2013 Summer Arts & Entertainment Guide- Film5/22/2013
Summer is here, which means a season of new blockbusters will be flooding the theaters. It’s time for all cinema fans to move away from the award-winning dramas of winter and look toward the action-packed, tanker-exploding, superhero-flying, mega-budget flicks that entertain and occasionally leave audiences with more then they anticipated. It’s not about bringing home Oscar with these movies. Rather it’s about making money and showing just what a big budget can really give to the audiences. In a phrase, it’s Michael Bay season. So get over any cinema snobbery and see some of these flicks that are certain to entertain and keep your blood racing even in the cool and dark theater.
Directed by Richard Linklater, starring Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick and Ariane Labed
Rated R, 108 minutes
There are some love stories that exist as something more than a “screen romance.” They thrive in the hearts of film-goers and help to define how relationships truly are for the romantically inclined. For Generation X, there is the relationship between Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke), the intelligent pair that seems to talk more than listen, first seen in “Before Sunrise” then again in “Before Sunset.” We find these two nine years after “Sunset,” no longer meeting for trysts, Celine and Jesse are together with their two twin daughters. The movie begins in media res and audiences are introduced to how they are living. As each deals with careers, kids, exes and life, Celine and Jesse continue to grow with one another finding out what is most important in life.
“Now You See Me”
Directed by Louis Leterrier, starring Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg and Michael Caine
There’s nothing quite like a good magic trick and anticipation that comes when a person makes the claim he or she can make something disappear before your very eyes without having the slightest idea how it’s done. But this isn’t a trick; it’s an illusion. With lines that beckon — “Come in close, because the more you think you see, the easier it is to fool you” — movie-goers are sure to be on the edge of their seat like the audiences depicted in the film. But this movie isn’t so much about the trick as it is about what disappears. An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money. With an all-star cast that makes the “Oceans” trilogy seem tame, “Now You See Me” is a trilling action flick that will leave you checking your pockets and whispering to your friends, “What just happened?”
“Much Ado About Nothing”
Directed by Joss Whedon, starring Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Fran Kranz and Jillian Morgese
Rated PG-13, 107 minutes
Joss Whedon takes on Shakespeare with his modern take on the comedy classic. The story is well known: Two sets of lovers are challenged by the people closest to them. It would seem these lovers will never find true happiness, but, then again, perhaps love will prevail. Shot entirely in black and white, this has the art house feel — complete with Shakespearian source material — with a smooth jazz soundtrack to back it up. It is precisely this style that may help the words of Shakespeare actually resonate with his audience today just how “The Artist” helped make silent pictures accessible to folks now. Like Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo and Juliet,” the dialogue is strait from Shakespeare’s script. Whedon shows he can deliver Shakespeare as well as he can take on Marvel. “Much Ado About Nothing” is sure to please all.
“Man of Steel”
Directed by Zack Snyder, starring Henry Cavill, Michael Shannon, Amy Adams and Russell Crowe
Rated PG-13, 148 minutes
What was the worst thing about “The Dark Knight” trilogy? No, not the fact there were so many plot holes in it you could strain spaghetti. The worst part came at the end of the credits signifying the end of Christopher Nolan’s Batman story. But a glimmer of hope has appeared in the form of the Kal-El from Krypton. Produced by Nolan and written by David Goyer — the same man who co-wrote Nolan’s Batman — “Man of Steel” is a new take on the origin of Superman. A young boy from the cosmos is found by a Kansas farm family and raised to understand right from wrong. Early trailers show this movie to have a similar feel to “Batman Begins” with much of the film seemingly shot with a darker filter to add a certain grittiness to the All-American hero. C’mon Snyder. It’s Superman, not O.J. Simpson.
“This Is the End”
Directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, starring James Franco, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel
Rated R, 107 minutes
Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the same guys who gave the world the party side-effect films of “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express,” “This Is the End” answers the age old question: What would happen if top comedic actors had to work together to survive the apocalypse? Featuring a laundry list of stars and cameos, “This Is the End” focuses on Rogen and friend Jay Baruchel and the people they encounter at James Franco’s house party before the apocalypse. Everyone involved seems to be playing a glorified version of himself (as the world assumes they truly are in “real life”), and all welcome the jabs each character doles out. Now that each actor has achieved individual success, this is a movie that doesn’t have to try to be any more than it is: a passion project among friends who are simply making one another laugh, like Adam Sandler and the gang but funny. Fans of their previous work are sure to enjoy the ride.
“White House Down”
Directed by Roland Emmerich, starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Richard Jenkins
Rated PG-13, 137 minutes
If you sought out the last White House shoot-em-up (“Olympus Has Fallen”), don’t hold “White House Down” accountable for its faults. In the second threat-on-the-President movie of the year, we are introduced to John McClane — er, I mean, John Cale (Channing Tatum, not to be confused with Bruce Willis) — a wisecracking policeman looking to one day protect the President (Jamie Foxx). After his dreams are rejected, for Cale luck has it that the White House is attacked, and it’s up to him to save the President and his daughter who have separately been taken hostage. It’s hard not to think of McClane from “Die Hard” when you see Tatum’s portrayal of Cale as he mouths off to the president and anyone else who said he wasn’t capable of protecting the Commander in Chief. Under the direction of Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day,” “The Patriot”), “White House Down” is sure to pack an action-packed comedic punch.
“Despicable Me 2”
Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, starring Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Ken Jeong and Miranda Cosgrove
After settling down and becoming the father the young girls need, Gru (Steve Carell) is called in by the Anti-Villain League to help stop a new super criminal. Since Gru was once a villain himself, he is no doubt the best person to track this new threat. With the help of Margo, Edith, Agnes, the minions and a host of new gizmos and gadgets, Gru must do whatever it takes to protect his family and save the world. Much of the same slapstick with the minions that made the first film popular continues to please as these bumbling yellow pills add lighthearted humor that can be appreciated by the whole family.
“The Way, Way Back”
Directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, starring Steve Carell, AnnaSophia Robb, Toni Collette and Allison Janney
Rated PG-13, 103 minutes
Coming-of-age stories are a standby for the summer box office. The school year has just ended, and kids are presented with more time than they know how to handle. Getting a job makes sense, but that’s only to pass the time, really. “The Way, Way Back” doesn’t deviate from this proven method, but a sharp script and clever acting make it something unique. Rather than a strict coming-of-age story, this tends to be more of a coming-to-confidence story. Duncan (Liam James) is forced to accompany his mother (Toni Colette) and her new and faultfinding boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell), to Trent’s beach house. Duncan falls for the girl next door, Suzanna, and as each try to escape their families, they grow closer together. Like “Little Miss Sunshine” (especially because of Carell and Colette), “The Way, Way Back” is sure to bring a smile to even the grimmest introvert.
Directed by Guillermo del Toro, starring Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Charlie Day and Rinko Kikuchi
Perhaps the summer’s most anticipated blockbuster, “Pacific Rim” is the epic science-fiction film by director Guillermo del Toro. When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would claim millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots (Jaegers) which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. Tell me that doesn’t present some complications. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes — a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi) — who are teamed to drive a legendary, though seemingly obsolete, Jaeger from the past. Together, they are mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse. Of course.
Directed by Woody Allen, with Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard and Sally Hawkins
Woody Allen’s next feature, “Blue Valentine,” like most of his others, has yet another all-star cast, which including legends Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett, Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K., Andrew Dice Clay, Sally Hawkins, Peter Sarsgaard and Michael Stuhlbarg. All that is known about the movie’s plot is that it is set in San Francisco and centers on a fashionable New York housewife (Blanchett) who has her life together and a neurotic (Hawkins) in the midst of the final stages of an acute crisis. According to sources, this, despite the last two films Allen made, is a serious drama. No doubt we can take this with a grain of salt considering the director. Likely a favorite around awards season, “Blue Jasmine” is worth keeping an eye on in the coming months.
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur, starring Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington, Paula Patton and Edward James Olmos
Buddy cop films have been done to death, so what could possibly make “2 Guns” anything special? The casting choice of stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as the cops is no shocker, either. But this clever script gets a nice overhaul with two astute actors playing roles they’ve played almost more times than not. Washington taps into his badass cop role from “Training Day” while Wahlberg looks to “The Departed” for his role as a vulgar cop with a penchant for giving others particularly hard times. The laughs come when these tough guys start to finally lighten up a little after their respective agencies partner them together. If they want any sort of life as they once knew it, they’ll have to recover the money they stole from a bank that just so happened to belong to the C.I.A.
“Fast and Furious 6” (d. Justin Lin, with Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Michelle Rodriguez)
“The Hangover Part III” (d. Todd Phillips, with Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, John Goodman and Ed Helms)
“Epic” (d. Chris Wedge, with Amanda Seyfried, Beyoncé Knowles, Josh Hutcherson and Colin Farrell)
“Before Midnight” (d. Richard Linklater, with Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick and Ariane Labed)
“After Earth” (d. M. Night Shyamalan, with Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Isabelle Fuhrman and Sophie Okonedo)
“Now You See Me” (d. Louis Leterrier, with Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg and Michael Caine)
“The Kings of Summer” (d. Jordan Vogt-Roberts, with Nick Offerman, Moises Arias, Nick Robinson and Gabriel Basso)
“The Purge” (d. James DeMonaco, with Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane and Max Burkholder)
“The East” (d. Zal Batmanglij, with Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Jason Ritter and Julia Ormond)
“The Internship” (d. Shawn Levy, with Rose Byrne, Dylan O’Brien, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson)
“Much Ado About Nothing” (d. Joss Whedon, with Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Fran Kranz and Jillian Morgese)
“Man of Steel” (d. Zack Snyder, with Henry Cavill, Michael Shannon, Amy Adams and Russell Crowe)
“This Is the End” (d. Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, with James Franco, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel)
“The Bling Ring” (d. Sofia Coppola, with Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson and Taissa Farmiga)
“Monsters University” (d. Dan Scanlon, with Nathan Fillion, Steve Buscemi, John Goodman and Billy Crystal)
“World War Z” (d. Marc Forster, with Brad Pitt, James Badge Dale, Mireille Enos and David Morse)
“The Heat” (d. Paul Feig, with Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Tony Hale and Thomas F. Wilson)
“White House Down” (d. Roland Emmerich, with Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Richard Jenkins)
“I’m So Excited” (d. Pedro Almodóvar, with Javier Cámara, Pepa Charro, Lola Dueñas and Cecilia Roth)
“Byzantium” (d. Neil Jordan, with Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Caleb Landry Jones and Sam Riley)
“Redemption” (d. Steven Knight, with Jason Statham, Ian Pirie, Vicky McClure and Benedict Wong)
“The Lone Ranger” (d. Gore Verbinski, with Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner and Tom Wilkinson)
“Despicable Me 2” (d. Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, with Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Ken Jeong and Miranda Cosgrove)
“Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain” (d. Tim Story, with Kevin Hart, David Terrell, David Jason Perez and Justine Herron)
“The Way, Way Back” (d. Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, with Steve Carell, AnnaSophia Robb, Toni Collette and Allison Janney)
“Pacific Rim” (d. Guillermo del Toro, with Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Charlie Day and Rinko Kikuchi)
“Grown Ups 2” (d. Dennis Dugan, with Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade)
“Red 2” (d. Dean Parisot, with Bruce Willis, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren)
“R.I.P.D.” (d. Robert Schwentke, with Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Jeff Bridges and Mary-Louise Parker)
“The Conjuring” (d. James Wan, with Vera Farmiga, Lili Taylor, Patrick Wilson and Ron Livingston)
“Turbo” (d. David Soren, with Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Maya Rudolph and Samuel L. Jackson)
“The Wolverine” (d. James Mangold, with Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Will Yun Lee and Tao Okamoto)
“Blue Jasmine” (d. Woody Allen, with Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard and Sally Hawkins)
“Fruitvale Station” (d. Ryan Coogler, with Kevin Durand, Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer and Melonie Diaz)
“2 Guns” (d. Baltasar Kormákur, with Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington, Paula Patton and Edward James Olmos)
“The Smurfs 2” (d. Raja Gosnell, with Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays and Katy Perry)
“The Spectacular Now” (d. James Ponsoldt, with Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kyle Chandler)
“Elysium” (d. Neill Blomkamp, with Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley and Alice Braga)
“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” (d. Thor Freudenthal, with Alexandra Daddario, Nathan Fillion, Logan Lerman and Brandon T. Jackson)
“Planes” (d. Klay Hall, with Val Kilmer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Brad Garrett and Carlos Alazraqui)
“We’re the Millers” (d. Rawson Marshall Thurber, with Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts, Ed Helms and Jason Sudeikis)
“Kick-Ass 2” (d. Jeff Wadlow, with Chloë Grace Moretz, Jim Carrey, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse)
“The To Do List” (d. Maggie Carey, with Alia Shawkat, Aubrey Plaza, Bill Hader and Johnny Simmons)
“Paranoia” (d. Robert Luketic, with Amber Heard, Harrison Ford, Liam Hemsworth and Gary Oldman)
“Prince Avalanche” (d. David Gordon Green, with Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch, Lance LeGault and Joyce Payne)
“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” (d. David Lowery, with Rooney Mara, Ben Foster, Casey Affleck and Nate Parker)
“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” (d. Harald Zwart, with Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan and Jemima West)
“The World’s End” (d. Edgar Wright, with Rosamund Pike, Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost)
“You’re Next” (d. Adam Wingard, with Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, AJ Bowen and Joe Swanberg)
“The Grandmaster” (d. Kar Wai Wong, with Ziyi Zhang, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Chen Chang and Jin Zhang) CV
David Rowley is an Iowa native with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in film journalism from the University of Glasgow. Whether he’s wandering the foothills of Scotland or the concrete prairie of Des Moines, this cinefile/journalist/gumshoe is always prepared with a pen in his pocket feverishly searching for that “perfect level of ridiculous that makes the absurd desirable.”