Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Films to See in 2012: June

May always does seem like more of a smooth transition into Summer than a direct onslaught. Now we're in June, where the blockbuster offerings come in great numbers, and all the better for it since there are bound to be a few that fall rather predictably. In the first week alone we have "Snow White and the Huntsman", which I can only greet with skepticism since it doesn't look to be an honest film by any means. "Mirror Mirror" has gained a wide array of differing opinions, but you cannot call it dishonest for the direction it took that story. The Kristen Stewart actioner seems to be simply to turn the story into something it isn't.

Also out that weekend are "Battlefield America" and "For Greater Glory", two films I'd previously not heard of until they were announced for wide releases. Exactly how wide that implies remains to be seen. In limited release, surprisingly, is "Piranha 3DD", which is likely to meet a quick and sudden death if expectations serve. It's thew following week that things really start picking up for the better. Amongst other things, "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" hits the stage, which should serve as acceptable entertaining for kids, and maybe just enough for adults too. If not much more, Dreamworks does have a tendency to be at least fun.

Also in the cards for that weekend, be them in limited release, are "Lola Versus", starring up-and-comer Greta Gerwig, and "Safety Not Guaranteed", starring Gerwig's "Damsels in Distress" co-star Aubrey Plaza. Both seem to be playing towards similar markets, and both manage to pique my interest quite successfully. The third weekend of the month hits something of a dry spot, or perhaps just a breathing point. Attempt at musical "Rock of Ages" launches, probably to much teen excitement and acceptance, and the Adam Sandler comedy "That's My Boy" is all being released unto the masses. Until he gets around to "Grown Ups 2" we'll have to suffice with this piece of trash.

A week later brings us into more certain territory, with "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" rather likely to ensnare some share of the male-centric crowds. On the less box-office propelled front is "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World", which seems like a rather sweet rom-com if it plays its cards right. Steve Carell and Keira Knightley sure make a wonderful couple. And surprisingly with a sense of dread I come upon "To Rome with Love". For this film, I have absolutely no interest in seeing, simply because it's already been rung in as the customary Woody Allen stinker we get one or two of before he gives us something special again.

Close up the month with an absolute onslaught of films that isn't even likely to drum what "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" made in the same frame last year. "Madea's Witness Protection" will get its automatic crowd of people who go where Tyler Perry leads them. I haven't a clue what "People Like Us" is, or who will cop to it. But "G.I. Joe Retaliation" has moved off the schedule, making room for Seth MacFarlane's "Ted", which I do hope is as utterly hilarious as the premise sounds. On the limited release side we have Sundance darling "Beasts of the Southern Wild", which will certainly be some kind of treat. Less of a treat will be "Take This Waltz", but it's worth it simply for the promise of seeing Michelle Williams' beautiful face once more. So let's get to the film you really must see this month.

3. "Prometheus"
Directed by Ridley Scott

Besides the fact that this gives me an obvious and fun choice for June 8th's TOP 10 SHOTS column, I am genuinely quite interested by whatever ambitious science-fiction concepts Ridley Scott has put together for "Prometheus". Decades earlier, Scott was able to pull together a fantastic yarn of sci-fi precision, slight satire, brilliant creature design, and carefully informed terror. He wouldn't return to this universe without a reason just as potent, and if the hype surrounding the film serves, "Prometheus" will certainly be something exciting. I love me a thorough science-fiction piece, so long as the intellect is there.

2. "Magic Mike"
Directed by Steven Soderbergh

I'm not certain how immediately Channing Tatum become a handsome property as an actor, but he's recently been filling himself up with films that are somewhat more accommodating to his talents. Part of me is still quite interested to see "The Vow", though his work in "21 Jump Street" is enough reason to keep an eye on his movements. Pairing up with director Steven Soderbergh seems not just like a natural move, but perfect for both parties. Soderbergh has been looking for a new outlet for his creativity, where "Contagion" and "Haywire" merited a fling in mainstream thriller territory. A switch to more direct comedy seems just perfect for him at this stage. Also, did you here it's about male strippers? Isn't that just awesome?

1. "Brave"
Directed by Mark Andrews

This feels almost too typical a move, since Pixar is quite often the top designation of its month in the summer, but "Brave" offers a potential return to form for the animation company which went astray with "Cars 2". They have a rather bountiful opportunity on their hands with this one, and I am not speaking of the fact that it's their first female protagonist. That's not the most of its potential, which actually comes primarily from its place in Scottish folklore. Their decision to choose voice actors well versed in the brogue shows a level of devotion to telling this story honestly. What I am relying on is how visually compelling it turns out to be. Even if it does end up flailing, which I doubt it will, there's still the lasting promise of "La Luna" showing up at the start.

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