Based on the trailers, here are the 10 movies I’m most looking forward to in the summer of 2012. They are listed in order of release date.
“The Dictator” (May 16) — Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest daring comedy breaks free from the cringeworthiness of “Borat” and “Bruno” by being a scripted (albeit still silly) laugh-fest. And Anna Faris looks adorable as the girl who befriends the fish-out-of-water title character in America.
“Chernobyl Diaries” (May 25) — It’s from Oren Peli, the creator of the “found footage” “Paranormal Activity” franchise, and it features that scratchy “radioactivity” sound effect we’ve all heard before. The creepy idea of a once-thriving city that is now utterly abandoned adds a nice “28 Days Later” or “The Langoliers” feel to the proceedings.
“Prometheus” (June 8, pictured above) — Despite being an “Alien” fan, I didn’t crave a film telling the backstory of the Space Jockey, the dead pilot in the ship housing the alien eggs — until I heard about this movie. Now it’s the movie I’m most excited to see in 2012. And the fact that it’s the vision of “Alien” director Ridley Scott is icing on the cake.
“That’s My Boy” (June 15) — Adam Sandler’s been letting us down with dud after dud ever since 2008′s underrated “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan.” This could be his bounce-back vehicle, as he plays a deadbeat father who looks to his successful son (“SNL” and The Lonely Island’s Andy Samberg) to bail him out.
“Ted” (July 13) — It bothers me a bit that Ted sounds exactly like Brian Griffin, but the idea of a grown man and his best-friend teddy bear is a great concept, and it totally seems to be in Mark Wahlberg’s comedic wheelhouse. Throw in Mila Kunis as the girlfriend, and it’s easy to get on board with Seth MacFarlane’s debut film, even though I bailed on his decreasingly funny TV enterprises awhile back.
“The Dark Knight Rises” (July 20) — I thought 2008′s “The Dark Knight” was redundant to previous Bat-franchises in the way it copied the Two-Face story verbatim. But the capper to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy looks like it will play with Catwoman and Bane, and of course the main character, in fresh ways.
“Ruby Sparks” (July 25) — A mix between “Lars and the Real Girl” and one of my favorite “X-Files” episodes (where a writer has the power to make Scully fall for him), this movie sees a novelist’s fictional dream girl coming to life. Although the concept could easily turn bittersweet, the trailer sets a happy mood, and I’ll be fascinated to see how the film achieves that balance.
“Total Recall” (Aug. 3) — Considering all the great, movie-ready Philip K. Dick novels that haven’t been adapted yet, it seems odd to revisit a short story that’s already been tackled twice (as an overrated Paul Verhoeven film and a spinoff TV series). Still, it seems like this remake will beautifully capture the visuals of a PKD future (as “Blade Runner” accomplished, although this looks more polished) along with some of the themes, while also serving the needs of an action audience. And maybe if “Total Recall” is successful, we’ll get more PKD on the big screen; that’d be a good thing.
“The Awakening” (Aug. 10) — In a summer with a lot of horror films that look similar, this haunted house yarn’s Britishness and murky, moody style — along the same lines as “The Woman in Black” — stand out just a bit.
“The Expendables 2″ (Aug. 17) — If “Lockout” didn’t quite fit the bill, it looks like this sequel to the 2010 actioner will be the year’s best (mostly) unintentional comedy. Joining the impressive roster of action superstars are Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris, plus more screen time for Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
What movies are you most looking forward to this summer?