DiCaprio, Damon, Pitt … the looming US summer blockbuster season means good things for movie fans
Star Trek Into Darkness ( May 9)
Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto They say: While the Enterprise crew fight a threat from within, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to capture a one- man weapon of mass destruction. We say: J. J. Abrams worked miracles with his Star Trek reboot in 2009. If anything, the wait for another has been way too long. Beam us up now! Close up: Abrams emphatically states this is not a traditional sequel, but more of a standalone adventure “that is not just for hard- core Trekkies”. Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch carries the bad- guy torch here. Wide shot: Will this mark the end of the line for this superior strain of Trek screen adventures? Could well be so, now that Abrams is committed to the Star Wars reboot for years to come.
The Great Gatsby ( May 30)
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Jason Clarke They say: Ordinary fella Nick Carraway is lured into the lavish, all- is- not- what- it- seems world of his nouveau riche neighbour, Jay Gatsby. We say: Ever read the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novella? May not matter, considering maverick post- modernist Baz Luhrmann is at the controls here. Close up: As is invariably the case with a Luhrmann passion project, this could well turn out to be anything. The jury remains well and truly out on the need for 3D to show off all the elaborate Jazz Age sets and costumes. Wide shot: Opens to an unusual global release pattern, starting with a full US rollout in early May, followed by the prestigious opening night slot at Cannes, and a Sydney premiere a fortnight later.
Also opening in May
The Hangover Part III ( May 23): First one killed. Second one expired. Any signs of life for the third? A return to Vegas and a showdown with Mr Chow are positive enough signs. The Call ( May 16): Halle Berry is an emergency helpline operator who must save a teenage girl who has been abducted by a vicious killer. Evil Dead ( May 9): Contrary to what you might have heard, this acclaimed remake of the horror classic is now getting an ( admittedly limited) Australian release.
After Earth ( June 13)
Stars: Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Zoe Kravitz, Lincoln Lewis They say: A crash landing leaves a father and son stranded on Earth more than 1000 years after humanity was forced to flee. We say: When it comes to surviving on a planet not fit for living, Will Smith has extensive form to his name. Remember I Am Legend? Jaden Smith’s priors as The Karate Kid might come in handy too. Close up: Will Smith came up with the concept after becoming hooked on the docu- reality TV series I Shouldn’t Be Alive. The futuristic setting came later, as did the attachment of polarising writer- director M. Night Shyamalan ( The Sixth Sense, The Last Airbender). Wide shot: The gnarlier sci- fi angles of Shyamalan’s original screenplay have been sanded back by many rewrites. The end result is that Will Smith is more of a support player to son Jaden, who carries key scenes in the movie.
World War Z ( June 21)
Stars: Brad Pitt, Matthew Fox, Mirielle Enos
They say: A renegade UN employee traverses the globe in a race against time to stop a zombie pandemic that is threatening to decimate humanity itself.
We say: Brad Pitt versus a plague of fleet- footed flesh- eaters? Doesn’t sound like a fair match. But it does sound like a fair movie. Come on Brad, you can do it!
Close up: Production problems stretching back several years and a mammoth budget blowout ( estimated at more than $ 250 million) have had producers jumpy they may have missed the zombie box- offi ce boat. The recent US success of Warm Bodies would be reassuring.
Wide shot: The 2003 Max Brooks novel is revered as an important scripture by zombie fanatics. Subsequent auction of film rights triggered a bidding war between production companies owned by Pitt and DiCaprio.
Man of Steel ( June 28)
Stars: Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner
They say: Young journalist Clark Kent is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race.
We say: Now that Batman is having a breather, it’s time for Superman to get a rehabilitating reboot.
TAKING CONTROL: Matt Damon stars in sci- fi blockbuster