Film

The PopMatters Summer Film Preview - June 2014

It's June. School's out, the kids are antsy, and Hollywood is serving up the spectacle. We'll get more Transformers, more Tom Cruise, more animated adventure, and a bit too much found footage.

 
Director: Doug Liman

Film: Edge of Tomorrow

Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Kick Gurry

MPAA rating: PG-13

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/e/edgeoftomorrowposter.jpg

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6 June
Edge of TomorrowTom Cruise still looks amazing. He also continues to have the kind of box office clout to get a movie greenlit just by adding his name to it. But there is buzz around this town of Tinsel that his latest, a thought-provoking sci-fi tale which is being called Groundhog Independence Day is destined to open "soft" and showcase the fallen superstar's new level of more grounded, legitimate fame. Whatever the case, we look forward to this film, only because the premise (a cowardly recruit keeps re-experiencing the same day in an all out alien invasion over and over again) sounds like fun.

 
Director: Josh Boone

Film: The Fault in Our Stars

Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell

MPAA rating:

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/f/faultinourstarsposter.jpg

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6 June
The Fault in Our StarsOtherwise known as Love Story 2014. Hollywood has had a love/hate relationship with the disease of the month movie since Ali McGraw and Ryan O'Neil argued over whether or not you have to say a simple word within your otherwise doomed affair. Now we get Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (her Divergent co-star) as cancer patients who fall in love. Those who know John Green's YA novel already have their handkerchiefs out, but it will be interesting to see if this story translates with today's more sophisticated adolescents. Thanks to the crossover appeal of the book, however, one imagines a 'healthy' return at the box office.

 
Director: Bobcat Goldthwait

Film: Willow Creek

Cast: Alexie Gilmore, Bryce Johnson

MPAA rating: R

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/w/willowcreekposter.jpg

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6 June
Willow CreekBobcat Goldthwait has been on a bit of a roll recently, and it's not in the professional arena you think. The infamous stand-out who used a kind of psycho Tourette syndrome delivery to sell his humor has taken to making movies, and he's been wowing critics with such titles as World's Greatest Dad and God Bless America. Now comes his latest, a weird appropriation of the found footage horror film, this time centering on a search for Bigfoot. While we don't necessarily need another first person POV style film, the early reviews have been rapturous. It's no Police Academy 2, but then again, what is?

 
Director: Ti West

Film: The Sacrament

Cast: Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, Kate Lyn Sheil, AJ Bowen, Gene Jones

MPAA rating: R

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/s/sacramentposter.jpg

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6 June
The SacramentIt seems like, every once in a while, a new name bubbles up in the conversation regarding the future of horror. Ti West has already established himself with cult favorites like House of the Devil and The Innkeepers. Now he's taking on a Rev. Jim Jones like cult in this... yes again... found footage film. Oddly enough, after winning over numerous fans with his first two films (and his work in the anthology V/H/S), West has been criticized for this movie, mostly over his appropriation of the Jonestown Massacre for exploitation/entertainment purposes. On the other hand, the trailer makes it look like a fine fright flick.

 
Director: Gillian Robespierre

Film: Obvious Child

Cast: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffmann, David Cross, Richard Kind

MPAA rating: R

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/o/obviouschildposter.jpg

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6 June
Obvious ChildJenny Slate is an actress and comedian with a memorable season on Saturday Night Live as well as stints on Parks and Recreations and Bob's Burgers. Now she's branching out into feature films in Gillian Robespierre's abortion comedy (ummm...oops...Spoiler Alert???). Granted, the movie is about much more than said controversial subject, but both the star and the filmmaker find a way to make it work. Of course, such hot buttons can raise unnecessary controversy. Here's hoping audiences can approach this film intelligently and not let knee jerk reactions ruin a potentially funny and poignant cinematic experience.

 
Director: Mike Myers

Film: Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon

Cast: Shep Gordon, Alice Cooper, Michael Douglas, Emeril Lagasse

MPAA rating: R

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/s/supermenscheposter.jpg

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6 June
Supermensch: The Legend of Shep GordonWonder what Mike "Wayne's World/Shrek" Myers has been up to recently. Why, he's directed a documentary about one of the most influential talent agents in any medium. Gordon got his start straight out of college and soon had names like Alice Cooper and Anne Murray among his clients. He even bedded famous women such as Sharon Stone and created the "celebrity" chef. Yet a heart attack left him looking for a deeper meaning to his life, and the answer apparently was this testimonial love fest from clients past and present. It could be sensational. Sounds a bit self-serving.

 
Director: Clark Gregg

Film: Trust Me

Cast: Clark Gregg, Felicity Huffman, Allison Janney, William H. Macy, Niecy Nash, Amanda Peet

MPAA rating: R

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/t/trustmeposter.jpg

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6 June
Trust MeWhen you're Agent Coulson, you can apparently do anything you want. For Clark Gregg, the desire to write, direct, and star in a film about a former child star now acting as an agent for same was just too great to pass up. Bringing together a who's who of known names - Sam Rockwell, Amanda Peet, Felicity Huffman, Allison Janney, William H. Macy - and going low budget and indie, the results have received generally positive notices. Many who've seen it already are calling it very dark indeed. Considering the subject matter, and the man responsible, that's very good news.

 
Director: Michael Tully

Film: Ping Pong Summer

Cast: Susan Sarandon, Lea Thompson, Amy Sedaris, John Hannah, Judah Friedlander

MPAA rating: PG-13

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/p/pingponsummerposter.jpg

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6 June
Ping Pong SummerImagine The Karate Kid as set in a retro styled '80s where table tennis, not martial arts, is the nerd superpower that defeats the bad guy. Now add in a lot of Reagan Era nostalgia and a few famous faces (Lea Thompson, Susan Sarandon) and you've got something that should score as both spoof and solid sports homage. Some have suggested, however, that writer/director Michael Tully is so in love with the conventions and contrivances of the coming of age comedies from the past that he never finds a way to make them relevant to today's viewership. They may be right.

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