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BlogDH’s epic summer movie preview bonanza

Disclaimer: At over 5,700 words, this may well be the longest post BlogDH has ever featured. Certainly it’s the longest post I’ve ever done. Prepare yourselves. Below are 100 movies from the coming summer, with accompanying trailers and descriptions. Every major release is included, but I should note that I was slightly selective with the smaller movies. Still, just about everything you might even consider seeing this summer should be here.  Think of it as one long, long, long study break. Let’s just jump right in.

May 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

This newest Spider-Man has, of course, come out already, and by most accounts is nothing to write home about. Still, it’s probably fun enough to sit through, and BlogDH always gives the benefit of the doubt to (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb.

Walk of Shame

Elizabeth Banks hasn’t really had the career she deserves. Starring in a formulaic rom-com opposite James Marsden probably isn’t the way to kick-start her stalled fortunes, though. We’ll take a pass. So will the rest of the country.

Belle

One of those “inspired by a true story” summer indie types, Belle certainly looks like it has its heart in the right place. Reviews so far have been generally positive, and while it probably doesn’t reinvent the wheel, Belle could be a strong choice for fans of historical fiction with moral fiber.

Ida

This Polish movie is one of the summer’s many film festival alumni, having roared off the circuit with superb reviews. Probably slow, probably heavy, and definitely not in English, Ida will take some work but may be worth it for more serious film buffs.

May 9

Neighbors

Neighbors came out a while ago in the UK and also screened at IFF a couple weeks ago. BlogDH was there and can vouch for its funniness — the most salient comparison is to Seth Rogen’s last movie, the similarly amusing This is the End. See it if you’re into that kind of thing.

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

As a huge fan of the Oz books growing up, I’m not on board with the recent proliferation of adaptations: first the truly horrible Oz: The Great and Powerful, and now this. Legends of Oz is clearly targeted at little kids, and it may succeed there, but it’s hard to see it doing much business with anyone else.

Chef

Recently, Jon Favreau’s career has been geared more toward big budget films like the first two Iron Man movies and Cowboys & Aliens, but he’s taken a step back toward indie with Chef. The trailer is only worth it for the delicious-looking food, but reviews so far are positive.

The Double

Jesse Eisenberg, who most recently appeared in Now You See Me and Rio 2, also returns to more modest roots here. The Double received very impressive early returns from critics and is the second film from promising young Submarine director Richard Ayoade.

Palo Alto

Having grown up in the real Palo Alto (like James Franco), I’m interested to see how Palo Alto turns out. Franco’s book of the same name was decidedly trashy but nonetheless enjoyable; the film, directed by the newest Coppola (Gia), has more artistic ambitions. Early reviews are fairly positive.

Devil’s Knot

We should say up front that, by most accounts, Devil’s Knot isn’t great. Still, Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth in a tense, possibly creepy Southern mystery? Sounds kind of worthwhile, no?

God’s Pocket

God’s Pocket is supposed to be quite bad. In fact, just about no one has anything good to say about it. We include it here only because it’s the directorial debut of Mad Men‘s John Slattery and one of the last appearances from Philip Seymour Hoffman. Too bad it didn’t turn out better.

May 16

Godzilla

I am psyched for Godzilla. Monster movies aren’t usually my thing, but come on, how cool does this look? You’ve got a new, computer-revamped Godzilla, Heisenberg’s return to acting, and lots and lots of disaster scenes that look quite well-staged. If you’re as excited as I am, there is pretty much an hour’s worth of trailers available online.

Million Dollar Arm

Million Dollar Arm looks pretty mediocre, and it doesn’t help that the story it’s based on didn’t really go anywhere, but BlogDH loves Lake Bell. We’ll call it a wash. Using The Script in the trailer certainly doesn’t instill much confidence.

The Immigrant

A knockout cast, rave early reviews, and a promising trailer — what more could you want? Harvey Weinstein bet on The Immigrant, and it’s usually not smart to wager against him. Expect this to be very good.

Chinese Puzzle

The completion of a French trilogy that began in 2002, Chinese Puzzle sees the series’ protagonist follow his estranged wife and children to New York.  This one appears to be more in English than the other two, and reviews are good so far, so it might be worth a look.

May 23

X-Men: Days of Future Past

The first installment in this newest X-Men reboot, First Class, was well received awesome. Since, Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender have become substantially more famous, and The Wolverine was kind of successful. What do these developments portend for Days of Future Past? Dunno. Could be good. The trailer music is exciting.

Blended

I guess somebody had to figure out a way to keep Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore’s careers afloat, but was anyone asking for Blended to get made? Has Adam Sandler made a funny movie (besides Funny People) since 2000? Those questions were both rhetorical; the answer is no. Skip this.

Tracks

Mia Wasikowska has steadily become a force in the indie world since the success of The Kids Are All Right, and Adam Driver is a thing now because of Girls. If you’re interested in spending two hours with them in the middle of the Sahara, Tracks is the movie for you. Critics like it too, for what that’s worth.

Cold in July

Another movie that has already received some critical acclaim, Cold in July is also supposed to be pretty good. Pow pow! Pow pow! Southern accents, guns, and ominous but vague kidnapping threats… I’m so in.

Words and Pictures

Words and Pictures is poised to fill that mandatory “romantic drama that no one is really interested in” spot in the summer lineup. This is what Clive Owen does now, apparently. How unfortunate. 

Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

From what we can tell from the trailer, a kid with Asperger’s gets lost in the subway system, and that’s pretty much it. But this too has already been warmly received, and it’s these little indie movies that sometimes get you the hardest. It probably won’t be for everyone — it seems to be one of those films that was very much made for and by New Yorkers — but Stand Clear of the Closing Doors has potential.

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

People are watching Robin Williams’ dumb new TV show, so why not a movie? No word on how they possibly talked Mila Kunis into being in it, but The Angriest Man in Brooklyn doesn’t look worth rushing to the theater for, Mila or no Mila.

May 30

Maleficient

Last year’s Snow White adaptation bonanza apparently inspired Disney to give Sleeping Beauty the same treatment. The trailer looks like a misfire, but Angelina Jolie probably knows what she’s doing and BlogDH is a big fan of Elle Fanning (number 2 in the Fanning family, number one in our hearts). Maybe good for the 8-10 y.o. demographic.

A Million Ways to Die in the West

Your boy Seth MacFarlane (RISD ’95 what up) has been a hot property since the mildly amusing Ted broke a weird number of records. His Oscars hosting gig may not have gone perfectly, but that didn’t stop Universal from investing in A Million Ways to Die in the West. The trailer seemed like a dud to me, but I’ve met others who thought differently. You decide.

Filth

The premise of Filth seems to be exactly what the title says — an endless parade of obscenity heaped on the back of James McAvoy. Reviews are generally positive so far and confirm that the filmmakers aren’t pulling any punches in terms of vulgarity. It certainly shouldn’t be boring.

Night Moves

We’ve already disclosed our preference for Elle over Dakota, Fanning-wise, but Night Moves is probably more promising than Maleficient. Another movie that’s already returned solid reviews, it appears to be a spiritual descendant of last year’s The East. Could be entertaining.

We Are the Best!

It’s hard to tell much from the trailer, but critics are unanimously trumpeting We Are the Best! as a major success. It demands that you put up with two hours of subtitled Swedish, but if you can handle that, you’ll probably enjoy it.

The Grand Seduction

Only a couple years ago, Taylor Kitsch seemed bound for bigger things. But after the disasters of John Carter and Battleship, he’s playing second fiddle to Brendan Gleeson in a limited-release movie about some remote Canadian town. Rough.

June 6

Edge of Tomorrow

The success of Oblivion ensured we’d be treated to at least a few more blockbuster Tom Cruise action movies. Lucky for us! Edge of Tomorrow looks to be one of a good number of movies that have played with the Groundhog Day concept, with little else to offer except Emily Blunt’s cool accent. But hey, you never know. Some people are pretty excited.

The Fault in our Stars

Shailene Woodley really has a monopoly on the good teenage girl roles these days, having already appeared in The Descendants and The Spectacular Now. Now she plays a teen cancer patient in love in The Fault in our Stars. Dying teenagers don’t seem like catnip at the summer box office, but hey, the book is massively popular, so why not.

Willow Creek

Not to be confused with Dawson’s CreekWillow Creek is that rare found-footage horror movie you’ve been missing. Attractive young people enter the forest searching for a mythical beast, only to come under attack?! How do they come up with this stuff?? Anyway, critics apparently like it.

The Sacrament

Ugh. I’m including these low-budget horror things because Rotten Tomatoes keeps approving them and I know there are people out there who like them. But I refuse to watch the trailer for The Sacrament on principle. Someone let me know if it looks good.

Borgman

Borgman is a weird-looking Scandivanian thriller that certain circles of indie critics are interested in. It has real cred — it screened at Cannes, among other places — and looks unique enough to merit at least some attention. Reviews are positive-ish.

Obvious Child

Obvious Child is that abortion-based rom-com everyone’s been waiting for. The movie debut of SNL alumna Jenny Slate, it has been received enthusiastically by early viewers. As a rom-com aficionado tired of the Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore retreads, I’m pumped.

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon

Mike Myers’s directorial debut is this documentary about music industry manager Shep Gordon. The trailer looks like one big giant kiss to Gordon, but maybe there will be more to the full-length version of Supermensch.

June 13

How to Train Your Dragon 2

After the unprecedented, smashing success of How to Train Your Dragon, it was only a matter of time before the sequel came out. It arrives in June, introducing the Jay Baruchel character’s estranged mother. Not sure if this one’s for big kids, but the little ones will probably drag their parents to it in record numbers.

22 Jump Street

Speaking of sequels, Columbia and MGM probably didn’t expect to be ordering a 22 Jump Street when they rolled out the 21 Jump Street reboot. But that movie was surprisingly funny and lucrative, so here we go with part two. The trailers are promising, and with all the primary cast and crew returning, there’s little reason to believe the sequel will be a dud.

The Rover

Coming in at a surprise first on IndieWire’s most anticipated movies of the summer list, The Rover certainly has potential. The film is writer-director David Michod’s follow-up to his debut success Animal Kingdom, which got the most critical attention of any Australian movie in recent memory. This one doesn’t score big points for featuring Edward Cullen as a co-star, but we can still hope.

Lullaby

Two initial thoughts after viewing the (recently released) Lullaby trailer: 1) Wow, Jennifer Hudson is still acting!; 2) Did that stairwell scene get lifted straight from Flight, or did they rewrite a couple words of the dialogue? Anyhow, Lullaby could be alright, but maybe The Fault in Our Stars will dominate the cancer-movie market. We’ll find out.

The Signal

The only documented review of The Signal to come out of Sundance is luke-cold. It is always nice to see other movies find a place for the Morpheus character, and he gets to star alongside Brenton Thwaites, a guy who went from unknown to starring in four movies this year (Oculus in April, then The Signal, The Giver, and Maleficient this summer). Blog’s advice: don’t take The Signal in your “Which will be the most successful Brenton Thwaites vehicle of 2014?” pool.

June 20

Think Like a Man Too

The first Think Like a Man cost $12 million and made just under $100 million, so you knew it was only a matter of time before they rolled out a sequel. It’s hard to know who thought it would be cute to use “Too” instead of “Two,” but that sure detracts quickly from this edition’s credibility. Whether you’re interested may come down to how engaged you’ve been in the Kevin Hart Renaissance—the trailer makes it clear that he’s the heart and soul of this movie.

Jersey Boys

I can’t say I’m too familiar with Frankie Valli’s music, much less his life story, so the premise of Jersey Boys doesn’t grab me right away. Granted, the stage version won the Tony for Best Musical, but the trailer is treading common ground with previous biopics of 20th century music icons. Plus, it’s hard to trust director Clint Eastwood post-J.Edgar and Hereafter, not to mention that time he talked to a chair.

Third Person

Third Person looks like garbage, and critics agree so far; one early reviewer calls it a “staggering failure.” The trailer alone is filled with enough cliché lines to tire you out over a full-length movie, and introduces a premise that seems to be “Love Actually, but a drama this time.” Eight years ago, writer-director Paul Haggis won the Oscar for Crash. What the hell happened?

Venus in Fur

Roman Polanski is alive! And still making movies! Has his disturbing past flitted away on the wind? Regardless, Venus in Fur looks awfully similar to Polanski’s last movie, Carnagealso an adaptation of a play that he seemed to have little interest in modifying much for the screen’s storytelling advantages. Carnage received mixed notes from critics, though; Venus in Fur has had more luck so far. The jury is still out.

June 27

Transformers: Age of Extinction

No.

Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer has been out for almost a year in South Korea, where it broke box office records and is apparently still screening in theaters. Director Joon-ho Bong is a major star there; this is his first foray into English-language film. Critics are enthusiastic so far, and Chris Evans has some clout after the success of whatever the Captain America sequel was called. Could be a sleeper hit.

They Came Together

They Came Together appears to be the highbrow version of Date Moviea slapstick Hollywood parody of Hollywood love-story-telling. Critics so far generally like it, and it’s hard to argue with a cast led by Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler and including Andy and Erin from The Office, Robin from How I Met Your Mother, Rafi from The League, and Bill Hader and Kenan Thompson from SNL, among many others. I’m in.

Yves Saint Laurent

The Weinstein Company picked up the American distribution rights to this French biopic of a famous fashion designer, but critics don’t love it so far. Perhaps this one is more of interest for those who knew who Saint Laurent was before watching the trailer.

Nothing Bad Can Happen

Some vague but definitely twisted shit is going on in Nothing Bad Can Happen, which screened and did well with critics at Cannes. It probably isn’t for the faint of heart, but may well be pretty powerful.

July 4

Tammy

Boy oh boy was Melissa McCarthy the big winner in the Bridesmaids success story. Her two movies last year were both box office successes — The Heat made a bazillion dollars, and Identity Thief opened at #1 despite a universal panning by critics. Tammy looks funny, but are we concerned that the whole trailer is just one scene? We’ll see in July. 

Deliver Us from Evil

Why do these movies always involve fucked up things happening to little kids? I don’t like that one bit. Leave our nation’s children out of this, evil spirits!

Earth to Echo

These found-footage movies are proliferating like crazy lately. It’s hard to pin down exactly what’s going on here–it seems like a mix of ChronicleSuper 8, and Transformers—or who the target audience is. But it doesn’t look bad per se, so we’ll just have to wait and find out.

Begin Again

Is this summer a rom-com renaissance or what (Ed. Bring back rom-com Thursdays!)? Begin Again feels like the 50th entry from the genre that we’ve been through. In any case, so much is going on here: 1) it’s a solid, so-far-well-reviewed rom-com, which is music to my ears; 2) it marks the beginning of Adam Levine’s acting career; 3) Hailee Steinfeld! Hailee alone is enough to get me into the theater, but Begin Again could have the makings of a solid movie on its own.

July 11

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

There are very few things a movie can have that will get me more excited than a part for Hailee Steinfeld, but Caesar in war paint is one. Enough said.

And So It Goes

keatondouglas

No trailer yet for And So It Goes, Rob Reiner‘s newest movie. But guess what? This, too, is a rom-com, of the old people variety. USA Today seems to think it’s a big deal that Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton are doing a movie together for reasons I don’t feel like reading about; the argument seems to be that they are both successful actors who have been around a while. Very nuanced. We’ll learn more here when a trailer drops.

Boyhood

Boyhood is likely to be the most significant indie movie of the summer, and the fact that Universal has picked up the international distribution rights would seem to signal that it’s a good bet to succeed, as would its 100% RottenTomatoes score. Basically, Richard Linklater — of the Before..trilogy — filmed a few scenes a year with the same actors for 12 years and turned it into a movie about a kid growing up. It’s a film buff’s dream, and probably a career-making role for the “boy” in Boyhood, Ellar Coltrane.

Land Ho!

landho

The Land Ho! trailer hasn’t made it to YouTube, but you can check it out here if you’re curious. It tells the story of a recent divorcee whose former wife’s brother takes him on a trip across Iceland to clear his head. If that’s your kind of thing, this is apparently quite good; but it’s not most people’s kind of thing, and it may be hard to find Land Ho! screening any time soon in a theater near you.

July 18

Jupiter Ascending

Last summer, everyone knew way in advance that The Lone Ranger would flop. This summer, that place seems to be occupied by Jupiter Ascending, a truly awful-looking new movie from the creators of The Matrix. Bring back Neo, Wachowskis! That was your zone, not this Channing Tatum as an alien-wolf-human shit.

The Purge: Anarchy

Okay, horror movie people, you win one. The Purge 2: Purge More! looks pretty cool. Purge 1 was a success, so the sequel is a pretty good bet to do alright as well, seeing as it just took the same concept and said, “What if we do the same thing again, but instead of concentrating on one house we do it in a whole city?” And why the hell not?

Planes: Fire and Rescue

Hey, a sequel! Haven’t seen one of those in a while! Come on Disney, you’re better than this. No one even liked Cars 2, and that was fucking Pixar. I honestly thought the first Planes was straight-to-DVD. Are we really supposed to believe regular Disney can make a good theatrical sequel for it? Probably not; that’s why that awful original song is included in the trailer, just so everyone over the age of 4 knows better.

Wish I Was Here

The hipster crush on Zach Braff that’s been dormant since Garden State‘s unprecedented success might be crushed very soon. Critics don’t like the Kickstarter-funded Wish I Was Here, and frankly, it looks pretty pretentious. The buzzword here will probably be “self-indulgent.” Hey, maybe if this movie fails they’ll do another season of Scrubs. That would be a win for all involved.

Mood Indigo

Mood Indigo may well be another case of a hipster-approved director thinking he has license to do anything he feels like: Michel Gondry’s newest movie has gotten mediocre feedback so far from critics who say it favors style over substance. It sure looks like a mess. What the hell was happening in that trailer? Seriously, what was happening? I have no clue.

I Origins

Another movie that’s already gotten something between a thumbs-medium and thumbs-down on the festival circuit, I only bothered to throw I Origins in here because Brit Marling is flawless and she was willing to give it a few minutes of her time. But it sure looks like a dumb movie. That 11-11-11-11-11 thing was lifted straight from Jim Carrey’s finest moment.

Life Itself

It’s a Roger Ebert documentary by the guy who made Hoop Dreams. Yeah, okay. I’m down. [The Indiegogo campaign the video promotes ended successfully in January.]

July 25

Hercules

For those who are confused, yes, there already was a Hercules movie this year. But even The Rock’s biggest detractors have to admit he’s a step up as Hercules from Twilight almost-star Kellan Lutz. That doesn’t mean you have to see it, though. The lesser of two evils is still evil.

Step Up: All In

Apparently they’re still making these. Let’s move on.

Sex Tape

This isn’t at all how the cloud works, right? Gee, does Sex Tape look bad. Jason Segel apparently has a thing for making shitty movies with Cameron Diaz, or maybe it’s the other way around. Regardless, it looks like they’ve managed to take Bad Teacher‘s mediocrity to new levels. Pass.

A Most Wanted Man

This John Le Carré adaptation is Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last non-Hunger Games role, so it better be good. Critics think it is so far, and given how lame the competition looks on this particular weekend, A Most Wanted Man may be poised to become a surprise hit.

Magic in the Moonlight

allen

Very little is known to this point about Magic in the Moonlight, Woody Allen’s next movie. It stars Colin Firth and Emma Stone, it takes place in France, and it’s a romantic comedy! This is shaping up to be a wonderful summer. No trailer yet — maybe Sony is still trying to nail down how they’re going to play the resurfacing of the Woody Allen controversy.

Happy Christmas

swanberg

Like Land Ho!Happy Christmas has already screened at Sundance but doesn’t have a trailer on YouTube. It’s writer-director Joe Swanberg’s follow-up to Drinking Buddies, which was okay. Most critics have been positive so far, though Variety‘s negative review (from which I borrowed the above picture) led off by declaring that “Joe Swanberg’s 2-year-old proves a more natural improviser than co-stars Melanie Lynskey and Anna Kendrick.” We’ll see who’s right soon enough.

Good People

good people

Also waiting on a trailer is Good People, a James Franco-Kate Hudson thriller about a couple that starts stealing money from a dead guy and ends up getting chased around by bad guys. The poster looks cool, so that’s a start.

August 1

Guardians of the Galaxy

The most unlikely Marvel movie so far, Guardians of the Galaxy apparently stems from a comic book no one was ever really interested in reading. The movie doesn’t appear to be taking itself too seriously — the most recognizable actors are John C. Reilly and Chris Pratt — and the trailer song is catchy as shit. I’m sold.

Get On Up

The inevitable comparisons to Ray are just going to keep coming and coming until Get On Up is released and we can see if it does anything different. Chadwick Boseman, the guy playing James Brown, was last seen as Jackie Robinson in the mediocre 42. Is he ever going to play someone not way more famous than he is? Depends how you feel about his next role as Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom.

Calvary

People loved The GuardCalvary director John Michael McDonagh’s first movie. This new entry looks like it has lost the comedic edge, as Brendon Gleeson has gone from playing politically incorrect cop to noble priest. Critics are sold anyway.

What If

what if

Another week, another rom-com. This one comes courtesy of Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, who try to be friends despite obvious mutual attraction (original premise!). Critics liked it when it screened last year, though it was called The F Word back then. No trailer yet, but feel free to enjoy this 48-minute press conference from TIFF.

Child of God

James Franco keeps trying to adapt important Southern Gothic novels, and critics keep shooting him down. Very few people saw As I Lay Dying, and it’s quite possible Child of God awaits a similar fate. Good books, though.

August 8

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

It’s a TMNT movie… with Michael Bay producing and Megan Fox starring. That’s right. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles just got Transformersified. Sample if you dare.

Lucy

This year’s more intriguing Scarlett Johansson vehicle came out a month ago in limited release; Lucy looks like little more than a Limitless retread. Why would having drugs pumped into your stomach give you superpowers? I don’t get it.

Into the Storm

If tornadoes are your thing and Sharknado didn’t do it for you, Warner Bros. has you covered. And for the rest of us interested in going to the movies this particular weekend? Um, on second thought, I guess Lucy doesn’t sound so dumb after all.

The Hundred-Foot Journey

The Hundred-Foot Journey

No, The Butler didn’t inspire Oprah to make a full-blown return to acting. She’s just producing this Helen Mirren cooking movie along with Steven Spielberg. Sounds dull, but remember, Julie & Julia was… yeah, also dull. Fair enough.

August 15

Let’s Be Cops

It looks funny! Seriously, it looks funny! Am I the only one who finds Jake Johnson consistently entertaining? He’s good. Plus, a new Wayans breaks into the movie biz. I’m buying in early.

The Expendables 3

The new expendables include Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Kelsey Grammer, and Kellen Lutz. I had no idea Harrison Ford’s career was in such a bad place. Can we help? Call me, Harrison.

The Giver

More Brenton Thwaites action! Meryl Streep agreeing to do this movie is only slightly less unlikely than Harrison Ford having agreed to do Expendables 3. It’s a young-adult movie, for God’s sake. The Giver author Lois Lowry will be on campus soon to receive her honorary degree; someone be sure to ask her what she thinks.

As Above, So Below

As Above, So Below is a deceptively poetic title for a horror movie. Apparently, underneath Paris lies the path to Hell. I’m confident this theory has already been disproved.

Desert Dancer

desertdancer

Who doesn’t love Freida Pinto? Sure, she’s only ever done Slumdog Millionaire and kind of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but still, she’s great. So let’s all root for this biopic of a self-taught Iranian dancer. Here’s the twist: the dancer’s a guy. Freida’s character may be just a love interest, though she’s the only recognizable name attached to the project. We’ll know more after a trailer hits.

The Trip to Italy

The first Trip had some great moments, and this new one has been well-received so far. Like the first one, its an adaptation of a BBC mini-series, and pretty much everything else is the same as well. But this time it’s in Italy. Sure, why not?

Life After Beth

As you probably noticed if you watched it, the video here is some interview thing rather than a trailer, which doesn’t exist yet. Life After Beth is another entry in the rom-zom-com genre pioneered by Jonathan Levine ’00 in Warm Bodies. Early reviews aren’t stellar, but there’s still plenty of time for things to pick up.

The One I Love

theoneilove

Here we go with yet another rom-com. Even I am getting kind of tired of them at this point. This one stars The League‘s Mark Duplass and Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss and has pretty good reviews in the early going. Stay posted for a trailer.

August 22

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Another sequel, Sin City 2: More Sins This Time grows out of an original that was successful way back in 2005. There’s no more Bruce Willis this time, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt has signed on to replace him. Not really my genre here, but I suppose this could work.

If I Stay

If I Stay is another young-adult novel adaptation, which I have now concluded is one of four summer movie genres, along with rom-com, big-budget sequel, and horror. Chloë Grace Moretz decides whether or not to leave her coma for the entirety of a feature-length movie. That should sell tickets left and right.

When the Game Stands Tall

One trite sports movie cliche after another, the trailer for When the Game Stands Tall is a physically painful two minutes to sit through. I actually remember this story from when I was growing up and it would be featured every two days in the San Jose Mercury News (a fine local paper), but that doesn’t mean Sony had to make a shitty movie out of it.

Frank

Surprisingly, here’s something that looks legitimately original and exciting. Michael Fassbender has dipped his beak back into the indie world for this bizarre movie about a musician who wears a huge fake head. Critics like it, and I bet audiences will too.

Love is Strange

Love is Strange

Love is Strange has gotten some of the best early reviews of any movie on this list. Indie director Ira Sachs’ movie explores the lives of an older gay couple who are forced to live separately after one of them loses their job and can no longer afford their joint rent. No trailer yet, but hype is slowly spreading anyway.

August 29

One Chance

One Chance director David Frankel dropped by Granoff recently for a Q&A during IFF; he seemed enthusiastic about his new movie, which tells the true story of a Britain’s Got Talent star and was produced by Simon Cowell. Reviews are mixed, but The Weinstein Co. picked it up and seems to think it can win this weak last weekend of the summer. It’s not going to  pick up any Oscars, but One Chance is probably worth taking more seriously than you might otherwise do after reading “Simon Cowell.”

The Loft

loft_2013_pic

James Marsden has quietly been working on adding “B-movie thriller star” to his repertoire, which previously included only “affable supporting love interest.” The Loft is some kind of thriller that may or may not border on horror about a bunch of guys who get stuck in a loft together with a dead body. Most interestingly, Cam from Modern Family is one of the leads. Maybe that’ll work out, but probably not.

November Man

As you’ll notice, no trailer here, just Pierce Brosnan talking for a minute. Having retired as James Bond, he’s going back to spies for November Man, which co-stars recent Bond Girl Olga Kurylenko. Should be some standard US vs. Russia fare.

Jessabelle

Well, no gray area here; Jessabelle is most definitely a horror movie. Lionsgate calls whoever’s producing the “mastermind producer of Paranormal Activity and Insidious.” No, Alfred Hitchcock was a mastermind. The producer of Paranormal Activity and Insidious is some guy who knows how to film an empty room, move things around, and then film it again with someone screaming off-screen.

Starred Up

I take back what I said about Love is Strange. Starred Up probably has the most enthusiastic reviews of any movie on this list. A British prison movie that’s been out in the UK for more than a month, it doesn’t star anyone you’ve heard of but will most likely be fantastic anyway. Check it out when it makes the leap across the pond.

The Congress

The Congress is Israeli director Ari Folman’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed Waltz with Bashir. The new movie seems like it’s kind of doing a Being John Malkovich thing with House of Cards’ Robin Wright, although there’s definitely more to the equation than that. Reviews here are also very positive, and for those who can handle the undeniably weird work that’s going on in this movie, it’ll probably be a worthwhile investment of your time.

Underdogs

Underdogs was originally titled Foosball and came out in Argentina earlier this year. The Weinstein Company picked it up, changed the name, dubbed over it in English, and packaged it for a late-August US release. Little else is known, so stay tuned on this one.

Life of Crime

Life-of-Crime

Last but not least, we encounter Life of Crime, a cinematic adaptation of Elmore Leonard‘s novel The Switch. Jennifer Aniston is the woman pictured above with the ski mask on her head; Tim Robbins, Isla Fisher, John Hawkes, Mos Def, and Will Forte are also all involved. Sounds promising, but a trailer will of course be needed to confirm.

And that’s that. Let’s all go take a nap. Enjoy the summer, and enjoy the movies.

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