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8 Must-See Summer Movies

Summer movie season can be overwhelming.  Every week it seems like a bigger, louder, sequel to some movie that came out two years ago hits the theaters.  I’m a glutton for the sensory-overload buffet of summer films.  Every summer studios also sneak smaller films into theaters, but they get swallowed up and spit out by men in tights, things exploding and big-name stars.  Sadly, a lot of these are movies with much to offer.  So here’s a list to make wading through the endless sea of summer films easier.  Some full of CGI and Tonight Show regulars and the others a bit less flashy but no less worthy.  All of them are movies I look forward to.

Big Budget Blockbusters:

Neighbors: Seth Rogen consistently makes funny movies.  Granted they can be immature, lewd, and probably have three to four scenes you wouldn’t want to watch with your mother, but they are usually gut-bustingly funny.  With a premise full of opportunities for ridiculous behavior (fraternity moves in next to newlyweds.  Hilarity ensues) and a killer supporting cast in Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, and the continuing adultification of Zac Efron; Neighbors looks like another hit from the Joe DiMaggio of modern comic actors.  (Out Now.  Trailers:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kL5c2szf3E4)

Godzilla:  This will be the 31st time the big green atomic lizard stars on the big screen and it looks breathtaking.  With a stable of excellent character actors including Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe to add a little human emotion to all the destruction, director Gareth Edwards’s take on a legend looks to be the most visceral Godzilla film yet.  The use of IMAX camera’s and 3D techniques will just add to the epic scope of Edwards’s on-screen apocalypse. (Out Now.  Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64c6VLNJQiE)

X-Men:  Days of Future Past:  Its hard to look past all the controversy and allegations swirling around director Bryan Singer, but lets do that and instead just look at the movie.  This might be the most ambitious take on super-heroes since The Dark Knight.  Combining the cast of the first 3 X-Men movies and the recent X-Men: First Class, there’s no shortage of star power(J-Law, Jackman, Fassbender!!) here.  Couple that with a complex storyline beloved by fans of the comics and a director that knows his way around a super-hero movie and you’re looking at the most fascinating blockbuster of the summer.  (Out Now.  Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsjtg7m1MMM)

22 Jump Street:  The first one was an irreverent, surprisingly hilarious take on the ridiculous premise of the television show 21 Jump Street, grown men going ‘undercover’ at a high school to bust a drug ring.  It proved Channing Tatum was disarmingly funny and the odd ball chemistry of Tatum and Jonah Hill made the film more enjoyable (and profitable) than it had any right to be.  Sequels to comedies are almost always a letdown (see:  Caddyshack II.)   Moving the setting to college, we’ll see if there’s more than one trick in this pony.  (June 13.  Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9S_dYuq0vE)

Small Budget Gems:

Gulaab Gang:  A fictionalized account of the unbelievable true story of Sampat Pal Devi and the Gulabi Gang; a group of women who banded together to protest and act (sometimes violently) against various injustices females are subjected to in India.  It also marks the first time that Bollywood screen legends Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla take the screen together.  And ultimately, its a big step for the Bollywood industry in general as the two top-billed stars are women, there isn’t a male lead to speak of, and the film is getting wide release and marketing both nationally and internationally.  (Out Now.  Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAcN8RR3Ry4)

Boyhood:  Over the span of 12 years and 4207 days of shooting, director Richard Linklater filmed the an entire movie about growing up in real time.  You see Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, literally grow up before your eyes.  Its a difficult, ambitious project but one that in the expert hands of a director like Linklater could turn into the most unique cinematic experience of the summer.  (July 11th.  Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiDztHS3Wos)

The Fault In Our Stars:  Based on the best-selling YA novel by Indianapolis native John Green, The Fault In Our Stars deals with the love that grows between two cancer-stricken teens.  Difficult material?  Sure.  But considering the grace with which Green handled it in the novel and the talented cast that includes Shailene Woodley and Laura Dern bringing it to life, adapting it to the screen shouldn’t be difficult.  With a highly enthusiastic built-in audience and a love story that might strike the right chord with audiences looking for a change of pace from the usual summer fare, The Fault In Our Stars should be the sleeper hit of the summer.  (June 6.  Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuVjGbncgQE)

Get On Up:  If there was one musician whose life story reads like a movie its James Brown.  From the music, to the women, the drugs, and the run ins with the law;  Brown lived life to the fullest.  This biopic, with a lot of buzz surrounding Chadwick Boseman’s performance as Brown, looks to capture all the manic, wild charisma of the man himself and remind us all what a giant impact he had on the music we listen to today.  (Aug. 1.  Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vptGSENcXeI)

What movie are you looking forward to seeing this summer? Share with us in the comments!

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