15 of the best summer blockbusters 2012

Avoid sunburn and spend the summer in the cool cinema with web-slingers, dictators and people from Mars

American Reunion

April 6th 2012

As the name suggests, all the best cast members from the American Pie films are back for one last paycheck... we mean LOL-fest. Jim’s awkward sexual efforts will be racked up alongside Stifler’s hip thrusting and Jim’s dad's eyebrows. They’re all meeting up for a school reunion so expect awkward and embarrassing laughs in magnum-sized loads.

Avengers Assemble

May 4th 2012

Fan boys everywhere are already writing practice blogs in anticipation of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, and the other two less impressive superheroes teaming up for a spectacular show of Marvel’s best. But can anything suffering this much hype live up to the excitement? With Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Joss Whedon directing, US$220 million spent, and Iron Man blowing things up (lots) it can’t be all bad – even if the UK title is ridiculous.

The Dictator

May 18th 2012

Sacha Baron Cohen is back at the helm of another blockbuster budget aimed at aggravating the world into laughter once more. This time it’s terrorist jokes in tank loads, mainly on American soil. The dictator character of Admiral General Aladeen is loosely based on Saddam Hussein. The premise, meanwhile, is not dissimilar to Charlie Chaplin’s film the Great Dictator; in that film, a barber resembling a Hitler-like dictator assumes his place, while in The Dictator, Aladeen is forced to live as an ordinary man when his signature beard is shaved off. With John C. Reilly, Anna Faris and Ben Kingsley on the cast list, you’d best limber up before seeing this, as we predict you’ll be sore from laughing by the end.

Men In Black III

May 25th 2012

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are back in black – in a time-travel adventure which sees Josh Brolin playing the young agent K. And if that team didn’t sound good enough already, Barry Sonnenfeld is back behind the camera for Men in Black III. Expect aliens, time travel, assassination attempts, and giant guns – all in the Mad Men style swinging sixties. Oh and Nicole Scherzinger is in it too.

Prometheus

June 8th 2012

An Alien prequel helmed by its original director Ridley Scott? How could that go wrong? Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Charlize Theron and Idris Elba are all on board to make it, so we're hoping nothing can capsize this Titanic production. Cool space suits, barren alien landscapes and shots with Red Epic cameras fitted with Element Technica Atom 3D rigs should make it a 3D marvel too.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

June 22nd 2012

The world is about to end. Dodge (Steve Carell) is alone after his wife left him, so he sets out with his neighbour Penny (Keira Knightley) to find his childhood sweetheart. But his road trip buddy puts a wrench in the works. Directed by Lorene Scafaria, the author of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, you can expect dark humour and heart touching moments aplenty.

The Amazing Spider-Man

July 6th 2012

Spider-Man has been rebooted once again, but this time it’s carrying the full comic title from the original Amazing Spider-Man. It’s also got a convincing lead in the skinny-science-nerd looking English actor Andrew Garfield. Love interest Gwen Stacey will be played by Emma Stone and Doctor Connors/The Lizard will be played by Rhys Ifans. And thanks to the Red Epic camera (this was the first major film that has used it) the film was shot in 5K, so should feel stunning as Spidey web-slings his way around New York in first-person perspective 3D.

More after the break...

The Dark Knight Rises

July 20th 2012

The finale to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy could be the best of the bunch – despite the absence of the late Heath Ledger. Ledger's Joker has a worthy successor in Bane, played by Bronson's Tom Hardy. Bane's always been one of Batman’s greatest foes in the comics, once breaking Batman’s back and nearly killing him – and for the first time in the Nolan trilogy, we have a villain who looks like he actually poses a physical threat to Batman.

Early footage caused fanboy gripes about Bane being virtually unintelligible through his Darth Vader-esque mask – but Nolan reckons it’ll be fine once you’re in the cinema. We hope so or it could ruin the best reboot of any series to date.

G.I. JOE Retaliation

August 3rd 2012

The original G.I. JOE was everything Transformers should have been – an unfettered glimpse into the mind of an eight-year-old boy smacking his toy soldiers together and shouting "Ninja kick!"

Just like the extended toy commercials that were the cartoon series, the sequel kicks off by introducing a whole new line of characters – played by Bruce Willis and The Rock, among others – and slaughtering the outdated old Joes. There are question marks over the fact that director John M Chu's CV includes the likes of Step Up 4 and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never – but we're prepared to give him a fair crack of the whip.

The Bourne Legacy

August 3rd 2012

Out with Matt Damon and in with The Hurt Locker’s Jeremy Renner for The Bourne Legacy’s lead role of Aaron Cross/Kenneth Kitson. Yup, it’s based on the original novel but Jason Bourne has been written out along with Damon. Fear not though, with Ed Norton taking up the role of bad guy (hopefully with some American History X style intensity), it should be a winner.

The Expendables 2

August 17th 2012

It’s all about the action, and the action stars, for this Sylvester Stallone starring sequel. Arnold Schwarzenegger has come out of acting retirement to reprise his role as Trench – this time with some actual screentime instead of a cameo. Add this list of action heroes and it becomes a must-see: (breathe in) Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews and Randy Couture (and exhale).

Brave

August 17th 2012

Disney and Pixar’s summer offering comes in the form of a red-headed Princess. Merida has to be brave, and fight her kingdom’s traditions using her wit and archery skills so as to avoid chaos and stop a beastly curse. With Skyrim and Game of Thrones peaking in popularity this Celtic-looking toon could be another winner for Pixar et al.

Total Recall

August 24th 2012

A remake of an Arnold Schwarzenegger film is a tough nut to crack – unless it’s Hercules in New York. Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, and Jessica Biel plan – apparently – to use good looks and Minority Report style action to blow us far enough away from the original Total Recall that we won’t even mind if the girl with three breasts doesn’t make an appearance. Good luck, chaps.

Premium Rush

September 28th 2012

The prince of Indie film, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, has somehow managed – following G.I. JOE and The Dark Knight Rises – to do yet another action film. Premium Rush follows a bike courier who is chased around New York by a dirty cop who’s after the envelope he is trying to deliver. Cool fixie bike tricks will draw in the Hoxton crowds while bike chain swinging destruction should get in the extreme sports fans.

Looper

September 28th 2012

And Joseph Gordon-Levitt has managed yet another film this summer. Looper is a sci-fi flick set in a 2042 gangland where Levitt plays a mob killer who whacks people sent back from 2072. When he recognises one of the victims (played by Bruce Willis) as his future self he hesitates on the kill.

The story alone sold us – then we heard it was written and directed by Rian Johnson of Brick and The Brothers Bloom fame, and now we're itching for a release. Though whether the prosthetics that are supposed to turn Gordon-Levitt into a young Bruce Willis will hold up to scrutiny are another matter.

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