|Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley in Begin Again|
So, whether you choose to checkout that indie you’ve heard so much about or the latest big studio release, don’t forget to click on the movie title below to view the trailer. We want to make sure you know what you are getting into before you head to the theater.
A Hard Day’s Night (Re-Release)
Currently the only musical feature films we get following real-life bands are straight-up concert documentaries focusing on a chart-topping singer’s tour with performances and behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. But a few years back, bands used to star in their own silly stories, highlighting their albums for people to enjoy on the big screen. A Hard Day’s Night, inspired by the album and single of the same name by the iconic British rock band The Beatles. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the musically infused innovative comedy featuring John, Paul, George and Ringo playing wacky versions of themselves, and they’ll be back in theaters for a special re-release this summer.
Begin Again (Limited)
Begin Again is written and directed by John Carney (Once). Gretta (Keira Knightley) and her long-time boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who come to New York when he lands a deal with a major label. His new-found fame soon tempts Dave to stray, leaving a reeling, lovelorn Gretta on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performance in the East Village and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. With Once director John Carney behind the camera, I’m hoping for another charming romance.
Life Itself (Limited) MoviefiedNYC Most Anticipated
There are some great talking heads in this film ranging from fellow critics like A.O. Scott to directors like Martin Scorsese (who has a few signature moments in the film). But the real star is the story of Ebert, from his younger days when he was just blossoming as a writer to his final days as he struggled with hospital visits, but never truly lost his voice and passion for cinema. Life Itself is directed by Steve James (Hoop Dreams) is based on his bestselling memoir of the same name, Life Itself recounts Ebert’s fascinating and flawed journey—from politicized school newspaperman, to Chicago Sun-Times movie critic, to Pulitzer Prize winner, to television household name, to the miracle of finding love at 50, and finally his ‘third act’ as a major voice on the Internet when he could no longer physically speak.
Deliver Us from Evil
NY police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana), struggling with his own personal issues, begins investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest (Edgar Ramirez), schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions terrorizing their city. Based on the book by the same name, written by Ralph Sarchie & Lisa Collier Cool, which details bone-chilling real-life cases. Deliver Us from Evil is co-written and directed by Scott Derrickson, of The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Sinister previously. This looks pretty bad ass, and has an original spin on the idea of people being possessed by demons as a well grounded detective encounters a variety of spirits. Creepy?
Earth to Echo is directed by Dave Green and written by Henry Gayden, both short filmmakers in their feature debut. When a group of young friends begin to receive bizarre encrypted messages on their cellphones, they embark on an incredible adventure to discover the meaning behind these communications. Soon enough, they realize that the messages they are receiving are from a mysterious being from another world – one who desperately needs their help. This may be a summer surprise.
Tammy is directed by Ben Falcone, who also co-wrote the script with wife Melissa McCarthy, playing the title character. Tammy has totaled her clunker car, gotten fired from her job at a greasy burger joint, and finds her husband getting comfortable with the neighbor in her own house. It’s time to take her boom box and book it. But since she’s broke without a car, her grandma, Pearl (Susan Sarandon), is her only option—with a car, cash, and an itch to see Niagara Falls. Allison Janney, Gary Cole, Mark Duplass, Toni Collette, Nat Faxon, Dan Aykroyd and Kathy Bates also star in the film. Sadly, this looks like McCarthy doing more of what we’ve already seen her achieve in Identity Thief and The Heat. It’s something that she’s skilled at for sure, and even amusing most of the time, but the schtick is starting to get old, and this feels like a comedy dud for now. I hope with Sarandon offering something fresh as McCarthy’s edgy, drunken mother though, so maybe this could be entertaining.
And So It Goes
A self-centered New York realtor enlists the help of his neighbor when he’s suddenly left in charge of the granddaughter he never knew existed until his estranged son dropped her off at his home. And So It Goes is directed by acclaimed filmmaker/actor Rob Reiner (Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, When as Harry Met Sally, Rumor Has It, The Bucket List and Flipped). The screenplay was written by Oscar nominated writer Mark Andrus (As Good as It Gets, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Georgia Rule). And So It Goes, stars everyone’s favorite two: Michael Douglas & Diane Keaton. Douglas plays a real jerk New York realtor who goes home and has to start watching over his granddaughter. There’s some charm to this, but it looks much goofier than I was hoping, complete with sound effects for some of the antics (though I’m not sure if those were added just for the trailer). Douglas looks like he’ll be fun to watch playing an asshole, but other than that I’m not sure this will have much to it.
A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species. Besides Serkis, the apes cast includes Judy Greer as Cornelia & Toby Kebbell as Koba. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the sequel to Rupert Wyatt’s revival of the sci-fi franchise Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Directing is Matt Reeves (Let Me Inand Cloverfield) from a script written by Mark Bomback, Scott Z. Burns, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver. I have a very good feeling it’s going to be one of the best movies of this summer.
Boyhood (Limited) MoviefiedNYC Most Anticipated
Filmed from 2002 to 2013, Boyhood covers 12 years in the life of a family. Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his older sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), learn to face the realities of growing up, while their divorced parents cope with the ongoing challenges of parenting in an ever-evolving landscape. Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, School of Rock, Before Sunrise, Bernie) directs the film, using the same actors, including Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as the Mason’s parents, over 11 years of production. The film premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and looks to be a masterpiece.
One of the best comedies from the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year was undoubtedly Land Ho! Written and directed by Martha Stephens & Aaron Katz. A pair of 60-something ex-brothers-in-law (Paul Eenhoorn & Earl Lynn Nelson) sets off on a road trip through Iceland, hoping to reclaim their youth. Their picturesque adventures, from trendy Reykjavík to the rugged outback, are a throwback to classic bawdy road comedies as well as a candid exploration of aging, loneliness, and friendship.
Planes: Fire & Rescue (3D)
Planes: Fire & Rescue, the feature film sequel to Disney’s Planes, will be directed by Bobs Gannaway. Comedian Dane Cook returns to voice crop dusting plane Dusty Crophopper, who learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting. Julie Bowen (Modern Family) joins the voice cast as spirited super scooper Dipper with some other firefighting characters.
The Purge: Anarchy
The Purge: Anarchy is written, directed and produced by James DeMonaco, the filmmaker behind the 2013 thriller The Purge. In this follow-up, a couple (Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez) finds themselves stuck in chaos on the streets in the middle of The Purge, the 12-hour period when all crime is legal. Frank Grillo and Michael K. Williams (“The Wire”) also star in the film from Paranormal Activity and Insidious producer Jason Blum.
Sex Tape is directed by Jake Kasdan (Bad Teacher) and written by Kate Angelo (The Back-Up Plan). When Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) first got together, their romantic connection was intense – but 10 years and two kids later, the flame of their love needs a spark. So they decide to make a video of themselves trying out every position in The Joy of Sex in one marathon three-hour session. But suddenly, their most private video is no longer private. They’re just one click away from being laid bare to the world, but as their race to reclaim their video leads to a night they’ll never forget, the video may also expose more than they bargained for. Funny?
I Origins premiered at Sundance 2014 and is written and directed by Mike Cahill (Another Earth). Ian Gray (Michael Pitt), a PhD student studying molecular biology with a specialty in eye evolution has an intense, but fleeting, encounter with a mysterious, masked model (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) who escapes into the night. With only a picture of her stunning and iconic eyes, he tracks her down, and they fall in love. Their fundamentally different beliefs about life only serve to intensify their connection, and they vow to spend forever together. Years later, Ian and his lab partner, Karen (Brit Marling), make a stunning discovery with profound existential implications. I Origins serves as an interesting, provoking bridge between the ever-strong debate between faith and science.
Mood Indigo (Limited)
From the wild and imaginative mind of director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Be Kind Rewind) comes a new romance called Mood Indigo. the French film, and this looks just as whimsical as Gondry’s previous foreign entry Science of Sleep as Colin (Romain Duris) falls in love with Chloe (Audrey Tautou). There’s some strange stair-climbing cars, a floating cloud vehicle and more strangeness as these two people fall in love in the most peculiar way. This truly looks original and charming, and we wouldn’t expect anything less from a visionary director like Gondry.
Wish I Was Here (Limited)
Wish I Was Here is directed by Zach Braff from a script he co-wrote with his brother Adam Braff. The “Scrubs” star and Garden State director also leads the film as thirty something family man wrestling with his disapproving father, an elusive God, and adult responsibility. Pursuing acting has landed him and his wife (Kate Hudson) in a tough spot, so when his grumpy father (Mandy Patinkin) can no longer pay for the kids to attend Jewish Yeshiva, Aidan opts for homeschooling, much to the chagrin of his hyper-disciplined, religious daughter (Joey King) and the delight of his less-than-studious son (Pierce Gagnon),
Hercules is directed by Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, X-Men: The Last Stand), written by Ryan Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos, and based on Steve Moore’s graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars, Dwayne Johnson leads the film as Hercules, haunted by a sin from his past and forced to become a mercenary. Along with five faithful companions, he travels ancient Greece selling his services for gold and using his legendary reputation to intimidate enemies. But when the benevolent ruler of Thrace and his daughter seek Hercules’ help to defeat a savage and terrifying warlord, Hercules finds that in order for good to triumph and justice to prevail, he must again become the hero he once was.
Lucy is written and directed by Luc Besson (director of The Fifth Element and The Professional, writer of the Taken and Transporter franchises). The film follows a woman (Scarlett Johansson) forced to become a drug mule. But rather than just carrying the drug, it enters her system and turns her into a lethal vixen who can absorb knowledge with ease, move things with her mind, see into the future, and doesn’t feel any pain at all. Morgan Freeman also stars in the film. Besson knows how to do action pretty well, and this looks fun.
Step Up: All In
Step Up: All In is directed by Trish Sie (who directed the infamous treadmill music video from the band OK Go) and written by John Swetnam. In the next latest entry in the Step Up franchise, all-stars from previous installments come together in glittering Las Vegas, battling for a victory that could define their dreams and their careers. Anyway, this movie is all about the dancing, and those sequences sure do look impressive, even if the movie doesn’t.
Happy Christmas (Limited)
Happy Christmas is written and directed by Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies). When Jenny (Anna Kendrick), a hard partying 20-something, moves in with Kelly (Melanie Lynskey), a budding novelist, her film director husband (Joe Swanberg) and their two-year-old son after a break up, the family’s idyllic life is shaken. Jenny begins a rocky relationship with their baby sitter (Mark Webber), and she and a friend, Carson (Lena Dunham), help Kelly realize that an evolution in her life, career and relationship is necessary to be happy.
Magic in the Moonlight (Limited)
Magic in the Moonlight is written and directed by Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris, Blue Jasmine, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Annie Hall, Manhattan). The film follows an Englishman (Colin Firth) brought in to help unmask a possible swindle by a fortune teller (Emma Stone). Personal and professional complications ensue in the story that unfold in the south of France in the 1920s against a backdrop of wealthy mansions, the Côte d’Azur, jazz joints and fashionable spots for the wealthy of the Jazz Age. Marcia Gay Harden, Hamish Linklater, Jacki Weaver and more star in the film. Original and delightful are the first two words that come to mind after watching the trailer and it looks like another home run for the director who shows no signs of slowing down.
A Most Wanted Man (Limited)
A Most Wanted Man is directed by Anton Corbijn (The American) and written by Andrew Bovell (Edge of Darkness), based on John Le Carre’s novel of the same name. German spy Gunther Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is tracking down Issa, a suspicious Chechen-Russian immigrant. Pressured by his colleagues to capture and interrogate his suspect as a Muslim terrorist, Bachmann instead asks for more time to carefully track Issa’s movements and his relationship with his German immigration lawyer, Annabel Richter. Using his secret contacts and keen skill, Bachmann uncovers a connection between a world-renowned Muslim philanthropist and a terrorist group and devises a brilliant ploy to expose the scheme. It appearsto be slow burn that is worth seeing.
Very Good Girls (Limited)
Very Good Girls is written and directed by Naomi Foner as her feature film debut. Best friends Lily (Dakota Fanning) and Gerry (Elizabeth Olsen), home for one last New York summer, make a pact to lose their virginity before leaving for college. But when they both fall for the same handsome artist (Boyd Holbrook) and Lily starts seeing him in secret, a lifelong friendship is tested. The film also stars Demi Moore, Richard Dreyfuss, Ellen Barkin, Peter Sarsgaard, and Clark Gregg and features new music from Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis.