Well, it’s that time of year again. The spring movie season is starting to close up shop, and we are about to enter one of the biggest and baddest summers in recent memory. Blockbusters, Indie darlings, sleeper hits, they’re all over the place! And since there are so many films coming out this summer, I felt it was appropriate that I put together an exclusive list of films that I feel are worth checking out this summer. There are a lot of films coming out, so if there was anything you were looking forward to that didn’t pop up on this list, sorry folks. And I bet since the image above me signals that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is one of my most anticipated, you’re dead wrong! The Spider-Man I knew and loved died in Sam Raimi’s arms in 2007, and I could care less about the sequel to the underwhelming 2012 reboot. I’ll still see the film, but that doesn’t mean I’ll like it (according to reviews from overseas, I’m not alone). So, sit back, and relax as I begin my list. But first, let’s get some honorable mentions out of the way.
EDGE OF TOMORROW
I’m looking forward to the new Doug Liman film starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, but not quite enough to merit it being on my top ten list. The film looks awfully similar to Cruise’s last film Oblivion (which I really enjoyed, by the way), but the footage I’ve seen so far looks great. The special effects look great, the film was shot in 3D so that could be something pretty cool, and Cruise looks like he’s on his A-game as usual in this picture. The film will be released on June 6th, and chances are I’ll be first in line to see it. The film opens on June 6th.
Now this is a film that I know is a truly great film. Boyhood, the new film from Richard Linklater premiered back at Sundance (when I saw the film!) to near universal praise and a few months after its premiere the film was given a release date of July 11th. I HIGHLY encourage all of you to see the film when it’s released in cinemas. It’s one of Richard Linklater’s very best films, well ever, and it’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen, period. It’s a masterpiece that took 12 years to make and all the blood and sweat that went into this film is shown in the films near 3-hour run. Featuring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as the parents of the titular boy Mason, played wonderfully by Ellar Coltrane, this is a film that I would gladly watch in the theaters once again. Once again the film opens on July 11th in limited release.
Now we get to the exciting stuff. Let’s begin the list.
10. A Million Ways to Die in the West
This is Seth MacFarlane’s follow-up to his stellar 2012 one-two punch of his feature film debut of Ted and his hillarious, albeit controverisal, hosting gig at the Academy Awards last year. A Million Ways is MacFarlane’s satirized take on the American West, and how anything and everything is out to kill you, and I do mean anything. MacFarlane stars in the film, along with Charlize Theron, Neil Patrick Harris, Amanda Seyfried, and Liam Neeson. The film looks hilarious, and it looks original enough to not be compared to Blazing Saddles nearly every waking minute of the films run time, but we haven’t seen the film yet so I can’t say. But I love Seth MacFarlane, I think the man is a comedic genius, and I’m very excited to see this vulgar and raunchy western. The film opens on May 30th.
I love James Brown, and I love music in general. I love traditional Rhythm and Blues, and so the idea of a James Brown film being made caught my attention. The film, titled Get on Up, is directed by Tate Taylor, who directed the 2011 adaptation of The Help, which went on to be an audience and critical darling, and nabbed Octavia Spencer an Oscar. Spencer appears in the film, along with Viola Davis, and several other supporting actors like Craig Robinson and Dan Aykroyd. But the main reason to probably see this film is for Chadwick Boseman as the king of soul, who looks magnificent in this role. James Brown as a complicated and fascinating individual, and I’m hoping that this film can do the legend his justice. The film opens on August 1st.
Jon Faverau returns to his Swingers roots this summer with a film called Chef, where he embarks on a road trip across the country in a food truck with his son. Faverau is best known as of recently for directing tentpoles like the first two Iron Man films as well as 2011’s Cowboys and Aliens. This film is much smaller, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t scaled back on casting. Faverau stars in the film, as well as he writes and directs, and the film also features actors like Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, Sophia Vergara, John Leguizamo, and Robert Downey Jr. The film looks hilarious and it looks to be a fun film while also having a soft side to it. The film premiered back at SXSW this year (I couldn’t make the premiere), and word of mouth was very positive, so here’s to May 9th being a fun little independent surprise. The film opens on May 9th.
7. Jersey Boys
I haven’t seen the musical Jersey Boys, although I here it’s fantastic. I’m mainly excited for this film because, like Get on Up, it’s a biopic on one of my favorite groups of the mid-20th century, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Not to mention that Clint Eastwood, one of my all time favorite directors, made the film version. The story of the Four Seasons is a fascinating one, so I can understand why the musical was and still is such a big hit. Much of the original Broadway cast plays the roles of the Four Seasons, and Christopher Walken has a supporting role in here that could be something special. Hopefully Eastwood has made a movie musical that’s actually worth a damn, and will be a nice break from all the CG-extravaganza’s we have in store for us this summer. The film will be released on June 20th.
6. 22 Jump Street
I was one of the millions who saw the first 21 Jump Street and yelled, “how the hell was the film so great”? It was hilarious, and one of the best surprises from 2012. Well, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill have returned for the sequel, as well as directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, fresh off the success of the brilliant The Lego Movie from earlier this year. The films bigger and badder as the crew head to college for this sequel, and judging by the trailers I’ve seen, this could be one of the funniest films I see all summer. Hopefully that’s the case come June 13th, and judging by Lord and Miller’s hot streak, I doubt that will end. The film opens on June 13th.
5. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Another reboot that took me completely by storm was the 2011 reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It was an exciting late entry to that summer with one of the best performances of that year coming from Andy Serkis‘ work in the film. Serkis returns to do motion capture work on the film, and instead of Rupert Wyatt at the helm, we have Matt Reeves, director of Cloverfield, along with Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, and Gary Oldman is the humans in the roles. We’ve only seen brief teasers at this point, but I feel that Dawn could be one of the more exciting films of the summer. The film opens on July 11th.
4. Life Itself
This is a bit of a departure from the usual summer fare I’ll be reviewing for you in the next coming months, but this is a film that I must address. Life Itself is a film by Steve James, who made my favorite documentary Hoop Dreams, and it documents the life of Roger Ebert, who in-arguably changed film criticism and the way we look at films forever. The film, according to EW’s 2014 Summer Issue, will be released in limited release on July 4th, and God knows when the film will head to Austin, if ever. But this is a film that I must see. Roger has done so much for me, so I owe than man this one. Again, the film will be released on July 4th.
If you told me a few years back that the upcoming American made reboot of Godzilla would be my third most anticipated film of the summer, I would have thought you had gone mad. Well, things have changed, haven’t they? Garreth Edwards, director of the low-budget cult classic Monsters, directs this film, but that’s not the main draw of the film for me. Frank Darabont, the writer and director of such films as The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, did the final rewrite on the film, and according to star Bryan Cranston, his draft was what convinced him to be apart of the film. Darabont is a terrific writer (and a pretty cool guy, he was very humble when I met him a few years back), the film itself looks exciting and thrilling, and hopefully Warner Bros. didn’t screw this up, because it looks like this could be a pretty exciting time early in the summer movie season. The film opens on May 16th.
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past
To get this out-of-the-way, I’m aware of the recent allegations brought against director Bryan Singer. It’s something very serious, and something not to joke about, but I’m not here to discuss the allegations. I run a website about movies, not a gossip site. But that aside, I’m very much looking forward to the new X-Men film. Granted, this film could be a Towering Inferno-type mess of a film, or it could something as thrilling and exciting as rival Disney’s franchise in The Avengers. X-Men: First Class was a terrific comic book film and summer blockbuster, the trailers all look terrific, Hugh Jackman and the rest of the cast look at the top of their game, and it’s got a memorial day weekend release. While we wait for our barbecue’s to start-up, I think we should go check out this new X-Men film, and here’s to it not being as bad is it could be. The film opens on May 23rd.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy
I’ve been so curious and bizarrely interested in this upcoming Marvel film for about two years now. This won’t be your traditional comic book film, and it won’t be your traditional summer movie either. I think that’s why Guardians of the Galaxy is my most anticipated film of the summer, because of its bizarre nature and twisted world building the film will be doing. It also looks like terrific fun, exciting, hilarious, and not to mention the cast this film boasts. Future movie star Chris Pratt stars at Star-Lord, along with folks like Zoe Saldana, John C. Reilly, Benicio Del Toro, Glenn Close, Karen Gillian, and the voice talents of Vin Diesel as a talking tree and Bradley Cooper as a talking raccoon. This is easily the riskiest film of the summer, maybe the entire year, and also for Marvel and Disney, and not just because this is the first non-sequel the studio has produced since 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger (The Avengers doesn’t really count). The film looks awesome, so expect me to have this review ASAP, like my two-week early Winter Soldier review (I hate to brag, but…). The film opens on August 1st.
So those are my most anticipated films of this upcoming summer. What are your most anticipated? Feel free to write down any comments you have, and if you’d like you can like my Facebook pages and follow me on Twitter. Just go to that Contact Us tab at the top and you’re already there.