Our film gurus take on the barrage of mega movies set to decimate the box office and indie favorites that’ll sell out a Friday night at the Coolidge in no time flat.
Behold, our rundown on the summer’s biggest film releases!
Pixar tries its magical computer-generated hands on girl power with its first-ever movie with a lady lead. Set in a mystical Scotland of yore, the teenage Princess Merida must do battle with monsters and curses all while deflecting marriage proposals. It’s tough out there for a teen girl archer and for film critics on the lookout for strong women in movies. There aren’t many, so whatever reservations you may have about Brave being a princess movie, this one looks like it may actually break the damsel in distress curse. No pressure, Pixar.
Did you know 21 Jump Street’s Mr. Popular, Channing Tatum, was once a stripper? Believe it, because he’s bearing it for the big screen. Tatum plays Magic Mike, a pro on the strip scene who takes an upstart nicknamed The Kid (boy, is Purple Rain-era Prince going to be disappointed he’s no longer the only Kid in town) and trains him to woo ladies, get monies and all that jazz. I’m kind of excited to see how the topic of “exotic dancing” will do when the genders are switched. Remember to not touch the merchandise and bring your singles to the screening!
This Southern-fried nightmare of a story might be the single scariest movie to watch McConaughey in since Failure to Launch. A family on the edge of desperation decides to hire a hit man to murder an ex-wife in hopes that her insurance money will trickle down to her children. Partially, because they need the money to settle drug dues … and now they need to pay off their hit man, Killer Joe. Yeah, this recipe for disaster can’t possibly go wrong. I’ve seen/been terrified by this movie already, but I do want to see this again, if only to refresh the nightmares.
Remember high school and all the regrets you thought you had successfully buried away forever and ever until the end of time and space? Well, like a zombie that should have stayed buried, some of these regrets come back to haunt you in the most terrifying way. For example, imagine you get asked by the girl you used to tease for four consecutive years to be one of her bridesmaids. Is this redemption or something much more sinister? I can’t tell yet if this is going to be hilarious or horrifying, but I think it’s safe to say there won’t be puppies given away at the reception like in last year’s Bridesmaids.
Not a sequel or a prequel, though it allegedly takes place before the first Alien film, exactly how Ridley Scott’s Prometheus ties into the xenomorphic saga is still something of a mystery. And even if they’ve already released that info, don’t tell us, we’re avoiding spoilers like the plague. All we know now is that Michael “Full-Frontal” Fassbender plays a creepily empathetic android named David, Noomi “Had a Dragon Tattoo Before it Was Cool” Rapace gets a proper American debut (forget that Sherlock Holmes II ever happened, okay?) and that it’s got something to do with Ancient Aliens.
No, we haven’t seen that South Park/Family Guy episode where whatever we were just talking about gets made fun of. Have you seen the episode where those shows are still funny? Neither have we. Though as those shows continue to wear out their welcome, their respective creators have been busy with projects of genuine quality: Trey Parker and Matt Stone with The Book of Mormon and Seth MacFarlane with Ted. Filmed in Boston last year, you may have written it off when you first heard about it, but the red band trailer had us in stitches. STITCHES! GET IT?!
As freaking excited as we are for this goddamn movie, this wouldn’t be a write-up of a comic book movie if it weren’t exceedingly nitpicky, so first things first: The Dark Knight Rises is a bad name. Batman Begins to The Dark Knight to The Dark Knight Rises? First Blood to Rambo: First Blood Part II to Rambo III, anyone? That aside, the fact that Catwoman and Bane costar in Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film raises all sorts of nerdy questions, like will Bane [redacted for non-geeks] Batman’s [redacted] until he’s [redacted], or will Catwoman and Batman [redacted] and then fuck?
As refreshing as it is to see Seth Rogen in a smaller movie and Sarah Silverman in a legit role, what most excites us about Take This Waltz is its director. You may remember Sarah Polley as the cute little girl from The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. You may then be shocked to learn that she was the checkout girl, the main protagonist, in Go. But you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that she’s now a full-fledged, Oscar-nominated filmmaker with wisdom and skill beyond her years. Take This Waltz may be the most low-key movie of the summer, but with pedigree this high it’s bound to impress.
… AND FOUR LOCAL FLICK PICKS:
John Williams at the Boston Pops: He may be a conductor laureate, but the man’s main job is still back out in L.A. Occasionally, the master returns and performs a night of his beloved music (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter—aka the soundtrack of your entire childhood) at Boston’s Symphony Hall. The first weekend in June will be Williams’ standard weekend visit, but in August the Boston Symphony Orchestra has big birthday plans for Williams’ 80th birthday. So clearly, this is the summer to finally visit that E-train stop. [Fri 6.1.12 and Sat 6.2.12, Symphony Hall, 301 Mass. Ave., Boston. bso.org]
Movies under the stars: We love that Boston has so many free things to do, even more so when they are movie-related things. Every summer for the past two years, plenty have taken advantage of the free outdoor screenings held around the city. On the Esplanade’s Hatch Shell, kids movies like The Muppets and The Lorax will be shown at sunset. Over at the Boston Harbor Hotel, classic movies like The Way We Were and Dirty Dancing will be screen on the waterfront. I think On The Waterfront will also be screened. Smaller local parks may hold similar screenings, so it’s best to check those out, too. Movies + Moonlight=Magic. [Check back with DigBoston as we highlight outdoor movies in Calendar throughout the summer!]
Nic Cage-A-Thon: Nicolas Cage: Greatest American Actor. While that could be the name of his next movie that would no doubt reach Being John Malkovich levels of greatness, it’s actually two weeks of pure, insane bliss coming to the Brattle this June. Of course they’ll be showing The Rock, Con Air and Face/Off, but if you’ve never seen ‘80s Cage classics Vampire’s Kiss (which most of the clips from the Nicolas Cage Losing His Shit YouTube video are from), Valley Girl or Wild at Heart, or his full-on mega-acting (he really calls it that, look it up) in the more recent Bad Lieutenant or The Wicker Man, you need to check it out.
Roxbury International Film Festival: Sure, most film festivals have an interesting movie or two and make waves depending on who shows up on the red carpet. But what separates the Roxbury International Film Festival—now in its 13th year—from the rest is the way it seeks to improve the world around it. As the largest film festival in New England that highlights people of color, there are as many workshops, discussions and opportunities to schmooze as there are screenings. Highlights this year include The Last Fall with Lance Gross and Keith David, and The Contradictions of Fair Hope by S. Epatha Merkerson, best known as NYPD Lieutenant Anita Van Buren, with an appearance herself! She rules. [Thu 6.14.12-Sun 6.17.12. Locations vary, roxburyinternationalfilmfestival.org]