With summer upon us, the season of the Hollywood blockbuster has finally begun. There’ll be more than our fair share of both good and bad films to crowd us into movie theaters on those hot summer days when all we want is a tub of popcorn, a large diet soda, and two hours of a working air conditioner. But let’s dig through the riffraff and find some worthy films for our summer viewing pleasure.
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Michael Fassebender, Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron
Release Date: 6/8
It’s been years since Alien, one of the most epic sci-fi films of our time, premiered on the big screen. Actually, it’s been 33 years to be exact. Did we ever wonder what happened before Ripley donned on the yellow mechanical robot suite and faced off the scary, big slimy alien? For this particular moviegoer, the answer is no, but the outstanding cast has made me rethink think my original stance. Michael Fassbender is easily one of the biggest rising stars in Hollywood right now. Shame showed us his acting chops while X-Men: First Class showed that he can don on the blockbuster hat as well. Roomi Rapace could potentially become a female action hero here in the States after her strong turn as the Danish version of Lisbeth Salander, and Charlize Theron reminded us in Young Adult what a powerhouse she can be as an actress. With Ridley Scott in the director’s seat, Prometheus could be an interesting cinematic ride.
Beasts of Southern Wild
Director: Benh Zeitlin
Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry
Release Date: 6/27
Winner of both the Cinematography Award and Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Beast of Southern Wild may be one of the quiet breakout indie films this year. It’s a story of magic realism offered up by first time director Benh Zeitlin. The world centers around the six-year-old Hushpuppy, who lives with her father in the Southern Delta community known as the Bathtub. As her father’s health declines, nature goes haywire and an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs is released, Hushpuppy goes on a journey to find her mother. Just from that description, the movie sounds bold, fantastical, and I’ll be lining up to buy my ticket on June 27.
Take This Waltz
Director: Sarah Polley
Cast: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman, Aaron Abrams
Release Date: 6/29
It’s been 6 years since Sarah Polley made her directorial debut with Away from Her, a film that earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Take This Waltz, a story based off a Leonard Cohen song, is Polley’s 2012 directorial return. Here are a few reasons I’ll be buying a ticket to this indie film: 1) I’ve been a fan of Sarah Polley since The Sweet Hereafter. Granted, that was an acting role, but when Polley wrote and directed Away From Her, I knew that she was truly a renaissance female of the movie trade. 2) I’ll watch anything that stars Michelle Williams. 3) Seth Rogen looks like he’s trying something different with this film and it’ll be interesting to see if his skills surpass the goofy slacker he often portrays in movies. Polley’s new film is not necessarily likely to hit the mega millions when it comes to box office returns. But for those who want a break from the blockbuster madness, Polley’s film might just be exactly the type of summer fare that they’ll be looking for.