Movie Preview: Our Picks for the Summer’s Best Films
The Great Gatsby
Who hasn’t read The Great Gatsby at some point in their lives?
A staple of American literature and AP English classes across the United States, Gatsby is widely celebrated as one of the best English-language novels of the 20th century. Whether or not most students like it, however, is an entirely different matter.
Regardless, The Great Gatsby has a pretty substantial fan base — the tragic story of millionaire Jay Gatsby’s pursuit of an old love, Daisy Buchanan, has captured the hearts of countless readers, and the novel’s upcoming film adaptation has been greatly anticipated for some time now. But you ask: why should someone not completely ravenous about The Great Gatsby see the movie?
First of all, “The Great Gatsby” is a high-budget film. It’s directed by the renowned Baz Luhrmann — in case you haven’t heard of him, Luhrmann is the critically-acclaimed director of films such as “Australia” and “Moulin Rouge.”
In addition, “The Great Gatsby” boasts a cast filled with major Hollywood stars — Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Gatsby, while Tobey Maguire plays Nick Carraway (the novel’s narrator).
And if one is still not certain, merely watch one of the trailers that have been released for the movie — even such a short sampling of the film exudes emotional content that completely absorbs the viewer.
“The Great Gatsby” hits theaters on May 10. Don’t miss it.
— By Anne Reynolds
Man of Steel
Zach Snyder, the director who brought you epics like “300” and “Watchmen,” returns this summer with a gritty retelling of Superman’s story.
This highly-anticipated film starts with baby Kal-El being sent from Krypton to Earth, where his father (Russell Crowe) predicts he will be “a god to them.”
The film goes on to follow the Big Blue Boy Scout (Henry Cavill, “The Tudors”) through his childhood as Clark Kent in Smallville, Kan. and his discovery of who he is and the things he is capable of.
When General Zod (Michael Shannon), another survivor from Krypton, threatens Superman and the Earth, Superman is called to action.
Let’s only hope that like Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, “Man of Steel” frames a superhero we know and love with relevant social commentary. The American military in “Man of Steel” is distrustful of Superman’s powers and other characters are generally xenophobic around him. After all, the film’s posters and promotional material show Superman in handcuffs, escorted by armed soldiers.
But through it all, Superman still wants to protect the humans with whom he shares Earth. “Man of Steel” doesn’t just want you to watch, it wants you to think. The days of the big, dumb superhero movie are over.
— By Grace Cummings
Star Trek: Into Darkness
J.J. Abrams continues to demonstrate his passion and admiration for compelling sci-fi thrillers with his upcoming “Star Trek: Into Darkness.”
I had the privilege of previewing a 10-minute scene from this highly-anticipated sequel and am extremely eager to witness the evolving relationship between the young characters of Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto).
Kirk, the underdog who eventually proved he was meant to be the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise, and Spock, the practical Vulcan who learned the value of human emotion, will undoubtedly provide the most interesting dynamic in this upcoming film.
Still, Abrams showed in “Star Trek”’s first installment that he understood the importance of comical yet reflexive minor characters (as played by Simon Pegg, Karl Urban and Anton Yelchin). The fantastic performances by these actors pay homage to the communal and familial tone of the original franchise. Hopefully, Abrams will successfully incorporate mind-numbing visual effects without taking away from character or plot depth once more. This confidence in successful character development within the scope of elaborate spectacle has certainly been a consistent theme for Abrams’ past work (“Lost,” “Cloverfield,” “Super 8”).
It is also important to note that Abrams clinched the heavily contested spot as director in the upcoming “Star Wars” reboot after 2009’s “Star Trek.” This may not have been the sole factor in this decision, but it certainly shows that he has gained a favorable reputation as a connoisseur of sci-fi and fresh reboots of fan classics.
— By Nathan Parker