As temperatures start climbing toward the stratosphere in a good chunk of the country, there’s probably no better way to escape the heat than heading to an air-conditioned Cineplex near you.
But with so many options competing for your attention (including a slew of superheroes and sequels, naturally) during these hot summer months, what’s actually worth plunking down your hard-earned cash and what’s more of a future Redbox or Netflix rental? gmc gives you the skinny on what’s new in theaters.
And if you want to spare the ticket price altogether, turn to gmc for an array of movies safe for the whole family airing in July, including the gmc World Premiere Movies Letters to God and Raising Izzie, and a steady stream of other great films.
The Contender: The Amazing Spider-Man, rated PG-13
The Premise: Directed by Marc Webb of 500 Days of Summer fame, The Amazing Spider-Man is an origin story of how one nerdy science guy not only comes to terms with his parents’ disappearance early in his life, but transforms into one amazing web-slinging superhero.
The One-Two Punch: Yes, as far as Spider-Man is concerned, we’ve been there and done that. But what makes this reboot such an exciting piece of cinema is the winsome chemistry between the leads, The Social Network’s Andrew Garfield and The Help’s Emma Stone. With its focus on the characters rather than simply wowing the crowd with special effects, The Amazing Spider-Man is a pleasure to watch.
The Contender: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, rated PG
The Premise: As the oh-so-adorable Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman make their way back to their New York City home, their journey takes an unexpected diversion through Europe where they’re forced to (gasp!) join the circus.
The One-Two Punch: While sequels tend to get significantly lamer by the time the third installment rolls around, this motley crew of furry creatures, lead by Ben Stiller and Chris Rock on vocal duties, are as charming than ever in the latest madcap adventure.
The Contender: Moonrise Kingdom, rated PG-13
The Premise: Strangers are forced to become neighbors when a search party is assembled to search for a couple of runaway teenagers in love, fleeing their New England hometown together.
The One-Two Punch: In what’s quite possibly my favorite film of 2012 to date, Moonrise Kingdom is a funny and sweet coming-of-age story with director Wes Anderson’s quirky signature style. Fueled by fantastic performances from everyone from Edward Norton to Bill Murray to Bruce Willis and two compelling unknowns in the lead, it’s the sort of movie you could watch again and again and pick up something new every time.
The Contender: Beasts of the Southern Wild, rated PG-13
The Premise: Faced with her father’s fading health, not to mention a significant change in local environmental conditions, a young girl bravely leaves her Delta home in search of her mother.
The One-Two Punch: While not your typical light summer movie, Beasts of the Southern Wild is still nothing short of spectacular. A stunning debut from director Benh Zeitlin, it’s the story of a resilient African American girl named Hushpuppy. A sweet, redemptive story of extreme poverty and survival, the story centers around the tumultuous relationship between Hushpuppy and her father, who’s now on the verge of dying.
The Contender: The Dark Knight Rises, rated PG-13
The Premise: There’s never a shortage of drama in Gotham City, and now eight years after Batman was basically Enemy #1 for the crimes of Two Face, a new terrorist leader has invaded Gotham, meaning Batman will have another opportunity to win the public over.
The One-Two Punch: In the same way that The Dark Knight reinvented superheroes as we know it, one of the summer’s most-anticipated movies, The Dark Knight Rises continues in a similar vein with standout performances from new characters Liam Neeson, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anne Hathaway, not to mention the usual suspects like Christian Bale as Batman.
The Contender: Ted, rated R
The One-Two Punch: Don’t let the teddy bear protagonist fool you. Ted is not a kids' movie, and trust me, the jokes truly scrape the bottom of the barrel for laughs.
The Contender: Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection, rated PG-13
The One-Two Punch: The novelty of Tyler Perry in drag has worn off in a serious way. Not only is the latest installment of Madea a bit of a snoozer plot-wise, but the jokes (if you can call them that) are seriously lacking.
The Contender: Savages, rated R
The One-Two Punch: Director Oliver Stone is back to showcasing the edgier side of his repertoire, and with Savages, this ultra-violent storyline suffers from a sheer lack of believability. Not only are Taylor Kitsch and Blake Lively the wrong choice for the leads, but the storyline, which underscores the oh-so-obvious message that getting wrapped up in the drug trade is bad, is poorly conceived.
The Contender: Step Up Revolution, rated PG-13
The One-Two Punch: Does there really need to be another Step Up? Well, whatever the reason this was green-lighted, Step Up Revolution is clearly the worst of the bunch with a paper-thin plotline that does nothing but showcase the seedier side of Miami, which isn’t exactly the summer escape most movie lovers are seeking.
The Contender: Brave, rated PG
The One-Two Punch: In what’s a slightly disappointing effort for the usual pitch-perfect Pixar, Brave is the first time there’s been a female leading the pack. But while Merida’s curly red hair is nothing short of stunning, the storyline is simply lacking that certain sparkle we’ve grown to expect. Not only is our leading lady a little bratty, but it takes way too long for things to get set right.
The Contender: People Like Us, rated PG-13
The One-Two Punch: Like Beasts of the Southern Wild, People Like Us is a little more serious than your usual summer fare. The story of wounded family who’s brought together by particularly difficult circumstances, the only quality that prevents People Like Us from being great is a few too many pat answers that come across as borderline cheesy.
The Contender: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, rated R
The One-Two Punch: Truth be told, I never would’ve believed that Steve Carell (Crazy Stupid Love) and Keira Knightley (Pride & Prejudice) could make a compelling pairing, let alone in a story where the world is about to end. But someone this offbeat combination works most of the time in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. Really, the only thing that didn’t set well with me is a surplus of objectionable content (namely, several four-letter words, some drug use and sexual content). Still, the movie begs an intriguing question, namely what would you do with only three weeks left on the planet?
The Contender: Ice Age Continental Drift, rated PG
The One-Two Punch: The third time isn’t really the charm in this ho-hum return to the Arctic with Manny, Diego and Sid. Forced to leave their home that’s now set adrift, they meet all kinds of interesting new friends (and a few pirates) on the way. Unfortunately, as hard as the screenwriters try, the humor, not to mention a compelling storyline, just isn’t there. Even the kids at my screening seemed to notice it was a dud since the laughs were in seriously short supply.
Copyright 2012, watchgmctv.com. For permission to repost or reprint, click here.
About the Writer
After graduating with a B.S. in Journalism from North Central University in 1998, Christa Banister moved from Minneapolis to Nashville, Tenn. and eventually started working at CCM Magazine/Salem Publishing in various editorial capacities as an editor, columnist and website guru for five and a half years. After that, she launched her own Dallas-based freelance writing company and writes for numerous clients including Salem Publishing, Crosswalk.com (she reviews movies for them each week), Christian Single, Christianity Today, Threads Media, Songs4Worship.com, PassAlong.com and also helped kickstart the first Christian music blog for MTV. In addition, she also writes bios for professional recording artists and authors and penned her first two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers for NavPress.
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