Few things get me more excited than a summer at the movies. And, so far, this summer is shaping up to be better than most. No matter your preferred genre, there really does seem to be something for everyone at the cinema. So grab your buttery, overpriced popcorn and join me for a few of my top picks in different genres.
Top Pick: Superhero movies—Man of Steel (June 14)— Before you see it: “Superman,” “Superman II,” “Watchmen”
This summer will see new and exciting entries in the “Iron Man,” “Wolverine” and “Kick-Ass” series. But, without a doubt the movie with the most riding on it is the artsy-looking Superman origin story “Man of Steel.” There hasn’t been a good Superman movie as long as I’ve been alive, so to call this film anticipated would be an understatement. Fans are cautiously optimistic, as the film is directed by Zack Snyder, who has a reputation for visually stunning yet narratively unsatisfying filmmaking (see: “300,” “Watchmen,” “Sucker Punch”). But, the fact that Christopher Nolan, director of the acclaimed “Dark Knight trilogy is penning the screenplay along with his collaborator David S. Goyer should propel Man of Steel back into “hotly anticipated” territory. Oh, and did I mention Russell Crowe is playing Jor-El and Amy Adams is playing Lois Lane?
Top Pick: Romance/Literary adaptation—The Great Gatsby (May 10)– Before you see it: “The Great Gatsby” (book), “Romeo +Juliet” (dir. Baz Luhrmann)
Also known as the shiny new adaptation of the only book in high school lit class you actually enjoyed, director Baz Luhrmann’s film looks to be garish, overproduced and completely awesome (not unlike his previous adaptation, “Romeo + Juliet”). Featuring an infectious modern hip-hop soundtrack and perfect casting all-around (how could Leonardo DiCaprio not play Gatsby?), the film is ambitious to say the least. But, if you’re not excited for this movie, you officially don’t have a pulse. However, if Gatsby isn’t enough to satisfy your hunger for modern literary adaptations, there’s also Joss Whedon’s (director of “The Avengers”) more intimate version of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” shot in just 12 days.
Top Pick: Sci-fi—Elysium (August 9)—-Before you see it: “District 9,” “Planet of the Apes,” “Dark City,” “12 Monkeys”
This is the very definition of a stacked category. Some might call it the summer of sci-fi. There’s the new installment in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot, Will Smith in “After Earth” and Guillermo Del Toro’s much-ballyhooed Pacific Rim. But my pick has to be “Elysium.” In Neill Blomkamp’s stunning directorial debut “District 9,” the director proved adept at combining potent social commentary with solid genre thrills. Look for a similar formula here as humanity circa-2154 is divided between the wealthy, who live on a man-made space station where all diseases can be cured, and the rest of humanity, who are struggling to survive on this scummy place called “Earth.” Cue Matt Damon, who accepts a mission to break into the space station in hopes of bringing equality to humanity. If you’ve seen District 9, you know you’re already looking forward to this one.
Top Pick: Comedy—“This is the End” (June 12)–Before you see it: anything starring the multiple funny actors in this film
Recommending comedies is difficult for me, because not only do I not watch very many, but there are just so many being made these days. Regardless, the concept behind “This is the End” is genius: a bunch of hilarious comedians are hanging out at a party when they are faced with the impending apocalypse. That may sound like a thin plot, but with the likes of James Franco, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Danny McBride and Jonah Hill around, what else to you really need? If you like your apocalypse-themed comedies more British, there’s “The World’s End” starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Other anticipated comedies include “The Hangover III”, “The Heat” and the animated adventures “Monsters University” and “Despicable Me 2.” If you like watching terrible comedies for some reason, you should get a dearth of laughs from “Grown Ups 2” and “Smurfs 2.”
Top Pick: Action—“World War Z” (June 21) –Before you see it: “Dawn of the Dead,” “28 Days Later,” “World War Z” (book)
This summer doesn’t look to be a particularly exciting one for pure action movies, but the action/thriller/horror/sci-fi film “World War Z” is shaping up to be a tense summer shocker. While many fans of the book are crying foul over the seemingly loose adaptation, actor Brad Pitt and director Mark Forster are looking to innovate the zombie picture with what is being touted as “the most expensive zombie movie ever made.” Sure, money isn’t everything, but if one look at this poster isn’t enough to get you excited, I don’t know what else I can do. If you’re a bit burnt out on zombies, there’s the sixth installment in the “Fast and Furious” franchise (yes, they’re still making those), Disney’s “The Lone Ranger,” “Red 2” and “2 Guns.”