Director: Shawn Levy
Cast: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Max Minghella, Rose Byrne, John Goodman
Remember when Google was just a search engine? Now entire moves are being based around them and set at their corporate headquarters. The Internet giant is at the center of The Internship, which reunites Wedding Crashers duo Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in a story that their fans will recognize as very familiar. They play two unemployed salesmen who take an internship at the tech firm, where they must compete opposite younger, savvier competition. In true Old School/Dodgeball/Drillbit Taylor fashion, they become mentors to a geeky group of losers. The PG-13 rating is a concern because they’re best when able to cut loose, but for those looking for a comfortable time at the movies this is probably for you.
Much Ado About Nothing
Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Reed Diamond, Fran Kranz
So how does Joss Whedon decide to follow-up the $1B haul of Marvel’s The Avengers? Not with a sequel because…well, that would be too easy. Instead he gathers up a bunch of his old friends from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly, flies them out to gorgeous Santa Monica, and over 12 days tackles a fresh adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing. Shot in gorgeous black and white, the story follows the tumultuous tumble into love by the unlikely pair of Beatrice and Benedick.
Director: Brian De Palma
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Rachel McAdams
Is the erotic thriller Passion a return to form for Brian De Palma? Or is it just another in a growing list of shoddy disappointments? The elements of a great film are certainly there, with Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams playing sexy, ambitious co-workers embroiled in a deadly office dispute. It’s based on the well-regarded French thriller, Love Crime, described by many as “De Palma-esque” and starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier as the sexy rivals.
Director: James DeMonaco
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey,
Flying under the radar for the most part, The Purge has the potential to be the next great horror franchise. The horror maestros at Blumhouse Productions, the folks behind Paranormal Activity and Sinister, have come up with a simple, deceptively brilliant premise. What if for one day a year you were allowed to commit any violent crime without fear of repercussion? In a future version of America, violent crime has dropped to 1% thanks to the annual event known as the Purge, when the government lifts the penalties on such crimes for a 12-hour period. Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey star as parents who are forced to defend their home when their son allows a stranger into their midst, setting off a terrible chain of events.
Director: Aram Rapaport
Cast: Amber Heard, Shiloh Fernandez, Kellan Lutz, Brittany Snow, Josh Pais
Movies about the nasty, dog-eat-dog world of advertising have had it tough, but maybe there’s some hope for Aram Rapaport’s adaptation of Syrup? Based on the cult favorite novel by Max Barry, the film features a hot cast with Amber Heard, Kellan Lutz, Shiloh Fernandez, and Brittany Snow, along takes a satirical look at the marketing for a new soda called “Fukk Cola”. Trailers suggest a slick, edgy film, but in such a crowded summer, Syrup may be a tough product to sell.
Violet & Daisy
Director: Geoffrey Fletcher
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Alexis Bledel, James Gandolfini
The directorial debut by Oscar-winning screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious) has been sitting on the shelf for more than two years. While that’s not such a strange thing, it is when the film has such an attractive, high-powered cast and a premise ready made for theaters. Hanna star Saoirse Ronan is back as another teen assassin, joined by Alexis Bledel, as young killers who take on what should be an easy job, only to get more than they bargained for in the target, played by James Gandolfini. Combining surreal fantasy sequences with hard-boiled crime action, it certainly seems as if Fletcher is attempting to do something different than the norm.
Wish You Were Here
Director: Kieran Darcy-Smith
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Nash Edgerton, Teresa Palmer, Felicity Price
Joel Edgerton, Nash Edgerton, and David Michod may be the most recognizable Aussies in the Blue Tongue Films group, but Kieran Darcy-Smith is making serious moves to change that with his feature debut, Wish You Were Here. Starring both Edgertons and Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies), the film follows four friends who take a trip to Cambodia, only to have their lives turned upside down when one disappears. Debuting warmly at last year’s Sundance, it’s also racked up a number of awards and nominations on the Australian film circuit. Are we looking at the next Animal Kingdom-level hit from Down Under? We shall see.
This Is the End
Director: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Cast: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Emma Watson, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Rihanna, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Aziz Ansari
Think Joss Whedon had fun directing all of his pals in Much Ado About Nothing? Guarantee that’s nothing compared to how bonkers it must have been for Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg to shoot This Is the End. Starring…well, practically everybody, the film features a host of celebrities playing hyper-stylized versions of themselves, trapped in James Franco’s house while the apocalypse rages outside. Even if the humor is hit-or-miss, and the trailers suggest that could be the case, the chance to see someone like Emma Watson wielding an ax like a maniac is too good to ignore.
Berberian Sound Studio
Director: Peter Strickland
Cast: Toby Jones, Tonia Sotiropoulou, Susanna Cappellaro
The Academy loves movies that celebrate the art of making movies, and over the last few years we’ve seen a number of very accomplished ones. But none of them are quite as ominous and dark as Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio, which plunges us into the world of 1970s Italian horror. Toby Jones plays a sound tech brought to Rome to work on a gory horror film titled “The Equestrian Vortex”, only to have the job begin to affect his grip on reality.
The Bling Ring
Director: Sofia Coppola
Cast: Emma Watson, Leslie Mann, Taissa Farmiga, Israel Broussard, Gavin Rossdale, Paris Hilton
Sofia Coppola has spent the bulk of her directing career exploring the emptiness of excess and celebrity, but for Emma Watson she gets to do it twice in a single month. Playing a version of herself braving the apocalypse with her famous and extremely spoiled cohorts in This Is the End, she tackles it from a much more realistic angle in The Bling Ring. Based on the real life events surrounding the Beverly Hills Burglar Bunch, she plays one of a group of fame-seeking teens who robbed the homes of celebs to the tune of millions of dollars. One of their biggest victims was Paris Hilton, who was so broken up by the ordeal that she willingly offered up her home to use in the film.
Director: BJ McDonnel
Cast: Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder, Zach Galligan, Caroline Williams
Adam Green found a new horror icon when he created the villain Victor Crowley with 2006’s Hatchet, and now two movies later the character is still out there looking for blood. Green steps aside to allow BJ McDonnell to direct the latest chapter in the slasher series, which has a search and rescue team looking to clean up the mess Crowley left behind, only to discover that he’s far from finished.
Man of Steel
Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Henry Cavill, Michael Shannon, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Antje Traue
This summer, Superman won’t just be expected to save Metropolis from the threat of the evil General Zod, but Warner Bros. is counting on him to save their flagging superhero universe. There’s a lot riding on Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, which is why they’ve pulled out all of the stops to make sure the film is a hit. While Christopher Nolan is merely producing, we’ve seen them follow much the same tract as with his ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy, and judging by the trailers the tone is eerily similar. Undoubtedly the most anticipated film of the summer, it does come with a lot of questions and a smattering of doubt. Will Henry Cavill be the guy to make us all forget the name Brandon Routh once and for all? The tone, somewhere between Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life and Nolan’s Batman films, is beautiful but doesn’t suggest the sort of action many are hoping for. After a string of flops, is Zack Snyder really the guy to handle a project of this scope? If it fails, you can basically kiss Justice League good-bye. But if it’s a hit in the way a Superman film really ought to be, we could be looking at the emergence of Marvel’s first true competitor.
Director: Mukunda Michael Dewil
Cast: Paul Walker
So here’s something for the two folks out there who think Fast & Furious 6 would have been if only it centered on Paul Walker. Vehicle 19 puts Walker back behind the wheel as an ex-con who experiences a rental car screw-up and finds a woman held hostage in the backseat. The script by director Mukunda Michael Dewil turned up on the Black List (the best unproduced screenplays), but that wasn’t enough to earn this film a major distribution deal. So those who are looking to see what Walker can do on his own will have to do a bit of digging, or wait for it to hit DVD.
A Hijacking (review here)
Director: Tobias Lindholm
Cast: Pilou Asbæk, Søren Malling, Dar Salim, Roland Møller
Paul Greengrass ought to be looking over his shoulder. The director is bringing his Tom Hanks-led Somali pirates film Captain Phillips to theaters later this year, but he may have a tough time reaching the acclaim of Tobias Lindholm’s A Hijacking. Starring Pilou Asbaek, the film takes a gritty, real-world look at a shipping vessel that is overrun by Somali pirates. While they face unimaginable turmoil during the months-long ordeal, they are unaware that the corporate CEO handling the negotiations is a monumental screw-up who could be putting their lives in further danger. It’s a tense, unapologetic film that ironically resembles Greengrass at his best.
Director: Franck Khalfoun
Cast: Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder
Frodo Baggins as a serial killer in a remake of 1980 horror cult classic, Maniac? Ok, sure. Elijah Wood, who has more experience playing creepy murderers than one would think (remember Sin City?), takes on the lead role in the Maniac remake, playing a psychopathic mannequin salesman whose murderous side is unleashed after an encounter with a woman in need of his help. Hitting the horror festival scene last year, the film has received strong early buzz, with praise for Wood and director Franck Khalfoun.
Director: Dan Scanlon
Cast: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, John Krasinski, Bonnie Hunt, Aubrey Plaza, John Ratzenberger
After Cars 2 looked purely like a money grab for Pixar, the announcement of a Monsters, Inc. prequel was met with a fair amount of skepticism. Part of what made that film work so well was the lived-in friendship between workplace buds Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman), and to mess with that could hurt what many consider one of Pixar’s animated classics. As more footage has emerged, it’s become clear that Pixar knows they have a lot to prove, and aren’t going to break what surely didn’t need fixing. The Revenge of the Nerds-esque story follows the first meeting between Mike and Sulley, and to say they didn’t exactly get along is an understatement. After getting kicked out of the “scare program”, they’re forced to hook up with a fraternity of losers. The amount of characters Pixar has created is simply staggering, and so is the amount of voice talent, with Helen Mirren, Nathan Fillion, and a returning Steve Buscemi at the top of the list.
World War Z
Director: Marc Forster
Cast: Brad Pitt, Mirielle Enos, James Badge Dale, David Morse
The most plagued film of the summer, World War Z arrives after a string of issues both big and small, enough to have it pushed from a release date originally pegged for last December. Based very loosely on Max Brooks’ novel, which took a geo-political look at the impact of a global zombie outbreak, the film version is a big budget action spectacle directed by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) and starring Brad Pitt. A veritable army of writers have taken a crack at the script, which has led to numerous delays, reshoots, and rumors of a skyrocketing budget north of $200M. Having Pitt on board is a huge boost, but he’s never been the sort of actor to carry a film to blockbuster status. Throw into the mix that the zombie craze is beginning to fade, and we could be looking at this summer’s John Carter.
Director: Neil Jordan
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Sam Riley, Caleb Landry Jones, Jonny Lee Miller
If you’re going to make an erotic, deadly tale of vampires, the first number on the speed dial would be Neil Jordan. The Interview with the Vampire director is back with his latest tale of vampire lust, only this time told from the perspective of two female bloodsuckers. Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan play a long-lived mother/daughter pair, who survives by keeping a low profile and using their wits. When Ronan falls in love with a sickly human boy, and Arterton’s brothel business comes under suspicion, everything they’ve worked for is threatened.
Director: Paul Feig
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Sandra Bullock, Demian Bichir, Marlon Wayans
Already with the $170M-grossing Identity Thief under her belt this year, Melissa McCarthy is looking to keep the gravy train going this summer with The Heat, and she’s got a lot of help to make that happen. The buddy cop comedy pairs her up with Sandra Bullock, no stranger to the cop comedy genre herself, and reunites her with Bridesmaids director Paul Feig, for a film that…well, it doesn’t seem to have much a plot. They play mismatched cops who must take down a Russian crime lord, but it’s really just an excuse to watch these two funny ladies act like foul-mouthed clowns, which should be good for a few laughs.
I’m So Excited
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Cast: Carlos Areces, Raul Arevalo, Javier Cámara, Lola Dueñas, Carmen Machi, Laya Martí, Cecilia Roth, Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz
After chilling us to the bone with his weird and disturbing The Skin I Live In, Pedro Almodovar is doing something completely different with I’m So Excited. A colorful, wacky comedy similar to the films of his early career, the story centers on the passengers of a jet plane after a mid-air incident prompts fear, confession, sex, and lots of singing. The cast will be unfamiliar to most American audiences, but Almodovar favorites Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas turn up for cameos.
Director: Xavier Dolan
Cast: Melvil Poupaud, Suzanne Clément
The third film from Canadian director Xavier Dolan comes with a ton of critical acclaim, and just enough controversy that made it tough to find U.S. distribution. Debuting at Cannes where it took home the Queer Palm Award and Best Actress for star Suzanne Clement, the film was also a hit at Toronto where it won best Canadian Feature Film. Melvin Poupaud plays Laurence, a man who makes the bold decision to realize his true self and become a woman. The choice has far-reaching impacts, most notably on his girlfriend, played by Clement.
Director: Steven Knight
Cast: Jason Statham
Wait, is Jason Statham trying to turn a corner or something? Is he done playing the guy who breaks skulls and now wants to be a better-rounded actor? Eh, probably not, but his last couple of solo films have had a slightly different texture to them. That trend seems to be continuing with Redemption (formerly known as Hummingbird), which marks the directorial debut by Eastern Promises and Dirty Pretty Things writer Steven Knight. With that pedigree behind it, the tone is moodier, with a dramatic quality we haven’t seen from Statham in….well, ever. He plays a homeless former soldier who tries to turn his life around but gets involved with the criminal underground in London’s Chinatown district.
White House Down
Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins
The latest big budget disaster flick from Roland Emmerich doesn’t involve aliens or natural disasters, but it does have the White House being overrun by terrorists for the second time in…oh, about three months. White House Down is essentially the same story as the Gerard Butler-led Olympus Has Fallen (the two were racing to hit theaters first), but packs a bigger budget, a powerhouse cast, and Emmerich’s knack for blowing stuff to smithereens. The hero this time is Channing Tatum, a cop who desperately wants to join the Secret Service, and gets his shot to prove himself when the Nation’s Capital comes under attack. Jamie Foxx plays the POTUS, who gets to fire off one-liners just as readily as he fires off a rocket launcher.