Monday, July 2, 2012

Matt's Summer Wait List

We have hopefully escaped the monotony of spring. Films released in the early part of the year were simply lackluster. I have only seen two of the top ten grossing films of the year - The Avengers and The Hunger Games - which are coincidentally the top two, but the list is full of sequels and mindless action flicks. My favourite film of the year? It is obviously Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom. I am just waiting for the moment to go and see it for a second time!

Here is a list of ten titles I am most eager to see this summer and fall and, as always, in chronological order:

(Opening July 6)

Oliver Stone returns with his first film since Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010). Stone has cast Taylor Kitsch (from television's Friday Night Lights), Blake Lively (Gossip Girl), Salma Hayek, John Travolta and Benicio del Toro in a film about college kids and a Mexican drug cartel.

Am I excited because it is Oliver Stone and I loved Natural Born Killers (1994)? Or is because I think it is going to be a total train wreck?

The poster is also eerily reminiscent of Babel, right? Check out the trailer here.

To Rome with Love
(Opening July 6)

Woody Allen's first film post-Midnight in Paris features a superb cast, including Penélope Cruz and long-time Allen collaborator Judy Davis (a definite selling point for me!). Woody returns to another beautiful European city with a film told through four vignettes.

I was not as enamoured with Midnight in Paris as the rest of the world (it was Woody Allen-lite for me), but To Rome with Love seems to be a lighter story than Woody has produced in a few years. Check out the trailer here.

The Dark Knight Rises
(Opening July 20)

Christopher Nolan completely wowed audiences with 2008's The Dark Knight, which won Heath Ledger a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Nolan has said that The Dark Knight Rises will be his last Batman film, the third in his trilogy which began with 2005's Batman Begins (which I did not care for).

The marketing for The Dark Knight Rises has been terrific, and I have almost stopped worrying if Anne Hathaway will completely taint the role of Catwoman (a role which Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt and Michelle Pfeiffer embodied so well).

Are you as excited for The Dark Knight Rises as we are? Check out the trailer here.

Step Up: Revolution
(Opening July 27)

We can credit the Step Up franchise for giving Channing Tatum a career. Way back in 2006 he starred in the original Step Up and then gave a brief cameo appearance in Step Up 2: The Streets (2008) and was nowhere to be seen in Step Up 3D (2010).

Step Up: Revolution is a complete guilty pleasure and subsequent viewings will be good parts only (read: only the dance numbers). The acting is atrocious and the story is nonsensical, but the dancing is awesome. Check out the trailer here.

2 Days in New York
(Opening August 10)

Julie Delpy is perhaps the most underrated French actress. She was sublime in Three Colours: White (1994). Delpy and Ethan Hawke were flawless in both Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004). In 2007 she wrote, directed and starred in 2 Days in Paris, a story of a French woman who brings her American husband to Paris to visit her family. Five years later she returns with 2 Days in New York. Her family, including an ex-boyfriend, come visit her and her new boyfriend (Chris Rock) in New York.

Expect the film to be witty and awkward with a standout performance from Delpy. Check out the trailer here.

Gangster Squad
(Opening September 7)

Josh Brolin. Ryan Gosling. Emma Stone. Sean Penn. Mireille Enos.

The cast is perfect. But now we must wait and see what Ruben Fleisher can do with a crime drama. His previous credits are Zombieland (2009) and 30 Minutes or Less (2011). That does not instill much confidence, but the cast is too good to resist.

Check out the trailer here.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
(Opening September 14)

This is Emma Watson's first true starring role since Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films. It is the story of a teenage boy who writes a series of letters to an anonymous person. The film is directed by Stephen Chbosky, who wrote the source material, The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999).

I am intrigued, but unsure. I love Emma Watson and I hope she has chosen the right role. Check out the trailer here.

(Opening November 9)

James Bond returns. Sam Mendes as director. Javier Bardem as the villain.

Check out the teaser trailer here.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
(Opening December 14)

Problems with the director. Problems in New Zelaand. We have heard it all. Peter Jackson bring J.R.R. Tolkien's epic fantasy novel to the big screen with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (the first of a two part story - the second half, There and Back Again will be released December 13, 2013). 

Jackson did great things with The Lord of the Rings and even bigger things are expected this time around. The Hobbit is considered a more beloved story by many and Martin Freeman (of television's Sherlock) has a difficult role as Bilbo Baggins. 

Check out the trailer here

Django Unchained
(Opening December 25)

The trailer is awesome. The cast is fantastic. Why do I need to wait another 6 months before I can watch this? Quentin Tarantino works outside the box and makes you uncomfortable. Django Unchained is his version of a western, but it is also a revenge tale. Jamie Foxx's casting made me worried initially, but the trailer makes me believe.

Check out the trailer here

That is my list. 

What are you most anticipating for the final six months of 2012? What will be the biggest surprises? The biggest disappointments? What will be the most buzz-worthy film be post-TIFF? Only time will tell. 


  1. I am on board with you for everything except Savages. That movie makes me, "sad in my heart place," for Selma Hayek's carreer.

    1. I agree though, Savages looks like a complete train wreck. But a train wreck I don't think I can escape.

      Funny enough, it has a 100% rating on RottenTomatoes right now - based on eight reviews though (including Todd McCarthy).