Here we are again! The summer movie kickoff is seriously right around the corner (I mean...it's right there), and I had such a great time compiling my most anticipated movies of the season. You will not find Transformers: Age of Extinction or Guardians of the Galaxy on here. I do think that I have my fair share of big, stupid, loud flicks on here, but there are also some small, independent stuff present. A good mix, hopefully. Shall we get right to it?
What could be more decadent than watching Helen Mirren cook food? In The Hundred-Foot Journey, Mirren stars as a French cook who begins to have some competition from the Indian family that opens a restaurant only 100 feet away. Hassan, the young cook from the Kadam family, creates an entree with Mirren's sous-chef, Marguerite, that begins to bridge the gap between the two establishments.
It is going to be nice to see Mirren not firing guns with a cool demeanor, so she can whip eggs with the same hoity, steely resolve! Based on the novel by Richard C. Morais, Journey is directed by Oscar-nominated director Lasse Hallstrom (he directed Chocolat, so he can throw together a film about food) and produced by none other than Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey. Unfortunately, there isn't a trailer yet, so we can bask in the ideas of Helen Mirren cooking. Ahhhhh...
Yes, that's an ass! A male stripper behind, if you will, surrounded by the dollars of a long night's work. Come on. You knew this list would feature some hot men, right?
Joe Manganiello stated that he had no interest in male stripping before he did Magic Mike, and he heard that audiences wanted to know more about the dancers' lives. Manganiello steps behind the camera for the documentary La Bare. Along with his brother Nick, Manganiello shot some footage at the famed La Bare strip club in Dallas for a reality show. Magic director Steven Soderbergh urged Manganiello to go further ant the documentary was born.
I wonder if Manganiello is as captivating behind the camera as he is on. Let's hope that Soderbergh didn't push him so far that Big Dick Richie is gone forever...
How did it take this long for a movie like this to happen? The "traditional" romantic comedy gets majorly skewered in They Came Together, David Wain's send up of everything rom-com related. Wain is responsible for one of the best comedies ever, Wet Hot American Summer. Wet Hot featured an all-star cast going bonkers at a summer camp, and hopefully this will be infused with the same hilarity.
Amy Poehler plays a clumsy shopkeeper, and Paul Rudd plays a Jewish office executive. Wain throws everything into the rom-com take-down: meet cute, the sassy best friend, and the sage, old grandmother. Is this the kind of movie that everyone will like? A lot is surely going to go over the basic bitches' heads, but for the rest of us, it sounds like a delight. It also stars Cobie Smulders and Max Greenfield. There isn't a trailer yet, but there's this pretty funny poster floating around:
Katherine Heigl is gonna be piiiiised.
Tate Taylor immediately connected with audiences when he made the huge hit The Help. He is looking to strike the same chord with Get On Up, a biopic focusing on James Brown.
Chadwick Boseman made a strong impression last year when he starred as Jackie Robinson in 42, and he dons the hair to play Brown. He was so reluctant to step into the shoes of another famous person that he didn't initially read the script. There's an energy and vibrancy to this film. Not only does it focus on Brown's childhood aspirations and rise to fame, but it seems to spend a good stretch of time devoted to the relationship between Brown and his mother, Susie (Viola Davis). She abandoned James when he was a baby, and he was raised by his Aunt Honey, played by Octavia Spencer.
If the idea of Boseman doesn't sell you, the idea of Davis and Spencer re-teaming with Taylor should.
The idea of another X-Men movie should be tiresome, but I keep coming back.
In X-Men: Days of Future Past (a title surely to be butchered nationwide), we get the best of both X-Men worlds. You want Hugh Jackman with his sexy chest and the return of Halle Berry and her weird hair? Buuuut you also was some swinging 70's duds and Michael Fassbender's brooding sexiness? Look no further!
The comic "Days of Future Past" is a milestone in the X-Men canon. Kitty Pride time travels to a future where huge machines called Sentinels hunt down mutants. Once they are captured, they are either placed in camps or they are brutally killed. In the film version, Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) convinces Wolverine (Jackman) to travel back in time to stop the spark of war between mutants and humans.
It all looks really epic. X-Men: First Class was pretty rad, so maybe it can inject some mojo into a superhero series that never really satisfied the masses? If anything, the cast (including Jackman, Berry, Jennifer Lawrence and James McAvoy) is pretty awesome.
So you're think you're having a bad Valentine's Day?
In Obvious Child, Jenny Slate stars as Donna, a stand-up comedian who endures a break up, loses her job, and then gets pregnant after a one night stand. You're right. It sound like Knocked Up, but this looks infinitely more charming. Jake Lacy, Donna's one night stand partner in crime is a scrubbed up alternative to Seth Rogen's scruffy stoner.
Director Gillian Robespierre based this feature on her own short film, and it premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival to great reviews. The Hollywood Reporter called it a "very funny and likeable first feature" while Variety praised Slate's performance.
No one is more surprised at Godzilla's presence on this list more than me. Remember that really shitty version from 1998 with Matthrew Brodrick and Hank Azaria? It took many years of cinematic detox to get that turd out of my system. The seriousness of this reboot is surprisingly enthralling. It features a pretty cool cast, and it's directed by Gareth Edwards, the guy behind the criminally undervalued Monsters.
Bryan Cranston plays a nuclear physicist who becomes suspicious of the activity at a Japanese nuclear site. The last time I saw the trailer in a theater, Cranston's first appearance on screen made everyone squirt their shorts ("Walter Whiiiiiite!" was yelled, no joke). Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays his son, a soldier called to action when the legendary beast starts destroying cities.
The women in the film could attract a different audience (ok, I mean me). Juliette Binoche plays Taylor-Johnson's mother, and Sally Hawkins (squeeeeal) is a scientist.
Every time I see a trailer for this, I get stoked. Is this the beginning of a franchise?
In April of last year, Zach Braff made headlines when he launched a Kickstarter campaign for his latest project, Wish I Was Here. It lands a place on this list out of sheer curiosity. A teaser trailer was released a few weeks back, but it doesn't tell us much about it. It stars Braff, Kate Hudson (why hello, 2001), Josh Gad, and Jim Parsons.
Braff plays Aidan Bloom, a down on his luck actor and father who is still struggling to find himself. Kind of like Braff's other directorial effort, Garden State. Will it be more of the same thing, or will Braff be able to engage us again with funny, relatable characters? Can lightning strike twice? Or will he have legions of fans angry that they shilled out some cash for him to make his own project that no one likes? Oh, and Mandy Patinkin is in it, so I'm sold.
We have seen tons of tragic movies about ordinary people suffering with different types of cancer. Decoding Annie Parker is the story of how scientists began to genetically link the disease to other people. It's loosely based on a true story of Annie Parker (played by Samantha Morton) and the illustrious career of Dr. Mary-Claire King (Helen Hunt). The film also stars Aaron Paul, Bradley Whitford, and Alice Eve.
After Annie discovers a lump on her breast, she finds out that Dr. King is the only person who believes there is a genetic link for some breasts cancers with women. Annie's mother suddenly died when she was little, and it appears that he sister also suffered from the disease.
Stories like these can be written off like a Lifetime movie, but the talent involved is really great. I would follow Morton virtually anywhere, and it's great to see Hunt in leading roles again. It may seem familiar, but it appears to be an important subject to talk about: reminding us where we began might help us to find a solution.
Give me a handsome, period romance and I am there.
Belle reveals the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed-raced daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. She is brought to England by her father (humana, humana Matthew Goode), but she is raised by his uncle and aunt, played by Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson. Belle is considered too high in standing to dine with the servants, but too low to eat with her family.
She meets and falls in love with a handsome lawyer (Sam Reid), but her guardians view that match beneath her.
Belle debuted at last year's Toronto Film Festival, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw's portrayal of the title character was met with praise. She's stuuuunning. You can't tear your eyes from her in a two minute trailer; imagine what she can do with two hours.
I've always thought Jon Favreau was a big, cuddly teddy bear. Sure, he could come across like a prickly pear with a short fuse, but he's always been like comfort food. The Hundred-Foot Journey has some company with this foodie's dream of an indie.
In Chef, Favreau plays Carl, a chef who quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after he receives a scathing review, and he refuses to compromise his artistic integrity. Instead of taking residence at a different restaurant, Carl decides to open up his very own food truck to change up his mojo. He finds himself in Miami and re-kindling his love of cooking. The film just won an audience award at the Tribeca Film Festival on Monday night.
This looks like it has charm out the food truck tailpipe. Not only does Favreau star, but he wrote and directed it as well. He shares the screen with Iron Man chums Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson as well as Sofia Vargara, Bobby Cannavale, and John Leguizamo. Man, I'm hungry now...
This year, there will be many movie musicals. The Last Five Years and Into the Woods are both slated for later in the year, but one of the biggest ones is coming out this June: Clint Eastwood's Jersey Boys. I posted a piece a week ago when the trailer came out, and it looks pretty good.
For the biopic of The Four Seasons, Eastwood didn't look much further than the original stage production. He cast John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli, a role which garnered him a Tony Award when he originated the role on Broadway. Not very performers get to work with Clint Eastwood in a role they created on Broadway. That alone makes it worth it.
The success of the Planet of the Apes re-boot (with Rise of the Planet of the Apes from 2011) surprised almost everyone. It looked like it was going to be a standard cash grab when it turned out to be a fun ride. Roger Ebert have it a thumbs up, and The New York Times' Manohla Dargis described it as, "precisely the kind of summer diversion that studios have such a hard time making now." Andy Serkis' performance garnered some awards attention, and some thought he might get a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nod.
So, here comes the sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (the only thing I don't like is the overly long titles, but I'll take it over Planet of the Apes 2). Director Matt Reeves describes this sequel as "the apes movie," and we don't get to see humans until very far into the film. Set 10 years after Rise, Dawn shows us a world where humanity has been almost eradicated. A clan of genetically evolved apes is discovers a group of survivors (including Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, and Jason Clarke), and the gentle peace between these two species becomes threatened. Will the humans be able to take back the planet?
The teaser trailer is totally rad and intense. Hopefully, Reeves will be able to evolve the story even more.
Mila Kunis is not my favorite actress, so I am a bit surprised that her latest starring vehicle is so high on my list. Oh, wait, Channing Tatum is in it. Oh, and the Wachowski siblings are behind this. Now it all makes sense!
In Jupiter Ascending, Kunis plays a janitor whose life is turned upside down when a Caine (Mr. Tatum) is sent by the King of the Universe to kill her. Instead of knocking her off, however, he tries to save her, because her DNA could mark her as the universe's next leader. Yeah, I know, it sounds like a Saturday morning cartoon, but I trust The Wachowskis.
Not only do we get to gaze as Channing, but we get a bitchy, over-the-top villain in Eddie Redmayne as Balem, the King of the Universe. He looks like a power-hungry bitch, no? Fingers crossed for some homoerotic moments between Caine and Balem. I might be the only excited for this, but I loved Cloud Atlas (also one of like 8 people that looooved that film) too.
Here's the deal. My reluctance for A Million Ways to Die in the West is solely based on that my feelings for Seth MacFarlane are the definition of mixed. But that teaser trailer was soooo funny. But it was funny is a stupid, white guy, frat boy kind of way. Still...it was funny...
MacFarlane's second feature is set in 1882, and he stars as Albert, a cowardly sheep farmer who loses his girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) after he bails from a gun duel. When Charlize Theron moves to town, he begins to find his confidence. The problem is her husband, a famous gunslinger played by Liam Neeson, shows up and tests Albert's newly developed backbone.
Is Family Guy one of my favorite shows? Of course not, but I think it's kind of funny. I feel like I shouldn't want to see A Million Ways, but it looks so fun. Gunslinging! Anachronisms galore! It looks like Neil Patrick Harris has a musical number! It will be fun to see Theron so something more of a comedy. And Neil Patrick Harris. Neil. Patrick. Harris. Dancing. Done and done.
Bite your tongue! You know you were surprised by 21 Jump Street! You didn't know that Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum would make such a dynamic comedic team. 22 Jump Street promises more, and I want every bit they can dish out. Normally, a carbon copy sequel (where a movie is labelled as a sequel but it's really the same plot or a straight up remake) is something to abhor. This looks funny. Young, dumb, and full...of promise!!!
The thing about 22 Jump Street is that is knows what it is, and that's the best kind of movie. The premise looks exactly like the original, but they move the action from high school to college. Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) must take down a college drug ring, but also make utter foolish messes of themselves at the same time.
Not only do the guys cup loose with red Solo cups, but they begin to question their partnership. Will Schmidt and Jenko break up?! All I know is that nothing excites me more than seeing Tatum in sleeveless shirts pretending to be a college student. Maybe some counseling is in my future...
There are virtually no details about Woody Allen's latest film, Magic in the Moonlight. The only thing that has been announced is the cast which, being an Allen film, is always rather impressive. The plot details available state that it's set in the 1920's on the French Riviera.
The film stars Colin Firth, Marcia Gay Harden, Emma Stone and Jacki Weaver. I was just telling someone the other day that I have been going through Emma Stone withdrawal lately, and it cannot be cured by her overly huge studio project that didn't make its way onto my list (cough...The Amazing Spider-Man 2...cough). Apparently, it could be a romantic comedy about a charming Englishman (Firth, probably) who is brought in to uncover a swindler.
Yup. That's all I got. But it's Woody Allen.
Philip Seymour Hoffman's presence in the trailer for A Most Wanted Man is upsetting and exciting. Exciting because we get to see another performance from this brilliant actor. Upsetting because this is one of the last new performances we will get. Based on the novel by John le Carre, Most Wanted also stars Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe and Daniel Bruhl.
A unit of spies, led by Hoffman, uses the talent of trained operatives in order to catch bigger game. A young Chechen man arrives in Hamburg, seemingly destitute and broke, but he claims he has the rights to a fortune being held in a private bank. Intrigue! Espionage! Money laundering. There is a chilling line in the trailer: "It takes a minnow to catch a a barracuda...a barracuda to catch a shark."
I would follow Hoffman to the ends of the earth, and it appears that he really delivers in one of his final performances. It debuted at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
The images of Melissa McCarthy strutting up to a fast food joint in slow motion is hilarious. I chuckle just thinking about it. The fact that she shoves a greasy paper bag over her face and thinks this is a good enough to disguise to hold up the place is absolutely awesome.
The moment where she tries to lock the freezer in the end...I can't...I just can't...
In Tammy, McCarthy plays...Tammy, a fast food who gets laid off the same day she discovers that her husband is cheating on her. In order to have a good time again, Tammy picks up her promiscuous, hard-drinking grandmother so they can have a road trip. Her grandmother is played by Susan Sarandon. Let's wrap our heads around that together, shall we? Melissa McCarthy playing a trashy, inept, down-on-her luck loser? Check. Susan Sarandon as a boozehound? Check.
Do I need to convince you of anything else?
Big props to Disney for really letting Angelina Jolie be front and center for everything related to Maleficent, the "true story" behind one of Disney's most iconic villains. They are letting her be front and center of all the advertising and promotional material.
A re-imagining of the 1959 animated classic, Maleficent will shed some light on the her past as a youngster. Maleficent used to terrify me as a kid, so I was skeptical of the "misunderstood villain" angle when I first heard about the project. The first teaser made it look like a live-action remake of the animated movie with more Maleficent than Aurora (here played by Elle Fanning).
It all changed for me when I got to see how much fun Jolie is having playing her. This seems like it's right up Jolie's alley, so no wonder she is relishing every moment she has on screen. Maleficent had wings?! Do tell Angelina! She seems to have more of a complicated role with Aurora as well. Tell me more, Angelina!
Maleficent is exciting because when was the last time you got to see a huge female star get to play it up in something like this? Jolie is at the forefront of everything.
Have you ever seen a family drama where the kids grow up, and you think that the kids never look like their grown counterparts? That won't happen with Richard Linklater's Boyhood, because he has been filming it for 12 years.
Linklater wanted to portray a realistic parent-child relationship. His plan was to show the young boy from the 1st grade all the way through the 12th grade--right before he moves away to college. He cast Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as the parents at then 7 year old Ellar Coltrane to play his young man. Every year, for a few weeks, Linklater would assemble his cast and crew and they would make short movies that would eventually get pieced together to make a feature film.
The trailer is below, but I've been told it's very spoiler-y (I personally want to see nothing of the final product when I go to see it).
Linklater's critically acclaimed Before trilogy was lauded for its unique continuation of characters. He might have outdone himself with Boyhood.
Lucy looks kick ass, and it continues my newly rekindled love of Scarlett Johansson.
In Luc Besson's newest actioner, Johansson plays Lucy, a woman forced to be a drug mule in a future that is ruled by the mob. When some goons surgically insert a bag of experimental drugs into Lucy's stomach, the drugs leak into her system, and her brain activity increases incredibly fast. Long story short, he becomes superhuman.
It's not exactly clear how increased brain activity can make you grow your hair rapidly or break things down using just your mind, but that trailer is so captivating, I found myself watching it on a loop. Besson's films usually feature a strong, kick-ass woman at the center--Run Lola Run remains an audience favorite. Johansson has been on a role lately with roles that showcase her as a strong woman. She took charge in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and she was hypnotic in Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin. She's on a roll lately, and I can't wait to see her kicking the asses of every bastard that gave her crap in this.
You liked Once, right? The small, independent musical about a Irish guitar player who falls in love with a Czech was a hit back in 2007, and it's spawned legions of fans everywhere. Director John Carney has returned for another small story revolving around undiscovered musical talent in New York City, but Begin Again has bigger names attached to its story.
Mark Ruffalo plays Dan, a music label executive who has almost lost everything. He gets fired from his job, and his personal life isn't in the best shape. He doesn't seem to understand his relationship with his own daughter, played by Hailee Steinfeld. Things change when he happens to hear Gretta (Keira Knightley) playing at a local cafe, and Dan's love of music is seemingly rekindled. Gretta's personal life has also gone up in smoke. Her boyfriend, Dave (Adam Levine), has just landed a major music deal, and his wandering eye has left Gretta in the dust.
Knightley has done some super somber work in recent years, so it's great to see her smiling again in a movie. Her work in Anna Karenina and A Dangerous Method were great, but I'm super stoked to see her strumming a guitar and hanging out with Ruffalo. Ruffalo is always welcome in my book.
The music is the other exciting thing. Once's "Falling Slowly" went on to win Best Original Song at the Oscars, so the anticipation for another great set of music (by Glen Hansard) is understandable.
You want big? You want stupid? You want crass, ridiculous, summer fun? I think Neighbors is that movie. Does it look infantile? Yes. Do I care? Nope. Not one bit.
Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne play a young couple with a new baby and one hell of a problem on their hands: A fraternity moves in next door. By the looks of it, this fraternity houses ridiculously hot guys, because the main bros in question are none other than Zac Efron and Dave Franco. I maaaay have discussed my love of Mr. Efron and his tendency to rip his shirt off. And his body. I'm not ashamed, and neither should you.
Bring on the stupid. Young, dumb, and full of...eh, you get it.
In a summer full of superheroes in boys behaving badly, the most anticipated summer movie is about a girl falling in love with a boy for the first time while battling cancer. You may be thinking that I'm crazy, but if you think that you've obviously not read John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. Such a beloved piece of young adult fiction is heavily guarded by its legion of fans, but the film adaptation looks to get everything so right.
Shailene Woodley plays Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16 year old whose thyroid cancer has spread to her lungs. She wheels around an oxygen tank everywhere, and she reluctantly attends a cancer support group for teens to satisfy her mother's pleas. There she meets Augustus Waters, a charming boy who had osteosarcoma and left him an amputee. They discuss literature, their cancers and eventually they fall in love, despite Hazel's reluctance to allow anyone close to her heart.
I didn't expect for Green's novel to have such an effect on me. It's a beautiful book that is welcome over any other piece of crap that plagues the young adult fiction world. There are no gimmicks or supernatural elements. He poetically allows his characters to live. The film looks so perfect in terms of capturing the essence of the novel, and that's why it's my most anticipated film of the summer.
Woodley is on fire right now, and my initial reluctance of her casting was cast aside after I saw the first trailer. Ansel Elgort, as Augustus, might have the most difficult job, because every girl (and...me...) fell in love with him while reading the novel.
Fault has huge expectations against it, but it looks like it's going to satisfy the majority of its fans.