Summer Movie Preview: Your Guide to 110 New Films

  • Publish Date: April 25, 2012
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July's key releases

The Amazing Spider-Man Watch Trailer
July 3 | Directed by Marc Webb

If you think it's too soon to reboot a franchise that ended only five years ago, you're obviously not a studio executive. At least the choice of director—(500) Days of Summer 76 helmer Marc Webb—suggests that Spider-Man could go in a slightly different direction this time around. Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) dons the Spider-Man silks this time out (when he's not hanging from the ceiling as Peter Parker), and if Comic-Con is any indication, the role is something he’s dreamed about his whole life. Emma Stone is Parker's new (to the films) love interest Gwen Stacy, while Denis Leary plays her father, an NYPD captain. For the first time on the big screen, Spider-Man will battle The Lizard (aka Dr. Curt Conners), played by Rhys Ifans, and our hero's web-shooters will be mechanical, not organic. You can also expect his father, portrayed by Campbell Scott, to play a key role, while Martin Sheen and Sally Field are also on board as Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Considering that the last trilogy grossed nearly $2.5 billion worldwide, though, how different does Sony really want the new film to be? Especially since a sequel is already in pre-production, with Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci (Transformers) currently rewriting the screenplay.

The Dark Knight Rises Watch Trailer
July 20 | Directed by Christopher Nolan

In typical Christopher Nolan fashion, details have been hard to come by for the third and final installment in a series that got off to a solid start with 2005’s Batman Begins 70 before reaching genre classic status in 2008 with The Dark Knight 82. The new film picks up eight years after Batman took the fall for Harvey Dent, and new enemies are on the horizon. The first, featured in the stunning IMAX sneak peek (there will be over an hour of IMAX footage in the film, by the way), is Bane, played by Tom Hardy. The second is less clear, but Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman) definitely plays a strong role in the film. Another character whose motivations are unclear is Marion Cotillard’s Miranda Tate, who sits on the board of Wayne Enterprises. Returning are Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon (he now has Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s beat cop on his side), Michael Caine as Alfred, and Morgan Freeman as Lucious Fox. As comic book fans know, Bane is known for breaking Batman’s back, so what’s in store for Nolan’s Batman?

Easy Money
July 27 LIMITED | Directed by Daniel Espinosa

Known as Snabba Cash when it was released in Sweden in 2010, Easy Money follows three men trying to make their way in Stockholm's underground drug trade. Jorge (Matias Padin Varela) is an escaped convict trying to put together a major cocaine deal, Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic) is an enforcer for the Serbian mob trying to take control of the drug trade, and J.W. (Joel Kinnaman of The Killing, and your new Robocop) is a student whose need for money gets him involved with some unsavory characters. Director Daniel Espinosa used this film as a calling card for Hollywood, and when he got his chance he produced this year’s first hit, Safe House 52.

Ruby Sparks
July 25 LIMITED | Directed by Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris

Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris have directed only one feature film, but it was a surprise critical and commercial hit: Little Miss Sunshine 80. Six years later, they're finally back with a second project, a quirky romantic comedy from first-time screenwriter Zoe Kazan. Formerly known as He Loves Me, Ruby Sparks stars Paul Dano as a novelist suffering from writer's block who wills the woman of his dreams (played by Kazan, Dano's real-life girlfriend) into existence. The excellent cast also includes Antonio Banderas, Alia Shawkat, Steve Coogan, Annette Bening, and Elliott Gould.

Savages Watch Trailer
July 6 | Directed by Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone last gave us the disappointing Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps 59 in 2010. But his new film is based on Don Winslow’s novel Savages, and the story—the girlfriend of two Laguna Beach drug dealers is kidnapped after they refuse to cooperate with the Mexican cartel—seems to align itself pretty well with the hyper-saturated, manic style that marks Stone's best work. Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch play the brains and brawn of the drug operation, and Blake Lively plays their girlfriend Ophelia. They face off against Salma Hayek’s cartel leader and her number one enforcer, Benicio Del Toro. The supporting cast includes John Travolta as a DEA agent, Oscar nominee Demián Bichir as a crooked lawyer, and Uma Thurman as Lively’s mom, as well as Mia Maestro and Emile Hirsch. Will the film be a return to form for Stone?

Ted
July 13 | Directed by Seth MacFarlane

There's no guarantee that this will turn out well. But how can you not be curious about the first live-action feature film from Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane? Especially when that film is a raunchy R-rated comedy about a middle-aged man who is still dealing with the repercussions of a wish he made as a young boy (which then came true): that his teddy bear would come to life. MacFarlane himself voices the cursing, smoking bear (which is motion-capture animated), while Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Giovanni Ribisi, and Joel McHale star. Will MacFarlane's rapid-fire, pop culture-referencing humor translate well to live action and a bigger venue? Probably not, but here's hoping it does.

All July releases by date

Tuesday, July 3

The Amazing Spider-Man: See above.

Thursday, July 5

Whichever parts of the pop singer you'll see in concert film Katy Perry: Part of Me will be in 3D.

Friday, July 6

Madeline Zima (Californication), Lukas Haas, Jake Busey, and Ray Wise star in the indie romantic comedy Crazy Eyes LIMITED.

Rob Reiner follows Flipped with another low key drama, The Magic of Belle Isle LIMITED, which stars Morgan Freeman as an alcoholic writer who finds new inspiration from the single mom (Virginia Madsen) and her family living next to his vacation cabin.

Well regarded when it premiered at Sundance this year, The Queen of Versailles LIMITED documents the "riches to rags" story of real estate mogul David Siegel, his wife Jackie and their 90,000 square-foot dream house.

Savages: See above.

Friday, July 13

Ice Age: Continental Drift, the fourth in the Ice Age series, follows Manny, Diego, and Sid as they try to reunite with their family and friends after they are separated by the dividing continents.

Buried director Rodrigo Cortés returns with Red Lights LIMITED, a supernatural thriller starring Sigourney Weaver, Cillian Murphy, and Robert De Niro.

Ted: See above.

Michael Winterbottom returns to subject matter he loves—Thomas Hardy novels—transplanting Tess of the d'Urbervilles to contemporary India in Trishna LIMITED.

Friday, July 20

The Dark Knight Rises: See above.

The Well-Digger's Daughter LIMITED finds actor Daniel Auteuil directing and starring in a remake of the 1940 French classic.

Wednesday, July 25

Ruby Sparks: See above.

Friday, July 27

Documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry LIMITED focuses on the dissident Chinese artist.

Easy Money LIMITED: See above.

Suburbanites Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill sign up for their Neighborhood Watch but get more than they bargain for when Earth is invaded by aliens; yes, it's a comedy.

Multi-award-winning Sundance doc Searching For Sugar Man LIMITED plays out like a detective story, as it looks for the identity of the Detroit singer/songwriter known only as Rodriguez, who became a hit in South Africa in the 1970s after he couldn’t even get airplay in his home country.

Fourth in the series, Step Up Revolution LIMITED takes its 3D dancing action to Miami, where the focus is on flash mobs.

On the next page ...

Our summer preview concludes on the following page with a look at August releases.

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