As sure as the summer sun is hot enough to send everyone scurrying indoors for a respite from the heat, the movie industry will be waiting there for us with an ice cold beverage and our favorite of familiar faces, set to entertain. The summer blockbuster movie specifically, which once was just another seasonal marketing push, as constant as Christmas (the industries other high-recoup season), is now viewed in many ways as the savior to an otherwise flailing industry. Ever since Will Smith supersized summer with Independence Day, and the myriad films after, we have seen time and again people want that summer sun escapism—and the industry has responded in kind.
With 45 films being released from roughly the start of May to Labor Day, the unofficial bookends of summer, the fact that at least 18 of them cost more than $100 million each to produce, speaks volumes; the fact that 5 of them were in the $200-million neighborhood, speaks even louder. In summer 2012, just 12 of the 40 films had budgets of $100 million or more; hence, a double down on the big summer blowout. So what excites us this summer? Between sequels, superheroes and computer-animated cartoons, there is a lot to be excited about.
First, it should be noted that Will Smith has another film this summer. Can we be done with him now? The only thing that I want to see less than another ‘Will Smith saves the day’ movie is one where his real-life son plays his son in the film, and we pretend that that makes them actors. And that’s coming from a Fresh Prince fan since his 1989 hit ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand,’ seriously. So, After Earth; how about…after it comes out on DVD? Moving on…
Man of Steel – With all of the super hero movies that have come out in recent years, it is confounding that this has not happened sooner. It will be amazing to see what can be done with this latest incarnation of the franchise that was not even possible effects-wise, just a few short years ago. With a stellar cast that includes Russell Crowe and Amy Adams, the big-name cast also boasts Kevin Costner, Diane Lane and the seemingly ubiquitous Michael Shannon. Also, since it is directed by Zack Snyder, who also directed 300 and Watchmen, we know the special effects will be top notch—exactly what you want from a summer blockbuster.
The Wolverine – Hugh Jackman as Wolverine might just be the highlight of all the recent superheroes, in all of the recent super hero movies. His ability to play tough, lost, everyman pushed a little too far beyond his own moral borders to no fault of his own, with just these little claws to fight crime, is about as subtle as his fauxhawk—but that’s what you want out of a summer flick, is it not? By the time you throw in Famke Janssen and a backdrop set in Japan, and you have me hooked before the film even begins.
The Internship – With Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson playing their customary characters (the motor-mouth and the straight, if overly-confident man) who are dropped into another fish-out-of-water scenario, we are in for another laugh attack here. After these salesmen lose their jobs, they somehow snag internships at Google, despite their lack of tech knowledge. While it would be a fair critique to say that these two man-child(s) might not actually be acting at all, it’s hard to fault them for it when they are still untouchable in the laugh department.
The Heat – Definitely similar to the odd and opposites Wilson/Vaughn pairing mentioned above, this time McCarthy/Bullock take the time-honored buddy cop movie to new heights. With Sandra Bullock doing her persnickety straight-laced FBI agent opposite to Melissa McCarthy’s disheveled Boston Cop shtick, all to the tune of a big drug case, the tune is funny, albeit a familiar one. Still, with the lineage of Bullock combined with the fresh pratfall nature of McCarthy, this should be the perfect type of brainless summer candy.
Monsters University – As far as a movie for the kids, that the whole family can enjoy, it is hard to beat the Monsters Inc. franchise. This all-star cast includes the voices of John Goodman, Billy Crystal and Steve Buscemi, to name a few. Pitched as a prequel to Pixar’s Monsters Inc., this film chronicles how the odd couple of animation met. With a plot that reveals that Mike (Crystal) and Sulley (Goodman) were actually college roommates and rivals before becoming best friends and colleagues, we are given a glimpse into the time before they became the hilarious team that they were in the last film.
Before Midnight – If you are not familiar with the latest in this line of indie-darling vignettes about a couple who originally met on a European trip (he American, she French-and all the self-aware jokes that implies), now is no time to start. First, I loved these movies early on enough that I will eventually see it. But, it definitely feels like they told the story completely—twice already! Also, Delpy herself (notably like Hawke) teeters dangerously on the ‘going back to the well too many times’ motif. As a side but related note: Julie Delpy’s French rationalism and moral relativism also totally drives my wife up the wall, especially when I say-“no, no, I get it.” (wait, does that mean it’s me that drives her up the wall?). I digress, see it if you like philosophical movies about what it means to be young but aging, in and out of love, trying but often failing. Think of it as the antithesis to the summer blockbuster.
In celebration of the summer blockbuster flick and in conjunction with the wonderful people at Grand Cinemas we are giving away 5 free pairs of movie tickets this summer. Follow the bazaar social media for details.