Monthly Preview: June 2015

calendar2With 2015 moving ahead with a full head of steam after yet another solid month, June is looking to raise the bar even higher. And if this month’s movies don’t live up to May, it won’t be from lack of options. I have 7 movies in the top tier over the next few weeks, and a whopping 7 more in the also-rans that could end up surprising me. At least one of these has to be amazing, right? It’s just math at this point.

Spy: It seems like Melissa McCarthy’s dominant comedic persona is starting to wear thin for a lot of people, but for me she is always a must-watch… as long as Paul Feig is behind the camera. The two of them just mesh in a very specific and successful way, and it looks like Spy should be the next winner in their shared filmography. Of course, this one has a lot more than McCarthy to offer, most notably what is supposed to be a great comedic turn from Jason Statham. I’m curious to see how Feig handles the action this time around (as it was far from a highlight of The Heat), but one way or another I’m sure this one will be a laugh riot.

The Nightmare: Even without seeing Rodney Ascher’s Room 237, the idea of that filmmaker trying to capture the experience of people’s nightmares immediately sounds fascinating. And based off that trailer, it is clear that he has hijacked the documentary format to produce something uniquely scary in a way many regular horror films would die to be. There’s a simplicity to the concept, and a ubiquity to the types of experiences being captured, that makes this look horrifying. I mean, the trailer by itself made me feel anxious in my own apartment; I can’t imagine what the full film will do to me. But I can’t wait to find out.

Jurassic World: I feel like the only bigger stop the Nostalgia Express will be making this year is Star Wars, and there seems to be a stark difference between how the revivals of these two childhood favorites are being handled. As far as Jurassic World goes, I’m a little worried that it’s going to feel like kids playing with their toys after seeing the first movie, rather than a well-crafted narrative that is fueled by a mature passion for the same. Not that the resulting film won’t be fun, though; ridiculous or not, the Raptor Buddies could make for some crazy setpieces, and Chris Pratt’s charisma can do no wrong. While it might not ultimately be the most emotionally-fulfilling movie of the year, it should still make for a cool ride.

Dope: While the trailers for Dope haven’t shown too much of the plot or characters, they have certainly conveyed a very confident aesthetic and tone that is nothing if not distinctive. With the trailers being more conceptual than anything, we turn to the response from Sundance, which for the most part was rapturous. However there were some naysayers that questioned the portrayal of women in the story, and suggested that the cultural milieu in the film is whitewashed to appeal to a broader audience. Those potential downsides (and the coy, suggestive trailers) certainly keep me from being fully excited for Dope, but there’s enough personality in what I’ve seen so far to make this worth checking out.

Inside Out: Pixar’s reputation has suffered of late, as the unsurprising desire for sequels has undercut their position as one of the most creative companies in the film industry. But I have no doubt in my mind that Inside Out will be the movie that reverses that perception. Coming from Pete Docter (of Would-You-Like-To-Cry-And-Be-Inspired-Then-Let’s-Watch-Up fame) and featuring a truly exciting concept, Inside Out should be one of the more original and emotional movies we get this year. Supported by what seems to be a perfect voice cast and the usual gorgeous Pixar animation, I have the highest of expectations for this one, and I’m sure Docter & company will meet them with ease.

The Overnight: This one I’ve already seen back during the Tribeca Film Festival, and while I don’t feel an overwhelming desire to revisit it I still definitely recommend it. Featuring solid dramedic talents in Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling and Jason Schwartzman, and also showcasing a wonderful performance from Judith Godreche, The Overnight is a titan of awkward humor, with a very raw human sensibility underneath it all. The movie raises some direct and potentially-uncomfortable questions about sexuality, monogamy, and intimacy, and does so in a way that is both funny and emotional. In some ways it is the definition of Indie Movie in terms of style and tone, but when put to such good use I can’t complain about that. Definitely worth checking out, if only just once.

Big Game: I really enjoyed Rare Exports, the darkly funny Christmas adventure from director Jalamari Helander, and this goofy-looking romp seems like a great continuation of his cinematic sensibilities. Combining the young lead from that earlier feature (Onni Tommila) with an eclectic cast of Hollywood names (mostly notably- and hilariously- Samuel L Jackson), Helander seems to be taking his high-concept premise to very fun and absurd places. While I worry that he might have made it more complicated than it needs to be, it does look unreserved and unashamed of itself, and the result should make for a wild little ride as we reach the midpoint of the year.

There was a lot of great buzz earlier this year for We Are Still Here, and while the trailer didn’t blow me away it could certainly be a fun horror romp; I’ve heard some really good things about Love & Mercy, particularly the great combined performance from Paul Dano and John Cusack, but I haven’t seen enough to be completely sold; the subjects of The Wolfpack sound fascinating, though from what I recall hearing the documentary doesn’t go as in-depth as it could have; The Tribe seems like a really compelling narrative but I’m honestly concerned I won’t be able to follow its sign-language-only, no-subtitle story, which keeps me feeling reserved about it; I’m always up for a nice piece of pulp, and Glass Chin could fit that bill nicely, even if it does look a little over-the-top at times in the trailer; there’s also (jeez this is a long one) a bizarre-sounding indie movie called Felt that I’ve heard is an impactful takedown of rape culture with a beautiful lead performance; and finally there’s Max, which looks goofy and ridiculous in a lot of ways but might also end up being something sweet anyway… and there won’t be anything worth seeing out on my birthday anyway, so what the hell.

That is the month of June as far as I’m concerned and then we’re halfway through the year! Not looking too shabby so far, if I do say so myself.

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