Obviously summer is all about working as much as possible to save money for next school year and enjoying the beautiful weather, but what compliments the “Work Hard, Play Hard” mantra better than blockbuster films and soulful music?
With only one issue of the paper remaining, I’m putting the reviews on hold to give a heads-up on movies and music coming up this summer that you won’t want to miss out on. Here are some movies premiering from May to July that are packing some serious heat.
May 10th: The Great Gatsby
Director: Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!, Romeo + Juliet)
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke
As soon as commercials for this movie started airing regularly, one of my good friends asked if I was interested in seeing it. After having to read it in high school and not enjoying it very much, I told him I thought I was going to pass. Now that I’ve seen multiple trailers, my mind has changed completely.
Director Baz Luhrmann, who is no stranger to this kind of movie let alone working with DiCaprio, has seemed to have re-created a film based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel with such strong emotion, cast, entertainment and societal reflection that I’m now dying to see it.
Rookie writer Nick Carraway (Maguire) leaves the Midwest and ventures to NYC, finding himself next door to the lavish-living Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio). Neck deep in the wild world of the filthy rich, Carraway inks his story of illusions, love, deceit, tragedy and shattered dreams from the best seat in the house. If the cast doesn’t hook you in, the story, music and images of the 1920s sure will.
May 31st: After Earth
Director: M. Night Shyamalan (Signs, The Sixth Sense)
Cast: Will Smith, Jaden Smith
Just by looking at the cast and director one can easily push this film aside and wait for Redbox or Netflix.
M. Night Shyamalan is notorious for producing seemingly good movies with absolutely atrocious endings, Jaden Smith hasn’t seen many major roles yet and Will Smith has been on more-or-less of a five-year sabbatical (aside from Men in Black III last year) since Seven Pounds and Hancock in 2008. This film looks like a modern day attempt at an I am Legend-ish movie.
A crash landing leaves Kitai (Jaden) and his father Cypher (Will) stranded on Earth about 1,000 years after events forced humanity’s departure. Cypher is badly injured and Kitai must battle viciously evolved animal species that now run rampant, unfamiliar terrain and a creature that was set free during the crash to signal for help. Both men will find themselves and each other before it’s all over.
Trailers have so far shown top-notch effects and intense sequences from the Smith boys, however, Shyamalan’s detriments lie in how the story ends, not begins.
June 7th: The Purge
Director: James DeMonaco (Little New York)
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headley, Adelaide Kane, Max Burkholder
One night every year crime is permissible without punishment. The government enacts a 12-hour time limit during which any kind of criminal activity (including murder) is legal. The catch is that emergency personnel can’t be called, so police and hospitals postpone their assistance. It’s one night out of the year when the citizens of society regulate themselves and their behavior, so what would you do?
The Purge follows a family during this fictional “holiday” when crime is all that’s on the menu and everyone finds out who they truly are. James DeMonaco directs his sophomore project of a family faced with peril right outside their front door and must decide whether to repel or join. DeMonaco has directed only one other film, yet has experience and chemistry working with star Ethan Hawke from his screenplay and co-production on Assault on Precinct 13.
The idea seems slightly out of the box, but that’s what could give this film an edge, especially being a thriller.
June 12th: This is the End
Director: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Cast: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill
Apocalypse? What Apocalypse? Six friends in LA come face to face with it in this upcoming comedy from the team who wrote and produced the back-bending comedies Pineapple Express, Superbad, and Knocked Up.
As the world starts hitting the fan, the gang soon becomes subject to faltering supplies and cabin fever, both threatening to destroy the bond they share. At one point or another they have to leave the safety of the house to stare down their fates and strength of friendship.
This cast could be one of the absolute best in a comedy, as of talent to date and you are almost guaranteed everyone’s going to perform up to par. The only possible downfall is the humor value behind the events that occur. For comedies, the devil lies in the details so hopefully the story and cameos (one from Emma Watson, WHAT?) go in a direction that allows these guys to be at their funniest.
July 3rd: The Lone Ranger
Director: Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Ring)
Cast: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Barry Pepper, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, James Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson
From the duo that brought the Pirates of the Caribbean series comes director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s new look at the classic tale of The Lone Ranger.
Tonto (Depp), the Native American spirit warrior, recalls the untold stories of John Reid/The Lone Ranger (Hammer), who began as a man of the law, but ends as a legend fueled by justice. Very similar to Will Turner and Jack Sparrow, the two men must learn to work together, fight greed and demand justice in an off-the-tracks train ride packed full with humor, surprises, fast-paced action and an all-star cast that includes the dynamic Helena Bonham Carter (Fight Club) and the gritty Barry Pepper (Snitch).
If you weren’t a fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, or are skeptical of the Disney studio production, this should still be a high-octane ride through the Wild West based on a timeless story that even adults are familiar with.
You can find trailers and information on any of the movies discussed here at Comingsoon.net or IMDb.com. Make sure to come right back to the same place next week for a look at upcoming summer music that will make the months off from school that much more glorious.