Friday, July 1, 2011

At the Movies – July 2011 – Part 3: This Month’s Best Films

Must See of the Month:

Summary: The film is the conclusion to the Harry Potter series. We find Harry, Hermione and Ron where we left them in Deathly Hallows: Part 1 – things not looking good and a huge showdown looming. The gang also still needs to find and destroy three remaining Horcruxes. Filmmakers: Everyone is back for Part 2, which was shot in conjunction with Part 1 – they include: director David Yates, screenwriter Steve Kloves, composer Alexandre Desplat (the hardest working man in Hollywood), cinematographer Eduardo Serra (who did brilliant work on Part 1), and production designer Stuart Craig (whose work on the series is immeasurably wonderful). Cast: Just about everyone in the Potterverse is making an appearance, with stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint and principal supporting actors Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Evanna Lynch, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Bonnie Wright, David Thewlis, and Robbie Coltrane (and many more). New to the series are Kelly Macdonald and Ciaran Hinds. Expectations: Part 1 was one of my two favorite films from last year (with Inception), and thus Part 2 is by far the film I am most anticipating and looking forward to in 2011 (put it this way, if I could only see one film in theatres this year, no question this is it). Yates promises it is going to be amazing, and from what I have seen it certainly looks like it is going to be. And if the quality and build-up of Part 1 are any indication, Part 2 is going to be probably the best film of the series (and it is a series that includes astonishing films like Prisoner of Azkaban). The series has been an absolute treat to follow over the years and I have really enjoyed watching the younger cast members grow-up and develop their craft through the films. Not to mention that these films showcase some of the greatest British actors of all-time. Part of me is sad to see the series end, but I am even more excited to watch the finale. Check out the trailer. Review.

Worth Checking Out:

Captain America: The First Avenger (Joe Johnston) – Action/Adventure – Jul 22
Summary: The film is about Steve Rodgers, a man who desperately wants to join the army to serve during WWII but is too small and deemed unfit. He joins a top secret research project and is chosen to be the first super-soldier. He becomes Captain America (the film is also a prequel to all the other Avenger films, like Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and Thor). Filmmakers: The film is directed by Joe Johnston (who would have ever thought I would have a Joe Johnston film be among the projected best of the month, not me) who has done some ok stuff in the past, but feels like a good choice for this film (I cannot believe I just wrote that…but after seeing the trailers and talking to my friend at IGN that visited the set, the film looks really great). It also helps that Joss Whedon went through the script before shooting began. Johnston has a great crew on the film with composer Alan Silvestri (who has done some fantastic scores, like Back to the Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?), cinematographer Shelly Johnson and production designer Rick Heinrichs (who both did great work on Johnston’s last film The Wolfman). Cast: Chris Evans stars (and I think he is a great choice for the role) and Hugo Weaving co-stars, but the supporting cast is amazing as it features: Natalie Dormer, Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones, Richard Armitage, Hayley Atwell, Dominic Cooper, Sebastian Stan, Toby Jones, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, JJ Feild, and Kenneth Choi. Expectations: Initially when I heard about the movie and that Joe Johnston was doing it, I was not expecting much more than something entertaining but nothing special. However, everything I have seen, heard and read sounds and looks awesome (I mean just watch the new trailer). It also helps that I generally love films about or during the WWII period. Will it be the best superhero film of the year, maybe (though X-Men: First Class was really good). Will I see it opening weekend, yes. Check out the trailer. Review.

Attack the Block (Joe Cornish) – Sci-Fi – Jul 29 [limited]
Summary: The film is about a gang of teens in South London who defend their block from an alien invasion. Filmmakers: The film has a great creative team with writer-director Joe Cornish and executive producer Edgar Wright (the team that is also working on the upcoming films The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn and Ant-Man). The crew on the film is mostly filled with past collaborators on Wright’s films with composer Steven Price (who worked on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), cinematographer Tom Townend (making his feature debut, but worked as a camera operator on a few very good films from a cinematography perspective like Pride & Prejudice), production designer Marcus Rowland (who has worked on pretty much everything Wright has done), and editor Jonathan Amos (one of the fantastic editors on Scott Pilgrim). Cast: The film stars a bunch of actors that are not well known, especially in the States (though a few will recognize Jodie Whittaker and Luke Treadaway), and Nick Frost (another Wright alumni). Expectations: The film played to rave reviews during its run in the UK and is touted as a very entertaining action-comedy/sci-fi-adventure. From what I have seen of the film, it looks like great fun. Plus, it should be interesting to see what American audiences think of the South London teen gang culture (or the British youth pop-culture in general, at least those that have not already seen things like the brilliant Skins or Fish Tank). For fans of sci-fi comedies and Wright’s typical work, this is a must see. Check out the trailer.

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