Summer of 2012 looks to be one of the most epic and grand scale movie seasons to come around in a while. But beneath all the explosions and hype, it’s easy to gloss over some of the lesser-known films that deserve just as much attention as the next blockbuster. The Scene offers a compilation of the best of both big-budget films and lesser-known flicks.
Three movies you’ve probably heard of
“The Dark Knight Rises” (July 20)
The movie god known as Christopher Nolan is releasing the third and final installment in his darkly brilliant Batman trilogy, and the anticipation has never been higher. After the commercial and critical success of 2010’s “The Dark Knight,” it’s easy to expect “The Dark Knight Rises” to fail (especially after the ridiculously repetitive title), but Nolan’s track record says otherwise.
Trailers and clips reveal little about the film, but the plot looks to revolve around this movie’s big bad Bane (Tom Hardy, “Warrior”), and the ambiguously villainous Selina Kyle (a.k.a Catwoman), played by Anne Hathaway (“One Day”). The two seem to be staging some class revolution, in a sort of destructive Occupy movement, against our aged and weary Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale, “The Fighter”). The approach is unusual. But, needless to say, this newest Batman movie is the biggest film to watch this summer.
“Prometheus” (June 8)
“Prometheus” is a return to Ridley Scott’s 1970s “Alien” series, a massively popular and iconic movie series that is all but forgotten today. “Prometheus” looks to be an intriguing new approach to the sci-fi franchise, bringing in the newest Hollywood It Boy Michael Fassbender (“Shame”) and Swedish sensation Noomi Rapace (“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”).
The viral campaign is fascinating to say the least, with Scott taking full advantage of viral videos, teasers and clues to build up anticipation for a franchise that has lost its name recognition with the newer generation. “Prometheus” looks to be what J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” was to the ‘60s “Star Trek” series: a welcome and original reboot to a familiar franchise.
“Brave” (June 22)
The newest Pixar movie is a departure from their regular coming-of-age, bittersweet slice of life films. Instead, “Brave” dives deep into the medieval fantasy genre and, shockingly, has a girl as its protagonist.
Pixar movies have traditionally been a bit of a boys’ club, with all-male protagonists and few strong female characters until now. It seems they have heard their criticism, because Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald, “The Decoy Bride”) is the epitome of the feisty, rebellious heroine. Her story seems a bit too similar to that of “How to Train Your Dragon,” but it will be comforting to see a strong female character at the head of the film instead of as a side character. Plus, she’s a Scottish redhead. Can’t get much better than that.
Three movies you probably haven’t heard of but should go see anyway
“Moonrise kingdom” (May 25)
Wes Anderson. Edward Norton. Bill Murray. These are a couple of keywords that are guaranteed to make a film buff weep with joy, but the rest of us will probably react with a resounding “Huh?”
“Moonrise Kingdom” is famously quirky director Wes Anderson’s (“Fantastic Mr. Fox”) newest film, one that looks to honor his highly stylized technique, with odd characters and a color scheme that looks to be drenched in ‘70s-style muted yellows. The film tells the story of two children who fall in love and run away together, causing their hometown to send out search parties in hilariously blundering ways. “Moonrise Kingdom” looks to be a fun romp of a film with plenty of fodder for all the cinephiles out there.
“Celeste and Jesse Forever” (August 3)
“Celeste and Jesse Forever” made quite a splash at the 2012 Sundance Festival as a touching dramedy starring some of Hollywood’s favorite funny people.
Rashida Jones (“The Muppets”) and Andy Samberg (“Friends with Benefits”) star as Celeste and Jesse, respectively, a divorcing couple who try to stay friends as they date other people. It’s a theme that has been constantly explored by other dramedies this year, such as “Friends with Kids,” but with little success. However, the goodwill that both Jones and Samberg have from their shining supporting roles in other comedy films as well as their work on TV shows like “Parks and Recreation” and “Saturday Night Live” are sure to bring people to the theaters. The acclaim that “Celeste and Jesse Forever” gained at Sundance probably isn’t for nothing. Here’s to hoping that this movie explores this tired subject with better success.
“Premium Rush” (august 24)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in one of the oddest action films of the summer, “Premium Rush.” The movie takes place in Manhattan, where a bike messenger, played by Levitt (“50/50”), picks up a mysterious package that starts a chain of wild events, resulting in him getting chased by various people, including a menacing Michael Shannon (“Take Shelter”).
“Premium Rush” is a promising action film. It doesn’t rely on explosions or a built-in fan base to draw its audience. The action is as old school and bare bones as you can get, with bike stunts and car chases. If this film doesn’t steal away some viewers from “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises” crowd, at least it will get the generally unfilmed biker crowd.