June's key releases
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
June 22 | Directed by Timur Bekmambetov
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was published first, but it will be Seth Grahame-Smith’s second mash-up novel Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter that will be first to reach theaters. In this rewriting of history (we'll assume, since there aren't many contemporaneous accounts of vampirism in mid-19th century America), Lincoln, driven by his mother’s death at the hands of vampires, kills (and befriends) vampires on his path to the presidency. Benjamin Walker stars in his first feature, having earned the role in part due to his Broadway performance as another president in the musical Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson. Director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted 64) has promised historical accuracy (save for those vampires) along with plenty of bloody effects. Mary Elizabeth Winstead co-stars as Mary Todd Lincoln, while Dominic Cooper plays Henry Sturgess, Lincoln’s vampire friend. Other key roles are filled by Rufus Sewell, Anthony Mackie, and Alan Tudyk.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
June 29 LIMITED | Directed by Benh Zeitlin
Beasts of the Southern Wild won both the Grand Jury Prize and Excellence in Cinematography at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and garnered comparisons to fairy tales and parables and the works of Terence Malick and Hayao Miyazaki. The film follows a six-year-old African-American girl named Hushpuppy and her father Wink, who live in an abstract water-world in Louisiana known as “The Bathtub.” They struggle to survive when their community is threatened by a devastating flood and an approaching herd of beasts known as aurochs. Writer/director Ben Zeitlin adapted co-writer Lucy Alibar's play Juicy and Delicious, selected a cast of non-actors, and collaborated with his Court 13 collective to create a unique vision that is both familiar and magical.
Brave Watch Trailer
June 22 | Directed by Mark Andrews
While the cool critical reception to last year's Cars 2 57—yes, that's Pixar's first yellow Metascore after 11 straight greens—didn’t hurt the studio’s bottom line, it falls to Brave to prove it was just a temporary setback. The story of a tough 10th century Scottish princess/warrior named Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) who decides to go her own way rather than agree to an arranged marriage, the 3D Brave is the first Pixar film to have a female lead. It's also Pixar's first original story since 2009’s Up 88 and the only one until 2014, since Monsters University will follow in 2013.
June 29 | Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Are Steven Soderbergh and Channing Tatum the new Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio? Not quite, but Tatum will work with Soderbergh on three consecutive films. The first was January's Haywire 67, the action/thriller starring Gina Carano, and the third will be the currently shooting psychological thriller The Bitter Pill with Rooney Mara. Sandwiched in between those films is this summer's Magic Mike, in which Tatum stars as the titular character, a stripper who forms a mentor relationship with Alex Pettyfer’s character, The Kid (a role based on Tatum's real-life experience as a teen stripper in Florida). If the first trailer is any indication, Soderbergh is returning to the light, comedic tone of the Ocean’s movies. Cody Horn plays Pettyfer’s sister and a love interest for Tatum; Matthew McConaughey, in a role he was born to play, is the proprietor of the strip club, and his dancers include Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, and Adam Rodriguez. Could it be the surprise hit of the summer?
Prometheus Watch Trailer
June 8 | Directed by Ridley Scott
It’s exciting when a major director returns to a genre in which he produced two all-time classics (Alien and Blade Runner) but then abandoned for three decades. When that filmmaker is Ridley Scott and that new film is rumored to be an Alien prequel, well, movie lovers begin to lose it. Prometheus is not really an Alien prequel (as of now), but it does possess “Alien DNA.” What does that mean? For the time being, that means that the title in the teaser trailer reveals itself the same way as in the Alien films. Some of the set design should also look eerily familiar to fans of the earlier films (did someone say space jockey?), and Guy Pearce plays Peter Weyland, the owner of the Prometheus, the spaceship from which the film gets its name (and the namesake of the mega-corporation Weyland-Yutani that owned the Nostromo). We also know there will be an android in the film, and that his name is David, played by Michael Fassbender. As for the plot, it seems that it revolves around two scientist (Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green) who discover evidence that an alien civilization came to Earth and left an “invitation” to visit their home planet. Idris Elba plays the captain of Prometheus, and Charlize Theron plays Meredith Vickers, Weyland Corp.’s eyes and ears on the mission that from the looks of it doesn’t go as planned. If everything goes as planned for Scott's film, however, expect it to be one of summer's best.
Rock of Ages Watch Trailer
June 15 | Directed by Adam Shankman
If you like big hair, bad wigs, leather pants, fishnet stockings, and the music of Twisted Sister, Joan Jett, Def Leppard, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi and more, then you might be ready to embrace Tom Cruise as rock god Stacee Jaxx. While the hit Broadway musical emphasized the love story between Drew and Sherrie (newcomer Diego Boneta and former Dancing with the Stars pro Julianne Hough), expect Adam Shankman’s film adaptation to have plenty of Cruise. Shankman’s successful 2007 adaptation of Hairspray 81 no doubt helped to convince Alec Baldwin, Malin Akerman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti, Russell Brand, and Bryan Cranston to lend their comedic chops, dancing feet and singing voices to his latest production, and their presence is the reason we're not labeling this musical as a major Razzie contender ... yet.
Safety Not Guaranteed
June 8 LIMITED | Directed by Colin Trevorrow
This quirky indie romantic comedy was acquired at Sundance for $1 million after it became one of the more popular films at the festival with audiences and critics alike and won an award for its screenplay (the debut from Derek Connolly). Mark Duplass stars as a man who places a personal ad in a local newspaper seeking a companion for time travel; three misfit magazine employees, including Aubrey Plaza, investigate. Critics at Sundance found the film charming and endearing (if a bit ridiculous), with plenty of praise going to Plaza's breakout performance. Oh, and the ending alone is worth the price of admission.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
June 22 | Directed by Lorene Scafaria
Unsurprisingly, 2012 seems to be filled with end-of-the-world films, but so far only one is treating the apocalypse as a romantic comedy. With an asteroid due to obliterate life on Earth in a matter of days and society starting to crumble, Steve Carell is dumped by his wife, and so he goes on a quest to find his high school sweetheart and spend his remaining hours with her. Along for the ride is his neighbor, played by Keira Knightley. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World marks the directorial debut for Lorene Scafaria, who previously wrote Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist 64 (and also penned the screenplay here).
Snow White and the Huntsman Watch Trailer
June 1 | Directed by Rupert Sanders
The campy Mirror Mirror 46 didn’t exactly excite critics or moviegoers (a domestic gross of a little over $55 million) this spring, so it’s up to Snow White and the Huntsman to save the fairy tale’s good name. In this much darker re-imagining of the classic story, evil Queen Raveena (Charlize Theron) hires Chis Hemsworth’s Huntsman to find and kill Snow White (Kristen Stewart), but upon discovering her, the big lug has a change of heart and decides to fight alongside her as she tries to take her rightful place on the throne. Also joining in the battle are dwarfs played by Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Ray Winstone, and Nick Frost. Commercial director Rupert Sanders makes his feature debut, and trailers hint at an action- and effects-heavy epic.
Take This Waltz
June 29 LIMITED | Directed by Sarah Polley
Actress Sarah Polley made her directorial debut in 2007 with the impressive Away from Her 88, and her belated sophomore effort Take This Waltz already made a splash on the festival circuit last fall. Much of the praise has been directed at star Michelle Williams, who plays Margo, a married woman whose eyes begin to wander, landing on her neighbor Daniel, whom she happens to meet while on a work trip. Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby, and Sarah Silverman also star in a film that walks a fine line between humor and drama, and though some critics felt it too quirky for its own good, many admired Polley's insightful observational skills.
To Rome With Love Watch Trailer
June 22 LIMITED | Directed by Woody Allen
Woody Allen’s late-career resurgence peaked last year when the charming Midnight in Paris 81 became the highest grossing film of his career and garnered almost universal critical praise. So what does he do as a follow-up? He goes to another beautiful European city (Rome), puts together another great cast (including Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jessie Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Greta Gerwig, Alison Pill, and Roberto Benigni), and writes four comedic vignettes. He titles the film The Bop Decameron, but then changes it to Nero Fiddled because no one knows what The Decameron is anymore, and then changes it to To Rome With Love because no one knows who Nero is and why he fiddled (erroneous rumors claim that Nero, the Roman Emperor from 54-68, fiddled while Rome burned). Allen, as usual, writes and directs, but he also returns to acting for the first time since 2006’s Scoop 48.
All June releases by date
Friday, June 1
Friday, June 8
Wednesday, June 13
Friday, June 15
Friday, June 22
Wednesday, June 27
Friday, June 29
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We look at July releases on the next page ...