35 Movies You Need To See This Summer

Million Dollar Arm (May 16)

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Sports dramas are a thoroughly mixed bag. For every Moneyball, there’s a Trouble with the Curve, and it’s often surprising which films connect and which ones strike out. This summer will bring another sports drama hopeful in the form of Million Dollar Arm, which focuses on a sports agent (Jon Hamm) who searches for promising pitchers throughout India.

We won’t know until the film releases whether director Craig Gillespie and writer Tom McCarthy have a hit on their hands, but early signs are good. McCarthy’s past screenplays, including The Station Agent and The Visitor, have all been terrific, and his inspiring Win Win dealt specifically with the sports drama genre, to great effect. Meanwhile, Gillespie has showcased an ability to work well in a number of genres, from horror (Fright Night) to quirky drama (Lars and the Real Girl).

Madhur Mittal, Suraj Sharma, Lake Bell, Alan Arkin and Bill Paxton will provide strong acting support for Hamm, and previews for the film have painted it as a feel-good, Disney-fied family flick – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

– Isaac Feldberg

Godzilla (May 16)

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The 1998 Godzilla, made by Roland Emmerich, is considered to be so horrible by fans that they’ve gone to tremendous lengths to discount its existence, even if they can’t erase it from cinematic history. In other words, Gareth Edwards and his team have nowhere to go but up in the estimation of most cinephiles.

Edwards, the filmmaker behind the indie smash Monsters, has already washed the bad taste of “Zilla” out of the collective consciousness of moviegoers with trailers for his Godzilla. Not much is known about the story, although it’s been indicated that the creature’s long history will be addressed. This take on the creature, which as we’ve seen from the ads so far looks a lot more like his Toho predecessors, has been around since the ’50s. American nuclear tests in the Pacific at that time were actually attempts to destroy the creature.

Godzilla finds the creature returning to menace modern society, much to the horror of humans, including a nuclear physicist (Bryan Cranston), a US Navy lieutenant (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and a scientist (Ken Watanabe). Working in Edwards’ favour is the incredible cast he’s put together. In addition to Cranston, Taylor-Johnson and Watanabe, the film stars Elizabeth Olsen, David Strathairn, Juliette Binoche and Sally Hawkins.

Images and clips released so far (like the one below) paint a movie ripe with dread, foreboding, and a strong visceral connection to our real world realities. With natural disasters frequently filling our news cycle from across the globe, including the 2011 meltdown of the nuclear reactors in Fukushima, it seems as though the world’s been creating the right kind of conditions to give Godzilla the most bang for our buck.

But can Edwards deliver? Well, the crowd at San Diego Comic Con last year was treated to the first previews and they reacted very strongly in the affirmative, and our culture’s love for Godzilla is clearly still there. Everyone’s got their fingers crossed for Edwards’ film, and the excitement to cower in the wake of the King of Monsters has never been higher. Let’s hope he can give us the Godzilla movie that we’ve been waiting for.

– Adam Donaldson

X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23)

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Consider this the Avengers of X-Men movies, though it lacks the extensive levels of pre-planning that the Marvel production had. Still, a confluence of events has created the most exciting X-Men outing since the release of the first film back in 2000. X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine disappointed, X-Men: First Class was a pleasant surprise, and The Wolverine surpassed expectations. However, the return of Bryan Singer to the director’s chair, the combination of two generations of X-Men, and a story based on one of the comic books’ most well-known and beloved narratives is a proverbial hat trick of hype.

Based on a storyline by Chris Claremont and John Byrne that appeared in The Uncanny X-Men issues #141-142 in 1981, the film begins in the future, where mutants are being hunted to extinction by robotic Sentinels. Desperate to change their fates, the X-Men (as seen in the first three films) launch a desperate plan to send the consciousness of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time to the 70s to heal the rift between younger versions of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender), re-writing the past to create a better future. Like 2011’s First Class, the story will add mutant twists to real-life historical events, like Magneto being on that grassy knoll in Dallas and mutants being used as cannon fodder in Vietnam.

A lot is riding on X-Men: Days of Future Past, and by that we mean much more than what’s usually riding on a franchise film. The next sequel, X-Men: Apocalypse, is already in development and is scheduled for a 2016 release. There’s also another Wolverine movie in the works, and the ticking clock of Hugh Jackman’s age. There are also spinoffs at stake, X-Force and maybe the long awaited Deadpool film among them. Twentieth Century Fox plans on creating a whole X-Universe of its own, so hopefully, for the studio’s sake, Days of Future Past exceeds all expectations.

– AD