Summer Movie Preview
Ever since Steven Spielberg released "Jaws" in 1975, summertime has become the prime season to unleash blockbusters with big stars and even bigger budgets attached to them. The summer of 2014 is certainly no exception, with new projects from Angelina Jolie, Melissa McCarthy and Channing Tatum to mention just a few. Naturally, as in many years past, there is a bevy of sci-fi flicks, sequel and remakes and more raunchy laughs than you can shake a stick at.
So here’s what’s what from May through August...
FLICKS WITH CHICKS
I’m sure that many of you remember Secret antiperspirant’s tagline, "strong enough for man, but made for a woman." It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that said adage could be applicable to the realm of gay men and chick flicks.
"Maleficent" stars Angelina Jolie as the titular Disney villain who places a curse on Sleeping Beauty. What does it take for someone widely misunderstood to turn evil? The live-action tale tackles this storyline and delves into the reasons Maleficent transforms after suffering a ruthless betrayal, from having a pure heart, to one made of stone. In her quest for revenge, Maleficent engages in an all-out war on the king of the humans by placing the aforementioned curse on his daughter Aurora (Elle Fanning), while herself facing the harsh reality that the youngster may hold the key to her own true happiness. I’m going to predict a run on black fabric and latex in October, since this is sure to be one of the most popular Halloween costumes in our community! (Opens May 30)
Sex Tape So what’s a couple who have been married for ten years, with the requisite 2.5 kids, supposed to do to spice up their love life? Well, if the couple is Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal, you decide that a sex tape, in which they try every position from The Joy of Sex, is just what the doctor ordered. When said video frolic goes missing however, the couple must search high and low to find its whereabouts. (July 25)
And So It Goes: Director Rob Reiner returns to his romantic comedy filmmaking for this offering, in which Michael Douglas trades in Liberace’s fur coats for this character’s sequin-less realtor garb. This self-centered character is forced to care for a grand-daughter he never knew he had. To do so, he enlists help, courtesy of neighbor, Diane Keaton. (July 11)
HERO WORSHIP, SEQUELS AND REMAKES, OH MY!
The old saying, "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it," is most definitely an oft-heard term in Hollywood, with a majority of this summer’s movies focusing on revisited super heroes, follow-ups and redos.
Godzilla: Arguably the most destructive reptile known to film, the biggest lizard ever is back on the big screen stateside, following the crap-tastic
’98 version starring Matthew Broderick. This time around Gojira takes on humanity, using his radioactive breath to decimate San Francisco, Las Vegas and creatures known as Mutos. This iteration includes Bryan Cranston as well as the yummy Aaron Taylor-Johnson. (May 16)
X-Men: Days of Future Past: Knitting together both cinematic versions of the mutants audiences have flocked to see in droves, is this the most current in the series. Together are both Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy in the form of Professor X, as well as Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender as Magneto, in a storyline that has Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) sent back in time to prevent a catastrophic event that spells certain doom for mutants... and humans. (May 23)
Transformers: Age of Extinction: Marky Mark Wahlberg replaces Shia LeBeouf as the hero for the next offering in this endless summer series. Following the last toys-made-into-movie extravaganza, the Autobots and Decepticons have vanished from earth; but a group of shady businessmen and scientists attempt to learn from their technology, after which all involved must contend with an ancient transformer who has its sights set again on Earth. (June 27)
Hercules: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson follows in the sandals of Steve Reeves, Kevin Sorbo and Kellan Lutz as the legendary Hercules. This time around the Greek demigod helps the King of Thrace and his daughter take on a tyrannical warlord. (July 25)
Guardians of the Galaxy: This film comes courtesy of Marvel Comics and highlights the space adventures of American pilot Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). He enrages cosmic baddie Ronan (Lee Pace) after he steals an orb belonging to the intergalactic villain. Co-starring Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel and the voice of Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon. (August 1)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Heroes in a half-shell return to the big screen, getting the Michael Bay remake treatment, which means bigger explosions and the hotness of Megan Fox as April O’Neil.
Jupiter Ascending: The latest in sci-fi from the Wachowskis, creators of The Matrix trilogy, stars Mila Kunis as a seemingly ordinary Earth woman. Owing to the revelation that she is destined to become the universe’s next leader, she is targeted for death at the hand of Caine (Channing Tatum) and the current King of the Universe. (July 18)
The Giver: A perfect double feature to "Jupiter," is this tale about a teenage boy living in a futuristic world, who receives training from Jeff Bridges’ character. Also starring Meryl Streep and Alexander Skarsgård. (August 15)
Lucy: Scarlett Johansson takes her chicks-who- kick-ass roles seriously. She’s back at it again for her next installment as a woman in the wrong place at the wrong time who must rely on her inner warrior to get the better of her captors. You go, girl! (August 8)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: This film monkeys with the distinction of being both a remake to the original series and sequel to the 2011 "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." This time around the apes and humans re-duke it out to see which species will emerge triumphant. (July 11)
FILMS TO KEEP AN EYE OUT... IF YOU SHOULD BE SO INCLINED:
22 Jump Street (June 13), The Expendables 3 (August 15) and Sin City: A Dame To Die For (August 22).
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT...
Jersey Boys: Okay, stay with me here... Clint Eastwood directs the stage-to-screen adaptation of the musical chronicling the rise of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons."Go ahead, make my gay!" (June 20)
Watch also for other music biopics on Jimi Hendrix ("Jimi: All Is By My Side") and James Brown ("Get On Up"). (both in August)
The Talented Mr. Ripley scribe Patricia Highsmith penned The Two Faces of January back in 1964; fifty years later it gets the celluloid treatment with Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst as an American couple swept up in murder while in Athens. (May)
So there you have it film aficionados, a mere offering of just a few of summer’s movies with the potential to put butter on your popcorn, as you plop down your hard earned cash and firmly plant your cheeks in those theater seats. Enjoy.