Summer movies: The five I can’t wait to see, plus readers’ picks

A big superhero blockbuster is now in theaters. The smell of popcorn and plastic 3-D glasses is in the air. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the summer movie season is here.


Merida of Pixar’s “Brave.” (Pixar/AP)

As Weekend’s summer movie guide makes clear, there are scads upon scads of films to ingest over the next few months, from buzzy comic book sagas and family fare to indies with the potential to attain sleeper status. There are many I am eager to see, but I’ve singled out five (see below) that I am especially looking forward to experiencing.

Earlier this week, I also asked readers to share, via a single tweet, the summer movie they are most looking forward to, using the hashtag #mysummermovie. After my list, you’ll see some of those responses, which confirm what was already pretty clear: that virtually everyone you know is aching for “The Dark Knight Rises.” Feel free to continue that summer movie conversation on Twitter using the #mysummermovie hashtag, and to share your own list of picks by posting a comment below. Now, my five.

1. “The Amazing Spider-Man”


“The Amazing Spider-Man” (Jaimie Trueblood/Sony/Via AP)

Look, clearly I’m as excited about “The Dark Knight Rises” as, well, everyone else on the planet. But in the interest of superhero diversity, I’ve put “The Amazing Spider-Man” on my list because I’m in­cred­ibly curious to see how differently director Marc Webb handles the Peter Parker story from the way Sam Raimi did. But even more than that, I’m curious about the performances. As Post film critic Ann Hornaday rightly notes in her Style essay about “The Avengers,” the actors are often what distinguish truly great comic book movies from the merely mediocre ones. And with the on-the-rise Andrew Garfield taking over for Tobey Maguire, “Spider-Man” seems to have a lot of dramatic — as well as soaring-through-the-skyline — promise.

2. “Brave”

During nearly every summer in recent memory, moviegoers could usually count on one thing: Pixar. Then the seemingly unimpeachable studio released last year’s “Cars 2” and, for the first time, got a smackdown from those who felt the Lightning McSequel wasn’t up to the usual “Nemo” and “Wall-E” standards.

With “Brave,” Pixar gets a chance to redeem itself. And it also gets to do something certain female media professionals have been hoping it would do for some time: center a film on a female protagonist.

3. “Safety Not Guaranteed”

My friend and fellow film critic Travis Hopson — who regularly reviews movies along with me, Tim Gordon and Family Filmgoer columnist Jane Horwitz on WETA’s series “Around Town” — recently assured me during this podcast that “Safety Not Guaranteed,” which Hopson saw at Sundance, marks a breakthrough moment for “Parks and Recreation’s” Aubrey Plaza.

I trust his judgment and the fact that others at Sundance also responded positively to this offbeat story about a trio of magazine writers, including Plaza, pursuing a guy (Mark Duplass) who wants a companion to time travel with him. As someone always on the hunt for a quality summer sleeper, I’m keeping a close eye on this one.

4. “Moonrise Kingdom

Yes, I was a little disappointed by “The Life Aquatic.” And I also was more enchanted by the scenery in “The Darjeeling Limited” than I was by the characters or the story.

But my admiration for “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Rushmore” and “Bottle Rockets” runs so deep that every time Wes Anderson announces a new project, I get film-geekily excited.

This coming-of-age story has all the classic Anderson elements: among other things, characters who hang out in tents, listen to record players and/or say things like “Jiminy crickets”; frames that overflow with gorgeously nerdy details; and Bill Murray.

Mr. Anderson, I’m on board even if this thing winds up derailing.

5. “The Campaign”

In this presidential election year, what we obviously need is a summer comedy in which Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis play rival candidates. Thankfully, that’s what “The Campaign” gives us. Here’s hoping it’s the same sort of unexpectedly hilarious delight that 2010’s “The Other Guys” was.

So what are your #mysummermovie choices?

A few choice tweets and comments:

The Dark Knight Rises - did you see the trailer? Nolan takes summer films to a higher level. It’s not even fair to others. #mysummermovie

— Dexter Rose (@bleedtheBnG) May 2, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises is #mysummermovie. It might just be the last “super hero” movie of its kind (artistic, smart, real, and intense).

— Inshar Khan (@I_Khan_n_InKh) May 4, 2012

#mysummermovie..... #The DarkKnightRises is going to be an EPIC conclusion to an EPIC story!!!

— Aries (@AMsuperstar2012) May 2, 2012

A blog comment from our own Sarah Anne Hughes:

Dark Knight Rises: Because Batman hasn’t given us everything. Not yet.

And on the non-Batman front...

@celebritology The Amazing Spider-man. Because it has the Lizard. And I like giant lizards. They’re cool. #mysummermovie

— Josh Jackson (@joshdjackson) May 3, 2012

Summer movie season is here! Avengers on Fri but really waiting for Lincoln. That it opens in June not Aug must be good sign. #mysummermovie

— Kris Hammargren (@khammargren) May 3, 2012

Prometheus.What could be better than Ridley Scott’s return to sci-fi? #mysummermovie

— Jonah Anderson (@Banjiwayume) May 3, 2012

And a blog comment from JLF03:

SW & the Huntsman: Because it looks thrilling, well-cast (CT seems fab) and downright entertaining.

When she isn’t at a movie theater or writing about movies, Jen Chaney is ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.

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