As summer approaches there is a lot to look forward to; nice weather, outdoor concerts, cookouts, pool parties, vacation...but if you're like me, summer means MOVIES.
For those of us who are movie enthusiasts year round, summer movies tend to be looked down upon. There are usually scads of shameless popcorn blockbusters like Tron, The Green Lantern and (good God) Cowboys & Aliens. Yes, summer is hardly Oscar season -- the studios want butts in the seats and are willing to spend beaucoup of money to get people in the theaters for the latest celluloid spectacle. Ad campaigns for summer movies are nothing short of embarrassing, with the predicable pairings of Burger King, 7-Eleven and the like. Admittedly I will undoubtedly be caught at some point with a Tron Slurpee cup in my hand.
Having said that, summer 2011 has the potential of being unlike a typical summer at the movies. Maybe it was started by the release of Inception last summer (which received eight Oscar nominations and won four) but there seems to be a trend moving more towards appealing to both sets (the highbrow and not so highbrow) of movie goers. As someone who likes both the intellectual, and the mindless movies, a variety of movies have made my must see summer movies list.
Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life is set to help kick off the summer season with its May 27th (limited) release. Judging by the film's breathtaking trailer, and of course Malick's pedigree, this movie has the potential of being a shoe-in at the 2012 Oscars. It also is the perfect bait to get those opposed to seeing things like Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides or Transformers: Dark of the Moon in the theaters.
Super 8 written and directed by J.J. Abrams aims to be a nod to the epic movies of summers past (Back to the Future, Jurassic Park), fittingly produced by Steven Spielberg. Adventure and monsters are not foreign to the movies these days (especially summer flicks), but a good story to back it up, is -- Super 8 could very well deliver on all fronts. It opens on June 10th and I plan to be there with bells on.
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part II -- the only thing more difficult than concluding a universally loved book series, is perhaps ending its film adaptation series satisfactorily. I was nothing short of immensely impressed by Part I of The Deathly Hallows, directed by David Yates. I find myself trusting him to deliver on this much anticipated final chapter.
In the vein of blockbusters, on my must list are: X-Men: First Class the super hero prequel helmed by Kick Ass director Matthew Vaughn, the rom-com Crazy Stupid Love starring Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling, and the first in The Avengers series Captain America.
On the non blockbuster side of the coin for me are; The Help based on the best selling novel and starring quite the collection of wonderful actresses (Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard, Emma Stone), Skateland an indie comedy by first time writer/director Anthony Burns, and of course, the new Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams.
It's going to be a great summer at the movies!