Summer Preview 2011: Pirates, Hangovers and the Last of Harry Potter
Now that the snow has melted and the sun has returned, it's time to think about summer movies! Big blockbusters, exciting sequels and best selling adaptations are all in the mix, so here's my take on some of the movies you can look for this summer:
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, 7/15
Harry and the gang have their final battles in this, the last of the Harry Potter cinematic dynasty. The three stars have already moved on: Daniel Radcliffe is on Broadway, Emma Watson is dropping out of Brown and Rupert Grint's in Norway shooting a movie. But no matter what these three do in the future, they'll always have the pride of knowing they were part of one of the best movie franchises of all time.
"Cowboys and Aliens"
Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, 7/29
You know the age-old, fanboy question: who would win in a fight, cavemen or astronauts? Well the title of this movie reminds me of that. Who would win in a fight, cowboys or aliens? If it’s a movie produced by Hollywood, I’d have to give the edge to the cowboys. And when it stars Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford as two of the cowboys, you gotta know the aliens won’t have a chance.
With a screenplay by "Fringe" and "Alias" alums, Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman, and "Lost's" Damon Lindelof, among others, I have high hopes for this one. Saddle up!
Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Jon Hamm, 5/13
Word on the street is this is kind of a woman's version of "The Hangover." \It's about a woman whose best friend gets engaged and the strain it puts on their friendship. With some very funny ladies like Maya Rudolph and Melissa McCarthy, plus "Mad Men's" Jon Hamm, I'm rooting for this one to be a hoot and a half.
"The Hangover Part II"
Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, 5/26
Speaking of "The Hangover," heeeeerrrrrrrrrre's the sequel! It’s a good thing I’ve liked Bradley Cooper since his early days on “Alias,” ‘cause otherwise, there’s no way I’d even consider seeing The Hangover Part II.
The first "Hangover" was good for some chuckles but I don’t have high hopes for this one. However that doesn’t mean it’s not going to sell oodles of tickets.
"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides"
Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, 5/20
Rob Marshall takes over from Gore Verbinski as the director of this latest Disney pirate adventure. Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom have moved on but Johnny Depp is back as Captain Jack Sparrow and that’s enough to put a whole bunch of butts in the seats, including mine. The plot's something about finding the Fountain of Youth and there are zombies and mermaids. That and Johnny Depp too? What's not to love?
FUNNY, HA, HA
The best part about this group of comedies is there are two with Justin Timberlake and one with Angela Bassett. "Horrible Bosses" sounds like a male version of "9 to 5," where downtrodden office workers take revenge on their bosses. While "Zookeeper" is another in the series of Kevin James occupational comedies like "Mall Cop."
"Bad Teacher" appears to be the most promising, if for no other reason than Cameron Diaz and Timberlake used to be in a hot and heavy romance. And Timberlake's many appearances on "Saturday Night Live" have proven he's got a talent for comedy.
"Jumping the Broom"
Paula Patton, Angela Bassett, 5/6
Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, 6/24
Kevin James, Leslie Bibb, Rosario Dawson, 7/8
Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, 7/8
"Friends with Benefits"
Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, 7/22
"Crazy, Stupid Love"
Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, 7/29
BRING ON THE DRAMA
The most anticipated summer movie on the drama front is the adaptation of the novel "The Help," about black maids in Mississippi in the early 60s and the white families they work for.
"Higher Ground" represents the directorial debut of Vera Farmiga, who was nominated for an Oscar for "Up in the Air." This film is about a woman, played by Farmiga, who struggles with her faith while living a born-again, hippie community.
I'm always excited about a film with Helen Mirren and this summer we have two. "The Debt" is a remake of an Israeli thriller about agents tracking down a Nazi doctor, and "Brighton Rock" is based on a Graham Greene suspense novel.
A Better Life
Demian Bichir, Jose Julian, 6/24
Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, 7/1
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Li Bingbing, Gianna Jun, Vivian Wu, 7/15
Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, 8/12
Vera Farmiga, Dagmara Dominczyk, John Hawkes, 8/12
Helen Mirren, Sam Riley, 8/19
Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, 8/31
COMIC BOOK MADNESS
I'm as big a fan of popcorn entertainment as the next gal, but I just can't get excited about any of these. But that could also be because I'm not a 14-year-old boy. Go figure.
"X-Men: First Class"
James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, January Jones, Kevin Bacon, 6/3
Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Robbins, 6/17
"Captain America: The First Avenger"
Chris Evans Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones, 7/22
Kid movies are going to be well represented this summer. It would be hard to vote against the new "Winnie the Pooh," and the sequel to "Cars," while "Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer," about a girl attempting to have a really great summer brings us the return of Jaleel White TV's Urkel, all grown up.
"Super 8" is set in 1979 and it's about an amateur filmmaker and his friends and the aliens they come across when a cargo train derails. It's directed by J.J. Abrams, so this one especially could be a goodie.
"Kung Fu Panda 2"
Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Gary Oldman, 5/26
Riley Griffiths, Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, 6/10
"Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer"
Jordana Beatty, Heather Graham, Jaleel White, 6/10
Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, 6/24
"Winnie the Pooh"
Jim Cummings, John Cleese, Craig Ferguson, 7/15
"Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World"
Jessica Alba, Jeremy Piven, 8/19
DISASTERS WAITING TO HAPPEN
Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, 5/6
Jodie Foster directs this film which aims to launch Mel Gibson back onto the public stage. Whether it successfully helps people forget his very public meltdowns and whack job actions, remains to be seen, but honestly, Mel should just quit while he’s ahead, open up a UPS Store franchise, and call it a career.
Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, 5/6
What can I say? This is a movie that has an official car. And despite just having won an Oscar, I think Natalie Portman is going to find that this is to her, what "Catwoman" was to Halle Berry after she won her Oscar.
Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Hank Azaria, 7/29
Aren’t the Smurfs like, oh, so 70s? I love me some NPH, but I doubt he’ll be able to save what’s destined to be a late night joke punchline. NPH, prove me wrong, if you dare.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
James Franco, Freida Pinto, 8/5
This is a prequel to "The Planet of the Apes" and a sort of remake of one of the Apes’ sequels, "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes." But seriously, did we really need a new Planet of the Apes movie? I think not. CG chimps running around, organizing a revolution against the human race? I’ll pass.
What summer movies are you looking forward to?
Megan Smith is a BlogHer Contributing Editor covering Television and Movies. Her other blogs are Megan's Minute, quirky commentary around the clock and Meg's Rad Reviews.