If you emerge just barely intact from the post-apocalyptic haze of this academic year, the cinema may be a good place to recover.
Yes, Man of Steel lands on the 14th of June, and while obviously a must for all Nolan fans, it’s old news, so instead I’ll start off slow, with some slightly mindless comedy which shouldn’t be too taxing for any fatigued brains…
Somehow it’s already been two years since Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids became a smash hit, reanimating the wedding comedy sub-genre and making Melissa McCarthy’s face known to people other than just fans of Gilmore Girls. This summer the two reunite for The Heat, released 31st July. Feig’s latest seems essentially to be a cop-buddy comedy with two female leads; McCarthy, and Sandra Bullock in a role likely to be compared to her performances as FBI agent Gracie Hart in the Miss Congeniality movies. McCarthy’s character also bears some resemblance to Bridesmaids’ Megan, but repetition aside, this should be a comic stonker filled with outrageous set pieces and crass humour.
July also heralds the arrival of a long-awaited comedy spawned on British shores, Edgar Wright’s The World’s End, the final outing for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s cornetto trilogy. To be brutally honest, the trailer is close to dull, but with the bar set high by previous films of this partnership (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) it’s still one to look out for. As with the previous films, The World’s End finds Pegg and Frost in the midst of an other-worldly conspiracy, but this time they are joined by a slate of fine British acting talent including Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Rosamund Pike, who will depict a group of childhood friends reuniting and attempting to complete an epic yet unfinished pub crawl from years before.
Maybe you’d rather stick to the pub, but if you can hack the sight of (fake) academia, About a Boy director Paul Weitz will deliver Admission on the 14th June. Think Liberal Arts, but probably with less nostalgia and more cursing. Admission stars Tina Fey as an admissions tutor at Princeton University, and Paul Rudd as her love interest. Hopefully the film can handle its theme (Fey’s character encounters a college applicant who may or may not be a son she gave up for adoption years before), as well as surrogacy was handled in Baby Mama. That is to say, with just the right balance of humour and sensitivity.
More academia…sorry. But in the shape of Pixar’s latest work, the prequel to the much-loved Monsters, Inc., released back in 2001. Monsters University arrives in cinemas on the 12th July, when we’ll finally be able to watch shrunken versions of Mike and Sully as they learn to scare. The re-release of Monsters, Inc. in 3D earlier this year may have been a cheap and lazy marketing ploy, but the Monsters U promotional website is worth a visit.
From prequels to sequels, this summer also brings Despicable Me 2 on the 28th June. Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli have also been scribbling away; From Up on Poppy Hill, set in 1960s Tokyo and perhaps less fantastical than popular Ghibli fare such as Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle, is released on the 2nd August.
Just to warn you, it’s going to get a little more serious now. Sophia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, inspired by a true-crime story of theft and stalking among a group of celebrity-adoring LA teens, has been well received at Cannes (3 stars from Peter Bradshaw?!) and will receive its UK premiere later this month at the Edinburgh film festival. Emma Watson’s performance as A-list wannabe Nicki is sure to stand out (although her behaviour would probably draw shudders from Rowling’s Hermione).
Another festival favourite, Nicholas Winding Refn’s latest Ryan Gosling-starring gangster flick Only God Forgives (2nd August) is intriguing if only for the elusiveness of its trailer, which doesn’t give away much more than visual style. The bilingual Kristin Scott Thomas follows her In the House French-language performance with an almost unrecognisable turn as Gosling’s mother – her appearance was apparently inspired by Barbie dolls.
Joss ‘The Avengers’ Whedon brings us a very different project on Friday, in the form of a modern-day adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Whedon reportedly shot the film in his garden with a group of actor friends, when supposedly taking a break between the shooting and post-production of The Avengers. The trailer is suggestive of the speed of the process; Whedon’s Much Ado makes use of handheld cameras and very few sets. It looks almost as if Shakespeare’s play have been condensed into the events of one house party. Whedon is not the only director to bring the Bard to the big screen this summer; Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has adapted Romeo and Juliet, with True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld as Juliet and relative newcomer Douglas Booth as Romeo. Sadly, early signs suggest a rather straight period-dress approach, with only Ed Westwick’s casting as Tybalt seeming particularly engaging.