Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Look to the Summer Movies of 2014

By Alex Lavelle

With April behind us, and finals on the horizon, Hollywood has officially entered into the season of the summer blockbuster. For the next four months, each of the major studios will release their tentpole franchise showstoppers, all to try to win out the box office of the average moviegoer. While 2014 may not be as big as either 2013 was (Iron Man 3, Fast and Furious 6, Man of Steel, Pacific Rim, Despicable Me 2, Monsters University), or the 2015 season analysts are calling the perfect movie season storm (Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Fantastic Four, Jurassic World, Ted 2, Terminator: Genesis, Antman, Minions), it is shaping up to have quite a few movies for fanbases.

And what better way to kick off the monster movie season than the king of monsters? Warner Bros. kicks off the season with the return of Godzilla on May 16, in a retelling of the Godzilla origin story, led by a cast consisting of Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Wantanabe, and Sally Hawkins. Then, it’s the release of the third superhero movie this year: X-Men: Days of Future Past. When a new threat arises that threatens to wipe out both mutant and humankind, the X-Men from the original trilogy, and from 2011’s X-Men: First Class, must unite to stop this threat (and tie up continuity errors). Starring, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lawrence, Ellen Page, and Nicholas Hoult, X-Men: Days of Future Past opens May 23rd. The first month of summer concludes on May 30th, with Disney’s Maleficent, a retelling of the classic Disney villain from 1959’s Sleeping Beauty, starring Angelina Jolie as the titular character.

June features another four big name films, the first being The Fault in Our Stars. Based upon John Green’s New York Times bestseller, the film stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (yes, the brother and sister from Divergent), and releases June 6. Then, everyone’s favorite undercover cop duo returns in 22 Jump Street. After the success of 2012’s 21 Jump Street, the film returns stars Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Ice Cube, with Schmidt and Jenko now heading off to college. 22 Jump Street releases June 13. Turning to something a bit more family friendly, Fox/Dreamworks’s How to Train Your Dragon 2 releases that same day, and returns the main cast of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Hill, and Kristen Wigg, while also adding Best Actress winner Cate Blanchett, as the humans and dragons of Berk, now allies, enter into a conflict that threatens to end their peace. Finally, June rolls out with the release of Transformers: Age of Extinction. The plot of the film, set a few years after the events of 2011’s Dark of the Moon, finds the Autobots on the run from the United States government, but must make themselves known when a new threat emerges. Starring Mark Whalberg, Nicola Peltz, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammar, and Peter Cullen, Age of Extinction opens in theaters on June 27.

Despite being the first full month of summer, July actually seems to be a bit of a calm in the blockbuster/franchise movie storm. The month only has one major sequel set for release, July 11th’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The film continues the events of 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Fox’s reboot of the Planet of the Apes series, and stars Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke and Keri Russell. Perhaps the other two big name movies for July are Jupiter Ascending and Hercules. The first one, directed by the Wachowskis, directors of the Matrix trilogy, stars Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum, in a sci-fi epic with Kunis having the fate of the Earth rest on her shoulders. Jupiter Ascending opens July 18th. Finally, Hercules, which opens July 25th, stars Dwyane Johnson as the Greek “Zero-to-Hero”, as he tries to stop a tyrannical warlord.

Finally, August wraps the season up with a few major hits. The first one, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, opens August 1st. Starring Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, and Karen Gillan, the film centers around a ragtag group of outlaws turned heroes, including a talking alien raccoon with handguns, and a giant alien tree, as they try to outrun the galaxy with a powerful, yet mysterious object on their hands. One week later, both Lucy, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles open up; the first of these stars Scarlett Johansson, who, following exposure to a mysterious drug, develops superhuman abilities. The latter is based on the super franchise of four turtles also being exposed to mysterious chemicals, and developing human-like characteristics. Turtles stars Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fitchner, Whoopi Goldberg, and Alan Ritchson. Finally, for a bit of a trip down memory lane, The Giver releases August 15th. The film is based off the 1993 novel by Lois Lowry, and stars Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, and Katie Holmes.

Meanwhile, for those who have chosen to focus the past few weeks on studying for final exams, there are several movies that have already come out that will still be in the theatres. Perhaps two of the more popular are Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, both of which you can find reviews for in this paper. Hopefully, this article will have helped you find at least one movie to look forward to this summer.

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