Summer is finally arrived on us. The birds are chirping. The sun is blindingly hot. And another Ryan Gosling/Nicolas Winding Refn film has my pants tightening. Summer is a time to cuddle up to that loved one of yours, put your arm around her, and steal back that popcorn that's been giving her crusty, salty lips for the past 20 minutes. So enjoy folks...this is your 2013 road-map to the summer films you should not miss out on.
1. Only God Forgives
Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling’s follow-up to the acclaimed (and rightly so) Drive, promises to be another neon-injected foray into the underbelly of crime, but this time our hero, Gosling, plays a drug-smuggler looking for redemption as he seeks out—in Bangkok—the person or persons responsible for his brother’s death. From the looks of the trailer (see above) the cinematography is once again on beautiful display as it was in Drive. Can Refn and Gosling hit another home run? My bet's on yes. A home-run to my heart that is (he's soooo dreamy).
2. Kick Ass 2
Director Matthew Vaughn, who moved on from helming Kick-Ass to another superhero film in X-Men: First Class, won’t be attached to this sequel, which is a shame…he did a great job with Kick-Ass. But, if the trailer means anything, then we’re in for another treat as Kick-Ass gains a few new friends as he goes up against the former Red Mist (Christopher-Mintz Plase). Jim Carrey is showing up as Colonel Stars and Stripes in what looks like a very fun role for Carrey and Chloe Grace-Moretz is back to her ass kicking ways. I have high hopes for this one.
Let’s see. Bloated budget to back up the director of an Oscar-nominated sci-fi contemporary classic? Check. Matt Damon blowing shit up with a bald head? Check. Futuristic guns and machinery? Check. Me going to see this when it comes out? You’re damn right. Just saying “Matt Damon fighting robots with cool weapons and an exo-skeleton” buys me a ticket, but throw in the director of District 9 and now you have the formula for a boner-fest. You’d be an idiot to not want to see this one.
4. Star Trek into Darkness
J.J. Abrams is back in the captain’s chair for this sequel to his relaunch of the Star Trek franchise that saw the first film get a nod for an Oscar for best picture a few years back. Sure, he lens flared the hell out of the last one and no doubt he’ll do the same again here, but there’s no denying he made an enthralling and captivation action adventure that extended the Star Trek mythos while making fans out of non-trekkies. Look for him to convert even more non-believers into fanboys with this sequel that delves into a darker side of the Star Trek story.
5. Man of Steel
With Zach Snyder helming this huge return of the man with an “S” on his chest we might finally get a good Superman movie since Christopher Reeves hung up the boots. The last attempted relaunch of the series pretty much flew under the radar, but with Snyder’s (300, Watchmen) slick sensibilities and with Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) producing and serving as story consultant, this new relaunch is shaping up to be one of the best superhero films in some time.
6. The Wolverine
If I were to judge this film strictly based on the last Wolverine film, then this sequel wouldn’t get within a claw’s length of this list. But with a new director, Walk the Line’s James Mangold, helming this pic, and Christopher McQuarrie helping out on the writing side, things are looking up for the man with the adamatium skeleton. It looks like Wolvie might finally get the proper cinematic treatment that he deserves.
7. World War Z
Brad Pitt is box-office gold, but out of all the films on this list, this might be the one that’ll be hit or miss. It’s already been well documented how crappy the production of this film went with a multitude of production issues that marred the filming of this adaptation of Max Brooks’ brilliant novel. The trailer doesn’t give us much to go on, as we don’t even get a good glimpse of the zombies. But Brad is Brad and the man usually makes even a bad script better with his talent. And plus, zombies are awesome.
8. After Earth
I’m just saying…give M. Night one more chance. I know The Lady in the Water and The Last Airbender were D.O.A., but the guy made Signs, Unbreakable, and The Sixth Sense. That has to count for something, right? He’s been there for you, when you only had a few dollars in your pocket and you wanted to catch a good flick with an ending you didn’t see coming. Be there for him now. He deserves it. Okay, if this one sucks, he’s done for. But, Will Smith is in this, and even more than that his son is in it. And Big Willie—being the control freak he is—would never turn down a script for his son if he didn’t think it was awesome. I mean, Will Smith plus the guy that directed The Sixth Sense can’t go wrong…right?
9. This is the End
What do you get when you puree a cavalcade of young Hollywood stars, mix them together with an apocalyptic tale in which they actually use their real names—so as to give some absurdest realism to the film of course—then douse upon the artifacts a whopping helping of hilarity? You get This is the End, a meta-comedy of epic proportions written and directed by current wunderkind Seth Rogan and starring all his pals from Jay Baruchel to James Franco to Michael Cera and many more. Sure, the end of the world is nothing to laugh at, but that’s what makes this premise so damn enticing.
10. Pacific Rim
Guillermo del Toro is a student of the game. A masterful filmmaker that takes everything he does to the fullest extent of his and his crew’s capabilities. He sort of like a younger—and much more Mexican—version of Steven Spielberg. Pacific Rim is his biggest budget to date and features the likes of Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Charlie O’Day, and his perennial muse Ron Perlman. This mega-budgeted monster movie features an attack on earth by gigantic aliens followed by the citizens of earth creating some bad ass robots to help contain the monster menace. Look for this one to be to big hit of the summer.