Looking at what’s coming to a cinema near you, inSing.com finds a few more ‘summer’ blockbusters, some art-house fare, an awards season favourite, as well as a couple of family-friendly films.
Among the more anticipated works are the latest Twilight instalment, Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller Inception, Disney’s Fantasia-inspired Nicolas Cage fantasy The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and the double-Oscar winner Precious.
And, talking animals return to the screen in a long-overdue sequel to 2001’s mega-hit movie Cats & Dogs.
Week of 1 July
The Stars: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
The Story: Continuing where it left off in New Moon, the plot has Bella (Stewart) again forced to choose between her love for Edward (Pattinson) and her friendship with Jacob (Lautner), faced with the wrath of a vengeful vampire, and conflicted about staying mortal or becoming a vampire.
The Buzz: There has been talk about a tent scene – readers of the Stephenie Meyer novel know what this is about – with Bella, Edward and Jacob. Before your mind goes into the gutter, it is apparently a scene where Edward and Jacob sort of bond, for a while, before resuming their hostilities. Expect it to be a highly charged scene that will have Twi-fans squealing at a theatre near you.
inSing.com says: The first two films of the Twilight Saga have thus far proved to be critic-proof – an extraordinary licence to have in making a teen-friendly hit with crossover potential. This sounds like a ‘bridge’ film that further explores the developments of New Moon leading up to the two films based on the final novel, Breaking Dawn, which answers the franchise’s biggest questions.
Also opening:Repo Men, a futuristic sci-fi thriller starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker as body-parts hunters; Triple Tap, a crime thriller featuring a cat-and-mouse battle of wills between Louis Koo and Daniel Wu; and Shanghai, a wartime noir with John Cusack, Ken Watanabe, Chow Yun-Fat and Gong Li.
Week of 8 July
Movie details | Photo gallery
The Stars: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand
The Story: An oafish super villain named Gru (Carell), who is bored with life and has lost his ambition, learns of a rival villain’s feats and decides to commit the crime of the century – steal the moon! The problem: he needs the help of three orphan girls in order to defeat Vector (Segel) and steal a weapon crucial to his plot. The girls unexpectedly brighten up his life and Gru starts having second thoughts about his lifestyle.
The Buzz: This 3-D experience has family friendly characters and plot, and a list of hip comedy talents in its cast, including those who appeal to the adults (Carell, Segel, Russell Brand) and one who appeals to tweens (Miranda Cosgrove, aka iCarly). Marketing has focused on the funny Twinkie-like minions who do Gru’s dirty work, though recent press has centred on Carell leaving his day job at The Office.
inSing.com says: The “super villain with a hidden heart of gold angle” is fairly straightforward, and gives many opportunities for the filmmakers to whip out fancy weapons and gadgets. Does Gru give Carell enough room to exhibit his comic talents, and is the film a tad too cutesy? You’ll have to watch to find out.
Also opening:Predators, a Robert Rodriguez-produced re-launch of the Predator franchise, with Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne and Topher Grace; Oceans, a nature documentary from the director who brought you Winged Migration; and Chloe, an erotic thriller from Atom Egoyan, starring Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson and Amanda Seyfried.
Week of 15 July
The Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
The Story: Dom (DiCaprio) is a covert operative who specialises in stealing secrets from individuals during their dream state – he actually delves into their dream worlds to do his job. In his last job, he faces the challenge of planting an idea, causing an ‘inception’, which throws up thrilling consequences.
The Buzz: Film fans, especially sci-fi and fantasy buffs, have been beside themselves with anticipation over this film, which promises to cement Nolan’s reputation for mind-bending thrillers following his acclaimed Memento. Trailers show remarkable dream sequences that parallel the effects from the sci-fi cult favourite Dark City, and Nolan has garnered attention for the film by also talking about his planned second Batman sequel.
inSing.com says: Based on Nolan’s sterling track record, the excellent cast he has on hand, and the visuals seen so far – worth every penny spent in its estimated US$200 million budget? – this could be one of the most memorable films of the year, if not the decade
Also opening: Another John Cusack movie, this time a comedy, hits the screen as Hot Tub Time Machine takes us back to the 1980s; The Blood Pledge, a horror flick set in a Korean girls high school; The Fantastic Water Babes, a swimming comedy with Gillian Chung and Stephen Fung; and Nodame Cantabile – The Finale, another big-screen sequel to the popular manga-based TV series.
Week of 22 July
The Stars: Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Monica Belluci
The Story: A somewhat nerdy average joe (Baruchel, She’s Out of My League) is recruited by a powerful sorcerer (Cage) to help him fight off his evil arch-enemy (Molina), who is threatening to destroy them as well as New York City. There’s also the little matter of the sorcerer’s apprentice wooing a young lady who might normally be, erm, out of his league.
The Buzz: When you develop a film loosely based on the Sorcerer's Apprentice segment of the Disney classic Fantasia (Mickey Mouse messes around with enchanted brooms), there's going to be a lot of pressure to succeed. Enter Cage, Baruchel and uber producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Trailers have been shown in cinemas since last year's The Princess and the Frog, and the humour and effects stand out.
inSing.com says: Expect Baruchel to continue to be the affable geek, someone whom audiences can root for when he inevitably succeeds, with magic and the girl. Having Cage aboard as the off-kilter sorcerer fits with his modus operandi and ensures much kooky fun, complete with floppy wig and requisite over-the-top performance.
Also opening:The Crazies, a horror remake of a 1973 George A. Romero movie; Ong Bak 3, yet another sequel with that Thai action man Tony Jaa; Aftershock, a disaster drama from acclaimed Chinese director Feng Xiaogang; and Old Cow vs Tender Grass, a local May-December rom-com with Henry Thia.
Week of 29 July
The Stars: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Mariah Carey
The Story: An overweight black teen (Sidibe) lives in poverty with her abusive mother, barely getting by while having to care for her Down’s Syndrome first child and her forthcoming second child. School is a refuge for her, what with her mother’s violent behaviour and her father’s repeated sexual assaults on her.
The Buzz: Leading up to the awards season that culminated in the Oscars held in early March, there was a lot of buzz about this remarkable film that featured top-notch acting from leads (and a noteworthy turn from pop singer Carey), as well as its heart-wrenching storyline that holds a mirror up to ghetto life. The film so moved Oprah Winfrey that she signed on to produce and champion the film.
inSing.com says: There is a reason why Mo’Nique, a former stand-up comic, was a shoo-in to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress – she is sensational and utterly terrifying in her role. The film also won an Oscar for its screenplay, adapted from Sapphire’s debut novel. It’s harrowing stuff, but a marvellous film.
Also opening:Au Revoir Taipei, an indie comedy with rising star Amber Kuo; Liar Game, a manga-based Japanese drama; Berlin 36, a drama inspired by the true story of a Jewish athlete struggling to keep her place on the national Olympic team of Nazi Germany; and the talking-animals movie Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.
As a special preview to the annual Japanese Film Festival, expected in August this year, there will be a Mystery Film screening on 17 July for members of the Singapore Film Society at The Picturehouse, Cathay. Membership sign-up is available at the door.
Nearby, also in mid-July, is the World Cinema Series screening of the 1946 Finnish classic Rakkauden Risti (The Cross of Love), by Teuvo Tulio. The film plays at the National Museum of Singapore on 20 July.
Note: All release dates are subject to change; all information correct as of press time.