CultBox at the Movies: June 2013 preview

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CultBox takes a look at this month’s cinematic highlights…

After Earth (12A)

Release date: Friday 7 June.

The Talent: M. Night Shyamalan (Dir.), Will Smith, Jaden Smith, CGI Apes.

The Plot: A thousand years after Earth has been abandoned by humankind, a stern General and his rebellious son embark on a mission back to the mother planet only to crash land. In order to signal for help they must trek across uncharted terrain and battle the hostile wildlife which has evolved to hunt and kill humans.

The Buzz: There was a time when the world was excited at the release of an M. Night Shyamalan film. But, to be honest, that feels like a thousand years ago and the movie going public have evolved since then. Will the presence of one of the biggest film stars in the world revive the once wunderkind’s fortunes? Early reviews suggest not.

If the trailer is anything to go by (and sometimes they aren’t) an overly dour Smith sends Smith Jr. on a deadly mission that mainly seems to consist of running away from CGI animals in what could be an extended episode of The Fresh Prince of Jumanji. Smith is very rarely unwatchable though, and this could be the aperitif you are looking for between Star Trek Into Darkness and the return of some guy in a red cape.

Man of Steel (12A)

Release date: Friday 14 June.

The Talent: Zack Snyder (Dir.), Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon.

The Plot: Really? You don’t know? Well, the Last Son of Krypton is sent to Earth by his father so he can escape the impending destruction of his home planet. Brought up on a farm by a loving, childless couple, Clark Kent grows up into the most powerful man on Earth. And then, an old enemy of his biological father arrives on the scene…

The Buzz: It’s been 7 years since Superman returned in Bryan Singer’s much maligned semi-sequel/reboot of the original movies. Brought to us by the teams behind Watchmen and the Dark Knight trilogy, Man of Steel could finally be the Superman film that reinvents the character for the 21st century. The trailers look great mixing a haunting, muted style during Clark’s childhood and coming-of-age with spectacular action sequences that were sadly missing from Singer’s film. Man of Steel will no doubt make mega-bucks but let’s keep our fingers crossed that it’s more Kal-El Begins than Super-Punch.

World War Z (12A)

Release date: Friday 21 June.

The Talent: Marc Foster (Dir.), Brad Pitt, Matthew Fox, Mireille Enos.

The Plot: Humanity is on the brink of destruction as a zombie pandemic threatens the world. Can Brad Pitt’s United Nations employee stop the pandemic before civilisation as we know it ends?

The Buzz: Based on the Max Brooks novel of the same name, World War Z has had a troubled journey to the screen. Re-writes and re-shoots have dogged the production and that doesn’t usually instill faith in the finished product. Is this a zombie movie too many? Is this a rare misstep in Mr Jolie’s career? Only time will tell.

It has been mooted that this is simply the first film in a possible trilogy but it will have to do good business to avoid becoming another Golden Compass. With the combined spending power of the zombie/Pitt fanbase, a sequel set in Europe co-starring Julia Roberts as a character who pretends to be a zombie version of the actress Julia Roberts can only be around the corner.

Despicable Me 2 (U)

Release date: Friday 28 June.

The Talent: Chris Renauld, Pierre Coffin (Dirs.), Steve Carrell, Kristin Wiig, Benjamin Bratt.

The Plot: Gru is a reformed character after the events of 2010’s surprisingly entertaining first film and is leading a pretty unexciting life. Unexciting that is until he is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help take down Eduardo, the newest villainous threat to the world.

The Buzz: With a plot that sees Steve Carrell’s Gru use his former villainous skills in order to put himself in the mind of a terrifying nemesis this could be the animated To Catch a Thief/Red Dragon crossover the popcorn guzzling population has demanded for years!

Seriously though, proving that production worries aren’t the monopoly of over-expensive zombie flicks, Despicable Me 2 lost the voice talent of Al Pacino a matter of months before its release. But, with Benjamin Bratt more than ably stepping in, the short-trousered demographic this film is aimed at will not even notice the difference.

This is the End (15)

Release date: Friday 28 June.

The Talent: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen (Dirs.), Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, James Franco.

The Plot: The Apocalypse hits Los Angeles as a group of A-list Hollywood stars discover the true meaning of friendship as they battle a series of cataclysmic events that ravage Tinseltown.

The Buzz: Coping with the ‘End of the World’ appears to be a common theme running through films in June but yet none of them will be as postmodern or self-knowing as this offering from some of America’s biggest comedy stars. The talent on show is responsible for some of the best (and worst) comedy offerings to cross the Pond over the last ten years or so.

If you’re a fan of Knocked Up, Pineapple Express and films of that ilk then you’ll no doubt think that this is the best comedy movie about the Apocalypse ever (well, at least until Edgar Wright’s The World’s End comes out next month). If, however, Rogen et al don’t tickle your funny bone then you should probably avoid this film like the zombie plague.

What are you looking forward to at the cinema this month? Let us know below…