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

by Anne Thompson
April 28, 2011 9:46 AM
7 Comments
  • |

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.

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7 Comments

  • Koto | May 2, 2011 5:13 AMReply

    I just posted to this comment section,but it never showed up.I wonder what happened to my post..Sometimes thses things happne to me in here..

  • ag | April 29, 2011 9:01 AMReply

    okay, you saw 'bridesmaids'. was not sure. sounded like you thought it was to be skipped based on trailers while 'hangover 2' was good (based on trailers).

    i've not seen either (or the first hangover) but promo materials makes bridesmaids look better. as for dumb guy movies, had about enough. somehow, dumb girl movies seem to have more heart (no sexist generalizing intended)

    ps -- think jj "might/have" a point about there selection being garbage

  • Koto | April 29, 2011 5:46 AMReply

    >...would hate to be you
    ??? Sorry,but are you seeing the mirror?

    I love the article.It's fun to read.Btw,I read this comment on some Boxoffice site’s forum.It seems like ONE DAY is just pushed back.

    "[i]Also, Focus Features has changed ONE DAY with Anne Hathaway to a wide release on August 19th. Was previously scheduled as a limited release on July 8th. Good move, IMO. Now they just need a trailer."[/i]
    Boxoffice mojo info.
    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/schedule/?view=bydate&release=theatrical&date=2011-08-19&p=.htm
    I think it's good move,too.OD has a lot potential to be sleeper hit in summer.

  • jj | April 28, 2011 12:22 PMReply

    and as with most "writers/critics" there selection of movies is garbage. it must suck having such bad taste.. would hate to be you

  • Anne Thompson | April 28, 2011 10:55 AMReply

    Keith, I'm saying that it's a movie that is a must-see for ME. The writers of any summer preview haven't seen most of the films. It's about figuring out what's good and what isn't based on what's been screened and reviewed at festivals, buzz, and the elements.

    As for Bridesmaids, I saw that and hated it, whereas the first Hangover was pretty funny (if dumb), so I figure the sequel might be too. It will also be a huge hit. It's my job.

  • ag | April 28, 2011 10:40 AMReply

    not sure i follow the logic concerning (dumb) comedies

    you're skipping the (dumb) female comedy 'bridesmaids' but you're going to check out the (presumably just as dumb) male comedy 'hangover 2'

    have you seen both? what's the criteria there

  • Keith | April 28, 2011 10:07 AMReply

    If you haven't seen a movie, how can you possibly recommend it at all, much less tell us that it's a "must-see"?

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