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May is when the summer movies really kick off. Here are May’s blockbuster offerings arranged by release date:
Thor: Thor not only kicks off May’s blockbusters, but also ignites the comic book movies that run rampant throughout this summer. Directed by brilliant thespian and Shakespeare reviver Kenneth Branagh, Thor promises to have some substance with its action. Personally, I’m a little fearful that Thor’s Asgardian speech mixed with modern language will come off as silly, that their costumes look too much like the costumes of their action figures, and that Dr. Pepper will feature too prominently in the movie to take it seriously as it already does in the trailer (See: Pom Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold).
Hobo With A Shotgun: A much more interesting looking movie is the grindhouse-esque Hobo With A Shotgun starrting Rutger Hauer. The trailer identifies it as a Mad Max type gore flick that follows a homeless vigilante intent on ridding the world of crooked cops and various other scumbags. If nothing else, the poster looks amazing.
The Beaver: Have you forgiven Mel Gibson for his transgressions? Of course not, but he’s almost the kind of guy you can’t stay mad at. Almost. He shows up here in a new movie called The Beaver. Co-starring Jodi Foster, Gibson plays a man who has come to lose his sense of identity and resorts to communicating through a beaver hand-puppet he acquired. Gibson’s first step toward absolution I’d imagine. The jury’s out on this one.
Priest: Brilliant actor Paul Bettany seems to have trouble finding great films to be a part of. He started off well in A Beautiful Mind, Dogville and even A Knight’s Tale. But recently he’s found flops in Creation, Legion and The Da Vinci Code. Priest seems to be no exception in these flops. Here he plays a priest who seems to be part of an anti-vampire movement. But seems to be more of a vigilant exterminator since the vampires look more like steroid-induced moles.
Bridesmaid: Take a break from action this week and get into a comedy romp. Bridesmaids looks to be an excruciatingly hilarious trip down the aisle with SNL’s Kristen Whig taking the position of Maid-of-Honor for her friend played by Maya Rudolph. Add in equal parts Rose Byrne, The Office’s Ellie Kemper, Reno 911’s Wendy McClendon and a silly John Hamm, and you have a movie where your seat will be superfluous because you’ll spend all your time falling out of it.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: The new POTC takes a unique turn this year. Leaving Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly ashore in favor of newcomers Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane, will certainly add new blood to the cast. Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush return to keep the story with its central characters. Gore Verbinksi opted not to return and in his place is the odd choice of Rob Marshall. Aside from Memoirs of a Geisha, Marshall has only directed musicals. I’m unsure how this installment will stack up with the previous trilogy, but expect the drunken bar song scenes to be directed with a certain panache.
Midnight in Paris: Aside from starring Owen Wilson and Marion Cotillard, I don’t know anything about Woody Allen’s latest comedy. The cast seems promising, but his movies are hit-and-miss for me. Enjoy it if pirates aren’t your thing.
The Hangover Part II: This is a big weekend indeed. If comedy is your thing and you don’t have any underage progeny to lug about, consider taking in Todd Phillips’ sequel to 2009’s riot The Hangover. What is essentially the exact same story in a new location, seasoned inebriates Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper try to reconstruct the events of the previous night. Not much looks different from the first one, but in this case, I think it’s OK to use the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Kung Fu Panda 2: The second sequel of the weekend is the follow up to 2008’s Best Animated Picture nominee Kung Fu Panda. I absolutely loved the first one, and the trailers for this one make it seem like a perfect compliment to its antecedent.
Tree of Life: Although I know very little about this movie, this is one of my most anticipated films of the summer. Terrence Malik wrote and directed this film starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. All I know about it takes place during the 1950’s, there’s a potentially abusive father and I’ve also seen a picture of a dinosaur, but I don’t know where that fits in to it. Mr. Malick, you have my $10 for this film. It’s going to be an expensive weekend.
At least for me, the summer movie season begins this weekend with the latest installment of The Fast and The Furious Franchise, “Fast Five”. This is shaping up to be one of the best summers in a while for blockbuster releases. There is some quality material coming up and not just simply popcorn material.
I’ve only included April in this mix based on this one film coming out this week. “Fast Five” proves to be an action-packed romp. Contrary to my previous statement, this movie will likely only be a visual romp and its plot will probably not challenge you intellectually.
Reuniting almost everyone from its previous installments, Fast Five is a rare fivequel(?) that can get back the original cast. I’m not even so sure that The Land Before Time had the same voice actors throughout its oeuvre. On top of the return of Diesel, Walker and Brewster, it will also add Dwayne Johnson, a staple of bad-ass action movies.
Don’t expect much out of this movie other than greasy fingers from your popcorn and an occasional theater seizure from the over two hours of fast cars and faster women. But it should be fun.