Summer movie season officially begins today with the first day of May and the blockbuster onslaught comes with it. As you will notice, the films that I’m most excited for are not the ones that will own the Box Office, but that is nothing new. Without further ado, here they are:
25) Project Nim – July 8
Directed By: James Marsh
The documentary filmmaker behind the beautiful 2008 film Man on Wire is back with a follow up effort about a chimpanzee who is raised like a human child. It received positive reviews at the Sundance Film Festival where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. It looks like both a compelling and adorable story that should unfold nicely in documentary form.
24) Life in a Day – July 24
Directed By: Kevin MacDonald
Last year directors Ridley Scott and Kevin MacDonald took to YouTube to request videos from people all over the world that took place on a single day. This documentary is the product of those submissions. Featuring compelling snippets of video that appear in remarkably high quality this cinematic experiment could be something fantastic.
23) Hesher – May 13
Directed By: Spencer Susser
This film offers Joseph Gordon-Levitt the opportunity to show some range as he appears to be playing a character completely opposite of his role in Inception. Rather than well-spoken, dapper and coiffed like Arthur, Hesher is greasy, tattooed, and a man of little words. I’m hoping that Gordon-Levitt can pull it off and make this an interesting character study.
22) Beautiful Boy – June 3
Directed By: Shawn Ku
This movie looks like a slightly more psychologically insane version of Rabbit Hole. Michael Sheen and Maria Bello play two parents whose 18-year old son committed a mass school shooting and killed himself in the process. The premise is great and the trailer looks slightly over-wrought, but there is definitely some potential for excellence.
21) The Trip – June 10
Directed By: Michael Winterbottom
This comedy starring Steve Coogan and Michael Brydon should be vastly different than Winterbottom’s last film The Killer Inside Me. IMDb recommends that if you like In the Loop, you will love The Trip and that’s just about all I need to hear.
20) Film Socialisme – June 3
Directed By: Jean-Luc Godard
Godard’s films, especially his more recent ones, are not big on plot but they are huge on ideas. Regardless of the quality of this film it will no doubt have some of the most original and inventive filmmaking we see this year and I’m very excited.
19) Cars 2 – June 24
Directed By: John Lasseter, Brad Lewis
This is probably the Pixar film that I have been anticipating the least in the last decade. However, a bad Pixar film is still probably going to be better than most of what we see this summer. If nothing else the additional voice cast of Bruce Campbell, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Cheech Marin, Eddie Izzard, and more should provide some entertainment.
18) L’Amour Fou – May 13
Directed By: Pierre Thoreton
I didn’t realize until creating this list that I’m actually quite excited for a lot of documentaries this summer. This one chronicles the life of fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent and his lover Pierre Berge. The trailer makes it look like the kind of film that’s about art and creates art in itself.
17) Life, Above All – July 15
Directed By: Oliver Schmitz
This was South Africa’s selection for the Best Foreign Film Oscar and those who have saw it thought it was a strong contender. Even though it missed an Oscar nomination it still is getting U.S. theatrical distribution, which is an opportunity that should never be missed.
16) Everything Must Go – May 13
Directed By: Dan Rush
I am generally not a huge Will Ferrell fan, but when he chooses the restrained route he can be perfectly hilarious. This indie features Ferrell as an alcoholic who puts everything on his yard to sell in an attempt to start over. With Rebecca Hall and Laura Dern also in the cast, it should be a fine show.
15) The Beaver – May 6
Directed By: Jodie Foster
This movie has screened for several critics and the reviews seem to be splitting critics in two between lovers and haters. It seems like too perfect of a return vehicle for Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster is a capable director so I’m excited to see the angst that the pair has to offer.
14) Super 8 – June 10
Directed By: J.J. Abrams
I mentioned on last week’s podcast that I get frustrated by the marketing for J.J. Abrams’ films and how he seems intent on showing us as little as possible and still expects us to shell out our hard-earned money to see it. Yet as frustrated as it gets me, it won’t stop me from joining the crowds.
13) Another Earth – July 20
Directed By: Mike Cahill
Low budget science fiction has done well lately with films like Moon proving that minimalism can be quite successful. This film is about the discovery of a duplicate planet earth where every human has a replica. The first trailer looks good and it could be an indie standout of the summer.
12) Terri – July 1
Directed By: Azazel Jacobs
This loner comedy looks a lot like comparable coming-of-age indies that we have seen recently, but the cast could elevate it to a higher level. John C. Reilly and Jacob Wysocki both look endearing in this trailer for what could be a film that turns out to be much more drama than comedy.
11) Tabloid – July 15
Directed By: Errol Morris
Errol Morris documentaries are always something to anticipate as they have a cerebral component that most films are unable to achieve. This one chronicles a former beauty queen who is charged with kidnapping a young Mormon missionary. Knowing Morris it will also delve into what is it about certain stories that intrigue mainstream America.
10) Crazy, Stupid, Love – July 29
Directed By: Glenn Ficarra, John Regua
On paper this film sounds like a generic romantic comedy like the dozens we see every year, but it has an exceptional cast that should elevate it above the mundane. Julianne Moore, Steve Carrell, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei, and Kevin Bacon round out this cast of seasoned comedy veterans that could make this one of the best comedies of the year. Also, the trailer looks delightful.
9) Larry Crowne – July 1
Directed By: Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks looks like he might be the least believable college dropout ever, but that does not decrease my excitement for this movie. Based on the trailer it looks like a lovable story about new beginnings and endless optimism. It might be a nice antidote for the depressing documentaries of the summer.
8) The Help – August 12
Directed By: Tate Taylor
I never read the book that this film is based on, but the very strong female-heavy cast is enough to pique my interest. Emma Stone and Viola Davis anchor the cast that also includes Bryce Dallas Howard, Sissy Spacek, Allison Janney, Jessica Chastain and Bryce Dallas Howard.
7) Submarine – June 3
Directed By: Richard Ayoade
This independent English film was a hit at the Toronto, London, Sundance, and Hong Kong Film Festivals. It has drawn many comparisons to the films of Wes Anderson, which is fine by me, and it stars two of Film Misery’s favorites – Paddy Considine and Sally Hawkins. Plus the trailer looks fantastic.
6) X-Men: First Class – June 3
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn
This is the only superhero movie of the summer that I have even the slightest bit of interest in. The cast, which includes Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, and Kevin Bacon, is absolutely brilliant and the trailers make it look like it will have some actual substance beyond pop culture references and explosions.
5) Midnight in Paris – May 20
Directed By: Woody Allen
Woody Allen comes out with a great film every couple of years and since it’s been a little while since Vicky Cristina Barcelona, he’s due. The cast is solid and the trailer looks like it might have some fantastical elements along with the comic realism. I’m also personally excited for this film because it comes out three weeks before I leave for a vacation in Paris.
4) Our Idiot Brother – August 29
Directed By: Jesse Peretz
This comedy about a black sheep brother looks like one of those rare comedies that has a soul. Not only does it have some fantastic supporting players like Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Rashida Jones, Emily Mortimer, and Steve Coogan, but it also looks like a worth performance for the comedic and pathos talents of Paul Rudd.
3) Beginners – June 3
Directed By: Mike Mills
This comedy about a son whose geriatric father comes out of the closet looks like it could be one of the most inventive and delightful films of the summer. The performances by Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor look solid and the plot sounds brilliant and ripe for comedy.
2) The Tree of Life – May 27
Directed By: Terence Malick
Movie fans have been anticipating this upcoming Malick film for years now and it’s finally on its way. After a bow at the Cannes Film Festival it is coming stateside and will no doubt have a huge opening in its limited release. The trailer looks gorgeous in every frame and the film has a dream team cast and crew. If it’s not great, it will be a shock to everyone.
1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II – July 15
Directed By: David Yates
I know that I originally listed The Tree of Life as my most anticipated film of 2011, but I had to look in the mirror and be honest with myself. While I will probably end up liking The Tree of Life more as a film, it’s the final Harry Potter film that will fill me with giddy excitement in the week leading up to the midnight showing. I can not wait!
What movie(s) are you most anticipating this summer?