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You could say that 2012 has been the year of the superhero. Caped crusaders, web-slinging teenagers and giant green monsters have dominated our cinema screens this year. Which of Hollywood’s blockbusters have topped the box office charts while leaving a lasting impression with audiences? As you will see, there are plenty of contenders. Play blockbuster Bingo by keeping note of how many of this year’s biggest releases you have seen!
The Avengers Assemble
Image taken by Mike Saechang on Flickr
Officially the world’s most successful superhero movie, The Avengers Assemble featured an ensemble of Marvel’s most fearsome characters all fighting to save the world. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and the Incredible Hulk joined forces to ward off the evil Loki, brother of Thor. Although this film didn’t offer anything original or thought-provoking, it kept people hooked with non-stop action and a series of witty one-liners. It was hugely popular with families because the violence wasn’t gratuitous but the action never stopped.
The Dark Knight Rises
Image taken by infomatique on Flickr
The long-awaited sequel to The Dark Knight finally arrived in July and immediately split opinion. After fighting organised crime in grimy Gotham streets in the previous two movies, we saw Batman revert to more standard superhero work, saving the city from imminent nuclear disaster. Whilst beautifully shot and nicely directed, the film failed to make enough of the primary villain. Tom Hardy’s Bane showed great promise in the early stages of the movie, only to be cast aside rather quickly during the film’s climax. Perhaps the biggest highlight of Nolan’s final instalment was Anne Hatahaway’s Catwoman. Superbly complex and full of 1950s Hollywood sex appeal, she gave the character a dimension not seen before. Whilst still a fine movie, it struggles under the weight of expectation thrust on to audiences by Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight.
The Hunger Games
Image taken by KendraKaptures on Flickr
Based on the hugely successful novel by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games depicted a harsh and brutal future where many citizens are suppressed and forced to live in extreme poverty. So bad is the hunger among the twelve outlying districts, people are forced to ask government for food hand-outs. However, every time food is issued, the young members receive an entry into the draw for the annual Hunger Games. The Games involves twenty-four youngsters fighting for survival in a harsh, televised arena. There can be only one winner so only the most agile, skilled and ruthless child will win. The demand for this movie was huge after the novel’s incredible worldwide success. The film was criticised by sections of the media for being too violent for children; however, the criticism didn’t affect the film’s performance at the box office.
The Amazing Spiderman
Many people were sceptical that a reboot so quickly after Spiderman 3 could be a success. In terms of box office appeal, such concerns were proven to be misguided. Andrew Garfield’s wise-cracking portrayal of Marvel’s most recognisable superhero was a breath of fresh air. Emma Stone’s appearance gave the movie some much needed credibility, after her stunning performance in the 2011 smash-hit, The Help. Rhys Ifans played evil nemesis, The Lizard, superbly and continued the Spiderman tradition of portraying villains as characters torn between good and evil. There was lots of web-slinging action that kept audiences entertained throughout.
Ridley Scott’s long-awaited Alien prequel was always going to have a tough job living up to its hype. While it was expertly shot and included a stunning performance from Michael Fassbender, it failed to grip audiences in the way its predecessor did in 1979. This was perhaps the classic example of a film being spoiled by its trailer. Audiences were promised two hours of blood-curdling action; they got two hours of back story that left many rather disappointed.
Men in Black 3
After the very disappointing Men in Black 2, there were very low expectations surrounding this latest installment. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones returned to the fold for another alien-busting outing and, for the most part, provided some of the action and wit that made the first movie such a huge success. That said, Men in Black 3 offered no real surprises and went nowhere the previous two movies didn’t go.
So there we have it the cinema screens have been dominated by big budget superhero romps this year with a sprinkling of sci-fi and films based on popular books. If you saw most of the films in this list then you have won blockbuster Bingo!
This article was brought to you by Chat Magazine Bingo the home of online bingo!
Peter Jackson believes that high-frame-rates are the future of big budget films. He is filming the newly-expanded Hobbit trilogy in the new format and Warner Bros have backed him all the way. However, due to complications with the upgrade, the initial release will only reach a limited amount of theatres.
As I type, there are officially no theatres that are capable of HFR projection. The latest projectors require only an upgrade in software, (which will be ready next month), but most theatres need to purchase entirely new machines. Either way, the December release doesn’t give much time for wide-spread change and it’s likely that the 48-frame version of The Hobbit will only reach a select number of screens.
Warner Bros are using the Hobbit as a chance to test the waters. By reducing the chances to see the 48 frame version, the sense of exclusivity should provide a level of excitement and intrigue that could undo the damage caused at CinemaCon.
The footage shown in April was released before the standard post-production clean-up and received a large amount of negative feedback from the crowd and press.
The finished version of the film has met with vastly improved responses and Warner Bros are confident it will pave the way for a larger HFR release of the second and third parts of the franchise.
Because Jackson is only using 48 frames per second cameras to film The Hobbit, a considerable amount of time and expense is required to ‘downgrade’ the film to the standard frame-rate. Although it uses double the amount of frames, it isn’t possible to simply remove half of them. The chopped film would appear to stutter, so motion blur must be added to smooth the picture.
Although, later ‘Series 2’ projectors can be upgraded to work with HFR 3D (albeit at differing expenses), many projectors simply can’t and would need to be replaced entirely, including all earlier ‘Series 1’ projectors. Despite this, the leading manufacturers of 3D projectors (MasterImage, Xpand, RealD and Dolby) all claim that their systems are ready to go or, or a short step away.
Despite this effort and the obvious theatre issues, there is a lot of faith in HFR films. The difference in quality is instantly obvious to all and Warner Bros are confident that The Hobbit will pave the way for a new era of film-going.
After that, the next big stage is to combine the higher frame rate footage with 4k resolution 3D. The technology used today, simply can’t cope and replacing all equipment with versions that can is the stuff of a cinema-owner’s nightmares, but… For now, it’s one hairy-footed step a time.
Jill Halfpenny works for www.businesselectricityprices.org.uk the UK’s finest business electricity price comparison service. She would like to assure everyone that she doesn’t have hairy feet.
Music is now an essential part of any film – and often gets as much attention as casting or visual effects. Music not only creates atmosphere, but helps tell the story and drive the narrative. A lot of music for films is sourced through production music libraries that offer a wide range of different musical styles and tracks that can be used in this sort of commercial environment.
There are a number of routes to dealing with music in productions such as movies:
- Specially Composed: This involves music being written and produced specifically for a project and can be expensive but of course, flexible and specifically written for the project. This can be an option for a big release with an equally large budget, but not applicable to many.
- Licensing: It is possible to license existing music for use, but this can be unoriginal and also very expensive too, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to use certain tracks.
- Production Music: Libraries have thousands of tracks to match every genre and mood giving creativity, freedom and ease for putting together a soundtrack (including any effects and background music). This is a very affordable and flexible option.
Here are five projects that have used production music in their soundtrack to great avail:
The Road – Freestyle Releasing
The Road was a 2009 release telling the story of a father and son traveling across the USA in a post-apocalyptic scenario – fending for their lives and battling aversion. It’s a powerful film, with many moving scenes and tense situations that have been complimented through the use of perfectly selected stock music. It’s a powerful tale of survival against the odds, and how far you would go to protect your family and people who matter to you most.
John Carter – Walt Disney Theatrical
Although the film used a lot of specially composed music, production music was also used in the trailer and demonstrates the flexibility of this type of music. Production music is adaptable and perfectly suited for use in trailers because there are usually multiple trailers published in the run up to a new film. The background music here amplified the excitement for this 2012 Disney release and helped build up hype around the new character – John Carter, who is transported to Mars from a very different world for unknown reasons (without giving anything away!).
The Babymakers – Millennium Entertainment
This comedy has a 2012 release date, and stars Olivia Munn alongside many others telling the story of a complicated pregnancy plan after a man fails to get his partner pregnant. The production music was able to create a lighthearted atmosphere and add to any onscreen capers that were result of the misunderstanding created. It shows that music in films can be extremely varied, and lighthearted music for comedy films shouldn’t be overlooked.
Breathless – Anchor Bay Entertainment
Breathless again displays the flexibility of a complete music library as there’s something to suit everything. Breathless is a dark and blood-laced comedy. “The most deadly weapon is an unappreciated woman”, heads the film as its tagline and was directed by Jesse Baget and produced by Nicholas Chartier of ‘The Hurt Locker’ fame.
Small Apartments – Silver Nitrate
This mysterious thriller stars the infamous Dolph Lundgren in the adaptation of Chris Millis’ famous novel. Crime films always have great accompanying music and this is no different – with music setting the scene and adding to the tension and emotion of the story. This is another 2012 film, so keep an eye out and check it out for yourself.
Audio Network provides production music to the film/movie and creative industries. Their extensive collection has music for any project that needs a great soundtrack.
Film fans should get their calendars ready! The 56th instalment of the London Film Festival is happing 10th-21st October, 2012, and this year will be changing focus slightly. With seven new categories focussed on around themes such as love and journeys and highlighting the competitive categories for the Best Film, the Grierson Award for documentary filmmaking, and the Sutherland Trophy for the first feature film shown at the festival.
These awards have a long history of recognising talent like well-known directors Jean-Luc Godard, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Michelangelo Antonioni, and winners have gone on to be internationally recognised, producing famous. Although the calibre of films screened that the London Film Festival is very high, ultimately, the festival is public and is not intended for only critics, journalists, and other high profile members of the film industry.
Of course, as with any film festival, the Opening and Closing Galas are definite red carpet events, so if you’re interested in celebrity spotting, get dressed up in your finest tuxedo, don’t forget the pearls, and keep your fingers crossed. Past judges have included Hollywood legends like Angelica Huston, and past events have taken up the entirety of Leicester Square so your chances to spot one of your favourite actors are pretty good!
Did you know that London is home to a number of other festivals that offer more specific film offerings based around genres like horror and children’s films to languages like Russian, and a festival for women’s films? If you aren’t in London in October or you’re a major film buff and want to take in all the possible silver screen action you can in one year, there is something for you, nearly every month of the year.
These events also offer special extras, like master classes with directors and writers, as well as gala nights and opportunities to mingle with the creators, stars and producers of the festivals, plus lots of other unique events depending on the festivals so make sure you do your research to see what other kinds of events you can experience.
January is the time of year to pack in all the short films you can at the London Short Film Festival. There are live performances along with the films, awards, as well as lots of opportunities to see the films.
There are language based festivals happening in March with the Taiwan Cinefest, showcasing the best of Taiwanese filmmaking, as well as the Russian Film Festival in the Autumn followed by the German Film Festival in November, and the Latin America Film festival in the last two months of the year.
Children will be entertained by the London Children’s festival in November, and those keen to see women’s perspectives on film can investigate the Birds Eye View Festival, followed by the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which showcases a diverse programme. Both of these festivals happen in the spring.
So if you’re not able to get your suits, bowties and dresses on for the London Festival, there’s always next year, but clearly no shortage of other events throughout the year.
- Wikipedia provides information about the history of the London Film Festival, including past award winners and judges.
Anyone into their films will know of Hans Zimmer – the legendary soundtrack composer who’s made soundtracks for heaps of films. You’ll no doubt know most of these films and their soundtracks contributed towards making the films memorable.
Music can really make a film great – and Zimmer understands the importance of music to tell a story and to build atmosphere and tension. The visual aspect of a film is enhanced when the audio is high quality – and at the theatre can feel really epic. Lets take a look at our top 6 Zimmer soundtracks:
Winning numerous awards, and becoming one of the best known Disney films is The Lion King – one of Zimmer’s best known soundtracks. The tale of Simba the lion coming of age and facing challenges in his homeland has touched people around the world, and the soundtrack is both moving and adequately powerful to convey the film’s peril.
This film was directed by the great Ridley Scott, who recently delivered another smash blockbuster in the form of Prometheus. Gladiator was a violent and aggressive look at roman life – following Russell Crow through a journey of redemption and self discovery. The soundtrack was suitably powerful, and matched the visual aspect of the film very well.
Christopher Nolan directed this movie starring Leonada Di Caprio with an equally strong supporting cast. It won many awards and is a ‘fan favourite’ and one of our favourite movies ever! The soundtrack has now become one of Zimmers most know – blending a mix of classical music, with more modern styles and it contains a number of tracks that stand strong on their own; such as ‘Time’ and ‘A dream within a dream’.
This Batman film was also directed by Nolan – where Zimmer also stepped in to compose. The soundtrack did meet some criticism as some called it slightly overbearing on the film, and took too much focus away from the script and visual aspect. It’s dark and haunting – the perfect musical accompaniment to such a historic film.
This sequel to the Silence of Lambs was much anticipated by horror fans around the world, and saw Anthony Hopkins return to form in his darkest and most twisted role to date. The movie was one of the darkest that Zimmer has taken on, and completely did it justice with the eerie and delicate subject of cannibalism in the story.
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Disney saga of Pirates of the Carribean has one of the most recognizable soundtracks and theme tunes and of course was created by Zimmer. The films starred Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom amongst others and follows pirates through their adventures. It is based strangely on a ride in Disneyland so really has brought the adventure alive!
With modern CGI technology and digital enhancements available to directors to release films of visual splendour and magnificence, it would be easy to overlook simple elements of films such as costume, music and lighting. Nevertheless, it appears to be the outfit choices in early film classics of the 1960s-90s which have endured as memorable and iconic. When creating a film character, the designers must consider the overall image they want to project, whether that be powerful, mysterious, beautiful, feminine. With this list of the top 5 iconic sunglasses, it is easy to see how a simple choice of accessories can affect the way a film is remembered for years after its release.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Audrey Hepburn has long been admired as one of the leading beauties of Hollywood. Her characteristic beehive and oversized sunglasses, as seen in 1961 romance Breakfast at Tiffany’s, form part of a recognisable image which has since been replicated, printed and admired the world over. Though commonly mistaken for Ray Ban Wayfarers, the sunglasses seen in the film were by Oliver Goldsmith in a model called ’Manhattan’ and are the ultimate statement of feminine class and sophistication.
Arnold Schwarzenegger may now have built a reputation as high-flying Californian senator, but there’s no escaping his Hollywood movie history. Terminator was a 1984 classic action movie in which Schwarzenegger played a cyborg assassin from the future. When one imagines the Terminator, his iconic shades are always top of the list. They feature dark black lenses in a visor frame shape which look both futuristic and mysterious. The ‘Forum’ sunglasses by Smith epitomise this classic style with dark lenses and wide, wraparound frame.
You may be familiar with the famous quotes from this legendary 1984 film but it is Tom Cruise’s iconic aviator sunglasses which have enjoyed the most enduring success. He plays the character of Maverick, a fighter pilot in the US military and can been seen wearing a pair of dark aviator Ray Bans for the majority of the film. Aviators are now recognised as one of the most popular styles of frame for all ages, partly due to their memorable debut in the US military.
Although one of the more recent films in this list, the 1999 film Fight Club has nevertheless gained an enduring reputation as a gritty and groundbreaking movie. In an unconventional role for the A-Lister Brad Pitt, he plays Tyler Durden, a soap-maker who begins an underground fight club. Not surprisingly, the directors decided that such an unusual character needed a unique look. His sunglasses are Oliver Peoples model 523 Gothic Rose and feature a square silver frame with red tinted lenses.
Without having seen the Matrix, it is nonetheless easy to describe Keanu Reeves’s protagonist role. Reeves plays computer programmer Neo, who is drawn into a rebellious war against tyrannical machines in this science-fiction adventure movie. His iconic clothing involves long leather jacket and dark sunglasses. It is one of the few films where the main character wears shades for the entire film, but for Neo, his recognisable frames form an essential part of his overall image. They are designed by Blinde Design who, unfortunately no longer produce sunglasses. There are many similar frames available however, since the release of this iconic movie.
Victoria writes entertainment articles for one of the leading suppliers of prescription glasses, Direct Sight
Christopher Nolan signs off on his Batman trilogy with some style, leaving the franchise in good shape to continue and not committing the cardinal sin of previous directors by running the enterprise into the ground and in need of a re-imagining.
Having a capable cast is always a bonus . . . Christian Bale puts in another competent turn as the tortured and traumatised caped crusader, Michael Caine is in superb form and wily turns from Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman further improve the script, acting as a great counterbalance to the action and effects. Nolan brings in his other heavyweights from Inception; Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy playing the villain Bane. Anne Hathaway also provides a thoughtful Catwoman, without loading the film with far too many heroes and costumed bad guys as previous versions have done.
Dark Knight Rises starts with an action-packed mid-air sky-jacking to introduce the audience to Bane, a sequence that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Bond film showing that Nolan has lost none of his eye for the epic and spectacular. Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce is living as a recluse; the physical punishment of his vigilante activities finally taking its toll on his body, and the anguish of losing his love interest in the last film prompting his withdrawal from Gotham society.
Meanwhile the politicians are basking in the reduced crime rate, and manoeuvring to depose Commissioner Gordon, who is wrestling with his conscience over the manhunt for Batman and the cover-up concerning Harvey Dent. With the smarmy Matthew Modine declaring “crime is at an all time low” you just know something bad is about to happen. Soon the city is rocked by Bane’s quasi-revolutionary tactics, Wayne is lured out of retirement after Catwoman helps herself to his mothers’ jewels at a charity event and the anticipated show-down with Bane and Batman ends with Bruce, physically shattered, left in a subterranean prison to rot whilst bane turns Gotham into a prison island.
Much of the action, and the theme of redemption, will be familiar to those who’ve seen or played the “Batman: Arkham City” game, with Gotham isolated with a nuclear threat and run by criminals and gangs. Nolan ties up the last film with the first in the arc, Bane’s motivations being borne of his association with the League of Assassins and their intention to destroy the wicked and corrupt Gotham, and its self-avowed protector.
At a seat-numbing two and a half hours, the film doesn’t drag, unlike the previous one which got a little too self-absorbed in places and probably suffered in the editing process from Heath Ledger’s untimely demise. Although it’s rated as a 12A, it does contain a great deal of violence and I was a little nervous watching this with a 13 year-old niece who was physically wincing at some of the fight scenes. Although some post-production work was done with Hardy (whose character, Bane, wears a gas mask throughout the film), much of his dialogue is still incomprehensible against the pounding Zimmer soundtrack and having his face obscured also negates much of his Berkoff-esque characterisation.
There are twists a-plenty, and audiences will need to be sharp to pick up on all of the little foreshadowings that are dropped along the way, but Nolan manages to put both the characters and audience through the emotional wringer and still manage to tick off the in-joke nods to the series without compromising the integrity of the film. It’s a serious investment in time for a film, but a good way to complete the series and a satisfying conclusion to the Dark Knight’s story.
And, of course, lays open the possibility for another set of films to be made. He’d never have been allowed back into Hollywood if he’d left that part out . . .
Bruce Wayne shows that being a superhero clearly isn’t for everyone, but if you want to fight crime or simply recreate some of the costume looks, why not try out one of the superhero fancy dress costumes at Ace?
Kristen Stewart, regardless of the latest allegations against her, is the envy of many the world over – not only is she a famous and acclaimed actress due to her roles in films such as Adventureland and Twilight, she can also boast that she dated Robert Pattison on top of possessing one of the best wardrobes in all of Hollywood. Able to switch effortlessly from tomboy cool to glamorous chic, Stewart has become something of a style icon amongst her many fans. Looking equally at home in Christian Louboutin as she does in Joe’s Jeans, the young actress is one of the rare few who can look equally good dressed up as she does dressed down.
Red Carpet Chic
One of Stewart’s most loved and famous outfits came in the form of a shiny Balenciaga dress which managed to blend some of the most on-trend styles of the season into one design. The frock, which the twenty two year old actress first sported at the 2012 Met Ball, is a perfect example of the type of outfit Stewart plumps for when glamming up for the benefit of the press at red carpet events; elegant and sophisticated whilst remaining up to the moment and cutting edge.
The shiny dress was split into four different designs and featured an array of different colours implemented to reflect the summer craze of “colour blocking”. The seemingly clashing reds, blacks and purple swatches which made up the lower half of the dress are used to create a bold impression with each colour used to highlight how vibrant its neighbouring colours are. This brightness also brings out, and highlights, the top half of the dress design – a pseudo-animal print design which has become all the rage within fashion circles this year. Aside from looking incredibly cool the outfit uses a band of colour around the waist to highlight the actress’ hips and, teamed with a pair of designer heels, the dress also manages to flatter the actress’ legs; the ensemble, as well as looking good in and of its own right, is a great figure enhancing tool.
Such techniques have been used by the actress on a repeated basis. Another example would be the orange trimmed Preen dress she wore. The bright orange stripes, around the neck, waist, and upper thigh at the bottom of the dress, manage to flatter the Twilight actresses figure once more whilst also staying on trend with a colour blocking scheme. Use heels once again to make her legs look longer and toned, the actress has shown how she uses her clothes to appear more statue-esque and lithe and this is one of the ways she manages to turn so many heads on the red carpet.
Get Kristen’s Edgy Casual Look
Away from the red carpet and posing for film promotion, Stewart often plumps for a much more edgy casual style – in fact, as soon as the cameras are no longer on her, the actress is known to remove her heels instantly for a pair of shoes she finds more comfortable, often trainers. Away from glamming it up for the press, Kristen’s favourite go to style often comprises a pair of skinny jeans, a t-shirt and either a denim or leather jacket giving her the ultimate rock chick look. Oftentimes, however, the Snow White and the Huntsmen star will often throw in on-trend looks and designer items to give her outfit and extra bit of zest. So, for example, whilst in London whilst interviewing on BBC Radio in May, Stewart teamed a Led Zeppelin t-shirt and skinny jeans, the ultimate in grungy attire, with a fitted blazer and a pair of Christian Louboutin pumps giving the ensemble a bit of pizazz and edge.
Staying on trend by mixing designer clothes into grungy looks, Stewart often goes in the opposite direction too and uses more formal clothes to take the sheen off of some of her more glamorous looks so as to make them cutting edge in fashion stakes. This means that, to give her edgy rock look some gravitas, the Bella Swan actress will often throw a pair of Converse trainers into the mix when wearing up-market gowns to instantly give her look some sass. Whether on the red carpet or in her down time, the one thing that is consistent in Kristen’s dressing is how fabulous she manages to look by putting her own unique stamp on her ensembles. Whether she is impossibly glam or sporting a more rock-based look with quilted leather jackets, Stewart is one of the best dressed young actresses in Hollywood with an eclectic style and vibrancy not many could replicate.
Kieron is a fashion writer who blogs regularly on the latest style trends and fashionable ladies shoes.
Sometimes it’s great to watch a movie that will make you think, but other times all you want to do is watch something that will make you feel good when it’s over. If you’re looking for some great feel good films to rent this summer, here are a few new release DVD suggestions.
21 Jump Street
1. If you want action: 21 Jump Street. This movie is a remake of the classic 1980s TV show that gave Johnny Depp his start in show business. The remake stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum and has gotten rave reviews, scoring an 85% on the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes. Hill and Tatum play police officers Schmidt and Jenko, who are members of the secret unit “Jump Street.” The two officers are given an assignment to go undercover at a high school to investigate a possible drug ring, and discover that not much has changed since they graduated just a few years ago. It’s an action comedy, so there are plenty of laughs as well as fun action sequences.
2. If you like animals: War Horse. This Steven Spielberg movie was based on a children’s book about a horse named Joey and was one of nine Oscar nominees for Best Picture in 2012. A young man named Albert has trained and taken care of Joey, but then the horse is sold to be used in the war. The story follows Joey as he serves as a British soldier’s war horse, a deserter’s ride to freedom, a young French girl’s pet, a German work horse, and ultimately ends up in the middle of no man’s land between the German and the British soldiers. While all this is going on, Albert has joined the war in the hopes of finding his beloved horse. Anyone who loves horse movies or inspirational stories can’t help being moved by this story.
3. If you want to laugh: Bridesmaids. Last year’s summer chick flick comedy is just as good this summer on DVD. Kristen Wiig stars as a woman asked to be maid of honor in her best friend’s wedding, but she soon finds that it is not as easy as she thought it would be. This movie is not only laugh-out-loud funny, but even has a heartwarming romance and a feel-good lesson about best friends who will be there for you no matter what.
So there you go you can buy dvds here and get your self in a great mood for the summer. Time to relax feel good and get that chilled and happy vibe on. Dan is a Flim Buff from London UK that loves the Summer months