To be completely honest, when looking at the films that are likely to dominate the Box Office this summer the selection is pretty pathetic. Most of the movies that are expected to earn big bucks are the exact movies I would recommend staying far away from. It’s a summer full of re-makes, sequels, and more regurgitation of the same old same old. Sex and the City 2, Shrek Forever After, Step Up 3-D, The Karate Kid, The A-Team, and Marmaduke are all films likely to score the dollars this summer. However, thankfully there is plenty of solid fare that is worth spending your hard-earned dollars on.
Here are my 25 most anticipated films of the 2nd trimester of 2010 (May 1 – August 31):
25) Mother and Child (May 7)
Directed By: Rodrigo Garcia
After scoring solid reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2009, Rodrigo Garcia’s Mother and Child gets a limited release in the U.S. this summer. This ensemble drama stars Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson as a group of adults struggling with parent-child relationships in some way or another from inability to conceive to the guilt of giving up a child for adoption.
24) Iron Man 2 (May 7)
Directed By: Jon Favreau
I know I’m going to get a lot of crap for not having this film higher on my list. Frankly, I wasn’t as impressed with the first film as people told me I should be. However, this will probably be one of the best blockbusters the summer has to offer in terms of quality and I am excited to hear some of Robert Downey, Jr.’s witty line-readings.
23) The Other Guys (August 6)
Directed By: Adam McKay
Will Ferrell has been in a bit of a comedy rut lately with the laughter to running time ratio of his films steadily declining. However, the last time that he teamed up with Adam McKay they created Step Brothers, which was so stupidly funny that I almost forgave Ferrell for Semi-Pro. Here’s hoping that their chemistry returns for this comedy about two paper-pushing detectives (Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg) who finally get a chance to get out from behind the desk and work the beat.
22) Splice (June 4)
Directed By: Vincenzo Natali
This sci-fi film about rebellious scientists who splice animal and human DNA to create a new creature looks promising. It stars Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley as the protagonist couple and is directed by Italian Sci-Fi director Vincenzo Natali. My hopes is that it becomes this year’s District 9.
21) The Killer Inside Me (June 13)
Directed By: Michael Winterbottom
This apparently strange film received positive reviews when it played Sundance earlier this year and is set to open at the Tribeca Film Festival this week. Casey Affleck plays a West Texas sheriff who is revealed to be a psychopathic killer. The film also stars Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, and Ned Beatty.
20) Dogtooth (June 25)
Directed By: Giorgos Lanthimos
This Greek film took home the Un Certain Regard top prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009 and it gets a limited U.S. release this summer. Three teenagers are confined to self-inflicted exile on a wealthy estate where their uber-controlling parents distort their perception of reality. Soon these adolescents discover sex, which leads to their eventual rebellion.
19) Babies (May 17)
Directed By: Thomas Balmes
This International documentary has the cutest trailer ever recorded. In my mind very few things are more entertaining than putting babies in front of a camera and just seeing what happens. It’s how America’s Funniest Home Videos has stayed on the air for over a decade. The documentary follows four babies from around the world examining the cultural differences associated with raising a child.
18) I Am Love (June 18)
Directed By: Luca Guadagnino
Tilda Swinton has been keeping mostly under the radar since her Oscar win for Michael Clayton in 2007 by starring in mostly non-commercial films. This Italian drama will give her another chance to show her incredible range as an actress. We shall see if more Tilda Oscar buzz follows its release.
17) Predators (July 9)
Directed By: Nimrod Antal
It seems hard to imagine this sequel moving forward with no involvement from Arnold Schwarzenegger. Only he could make such terrible dialogue sound so badass (i.e. one of the best worst movie lines of all-time from the original: “Stick around”). With Adrien Brody and Danny Trejo leading the crew of military men this time around, the dialogue may have to be somewhat realistic. However, I think the technology available today will make this Predator sequel legitimate.
16) The Expendables (August 13)
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone
Assemble a cast of the most well-known and gifted action stars working today along with some action movie legends who can still kick an ass or two and give it to Sly Stallone to direct and you have a movie I definitely want to see. The levels of testosterone in this movie might be so high that patrons will have to undergo drug tests upon leaving the theatre.
15) Get Low (July 30)
Directed By: Aaron Schneider
Robert Duvall stars as a bizarre hermit who decides to throw his own funeral to celebrate his inevitable death. The film received positive word from the Toronto Film Festival last fall and may be represent a strong chance for Robert Duvall to get nominated for another Oscar. Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek also star.
14) I Love You Phillip Morris (July 30)
Directed By: Glenn Ficara and John Requa
After several release date push backs, this film finally finds a release date in late July. Jim Carrey stars as Steven Russell, a man who is forced to reassess his life after a nearly fatal car accident. He realizes he is gay, leaves his wife and begins living an eccentric lifestyle that eventually lands him in the state penitentiary where he meets Phillip Morris, played by Ewan McGregor. After falling in love, Steven devotes himself to freeing Phillip from jail.
13) I Killed My Mother (July 30)
Directed By: Xavier Dolan
Director Xavier Dolan received high praise at last year’s Cannes film festival for this semi-autobiographical tale about a young homosexual at odds with his controlling mother. Dolan has already been selected to release his next film at Cannes this year, so it’s worth checking this out to see what this new talent has to offer.
12) Micmacs (May 28)
Directed By: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
The French director of Amelie and A Very Long Engagement seeks another oversees commercial success with this comedy about two men who attempt to take down major weapons manufacturers. It’s been described as an Ocean’s 11 style caper and could be one of this summer’s sleeper hits.
11) Ondine (June 4)
Directed By: Neil Jordan
This semi-realistic film is about an Irish fisherman who discovers a woman in his net who he believes to be a mermaid. The trailer for the film looks promising and it stars Colin Farrell, one of Hollywood’s most underestimated actors.
10) Wild Grass (June 25)
Directed By: Alain Resnais
One of the most highly acclaimed films of the 2009 Cannes Film Festival was experimental French filmmaker Alain Resnais’ Wild Grass. At 88 years old the director is still challenging the film formula with this comedy about the adventures and relationships that build as the result of a lost wallet.
9) Robin Hood (May 14)
Directed By: Ridley Scott
This is one of the other summer blockbusters that I actually anticipate being watchable. Ridley Scott has proven himself to be a hit and miss director, but reuniting with Russell Crowe in a period film for the first time since their brilliant 2000 hit Gladiator should give him a hit.
8) Cyrus (July 9)
Directed By: Jay and Mark Duplass
This Sundance hit about a man who falls in love with a woman and conflicts with her twenty-something son could very well be the sleeper hit of the summer. It’s plot will attract mature adult audiences and its stars will bring in the teen crowd. Jonah Hill, John C. Reilly, and Marisa Tomei star.
7) Jonah Hex (June 18)
Directed By: Jimmy Hayward
Josh Brolin is quickly becoming one of the most interesting actors in Hollywood. His recent career boost has allowed himself to do both big studio films and more independent fare. With anybody else in the leading role, this comic book adaptation might be a disaster, but with Brolin as the star, I think it could be great.
6) The Kids Are All Right (July 7)
Directed By: Lisa Cholodenko
Two of the most dynamic actresses working today – Julianne Moore and Annette Bening – star in this film about a lesbian couple who have two children by artificial insemination and later find out who the sperm donor was. A new relationship spurs as the children desire to learn more about their biological father. Mark Ruffalo stars as the father.
5) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (August 13)
Directed By: Edgar Wright
Edgar Wright, director of cult hits Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, has arguably not missed yet with a film. This time he departs from the cast of usuals and directsÂ the young cast of Michael Cera, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, and Brandon Routh. Scott Pilgrim (Cera) has to fight off his new girlfriend’s seven evil ex-boyfriends in order to win her heart.
4) Winter’s Bone (June 11)
Directed By: Debra Granik
The unquestionable hit from the 2010 Sundance Film Festival was Debra Granik’s drama about an Ozark mountain girl attempting to deal with her drug-dealing father and keep her family intact. The film stars a cast of mostly unknown actors, which will probably prevent it from becoming a major box office hit, but Awards season will really determine how big of a hit it is.
3) Toy Story 3 (June 18)
Directed By: Lee Unkrich
Over the past several years it has mostly been the case that threequels are awful. However, Pixar films are consistently the best films of the year and this should be no different. I’m anxious to rejoin Woody, Buzz, and the whole gang for more fantastical adventures.
2) The Adjustment Bureau (July 30)
Directed By: George Nolfi
One of the few summer films that will still be on people’s minds come awards season (assuming it doesn’t bomb). Matt Damon stars as a politician whose love affair with a ballerina played by Emily Blunt is thwarted by mysterious forces. Daniel Dae Kim and Anthony Mackie are also featured in supporting roles.
1) Inception (July 16)
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Before the Batman films auteur Christopher Nolan was most recognized for Memento – a mind-bending mystery thriller that tells a story in reverse. Those of you who have seen Memento probably thought like me – “imagine what this guy could do with a budget.” After the smashing success of The Dark Knight, Nolan has all the money he could ask for and will be returning to the mind-bending genre that made him notorious. Nobody knows what this film is about, but everybody is waiting with baited breath.
Those are mine. What films are you anticipating this summer? Share your top 10 in the comments!