Summer’s releases will feature indie films and blockbusters
By Varun Bhuchar, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Wednesday, May 30, 2012
This coming summer’s crop of movie releases contains the usual big-budget extravaganzas like “The Avengers” (released on May 4), “Prometheus” (June 8) and Pixar’s new film “Brave” (June 22), but what makes this year so unique is its slate of relatively lower-budget and lesser-known films, which will be released in the upcoming months.
Director Wes Anderson returns with his latest film “Moonrise Kingdom” (May 25), the story of two prepubescent children who run away together and the ensuing search for the duo. Starring Bruce Willis and Edward Norton, the film looks as quirky and charming as anything Anderson has ever directed.
In a few weeks, the comedy “Safety Not Guaranteed” (June 8) will come to theaters. The film is based on the true story of a man who placed an advertisement in a local paper looking for a partner to travel back in time with him. The film stars Aubrey Plaza, who currently shines as the hilariously downbeat April Ludgate on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” and it should be a treat to watch.
Taking a bit of a detour from the norm is “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (June 22), a retelling of Abraham Lincoln’s life in which he, well, hunts vampires. It’ll be sure to confuse anybody who fell asleep during history class.
Opening the same day is the apocalyptic comedy “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” (June 22), the story of two neighbors, played by the awesomely matched pair of Keira Knightley and Steve Carell, who embark on a road trip to fulfill their wishes while a meteor threatens to destroy the Earth.
The following week will see the release of “Magic Mike” (June 29), a film based on the true story of star Channing Tatum’s pre-celebrity stint as a stripper. If there’s one film guaranteed to attract a large female audience, it’s safe to say that it’ll be this one.
Those looking for slightly more serious work would be interested in Oliver Stone’s new film “Savages” (July 6), which details the fight between two marijuana dealers and a Mexican drug cartel after the latter steals the former’s shared girlfriend.
“Savages” looks like it will be a return to form for Stone, who after some boring dramas seems to be returning to the frenzied mood of his previous films “Platoon” (1986) and “Natural Born Killers” (1994).
In that vein comes Rodrigo Cortes’ “Red Lights” (July 13), a thriller about a psychologist investigating a psychic. Cortes’ previous work, the surprisingly engaging “Buried” (2010), proves that the fledgling director has already gained a strong grasp on the art of suspense.
Jumping into August comes the romantic comedy “Hope Springs” (Aug. 10), a story of a couple, played by Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep, who try to revive their failing marriage by seeing a renowned marriage counselor played by Carell in his second appearance of the summer. Streep alone should be reason enough to put this on your must-watch list.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is also going to have a busy year with four movies set for releases in the next few months. One that has received particularly noteworthy hype is “Premium Rush” (Aug. 24), which follows Gordon-Levitt as a bicycle messenger trying to keep a package out of the hands of a dirty cop played by Michael Shannon.
Rounding out the summer is the Prohibition-era drama “Lawless” (Aug. 31), which showcases Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf as bootlegging brothers fighting against corrupt law enforcement. The film is the brainchild of the Australian team of John Hillcoat and Nick Cave, the film’s director and writer, respectively. The two are also the creative minds behind the graphic but gripping Western “The Proposition” (2005).
And last but not least, the biggest must-see movie of the summer — although it isn’t exactly low-key, nor was it made on a shoestring budget — is “The Dark Knight Rises” (July 20), arguably the most anticipated movie of the year.
This sequel to “The Dark Knight” (2008) promises to serve as a definitive end to Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy and a ridiculously ripped Hardy — in his second appearance of the summer — as its main villain. There are those who doubt that Nolan can make this film as good as its predecessor, but I’m not worried — I subscribe to the old motto when it comes to this director: “In Nolan we trust.”
“The Dark Knight Rises” is not the only sequel to be released over the course of the summer — the Men in Black return with “Men in Black III” (May 25), just released last week to audience acclaim.
In addition, Anderson is not the only notable director with a cult-like following to release a new film. Woody Allen’s new film “To Rome with Love” (June 22) will be on limited release and will star Penelope Cruz alongside up-and-coming comedy stars like Jesse Eisenberg and Ellen Page.
Overall, this summer promises a list of highly anticipated films ranging from big blockbusters to independent pearls. So take a break from the hot summer weather and hit up some air conditioned theaters this summer for the “what to watch for” lineup.