Cinematic sizzlers heat up the summer box office ........
K EEN to escape the heat this summer at your local cinema, but not sure what to watch? Here’s a guide to what’s hot on the big screen this silly season.
Hollywood has ensured there are a couple of good options for the kids this school holidays that parents will enjoy, too. Top of that list is the Disney animated film Wreck-It Ralph. Featuring the voices of John C Reilly and Sarah Silverman, it’s about a bad guy in an arcade game who wants to be liked, and is knee-deep in delightful nostalgia for those who can remember Sonic the Hedgehog, Pac Man and Super Mario. For a more traditionally themed animated movie, there’s Rise of the Guardians. Hugh Jackman gets laughs voicing a warrior-like version of the Easter Bunny. He, along with fellow guardians, North (aka Santa Claus, voiced by Alec Baldwin), Tooth the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), the mute Sandman and newly appointed guardian Jack Frost (Chris Pine) must unite to stop the evil spirit Pitch (Jude Law) and save the wonder, hope and dreams of children. If you were a fan of Coraline, then you should love ParaNorman. Designed for older children (it will be too scary for the younger crowd), this 3D stop-motion comedy thriller features the voice of Aussie actor Kodi Smit-McPhee as main character Norman. A misunderstood boy who can talk to the dead, he must take on zombies, ghosts, witches and grown-ups to save his town from an old curse. For those not keen on animation, check out Parental Guidance. It stars Billy Crystal as Artie, who agrees to look after his three grandchildren and instead of sticking to 21st-century parenting methods, switches to the old-school means. Also starring Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei.
For fans of Glee or Aussie comedienne Rebel Wilson, check out the fun and silly Pitch Perfect, about an all-girl a capella singing group of misfits competing to win the university nationals competition. Filled with pop hits, golden oldies and a talented cast, it’s infectious with its fantastic performances and exuberance. For some more adult humour, there’s This is 40, the kind-of sequel spin-off to Knocked Up. Set several years after, it focuses on the lives of Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann – writer/ director Judd Apatow’s wife). More of an observational comedy about family life and marriage, it also features knockout performances from Mann and Apatow’s two daughters, alongside the likes of Jason Segel, Chris O’Dowd and Megan Fox. For more romance and drama with your laughs, Silver Linings Playbook stars Bradley Cooper as a former teacher who moves back in with his parents (Robert De Niro and Aussie Jacki Weaver) after a stint in a mental institution. While trying to reconcile with his ex-wife, he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), an intriguing girl with problems of her own. Babs is back. Barbra Streisand stars in The Guilt Trip as Joyce Brewster, whose son, Andy (Seth Rogen) takes her on a road trip while he tries to sell his latest invention.
Boxing Day will see the highlyanticipated release of The Hobbit:
An Unexpected Journey and Sir Peter Jackson’s return to Middle-earth since The Lord of the Rings trilogy ended in 2003. Starring Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, it follows the hobbit on an actionpacked adventure with Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) and 13 dwarves to help return their kingdom. The first of three Hobbit films, it also stars Aussies Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling sizzled onscreen in Crazy, Stupid, Love and they’ve been paired again in Gangster Squad, about the Los Angeles Police Department’s fight to keep mafia-types from the East Coast (like Sean Penn’s Mickey Cohen) away from their city during the 1940s and ’50s. There’s been much criticism from fans about Tom Cruise being cast in Jack Reacher as the 196cm, 99kg, ex-military cop made famous in Lee Child’s book series. But the author has told fans while not physically like Reacher, Cruise ‘‘nails it’’ and they should see the film before passing judgment. Based on the ninth novel, One Shot, it also stars Australia’s Jai Courtney, playing against type as a menacing baddie.
Get your DVDs out. There are no horror flicks set for a summer release.
The industry is gearing for the awards season, so you can expect to see some of the year’s best heavyweight dramas releasing over the next couple of months as Oscar buzz builds. Think musical Les Miserables starring Australians Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, The Impossible (set during the 2004 tsunami) starring Naomi Watts and director Kathryn Bigelow’s follow-up to The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Meanwhile, Ang Lee’s clever adaptation of the book Life of Pi is a gorgeous spiritual film, Hitchcock shows the making of Psycho with Anthony Hopkins starring as the iconic filmmaker, and Django Unchained is the latest from auteur Quentin Tarantino, reuniting the director with his Inglourious Basterds villain Christoph Waltz and Pulp Fiction star Samuel L Jackson.
ABOVE LEFT: Rebel Wilson in PitchPerfect ABOVE: Hugh Jackman in LesMiserables
LEFT: A scene from Life of Pi
FAR LEFT: Ian McKellen in The Hobbit