Monday, May 6, 2013

Apocalyptic films loom large, but heroes and hilarity may rescue us

A summer movie preview

Ah, summer: time to lie back, pour yourself a tall lemonade, and watch the world go to hell in a handbasket. If there is a theme to the studio blockbusters coming out between Memorial Day and Labor Day, it is that Apocalypse is nigh, is here, or has already happened.
Consider: In “After Earth,” arriving in June, Will and Jaden Smith play futuristic father-and-son adventurers stranded on Earth 1,000 years after it was abandoned by the human race. In the same month’s “World War Z,” a heroic UN employee (Brad Pitt) is the only person who can stop a global zombie pandemic. July sees “Pacific Rim” from “Pan’s Labyrinth” director Guillermo del Toro, in which monsters from beneath the sea assault humanity and we respond by building ginormous robots (think “Transformers” meets “Godzilla” with a sense of style).
August brings a baldheaded, cyborgified Matt Damon in “Elysium,” directed by South Africa’s Neil Blomkamp (“District 9”). Set in the year 2154, it’s the ultimate 99-percenter’s nightmare, with the ultra-rich living on a cushy space station and the rest of us sweating it out on a ruined Earth. Demons erupt from an alternate dimension in “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” and zombies invade London in the antic “Cockneys vs. Zombies.”
Cartoons and comedies stare into the void, too. A mythical forest is the setting for a face-down between the forces of good and evil in the animated “EPIC.” “This is the End” casts Seth Rogen, James Franco, Paul Rudd, Emma Watson, Michael Cera, and Rihanna as themselves at a Hollywood party as the planet goes kerplooey, and “The World’s End,” the latest from the “Sean of the Dead” gang, envisions a pub crawl on the eve of apocalypse. Even “Man of Steel,” the much awaited Superman relaunch, climaxes with bad alien dude Michael Shannon bent on destroying Earth.
What the heck is going on here? The summer movie lineup does include the usual share of sequels — “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Kick-Ass 2,” “The Hangover: Part III,” “The Fast and the Furious 6” (!) — and there are a number of major releases that aren’t specifically pegged to disaster, although fans of “The Great Gatsby” and “The Lone Ranger” may disagree once they see what Baz Luhrmann and Gore Verbinski, respectively, have done to those properties. And there are a few small, witty mammals running between the feet of the dinosaurs: A new Woody Allen (“Blue Jasmine”), a new Sofia Coppola (“The Bling Ring”), a second collaboration between “Drive” director Nicolas Winding Refn and star Ryan Gosling (“Only God Forgives”).
There’s even “Before Midnight,” the third film in the beloved series begun by 1995’s “Before Sunrise.” That’s cause for cheer in a summer slate that desperately needs some. Is it that our global calamities have finally seeped into our escapist entertainments? Or is this just natural Hollywood escalation? If summer movies are all about blowing things up louder and better than last year, it stands to reason we’d eventually have to bloweverything up. In any event, sit back, relax, and enjoy Armageddon.
Note: Like summer weather, opening dates are subject to change.

... for more on upcoming movies for the summer read the rest of the globes story here.

June 27

EUROPA REPORT A multinational mission heads to the moons of Jupiter. The crew consists of Sharlto Copley, Michael Nyqvist, Christian Camargo, Daniel Wu, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Anamaria Marinca, and Karolina Wydra. Sebasti├ín Cordero directed.


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