Summer Movie Preview 2011
Written by Sarah
We’re one month out from summer movie season, so you know what that means. It’s time for a preview! If you’re interested in a look at every last little movie coming out over the summer, check out my in-depth previews month-by-month on Cinesnark, which will be starting up at the end of April. For now I’ll stick with the movies you might actually see.
The Actioners Redux
Unless Super 8 or Cowboys and Aliens turns into a Dark Knight-sized hit, summer 2011 is going to be defined by sequels and remakes. A lot of these falls into the action category, though both major cartoon releases are sequels and so is the potentially biggest comedy. First up is the fourth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise on May 20. Who was clamoring for this movie? Well whoever it was, congratulations, you’ve inflicted this on us. Next up is Transformers: Dark of the Moon on July 1. A terrible title for an undoubtedly terrible movie that will win the July 4th weekend. August 5 brings us James Franco in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which is also a stupid title. It’s a prequel and it gets into how genetic engineering leads to the damn dirty apes that will one day enslave humanity and rule earth. At least until Charlton Heston shows up. August 19 brings the remake of Conan the Barbarian. If you see this movie, we can’t be friends.
And of course, the big one. The one we’re all seeing. July 15. You know the one. I don’t even have to say it. You know.
First on May 26 it’s Kung Fu Panda 2. Then on June 24 it’s Cars 2. Both sequels. Both animated. Both uninteresting. It’s an off year for Pixar with Cars 2. Oh sure, they’ll make a ton of money. But they won’t win their Annual Oscar. And I don’t care about the Kung Fu Panda franchise at all. You’re only seeing these movies if you either have children or are a pedophile.
2010 was a lousy year for comedies, but 2011 is making an effort at producing something worthwhile. There are nine major comedies this summer, plus a Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts vehicle (Larry Crowne, July 1) that they probably think is funny but no one else will—shades of The Terminal. There’s also a romantic comedy that looks unspeakably bad (Something Borrowed, May 6), so we shan’t speak of it. Bridesmaids bows first on May 13. It might as well be subtitled “The Hangover for girls”. I hope Tina Fey has a cameo. Who wants to be she totally does? Speaking of The Hangover, Part II comes out on May 26. It looks exactly like the first one. I do crack up at Zack Galifianakis saying “Thigh-land” in the trailer, which was just yanked from theaters over some MPAA kerfuffle. Smells like publicity dramatics to me.
Next up is Bad Teacher on June 24. Not even Justin Timberlake can bring this down for me. The trailer is really funny, and the green band cut hints at a lot of raunchy humor without coming across as lame. That’s some good trailer editing. July 8 is a two-fer with the intriguing Horrible Bosses, starring Jason Bateman, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Aniston (I’ll suffer through Aniston just to see Farrell in a comedy), and Zookeeper, starring Kevin James and talking animals, and produced by Adam Sandler. I guarantee Horrible Bosses will be better but Zookeeper will make a bajillion dollars, even though it’ll be one of the worst reviewed movies of the summer.
Another Justin Timberlake project, Friends With Benefits, also featuring Mila Kunis, is up against Captain America on July 22. Though it looks funnier than No Strings Attached, Zookeeper will still be executing its reign of terror on the box office and Captain America will take up any new business that weekend. A week later Crazy Stupid Love Worst Title Ever opens. I’m not sure this one is necessarily as straight-up funny as the (really good) trailer suggests—Steve Carell is wearing his “serious actor/depressed face”—but I think it’ll be entertaining and probably really funny in parts. I suspect the Ryan Gosling/Emma Stone plot provides comedic relief for Carell’s more soul-searchy, to-divorce-or-not-to-divorce storyline.
August brings three comedies to close the summer movie season: The Change-Up (August 5), 30 Minutes or Less (August 12), and Our Idiot Brother (August 26). Comedies can breathe easier in August so I really like the placement here. Especially for 30 Minutes Or Less, Jesse Eisenberg’s follow-up to The Social Network. He’s backed by Danny McBride and Aziz Ansari, who annoys me tremendously but is a solid comic actor. The Change-Up doesn’t interest me at all, despite the presence of Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds, because it sounds exactly like Trading Places except with all white people. Finally, we close with Our Idiot Brother, starring Paul Rudd, Rashida Jones, Zooey Deschanel, Steve Coogan, and every other funny person. Who cares about the plot—Rudd has a silly beard and you know you’re seeing it.
Super 8 comes first on June 10, another of JJ Abrams’ shaky-cam, “what is attacking us” movies. Steven Spielberg got involved and lends the project more éclat than Cloverfield had, but I still worry about this a little. Abrams has great ideas but no follow through. Still, I’m intrigued. Next is Jon Favreau’s Cowboys and Aliens on July 29. I’m predicting this as the breakout summer hit. Harrison Ford + Daniel Craig + aliens + the Old West = something for everyone.
The Serious Fare
Welcome to your grown-up adult counter-programming for the summer. Terrence Malick’s long-awaited Tree of Life comes first on May 27, in limited release, and it’s the only one I’m really interested in seeing. It’s not based on some depressing book and it has Oscar implications. One Day, based on some depressing book, is also in limited release on July 8. That’s a gutsy move—putting a movie like this smack-dab in the heart of the movie season, but there are definitely a lot of you dying to see it, so it should be fine. The Help, starring Emma Stone, opens on August 12. I’m not super excited for this one—I didn’t love the book—but I’ll probably end up seeing it anyway because I love Stone and Viola Davis is always worth the time.
Starting with Thor on May 6, there are four superhero movies this summer. X-Men: First Class follows on June 3, then The Green Lantern on June 17, and finally Captain America on July 22. It’s not unusual for films of a certain type to come out in spates like this, but even given Hollywood’s proclivity for ripping off each other’s ideas (“You’re making an asteroid movie? Well I’m making an asteroid movie with BOMBS!”), having four superhero movies coming out in two months is a lot. One of these is bound to fail. My money’s on X-Men because despite an attractive (and talented) cast, the trailer is a mess and it always seems to be the forgotten child of the summer superhero talk.
So there you have it. The summer of sequels and superheroes is upon us. Who are you going to see?