Friday, May 29, 2015

Action, adventure, comedy, drama - summer movies 2015

cover story 

Nothing in life is certain, except death, taxes, and the fact that Hollywood will unleash its onslaught of big budget movies every summer. And yes, it’s that time of the year once again. Get ready for a few trips to the cinema to experience the continuations of film franchises, as well as new offerings that aim to entertain you. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect from some of the world’s most successful filmmakers in the coming months:

Summer would be incomplete without superhero capers and high-adrenaline blockbusters. The action has already kicked-off with Avengers: Age of Ultron (May), but there are more superhero adventures still to come. Ant-Man (July) will launch another Marvel superhero on the big screen when it arrives in cinemas in a few weeks, with Paul Rudd portraying the protagonist who acquires a substance that allows him to shrink in size, but increase in strength. Fantastic Four (August) gives the Marvel superhero series a reboot, led by an all-new cast that includes Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell.
Some other well known franchises are also back this year. Jurassic World (June), the fourth Jurassic Park instalment, marks a belated return for the series, as a hybrid dinosaur escapes from the theme park and causes havoc, leaving it up to Hollywood heartthrob Chris Pratt to save the day. Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is back and intent on bringing down an international rogue organization in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (July), the fifth instalment in the series. Moreover, Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises his role as the eponymous character in Terminator Genisys (July).
Also, the Hitman video games’ series spawns the film Hitman: Agent 47 (August), which finds actor Rupert Friend portraying an elite assassin who squares off with his nemeses. Guy Ritchie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (August) revives the ‘60s television show and stars Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as agents on a mission against a criminal organization. And in San Andreas (May), a chopper pilot (Dwayne Johnson) journeys to rescue his estranged daughter (Alexandra Daddario) after an earthquake.

A number of films are on a task to scare viewers this summer. If you are faint of heart, then you might want to skip Insidious: Chapter 3 (June), which marks the third outing of the Insidious series. It is a prequel to the first two films, and stars Dermot Mulroney and Stefanie Scott. 2012’s Sinister also gets a sequel, as a family moves to a house marked for death in Sinister 2 (August). Plus, a group of students resurrect a failed show to mark the 20th anniversary of a horrific tragedy, but things turn deadly in the found footage horror movie The Gallows (July).
In the adjacent territory of thrillers, a dying, wealthy aristocrat’s (Ben Kingsley) consciousness is transformed into the body of a young man (Ryan Reynolds) in Self/less (July). A mysterious present throws a couple’s (Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall) lives into disarray in The Gift (July). The Ethan Hawke-led Regression (August) finds a father accused of a crime he has no memory of committing. And mystery thriller Dark Places (August) brings Gillian Flynn’s novel to cinema, starring Charlize Theron as the only survivor of her family’s horrific massacre.

Judging from the number of comedies on offer this summer, Hollywood is fairly convinced that we are all in need of a heavy dose of cheers. The Pitch Perfect 2 (May) girls have already taken the box office by storm, but they aren’t the only familiar faces who are making a return this year.
Expect a host of cameos when we are reunited with our old friends, Vince (Adrian Grenier), Eric (Kevin Connolly), Drama (Kevin Dillon), and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) as Entourage (June) jumps from the small to the big screen, continuing the story from the HBO comedy drama. Seth MacFarlane’s crude teddy bear is also back, and this time, he has to prove that he is a person in the court of law in Ted 2 (June).
Elsewhere, a CIA analyst (Melissa McCarthy) goes undercover on a mission in Spy (June). Cameron Crowe gives us Aloha (May), the tale of a defence contractor (Bradley Cooper), who reconnects with a former love (Rachel McAdams), while unexpectedly falling for an Air Force pilot (Emma Stone). Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck (July) finds a commitment-phobic woman (Amy Schumer), facing her fears after she meets a nice guy (Bill Hader). Aliens misinterpret ‘80s arcade games as a declaration of war in Pixels (July), which sounds so promising till you realize that it stars Adam Sandler. Adventure comedy Vacation (July) sees a man (Ed Helms) taking his family on a road trip to a park that will be closing forever. The lovely Meryl Streep portrays an aging rock star, who abandoned her family to become a famous musician in Ricki and the Flash (August). Jesse Eisenberg stars in American Ultra (August) as a stoner whose past lands him in trouble. And action comedy Masterminds (August) finds a night guard (Zach Galifianakis) organizing the biggest bank robbery in American history.

Amusing shenanigans await in animationland, as the animation powerhouse makes its highly anticipated return, and everyone’s favourite little, yellow henchmen get their own feature outing:
- Inside Out: After being a no-show last summer, Pixar is back to reclaim its place atop the world of animation with its new film Inside Out, which comes out this June. Initial reception has been very positive for this fantasy comedy about different, personified emotions - like Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), and Anger (Lewis Black) - as they compete for control of a girl’s mind.
- Minions: The Minions from Illumination Entertainment’s Despicable Me films get their own spin-off prequel this June when Stuart, Kevin, and Bob (all voiced by director Pierre Coffin) set out on a journey to find a new despicable master and get recruited by super-villain Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), who, along with her inventor husband Herb (Jon Hamm) plans to take over the world.

An aged Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen) reflects on his life and grapples with an unsolved case in the mystery drama Mr. Holmes, which will hit the cinemas this June. A military working dog is adopted by his handler’s family after suffering a traumatic experience in the adventure Max, also set to be released next month. The “post hip hop generation” gets its own coming of age drama with June’s Dope in which a geeky teenager (Shameik Moore) is led to a gritty adventure. Sports drama Southpaw, which comes out in July, tells the tale of a successful boxer who has to deal with his life falling apart, and stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, and Forest Whitaker. A woman’s energized faith transforms her life in War Room, which will be out in August. And July’s romantic mystery Paper Towns, which is an adaptation of John Green’s 2008 novel, tells the story of a young man (Nat Wolff), who goes in search of his missing neighbour (Cara Delevingne).

There are a few music biopics, as well as a documentary in store for music fans in the coming months:
- Love & Mercy (June): This Brian Wilson biopic follows the story of the Beach Boys’ front-man (portrayed by Paul Dano and John Cusack) through two periods of his life as he struggles with psychosis and works with his group to craft what would become one of the most influential albums in the history of popular music.
- Straight Outta Compton (August): This biographical drama revolves around the history of the hip hop group N.W.A. - the members of which included Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy-E -who gained notoriety in the late ‘80s.
- Amy (July): Asif Kapadia’s documentary about troubled singer Amy Winehouse - whose life was cut short by her untimely death in 2011 at the age of 27 - aims to tell her tragic story, and will include previously unseen archive footages of the late songstress.

So, no matter which genre you prefer, you’ll find something that meets your preferences at the cinema, ready to take you on a fun- filled adventure. Have an awesome summer, everyone!


What Hollywood did last summer

Like every year, the Hollywood machine was in full gear in 2014, churning out movies that collectively grossed billions of dollars around the world. Here’s a recap of what happened last summer and which films came out on top at the global box office:

- Transformers: Age of Extinction (June) - $1.1 billion: Few series are as critic proof as the Michael Bay Transformers franchise. No amount of criticism and bad reviews could take the wind out of the fourth instalment of the series, which was a soft reboot of the franchise. The movie starred Mark Wahlberg and ended up becoming the highest grossing film of the year.
- Guardians of the Galaxy (July) - $774 million: Marvel’s delightful superhero caper Guardians of the Galaxy was one of the most amusing outings of the year, and its oddball pairing of reluctant heroes led by Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord set the series off to a good start. A sequel is expected in 2017.
- Maleficent (May) - $758 million: Angelina Jolie’s return to acting after a nearly four-year absence in this Sleeping Beauty retelling from the perspective of the story’s antagonist may not have been a critical success. But it pleased viewers nonetheless, becoming one of the most successful films of the year.
- X-Men: Days of Future Past (May) - $748 million: The seventh X-Men instalment found Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) travelling to the past to save humanity, and its massive box office haul ensured the production of a sequel, X-Men: Apocalypse (2016).
- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (June) - $708 million: A stunning motion capture performance by Andy Serkis powered this Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) sequel, which will eventually be followed by War of the Planet of the Apes (2017).


- By S.A.

Us Magazine, The News - 29th May, 2015 *

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