Summer Movie Preview: June 2011

The return of everyone's favorite mutants, the arrival of an intergalactic peacekeeper, and some guy with a bunch of birds marks June's idea of sunny Summer fun.

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.

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Director: Matthew Vaughn

Film: X-Men: First Class

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence

MPAA rating: PG-13


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3 June
X-Men: First Class

It's Hollywood's latest craze -- taking established superhero franchises and "teening" them up for an apparently ADD-addled new generation. Spider-man is being taken back to high school, and now everyone's favorite mutants are going right back to the beginning, back before Dr. Xavier even thought of his home for "special" students. Of course, geek nation is all in a lather over origin consistencies and who will be represented (and more importantly, omitted) but one can't help feel that in a Summer of stunning newcomers, this First Class will be outclassed. Still, with Matthew Vaughn in the director's seat, there's hope.

Director: Mike Mills

Film: Beginners

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Mélanie Laurent, Goran Visnjic

MPAA rating: R


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3 June

No, the famed R.E.M. bassist and backing vocalist has not abandoned Peter Buck and Michael Stipe for the greener creative pastures of cinema. This is a totally different Mike Mills, a graphic designer and video director known for previous efforts like Thumbsucker and Eating Sleeping Waiting and Praying. This time, he takes on the autobiographical story of an aging father finally coming out to his disillusioned adult son. It is partially based on Mills own parent who announced his homosexuality at age 75, a few years before he finally died. With Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer in the lead roles, the results appear promising. Early reviews suggest something special.

Director: Richard Ayoade

Film: Submarine

Cast: Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Sally Hawkins, Paddy Considine

MPAA rating: R


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3 June

The British have an unusual obsession with the quirky coming of age saga, especially if said maturation process can revolve around the ribald subject of sex. As MTV trying to tap into their scandalous Skins ideal, UK filmmaker Richard Ayoade hopes his unique sensibility will breathe some subversion life into the mix. Perhaps best known for working on the glorious Garth Marenghi series Fright Knight and Darkplace, as well as the surreal kiddie comedy show The Mighty Boosh this look at an unpopular boy's bid for recognition, both among his classmates and with his fractured family at home, has a lot of promise. As long as it avoids the obvious, it should be wonderful.

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