Wednesday, June 1, 2011

At the Movies – June 2011 – Part 3: Must See Films

Must See of the Month:

Super 8 (J.J. Abrams) – Sci-Fi – Jun 10
Summary: The film is about a group of friends making a film together in the summer of 1979. However, after seeing bizarre and creepy footage mistakenly caught of a mysterious train crash, they begin to investigate strange phenomenon happening in their small town. Filmmakers: Known for his many TV series (especially Lost and Fringe), this marks writer-director J.J. Abrams’s third feature film, and first to be derived from original material (his first two film being MI III and Star Trek). Steven Spielberg is producing the film with Abrams (cementing the feeling I get from watching the trailer: that it reminds me a lot of Spielberg early work, specifically Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T.). Composer Michael Giacchino (Let Me In), cinematographer Larry Fong (Sucker Punch) and production designer Martin Whist (Cloverfield) make up an awesome crew. Cast: Abrams has put together a lesser known cast, but a really good one none-the-less. Elle Fanning (who is wonderful in Somewhere), Kyle Chandler (who many will recognize from Friday Night Lights) and Joel Courtney (making his debut) star, with Amanda Michalka and Noah Emmerich in supporting roles. Expectations: The film looks like it is going to be really good, playing off my nostalgic love of childhood sci-fi and adventure films (like the Spielberg film listed above and The Goonies, which the trailer also reminds me a lot of). Abrams has a talent for making action films that never stop and yet still develop their characters well and connect with the audience. This is the must see of the month because the trailer looks great and Abrams almost always does amazing work (Undercovers being his only critical and commercial flop to date). Check out the trailer. Review.

Worth Checking Out:

X-Men: First Class (Matthew Vaughn) – Action/Adventure – Jun 3
Summary: A prequel to the first three X-Men films (though, the beginning of a new trilogy, assuming it does well), the film is about the beginnings of the relationship between (then friends) Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr, and the early days of the forming of the X-Men. Filmmakers: Writer-director Matthew Vaughn originally was going to direct X-Men: The Last Stand, but left the project due to creative and scheduling conflicts with Fox (and then they brought in Brett Ratner to make a passable, but ultimately weak action film). Instead, he made Stardust, which a fun fantasy adventure establishing him as director to watch, only to follow it up with Kick-Ass (one of the top 10 best superhero films). With those films under his belt, Vaughn is a fantastic choice to direct this film, especially since it is also a period film (taking place mostly in 1963). Upon joining the project, Vaughn reworked the script with writing partner Jane Goldman (which is a good thing). Vaughn has a great crew with composer Henry Jackman (who worked on Kick-Ass), cinematographer John Mathieson (Gladiator), production designer Chris Seagers (Unstoppable), and editor Lee Smith (who does all Chris Nolan’s films). Bryan Singer (who directed the first two in the series) is producing. Cast: Vaughn put together a stellar and fresh group of actors (which along with him being attached to direct actually got me interested and excited for this after the first three X-Men films were disappointing). James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender star, with Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Bacon, and January Jones co-staring. Jason Flemyng, Zoe Kravitz, Lucas Till, Oliver Platt, Edi Gathegi, Ray Wise, Caleb Landry Jones, and Alex Gonzalez feature in supporting roles. Expectations: Despite Fox’s best intentions to market the film horribly with the whole “Before he was Magneto, he was Erik” thing, the latest trailers look really great. The Cold War angle puts an interesting twist on the X-Men, as it was a period of people hiding their beliefs and being afraid (which are common themes in X-Men comics, TV and films). It will also be fun to see a period superhero film (and we get two this year with Capitan America: The First Avenger being set during WWII). Vaughn and crew plus the wonderful cast give me very high expectations (probably too high, given the crazy rushed schedule to get this out on time). Check out the trailer. Review.

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