1. The Purge
While The Purge was in limited release on May 31st, we missed it for the May Movie Releases, so we’ll feature it here in honor of its June 7th wide release. In near future United States, employment is at an all-time high with crime at an all-time low. The reason is for twelve hours one night each year, the rule of law is suspended. Emergency services are halted. And people are allowed to give in to their most violent urges. Theft, rape, murder… it’s all legal if it’s done within those twelve hours. The Sandines are a normal family; they spend the Purge night every year safely locked in their fully locked down and alarmed home. Except that this year, a strange man comes to the neighborhood asking for shelter, and one of the children lets him in. Then, those who were chasing him target the Sandines as well as the stranger. Written and directed by James DeMonaco and produced by Michael Bay (Transformers, A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Jason Blum (Lawless, Paranormal Activity), this looks to be an intriguing mix of near future dystopia and classic horror.
Release Date June 7
2. Man of Steel
I doubt I need to tell you much about Man of Steel. There have been several attempts to return Superman to the big screen and reboot the franchise, and so far none have really stuck. But DC fans have cause for hope: once the recent Batman trilogy was completed, Christopher Nolan turned his eye to the Last Son of Krypton as his next major project. Nolan co-wrote the script along with David S. Goyer, who was also his partner in crime for the Batman trilogy. Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300) directs. All this just sounds like a dream come true to fans around the world. Let’s hope Harry Cavill’s Superman makes the grade, because if so, DC may be gearing up for a larger than life Justice League movie to compete with Marvel’s Avengers.
Release Date June 14
3. Monsters University
Once a year Pixar Studios gives us a movie that challenges us to not like it. This year, that movie is the prequel to 2001’s Monsters, Inc. Monsters Sully (voiced by John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) are in living it up in college, learning to scare, and not quite friends yet. They join a fraternity of outcasts, think they’re better than they really are… typical freshmen stuff. They make such a pain of themselves, in fact, that, when the annual group scaring contest is announced, they are told to win or leave MU. All-star voice talent from Monsters, Inc. returns, along with newcomers Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle) and John Krasinski (The Office, The Muppets).
Release Date June 21
4. World War Z
June is not without its book adaptation! World War Z is based off the novel of the same name by Max Brooks. It is directed by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace, The Kite Runner) and stars Brad Pitt. But it’s there that things begin to look a little sour. There are four credited writers on the script, meaning studio execs had a field day during the planning process. When that happens, the movie becomes in danger of being disjointed, with large gaping plot holes and sub-par characterization. That doesn’t always happen, but it’s common enough to be a red flag for me. The release date has been pushed back twice for a six month delay due to re-shoots. The good news is that World War Z goes way farther than any zombie film has ever gone. This is pure action thriller, with no goofiness involved. A lethal virus has spread through the human population, causing those who suffer from it to need to consume living flesh. The only cure is to destroy the sufferer’s brain. It’s also highly contagious, taking out whole countries before the United Nations can really start getting a handle on the situation. Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is sent on several missions to discover the cause of the virus as well as viable ways to stop it. One last bit of bad news: rumor has it that the film World War Z is only slightly based on the book, so fans of the novel beware. However, studio execs must be confident, as there are plans to create two sequels, making World War Z the first of a trilogy of films.
Release Date June 21
Tired of teenaged vampires yet? Even if you are, you still might want to go see Byzantium. Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan; The Lovely Bones, Atonement) is a sixteen-year-old vampire. Except she was born 200 years ago. She lives with her mother, Clara (Gemma Arterton; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time), who is also a vampire. The years have taken their toll on Eleanor, who is tired of her way of life, and she starts to write down her story. But secrets like that are better kept, as those who will do anything to keep them come after Eleanor. Written by Moira Buffini (Jane Eyre) and directed by Neil Jordan (Borgias, Interview with the Vampire), Byzantium has garnered great early reviews and looks like a real gem.
Release Date June 28