Once it's time to put away all those heavy coats, gloves and sweaters, you know that summer is just around the corner. This movie season is certainly filled with plenty of the usual caped crime-stoppers, sequels and remakes but having learned lessons from the previous years, there are also other interesting options offered. You will see more female-driven comedies (Reese Witherspoon & Sofia Vergara in "Hot Pursuit" and Melissa McCarthy in "Spy" to name just two) and challenging indies (Michael Fassbender in the western, "Slow West", Jack Black and James Marsden getting very close in the wild bromance, "The D Train") to deliver some warm-weather cinematic alternatives.
Here is my small list of some of the upcoming summer flicks that I'm really looking forward to seeing.
All dates are subject to change:
"AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON"
Release date: May 1, 2015
The mother of all super-hero movies, "The Avengers" smashed box-office records by globally raking in over a billion dollars back in 2012. The inevitable sequel is here and "Avengers: Age of Ultron" has our band of heroes trying to once again save the world from complete destruction. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) creates an artificial intelligence device that is self-aware called Ultron (James Spader). It's purpose was for maintaining peace on the planet, however Ultron decides that Earth would be safer without humans. The Avengers (that includes Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner returning in their respective roles) not only have to stop this machine but also have to deal with Ultron's allies, Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and the Vision (Paul Bettany).
"WELCOME TO ME"
Release date: May 1, 2015
The very gifted Kristen Wiig is given the opportunity to combine her comedic skills and dramatic abilities in the quirky comedy "Welcome To Me". It tells the story of a woman (Wiig) with borderline personality disorder who is off her meds. After winning millions in the lottery, she decides she wants to become famous like Oprah and starts her own talk show. The actress surrounds herself with an impressive cast that includes James Marsden, Wes Bentley, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Joan Cusack and Tim Robbins.
"MAD MAX: FURY ROAD"
Release date: May 15, 2015
I will be the first to admit I'm truly suffering from remake/reboot fatigue. Now having said that, there are a few coming out this summer that have me slightly intrigued. One of them is "Mad Max: Fury Road". Thirty years after the first film, director and co-writer George Miller takes us back to the post-apocalyptic world of Max. Instead of Mel Gibson (thank goodness), we now have Tom Hardy in the role. This time, Max is being imprisoned by Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). He will earn his freedom by the hardened, Furiosa (Charlize Theron) in exchange for helping her escape across the desert with five women held captive by Joe.
Release date: June 12. 2015
After delivering a mesmerizing performance in 2011's "Jane Eyre", Aussie actress, Mia Wasikowska is tackling another literary classic. This time it's "Madame Bovary", the French novel about a young woman who marries a kind but uninteresting doctor (Henry Lloyd-Hughes). Bored and unhappy, she begins searching for fulfillment through extramarital affairs. Ezra Miller, Rhys Ifans and Paul Giamatti also star.
Release date: June 12, 2015
"Jurassic World", the third sequel to "Jurassic Park", is set over twenty years later with a finally realized theme-park with live dinosaurs roaming the island. What could possibly go wrong? Bryce Dallas Howard is the profit-seeking operations manager and Chris Pratt (who brightened last summer with "Guardians of The Galaxy") is a lead member of the staff that studies these creatures. No surprise that these two don't see eye to eye.
"WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE?"
Release date: June 24, 2015
Release date: July TBA
These two documentaries focuses on two of the most extraordinary voices in pop music. In "What Happened, Miss Simone?", director Liz Garbus uses interviews and extensive concert footage to explore the life of "The High Priestess of Soul", Nina Simone. Eccentric, demanding and complicated (although this is at least partially due to her being later diagnosed as bipolar), Simone was a masterful musician and unique vocalist who struggled to control her demons.
Another great talent that struggled to fight her demons throughout her short life is British pop singer, Amy Winehouse. Award-winning director, Asif Kapadia shaped "Amy" around having the late artist reveal herself in her own words though previously unseen interviews and performances. "Amy" has just been selected to be screened at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
Release date: July 17, 2015
The busy Judd Apatow ("The 40 Year-Old Virgin", "Bridesmaids", HBO's "Girls") is back with his fifth film as a director and "Trainwreck" looks very promising. He has tapped hot comedian, Amy Schumer to star and write the script for this comedy loosely based on experiences in her own life. She plays a men's magazine writer who is seriously commitmentphobic until she meets a charming sports doctor (Bill Hader) that makes her reconsider her strong aversion to romance. The eclectic cast ranges from comedians (SNL's Vanessa Bayer, Collin Quinn), Oscar winners (the fabulous Tilda Swinton, Marisa Tomei), a pro wrestler (John Cena), rapper (Method Man) and basketball player (LeBron James).
Release date: July 24, 2015
"Southpaw" is a gritty drama that stars an almost unrecognizable Jake Gyllenhaal as a hulking boxing champ with a beautiful wife (Rachel McAdams) and child. After his wife is tragically murdered, the boxer's career unravels with his erratic behaviour causes him to lose his daughter to child protection services. The only solution is for him to get back in the ring with the help of a new trainer (Forest Whitaker). Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day", "The Equalizer") directs.
"RICKI AND THE FLASH"
Release date : August 7, 2015
It wouldn't feel like summer without Meryl Streep and she's here in "Ricki and The Flash". Oscar-winner Jonathan Demme ("The Silence of The Lambs") directs this dramedy (written by fellow Oscar-winner, Diablo Cody) about a wife and mother (Streep) who abandons her family to pursue her dream of a rock & roll career. Now, years later, she wants to reconnect with her adult children (Sebastian Stan and Streep's real-life daughter, Mamie Gummer) during their time of crisis but that will not be easy. Kevin Kline, six-time Tony winner, Audra McDonald and '80's rocker, Rick Springfield also star.