Who: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Chris O’Dowd and Sally Hawkins
What: A clerk in a government agency has his life turned upside down by the arrival of a new co-worker who is both his exact physical double and complete opposite.
When: May 9th
Why: It takes a certain kind of filmmaker to have the confidence to adapt Dostoevsky for the big screen, but as Richard Ayoade showed with his directorial debut, “Submarine,” he’s anything but conventional. Though “The Double” isn’t exactly the Russian author’s most famous work, it’s narrative and thematic use of doppelgangers resonates throughout modern literature. And what better role for an actor to bite his teeth into than one that gives them two completely different characters to play? Jesse Eisenberg is perfectly suited for the dual role, capable of playing both the oddball and the asshole, while Mia Wasikowska has built her entire career on eccentric indie films just like this one. “The Double” isn’t the type of movie that you’d expect to see released in the summer – it’s an extremely bleak and darkly comic story – but it could prove to be a clever piece of counterprogramming for the art house crowd.
Who: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen and Ken Watanabe
What: The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.
When: May 16th
Why: Roland Emmerich’s 1998 attempt to give Godzilla the Hollywood treatment was such a colossal failure that it didn’t seem likely that audiences would ever see another American-produced movie starring the King of All Monsters again. Yet here we are, 16 years later, with the seemingly impossible made a reality thanks to Warner Bros. and director Gareth Edwards, who worked alongside Japanese studio Toho in crafting a film that would serve as a reboot of sorts for the classic monster. The early trailers and promotional material have already helped assuage some concerns, while the incredible cast (which features a four-time Emmy winner, an Academy Award winner, three Academy Award nominees and a pair of talented young stars) proves just how seriously everyone is taking this movie. There’s certainly a lot riding on it, and based on what I’ve seen so far, “Godzilla” could be the first surprise hit of the summer.
Who: Jon Hamm, Alan Arkin, Lake Bell, Suraj Sharma, Madhur Mittal and Bill Paxton
What: A sports agent stages an unconventional recruitment strategy to get talented Asian cricket players to play Major League Baseball.
When: May 16th
Why: Walt Disney’s latest entry in the underdog sports genre may sound like “Jerry Maguire” meets “Slumdog Millionaire” on paper, but that’s just a lazy way of describing the basic premise. There are actually plenty of reasons to be excited about the baseball drama, beginning with the simple fact that although most of the Disney sports movies are practically interchangeable, they follow the same formula because it works. The screenplay was also written by the ever-reliable Tom McCarthy, who’s not only responsible for writing and directing a trio of fantastic films (including the high school wrestling drama “Win Win”), but nabbed an Oscar nomination for his work on Pixar’s “Up” as well. Throw in the uber-charming Jon Hamm in a decidedly different role from his “Mad Men” persona and a supporting cast loaded with talented, and it’s hard to see how “Million Dollar Arm” could possibly disappoint.