Summer releases: glancing in the dark
Summer releases: glancing in the dark
(The Dark Knight Rises)
We can’t have carnival, Olympic Games, Couleur Café, or Brussel Bad/Bruxelles les Bains every day of the year. But come rain or shine, there are always films to be seen as cinemas almost never close. Here is an overview of this summer’s new releases.
Ice Age 4: Continental Drift
Release 27/6 ¦ By Steve Martino & Mike Thurmeier
The people at Blue Sky Studios clearly did not pay attention during their history lessons. In Ice Age 3, they introduced dinosaurs in the age of the mammoths and first humans. This time they fantasise about an entire continent drifting away. Manny, Diego, and Sid use an iceberg as an improvised ship, and en route, they encounter exotic sea creatures and cutthroat pirates. The series’s greatest charm remains the general jollity and the jokes that come thick and fast without being forced.
Release 27/6 ¦ By Boaz Yakin, with Jason Statham, Chris Sarandon, Robert John Burke
A suicidal ex-cop and cage fighter takes care of a Chinese girl who is being chased by Russian and Chinese thugs. The young maths prodigy is the only person who knows a code people will kill for. Jason Statham gets to swear and punch to his heart’s content and he is in Olympic form. A safe bet for fans of hard, blood-curdling, no-nonsense action.
To Rome with Love
Release 4/7 ¦ By Woody Allen, with Ellen Page, Woody Allen, Penélope Cruz, Roberto Benigni
To Woody Allen, with love, it’s been a great ride. Manhattan, Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters: you have made many people laugh very often. And even brought a lump to a few throats. Let nobody gainsay or belittle this achievement. But why do you keep making films that only your fans will enjoy? Of course To Rome with Love has a few good jokes. It would be a pretty poor lookout if it didn’t. But the film is very shaky in every respect. You have as much to say about Rome as you did about Paris, Barcelona, and London: nothing. The cities provide pretty backdrops – a great joy to tourist offices – but do not inspire you at all. Nobody but you would get away with a storyline in which that unpleasant Roberto Benigni plays an ordinary Roman who is suddenly catapulted to stardom and proclaims his preference for toasted bread on live television. You have made better jokes and more biting remarks about fame at least fifty times before. And what is the connection to the other storylines? Surely not Rome? But your fans won’t care, they’re just happy that you are finally acting again.
Release 11/7 ¦ By Bradley Parker, with Jesse McCartney, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Jonathan Sadowski
Looking for kicks, six young tourists end up in a town formerly inhabited by workers at the Chernobyl nuclear plant. At night, the city is less deathly and abandoned than expected. Oren Peli of Paranormal Activity-fame wrote and produced the film, which was universally panned in America.
Release 11/7 ¦ By Lisa Azuelos, with Miley Cyrus, Demi Moore, Ashley Greene, Gina Gershon
A romantic comedy starring Demi Moore and Miley Cyrus as a mother and daughter who seek true love in the digital age. Sixteen-year-old Lola and her friends share everything via social networks. Screenwriter and director Lisa Azuelos directed this American remake of her French hit.
Dr Seuss’ the Lorax (3D)
Release 18/7 ¦ By Chris Renaud
From the creators of Despicable Me comes this 3D-CG adaptation of the classic tale by the American writer Theodor Seuss Geisel. The animated adventure follows the journey of a 12-year-old as he searches for a real Truffula Tree, the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To get it he must learn the story of the Lorax, the acerbic yet charming character who fights to protect his world. Despite generally critical reviews, the film was a success in America.
Release 18/7 ¦ By Michael Winterbottom, with Freida Pinto, Roshan Seth, Riz Ahmed
Michael Winterbottom, the world traveller who films faster than his shadow, previously based the films Jude and The Claim on novels by Thomas Hardy. He is now following in Roman Polanski’s footsteps with a film adaptation of Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles. The tragic story has been transferred to contemporary India, but the shift is not forced. Trishna/Tess is the oldest daughter in a poor family. She desperately needs the money she makes by working at a hotel in Rajasthan. She gets the job thanks to Jay, who grew up in England and is the son of the immensely rich hotel owner. Initially, his love for her appears genuine and sincere. The romance is emphasised by Shigeru Umebayashi’s score, which sometimes sounds like a copy of the soundtrack to In the Mood for Love. Jay, however, lacks the courage to marry the destitute village girl and (consequently?) transforms into a monster before our eyes. The English Riz Ahmed acts extremely well, but Freida Pinto does not. Since Slumdog Millionaire, the Indian beauty has had no shortage of offers. The poor girl does not know where to start with Trishna’s tragedy. In part due to her performance, the film disappoints after a strong first half.
The Dark Knight Rises
Release 25/7 ¦ By Christopher Nolan, with Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway
Why so serious? The mourned Heath Ledger played an unforgettable Joker in the last Batman film. But The Dark Night also impressed us with Gothic grandeur, blood-curdling action, and classic stunts. Director Christopher Nolan believes he can surprise us again with Batman, for the third and final time. Anne Hathaway plays Catwoman, but the tragic, fugitive Batman will have more trouble with the little-known but physically impressive villain Bane.
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