The Season of Blockbusters
This summer is chalked full of comic-book adaptations, remakes, sequels, threequels, fourquels, and a movie that at one time was called 5nal Destination. So clearly this top ten will have sympathy votes. While there is certainly plenty to scorn about, there are a few exceptions that I am extremely excited for. Here are my top ten most anticipated movies of this summer...
10.) The Debt
This film has been delayed by eight months. While that is never a good sign, I am looking forward to Sam Worthington's first attempt at a non-blockbuster roll since his breakout year in 2009. This is a political thriller about the capture and death of a Nazi war criminal carried about by three young Israeli Mossad agents in 1965. Thirty years later, the Nazi still appears to be alive, so one of the former agents must go back under cover to discover what really happened. Worthington plays one of the agents from 1965. I hope that this will showcase what kind of actor he will become. After all, he is the star of the highest grossing movie of all time.
9.) Larry Crowne
I'll admit, the trailer is flirting heavily with the lame side, but Tom Hanks directed, co-wrote, and stars in this relevant story about a middle-aged man who heads back to college after losing his job. The premise may come off as contrived, and perhaps it is, but Hanks is still and always will be one of the most beloved stars in Hollywood. Ten years ago, his movies were always one of the big headliners of the summer. While his box-office drawing power has softened over time, Larry Crowne also co-stars Julia Roberts, so expect this rom-com to be full of 90's nostalgia and a possible sleeper hit.
8.) One Day
(Sorry, this is no trailer released yet for this film)
Don't worry, I'll get to the big blockbusters in a minute. This could be one of the big surprises of the summer. Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess star in director Lone Scherfig's follow-up to An Education about re-visiting one day of young love on the night of their college graduation. They revisit each other on the same day every year for twenty years to catch up and rehash their incredible night together. Again, the premise may scare off the masculine, but with a solid director and a lovable cast, perhaps this could be the ultimate love story of the summer.
7.) Cowboys and Aliens
On to the big films. Jon Favreau passes the reign in the Iron Man franchise and moves on to an entirely different concept: cowboys vs. aliens. In 1873, aliens invade earth to take over the planet and it's up to a few cowboys to stop them. I'm a little turned off that the movie's title is the same exact thing as its concept, but Favreau is still a talented director (despite losing himself a little bit in the disappointing Iron Man 2) and with an all star cast including Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, and Olivia Wilde, this could be the start of another very successful franchise.
6.) The Hangover Part II
Why tamper with something that already works? Part II of the hilarious 2009 comedy The Hangover finds Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Allen (Zach Galifianakis) in Bangkok for Stu's wedding, only to wake up once again after another night of torpedo-like destruction. Joining them is a mysterious monkey and some old friendly faces from the original. While I don't expect the sequel to match the comedic heights of the original, it may be the only real comedy I am looking forward to all summer. Once again, another summer fails to bring the necessary comedic balance. Hopefully, director Todd Phillips will bring enough of it in his film to give the fix moviegoers are yearning for.
5.) Cars 2
I was shocked to find that Pixar's follow-up to a threequel would be a sequel, and that sequel would be to the one film many believe to be Pixar's weakest entry. Then again, a weak Pixar entry will still be an entertaining and money-making machine. The premise follows now racing-legend Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and his sidekick Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) traveling overseas to compete against the world's fastest cars. It's a little concerning that Pixar is pushing sequels, but it's still Pixar, the only studio in Hollywood to be perfect both critically and commercially. So until the movie opens, no one should doubt a track record like this.
4.) X-Men: First Class
This is the only comic-book adaptation I am truly looking forward to, and of course, it's the one getting the least amount of press. However, I do feel that this will be one of the strongest blockbusters of the summer. This prequel to the extremely successful franchise highlights Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) starting up a school in 1963 (expect a huge part of the story to chronicle around the Cuban Missile Crisis), which ultimately leads to the infamous team of heroes. This film will chronicle the path of how the Professor and his once-upon-a-time best friend Eric Lehnsherr becomes his arch-rival Magneto.
3.) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
I'll be the first to admit that I've never been an ultimate Harry Potter fan. I almost feel ashamed having only read the first two books. Still, I am thoroughly impressed with this film franchise. Even though it has a leg-up on many others (considering the numerous amounts of source material it's been able to live off of, along with the sure talent of J.K Rowling) I do believe that moviegoers are in for one hell-of-a spectacle come this July. The most successful franchise of all time comes to a conclusion. That within itself is an epic event almost impossible to miss.
2.) The Tree of Life
In what seems to be a 30+ year project in the making, Terrence Malick's first feature film in six years (and only his fifth ever) is finally going to be released. Now, obviously he wasn't literally working on this for 30+ years, but right after his 1978 film Days of Heaven, Malick began brainstorming the idea for this film. The project was originally titled "Q," and while I'm sure it's not the same film it would have been had it been released back then, it should be as close to that vision as Malick can possibly make it. This could very well be the next 2001: A Space Odyssey, only this time specifically focusing on man instead of machine. If this movie is as good as I think it will be, watch out for the first surefire Oscar contender of 2011.
1.) Super 8
I put this film above all else because it seems to be the only blockbuster taking summer entertainment seriously. In what could be the greatest modern director/producer combo ever, director J.J Abrams (Star Trek, Mission Impossible III, Lost) and producer Steven Spielberg team up to create a new kind of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Taking place in 1979, a gargantuan train crash is caught on camera by a group friends making a super 8 movie. With this footage, they start to realize that this was no accident. As the mystery starts to unravel, the town is thrown into chaos. Starring Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), the man who deserves to be the next great movie star, I am overwhelmed with joy that Abrams and Spielberg are teaming up to give us what I think will be the best time at the movies all summer. What I find more fascinating about Abrams movies are their marketing campaigns. They are so brilliantly executed, that for me, they are events within itself. Catch my article on this topic coming in the next few weeks, along with the box-office predictions for all of these movies, and more.