The Movie Waffler TMW's Summer 2014 movie preview | The Movie Waffler

TMW's Summer 2014 movie preview

We take a look at the array of movies coming our way this summer. 

Editor's picks
Movies of all shapes and sizes that have whetted our editor's appetite.

Willow Creek
Directed by: Bobcat Goldthwait
Starring: Alexie Gilmore, Bryce Johnson
The latest from comedian turned director Goldthwait is quite a departure from his previous Libertarian comedies. This one is a found footage movie about a couple who set off into the woods in search of the mythical Sasquatch. If anything can revitalize the found footage genre it's a Bigfoot movie.

Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston
With the director of TMW's number one movie of 2010, Monsters, at the helm, 2014's reboot should be a million miles away from Roland Emmerich's lamentable 1998 attempt. Let's hope the suits gave Edwards some creative leeway or this movie could crumble like a Tokyo skyscraper. Early footage looks highly promising.

Cheap Thrills
Directed by: EL Katz
Starring: Pat Healy, Ethan Embry, Sara Paxton
This blackly comic indie thriller has been generating buzz on the festival circuit for over a year now and finally gets a release this summer. TMW fave Pat Healy got us interested in this a couple of years ago when we interviewed him about his role in 2012's Compliance. He plays one half of a down on their luck duo who become the playthings of a rich couple hellbent on seeing how far they can push the duo for money.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Directed by: Matt Reeves
Starring: Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis
2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes is arguably the best blockbuster of the recent era and its ending left us thirsty for more. The wait for Caesar's rise is finally over. Sadly, director Rupert Wyatt hasn't returned, as he's directing a remake of the Karel Reisz classic The Gambler.  Instead, Cloverfield's Matt Reeves taking up the reins.

Directed by: David Gordon Green
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Ronnie Gene Blevins
No, it's not a remake of the hippy era classic. This is being hailed as Nic Cage's return to credibility as he portrays an ex-con who becomes the mentor of a young boy. Sounds like Slingblade meets Mud, which is a very mouth-watering thought.

Night Moves
Directed by: Kelly Reichardt
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Jesse Eisenberg, Peter Sarsgaard
Indie director Reichardt gets to work with her biggest budget yet in this thriller about eco-terrorists planning to destroy a dam. If it's as good as last year's similarly themed The East, we're in for a treat.

The would be blockbusters
This is yet another summer dominated by mega budget Hollywood fare. Here are the prime contenders for your holiday bucks.

Guardians of the Galaxy
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
If you're burnt out on comic book adaptations, you're in for a long summer. This is the latest in the seemingly endless stream of movies expanding the Marvel universe. With former Troma alum James Gunn in charge, this one should at least have a sense of humor. Let's hope it can find a better climax than the usual destruction fests of the superhero genre.

X-Men: Days of Future Past
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman
The X-Men movies have been a mixed bag but with its cold war setting, 2011's X-Men: First Class gave us something different. The time travelling premise of this sequel could be really innovative, but it could also be a hot mess. With the writer of some of the worst movies of recent years, including series' low point X-Men: The Last Stand, Simon Kinberg returning, things don't bode well.

Directed by: Robert Stromberg
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley
It seems like Jolie has been occupied by this Disney prequel for the best part of the last decade but it's finally about to see the light of day. I'm not sure anyone asked for the origin story of Sleeping Beauty's nemesis but we're getting one anyway. Our money's on this being the flop of the summer.

Transformers: Age of Extinction
Directed by: Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor
What can we say? Well quite a lot but Bay's people might sue us so let's move on shall we?

The Expendables 3
Directed by: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford
The "Dad's Army with dynamite" series continues. The first two installments suffered heavily by taking themselves far too seriously for such a ludicrous concept. This looks like yet another "Oh Grandad!" moment.

Edge of Tomorrow
Directed by: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton
The pitch reads like Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers. Director Liman has had his moments (Swingers, The Bourne Identity) and his misfires (Mr & Mrs Smith, Jumper) but it's the presence of Cruise and Blunt that sells this one for us.

Also competing
Can any of these movies put up a fight against the blockbuster behemoths?

Directed by: Mike Flanagan
Starring: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff
Horror movies are thin on the ground during summer, guaranteeing a sizable audience for this tale of a haunted mirror. Not the most original of concepts but horror fans will take anything they can get in the warm months.

The Purge: Anarchy
Directed by: James DeMonaco
Starring: Frank Grillo, Zach Gilford, Michael K Williams

Last year's surprise hit The Purge failed to live up to its intriguing premise by confining its action to one suburban home. The quickly turned around sequel promises to give us a real look at this world.

Directed by: Luc Besson
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Analeigh Tipton

A waifish female protagonist with a bob haircut who is good at killing? Besson's not exactly stretching himself. This time Johansson follows the well worn path established by Anne Parillaud, Natalie Portman and Milla Jovovich.

Deliver Us From Evil
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Eric Bana, Édgar Ramírez, Olivia Munn
A New York cop teams with a priest to solve a case the latter believes is the work of supernatural forces. The premise reminds us of Larry Cohen's God Told Me To, one of the most under-rated movies of the seventies.

Sin City: A Dame to Die For
Directed by: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson
The recent 300: Rise of an Empire was laughably dated by sticking with its predecessor's noughties aesthetic. This sequel to another terrible film from that terrible decade looks set to make the same mistake.

Jupiter Ascending
Directed by: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Starring: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Douglas Booth
Responsible for some of the worst films of the last 15 years, the Wachowskis quickly follow up last year's travesty Cloud Atlas with what looks to be yet another immensely irritating piece of "stylistic" guff.

World Cinema highlights
For fans of World Cinema, Summer can be a dry spell but there are some tasty offerings on the way.

Directed by: Su-won Shin
Starring: Da-wit Lee, Jun Sung, Sung Ha Jo
A group of schoolkids exploit a lonely boy's desire to fit in by forcing him into increasingly sinister situations in this dark Korean drama. Nobody handles material of this nature like the Koreans but sometimes they can take things too far in an attempt to repulse.

A Touch of Sin
Directed by: Zhangke Jia
Starring: Wu Jiang, Lanshan Luo, Li Meng
Jia's anthology film tells four stories linked by seemingly random acts. It picked up lots of good reviews in its 2013 festival run and could be a watershed for Chinese cinema.

Before the Winter Chill
Directed by: Philippe Claudel
Starring: Daniel Auteuil, Kristin Scott Thomas, Leïla Bekhti
At this point it's difficult to think of Scott Thomas as an English speaking actress and here she reteams with director Claudel, who made her the biggest star of contemporary French cinema with 2008's I've Loved You So Long, for a story of a relationship in crisis.

Venus in Fur
Directed by: Roman Polanski
Starring: Emmanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric
Polanski follows up the bland Carnage with another stage adaptation. Casting his wife as an actress desperate to land a part from Polanski lookalike Amalric, this one looks decidedly on the nose for the exiled director.

Directed by: Pawel Pawlikowski
Starring: Agata Kulesza, Agata Trzebuchowska, Joanna Kulig
After establishing himself in UK cinema, Polish director Pawlikowski returns to his homeland for this tale of a nun who discovers some dark family secrets. The stark black and white cinematography looks very enticing.

Camille Claudel 1915
Directed by: Bruno Dumont
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Jean-Luc Vincent, Emmanuel Kauffman
This may seem like the latest in a line of bland French cultural biopics until you realize it's written and directed by Dumont. This means it could well be an endurance test (Hors Satan anyone), but it certainly won't be formulaic. Binoche's title performance is said to be outstanding.

Eric Hillis