Maleficent (May 30)
Normally, I wouldn’t be that excited about a rehash of a childhood fairy tale. After all, out of all of the recent cinematic updates to those beloved classics, like Snow White and The Huntsman, Mirror Mirror, Jack the Giant Slayer and Red Riding Hood, the only one I derived any enjoyment from was Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (and with even that, half the fun was watching Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner self-consciously squirm). But there’s just something totally right about Angelina Jolie taking on the role of Sleeping Beauty villainess Maleficent.
In this update, Maleficent doesn’t start out as purely evil. That comes later, after she’s betrayed by King Stefan (Sharlto Copley). Maleficent charts the character’s origins and reinterprets the story of Sleeping Beauty with the spotlight on the titular villain. Elle Fanning stars as Aurora, who grows under Maleficent’s watch and becomes instrumental in the battle between Maleficent and those who betrayed her.
Trailers have hinted at massive battles mixed in with the familiar story, which has certainly piqued my interest. The terrific combination of upcoming actors and seasoned pros involved with this film (including Brenton Thwaites, Juno Temple, Imelda Staunton, Sam Riley and Peter Capaldi) also bodes well for it.
A Million Ways to Die in the West (May 30)
You either love his brand of humor or think it’s absolutely ridiculous. I’m talking about Seth MacFarlane, the controversial comedian behind hit television shows Family Guy and American Dad. In 2012, he made his feature-film debut with Ted and the results were staggering. The R-rated effort made a whopping $550 million worldwide on a $50 million budget. A sequel was rushed into production and while the director is hard at work on the follow-up, first he’ll release A Million Ways To Die In The West.
A comedy western littered with signature MacFarlane humor, the film has its director appearing in front of the camera as well, alongside Charlize Theron, Neil Patrick Harris, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Sarah Silverman and Giovanni Ribisi. That’s a wicked cast, and judging by the recent red-band trailer (seen below), the jokes are going to come fast and furious in this one. If you’ve been a fan of what Seth MacFarlane has done so far, there’s a 100% guarantee that A Million Ways To Die In The West will have you in stitches. Out of all the blockbusters hitting theatres over the next few months, this is one of the films that I’m looking forward to most.
Edge of Tomorrow (June 6)
Think of it as Groundhog Day meets Call of Duty. In this sci-fi actioner, Tom Cruise stars as Bill Cage, a soldier dropped into a suicide mission during a brutal war against a mysterious, deadly alien race which has attacked Earth. After quickly being killed in combat, he inexplicably finds himself back at the beginning of the day, caught in a time loop. Though baffled, Cage teams up with Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), and they attempt to use the time loop to learn and overcome the aliens’ tactics.
There hasn’t been much buzz about Edge of Tomorrow – that lame title alone might deter moviegoers. However, the film is based on Japanese light novel All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, which earned widespread acclaim and awards attention upon its release. Hopefully the writers haven’t excised from their adaptation what made All You Need Is Kill such a hit.
Personally, I’m mostly excited to see how Edge of Tomorrow turns out because of Doug Liman, its director. Liman is lined up to helm a Splinter Cell film next, so Edge of Tomorrow will be a useful test-run to see how the Bourne Identity helmer handles himself on a big-budget summer blockbuster.