I hope you’re ready. This is when the special effects laden mega-marketing movies start coming out. There are a lot of different comic book movies coming this summer, some big, some small and I’ll try not to miss any of them here. Also, there are a few sequels of note, two of them coming in May. So, hold onto something as we go over the top of the roller coaster hill.
Thor- This is it. With this Marvel movie starts all of the big action of the summer. If there is one man I’d trust to make a movie about Norse gods come to Earth, it would be Kenneth Branagh. Also, it can be argued, the possible public reaction to an Avengers movie can be made or ruined here. Yes, they’re filming The Avengers now but there is a big chunk of time between now and when it will be released for something to go sideways and for people not to care about seeing it. That said, all of the early reviews for Thorare positive. The movie was released overseas before it was released in the US and has already done $87 million in business, easily taking the #1 spot for international box office over the weekend. Starring Chris Helmsworth at Thor, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and Anthony Hopkins as Odin.
Hobo With a Shotgun- This is a limited release, so it may not be playing where you are. Directed by Jason Eisener, this was initially made as a fake trailer for an international contest to promote the release of Grindhouse. If you’re counting, this is actually the second movie to be make from those fake trailers, the first being Machete. This sort of thing isn’t usually my thing but the fact that it stars Rutger Hauer goes a long way for me. It premiered at last year’s Sundance Festival and has gotten a number of positive reviews. I don’t expect this to do a lot of box office, mostly because it is also currently available through iTunes, Xbox Live and the Playstation Network. Well, the first two at any rate.
Something Borrowed- This looks like a standard plot: Girl is in love with a guy and has been for years but never got around to saying anything about it and now he’s marrying her best friend. I understand that this can be the stuff of epic Greek tragedy but really, for the most part, these romcom plots tend to be pretty cookie cutter and pretty straight forward. Still, starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson and Colin Egglesfield it should be a good time at the movies.
Bridesmaids- On the flip side of the coin that is wedding romcoms is this movie. The official synopsis reads: 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. Annie is played by Kristen Wiig with the rest of the bridesmaids being made up by Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper. The trailers and ads for this look promisingly funny.
Priest- Originally a manhwa (Korean comic, like manga is to Japan), this adaptation starts Paul Bettany, Karl Urban and Maggie Q. The general plot goes ike this: Humanity and vampires have warred against for centuries. After the last Vampire War, the veteran Warrior Priest lives with other humans inside one of the Church’s walled cities. When the priest’s niece is kidnapped by vampires, the priest breaks his vows to hunt them down. He is accompanied by the niece’s boyfriend who is a wasteland sheriff, and a former Warrior Priestess. If you liked an of the Resident Evil movies, this looks to be just about that speed.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – Captain Jack Sparrow is back. Pirates 4 is inspired by a book by Tim Powers, also called On Stranger Tides. For those of you old-school video game players, that books also inspired a favorite of mine: The Secret of Monkey Island. This time we get to see the beloved pirate in London and without Orlando Bloom or Kiera Knightley attached, though we are keeping Geoffrey Rush’s delightful Barbossa. Replacing Bloom and Knightly, we get mermaids, Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane as Blackbeard.
The Beaver – This came out in previously limited release but goes national this week. Starring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster, this movie is also directed by Jodie Foster. I imagine there will be a little bit of box office traffic to this movie just because Mel Gibson has attempted to implode his career a few times since his last significant film release. Also, the plot of this movie sounds just bizarre: Plagued by his own demons, Walter Black 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.
The Hangover Part II- The premise of this one is, well, much like that of the first one. Phil, Alan and Doug travel to Thailand for Stu’s wedding, but after their little escapade in Las Vegas, Stu has opted for a safe, subdued pre-wedding brunch. Things do not go as planned after they lose the younger brother of Stu’s fiancée. Word is that Mike Tyson will be back again as himself. Here’s hoping they’ll be able to catch lightning in a bottle for a second time.
Kung Fu Panda 2- Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and executively produced by Guillermo del Toro, this sequel has most of the original cast coming back as well as adding a few new characters. Po is now a kung fu master and fighting to protect the Valley of Peace alongside with Master Shifu and the Furious Five. A new evil, the beautifully animated emperor albino peacock Lord Shen (played by Gary Oldman), emerges to take over China with a weapon said to be so powerful that it threatens the very existence of kung fu itself. In order to vanquish this threat to China and his way of life, Po sets out with the Furious Five but finds he must first confront his own mysterious past.