Even though the summer film season still is in its infancy, the offerings so far certainly haven’t been deserving of many raves. If you are a regular reader of this blog (I sincerely hope you are.), you no doubt have noticed the reviews of TV shows recently have outnumbered those of films. The simple reason for this is that the current offerings on television are far superior to much of the unadulterated worthless trash coming out of Tinseltown these days.
Lest I neglect my duty of informing you about films, however, I decided to devote this week’s commentary to a preview of the movies scheduled to play in our area during June. Incidentally, of the 14 movies set to open nationwide this month, we will get eight of them. And this probably means that the films not coming here will be the best of the lot. Oh well, at least we can be certain all the Adam Sandler and Tyler Perry masterpieces will continue to make their way here and take up screen space for months at a time.
All right, let’s have a look at what you can expect for your viewing pleasure this month. As you read through the listings and descriptions, keep track of the ones you look forward to seeing. If you find more than three, I’d like to hear from you because I’m interested in only one. I’ll share it with you at the end of this overview, but see whether or not you can guess which one it is.
Leading off the month and opening on June 6, are “Edge of Tomorrow” and “The Fault in Our Stars.” The former is an action/science fiction thriller starring the ubiquitous Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. The film is based upon a Japanese novel titled “All You Need Is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, and it tells the story of William Cage, an officer who is thrown into combat against aliens even though he has no experience fighting. His contact with an alien kills him and throws him into a time loop forcing him relive the day he dies again and again ala Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day.” Each time he dies and comes back, he’s a little smarter, and he’s befriended by Rita Vrataski (Blunt), a warrior who knows what she’s doing. If you like loud explosions, ugly aliens, and guys dressed like transformers, you should love this one. I’m a Cruise fan, but give me “Top Gun” or “A Few Good Men” over this any day.
“The Fault in Our Stars” is a teenage love story starring Shaliene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, who play a couple of young cancer victims. She must be on oxygen constantly, and his disease necessitated the amputation of his leg. Of course they fall in love, and the stage is set for a massive tearjerker, but at least the film won’t be filled with myriad explosions and men clunking around in metal suits.
Two sequels are scheduled to open on Friday, June 13. In “22 Jump Street” Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return to reprise their roles as undercover officers Schmidt and Jenko respectively. Two years ago in “21 Jump Street” this dubiously dynamic duo posed as high school students to crack a drug ring. This time around their case takes them to a local college, and their ensuing investigation causes them to reexamine their partnership. The original earned a respectable score of seven from yours truly, but it remains to be seen whether the sequel can match it. I’m not optimistic.
Five years ago in “How to Train Your Dragon,” Hiccup and Toothless managed to achieve peace between the dragons and Vikings on Berk Island. Since that time they have been flying around and exploring uncharted territories. In “How to Train Your Dragon 2” they discover a hidden ice cave harboring countless untamed dragons and the legendary Dragon Rider. Suddenly the two of them find themselves forced into the roles of peacekeepers, and the big question is whether or not they are up to the challenge. I did not see the original, and I probably will not see this one, but I am sure that fans of the first one and those who like animated films will pay the price of admission.
The weekend of June 20 will bring “Jersey Boys” and “Think Like a Man Too,” to the local cinemas. The former is a biographical drama about the rise to stardom of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Based upon the Tony Award-winning musical of the same name, the film was directed by Academy Award-winner Clint Eastwood and chronicles the story of how a four blue-collar guys from the bad part of town ended up as one of America’s most famous and popular singing groups in the 1960s. Lead singer Frankie Valli combined with tenor Bob Gaudio on the keyboard, baritone Tommy DeVito on lead guitar, and bass Nick Massi on bass guitar to produce such legendary hits as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” The cast includes Christopher Walken, Jeremy Luke, Joey Russo, Vincent Piazza, and Erica Piccininni, and this film looks like a welcome change of pace from massive robots, gargantuan monsters, and earth-shattering explosions.
The second film set for release on the third weekend in June is “Think Like a Man Too,” a sequel to 2010’s “Think Like a Man.” The original film was spawned by the book titled “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” written by Steve Harvey and published in 2009. The book is basically Harvey’s advice about how women can get the most out of their relationships with men, and the first film was a comedy about four women who were devoted to what he said and how the men in their lives reacted to this. In round two the couples from the original return for a wedding in Las Vegas that results in all kinds of misadventures. Among the cast members are Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, Romany Malco, Taraji P. Henson, Jenifer Lewis, Terrence Jenkins, Gabrielle Union, Adam Brody, and Wendi McLendon Covey. Because I’m not into mindless comedies, I probably will skip this one just as I did its predecessor.
The only midweek release of the month is “Step Up All In” on Wednesday, June 25. For fans of dancing films, this is the fifth installment in the “Step Up” series, which began back in 2006. The newest film reunites some stars from the previous ones as they compete in Las Vegas for the chance to further their careers. Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Izabella Miko, Alyson Stoner, and Adam Sevani are among the cast members. Put on your dancing shoes!
The final film of June is still another one I’ll really enjoy missing. On June 27 theaters nationwide will undergo the clanking, banging, clanging invasion of “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” the fourth in this series. This one picks up the story after “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” and even though almost all of the Autobots and Deceptions are gone, some scientists and business men join forces to glean what knowledge they can from the past at the same time the Earth faces a threat from an ancient Transformer. The stars include Mark Wahlberg, Kelsey Grammer, Stanley Tucci, and Sophi Myles. My heart leapt up when I saw the title of this film because I thought it meant there would be no future films about trucks turning into robots, but then I saw where movies five and six are already in the works. Oh how I long for a Transformer junkyard!
With this stellar lineup of films in store for June, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the sale of books at local stores skyrocket. And if you haven’t guessed it, the only movie I’m even remotely interested in seeing this month is “Jersey Boys.” Other than a trip to the theater for that one, I will probably obtain my viewing pleasure from many fine shows to be found on television and Netflix. Let’s hope the offerings in July will be more promising than the one I have just delineated. Happy summer!