Category Archives: Movie Preview

2011 Summer Movie Preview: June

Here’s the next instalment of my Summer Movie Preview. It’s the same format as the one I did for May, except I’m adding my own synopses, rather than the studio ones. I just found that most of the “official” synopses were too long, and in some cases, it seemed like they gave away too much of the movie.

There are actually some pretty good looking releases coming out in June. Is it just me, or is 2011 shaping up to be a good summer movie season? So much was made about last summer’s atrocious offerings, but there have already been several well-reviewed blockbusters (Bridesmaids, Fast Five, Thor), and with promising-looking fare like X-Men, Super 8, and Crazy Stupid Love coming up, I’m actually pretty happy with how the summer is shaping up!

= Possible awards contender

= Times Like Those pick

= Probable cash cow

= Indie with breakthrough potential

= Looks like a turd

 

June 3


Beautiful Boy

Starring: Michael Sheen, Maria Bello, Kyle Gallner

Director: Shawn Ku

Synopsis: Sheen and Bello play a married couple with a rocky relationship. This tenuous bond is then tested to the extreme following a traumatic event involving their teenage son.

My Take: This isn’t going to be a major release, but I always like to highlight the work of Michael Sheen, who manages to be everywhere (even in Tron!) but still remains woefully underrated. This bleak-sounding drama got fairly strong reviews out of TIFF, and Sheen earned praise from many critics. (Limited release)

 


Beginners

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent

Director: Mike Mills

Synopsis: McGregor plays the son of Plummer and must deal with his father’s revelations that he is gay and battling cancer.

My Take: The trailer is utterly charming, and hopefully the rest of the film will live up to it. Plummer could be the first Oscar contender of the year, but he’ll have to sustain the momentum for quite a while. I’m also interested to see McGregor in a mature character study like this – I think he has the low-key charm to pull it off. (Limited release)

 

Submarine

Starring: Craig Roberts, Sally Hawkins, Paddy Considine

Director: Richard Ayoade

Synopsis: 15-year-old Oliver tries to lose his virginity before his next birthday, and also chase away his mom’s ex-boyfriend.

My Take: This quirky-looking British comedy is by first-time director Ayoade (better known as an actor on the UK series The IT Crowd), but it already has some nice buzz around it. The young star, Craig Roberts (who already made his debut to American audiences this year in Jane Eyre) is getting good reviews, and Sally Hawkins is a welcome addition to any movie. (Limited release)

 


X-Men: First Class


Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Kevin Bacon, Zoe Kravitz, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Till, Oliver Platt

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Synopsis: Before they were Professor X and Megneto, Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr were two really good-looking, totally not-bald guys who weren’t always trying to kill each other. And X-Men: First Class tells the origin story of the X-Men mutants set against a Cold War backdrop.

My Take: If you’re bored by all of the human-interest indie movies coming out this work, don’t worry! No summer week at the theatre would be complete without a new blow-shit-up blockbuster. This one just happens to look better than most of them, because it’s got a kick-ass (pun intended) cast. The trailers look pretty good, and I appreciate the retro-type vibe they’re going for. This is probably the only superhero movie of the year that I’m excited for.

 

June 10

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer

(I refuse to provide a picture, because all of them were too annoying.)


Starring: Jordana Beatty, Heather Graham, Parris Mosteller

Director: John Schultz

Synopsis: It’s like Bezus and Ramona, but without Selena Gomez.

My Take: This movie was clearly not made for my demographic. But just from the poster, I’m going to wager that it’s not particularly well-made, even for what it’s trying to be.

 

Super 8

Starring: Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Joel Courtney, AJ Michalka, Noah Emmerich

Director: J.J. Abrams

Synopsis: A small town is shaken up by mysterious happenings following a nearby train crash.

My Take: I’m not really into the stereotypical “nerd” culture (I don’t read comic books or watch Doctor Who or any Joss Whedon shows, etc.) but J.J. Abrams is the one man who can bring out some of my truly geeky tendencies. So naturally, I was intrigued by the secretive film project that he planned to follow-up Star Trek. I still don’t really know what it’s about (and I think that’s a good thing), but it looks pretty awesome, in an E.T. kind of way. Elle Fanning is one of my favourite young actresses, and I will watch Coach Taylor Kyle Chandler in anything. Probably my most anticipated film of the summer.

 

June 17


The Art of Getting By


Starring: Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano, Elizabeth Reaser, Alicia Silverstone

Director: Gavin Wiesen

Synopsis: Misanthropic teenager George (Highmore) falls for his unlikely friend, Sally (Roberts).

My Take: This is the kind of movie that I tend to love, but somehow the idea of the story didn’t really appeal to me. (Maybe I didn’t buy Highmore as some kind of misunderstood poet-y type? I dunno.) But after watching the trailer, I am kind of excited. It does look a little clichéd, but in a very sweet way.

 

Green Lantern

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong

Director: Martin Campbell

Synopsis: Pilot Hal Jordan (Reynolds) finds a ring that grants him super powers, but also the responsibility of keeping order in the universe.

My Take: This might be an irrational reaction, but I was kind of mad when I heard that Peter Sarsgaard was going to be in this movie. The filmmakers completely wasted his talent in a ho-hum role in Knight & Day, and I fear the same will happen here. I like Reynolds, and Campbell directed the hell out of Casino Royale, but I am not excited at all for this.

 

Mr. Popper’s Penguins


Starring: Jim Carrey, Carla Gugino, Angela Lansbury, Phillip Baker Hall

Director: Mark Waters

Synopsis: Based on the popular children’s book, Mr. Popper’s Penguins tells the story of a businessman who must care for six penguins.

My Take: Wait, this is a real thing?

 

June 24


Bad Teacher

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel

Director: Jake Kasdan

Synopsis: A rebellious teacher reeks havoc in a middle school, and some romantic stuff probably ensues.

My Take: The premise couldn’t be less inspired, but the trailer seemed charming enough. Diaz can be good at screwy kinds of roles like this, and it’s nice to still see her getting lead roles. As well, Timberlake is proving to be a charismatic actor, and Jason Segel always brings the perfect balance of warmth and zaniness to his work. I’m mostly interested in this movie for him.

 

Cars 2

Starring: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Cheech Marin, Jason Isaacs, Bonnie Hunt

Director: John Lasseter, Brad Lewis

Synopsis: Cars abroad!

My Take: I didn’t care for the first one, and I can’t see how a second instalment is necessary.

 

June 29

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

?

Starring: Shia LaBouef, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, John Malkovich

Director: Michael Bay

Synopsis: I’m just going to paste the studio synopsis, because it literally makes no sense to me (and, sadly, I’ve seen both of the previous films):

“The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets”

My Take: There’s something about the Transformers franchise that makes me optimistic with each new instalment, as ridiculous as that always proves to be. I didn’t think the first film was very good, and the second one was literally one of the worst, most incomprehensible films of recent memory. I think I may have slipped into a comatose state while watching it. Yet I can’t help but be a little bit hopeful for this. I think it’s because of the potential that the series has. Michael Bay knows how to create a spectacle. Now, if only he knew how to create a spectacle that didn’t involve indecipherable extreme close-ups on action, editing that caters exclusively to the ADD set, shameless objectification of women, and arguably racist stereotypes. Who knows – maybe this will be the one. (Also, LaBouef has gone on record saying he had some problems with the second film, and he claims that the script for Dark Side of the Moon is the best of the series yet. Take from that what you will.)

2011 Summer Movie Preview: May

With the release of Thor this past weekend, it’s officially the summer movie season. And there are some pretty massive movies on the horizon. But there are also some promising-looking smaller films that I hope won’t get lost in the shuffle. So here’s an in-depth look at the next four months at the cinema.

= Possible awards contender

= Times Like Those pick

= Probable cash cow

= Indie with breakthrough potential

= Looks like a turd

 

May 6

The Beaver

Starring: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Cherry Jones

Director: Jodie Foster

Official Synopsis: “An emotional story about a man on a journey to re-discover his family and re-start his life. Plagued by his own demons, Walter Black (Gibson) was once a successful toy executive and family man who now suffers from depression. No matter what he tries, Walter can’t seem to get himself back on track…until a beaver hand puppet enters his life.”

My Take: Remember when Mel Gibson used to be a draw at the cineplex? Well, now his movies are getting delayed and opening inconspicuously in very limited release. Nonetheless, the premise of The Beaver is bizarrely intriguing, and the trailer was a pleasant surprise. It looks like a heartfelt family indie dramedy, which is widely known to be my favourite type of movie. And between this and Like Crazy, I am suddenly very interested in Anton Yelchin. Oh, right, and there’s that beaver puppet, too. (Limited release; expands May 20)

Jumping the Broom

Starring: Angela Basset, Paula Patton, Julie Bowen, Laz Alonso, Loretta Devine

Director: Salim Akil

Official Synopsis: “A collision of worlds when two African-American families from divergent socioeconomic backgrounds get together one weekend in Martha’s Vineyard for a wedding.”

My Take: This might sound bad, but these sorts of comedies with predominantly African-American casts (see also: Tyler Perry films) never get nearly as much attention in Canada as they do in the U.S., so I really don’t know anything about this film. I really thought it had something to do with witches, but apparently not.

Last Night

Starring: Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes, Guillame Canet

Director: Massy Tadjedin

Official Synopsis: “Set in New York City, Last Night is the story of a married couple that while apart for one night, is confronted by temptation that may decide the fate of their marriage.”

My Take: It seems like this movie has been kicking around forever, which probably isn’t a good sign. It could be taught and suspenseful, or it could be boring, and even though it’ll probably fall into the latter category, I’ll probably still check it out at some point. (Limited release)

Something Borrowed

Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, Colin Egglesfield, John Krasinski

Director: Luke Greenfield

Official Synopsis: “Rachel (Goodwin) is a talented attorney at a top New York law firm, a generous and loyal friend, and, unhappily, still single –as her engaged best friend Darcy (Hudson) is constantly reminding her. But after celebrating her 30th birthday, perpetual good girl Rachel unexpectedly ends up in the arms of the guy she’s had a crush on since law school, Dex (Egglesfield)…who just happens to be Darcy’s fiancé. As one thing leads to another in the frantic weeks leading up to Darcy’s wedding, Rachel finds herself in an impossible situation, caught between her treasured friendship with Darcy and the love of her life.”

My Take: The trailers look absolutely wretched, and the movie seems to be filled with whiny, unlikeable people handling situations as poorly as they possibly can. Not even John Krasinski can pique my interest in this one.

Thor


Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, Anthony Hopkins, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Official Synopsis: “At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. As a result, Thor is banished to Earth where he is forced to live among humans. When the most dangerous villain of his world sends its darkest forces to invade Earth, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero.”

My Take: I probably could not have been less interested in the premise, and the trailers didn’t really do anything to change my mind. But Thor is getting pretty good reviews, so I may have to check it out.

May 13

Bridesmaids


Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Ellie Kemper, Jon Hamm, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey

Director: Paul Feig

Official Synopsis: “Kristen Wiig leads the cast as Annie, a maid of honor whose life unravels as she leads her best friend, Lillian (Rudolph), and a group of colorful bridesmaids on a wild ride down the road to matrimony. Annie’s life is a mess. But when she finds out her lifetime best friend is engaged, she simply must serve as Lillian’s maid of honor. Though lovelorn and broke, Annie bluffs her way through the expensive and bizarre rituals. With one chance to get it perfect, she’ll show Lillian and her bridesmaids just how far you’ll go for someone you love.”

My Take: I am so happy to see Kristen Wiig get a lead role. Especially one that looks so good. It’s great that more people finally seem to realizing that women can be funny, too, and it’s great that they gave these ladies an (apparently) good film. I love the whole cast, and I’m definitely hoping to check it out in theatres.

Everything Must Go

Starring: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Glenn Howerton, Laura Dern

Director: Dan Rush

Official Synopsis: “Everything Must Go tells the story of Nick (Ferrell) a career salesman whose days of being on top are long gone. The same day Nick gets fired, for falling off the wagon one last time, he returns home to discover his wife has left him, changed the locks on their suburban home and dumped all his possessions out on the front yard. Faced with his life imploding, Nick puts it all on the line – or more properly, on the lawn – reluctantly holding a yard sale that becomes a unique strategy for survival.”

My Take: Will Ferrell has proven to be a capable dramatic actor, and Everything Must Go looks like it could be his meatiest role yet. It got good reviews at TIFF but flew under the radar a bit. And while I don’t think it will be a box office hit, it’s nice to see Ferrell trying new things. (Well, maybe he shouldn’t have tried The Office…) (Limited release)

Hesher

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, Devin Brochu, Rainn Wilson, John Carol Lynch, Piper Laurie

Director: Spencer Susser

Official Synopsis: “Loud music. Pornography. Burning **** to the ground. These are a few of Hesher’s favorite things. And they are what Hesher (Gordon-Levitt) brings into the lives of TJ (Brochu) and his father, Paul (Wilson) when he takes up residence in their garage uninvited. Grief-stricken by the loss of TJ’s mother in a car accident, Paul can’t muster the strength to evict the strange squatter, and soon the long-haired, tattooed Hesher becomes a fixture in the household. Like a force of nature, Hesher’s anarchy shakes the family out of their grief and helps them embrace life once more.”

My Take: This is another one that’s been floating around in distribution purgatory for a while (if I remember correctly, it played at last year’s Sundance festival), but I can kind of understand why, based on the trailer. I’m not writing it off yet, but it does look like a…strange film. (Limited release)

Priest

Starring: Paul Bettany, Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q, Lily Collins, Stephen Moyer, Karl Urban, Christopher Plummer

Director: Scott Stewart

Official Synopsis: “Priest, a western-fused post-apocalyptic thriller, is set in an alternate world — one ravaged by centuries of war between man and vampires. The story revolves around a legendary Warrior Priest (Bettany) from the last Vampire War who now lives in obscurity among the other downtrodden human inhabitants in walled-in dystopian cities ruled by the Church. When his niece (Collins) is abducted by a murderous pack of vampires, Priest breaks his sacred vows to venture out on an obsessive quest to find her before they turn her into one of them.”

My Take: Paul Bettany, what are you doing? I have no idea why he has become some kind of misguided “action” star. That said, I’m slightly curious about Lily Collins’ performance, since I thought that she was pretty good in The Blind Side (and she was one of my Up-and-Coming Actors to Watch last year). Dunno if I can stomach this one, though.

May 20

Midnight in Paris


Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Michael Sheen, Allison Pill, Carla Bruni

Director: Woody Allen

Official Synopsis: “This is a romantic comedy set in Paris about a family that goes there because of business, and two young people who are engaged to be married in the fall have experiences there that change their lives. It’s about a young man’s great love for a city, Paris, and the illusion people have that a life different from theirs would be much better.”

My Take: Well, at least Woody Allen is consistent with his one-movie-per-year approach to filmmaking. Even if his last two films (Whatever Works and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger) made almost zero impact, I’m kind of hopeful that this might be the next Vicky Christina Barcelona. I think the casting of Owen Wilson is kind of inspired, and he might suit Allen’s style surprisingly well. I’m not holding my breath, but maybe it will be a pleasant surprise. (Limited release)

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides


Starring: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, Geoffrey Rush, Sam Claflin

Director: Rob Marshall

Official Synopsis: I’m not going to bother. It’s another friggin’ Pirates movie. What do you expect?

My Take: Confession time! I’ve only seen the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and I didn’t even like it that much. I mean, it was fine, and Johnny Depp was undeniably wonderful, but once was more than enough for me. However, the trailer for this film did draw me in, and I might possibly check it out at some point. It could also (possibly) be worth watching for Sam Claflin, who made my list of up-and-coming actors to watch this year. He recently got cast in one of those Snow White movies that are coming out next year, and he’ll also star in The Seventh Son, which is apparently a big deal.

May 26

The Hangover Part II


Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong

Director: Todd Phillips

Official Synopsis: “In The Hangover Part II, Phil (Cooper), Stu (Helms), Alan (Galifianakis) and Doug (Bartha) travel to exotic Thailand for Stu’s wedding. After the unforgettable bachelor party in Las Vegas, Stu is taking no chances and has opted for a safe, subdued pre-wedding brunch. However, things don’t always go as planned. What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in Bangkok can’t even be imagined.”

My Take: The Hangover was a fun, unexpected hit that served as a star-making vehicle for its three leads. But do we really need another one? Especially one that looks like a less funny rehashing of the original?

Kung Fu Panda 2

Starring: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogan, Gary Oldman, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan

Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Official Synopsis: “In KUNG FU PANDA 2, Po is now living his dream as The Dragon Warrior, protecting the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung fu masters, The Furious Five. But Po’s new life of awesomeness is threatened by the emergence of a formidable villain, who plans to use a secret, unstoppable weapon to conquer China and destroy kung fu. Po must look to his past and uncover the secrets of his mysterious origins; only then will he be able to unlock the strength he needs to succeed.”

My Take: Ah, another pointless sequel. How refreshing.

May 27

The Tree of Life


Starring: Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Sean Penn

Director: Terrence Malick

Official Synopsis: The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Through Malick’s signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life.

My Take: Well, judging by how many times I’ve blogged about it already, I think it’s safe to assume that I’m pretty excited for The Tree of Life. I’m not a die-hard Mallick by any means (I’ve actually only seen The New World, and that was when it first came out on DVD, so I found it a bit boring at that age), but the trailer for this movie completely captivated me. I’ve probably watched it a dozen times, and I appreciate the beauty of it every time. It’s like a beautiful little stand-alone piece. Who knows how the movie will work in its entirety, but I’m certainly optimistic. (Limited release)

The Ultimate 2011 Movie Guide

You know all of those “most anticipated” lists that are out around this time? And you know how they all just have the year’s biggest blockbusters (Thor, Transformers 3, etc.) in varying order? Well, this list is different. It’s a mix of all different genres and sizes of movies (yes, including some blockbusters). I always find it interesting to look back at the movies that I was excited about. Because all it takes is a bad trailer and/or poor reviews to make me completely lose interest a lot of the time. So here’s a look at 50 films in 2011 that I’m excited for, in a very rough order.

1. The Tree of Life

Release Date: May 27

Director: Terrence Malick

Starring: Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Sean Penn

The plot description is vague (something about a loss of innocence), but the trailer suggests that artistry takes precedence over plot. Director Terrence Malick (whose past films include The New World, Badlands, and The Thin Red Line) takes his time to make meditative films, and hopefully it will be worth the wait.

2. Contagion

Release Date: October 21

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Cast: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, John Hawkes, Demetri Martin, Bryan Cranston, Elliott Gould You can’t argue with that cast. The sci-fi storyline about scientists stopping a killer virus may not lend itself to such A-list star power, but with Soderbergh at the helm, it’s bound to be a cut above the usual genre fair.  

 

3. On the Road

Release Date: TBA

Director: Walter Salles

Cast: Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Sturridge, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Steve Buscemi, Elizabeth Moss

This long-gestating adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s famous novel has a top-notch cast with some of my personal favourite current actors. Adapting such a huge book is always a challenge, but if they can pull it off, this could be a hugely popular film.

4. Young Adult

Release Date: TBA

Director: Jason Reitman

Cast: Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Patton Oswalt

I love Jason Reitman as a director, and I love him even more when he teams up with screenwriter Diablo Cody. Charlize Theron stars as a divorced writer hoping to reconnect with a now married old flame (I’m guessing that’s Patrick Wilson’s character?). Even with that vague plot, the names attached make me thing that this might be a romantic dramedy that’s actually good.

5. X-Men: First Class

Release Date: June 3

Director: Matthew Vaughan

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, Lucas Till, Oliver Platt, Caleb Landry Jones

What is with the amazing casts this year? Hopefully they don’t disappoint, as these monster casts sometimes do (hi, Nine!). I could see this one going either way, but Matthew Vaughan (Kick-Ass) is a fun director, and with the actors attached, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it on some level. The trailer looks like promising, if not fairly standard, superhero fare.  

 

6. Ceremony

Release Date: April 8

Director: Max Winkler

Cast: Michael Angarano, Uma Thurman, Reece Thompson, Lee Pace

It earned strong reviews at TIFF, and Max Winkler’s directorial debut looks like a charming and funny coming-of-age tale. Angarano and Thompson have been deserving of a breakthrough role for years, and even if this isn’t the vehicle to rocket them to the big time, it’s refreshing to see some of Hollywood’s truly talented young actors get a chance to show off their acting chops.

7. Beginners

Release Date: June 3

Director: Mike Mills

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent

McGregor is always a joy to watch on screen, and it’s an added bonus when his movies are actually good. His career seems to be on the upswing again, and this modest little story about a man dealing with his father’s late-life coming out looks like charming fun, with a dollop of melancholy.

 

8. Restless

Release Date: TBA

Director: Gus Van Sant

Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Henry Hopper, Schuyler Fisk, Jane Adams

I would be slightly dubious about the “quirky” plot (“a terminally ill teenage girl who falls for a boy who likes to attend funerals”) if it wasn’t in such good hands. From his big-name fare (Good Will Hunting, Milk) to his artiest, least comprehensible work (Paranoid Park) Gus Van Sant is always an interesting director. The trailer makes it look like one of his more mainstream efforts, but Restless also appears to have Van Sant’s unique touch that makes me very excited.

 

9. Jane Eyre

Release Date: March 11

Director: Carey Fukunaga

Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Sally Hawkins, Judi Dench, Imogen Poots

It looks like it’s going to be a big year for both Wasikowska and Fassbender, and this sweeping adaptation of the classic Charlotte Bronte novel will likely give both their careers even more of a boost. Potentially overwrought but certain to be well-shot, the best-case scenario for Jane Eyre would be something along the lines of a darker version of 2005’s Pride & Prejudice.

10. Super 8

Release Date

Director: J.J. Abrams

Cast: Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Amanda Michalka

After a completely esoteric teaser and an only slightly more telling Superbowl spot, I still don’t really know what Super 8 is about. But I have faith in J.J. Abrams after Lost and the Star Trek reboot. Elle Fanning is a young actress who I surprisingly really like, and I loved seeing Kyle Chandler (who will always be Coach Taylor to me) being a badass in the trailer. 

  • And 60+ More to Look Forward To…
    Potentially Hilarious Comedies
    There are few things that I enjoy more than a big, dumb comedy, if it’s done well. And, like most years before it, 2011 has a number of potential winners (most of which are bound to disappoint)

    • The most anticipated comedy of the year is probably The Hangover: Part II. But is a sequel really necessary?
    • Thanks to the first Hangover outing, The Office‘s Ed Helms gets his own film with Cedar Rapids.
    • And in a film that could be this year’s Hangover, three of the funniest dudes working today (Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, and Charlie Day) compare Horrible Bosses. Oh yeah, and Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, and Jamie Foxx are along for the ride, too
    • David Gordon Green, who proved his comedy chops with Pineapple Express, and now he has a medieval stoner flick (with James Franco, no less!), Your Highness, and a baby-sitting-stint-gone-awry comedy, The Sitter (starring Jonah Hill, Sam Rockwell, Ari Graynor, and Max Records), on the docket for 2011.
    • The ladies (in this case, Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne, Maya Rudolph, and Ellie Kemper) finally get a chance to be funny in an Apatow-produced comedy in Bridesmaids.
    • Capitalizing on the horror/comedy genre that 2009’s Zombieland explored to great effect, director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) brings Anton Yelchin (one of this year’s hottest commodities), Colin Farrell, and David Tennant along for a remake of 1985’s Fright Night
    • Speaking of Zombieland, director Ruben Fleischer and star Jesse Eisenberg team up again for the caper comedy, 30 Minutes or Less. With a supporting cast that includes Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, and Nick Swardson, it seems like a sure-fire laughfest…right?
    • And speaking of great casts, The Big Year stars Rashida Jones, Jim Parsons, Owen Wilson, Jack Black, Rosamund Pike, Steve Martin, Joel McHale, Dianne Wiest, and Anjelica Huston in a comedy about bird-watching.

    And what would the year be without a few star-studded rom-coms? Most of them sound exactly the same, but there are a few with a glimmer of hope.

    • Crazy Stupid Love offers the heavenly combination of Steve Carrell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone in a film about a struggling father trying to reconnect with his family.
    • Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd reteam thirteen years after The Object of My Affection for Wanderlust
    • And while I’m not a huge fan of multi-story rom-coms, What’s Your Number? stars Anna Farris as a woman recalling her past twenty (yes, twenty) relationships. And with a supporting cast that includes Andy Samberg, Joel McHale, Chris Pratt, Zachary Quinto, Chris Evans, Mike Vogel, Ari Graynor, and Thomas Lennon, even I can’t help but be excited.
    • Oh, and I kind of like Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake as actors, so I’m sort of excited for Friends With Benefits. So sue me.

     

    Shit Gets Serious

    Depressing Dramas!

    • Alright, this isn’t a depressing drama, but Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo is a mix of comedy and drama, and it stars Matt Damon, Elle Fanning, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Hayden Church and Patrick Fugit (yay!). The title kind of says it all.
    • Director Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me) meditates on the aftermath of a bus crash in Margaret, which has an impressive cast of Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, Kieran Culkin, Olivia Thirlby, Krysten Ritter, Allison Janey, and Rosemarie DeWitt
    • The Iceman delves into the life of infamous killer Richard Kulinski, and it stars James Franco, Benecio Del Toro, and Michael Shannon
    • Imagine a movie that stars Cillian Murphy, Michael Fassbender, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, and Colin Farrell. Well, this film might actually exist. At-Swim-Two-Birds is an Irish film based on an Irish novel directed by a respected Irish actor (Brendan Gleeson). And it’s going to be amazing, if it ever gets made (IMDB still lists it as in pre-production. Why must you tease us so?)
    • The Lucky One is a stupid-sounding movie based on a stupid-sounding book by a stupid author, but I will watch it and probably secretly really enjoy it because it stars stupid Zac Efron.

    Period Pieces!

    • Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, and Gary Oldman make a fetching trio in Cold War thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
    • Michelle Williams, Emma Watson, and Eddie Redmayne explore the life of Marilyn Monroe in the appropriately titled My Week With Marilyn
    • Frued and Jung face off in A Dangerous Method, which stars Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley
    • Cross-dressing in 19th century Ireland is made cool in Albert Nobbs. Glenn Close takes the titular role, while Mia Wasikowska, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, and Aaron Johnson make for a enticing supporting cast.
    • Teen heartthrob Robert Pattinson plays a social climber at the turn of the last century alongside Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci, and Kristen Scott Thomas in Bel Ami

    Sci-Fi!

    • Justin Timberlake, Cillian Murphy, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew Bomer, and Johnny Galecki deal with the troublesome effects of anti-aging in
      Now (by Gattaca director Andrew Niccol)
    • Clive Owen and Daniel Bruhl (stars of my own personal dreams) come together for a supernatural thriller about clairvoyant children in Intruders
    • Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby , and Max Minghella escape an alien attack in The Darkest Hour
    • The infamously punishing Lars Von Trier guides Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Kiefer Sutherland through Melancholia, a thriller about Earth being on collision course with another planet.

    Action Movies!

    • Remember when Steven Soderbergh cast Sasha Grey in The Girlfriend Experiment? That sort of made sense as an experimental piece. Now he’s taking a somewhat similar risk by casting non-actor and fighter Gina Carano as the lead in Haywire. But this time she’s backed by a cast that includes Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Michael Angarano, and Bill Paxton in this story of a black ops soldier out for revenge. This is either going to be amazing or awful.
    • Tower Heist. Pros: It stars Casey Affleck and Ben Stiller, and it was written by Noah Baumbach. Cons: It was directed by Brett Ratner (director of the only X-Men movie that I disliked, and heartless conspirator against the precious Hugh Jackman), stars Eddie Murphy, and has a completely boring, generic-sounding story (some Ponzi scheme heist thing). I’m hoping the good outweighs the bad, though. It is Noah Baumbach, after all.
    • Driver explores the high-flying life of a stunt driver, starring Ryan Gosling and It Girl Carey Mulligan
    • Matt Damon plays a man on the run from unknown forces with Emily Blunt in The Adjustment Bureau

     

    Blockbusters

    • As someone who grew up with Harry Potter, it pretty much goes without saying that I am excited for the final movie chapter, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
    • Scorsese goes three dimensional with the highly anticpated Hugo Cabret. This adaptation of the children’s book stars Chloe Moretz, Michael Pitt, Jude Law, Emily Mortimer, Sascha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Lee, and A Serious Man‘s Michael Stuhlbarg.
    • David Fincher is on a roll, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, his adaptation of the massively popular Swedish book, is bound to be stylish and intense.

     

    Indies

    Sundance

    • Director Drake Doremus (Douchebag) earned huge acclaim at Sundance for his long-distance romance/coming-of-age story, Like Crazy (starring Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Twilight‘s Charlie Bewley, and Chris Messina)
    • One of the other break-out films of the festival was Martha Marcy May Marlene, which stars Elizabeth Olsen (sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley) as a young woman dealing with her escape from a cult. The top-notch supporting cast includes John Hawkes, Hugh Dancy, and Brady Corbet.
    • Paul Rudd steps behind the camera again with his rom-com-dram My Idiot Brother, and gets some help from Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Steve Coogan, Hugh Dancy, Rashida Jones, TJ Miller, and Adam Scott on screen.
    • Fundamentalism is this year’s whipping boy at the movies (seriously, did you see how many Sundance films took on religion this year?), and The Ledge is apparently a battle of wills between a Christian and an atheist that involves a man on the ledge of a very tall building. It stars Charlie Hunman (Sons of Anarchy), Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, and Terrence Howard.
    • Kevin Smith’s own statement on fundamentalism takes the form of a horror film in Red State, which stars John Goodman and Michael Angarano.
    • The Details (starring Elizabeth Banks, Laura Linney, and Tobey Maguire) has a bizarre plot about raccoons, but since it is director Jacob Aaron Estes follow-up to Mean Creek, I can’t help but be intrigued
    • J.K. Simmons gets a much-deserved lead role, and Lou Taylor Pucci stars as his son with a memory-blocking tumour in The Music Never Stopped. It looks like a nice meditation on family, and the power of music.

    TIFF Holdovers

    • Peep World
      (which I somehow managed to completely miss hearing about up until now) looks like a funny, slightly Arrested Development-esque comedy about a family who feels betrayed when the youngest brother uses them as material for his novel. And did I mention that it stars Michael C. Hall, Rainn Wilson, Judy Greer, Sarah Silverman, Taraji P. Henson, and Kate Mara? Yeah, that too.
    • The Conspirator‘s cast alone (Robin Wright, James McAvoy, Evan Rachel Wood, The Greatest’s Johnny Simmons, Alexis Bledel, Jonathan Groff, Justin Long, Kevin Kline, Tom Wilkinson, etc.) is awesome, and the story, which revolves around the assassination of Lincoln, sounds intriguing
    • I didn’t love Kelly Reichardt’s previous effort, Wendy and Lucy, but I did respect it, and I’m interested to see her next project with Michelle Williams (supporting cast includes Paul Dano, Bruce Greenwood, and Zoe Kazan)
    • Last Night
      looks like a lush warning against the pitfalls of love and excess, and the cast (Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes, Guillaume Canet) is certainly easy on the eyes.
    • Will Farrell gets semi-serious as man whose life is falling apart in Everything Must Go

    Yet to Screen

    • Jay and Mark Duplass let Jason Segel into their mumblecore world with the decidedly low-concept comedy Jeff Who Lives At Home
    • Sarah Polley directs herself, Michelle Williams, Seth Rogan, and Sarah Silverman in a drama called Take This Waltz
    • Jay Baruchel, Sean William Scott, Liev Schreiber, and Allison Pill celebrate hockey in Goon
    • Cancer is made kind of funny (?) in Live With It, which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a young man diagnosed with cancer (supporting cast includes Seth Rogan, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anjelica Huston, and Phillip Baker Hall)

Fall Movie Preview: September


September 3

After the void that was this year’s summer movie season, we’re jumping right back into things with a few interesting releases. The American (September 1), Anton Corbijn’s follow-up to 2007’s Control, stars George Clooney as an assassin on the run. The “one last job” plotline is so hackneyed at this point, but if there are two people who can make a stylish thriller, it’s probably Corbijn and Clooney. Also in wide release is the romantic comedy Going the Distance, starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, which got bumped back from late August. Robert Rodriguez’ highly anticipated (for reasons unknown to me) Machete also hits theatres.

In limited release, The Winning Season stars Sam Rockwell and Emma Roberts, and it seems to be a full-length riff on the basketball coach storyline from director James C. Strouse’s previous writing effort, Lonesome Jim. In foreign fare, director Zhang Yimou gives us his update on Blood Simple with A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop.


September 10

The Resident Evil franchise barrels on with the latest release, Resident Evil: Afterlife, while comedic dream team Will Farrell and Adam McKay bring us their latest production, The Virginity Hit.

In limited release is the much-buzzed-about Joaquin Phoenix documentary (?), I’m Still Here, which likely will answer very few of our questions about Phoenix’s recent antics. We’ll also get a couple of top-notch ensemble casts with Lovely, Still (starring Martin Landau, Ellen Burstyn, Elizabeth Banks, and Adam Scott), and The Romantics (starring Anna Paquin, Katie Holmes, Josh Duhamel, Adam Brody, Malin Ackerman, Elijah Wood, and Diana Agron. How’s that for a sickeningly attractive cast? Well, the movie itself looks equally sticky and insufferable).

September 17

This week, we’ll see a slew of interesting, completely disparate releases. Alpha and Omega, the 3D animated children’s film brings us a voice cast of Christina Ricci, Justin Long, Danny Glover, and the late Dennis Hopper. Devil brings an M. Night Shyamalan story to life (wait, isn’t the story usually the weak point of every Shyamalan-written film?) and stars the charming Chris Messsina. Easy A is a welcome, promising showcase piece for up-and-comer Emma Stone and co-stars Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson, Thomas Hayden Church, and Lisa Kudrow. We’ll also see two major actors take a seat in front of and behind the camera, with Ben Affleck’s The Town (his directorial follow-up to Gone Baby Gone), and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Jack Goes Boating (his directorial debut, in limited release) hitting theatres.

Never Let Me Go (September 15), an adaptation of the acclaimed Kazuo Ishiguro novel, offers a promising cast, with Andrew Garfield, Carey Mulligan, and Keira Knightley all taking on the sci-fi-twinged tale. Also in limited release is the Sundance hit, Catfish, which got audiences buzzing about its low budget, supposedly non-fictional take on internet love gone awry.

September 24

Though last year’s Whatever Works caused some movie-goers to give up on him entirely, Woody Allen is back with a new comedy, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (September 22)(starring Josh Brolin, Naomi Watts, Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Bandera, and Freida Pinto). And speaking of big-name directors, Oliver Stone returns with Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Michael Douglas reprises his iconic role of Gordon Gekko, and Shia LaBoeuf, Carey Mulligan, and Josh Brolin hope to add their own charms to the franchise. On his time off between Watchmen and Sucker Punch, Zack Snyder made Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, a children’s film about owls, and it also hits theatres this week, as does You Again, a rom-com starring Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Sigourney Weaver.

In limited release, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson) bring us their adaptation of Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story, which could provide Zach Galifianakis’ meatiest role to date. Ryan Reynolds also takes a turn for the serious with Buried, a one-man thriller about a soldier buried alive in a coffin. As well, we’ll get to see James Franco in his first of two headlining projects this fall, playing poet Allen Ginsberg in Howl. Also finally getting a North American theatrical release is the trippy French film, Enter the Void, which has been playing on the festival circuit for over a year.

2010 Summer Movie Guide

= Awards Contender = Big-name Star = Potential Cash Cow = Up-and-coming Indie = My most anticipated films

May 7

Iron Man 2

Director: John Favreau

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow

After the massive success of 2008’s Iron Man – and star Robert Downey Jr.’s subsequent comeback – it’s no wonder that audiences will be treated to a second helping. With some of the best actors in the business on board (Downey, Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Don Cheadle), it’d be hard for this sequel to fail.

Also Released: The documentary Babies, which captivated audiences with its adorable trailer, and two small Oscar-baity films: Mother and Child (which is already giving Annette Bening Oscar buzz), and Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (which earned Andy Serkis a BAFTA nom when it was released in the UK last year). Other indie releases include Multiple Sarcasms
(Timothy Hutton, Mira Sorvino), Solitary Man (Michael Douglas, Jesse Eisenberg, Susan Sarandon), and The Trotsky, which stars Jay Baruchel as a teen who is convinced that he is the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky.

May 14

Ridley Scott teams up with Russell Crowe for the fifth time with his action remake Robin Hood (also starring Cate Blanchett), while Amanda Seyfried continues her date movie run with the ostensibly romantic Letters to Juliet. Also, Queen Latifa and rapper-turned-actor Common star in Just Wright, a rom-com about a basketball player who falls for his physical therapist.

May 21

Macgruber

Director: Jorma Taccone

Starring: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer, Ryan Phillippe

Movies based on SNL skits were common in the 90’s (Wayne’s World, A Night at the Roxbury, Superstar, etc.), but this MacGyver spoof is the first one to hit theatres in ten years. It’s clearly going for a hard R-rating, and if it can bring the proper mix of raunch and genuine humour, it could work.

Also Released: The last instalment in the wildly popular Shrek franchise, Shrek Forever After. Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and Antonio Bandaras all return to lend their voices. Also, Holly Rollers, starring Jesse Eisenberg as a Hasidic drug runner opens in limited release.

May 28

Fans of the TV series will be happy to see Carrie Bradshaw and friends going global in Sex and the City 2
(Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristen Davis, and Cynthia Nixon all reprise their roles). Meanwhile, history buffs can check out Jake Gyllenhaal as an action hero in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and Rachel Weisz as an ancient Egyptian slave in Agora. As well, director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie) brings us the fanciful Micmacs, and George A. Romero presents the zombie flick Survival of the Dead.

June 4

Splice

Director: Vincenzo Natali

Starring: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley

In the first of Brody’s two sci-fi films coming out this summer (huh?), he and Polley play scientists who become embroiled in the task of combining human and animal DNA. This small, smart thriller may not find much of an audience, but it looks like the best horror film coming out this summer.

Get Him to the Greek

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Starrng: Russell Brand, Jonah Hill, Rose Byrne

This spin-off film revolves around Brand’s Aldous Snow character from 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The zany “we have to get him to the gig!” premise may wear thin quickly, but with comedic talent such as Brand and Hill on board, there are sure to be laughs had.

Ondine

Director: Neil Jordan

Starring: Alicja Bachleda, Colin Farrell

After gaining good buzz from its premiere at last year’s Toronto Internal Film Festival, Ondine is now receiving Oscar buzz for lead actress Bachleda. Jordan’s (The Brave One) drama about a man who finds a mermaid may not be the most conventional summer film, but it certainly sounds intriguing.

Also released: The Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Hiegel vehicle, Killers, which
is likely to rake in big money at the box office. And for the kids, Owen Wilson lends his voice to the adaption of the comic strip Mamaduke.

June 11

The A-Team

Director: Joe Carnahan

Starring: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharto Copley, Quintin Jackson, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson

With a film veteran (Neeson), a new superstar (Cooper) and a promising up-and-comer (District 9‘s Copley), there is a lot to be hopeful about with this re-boot of the classic 80’s TV show. Here’s hoping that it strives to be more than a big, dumb action movie.

Also Released: The Jackie Chan and Jayden Smith reboot of the 80’s classic, The Karate Kid. And though you’ll have to look hard to find it, the Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winner, Winter’s Bone, is going into limited release.

June 18

Cyrus

Directors: Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass

Starring: John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, Catherine Keener, Marisa Tomei

The Duplass brothers (Baghead, The Puffy Chair) are known as forbearers of the mumblecore movement, but their latest movie is a story of a man (Reilly) who is terrorized by his new girlfriend’s overly protective son, Cyrus (Hill). With bigger names and good buzz from Sundance, Cyrus could be the Duplass brothers’ breakthrough to the mainstream.

Toy Story 3

Director: Lee Unkrich

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusak

The third instalment in the Toy Story franchise is finally here, and it’s likely to find new fans that weren’t even born when the earlier films were realised. Pixar has been on a run with Ratatouille, Wall-E, and Up, and here’s hoping that Toy Story 3 won’t break the streak.

The Killer Inside Me

Director: Michael Winterbottom

Starring: Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson

In his first film since 2007, Casey Affleck stars as a homicidal sheriff who is assigned to investigate murders that he himself has committed in The Killer Inside Me. It will likely struggle to find an audience (the film’s explicit portrayal of violence against women had viewers walking out of its Sundance screening), but Affleck’s presence may convince some film fans to give it a chance.

Also Released: Yet another comic book adaptation, Jonah Hex (starring Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender, and John Malkovich) and I am Love, which finds Tilda Swinton showing off her Italian.

June 25

Two films full of star power hit the screen on June 25. The comedy Grown Ups (Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade) finds five childhood friends reuniting, while Knight and Day (Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz) continues this year’s trend of action-based rom-coms.

June 30

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse finds protagonists Bella and Edward (Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson) going to battle with their vampire friends, while The Last Airbender (directed by M. Night Shyamalan) brings the popular children’s TV series to the big screen. Also looking for a comeback is director Joel Schumacher (St. Elmo’s Fire, The Lost Boys), who
returns to his teen film roots with Twelve, a drama about a young drug dealer (Chace Crawford).

July 9

The Kids Are All Right

Director: Lisa Cholodenko

Starring: Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Hutcherson, Mia Wasikowska

This comedy about two lesbians’ kids trying to find their biological father earned critical praise at Sundance, and boasts an all-star cast. Mainstream audiences may not be ready for the subject matter, but it has the potential to become the sleeper hit of the summer.

Also released: Despicable Me, a cartoon featuring an top-notch comedic vocal cast (Steve Carrell, Kristen Wiig, Jason Segel, Will Arnett) and Predators, which inexplicably stars Adrien Brody. For horror buffs, [REC] 2 is a sequel to the Spanish film that inspired 2008’s Quarantine.

July 16


Inception

Director: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard

Christopher Nolan’s Inception is one of the most anticipated films of the summer, despite the fact that no one knows what it’s about. After 2008’s The Dark Knight, expectations are high, but with its exciting trailers and exceptional cast, it’s sure to draw a big crowd.

Also released: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the fantasy film that’ll keep Jay Baruchel’s big year alive (also starring Nicholas Cage). Another up-and-coming actor, Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds), has a French/Russian drama called The Concert opening in limited release.

July 23

Angelina Jolie’s latest vehicle, Salt, finds her as a CIA agent on the run, while Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd, and Zach Galifianakis star in Dinner for Schmucks, in which they compete to find the dumbest person to bring to a dinner party. Also, Ramona and Beezus (starring teen star Selena Gomez) adapts the popular Beverly Cleary book series, and Todd Solondz brings audiences his latest ensemble piece, Life During Wartime.

July 30

Charlie St. Cloud

Director: Burr Steers

Starring: Zac Efron, Kim Bassinger

In his first fully dramatic role since High School Musical, heartthrob Zac Efron stars in Charlie St. Cloud, which centers around a young cemetery caretaker who attempts to connect with his deceased brother. It has the potential to be dumb, or, if Efron handles the lead role well, surprisingly good.

Get Low

Director: Aaron Schneider

Starring: Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek, Lucas Black

It was supposed to be a contender for the 2009 Oscars, but Get Low got pushed to a summer release. However, star Robert Duvall is still getting buzz for his performance as an elderly man who wants to plan a premature “funeral party” for himself. An unconventional summer release, but certainly interesting.

Also Released: Beastly, a fantasy romance starring Zac Efron’s real life girlfriend, Vanessa Hudgens (same release date? How adorable…), and the totally unnecessary sequel, Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Indie releases include I Love You Phillip Morris, a controversial film, which finds Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor getting cozy, and The Extra Man (starring Kevin Kline, Paul Dano, John C. Reilly).

August 6

The Other Guys

Director: Adam McKay

Starring: Will Farrell, Mark Wahlberg, Samuel L. Jackson

Will Ferrell takes a break from his sports comedies to co-star with Mark Wahlberg as a cop in this action comedy. Farrell has saved some pretty weak material in the past, so even though the trailer was underwhelming, I still hold hope for this one.

Also Released: The eye-roll-inducing Step Up 3-D, and Middle Men, a crime comedy starring Giovanni Ribisi and Luke Wilson.

August 13

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Director: Edgar Wright

Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Evans, Jason Schwartzman

This oddball adaptation of a graphic novel series finds Michael Cera as a young man who must defeat “seven evil exes” for a shot at his love interest’s heart.

Also Released: The ultimate guy movie of the summer, The Expendables, which stars Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, and Jason Statham is unleashed. And perhaps not coincidentally, the ultimate chick movie of the summer, Eat, Pray, Love, is also released, which stars Julia Roberts as a misguided woman who takes a worldwide journey to find herself.

August 20

The Switch

Director: Josh Gordon and Will Speck

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Jeff Goldblum, Juliette Lewis

The concept is strange – a man (Bateman) purposely replaces his sperm with that of a donor’s, unbeknownst to his friend (Aniston), who is trying to get pregnant. Yet what ensues looks like a surprisingly sweet romantic comedy, largely thanks to its two charming leads.

Also Released: Three movies which I plan to ignore completely. Takers (a bank heist movie starring Paul Walker and Zoe Saldana), Nanny McPhee Returns (starring Emma Thompson and Ralph Fiennes), and The Lottery Ticket (starring “no longer Lil” Bow Wow).

August 27

Going the Distance, starring Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, and Christina Applegate explores long-distance relationships, while Josh Radnor’s directorial indie debut, Happythankyoumoreplease, considers growing up and first love. For something entirely different, Piranha 3-D lets you see the gore from all angles, and Centurion (starring Michael Fassbender) takes on a Roman war epic.