The Cynic’s Summer Movie Preview 2012: The Exciting

Check out the awful movies here. Check out the somewhat tolerable movies here.

(Note: As always, the images in this post are meant solely for the promotion of the films they represent. All images are copyright the respective studios. No copyright infringement is intended and all images should be considered Fair Use.)

The Dictator (May 16)
Sacha Baron Cohen is one of the most creative comic actors alive today. But he lost some of that goodwill with the uneven, unfocused Brüno. I think he’s back on track here. Any fears I had about it were alleviated with this second, plot-driven trailer.

Premium Rush (Aug. 24)
If you didn’t know this by now, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of my favorite actors working today and the best actor without an Oscar nomination. Here, he plays a bike messenger whose latest delivery gets him in deep with some dirty cops. Expect a back-to-school blitz of excitement from writer-director David Koepp (Spider-Man, Jurassic Park).

Lawless (Aug. 31)
John Hillcoat brings his raw style in this adaptation to Matt Bondurant’s historical novel about a family of bootleggers in Prohibition-era Virginia. Nick Cave provides the script and film score to a stacked cast including Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman and Jessica Chastain. Expect an exciting but lyrical period piece like 2009’s underrated Public Enemies.

The Bourne Legacy (Aug. 3)
Is Jeremy Renner an acceptable replacement for Matt Damon? After The Hurt Locker and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the answer is a resounding yes.

Piranha 3DD (June 1)
No one believed me when I told them 2010’s 3-D remake of Piranha was insanely awesome. Fewer still believe me that this even more over-the-top sequel will be just as ridiculously great. An example of what to expect: Ving Rhames, who had his legs gnawed off in the first film, returns with a shotgun attached so he can kill some more of the bloodthirsty fish.

Brave (June 2)
After Cars 2 proved even Pixar is not immune to the lure of new merchandising deals, it’s good to see they’re back on track with this medieval tale. Kelly MacDonald voices Merinda, a princess who hopes to become the army’s top archer. Even if this reminds me a little too much of How to Train Your Dragon, it’s good to see Disney giving girls a character they can actually look up to instead of the years of Princess by Default, where she must be rescued by a man.  

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (June 22)
Holy cow this looks amazing. Steve Carell and Keira Knightley play neighbors who embark on a road trip during Earth’s last days. Along the way they’ll meet all kinds of interesting people, including Gillian Jacobs, Melanie Lynskey, Patton Oswalt, Connie Britton and Bill Petersen. And that’s just for starters. Lorene Scafaria (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist) directs for the first time.

Ruby Sparks (July 25)
Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris return to their directors’ chairs for the first time since Little Miss Sunshine, one of the 10 best movies of the 2000s. They’ll be without writer Michael Arndt, but I’m still expecting great things from this film. Paul Dano plays the ultimate fanboy surrogate. He’s a writer who creates the perfect woman, only for her to come to life the next day. It’s basically Stranger than Fiction meets Weird Science, and I couldn’t be more excited. This would be higher were it not for the next six movies.

The Campaign (Aug. 10)
Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrell skewer politics in the South. That’s all I need to know.

The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3)
It’s only been five years since Spider-Man 3 and only 10 since the first film, but unlike other reboots, I’m excited for this one because it’s in such good hands. Director Marc Webb has to prove himself in the action realm, but he already revolutionized the romantic comedy with 500 Days of Summer. The script should kill, too. Oscar winner Alvin Sargent wrote Spider-Man 2, Steve Kloves owned the Harry Potter franchise and we’ll also get elements of Zodiac writer James Vanderbilt’s unused script for a Spider-Man 4 and 5. Plus, there’s Andrew Garfield as Spidey and swoon-worthy Emma Watson Stone as Gwen Stacy.

The Avengers (May 4)
Can a comic book movie give you everything you want and still succeed as a film? It seems like The Avengers can. Getting all the exposition out of the way with previous Marvel films, The Avengers looks like it’s built to deliver the best of what Marvel has to offer: human characters, lots of humor and plenty of well-choreographed action. Bring it on.

Prometheus (June 8)
I sure hope Ridley Scott understands the expectations here. He’s returning to the series that made his name (Alien) after a string of critical and financial disappointments, which looks like a desperation move. He’s filming in 3-D, and the two writers’ last work on two costly disasters: The Darkest Hour and Cowboys & Aliens. Yet that’s the power of this whole project. Despite past failures, this looks like the most incredible blockbuster of the summer (aside from Batman of course). It helps when you’ve got a stacked cast (including Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender) and a breathtaking trailer.

Moonrise Kingdom (May 25)
Jiminy cricket, is Wes Anderson a great filmmaker! From his skewed portraits of families to his outstanding production design to highly quotable dialogue, his movies are always worth watching, if not outright masterpieces. His latest follows a boy and girl who leave their idyllic small town for a romantic rendezvous. Their parents and neighbors form a search party, all set to what is surely a swingin’ ‘60s soundtrack. Plus, Bill Murray with a hatchet and a bottle of booze.

The Dark Knight Rises (July 20)
What else did you expect it to be? After The Dark Knight changed everything—that’s not hyperbole—I’ve been eagerly awaiting Christopher Nolan’s closing chapter. The man is simply incapable of giving the public a final product that’s less than extraordinary. That’s why his sign-off from the Batman franchise will not only meet the insane expectations placed upon it, but exceed them as well. This will be the event of the summer. There’s no arguing against it. In fact, judging by all the studios clearing the way around and after its opening weekend, there’s a good chance this movie could be No. 1 for a good six weeks.

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