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In an attempt to bring back the Friday Five for the first time in a long time, I’ve decided that today I will discuss the upcoming late-summer films I am looking forward to. This list is by no means comprehensive, and films shall be listed by their opening release dates chronologically.
The Dark Knight Rises (Opens July 20th)
There is honestly little left to say about the third installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Expectations are sky-high, people have been all in for years, and anything short of the most amazing, greatest film of all time might just cause riots opening weekend. Starring Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, and Tom Hardy, The Dark Knight Rises looks to break box office records when it opens in domestic theaters next week. Film companies were wary enough to not open much before this film, nor schedule anything alongside it or even the week after it. It’s pretty safe to say that The Dark Knight Rises is the most anticipated film of the year. I have tempered my own expectations by intentionally foregoing standard trailers and tv commercials, but the internet being what it is, it was hard to escape the bevy of Dark Knight Rises newsbits and casting rumors over the past four (FOUR!) years. Opens July 20th … and you might wanna buy advance tickets.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (Opens August 3rd)
The past few years has seen the exponential growth of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. In the latest film chapter, Dog Days, main character Greg Heffley must suffer through the humiliation that is the middle school years during a long summer break. The change in scenery from the primary setting of the middle school environment will be welcomed for this installment, and opening a film about summer during the summer was probably a good idea. The first two movies captured the spirit and the feel of the book series exceedingly well. Zachary Gordon as lead character Greg Heffley has turned out to be pretty inspired casting and the supporting cast, anchored by a subdued, funny Steve Zahn as his father and a manic, frightening Devin Bostick as his brother is also pretty great. There is no reason to expect the third film, perhaps the logical conclusion for the film adaptations barring any direct-to-DVD nonsense with a new cast, won’t be more of the same, which will be perfectly fine as far as I am concerned. A Nick-style Franchise Fracas may result from this Culture Cast contributor when the third film opens in theaters on August 3rd.
The Campaign (Opens Friday August 10th)
Starring two of comedy’s biggest current superstars (Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis), The Campaign is the story of two competing politicians on the trail of competing local government election campaigns. Ferrell has done some great political comedy in the past (his George Bush impression became nigh legendary on Saturday Night Live), and Galifianakis is known for being an abstract comedy chameleon, whose performance in The Hangover movies has grown a worthy cult of its own. Also boasting a fantastic supporting cast (made up of actors like Dan Akroyd, Dylan McDermott, Jason Sudeikis, and John Lithgow), The Campaign is directed by Jay Roach, who has previously helmed big-budget comedy films like the Austin Powers series and the first two Meet the Parents films. Adam McKay, director of Anchorman and Talladega Nights amongst others, also shares producing credit. With all the talent behind The Campaign, my hopes are pretty high it will turn out to be hilarious. Opens August 10th.
The Expendables 2 (Opens August 17th)
It’s no secret that I have little love for the original Expendables film. It’s just a bit too generic and boring for my tastes and the action, despite the presence of some great action movie heroes, just didn’t do it for me. The sequel however looks to address the issues with the first film. Upping the Schwarzenegger/Willis factor and throwing in Jean Claude Van Damme as well as a Hemsworth brother was probably a great idea, as was replacing Stallone (who directed the first film) with director Simon West and thus unburdening Stallone somewhat, letting him focus on the writing and acting aspects of the film instead. The plot is incredibly simple (the group takes on a seemingly easy task – and are double-crossed or something) but will more than likely be effective for this type of film. Here’s to hoping The Expendables 2 turns out better than the first! I will be there opening day, August 17th.
Dredd (Opens Friday, September 21st)
By far the least commercial film on this list, Dredd has nonetheless piqued my interest. I may be one of the few supporters the original 1995 Judge Dredd film, but this new “reboot” of the franchise may very well turn out to be actually good. Starring Karl Urban (Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Dredd is the story of legendary comic book character and anti-hero Judge Dredd, as he squares off against a ruthless drug dealer in a murderous, brutal post-apocalyptic city. The film wisely restricts the scale to one building, giving it a claustrophobic feeling while also keeping the budget low and thus tempering expectations that this film is going to be some kind of The Avengers-like comic book epic. Dredd appears to be somewhat similar in tone and scope to Punisher: War Zone and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, two under-appreciated comic book movie gems of the past few years, which is fantastic for my tastes. Also starring Lena Heady (300, Game of Thrones), and Olivia Thirlby, Dredd is directed by Pete Travis and produced in part by Alex Garland (writer of Sunshine and other Danny Boyle films). Opens September 21st, far later than any other film on this list.
What late-summer films are you looking forward to?