Godfather II (better than the first).
DIFFERENT AND PROBABLY MORE INTERESTING
June 29 – People Like Us. A relationship film starring Chris Pine (Star Trek). The story centers on Pine and his half-sister after the death of their father. Michelle Pfeiffer also makes an appearance. Looks like lots of emotional twists and turns – in other words, an actual story.
August 10– Hope Springs, the new Meryl Streep film. As with any Meryl film, even if it’s bad, she’s a joy to watch. The rest of the cast is interesting – Tommy Lee Jones is her husband, and Steve Carrell plays their therapist. Should be hilarious, a good date night movie.
August 15 – The Odd Life of Timothy Green. The trailers look very intriguing for this story about a childless couple who find their perfectly described child on their doorstep. This could take you on an emotional roller coaster, which is what great cinematic films should do.
For me – I’m eager for The Dark Night Rises because I love action films with emotional substance, and Brave, because I can’t wait for my daughter to have a hero that’s not a princess with a 10-inch waist who only finds happiness in landing a man.