Summer movie-going unofficially began last week with ‘Fast Five’
Fast Five jumped the gun on the “official” start of summer moviegoing last week. Forget the old notion that the summer season of remakes, sequels, prequels and the occasional original idea begins Memorial Day weekend. Fast Five easily took over as the biggest opening of the year with $86.2 million at the box office. However, this look at the most anticipated movies of the spring and summer season isn’t all about the Benjamins, it’s about movies that provide summer fun. Here are 10 movies that look like they are worth our collective anticipation.
The Hangover Part II
Can they capture the magic again, with the location shifting from Vegas to Bangkok? Well with the original cast and director back — Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, director Todd Phillips — the right pieces are in place for more hilarity. May 26.
The Tree of Life
The rare film from Terrence Malick, who averages a movie every five years or so, including 20 years between Days of Heaven (1978) and The Thin Red Line (1998). Brad Pitt stars in this period drama that also features Sean Penn as Pitt’s grown son in the future. May 27.
X-Men: First Class
This prequel to the popular series features the early years of mutant leaders Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbinder), working together to stop the Cuban Missile Crisis. Gee, I don’t remember President Kennedy mentioning mutants. With Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone). June 3.
J.J. Abrams launched Lost, Fringe and the reboot of Star Trek so his new sci-fi movie makes my list. A bunch of geeky, moviemaking kids witness a spectacular train wreck. Something that was being transported from Area 51 is now loose in small town America. With Kyle Chandler, Riley Griffiths, Joel Courtney, and Elle Fanning. June 10.
I’m a fan of Ryan Reynolds, director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) and the color green, so what’s not to love in this adaptation of the beloved comic book about an American pilot who is invited to join the legion of green-suited cops who protect the universe from bad guys. With Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard and Tim Robbins. June 17.
Tom Hanks stars with Julia Roberts and directs this upbeat comedy romance about a glass-half-full guy who gets laid off, goes to junior college and becomes the teacher’s pet, with Roberts as the teacher. Here’s hoping this movie scores an A. July 1.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
Dark days continue for our favorite young wizards in the final battle with Voldemort and his minions. We might sometimes take the skills of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson for granted, but they deserve acclaim for maintaining the continuity of their performances over the last decade. Directed by David Yates. July 15.
A hit from the Sundance Film Festival is about the sudden appearance of a second earth that is apparently an exact double of our own. Earth II is merely the backdrop for a very earth-bound story about a woman seeking redemption after she is involved in a fatal car accident. With Brit Marling and William Mapother (Lost); directed by Mike Cahill. July 22.
Cowboys & Aliens
The title alone made this film my most anticipated flick of the summer. Add in a cast headed by Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde (House), directed by Jon Favreau, produced by Ron Howard and Steven Spielberg, and written by the Fringe/Star Trek team of Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci, and I say beam me up pardner. July 29.
Crazy, Stupid, Love
With Steve Carell out of The Office, we’ll be seeing him more on the big screen. He stars in and is producing this R-rated romantic comedy about a married man, devastated when his wife (Julianne Moore) cheats on him. He turns to the lady-killer played by Ryan Gosling for tips on fighting back. July 29.
Thor, based on the Marvel Comic -- which in turn took its inspiration from Norse mythology ‑- and directed by Kenneth Branagh, is such a monumental waste of top tier talent, it adds an air of sadness to this prime example of cookie cutter filmmaking. That sadness is the only emotion this non-starter generates.
After ranking the worst movies of the year in last week’s column, it is time for the more pleasant task of naming my favorite movies of 2010. It was a decent year for movies, not vintage, but solid, and here are my favorites in alphabetical order: The Ghost Writer Roman Polanski’s film is a quietly effective thriller devoted to the theme of political maneuvering during wartime. It delivers a message about men in power whose secret policies are carried out not just to protect innocent citizens, but also to keep the power-hungry politicians in power. The Girl Who Played with Fire The second in a trio in of films based on the globally popular and bestselling Millennium Trilogy novels by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson, it is not as compelling as the first film...
Before we get to the good stuff next week, when I announce my best films of the year list, here are the 10 films that either disappointed me, were flat out awful or that frustrated me because they could have been better.
We have pulled out some of the best music we raved about this year in our “Raves & Faves” section, plus, we’ve added a few albums we loved this year, but didn’t have the space or time to rave about. Check the videos at the bottom!
Super 8 and X-Men: First Class were mildly disappointing movies, acceptable as summer popcorn entertainment but not as good as sci-fi fans hoped. However, if we are grading on a curve — and don’t we all tend to compare movies of the same genre? — Super 8 and X-Men are looking like cinematic giants compared to the bright green drivel that has been unleashed in movie screens with Green Lantern.