The Top Summer Movies 2013:
5. STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (May 17)
I was one of those die hard Trekkies that winced and frowned when JJ Abrams’ take on the enduring franchise premiered in 2009. Over time, I gradually learned to separate the film from its predecessors as well as the television shows I watched and loved as a kid. It may not have seduced every Trekkie with its sleek visuals and intense action sequences, but the fact that non-fans have responded to it so well is a clear indication that this new approach is paying off.
Every trailer that’s been shown for Star Trek Into Darkness makes it quite clear that its title is not an understatement. The shit is going to hit the fan and put the crew of the USS Enterprise through hell. On top of that, there’s Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain, who has already been described as a clever and extremely menacing figure. At this point, most people have been formally introduced to the new Trek, which means Abrams will be better able to really shake things up. I certainly hope the finished product measures up to the hype, but the 3D experience (a first for Trek) has the potential to be amazing..
4. IRON MAN 3 (May 4)
It is extremely rare for a third installment to eclipse its predecessors. They tend to be underwhelming or, in many cases, overwhelming. In regards to the latter, it often stems from multiple subplots or too many characters. While the latest trailer shows us a multitude of new faces and intricate plot points, it has no trouble convincing people that the scope and action of IM3 is going to be cranked up to 11. Even Joss Whedon confessed that the film has challenged his ability to craft a finale for The Avengers 2 that will come remotely close to the spectacle of IM3′s third act. I truly believe this film is poised to break the mold and accomplish what few sequels have been able to do in recent years—tie up loose ends in epic, ass-kicking fashion.
3. THE GREAT GATSBY (May 10)
Honestly, I’ve always been on the fence when it comes to Baz Luhrmann movies. His elaborate set pieces and epic musical numbers are quite stunning, but they are definitely an acquired taste. In the case of The Great Gatsby, the latest in a long line of films based on the classic novel, Luhrmann is a perfect fit. Seeing as how this is not the first time he has made excursions into literature (Romeo & Juliet), grandiose, borderline contemporary arrangements are to be expected. However, I must say that this particular adaptation has captured my attention. It looks like Luhrmann is determined to inject the same dream-like qualities that made Moulin Rouge such a fascinating oddity into Gatsby’s bohemian setting. The film also boasts an exceptional cast and a fascinating soundtrack (in which Jay Z is involved). I’m not sure how the whole movie is going to play out, but those factors alone are tantalizing enough to warrant a trip to the Cineplex.
2. V/H/S 2
I wasn’t particularly anxious to see V/H/S when it first came out. Granted, it stormed the festival circuit and earned some pretty decent reviews, but the found footage approach just didn’t interest me. Fortunately, V/H/S 2 is said to be a massive improvement over the first film. One segment in particular, Safe Haven, has been consistently touted as one of the most insane, bloody, and traumatic horror films to come along in years. With praise like that, it’s impossible to resist the urge to watch. Surprisingly, nothing has been spoiled on the Internet thus far, and I hope it stays that way for a while. I feel that going into this movie blind will only deepen the shock and suspense.
District 9 was one of those movies that could have flown under the radar. Instead, it became a benchmark of modern science fiction and put director Neil Blomkamp on the map. Elysium is his second film, and of course, it has attracted a great deal of attention this time around. Armed with a Hollywood-sized budget and a high profile cast to match, Blomkamp is capable of taking the audience to some very interesting places. By the same token, though, I hope Elysium contains enough depth and characterization to give the action some emotional weight. It may not surpass expectations, but there’s an equal chance that it will blow people away.