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Summer Preview: Must-Sees on Big Screen, Skippable, Must-to-Avoid

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 28, 2011 at 9:46AM

The summer is upon us, with a plethora of viewing choices, many of them utterly avoidable. I lay out the summer movie landscape.
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Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood

The summer is upon us, with a plethora of viewing choices, many of them utterly avoidable. I lay out the summer movie landscape.

Must-sees that I have seen:
May: Jodie Foster's intimate family drama The Beaver (Foster, Mel Gibson, Anton Yelchin), Kenneth Branagh's epic family drama Thor (Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins).
June: Mike Mills' family drama Beginners (Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer), New York Times doc Page One (David Carr).
July: Kevin Macdonald's YouTube doc Life in a Day, Miranda July's relationship comedy The Future, Mike Cahill's sci fi drama Another Earth (Brit Marling).
August: Family comedy Our Idiot Brother (Paul Rudd), Evan Glodell's incendiary actioner Bellflower (Glodell).

Movies that I must see:
May: Woody Allen's Cannes opener Midnight in Paris (Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams), Terrence Malick's Cannes entry The Tree of Life (Brad Pitt, Sean Penn).
June: J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg's sci-fi epic Super 8 (Elle Fanning), Pixar's Cars 2, Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class (Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy), Chris Weitz's father-son drama A Better Life.

Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood


July: Lone Scherfig's One Day (Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess), R-rated romance Crazy, Stupid, Love (Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone), Jon Favreau's sci-fi western Cowboys and Aliens (Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig), Joe Johnston's Captain America: The First Avenger (Chris Evans), Tom Hanks' romantic comedy Larry Crowne (Hanks, Julia Roberts), horror flick Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (produced by Guillermo del Toro), David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (even though the last one was almost incomprehensible).
August: Tate Taylor's southern drama The Help (Emma Stone, Viola Davis), Rupert Wyatt's Rise of the Planet of the Apes (James Franco), rookie director Vera Farmiga's religious drama Higher Ground, Sundance audience award-winner Circumstance.

Check out, but OK to watch at home:
May: Tribeca infidelity drama Last Night (Keira Knightley).
June: Michael Winterbottom's road comedy The Trip (Steve Coogan), horse-whisperer doc Buck.
July: James Marsh's chimp doc Project Nim, religious comedy Salvation Boulevard (Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear), Errol Morris doc Tabloid, Cannes coming-of-age drama The Myth of the American Sleepover.
August: John Madden's Masad thriller The Debt (Helen Mirren), Alex Gibney's Ken Kesey on-the-bus doc Magic Trip.

Must-to-avoid:
May: dumb-female comedy Bridesmaids (Kristen Wiig), dumb rom-com Something Borrowed (Kate Hudson, Jennifer Goodwin), Hesher--Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Natalie Portman can't save a weak movie.
July: The Devil's Double--nor can Dominic Cooper.

Movies I will optimistically check out:
May: The Hangover Part II, Kung Fu Panda 2, The First Grader, Pirates of the Caribbean on Stranger Tides (because it's at Cannes).
June: Green Lantern, Bad Teacher, The Art of Getting By, Beautiful Boy, Bride Flight, Conan O'Brien Can't Stop.
July: Friends with Benefits, Sarah's Key, The Guard, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, South African Oscar entry Life Above All.
August: Brighton Rock, Dirty Girl, 30 Minutes or Less, The Change-Up, Fright Night, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World, The Whistleblower, Gainsbourg, Janie Jones, Terri, Beats Rhymes & Life.

Movies I will skip for now:
May: Hobo with a Shotgun, Jumping the Broom, Priest, Everything Must Go, An Invisible Sign, Passion Play, There Be Dragons, Go For It, Skateland, The Big Bang, The High Cost of Living, Cost of a Soul..
June: Mr. Popper's Penguins, Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer, Love, Wedding, Marriage, Just Like Us, Trollhunter, Viva Riva!, Kidnapped, My Afternoons with Marguerite
July: Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Horrible Bosses, The Smurfs, Winnie the Pooh, Zookeeper, Monte Carlo, The Perfect Host, The Ledge, Lucky, The Best and the Brightest.
August: The Perfect Age of Rock & Roll, Conan the Barbarian, Seven Days in Utopia, Final Destination 5, A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy.

Peter Knegt picks the summer's 20 must-see indies.

This article is related to: Directors, Franchises, Genres, Headliners, Summer Movies, Steven Spielberg, John Lasseter, J.J. Abrams, Jon Favreau, Woody Allen, Guillermo Del Toro, Harry Potter, X-Men, Sci-fi, Sequel, Independents, Drama, Documentaries, Comics, comedy, Animation, Romance, Western, Foreign, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Keira Knightley, Mel Gibson, Natalie Portman, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Jodie Foster, Anne Hathaway


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.