With all the superheroes (The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises) and sci-fi adventures (Prometheus), what’s an audience member to do if they seek a summer cinematic experience that is a little more cerebral? Movie Fanatic, inspired by the brilliant People Like Us, presents our Grown-Up Guide to Summer Movies 2012. Judging by The Exotic Marigold Hotel’s global $100 million box office take, you know you’re hungry for the thinking man and woman’s movies of the warmer months!
We begin with two picks that are our most anticipated, then lay out the summer by release date.
People Like Us: June 29
We were treated to an early screening of this modern masterpiece and cannot wait for the film to be released for audiences to discover the magic. Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks portray two people who seem to be polar opposites, until a funeral finds them discovering that they are siblings. The cast is astounding, especially the Oscar-worthy performance of Michelle Pfeiffer. And director Alex Kurzman has woven a web of brilliance that hits all the emotional notes in the most outstanding of ways.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green: August 16
Jennifer Garner told us exclusively about her latest film recently and has us beyond excited to discover the magical tale of a couple and their mysterious arrival that comes in the form of a child. Joel Edgerton and Garner portray parents who believe that their time to have a child has passed. They write down all their hopes and dreams for this little one they believe they will never have on a piece of paper which they place in a box and bury in their yard. One stormy night later, Timothy Green knocks at their door and their entire community’s lives will never be the same.
Bel Ami: June 8
Robert Pattinson breaks out of his Edward role in the Twilight Saga to reveal deeper depths as an actor. He portrays Georges Duray, the son of poor parents, who climbs his way through the Paris social circles with utter fierceness and aplomb. As is the case with most of these adult-themed movies, the cast is stellar. Kristin Scott Thomas, Uma Thurman and Christina Ricci all portray women whom he woos on his way to the top. And Colm Meaney steals every scene he’s in as the head of a Parisian newspaper with sights of taking down his government.
Lola Versus: June 8
Greta Gerwig continues her impressive run that began with Arthur and continued with Damsels in Distress, in a film about a young woman finding herself on the cusp of her thirties. Her character is engaged and seemingly happy. Then, she is blindsided when her fiance breaks up with her. Gerwig’s journey, as embodied by the actress, is something to behold.
Your Sister’s Sister: June 15
Emily Blunt and Mark Duplass star as best friends in this film that is being called the indie movie to see this summer. Duplass is suffering after finding he’s suddenly single, so Blunt suggests he visit her family cabin to get away from it all. There, he meets her sister and then things get complicated!
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World: June 22
Steve Carell and Keira Knightley may seem like an odd pairing, but their chemistry in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is palpable. An asteroid is heading towards Earth and with absolute certainty, it is announced that the world is going to be completely destroyed. The human race knows they have three weeks to live and the film is a study in what one man and one woman do with their time left. It is astounding.
From Rome with Love: June 22
Woody Allen follows last summer’s Midnight in Paris and hopes to achieve the same success by heading to Italy in From Rome with Love. In typical Allen fashion, he’s got a superstar cast including Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg and Allen himself!
Beasts of the Southern Wild: June 27
One of the most buzzed-about films in Hollywood this summer, Beasts of the Southern Wild, could be an Oscar dark horse. The story follows a bayou community that is cut off from the world by a levee. A little girl seems to be on the verge of her world shattering, yet she still believes that things will work out. A massive storm hits, leaving her father ailing and her on the brink of being an orphan. She summons the strength to overcome adversity and inspires her community and the audience in the process.
Take This Waltz: June 29
Michelle Williams follows up her Oscar-nominated turn in My Week with Marilyn in this Toronto Film Festival darling that also features Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman and Luke Kirby. Williams portrays a seemingly happily married woman who falls in love with a street artist that lives across the street.
The Bourne Legacy: August 3
Sure, this is an action movie. But, this is Bourne! The film series has always been one of the smarter thrillers in the genre and with Jeremy Renner joining the fold, The Bourne Legacy should hit all the same notes and even a few new ones.
Hope Springs: August 10
Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones star as a middle-aged couple trying to add a little spark to their marriage after three decades. With those two headlining, they had us at Hope. Toss in Steve Carell as their marriage counselor, and we have a late summer joy.
Sparkle: August 17
Whitney Houston sadly had her final role in Sparkle which features her as the mother of Jordin Sparks, a young singer in 1960’s America with dreams of gold (records!).