Nothing says the beginning of the summer run like Mirror Mirror, The Cold Light Of Day and a re-release of Titanic in 3D, but whilst the latter may have done pretty well for a pretty shameless cash-in, audiences in the UK especially got suckered in to the ultimate cynical studio cash-grab in the form of Battleship. It may have sunk in the US, but the rest of the world was happy to lap up a month-earlier release of the adaptation of the board game that barely has any resemblance at all.
Thankfully for the sane, The Cabin In The Woods, the long-long-long awaited horror film from Joss Whedon got a release in April. Not box office gold, but vindication for fans waiting for years, principal photography ended in 2009. Grandparent friendly film Salmon Fishing In The Yemen seemed to light the box office on fire in a similar way to February's Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, as the silver haired ones went out in droves to catch some fish, whilst Guy Pearce's best film of the year, Lockout, was ignored. Ultimate marmite movie, Damsels In Distress, also found a release in April. The 2011 surprise film at the London Film Festival, I personally counted 30 walk-outs at that screening, and envied every last one of them.
Walk-outs were less likely in April's big release, and one of 2012's biggest hits, Marvel's Avengers Assemble. THAT redeemed Whedon as a box office master, with a killer script, wonderful direction, hysterical, vibrant, exciting, smart. The Avengers, as non-UKers know it as, was the ultimate sumer blockbuster of the year. And it continued for months.
Quickly running off Zac Efron's giant arms, May got into gear with the surprisingly funny fourquel, kinda, American Pie: Reunion, before finding a decent Jason Statham film for everyone in Safe. Tim Burton's first misstep of the year, Dark Shadows, wallowed under the massive entity of The Avengers, whilst Mel Gibson's mean-spirited actioner How I Spent My Summer Vacation didn't get noticed whatsoever. Audiences also ignored Piranha 3DD, but so did any talent on set of that film. Or dignity.
May did see Sacha Baron Cohen's latest comedy creation, General Aladeen, in The Dictator, a painfully hysterical film that got a bit of the run around by people. Running around was a lot of The Raid's element, however much people forgot to see it, as the Indonesian action flick won big with critics (Here's a great interview with the film's director). Men In Black 3 surprised everyone as audiences came in their droves to get another slice of J and K, whilst Moonrise Kingdom seemed to do well for Anderson enthusiasts and the indie crowd (Despite being quite bad). Quite bad didn't stop Snow White & The Huntsman from making a killing either.
May saw the end of an era as Beastie Boy Adam "MCA" Yauch passed away. Not just a maverick of the hip-hop scene, his Oscilloscope Laboratories company helped distribute indie films that were getting no attention elsewhere, including great films like Meek's Cutoff and The Messenger. A true legend.
In addition, the writer of Where The Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak, passed on in May. He was best known in America, but it is evident that his work flew worldwide and inspired generations.
Prometheus. That's all June was about, that masterpiece of tension, unparalleled ideas and originality, that never fell down at obvious narrative hurdles which only proved infuriating when you realise that everything could have been easily avoided with a second thought on each silly B-movie moment. Hooray for Michael Fassbender.
June did see Top Cat - The Movie doing very well for itself, as competitors Brave and Madagascar 3 opted for August and October releases respectively. The gap for a kid-friendly animation was filled by a film many thought bad, but was in fact just inoffensive. June saw a weekend where not one but three films on this writer's worst of the year were to come out, alongside iLL Manors, the disappointing debut from Ben Drew. Red Tails, Casa de mi Padre and A Fantastic Fear Of Everything failed hard each, and were absolute abominations. Even Rock Of Ages couldn't bring the mood up, an overlong, often rather ill-told jukebox musical whose MVP, Tom Cruise, wasn't having enough fun on screen for the audience to also enjoy.
David Cronenberg kind-of returned to Cronenbergian elements with Cosmopolis, the first of two limo-set weird films of 2012. Robert Pattinson put in great performance in an odd, often kind of dull film. Here's a roundtable discussion on the film with those two.
Buried director Rodrigo Cortés wrote and directed Red Lights, starring Cillian Muprhy, Sigourney Weaver and Robert De Niro. What should have been a funny and scary look at psycho-skeptics in a world full of mediums and psychics unfortunately became a bland jump-scare filled nonsense machine with a twist that hits the film harder than the weak script.
June wasn't all bad, however, the fun and silly Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter came out, with a great lead in Benjamin Walker and Timur Bekmambetov's patented crazy visual style taking a step up in 3D. Good silly fun indeed. And whilst the film's title is how long it feels, The Five-Year Engagement was a rare comedy full of laughs. Poorly paced, inconsistent but often laugh-out-loud. It didn't get the notice it deserved, but what does?
June ended with the stellar King Of Devil's Island, which this site has plenty of great interviews on, including with one of the leads, Stellan Skarsgård and the director, and Killer Joe, featuring a drumstick, performances from Emile Hirsch, Thomas Hayden Church and Juno Temple that are excellent and what should be Matthew McConaughey's Oscar win. (We also talked to that film's director, Mr. William Friedkin)
June saw the lovely Mrs. Landingham herself, Kathryn Joosten, pass on, as did Henry Hill, the man of course that Goodfellas was based on. His morally questionable life became one of the greatest films of all time.
Next week, July through September. A time for Princesses, Olympians, Expendables and Dredd.