Movies I Wanna See Most: Summer 2012

This is clearly the list of a fan boy. Let me say that first and foremost. I love the comic book movies and this year I am a huge sucker for them all. Not to worry though, because this summer not only features the most anticipated film of the year for me in Chris Nolan's final Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises it also kicks off with the most ambitious super hero project ever as Disney and Marvel's The Avengers will surely give ole bats a run for his money. Then there is possibly my favorite super hero as a kid. I clumped these all together in my number one spot (no spoiler there) and spread out a variety of other films across the remainder of my top 10. I did this mainly because there really are so many films I want to see this summer that I can't even fit half on this list. I can't wait to see the Brave, the re-boots of Total Recall and the Bourne franchise, while Ted and That's My Boy look to contend with the comedies I did include on the list. Heck, I even want to see Rock of Ages because I trust Adam Shankman when it comes to musicals. Alas, there can only be 10 and though and I know some will agree, most probably won't, so let me know what you think in the comments section and let us know what YOU'RE most looking forward to in the summer of '12.

10. Savages

Oliver Stone has never been one of my favorite directors. I have certainly enjoyed many of his films and as a person who finds history very interesting there should really be no better source than Stone in Hollywood right now. This reason is exactly why my number 10 pick is so engaging. Usually telling the story of a real-life President or a great historical event is what Stone gravitates towards. He has certainly made his share of more mainstream films and has had success with them in his "Wall Street" movies and "Any Given Sunday". His latest film "Savages" seems to combine his knack for telling insightful stories that mix with the underground world of people's darkest thoughts in the vein of "Natural Born Killers". Stone has rounded up an all star cast including this years "it guy" Taylor Kitsch as well as "Kick Ass" star Aaron Johnson with their love interest played by Blake Lively and a prestigious supporting cast that includes John Travolta, Salma Hayek, Benecio Del Toro, Uma Thurman, and Emile Hirsch. "Savages' chronicles the uprising of Pot growers Ben and Chon as they run into inevitable conflict and have to face off against the Mexican drug cartel who kidnapped their shared girlfriend. Savages is rated R and will be released on July 6, 2012. Check out the trailer here

9. The Dictator

I still trust in Sacha Baron Cohen even after the debacle that was "Bruno". The guy broke onto the scene like no one else in 2006 with "Borat" which went on to make more than $260 million worldwide. "Bruno" pushed the envelope even further showing us there was literally nothing Cohen wouldn't do for a laugh. Unfortunately for him, the fan response was not as great. So, here we go again with what looks like a mix of the documentary style Cohen and collaborator Larry Charles have used on their previous films mixed with what seems to be a more cinematic take. This time they have enlisted the help of movie stars to assist in telling the heroic story of a dictator (Cohen) who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed. In supporting roles we have the likes of Sir Ben Kingsley (I can just imagine Cohen pitching Kingsley on the project on the set of "Hugo") as well as John C. Reilly, Anna Faris, and Megan Fox (playing Megan Fox). The first trailer gave a great look at the tone of the film while the second has given us a better glimpse of the plot which basically looks like much of the same as this odd, out of touch character is dropped into middle-America. That doesn't mean it won't be hilarious though. The Dictator is rated R and will be released on May 16, 2012. Check out the trailer here.

8.Magic Mike

It isn't hard to tell on the surface who the target market is for "Magic Mike". The story is based loosely around star Channing Tatum's pre-fame male stripper days. It has Tatum as veteran stripper Magic Mike who teaches a new stripper played by Alex Pettyfer (I Am Number Four) the ropes of the occupation. They also happen to work at the club Xquisite that is owned by former stripper Dallas (Matthew McConaughey). This sounds like typical fodder for a ladies night, but I include it on my list not because I have any desire to see these guys shirtless for over half of a film, but because it is being directed by Steven Soderbergh. After Tatum tossed out the idea to Soderbergh on the set of "Haywire" the director thought it was one of the best ideas for a film he had ever heard. That alone makes me interested in what the director will do with the material and McConaughey has seemed more choosy about his roles lately, taking those that offer him something different. The same can be said for Tatum as he is becoming more appealing to the male crowds with the help of both "Haywire" and "21 Jump Street". The rest of the cast is rounded out by other extremely fit guys such as Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello. Magic Mike is rated R and will be released on June 29, 2012. Check out the first trailer here.

7.The Campaign

At first I was rather upset Will Ferrell and frequent collaborator Adam McKay would not be putting out a high profile project this year as it disrupts their pattern of doing a film together every other year since 2004. At least Ferrell has a comedy hitting theaters though and if it can't be a Ferrell/McKay collabo this is probably the next best thing. Ferrell plays a small town southern politician who is vying for a seat in Congress to represent his small North Carolina district is challenged by the most unlikely of adversaries in Zach Galifianakis. The comedy will certainly be relative as it hits in late summer just as the Presidential race will really begin to take over every news outlet. Ferrell has always been a class act when it comes to lampooning politicians and I expect nothing short of greatness from him here. The pair of he and Galifianakis could be gold as well. Ferrell has proved a great team player as he and John C. Reilly are classic and he and Mark Wahlberg seem to be another pair in the works. Galifianakis needs this to be a hit so he can prove he is capable outside of the "Hangover" franchise. All signs are positive though as they are surrounded by such comedic talent as Jason Sudeikis, Dan Aykroyd, and John Lithgow as well as a good amount of weight in Brian Cox and even Dylan McDermott. They are working from a script by Shawn Harwell (Eastbound & Down) and are under the direction of Jay Roach (Meet the Parents, Austin Powers). The Campaign is not yet rated and will be released on August 10, 2012. It's likely we will see a trailer in early May.

6.Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Though many will likely have this pegged as the most absurd film of the summer I find it extremely interesting to see these very serious historical figures integrated into such geeky folklore as vampires. Based on the book by Seth Grahame-Smith who also penned Pride and Prejudice and Zombies the story follows President Lincoln as he discovers vampires are planning to take over the United States and makes it his mission to eliminate them. I haven't finished reading the source material from which this is based just yet, but am thoroughly intrigued so far and have heard nothing but good things about that continue to be proven true. what has most impressed me so far is the amount of research Grahame-Smith seems to have done and I hope he incorporated this into his screenplay. There were a slew of big name stars that at one point were set to play the president but Benjamin Walker, a relative unknown who's biggest role so far was in Clint Eastwood's "Flags of our Fathers" finally nabbed it. He seems to have pulled off the look rather well and has a strong supporting cast around him including Anthony Mackie, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper, Alan Tudyk, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is rated R and will be released on June 22, 2012. Check out the trailer here.  

5.Snow White & The Huntsmen

Late last month there was a version of the Snow White story that hit theaters and while it was a nice, fanciful take on the children's story this summer we will get a far more serious film that seems to be following the original Grimm story a little closer in tone. I was hesitant to embrace this take on the tale when I heard "Twilight's" Kristen Stewart would be playing the title character. Under first time director Rupert Sanders they add a twist to the fairy tale, where the Huntsman, played by Chris "Thor" Hemsworth, is ordered to take Snow White into the woods to kill but ends up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen (Charlize Theron). There will be the inevitable comparisons between the two Snow White tales this year, but they look to be two completely different machines. The folks behind "Mirror Mirror" were right to get their version out first as the good amount of footage and behind the scenes features we've seen for this summer extravaganza consistently keeps setting the expectation bar higher. This looks genuinely engaging and I am rather excited to see this mature take on a story we all grew up with. The set design and costumes look amazing and Theron looks to be perfect as the Evil Queen. Snow White & The Huntsmen is rated PG-13 and will be released on June 1, 2012. Check out the trailer here.

4.Neighborhood Watch

I am a huge fan of the Frat Pack, which is, for those of you who don't know, the unofficial name for this group of actors that have appeared in numerous films together. The core group was originally made up of Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, Owen and Luke Wilson, and Jack Black. Steve Carell and Paul Rudd have since been inducted to the group and they have many a friends that are part of the "circle of trust". Their heyday was certainly the early 2000's to around '05, but with "Neighborhood Watch" being a huge tentpole comedy this summer it looks like the gang might be back for round two. With Vaughn and Stiller re-teaming for the first time since "Dodgeball" and co-stars such as Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade (Moss of "The IT Crowd") as directed by Lonely Island member Akiva Schaffer (Hot Rod) and written by screenwriting team Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Superbad) this broad comedy about a group of suburban dads who form a neighborhood watch group to get time away from their families who end up discovering a plot to destroy Earth should be a highlight in a summer full of great comedies. Neighborhood Watch is rated R and will be released on  July 27, 2012. Check out the teaser trailer here

3. Dark Shadows

With only a short two months to go before the release of his latest live action film, Tim Burton had yet to release a trailer and only a small amount of photos from "Dark Shadows". The film, which is based on the 1966-1971 gothic soap opera of the same name follows the life of an imprisoned vampire, Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) who is set free and returns to his ancestral home, where his dysfunctional descendants are in need of his protection. The twist here is that he is set free in the 70's and the comedy lies within the old fashioned vampire adjusting to disco rather than demons. When the first trailer was finally released the tone was not at all what I expected from Burton. But it was great. I was excited for his take on "Alice in Wonderland" a few years ago but was rather disappointed by its execution. I was hesitant to think this might be as good as many of his and Depp's collaborations but all of those have been put to rest and I am anxiously awaiting what fun "Dark Shadows" looks like it will be. Burton has surrounded Depp with a stellar cast that includes frequent collaborator and long time girlfriend Helena Bonham Carter, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Grace Moretz, Eva Green, and Jackie Earle Haley. He is also working from a screenplay by "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" author Seth Grahame-Smith. Dark Shadows is rated PG-13 and will be released on May 11, 2012. Check out the trailer here


Though I was only introduced to the original "Alien" in one of my film classes in college it was apparent why so many people had fallen in love with the film and why it made a star out of Sigourney Weaver. Director Ridley Scott who has arguably made two of the best sci-fi films of all time with the aforementioned "Alien" and "Blade Runner" returns to the genre for the first time in over 30 years and has been very hush hush about whether the story here has any connection to his beloved "Alien".  The story, well at least what we know of it, follows a team of explorers who discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race. The visuals look amazing here and the story holds enough secrecy and myth that there is no reason you shouldn't be excited. Plus, there is the spectacular cast of Noomi Rapace (who no doubt hopes this will do for her career what "Alien" did for Weaver's), Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Patrick Wilson, and Guy Pearce. Prometheus is not yet rated and will be released on June 8, 2012. Check out the trailer here

1. Super Hero Films

Is this considered cheating? I hope not. It is no secret the summer movie season has become the spot for all things super hero. While each of these films had a spot on my top 10 most anticipated films of the year I had to combine them here. "The Avengers" hits theaters first and if you don't already know follows Nick Fury and the international agency S.H.I.E.L.D. as they bring together a team of super humans (Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye) to form The Avengers to help save the Earth from Loki & his various membered army. Early reviews are positive and make the film sound as if it is everything fans hoped it to be. This makes me even more antsy to see it myself. The Avengers is rated PG-13 and opens May 4, 2012. Check out the trailer here.

Easily the most anticipated out of the bunch is the conclusion of Chris Nolan's Batman trilogy. "The Dark Knight Rises" takes place eight years after Batman took the fall for Two Face's crimes. Now, a new terrorist leader, Bane overwhelms Gotham's finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that brands him an enemy. The scope of this film looks epic and we can only hope that Nolan has topped himself with this one. There is so much pressure riding on him to deliver after the behemoth "The Dark Knight" turned out to be. Many think it was only as big as it was because of star Heath Ledger's death and are doubting the follow-up. With the stellar cast that has been assembled that includes Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Liam Neeson, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard, and Michael Caine and the already mind blowing prologue that was released just after filming wrapped last December I can only expect this to meet if not exceed every expectation I hold for it. The Dark Knight Rises is rated PG-13 and opens July 20, 2012. Check out the trailer here

Most people were hesitant to even embrace the idea of a Spider-Man reboot so soon after plans for a fourth installment in the previous trilogy were abandoned. Most were disappointed that Raimi, Maguire and crew decided not to redeem themselves after the horrible third movie but instead they decided to do nothing about it all. What was done instead was "500 Days of Summer" director Marc Webb was recruited to reboot the franchise and enlisted the help of up and coming stars Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) and Emma Stone (Easy A, Crazy Stupid Love) along with a better known supporting cast that includes Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Dennis Leary and Rhys Ifans as the eagerly anticipated villain the lizard. This new story will re-visit the origin story as Peter Parker finds a clue that might help him understand why his parents disappeared when he was young. His path puts him on a collision course with Dr. Curt Connors, his father's former partner. The Amazing Spider-Man is rated PG-13 and opens July 3, 2012. Check out the trailer here.

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