POSTED ON MAY 4, 2011:
Summer Movie Preview
Blockbuster or time-waster? Read before you see.
Bridesmaids - This raunchy (yet assuredly sweet) comedy from the bullpen of Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) finds Kristen Wiig as Annie, the maid of honor in her best friend's (Maya Rudolph) wedding. Broke, single and overwhelmed by the responsibility, Annie must shepherd a gaggle of quirky bridesmaids on a wild trip to Vegas. One that actually looks funny.
Priest -- On the shelf for over a year, Priest stars the better-than-this Paul Bettany as an ecclesiastical warrior battling vampires in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Director Scott Stewart dropped the ball so convincingly with last year's Legion that Priest's hibernation can't bode well. Still, it has a shot at being better than Jonah Hex.
In A Better World -- In this Golden Globe-winning Dutch film, Mikael Persbrandt portrays Anton, a doctor from Denmark who works in a Sudanese refugee camp. His son (William Jøhnk Nielsen) befriends the new kid at school and the fruits of Anton's absentee fathering bloom with violent results. Written by Oscar-winner Anders Thomas Jensen and directed by Susanne Bier (Things We Lost in the Fire).
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides -- Johnny Depp is back as Jack Sparrow, on a quest to find the Fountain of Youth. His participation in the upcoming 21 Jump Street flick, ironically, makes more sense now. Yawn.
The Beaver -- This wry comedic drama has been on the shelf for a bit, too, though not necessarily because it sucks. It just stars Mel Gibson. Jodie Foster co-stars and directs the tale of a toy company CEO (Gibson) whose catatonic depression compels him to wear a buck-toothed, hand puppet in order to relate to his wife (Foster) and two sons. Even if it's not a meta-commentary on Gibson's actual self-loathing, this should be weird.
The Hangover Part II -- The same movie, set in Thailand and less original? Bradley Cooper's chest returns with Galifianakis' hirsute mug and Ed Helms' front tooth. The trailer looks like Sex and the City for frat boys.
Kung Fu Panda 2 -- The emotive voice of Jack Black returns as Po, the bumbling panda warrior who has now become a kung fu master. Po must lead the Furious Five against the evil, Lord Shen (Gary Oldman); possessor of a potent weapon that could eradicate even kung fu itself--along with, hopefully, Kung Fu Panda 3.
Beginners -- Director Mike Mills (Thumbsucker) works from his own true-life script in this chronicle of Oliver (Ewan McGregor), a lonely guy who learns his recently widowed father (Christopher Plummer) is, and always was, quite gay. Finally out of the closet, his father gets a terminal illness (it's in the trailer). I guess the joy is in the journey, though Beginners looks like a sweet and funny film with a couple of possibly great performances.
X-Men: First Class -- Marvel strikes more than once this summer with this attempt to re-invigorate the X-Men franchise. How do you do that? Make it an origin story, re-cast roles with names like Michael Fassbender (Fish Tank) and Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) and then give it to the director of Kick-Ass. Good start.
Super 8 -- Speilberg and J.J. Abrams? Escaped extraterrestrial? Halcyon re-creation of the '70s? Much like with Cloverfield, JJ Abrams and his marketing team are maintaining the mystery around Super 8. But if the credentials of the aforementioned producer (The Berg) and writer/director, Abrams (Lost) don't get you interested, then you dislike interesting.
Green Lantern -- Not to be left out of the superhero gold rush, DC Comics' second-coolest character comes to the big screen as Ryan Reynolds portrays Hal Jordan, a military test pilot who has a run in with an a member of the Green Lantern Corps -- an intergalactic peacekeeping force, who gives him a ring that bestows superhuman powers. He's called upon to defend humanity against even weirder shit.
Mr. Poppers Penguins -- Jesus. Jim Carrey plays a clueless businessman who inherits a sextuplet of penguins that presumably change his life for the better. Probably not yours, though.
Bad Teacher -- Cameron Diaz is a vacuous junior high teacher who gets dumped by her sugar daddy and develops a fixation on a hot new instructor (Justin Timberlake). His ex had huge boobs, inspiring her to win a bonus for raising her students GPA so she can buy a pair and gain his attentions. I'm sure there's a moral in there. Jason Segel co-stars.
A Better Life -- From director Chris Weitz (American Pie) comes the dramatic tale of an immigrant father who landscapes the homes of the wealthy while attempting to protect his son from a similar future and the gangs that rule his neighborhood. Starring no one you've heard of.
Cars 2 -- It's a Pixar flick with Larry the Cable Guy. Your ass is already there.
The Tree of Life -- Cinematic poet and former Bartlesvillian Terrence Malick has crafted another gorgeous looking piece of work, though the plot details are as sparse as a sighting of its reclusive director. Brad Pitt and Sean Penn star in this '50s-set tale that appears to be an exploration of the loss of innocence. Not to be missed.
Larry Crowne -- Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts team up (again) for another economic downturn comedy/drama that finds Hanks returning to college after losing his job. Directed by Hanks, who wrote it with Nia Vardalos, this thing has "feel good" written all over it in a size 10,000 font. Bonus: George Takei.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon -- Michael Bay got sick of blowing shit up on earth so now he's going to going to fuck with the moon. ILM animators and Paramount executives rejoice.
Horrible Bosses -- Seth Gordon (Freakonomics) directs a great cast in this comedy of three friends whose misery at work inspires them to try to kill their bosses. Jason Bateman, Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx and Donald Sutherland star.
Zookeeper -- It's another stupid Kevin James vehicle from the hacks that have brought you every unfunny Happy Madison-produced affront-to-comedy that wasn't Grandma's Boy.
One Day -- From acclaimed director Lone Scherfig (An Education), this wistful tale follows Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess), two lovers who stay friends as their lives take them in different directions over 20 years. Co-starring the great Patricia Clarkson, this has a veneer of prestige uncharacteristic for summer.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 -- Do I really need to say anything here? Potter vs. Voldemort: Fight!
Winnie the Pooh -- Proper title: Everyone is Going to Harry Potter.
Capitan America: The First Avenger -- The one superhero film I'm excited about this summer. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a weakling, unfit for the Army, who volunteers for a secret military project to produce super-soldiers with the skills to kill Hitler. The trailer sells it superbly and builds anticipation for 2012's penultimate, The Avengers.
Friends with Benefits -- Despite the crappy title, this romantic comedy starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, as two amorously jaded friends, looks like a fairly hilarious turn on the casual sex conceit. Patricia Clarkson isn't above S&M and Woody Harrelson goes gay. See? Already funny.
URL for this story: http://www.urbantulsa.comhttp://www.urbantulsa.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A38620