Summer 2013 Movie Preview

The first thing I want to tell you is this is by no means a comprehensive list of all the movies coming out between the beginning of May and the end of August.

What you’ll find here are movies I have some measure of feeling about, based on what I’ve read and heard. There will be plenty of others flooding the multiplex, but if they haven’t registered one way or another with me, I won’t bother you with any mention of them. OK? OK.

Here we go, in the traditional chronological fashion. (And, as always, release dates are subject to change without warning.)

May 3 
Iron Man 3
Witty writer-director Shane Black (The Last Boy Scout, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) takes over the franchise from Jon Favreau, which is fine with me, and he already has a relationship with his star, Robert Downey Jr.. Iron Man 2 was a bit of a let-down after the first one, but, of course, The Avengers was big, big fun. Based on the advance reviews since this opened in other territories, I’m pretty psyched about the return of shellhead.

Love Is All You Need
I saw this at the Atlantic Film Festival. If you see only one romantic comedy this year, make it this one from Susanne Bier. It’s delightful.

The cast of The Great Gatsby in their finery

May 10
The Great Gatsby
I haven’t always loved Baz Luhrmann, but I recognize no one makes movies like he does. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s able to bring something fresh to the classic novel with his Moulin Rouge-esque amalgam of the contemporary (music) and the period (everything else).

May 17
Star Trek Into Darkness
I’ve gone on record as not being JJ Abrams biggest fan. I think that at his best he’s at the top of a heap of hard-working fan-fiction creators. I do respect his ability to craft a certain standard of slick and frequently clever entertainment. In this case, based on the trailer that showcases people doing not much else but running, jumping, falling and spaceships crashing—this really isn’t my Star Trek, which, at its core, was always about sociological and philosophical discourse. My phasers are definitely set for meh.

Frances Ha
Noah Baumbach (Greenwood) returns with Greta Gerwig in the lead. Don’t know much about it, but Gerwig deserves to be an Amy Adams-level star. I hope this does it for her (and the movie is good).

May 24
Fast & Furious 6
I recently caught up with the fifth movie in this franchise, and was amazed at how much fun it was. Director Justin Lin is a car chase poet. This will be May’s guilty pleasure.

The Hangover III
The second movie was so much a repeat of the first, I’m not sure I’ll even bother with this one. This is definitely a Rotten Tomatoes call, my ticket-buying dollar dependent on percentages.

May 31
After Earth
It’s funny, Oblivion, After Earth and Elysium all look like chapters in a post-apocalyptic franchise. The idea of Smith Sr and Smith Jr working together in a family-friendly fantasy picture doesn’t thrill me, but the post-apocalyptic genre alone makes me curious. (Though not much more than that.)

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke go for stroll number three. 

Before Midnight
The third movie in the Richard Linklater-Julie Delpy-Ethan Hawke series already featuring Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004), this is the sequel I’m most excited for this summer.

The East
A provocative indie about anti-corporate terrorists starring Ellen Page? Yes, this is also on my list of intriguing-summer-counter-programming-that-I-must-see.

June 7
Much Ado About Nothing
Joss Whedon shot this Shakespeare adaptation in his own home and on the fly during Avengers post-production, using many of the troupe of actors who’ve shown up in his TV shows. Sounds good to me.

June 14
Man of Steel
First off, Christopher Nolan didn’t direct this, he only produced it. So I think the ideas floating around that they’ve made Superman as cool as Batman was in The Dark Knight are at best premature, and at worst really off-base. First off, Superman will never be as cool as Batman (said this card-carrying nerd). And secondly, this is a Zack Snyder joint. Could it be as vacuous as Sucker Punch or as politically egregious as 300? I’m hoping for something closer to Watchmen, with maybe some ideas culled from Grant Morrison’s run on Action Comics. Based on the trailers, the look of the film—not a far cry from Terrence Malick—is really promising, as is the cast—Ayelet Zurer, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Amy Adams and especially Michael Shannon as Zod. So, yes, I’ll be there.

The Bling Ring
Any Sofia Coppola film is an event in my book, and this one—a true story of fame-obsessed teens in Los Angeles who break into the homes of their idols and steal their clothes and jewels—sounds like it’s right in her wheelhouse of privileged alienation.

June 21
Monsters University
Well, a prequel to Monsters Inc. is a better idea than another sequel to Cars. And Pixar’s peculiar genius is always worth seeing.

World War Z
Director Marc Forster has underwhelmed with Machine Gun Preacher and the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace, but previous to that was more a filmmaker of fine indies like Monsters Ball and Stranger Than Fiction. Not sure what the purported “biggest budget zombie movie ever” will look like coming from this guy. But Brad Pitt has been savvy with his career choices of late, so despite the tales of a troubled production, I have some confidence this will work. (Less so in the obviously CGI-generated zombie hoards in the trailer.)

June 28
A vampire thriller from Neil Jordan (The Company of Wolves, Mona Lisa, Interview With A Vampire) starring Saorise Ronan. That’s all you need to tell me.

July 5
The Lone Ranger
This all seems so ill-advised. I don’t find the trailer does much to make Johnny Depp’s Tonto culturally appropriate. He’s kind of clownish. Maybe it’s not meant to be that way, but nonetheless I smell a bomb on the level of The Wild Wild West.

Despicable Me 2
I found the first film so lively, fun and hilarious it landed on my Best Of 2010 list. As a result, I’m pretty excited for this one, and for the voice of Al Pacino to feature as the villain, Eduardo.

The Way Way Back
Written and directed by the guys who shared Best Adapted Screenplay for The Descendants, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, this has great buzz coming from Sundance. Looks like Steve Carell will be facing off against himself. (He’s in Despicable Me 2, remember?) Here he plays an obnoxious step-father figure to a kid who gets a summer job at a local pool. Definitely has a bit of a Caddy Shack vibe from the trailer.

Huge movies deserve huge posters.

July 12
Pacific Rim
Of all the ridiculous blockbuster movies stuffing the multiplex this summer, this is the one I’m most thrilled about. Original material from Guillermo del Toro, the talented director of fantasy and horror—will he ever make another Hellboy, I wonder—featuring enormous robots fighting alien monsters! It’s practically the Godzilla movie I’ve always wanted. I hope.

July 19
Red 2
The was kind of blasé about the first one, though I loved the cast. The one thing about this movie that excites me is getting to see Hannibal Lector face off against Hannibal Lector. Anthony Hopkins and Brian Cox both co-star.

July 26
The Wolverine
I was really psyched when it was Darren Aronofsky who was directing this, and less so now that the spotty James Mangold has taken over. Furthermore, though the script was rumoured to be based on the classic 1982 miniseries Wolverine by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, which helped make Wolverine the conflicted, complex character we love today—as well as make ninjas a big part of ’80s pop culture—the trailer for the film doesn’t look much like the comic. So, I’m cautious but still happy to see another movie featuring the fuzzy Canadian brawler. It can’t be worse than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, can it?

Blue Jasmine
This year’s Woody. As usual, no plot details have come available, but a blistering cast, including Cate Blanchett, Louis CK and Peter Sarsgaard, and shot in New York? I’m psyched about all of that.

August 2
300: Rise of an Empire
I had no interest at all in seeing this—I thought the first 300 was an obnoxious ode to GW Bush-era xenophobia. Then I heard the wonderful Eva Green is the lead of this sequel. (Speaking of Frank Miller-related graphic novel adaptations, I’ve also recently heard she’s been cast as Ava in Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.) I find Ms Green watchable in everything she does; her presence is enough for me to consider checking this out.

August 9
Matt Damon has made a number of very smart decisions with his career. He’s a talented and clever guy, there can be no question about that, so his presence in this project is already a recommendation. Plus, District 9 director Neill Blomcamp returns with an interesting-looking, politically charged science fiction actioner, also starring Jodie Foster. I won’t miss it, no.

August 16
Kick-Ass 2
The largely overrated original (though I did enjoy how obviously shot in Toronto it was) gets a sequel no one asked for. Can’t say I’m terribly predisposed to see it, though Jim Carrey’s presence makes me a little curious. The Mask was the last time he made a superhero movie, wasn’t it?

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
A Malick-esque indie drama starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck. This might be a great antidote to summer tentpole fatigue, if it opens in my town. (I’m not holding my breath.)

August 23
The World’s End 
Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reunite to complete their trilogy of pop culture-inspired films, following Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. As you may have guessed from the title, this is a comedy about the apocalypse, and about a public house. This is also amongst my most anticipated films of the season based on these guys’ work in the past. (And I admit, it might be a good double-bill with the This Is The End Seth Rogen/James Franco vanity comedy opening in June.)

The Grandmaster
Wong Kar Wai is back with his first feature since 2007’s My Blueberry Nights. And this one is an action movie, his first since The Ashes of Time in 1994, though if you’ve seen it, you’ll know it’s more of an inaction movie. I think this might be more of a dramatic biopic, about the guy who trained Bruce Lee.

About the author


Carsten Knox is a massive, cheese-eating nerd. In the day he works as a journalist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At night he stares out at the rain-slick streets, watches movies, and writes about what he's seeing.