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Summer Movies - 2014

Well it’s summertime again. We found a list of movies opening this summer and see very little of the bouncing bikini babes on the beach as in years past. Though we can't promise that all these movies will open nationwide or even be successful we will note those we find interesting. Our interest can be sparked by a genre we like, or a director we admire or an actor we've watched or who may be an up and coming.

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DECODING ANNIE PARKER -The true story of two women; one a young women whose mother and older sister both succumbed to breast cancer, the second a research geneticist who will go on to find the hereditary breast cancer gene. Samantha Morton, a British actress who was brilliant in Minority Report, is the young woman and Helen Hunt, a veteran actress who’s been in many movies we’ve enjoyed, is the researcher.

NEIGHBORS -Rose Byrne, an Australian actress, is a real and wonderful surprise in this movie. She plays the wife of Seth Rogen in this raunchy comedy and the both of them do battle with the fraternity next door. She has exceptional comic timing and more than holds her own with other very funny actors in this movie.

GodzillaSTAGE FRIGHT -We are real fans of Meat Loaf; both his music (Bat Out of Hell) and his movie appearances (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and always look forward to his appearances. Minnie Driver is a British singer/songwriter/actress who we particularly enjoyed in the television series The Riches. They both star in this musical horror movie.

GODZILLA -The Golden Gate Bridge gets mauled, thats the important thing. This movie is a reboot of our favorite 1956 monster movie. With an international cast that goes way beyond Raymond Burr; with an American actress (Elizabeth Olsen), an English actress (Sally Hawkins), and a French actress (Juliette Binoche) sadly Ms Binoche's character dies before the end of the first reel never to be heard from again.  Our local paper had an interesting graphic showing how Godzilla has grown over the years. In 1956 he was about 50 meters tall, the height of the Ferry Building, in the 1998 version he’s about 90 meters high, towering above Coit Tower and in this 2014 outing he’s 110 meters half the height of the Transamerica Pyramid. Everybody’s favorite meth dealer, Bryan Cranston, stars in this fun movie.

LUCKY THEM -Toni Collette is a chameleon-like Australian actress and a favorite of us here at the Toast and she stars in this comedy about the rock music world. Also with Oliver Platt and Thomas Haden Church.

MALEFICENT -The animators who created Disney’s 1959 film Sleeping Beauty always loved their villainess Maleficent. Animators like actors love creating and playing villains; they are so much more interesting than the boring old heroines. Now Disney has brought back the Sleeping Beauty story in live action from the villainess point of view and Angelina Jolie plays her with relish.

EDGE OF TOMORROW -Tom Cruise must like science fiction. We are thinking of Mission Impossible and Mission Impossible II in 1996 and 2000, Minority Report in 2002, War of The Worlds in 2005, Mission Impossible III 2006 and Mission Impossible-Ghost Protocol in 2011. Finally last year there was Oblivion, a very good science fiction movie that we enjoyed immensely. This summer he is in Edge of Tomorrow – the science fiction movie not the long running soap opera – and we are kind of looking forward to it. As we understand it this movie is Groundhog Day but in an alien invasion combat story. Also starring Emily Blunt and Bill "we're all gonna die" Paxton. Sounds good to us.

TRUST ME -We’re interested in the movie because the cast includes Felicity Huffman, Amanda Peet and the very funny Allison Janney. Clark Gregg currently playing Phil Coulson Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. wrote, directed and stars in this movie of child prodigy and show business redemption.

THE ROVER -This movie is said to take place in the Australian Outback 10 years after the collapse of civilization. Must be a post-apocalyptic science fiction movie. Guy Pierce (Memento 2000 and The Hurt Locker 2008) stars here.

TEST -We mentioned genre, directors and actors as reasons we would be interested in an upcoming movie. Another criteria important to us are movies set and filmed in San Francisco. This San Francisco movie is set in 1985 and is about dancers and the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.

JERSEY BOYS -“Walk Like a Man” From the Tony-winning 2005 Broadway musical about the creation of the Four Seasons, Clint Eastwood directed this movie with the straight-from-Broadway actor/singer John Lloyd Young as the young Frankie Valli. With Christopher Walken.

EARTH TO ECHO -This is a science fiction movie so what’s not to like? The hint is that it’s a “found footage” type of move ala The Blair Witch Project. Directed by Dave Green; this appears, according to IMDB, to be his first feature film.

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES -Even though this story started in the San Francisco Bay Area, this sequel only has “beauty shots” of San Francisco according to IMDB. It appears to have been a Canadian production.  The story takes place fifteen years after 2011s Rise of The Planet of The Apes. Andy Serkis returns as Caesar the leader of the modified apes. Very few of the other actors are back. Replacing them are Gary Oldman and Kari Russell.

A LONG WAY DOWN -This movie has an interesting cast; Pierce Brosnan as a disgraced TV host, Imogen Poots plays a belligerent teen, Aaron Paul is a failed rock star and the talented Toni Collette is a mother of a disabled kid. These four meet on the top of a building each intending to commit suicide. In the real world what are the chances of that happening? From the novel by Nick Hornsby.

I ORIGINS -The eyes have it. This story has romantic, biological and metaphysical dimensions, or so they say. A biologist studying eyes comes to some fantastic conclusions. Hmm, sounds science fictiony to me. Written and directed by Mike Cahill after his successful Another Earth (2011). Both films have the beautiful Brit Marling starring.

JUPITER ASCENDING -At last; The Wachowskis return to their first science fiction movie since The Matrix trilogy!  Mila Kunis stars as a human with royal genetics, Channing Tatum is an interplanetary warrior who clues her in to her inheritance and Eddie Redmayne is the mean alien who wants to steal her inheritance and kill her in the process. Needless to say produced, written and directed by The Wachowskis. Sorry, this movie's release was moved to Feb. 6 2015 "...needed more special effects work."

MOOD INDIGO Starring the beautiful doe-eyed French actress Audrey Tautou  in this story of magical-realism. Romain Duris is the man who loves her. The problem; she has a flower growing in her lungs. Magic-realism is a second cousin to science fiction. Written and directed by Michel Gondry.

MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT -Woody Allen is back again in France. This time in Paris of the 1920s. Stars Emma Stone, Colin Firth and Marcia Gay Harden; nice to see her again. Written and directed by Woody Allen.

LUCY -In a near future society Scarlett Johansson plays a mob mule and the drugs she’s carrying leak inside her and turns her superhuman, physically and mentally. Written and directed by Luc Besson who made the wonderful The Fifth Element in 1997. Also starring Morgan Freeman playing his patented role of “the wise old man” she turns to for help.

THE GIVER -In another near future society, a post-apocalyptic society everything is idyllic; no war or conflict or pain and no choices or differences. Jeff Bridges is the title character, the keeper of knowledge. Brenton Thwaites plays the Receiver who is to receive the knowledge from The Giver. Alexander Skarsgård is his father. Also with Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift.  Directed by Phillip Noyce.

LOVE IS STRANGE -Finally, the New York gay couple played by John Lithgow and Alfred Molina are allowed to marry. Then things fall apart- losing jobs and their apartment. So after living together nearly 40 years they are forced to live apart. Also with Marisa Tomei, Darren Burrows and Charlie Tahan. Directed by Ira Sachs.

WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL -De La Salle High School in Concord, Ca won 151 straight football games between 1992-2003. This is a record unequaled in secondary schools. This movie is a sports drama that stars Jim Caviezel  as the real-time football coach Bob Ladouceur who didn’t ask his players to win but asked them to give a ‘perfect effort’. Also with Laura Dern and Michael Chiklis.

This is our list of some of the movie’s opening this summer. It's not a complete list merely some that interest us here at the Toast. Again- we can’t promise which will open worldwide or which will be successful.

We're pleased with a couple of additions to our movie page from one of our favorite writers. Filling in more on movies made from the writings of Philip K. Dick, John Bruni gives us fascinating analysis of the Schwarzenegger version of Total Recall from 1990 and the mind-twisting Paycheck from 2003. Take a look.


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