Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Films to see in 2012: August

July brought the excitement of this summer to an odd climax with "The Dark Knight Rises", a film hampered by horrible publicity very close to its release. And so common knowledge tells us that the summer is now in for a drawn out and stalled conclusion, but there is something radically compelling about the films that make up the last month of the season. Obviously there are some hairs out of place here and there, but there are a lot of interesting films teeming not below the surface, but right out there for people to see. The month starts out silly and ridiculous with kiddie threequel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days" and much debated sci-fi action remake "Total Recall".

The following week continues that trend of lighthearted filmmaking (or not) via broad political comedy "The Campaign", honestly unregistered rom-com "Hope Springs", and Julie Delpy's comedic indie flick "2 Days in New York". Dead in the middle of the following week is "The Odd Life of Timothy Green", bringing further career work to Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton, who by the way deserve way more work than they've been getting. "The Expendables 2" lights up the broader end of box office for masculine crowds, and the late Whitney Houston's last film, "Sparkle", is likely to do the same for the female crowd.

Consecutive horror-thrillers "The Apparition" and "The Possession" have their eyes set on picking up the scare-thirsty moviegoers deprived over the summer. "Premium Rush" offers an action film on bicycles, which was heavily considered as possibly cracking my list of most anticipated this month. So too was "Lawless", the Cannes debut which appealed to critics in a very simply, though very agreeable, manner. Also I need something to renew my faith in Tom Hardy's career.

3. "Cosmopolis"
Directed by David Cronenberg

Cronenberg's return to the cinematic grounds of strange and weird was met with a generally mixed reception at its premiere at Cannes. Many are still uncertain about their feeling one way or the other, which makes it something of great promise. It's rarely a bad thing when critics are baffled by much of what's being represented to them. To me, "Cosmopolis" looks radically cool in a way other films simply don't. Notions of the future are counterweighted with class distinctions and giant rats being thrown at a limousine. Robert Pattinson hardly phases me as a reason not to tune in, and in fact could be on remarkably top form in the hand of Cronenberg. That's all to be seen, but for the promise it is something to anticipate.

2. "The Bourne Legacy"
Directed by Tony Gilroy

I will still repeat how severely skeptical I am of Tony Gilroy's redirection of the Bourne franchise, which came to a rather satisfying conclusion back in 2007. All that said, it's hard not to have your hairs tingled by the prospect of Bourne brand action being brought back to the multiplex. This summer has had an aggressive lack of stellar action films, "The Avengers" likely being the closest thing. All plot questions meriting trepidation, the action in this film promises to deliver, and it's no bad thing when a man like Jeremy Renner is delivering the blow. I just dearly hope that they find a way to bring it in an unexpected direction. 

1. "ParaNorman"
Directed by Sam Fell and Chris Butler

A tweet like this is rarely comforting in regards to a film you're rather heatedly awaiting, but at the same time, it's not a deal breaker. I've been known to disagree with the majority on many an occasion, both positive and negative, and I certainly hope this is the case. Laika is very likely the most magnificent stop-motion animation studio out there, at least in terms of visual style. "Coraline" set such a standard for visual integrity, and remains the only film I feel gratified for seeing in 3D. I have doubts that "ParaNorman" will be quite up to the scale, because the plot seems rather simple and I have trust issues and such. All the same, for the visual ambition of the film, it's what I'm most excited to see this month.

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