EXCLUSIVE: Summer 2014 Film Preview

I always look forward to summer movie season. As much as I enjoy the prestige films that come out at the end of the year, I still love the big blockbusters. My favorite memories of going to the movies as a kid are all big summer hits—“Jurassic Park,” “Independence Day,” even “Men in Black.” These are some of the movies I’m most looking forward to this summer.—JK 

For me, summer is comedy season. The only time I want to hole up in a dark room when the sun is shining and the beach is calling my name is if I get to laugh until my sides hurt. So, three of my five look to meet that criterion. The other is a standard blockbuster (because you should have at least one, right?) and the other is an expected tear-jerker based on a YA novel that I loved. Sometimes it feels good to cry, too—and we all know I love a good movie based on a good book!—DT

April 18 | Transcendence

Sure, this may be more of a spring movie than a summer blockbuster, but with the glut of Michael Bay garbage coming out this summer (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers: Incomprehensible Nonsense Title), I had to stretch my definitions a bit. I always liked Christopher Nolan’s science fiction and drama more than his work on the Batman films. “Transcendence” seems to be right in my wheelhouse. I’m game for some smart sci-fi with awesome aesthetics, which is what Nolan does best. It doesn’t hurt that the two leads, Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall, are some of my favorite working actors.—JK

May 2 | The Amazing Spider-Man 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmaI1nInDOs

Spidey is back! My immediate knee-jerk reactions to a one-time viewing of the above trailer precisely 120 seconds ago:

  • I love Sally Field.
  • I’m going to start calling my mom “laundry sheriff.”
  • Jamie Foxx. Meh.
  • Oh Emma Stone, you flawless creature.
  • “I’d like to think that Spider-Man gives people hope.” That’s cute. You’re cute.
  • Wait, what are you doing? That looks like a good way to get hurt.
  • Yep, electrocuted. Should’ve listened to me.
  • Who just has eels floating around in a lab like that? That’s a good way to get yourself dead.
  • You’re not dead. Of course not. Why would you be dead? It’s an action movie with no basis in reality.
  • Blackouts in Manhattan must be terrifying.
  • How do they DO that?
  • What’s this song?
  • So now he can just suck power from every electrical source? That’s too easy.
  • They never freeze.
  • Whoa. Blue jelly skin. That must’ve been a fun six hours in a make-up chair.
  • “Yo, Sparkles!” You’re funny, Peter.
  • “How could you forget me?” Dude, he just said he remembered you. Your name is Max. Chill out.
  • “You lied to me!” Huh? When?
  • Ouch.
  • “Peter Parker.” “Harry Osborn.” THAT’S Harry Osborn? Ohhhh no, James, we need you and your fine face back somethin’ fierce.
  • Well, I know where I’ll be May 2.
  • “Enemies will unite.” Don’t they always?
  • These movies always showcase how incredibly lame Peter’s “powers” really are. “Look! I can shoot … floss.”
  • Uh-oh, don’t make those faces. That’s how the old guy lost his job.
  • What is it with superhero movies and the destruction of New York? Leave my city alone! (I’m lookin’ at you, Loki.)
  • “We have no chimney.” “Whaaaat?”
  • Looks epic.

Tobey Maguire hates his life right now. And rightfully so. Andrew Garfield FTW.—DT

May 9 | Neighbors

I love a good college comedy, partly because I miss my own college experience so much. When this movie comes out, it will officially have been four years since my graduation. They say that when you reach the point when you’ve been out as long as you were in, the mourning period has to end. Well, fine. But that doesn’t mean I won’t live vicariously through the hilarious antics of Zac Efron, Seth Rogen, Dave Franco, Jake Johnson, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin'!).—DT

May 16 | Godzilla

After 1998’s awful Matthew Broderick Godzilla” reboot, this one looks better than it has any right to. It seems like director Gareth Edwards is playing his Godzilla with a much more serious tone than its campy predecessor in the canon. The press materials say that Godzilla will be a “terrifying force of nature,” which seems about right. Also, Heisenberg himself, Bryan Cranston, is one of the leads. Let’s just hope Godzilla eggs don’t end up in Madison Square Garden again. God, that movie sucked.—JK

May 23 | X-Men: Days of Future Past

Now, this is one superhero team that I am very familiar with. The Uncanny X-Men was one of the first comics that I collected obsessively, and who can forget that Saturday morning cartoon from the early ‘90s?  The merging of both recent X-Men movie franchises —“First Class” and “The Last Stand”—has me intrigued. A cast this large can either be an unmitigated mess or an exciting ensemble (like “The Avengers”). I am cautiously optimistic for this one.—JK

May 30 | A Million Ways to Die in the West

Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, Ted) utilizes a special brand of comedic genius in anything he attempts. So it’s no surprise that his latest venture looks flat-out ridiculous in the best possible way. And check out this cast! Sign me up, partner.—DT

June 6 | The Fault in Our Stars

I read this book in one sitting on a Saturday afternoon. It’s a sad—but not depressing—story of two cancer-stricken teenagers who fall in love. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort portray Hazel and Gus. (Ironically, they just portrayed brother and sister in Divergent.) It was moving, sometimes even funny, and while the book did not bring me to tears, I don’t think I’ll be able to say the same for the movie. I’m predicting a rainy day sobfest.—DT

June 13 | 22 Jump Street

They’re baaaaack! As someone who was a fan of the original TV show,—24-year-old Johnny Depp. What more do you need to know?— I had my doubts about a movie reboot. But I laughed my ass off watching Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill dive back into high school. (The return of Tom Hanson sure didn’t hurt.) So I’m more than ready for a second dose and—BONUS—they’re going to college this time.—DT

August 1 | Guardians of the Galaxy

Even as a comic book fan, I’m not very familiar with this particular gang of Marvel superheroes, but knowing director James Gunn’s prior work (and the exciting trailer) gives me high hopes. Gunn, who began his career as a screenwriter for the legendary B-Movie factory, Troma Entertainment, has the perfect geeky sensibility and sense of humor to pull this off. After so many superhero flicks going in the direction of gritty realism, a la Christopher Nolan’s Batman, it’s going to be great to have some lighthearted and fun science fiction action. I mean, one of the main characters is an anthropomorphic, machine-gun-wielding raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper. Awesome, right?—JK

August 22 | Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

It has been almost a decade since the original “Sin City,” which I enjoyed immensely. Give me some good film noir-style, over-the-top camp and I’m a happy man. Director Robert Rodriguez and writer Frank Miller heaped the heavy-handed dialogue and general insanity on top of the extremely stylized visuals and it worked. I’m interested to see if their style will hold up for another feature-length film. I have some serious misgivings about Miller’s recent conversion into a full-fledged lunatic, but I think Rodriguez’s grindhouse sensibilities might temper him a bit. No matter how it turns out, it’s sure to be interesting.—JK

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