Film

Summer Movie Preview: May 2011

This month, the God of Thunder, the return of Captain Jack Sparrow, and the continuing adventures of the bachelor partying Wolf Pack mark the start of the Summer season.

We apparently worship false gods. We adore sitting, enraptured, as mutants and other mysteries of nature battle it out for symbolic superiority (and no, we aren't talking about an overly buff Vin Diesel taking on an equally muscled Dwayne Johnson for Brazilian back alley bragging rights). Robots rule our lazy, hazy summer days, their transformative powers perking up an otherwise aggressive assault on our senses, and every once in a while, a comedy/drama/kids film will walk by, gaining our interest before another caped crusader comes in to claim its territory. That's right, it's blockbuster time again, the annual cinematic assumption regarding what a majority of the mainstream movie-going public will enjoy come the next four months. Sure, it's a gamble, and sometimes, the lows are more famous than the highs. One thing's for sure, however, we won't be seeing another Inception any time soon.

[read full introduction]

 
Director: Kenneth Branagh

Film: Thor

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Colm Feore, Ray Stevenson, Anthony Hopkins

MPAA rating: PG-13

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/blog_art/t/thorposter.jpg

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6 May
Thor

Fans of 'funny books' have often believed that this particular Marvel hero would make a great big screen icon. Of course, technology and vision had to catch up with the comic book genre before that could happen. So when it was announced that Kenneth Branagh -- he of superb Shakespeare adaptations like Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing -- would helm the adaptation, visions of his less than Bard Frankenstein starting dancing in fans' heads. Luckily advance word has been more than kind, meaning that the Avengers-based one-two punch of 2011 gets off with a successful swing. Now it's up to Captain American to cap things off correctly.

 
Director: Luke Greenfield

Film: Something Borrowed

Cast: Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Goodwin, John Krasinski, Colin Egglesfield, Steve Howey

MPAA rating: PG-13

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/blog_art/s/somethingborrowedposter.jpg

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6 May
Something Borrowed

Just when you think the Romantic Comedy can't get any more strained or stupid comes this klutzy trailer featuring unspoken sentiments, friendships as bitter rivalries, and John Krasinski as the wise cracking Eve Arden voice of reason. Though it is based on a successful novel, one imagines more of the stupid same: more unrequited emotions covered up for the sake of a 90-minute narrative; more pathetic pandering to a demographic already overwhelmed by insipid stories of destined love; more shameless hard sell man/woman relationship insights; more reasons for Hollywood to stop making these mindless titles once and for all.

 
Director: Salim Akil

Film: Jumping the Broom

Cast: Laz Alonso, Paula Patton, Tasha Smith, Loretta Devine, Megan Good

MPAA rating: R

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/blog_art/j/jumpingthebroomposter.jpg

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6 May
Jumping the Broom

Most African American filmmakers must wonder if there is life after Tyler Perry. Of course, when you look at lame excuses for 'urban' comedy like Lottery Ticket and Our Family Wedding, you can understand the concern. Still, TV writer/director (Soul Food, The Game) Salim Akil hopes to break convention with his first feature film. The notion of mismatched partners, whose parents come from equally unbalanced sides of the tracks is not new, but as long as the material stays nestled within realistic disparities (and not loud, lame stereotyping), we could begin to see some light at the end of the Madea- managed tunnel.




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