Xavierpop’s Summer Movie Preview Spectacular – Part III (Big Directors, ‘Small’ Movies, & the Arthouse Circuit)

Some big-name directors feature prominently this summer season, beginning with the return of the edgier Oliver Stone that we once knew from Natural Born Killers with his Savages (Jul.6), the Trafficky-looking drug cartel pic starring Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, John Travolta and Salma Hayek. Very hot trailer.

First it was Barcelona, then Paris last year, now Woody Allen brings us To Rome With Love (Jun.22) featuring a wonderful sexy-smart cast in Greta Gerwig (Damsels in Distress), Ellen Page, and Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network). Also starring Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Roberto Benigni and the Woodster himself, first time since 2006’s Scoop.

Steven Soderbergh hopes to do for male strippers in Magic Mike (Jun.29) what he did for high-class escorts in The Girlfriend Experience, with Channing Tatum in a semi-autobiographical role as a male stripper who brings a kid under his wing and teaches him the ropes.

Spike Lee returns to his roots with Red Hook Summer, another edition to a set that includes Do the Right Thing, Clockers and Crooklyn. This one’s a coming-of-age tale about a boy from Atlanta sent to live out one summer in Brooklyn in a movie that opened with a very warm reception at Sundance in January.

Peter Hedges (Dan in Real Life, About a Boy) returns with The Odd Life of Timothy Green, from the screenwriter of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?. Starring Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton as a childless couple whose wish comes true. Looks very interesting.

Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People, A Mighty Heart) returns with Trishna (Jul.13) in an updating of Tess of the D’Ubervilles, w/Slumdog Millionaire and Mississauga‘s own Freida Pinto.

William Friedkin (The Exorcist, Bug) is back with the thriller Killer Joe (Jul.27) starring Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch.

Sarah Polley‘s Take This Waltz (Jun.29) stars Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen.

John Hillcoat (The Proposition, the Road) is back with Lawless (Aug.31) featuring Jessica Chastain, Shia LeBeouf, Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman. Looks like another strong one.

David Koepp returns with the bike courier actioner Premium Rush (Aug.31) starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Some of these films will open in limited release in bigger cities and then move out in the weeks after that, and along with them will be indies, docs and foreign films. They include the indie comedy Lola Versus (Jun.15) w/Greta Gerwig as a young woman dumped just before her wedding; the Parisian drama Bel Ami (Jun.15) w/Robert Pattinson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Uma Thurman and Christina Ricci;  featuring on-demand distribution before limited theatrical releases are God Bless America (May.11), Bobcat Goldthwaite‘s savage comedy, as well as the return of Mel Gibson in Get the Gringo (May.11); Les Intouchables (May.25) featuring France’s Dustin Hoffman, Francois Cluzet, in a movie nominated for 8 of France’s Oscars (Cesars) as well as Polisse (May.18) another big french drama, nominated for 13 Cesars; and lovers of Japanese cinema should be on the lookout for master Kore-eda Hirokazu’s I Wish (May.18) opening in limited release.

Documentary highlights include Paul Williams Still Alive (Jun.15), Under African Skies (May.18) about the making of Paul Simon‘s Graceland record (in yet another return to the 80’s this summer), Morgan Spurlock‘s (Super Size Me) manscaping doc Mansome (May.18), and the gut-wrenching U.S. military doc about sexual abuse titled The Invisible War (Jun.22).

– MovieJay