CULT HUB’s Top 10 Must See Summer Movies

Summer 2012 will probably go down as one of the most spectacular in terms of both range and scale of movies being released for the masses. The variety of films include a welcome return to a sci-fi genre that has been sorely missed, MARVELous (see what I did there!) adaptations of comic book heroes, comedies that continue to push the boundaries of political correctness and the little gems that don’t shout as much as the big guns but certainly pucker a punch when you see them.

The Cult Hub team have discussed (that’s polite-talk for exchanging a vast amount of profanity, beverage cans and shoes at each other) and compiled the top ten blockbuster films that we highly recommend you explore and, hopefully, enjoy.

Number 10 is ParaNorman, a new 3D stop-motion animation flick which takes place in a small town in New England that has been cursed by a witch who unleashes a swarm of zombies, ghosts, witches and members of the undead. The hero that comes to rescue them isn’t a muscle-bound Mr Incredible or a geek pretending to be a Ghostbuster, but a little boy called Norman Babcock who has the ability to speak to the dead (spooky!). Voiced cast include the likes of Casey Affleck, John Goodman, Leslie Mann and Anna Kendrick. Made by the same creative team behind the hit Coraline and Monster House, its quiet intro into the summer may make this a sleeper hit. And by the looks of its latest trailer, it’ll include a huge dose of fun for the family viewers to enjoy. ParaNorman scares its way into the theatres on September 14th.

Number 9 is The Bourne Legacy starring Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz. With its misleading title, this Bourne film will follow Aaron Cross – another spy who’s taken a sip of the poisoned Treadstone chalice. Very little info has been releases about its plot but talking about the scale and style, Renner says it’s “the same tempo and pace but more expansive and bigger. The differences are pretty vast but you’ll know it’s a Bourne movie”.  Legendary producer Frank Marshall gifted Tony Gilroy, who wrote the current screenplay as well as the original trilogy, the directorial helm from Paul Greengrass – so that’s reasonable assurance this post-Bond franchise is in safe hands. The Bourne Legacy will, most probably, car crash it’s way to you on August 17th.

Number 8 is The Raid which had its world premier at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival and was hailed by number of critics as the best action flick of the year. Bold claim. It’ll reunite Welsh film director Gareth Evans with Indonesian martial artists Iko Uwais after their first success with Merantau in 2009. This is going to be a special treat considering the premise involves 20 cops trying to apprehend a vicious drug lord hiding within a 30 storey building filled with lethal criminals, BMF guns and dangerous traps – you just know there’s going to be mayhem. And possibly make sense too since Michael Bay wasn’t involved in the production. Add to the fact it’ll be rated 18, introduce Indonesian martial art Pencak Silat, all of this to the music scored by Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park and ………………I’m sorry, I started drooling from excitement. The Raid will spit, kick your ass and then pelt you with bullets on May 18th.

Number 7 is Tim Burton’s fantasy comedy Dark Shadows. At this year’s Golden Globes, Ricky Gervais introduced Delicious Johnny Depp (yes that’s how he’s officially known in the filmiverse) as the man who would wear anything Tim Burton throws at him… and for once, Gervais wasn’t kidding. Inspired by the 60s gothic soap opera of the same name, it follows the story Barnabas Collins, a vampire that has been cursed by a witch because he broke her heart. Waking up in the 70s after a 200 year slumber, Collins finds his descendents to be somewhat dysfunctional and comedy ensues when the witch he thought was dead returns to hunt him down… and make him love her. Again. But when the witch is as gorgeous as French actress Eva Green – why would you break her heart in the first place? Supporting cast include Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Moretz and Burton regular – Helena Bonham Carter (but that’s probably because he’s sleeping with her). Dark Shadow bat-flies its way to our screens on May 11th.

Number 6 is Looper by writer-director Rian Johnson who takes the time travel genre to territories James Cameron touched with The Terminator. Collaborating again after the brilliant Brick in 2005, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays an assassin in 2042 who kills his targets that have travelled 30 years from the future by a mob controlling time travel. It’s a simple job; his victims appear at a certain time with their faces masked up, he shoots them up, takes the gold bullions off their backs as payment – and then he incinerates them. Sorted. Until of course the latest victim appears without a mask and realises the mob sent back an older version of himself… to kill. And so begins this visually stunning hunt except when he realises the future version of himself is none other than Bruce Willis, you know Joseph will get his ass whooped in the process. It seems low on special effects but high on octane action. Do not miss this (even if it does fall a tad outside of the summer period). Looper leaps its way to your local theatres on September 28th.

Number 5 is the latest masterpiece from Pixar called Brave which takes place in Scotland where Princess Merida defies her royal custom and in turn unleashes a curse over her kingdom. After consulting a mystical witch, she using her archery skills to undo the curse which takes form in a horrible beast making its way towards her home.  After the mild reception received from Cars 2, Pixar looks to be returning to form with this enchantingly beautiful animation flick which looks even more stunning in its official Japanese trailer. Very little has been released in terms of its plot but it certainly leaves you saltivating for more. Returning to a full human cast as they did with Ratatouille, Brave will host another wonderful collection of voices included Kelly Macdonald, Julie Walters, Emma Thompson and Hagrid. No wait I meant Robbie Coltrane. This’ll be Pixar’s thirteenth feature length film and may turn out to be a lucky number. Brave twinkles its magic over this side of the pond on August 17th.

Number 4 is our friendly neighbourhood Spider-man. Many questioned its need to reboot so soon after the huge success of the original trilogy, the last of which was released only five years ago. While Spiderman 3 made nearly $900k at the box office (almost $100k more than part 2), it was critically panned and certainly mauled over by the fanboys for not expanding on the Venom storyline. When it was announced Marc Webb, who last made the endearing 500 Days of Summer, would take directorial duties there was some doubt if a small time director could manage such a pulsating franchise and please it’s millions of Spidey fans. After the release of the second trailer however all worries were put aside and we MARVELled (see what I did again?) at the crisp special effects, the energetic swinging between the Manhattan towers, leaping over cops while tantalising the criminals and the humour – that was certainly lacking in the previous trilogy. Andrew Garfield takes over the ‘uni-tard’ and uses the conventional web-shooter rather than the genetic webbing that spurts from his wrists (note: the sound the web-shooter makes is just plain cool). Emma stone plays Spidey’s love interest Gwen Stacy and Rhys Ifans plays Dr Curt Conners who later transforms into The Lizard. Martin Sheen and Sally Field tick off the supporting roles. Much is expected from this film as it holds one of the most beloved comic book characters, arguably, of all time however from what we’ve seen, we’re reasonably confident our expectations will be delivered. The Amazing Spider-Man will swing this way come July 4th.

Number 3 is a surprise that appeared almost out of nowhere. Ted was written and directed, as well as voiced, by Seth Macfarlane – creator of American Dad and Family Guy. It follows the story of a boy called John who wished his teddy bear would come to life and after some magic hokery-pokery, it does. Life continues as normal for John and Ted… perhaps a bit too normal as Ted is still living with a grown up John played by Mark Wahlberg who flexes his comedy muscles (as oppose to beating the crap out of someone who wants money from him). But their friendship comes under great strain when John’s girlfriend Lori, played by Mila Kunis, suggests Ted should move out so they can have a future. Great anticipation has been built from the trailers to see the hilarious fight sequence between tough man Wahlberg and CGI Ted and whether Ted gets lucky after flirting with a sexy colleague by gyrating the scanner in the supermarket. Yes. We all smiled freakishly when we saw that happen. This is no Care Bear movie and the reason for it being so high up in our list (or low down as you read this) is because of the original storyline and it’s aimed at the adult market, sacrificing big takings for an enticing plot. Good one Macfarlane. We salute you. Ted with puff you with marijuana smoke on August 3rd.

Number 2 is The Dark Knight Rises.It’s pointless attempting to convince you to go see this film because it’s very likely you’re waiting for your local IMAX theatre to open their online booking service so you can enjoy Christopher Nolan’s concluding segment from his Dark Knight trilogy. It’s almost unbearable to think anyone could possibly develop or continue the franchise beyond Nolan who has successfully resurrected Batman from the neon infested world Joel Schumacher gave us. Word has it that Schumacher is still in hiding after receiving death threats for agreeing to put nipples on his costumes during filming of Batman and Robin. While Warner Bros. look forward to the release of Man of Steel next year, they’ll have to conjure a way with DC to release their own Justice League movie to compete with Marvel’s Avengers which will of course include Batman. With a cast comprising of (takes deep breath) Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman and Michel Caine (exhales) – this is one stella cast, performing in one of the most eagerly anticipated three-quals since Return of the Jedi and while the promo states the legend ends… we’ll probably continue remembering it for a very long time. The Dark Knight Rises will smash its way to you on July 20th.

And number 1? Well, when we didn’t announce it within our top 5 films you HAD to be expecting this somewhere. After calculating the director, story, cast, expectation levels, originality and sheer frickin’ awesomness – Ridley Scott’s Prometheus outranked all the others. Again, probably not worth trying to convince you as net-talk have already favoured this to be a must-see movie, not only this summer, but of the whole year (many of these people don’t have girlfriends but that’s another issue entirely). While Scott tried to confuse us claiming it wasn’t a prequel to his masterpiece that is Alien – it actually is and the poor souls destined to scream where no one can hear them include Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce and Logan Marshall-Green. Other studios should take note that audiences can still be left captivated with the philosophy that less can really mean more when it comes to marketing a movie. Their second trailer had such dramatic pace with a myriad of visual treats that it made you visit the bathroom to calm down after each viewing (No? Maybe just me then). Interesting viral campaigns such as using TED (the scientific debate platform – not the funny teddy bear as mentioned above) and introducing the birth of Fassbenders’s David have nothing to do with the film except tantalise you with tiny Easter eggs. A recent screening for ‘special’ press (lucky bas****!!) included a 20 minute footage which explains the mission to a planet that might help uncover the origins of the human race. Take a look at Empire’s trailer breakdown, their most comprehensive yet (which also contain spoilers), along with the transcript for the Q&A session they held with the director and members of the cast after the screening. There’s no excuse GO – SEE – THIS – FILM, which will scream its way to this side of the galaxy on June 1st.

As a reminder, below is also the trailer to the original Alien film which we highly recommend viewing before you watch Prometheus as it contains some of the most iconic ………..sorry, need to visit the bathroom again!!


by Vaskar S. Kayastha

Vaskar S. Kayastha is Cult Hub’s contributing film writer focusing on blockbuster movies as well as independent and world cinema. Vaskar graduated with a BA (Hons) in English which focused on the Classics, Medieval, Shakespearean and Ancient Literature. He also has a keen interest in Photography, History, Technology, Theology, Poetry, Ballet, Art, riding his Vespa and eating Gelato. Vaskar is also the Creative Director for TheStyleColumn - a portal for showcasing talented new fashion designers as well as covering global fashion weeks. Find out more about Vaskar on his blog or follow him on twitter.

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