First things first, this is not a comprehensive summer movie preview. If you're looking for a full list of the upcoming releases I, for one, would recommend picking up a copy of last week's Entertainment Weekly (look for the one with XMen on the cover).
Instead, here's a short
list of lesser-known films that may otherwise slip through the cracks
of the big-budget action tentpoles that make up the majority of the
summer season. And to be clear, we here at Wood's Stock love big-budget
action tentpoles and are giddy with excitement over Guardians of the
Galaxy, pleasantly curious about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,
anxiously optimistic about The Edge of Tomorrow and are really, really, hoping we don't get burned again by Godzilla.
a cinematic diet that consists entirely of popcorn is unhealthy, so
here's some pallette cleansing comedies and independent films to keep an
eye on over the next four months. *Note* unlike last year, the summer indie films have been slow to put out their theatrical trailers. Throw me a frickin bone, amirite?
the latest film from Richard Linklater, the director of the 'Before'
trilogy, we see the story of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) as he ages from a
young boy to a young man. This isn't achieved by clever casting or
digital trickery a la Benjamin Button, it's the result of an ambitious
strategy that saw the cast and crew of Boyhood reunite intermittently to film the movie over the space of 12 years, literally capturing the passage of time.
a gimmick, to be sure, but one that by most accounts has been combined
with a thoughtful, emotional script to pay of large dividends as a
singularly unique cinematic experience. And if anyone can pull it off
it's Linklater, who has proved with the Before films a penchant for
storytelling that appears effortlessly natural, mining the seeming
mundanities of everyday relationships for dramatic gold.
Also, bonus points for using Family of the Year's "Hero" for the trailer track (hey, didn't One Wood Uke cover that once?)
Boyhood opens in limited release on July 11
Magic in the Moonlight
In keeping with director Woody Allen's style, relatively little is known about Magic in the Moonlight, which is set in 1920's France and stars Emma Stone and Colin Firth and oh, who am I kidding, I'm already sold.
latest scandal notwithstanding, Allen has been on fire the last few
years. Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine were phenomenal and the
relatively meh reception toward To Rome With Love seems, in
hindsight, to have been a classic case of too-high expectations. Also
remember when I said Emma Stone and Colin Firth? and Woody Allen? AND
Magic in the Moonlight opens on July 25.
The Fault in our Stars
probably already read the book, and if you haven't then you've probably
been told innumerable times by your YA-reading friends that OMG YOU
HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK OMG SO SAD SO GOOD I JUST CAN'T RIGHT NOW!
I didn't love it, but I recognize the appeal and I've said many times
before that while I'm not personally drawn to YA literature I
nonetheless appreciate the film adaptations it inspires (see: Nick and
Norah, Perks, It's Kind of a Funny Story, Spectacular Now, etc.).
stars it-girl Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as two cancer-stricken
teens who meet in a support group, fall helplessly into young love and
then, well you can probably guess but it's all about the journey or
something, right? The script and the book it's based on were both
written by John Green, who is something of a deity among YA circles, so
fans shouldn't have much to worry about and newcomers should bring
'Fault' opens on June 6.
A Million Ways to Die in the West
always had a soft spot for the humor of Seth McFarlane, which bounces
between high-brow and low-brow gags that trade crass vulgarity and dry
wit in equal measure (the horrendous CBS sitcom 'Dads' being the
exception that proves the rule). Take, for example, the much-discussed
"We Saw Your Boobs" number during last year's Oscars. It either
perpetuated Hollywood sexism and male gaze or it actually subverted
Hollywood sexism by criticizing male gaze, but still delivered an
impressively-staged piece of musical theater that benefited from
McFarlane's natural aptitude for showtunes.
And now there's 'West,'
McFarlane's live-action follow-up to the
funnier-than-it-had-any-right-to-be 'Ted.' Only this time, instead of
inhabiting a stuffed animal, McFarlane's actual face will appear on the
big screen as Albert, a wise guy ahead of his time living in the
American West circa 1882. The plot has something to do with Albert being
challenged by a gunslinger (Liam Neeson, natch!) and wooing Charlie
Theron, but it's safe to assume that "plot" will be frequently set aside
in service of comedic vignettes that largely revolve around accidental
and unnecessary death.
A Million Ways to Die in the West opens on May 30.