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Summer movie madness 2014 preview

June's Best Releases
June's Best Releases

Well, my fellow cinephiles, that magickal time of the year is here again! Buckle up and bare the glare as our major Hollywood studios unleash the grandest summer tent-pole blockbusters their bloated pockets can possibly buy! What ludicrous sights and sounds are worthy of your anticipation and hard-earned cash?

Read on, as your trustworthy Examiner presents part one (covering June’s top releases) of his annual, “Summer Movie Madness” preview series. Folks, the time is nigh to get excited, so get ready to check your brain at the door and simply enjoy the summer’s most sizzling cinematic entrees…

Sporting an unevenly bloated franchise under his belt, Hollywood dictator, Michael Bay, plans to unleash yet another Transformers movie upon the masses on June 27th. While many may moan and groan at the notion of yet another sequel reboot, Bay at least has learned how to deliver – and in some cases, does deliver – the quintessential summer popcorn blockbuster. Ask the detonation experts on the set of Age of Extinction, who even arrived at the term “Bayhem” to describe the no doubt unparalleled experience of working on a Michael Bay film.

Above and beyond the sacred, if buttery, promise such a term implies, Age of Extinction may just be the transformer movie to top them all…Fans weaned on the original television series and toy line have cause to rejoice in knowing that Bay and his third world country/crew have set their flammable sights on the infamous Dinobots and their memorable leader, Grimlock. With fresh blood like Mark Wahlberg (taking the lead role formerly reserved for Shia LaBeouf), Kelsey Grammar and the gorgeous Nicola Peltz filling the screen, we might just have ourselves a dandy excuse to waste two hours behind a silver screen. Expecting Age of Extinction to justify two more films as the start of a new trilogy might be a tall order, but if there’s any one Transformers film, which promises to feed the inner child that reveled in the creative genius of the popular Dinobots’ storyline, this is the one.

In case you don’t want to wait a month for gratuitous explosions and robotic ultra-violence, releasing on June 6th is Doug Liman and megastar Tom Cruise’s new sci-fi opus, Edge of Tomorrow. Although Liman has stumbled a bit lately with lackluster reception to the recent Fair Game and Jumper, the director of the otherwise entertaining Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Swingers, and Go has certainly proven that he carries both the technical and creative chops to deliver a crowd-pleasing film.

Moreover, despite all the criticism that seems to follow Cruise like a magnet, one cannot argue that he hasn’t produced some good – if not great – summer action films over the years (e.g., Mission Impossible, Top Gun, Minority Report, etc.). With a fun, Groundhog Day-style plot that promises the opportunity to see Cruise get repeatedly slaughtered, and both Cruise and Liman gunning – and indeed, arguably needing – another summer blockbuster success, here’s to hoping that both of them will put their best foot forward with enough gnarly sci-fi action to complement the interesting storyline concept and silence the naysayers.

Of course, summer movies aren’t all about advanced technology and flying body parts, so with that in mind we turn our attention to what promises to be the best comedic release in June. Not much needs to be said about the slapstick sequel to a sometimes hilarious and often just chuckle-worthy 21 Jump Street, nor are directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller aren’t straying too much from the original formula of Jonah Hill (who co-wrote the story) and Channing Tatum going undercover at a college university (rather than the first’s high school setting). With that said, the winning trailer promises enough belly laughs to make for a fun and breezy couple hours of mindless hijinks, headlined by two of the industry’s brightest young actors. Catch 22 Jump Street on June 13th.

Although The Rover (also releasing June 13th) might not fulfill typical summer blockbuster expectations, this relatively small film might just outshine the rest of the June pack when all is said and done. Directed by David Michod, whose impressively impactful, Aussie-set crime drama, Animal Kingdom, earned Jacki Weaver an Oscar nomination, The Rover perhaps boasts June’s strongest cast ensemble (including the always-stellar Guy Pearce and a continually improving Robert Pattinson), while promising a similarly intense, white-knuckle plot that this Examiner is predicting will offer a genuinely gripping and welcomingly dark antidote to offset the usual summer fare.

Other smaller films in June to look out for include another sci-fi mindbender with the iconic Laurence Fishburne, The Signal, the Roman Polanski Broadway adaptation of Venus in Fur, the post-apocalyptic Snowpiercer, with Tilda Swinton and Chris Evans, and red-hot horror director Ti West’s new found footage-style shocker, The Sacrament.

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