Exploring the corners of entertainment you never even knew existed

Summer Movie Guide Part 1: May

Here we are, friends. The dawn of another (hopefully) glorious summer movie season. Unlike last summer, 2011 will have some returning properties but also a lot of untested material. Tested franchises such as X-Men and Planet of the Apes have new spins to them or fresh faces to help them along. It’s a rather crowded season where a massive blockbuster is there for us every weekend. We’re about to experience the summer movie equivalent of Omaha beach. It’s gonna be a box office blood bath. So, let’s break down what we have and see what’s really worth seeing?

Fast Five

Release Date: April 29th

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson

Directed By: Justin Lin

The Story: Dominic and his crew find themselves on the wrong side of the law once again as they try to switch lanes between a ruthless drug lord and a relentless federal agent.

The Gossip: Fast and Furious opened big, breathing life back into a stagnating franchise. Designed to launch a new trilogy, the last movie did well enough to see another film, Fast Five. Changing the setting to Rio is a great idea, as well as making it into a heist film that simply has a focus on cars. The addition of the Rock gives the film an extra shot of testosterone, promising us a role he should have had since his appearance in The Rundown. Honestly, I’ve never really liked any of the Fast and the Furious movies. They’ve been rather mediocre in my eyes, but Fast Five switches up the formula and adds more heart than the franchise has ever seen. Word on the street has been very positive. I’ve seen it myself and can say it’s a fantastic time at the movies.

So, is it any good? Magic Eight Ball says: “It is decidedly so.”

Thor

Release Date: May 6th

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh

The Story: The powerful but arrogant warrior Thor is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard and sent to live amongst humans on Earth, where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.

The Gossip: Thor is the next stepping stone, along with this summer’s Captain America, on the path to The Avengers in 2012. Thor is a big gamble, as he’s easily the strangest and least known character Marvel has put on screen yet. However, Marvel has a good eye for getting talented filmmakers who don’t cost a great deal. Kenneth Branagh is known for his wonderful work in Shakespeare adaptations that could be applied very well to the material. Word on the street from press screenings has been pretty positive with Hemsworth and Hiddleston both being praised for their acting.

So, will it be good? Magic Eight Ball says: “Outlook good”

Priest

Release date: May 13th

Starring: Paul Bettany, Karl Urban, Maggie Q

Directed by: Scott Charles Stewart

The Story: Science Fiction/ Fantasy. In the future, a priest disobeys church law to track down the vampires who kidnapped his niece.

The Gossip: No one has seen a frame of the movie, which is not a good sign. In addition, it’s from the same people who brought us Legion, which was a steaming pile of crap. Paul Bettany can act, just watch “A Beautiful Mind” or “ Master and Commander” as proof, but that doesn’t mean he can save a film that’s 87 minutes long.

So, will it be good? Magic Eight Ball says: “Very Doubtful”

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Release date: May 20th

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

Directed by: Rob Marshall

The Story: Jack Sparrow and Barbossa embark on a quest to find the elusive fountain of youth, only to discover that Blackbeard and his daughter are after it too.

The Gossip: After the two rather dreadful sequels, it seems as though Disney is going back to basics and trying to make a movie in the same spirit as the first film. Based off the well received novel “On Stranger Tides”, the creative team have cut out much of the fat from the original trilogy and made the new film a Jack Sparrow centric affair. If they can make Jack more like his character in the first movie and less of the buffoon from the second two, there’s a chance the movie will turn out well. Casting Ian McShane as Blackbeard is also a stroke of genius. They’ve put a fair amount of energy around the marketing, but it would be wise to wait for reviews to come in before laying down cash for a ticket.

So, will it be good? Magic Eight Ball says: “Reply hazy, try again later”

Kung Fu Panda 2

Release date: May 26th

Starring: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Gary Oldman, Destin Hoffman, Jean-Claude Van Damme

Directed by: Jennifer Yuh

The Story: Po joins forces with a group of new kung-fu masters to take on an old enemy with a deadly new weapon.

The Gossip: The original Kung Fu Panda came out of nowhere, giving Dreamworks an animated film that almost reaches Pixar standards. While the advertising for the film has been wide spread, no advance screenings have been given. While it’s certainly possible Dreamworks could deliver a sophomore slump, the cast is impressive at the very least. What gives me a bit of pause is that a new, untested director is heading up the project rather than the directors of the first film.

So, will it be good? Magic Eight Ball says: “Most likely”

The Hangover Part 2

Release date: May 26th

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis

Directed by: Todd Phillips

The Story: Phil, Stu, and Alan travel to Bangkok for Stu’s wedding only to find themselves in another post-blackout misadventure.

The Gossip: The first film came out of nowhere with its random, yet surprisingly charming sense of humor, themes of friendship, and wonderful cameos. The sequel seems to be taking these aspects to the next level with an exotic setting, more Mike Tyson, and a cameo from former President Bill Clinton. The trailers have made the movie look like just more of the first with the same kind of plot progression, but just because the movie is more of same doesn’t mean people won’t like it.

So, will it be good? Magic Eight Ball says: “Most likely”

Check back at the end of the month for the guide to June!

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