Culture Film

Judging by the Trailers: Summer Edition

We all love summer. It’s the sunshine, the beaches, the ice cream,  the flings…right? Or is it the monsters, the mystery, and the action that light up the screen?  The summer movie season is upon us with countless trailers, hinting at what’s to come. Here are a few of the more promising and surprising films on the list, judged solely by their trailers.



Director: Garth Edwards

Release: May 16

OK, so Godzilla fits the mold of a summer blockbuster: a reboot, a franchise, a disaster film with monsters. Check, check, check. But what is impressive about this trailer is its focus on everything but the mighty beast. The atmosphere created is ominous and intense, with red streaks across a smoking San Francisco skyline. And at its centre is an explosive, vengeful, mighty beast: Bryan Cranston.

Rating: ***

For fans of: Pacific Rim, Jurassic Park


The Signal

Director: William Eubank

Release: June 13

In a similar vein but on a much smaller scale, The Signal weaves a brooding mystery through visual treats: thunderstorms, green fields, and a desert battle. It’s an intriguing sci-fi told through the lens of a love story, as moody as Brenton Thwaites drowsy pout. Anytime they bring a cow into a science lab or Laurence Fishburne shows up to set things in order you know things are going to get serious.

Rating: ****

For fans of: The Matrix, Brenton Thwaites (see also The Giver, Maleficent)



Director: Richard Linklater

Release: July 11

Boyhood is a film unlike any other. Shot over the course of 12 years, it cast six-year-old Ellar Coltrane and followed him all the way to age 18. Directed by Richard Linklater, the philosophical director behind Waking Life and the Before Sunrise trilogy, it already received rave reviews at Sundance by giving audience exactly what they want: 12 years of Ethan Hawke waxing poetic.

Rating: ***

For fans of: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight


Wish I Was Here

Director: Zach Braff

Release: July 25

Billed as the “thematic sequel” to Garden State, Wish I Was Here has all the right elements: quirk, a nearly emotionless Zach Braff, The Shins, and much more. While the film has been maligned for its misuse of crowdfunding, anyone who watched Garden State at the right moment (a.k.a. those life-forming years in college) will be tempted by Braff’s latest effort. Will he deliver? Or is life full of false hope?

Rating: **

For fans of: Garden State, failed promise


Get On Up

Director: Tate Taylor

Release: August 1

Following in the tradition of musical biopics such as Ray and Walk the Line, Get On Up tells the story of the father of funk, James Brown. It’s got the period costumes, the afros, the confidence, and the one-liners: “Do you want to go down in history as the man who killed the funk?” With rising star Chadwick Boseman looking right at home and The Help’s Tate Taylor at the helm, it’s sure to be a lot of fun.

Rating: ***

For fans of: Ray, Walk the Line, music


The Giver

Director: Phillip Noyce

Release: August 15

Based on the 1993 Newbery award winning children’s novel of the same name, The Giver brings the gift of a dystopic nightmare for teens. Of course, nightmares are the thing of dreams, so it follows in the footsteps of The Hunger Games and Divergent and casts dashing young actors alongside stellar veterans Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges. It’s a serious-looking darkhouse in your summer movie lineup.

Rating: ****

For fans of: The Hunger Games, Divergent, books