It'll be a long, cool summer for big-screen films
In big-ticket entertainment, the 3-D stakes have never been higher. Just ask the pre-beard dude in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Elsewhere, there are the usual dirty cops and squabbling families and many versions of Bruce Willis coming at us in a mere two dimensions. And it’s never been riskier for young sweethearts to go near creepy old houses. Of course, any glance at HGTV will tell you that. Keep your Real-D glasses on for abrupt schedule changes, with more than 80 films opening between now and Labour Day (and, confoundingly, none starring Nicolas Cage). Here are the scheduled releases for the next two months; we’ll preview the remains of the (summer) days at a future date.
In Wes Anderson’s stylized Moonrise Kingdom, the guy who brought you Rushmore and the jaguar shark unites Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton, and, yes, Bill Murray among adults searching for errant teenagers on a storm-swept island in 1965. Kristen Stewart and Avenger Chris Hemsworth are Snow White and the Huntsman, with Charlize Theron as one hella wicked witch. A Native American lacrosse team takes on Boston society in Crooked Arrows, while one of a boy’s two gay dads finds out that he’s not quite In the Family when his partner suddenly dies. The women of a tiny Lebanese village wonder Where Do We Go Now? when they can’t fully distract the menfolk from their religious conflicts. Those pesky flesh nibblers are back in Piranha 3DD, but I’m still waiting for Piranha ADD, about fishies that can’t tell cattle from candy wrappers. Harvey Keitel’s messed-up sons, Scott Caan and Jason Jones, want to get their lives in order before losing them in A Beginner’s Guide to Endings. In Richard Linklater’s latest, Jack Black plays Bernie, a pillar of the community except when he offs the nasty old lady played by Shirley MacLaine. Don’t spend the weekend at his place. There’s a vacancy in the Vatican in Nanni Moretti’s We Have a Pope, which mildly lampoons the pontiff-picking system. Despite its title, This Is Not a Film is very much the celluloid flagship of a Vancity Theatre series called Disseminating Dissent: Iranian Independent Cinema.
In Prometheus, Michael Fassbender plays an android with a sex-addiction problem. Kidding! But we’re otherwise taking seriously this long-awaited prequel to the Alien series, with raging Ridley Scott again in the captain’s chair, plus Charlize Theron and Dragon Tattoo gal Noomi Rapace as would-be Sigourney Weavers. Wall Street is crashing but Robert Pattinson just wants a pricey haircut in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, based on the Don DeLillo novel. Those wide-travelling animated critters are back (and still voiced by Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, and the gang) in Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. A huge hit in its native France, The Intouchables stars François Cluzet as a rich quadriplegic who hires a poor young black man to look after him. From China comes Double Trouble, an action flick starring Jaycee Chan, son of Jackie. Another precocious kid, Jesus Henry Christ, was conceived in vitro by single mom Toni Collette and here goes looking for his biological father. And Lovely Molly, newly married, moves into her late father’s spooky abode. Bad idea.
Ever confuse Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler? Such is the premise of That’s My Boy, which has the former as the latter’s offspring. Hope neither has a twin sister. Tom Cruise and Alec Baldwin go stadium-of-the-art in the 1980s-set Rock of Ages. Ethan Hawke is an American stranded in Paris, and his trouble is made worse by The Woman in the Fifth, a mysterious Kristin Scott Thomas. A lad with cystic fibrosis tries to fulfill a dead friend’s last wish and searches for Foreverland, a healing place in Mexico. And at 388 Arletta Avenue, a young couple is (surprise!) stalked by a weird stranger.
Bobcat Goldthwait’s scabrous new God Bless America leads off a five-film Vancouver Film Centre retrospective of the strangled-voice comic.
A princess with mad archery skills (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) must be Brave in this animated Disney adventure. Steve Carell and Keira Knightley meet cute while Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, a rom-com with a huge asteroid, not Zach Galifianakis, as an annoying third wheel. There’s more speculative fun when a self-styled time traveller advertises for a buddy, with Safety Not Guaranteed. Seattle goof Mark Duplass likes Emily Blunt, then meets Your Sister’s Sister, played by Rosemarie DeWitt. Newcomer Benjamin Walker gets the rail-splittin’ role in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (we were thinking Paul Dano or Andrew Garfield), which pits Honest Abe against rebel-backing bloodsuckers. And an Indian kite festival haunts the action in the Hindi-language Patang.
Channing Tatum is Magic Mike, a cagey stripper in Steven Soderbergh’s new comedy about Chippendales-type buddies on the make. Chris Pine meets Elizabeth Banks, the sister he never knew, in People Like Us, and Michelle Williams is married to Seth Rogen but is still quite distractible in Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz. Mark Wahlberg is saddled with a foul-mouthed teddy bear in the feature debut for Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, who also provides the voice for said Ted. Mila Kunis plays the gal pal who wants Mark’s best bud to get stuffed.
Andrew Garfield is the new wall crawler in The Amazing Spider-Man, directed by the miraculously named Marc Webb. Emma Stone plays replacement GF Gwen Stacy, and Stan Lee is a librarian. Well, he did write the book.
Fans will think the concert doc Katy Perry: Part of Me isn’t quite enough. Others may think part is already too much.
Still in Europe, Woody Allen heads To Rome With Love. Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, and Penélope Cruz are amongst the talky people enjoying piazzas by the slice. A six-year-old girl wanders postdisaster mystical Louisiana bayous in search of her lost mother in the almost allegorical Beasts of the Southern Wild; a woman wants to venture Beyond the Black Rainbow when she’s trapped in a futuristic commune; and Blake Lively is involved with two pot growers in Oliver Stone’s Savages, which offers Salma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro as Mexican cartel baddies. Architecture buffs will dig Coast Modern, a B.C.–made look at house designs that never quite caught on but should have.
Ray Romano drafted all four of his kids for voice roles in Ice Age: Continental Drift. Jonathan Demme again documents one of his favourite artists in concert, for Neil Young Journeys.
The Bale is back in The Dark Knight Rises, with director Christopher Nolan pitting our very Christian Batman against überterrorist Tom Hardy. Michael Winterbottom’s Trishna stars Slumdog hottinaire Freida Pinto as a woman adrift in modern India.
The Chinese artist-activist is profiled in Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. Suburbanites Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill join The Watch, aka Neighborhood Watch, just in time to battle aliens who attack the block. In Step Up Revolution, there’s a hot new dancer in Miami. But wait: her dad’s development plans may wreck the local street-dance crew. How do they think up these stories?