E: So what if it’s 50 degrees out here in Massachusetts? According to Hollywood, this weekend is the start of summer. That’s right – it’s blockbuster season, folks! If you like spectacle, you’re going to like this month. And if you like comic books and larger than life characters, you’re going to like it a lot. You’re going to like this whole summer.
May the 4th (aka Star Wars Day)
E: The biggest tentpole of the month – one of the biggest of the summer – is Joss Whedon’s take on the Marvel superhero extravaganza. Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, and Captain America – who all already lead their own franchise films – come together with Hawkeye and the Black Widow under the direction of Nick Fury to defeat evil.
C: I’ve got my ticket for opening day! I’ve been hesitant about this movie, a bit – I mean, how do you make a good character arc when you have four (or more) protagonists? But the signs are looking good.
E: Early word is super-positive. Really my only complaint is that the (apparently appropriately rated) movie is PG-13 but is being advertised with kid shows, and the market flooded with tie in toys. I want to take my 9-year-old.
M: I have the same concern, since our boys are the same age. A (childless) friend whose seen it thinks it’s probably okay, but your link as well as this one both seem to think otherwise.
E: It pisses me off that we probably won’t be able to take them.
M: Agreed. However in general I am hearing fantastic things about this.
E: Yes. For us it’s going to great fun, I think.
M: Comic book geeks that I read have loved it, normal people that I read have loved it, pretty much everyone that I read has loved it. A friend who’s a big comic and super hero fan has seen it already and said it is his all time favorite super hero movie. I will share one humorous concern, though, brought to me by our mutual friend MP (a huge movie and comic book buff)… in the previews you see aliens and monsters and GIANT space ships and a god of chaos attacking. Then you see the Avengers in a circle, back to back to back to… you get it. As they spin around we see Iron Man in his suit of awesome weaponry, the Hulk being hulk-y, Captain America with his super shield, Thor with his hammer, Hawkeye with a kick ass crossbow, and Black Widow with…. a small handgun. What the hell good is that going to do her?
C: Maybe it’s a sonic handgun?
***C: THIS JUST IN – Having now seen the movie, I can tell you she makes do. And then some. Also, hire some babysitters and get some tickets, you two!
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
E: And welcome to the counter programming. How awesome is this: I actually want to see both of these movies! Shakespeare in Love director John Madden brings us the comic story of a group of elderly Brits (Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson) who travel to the titular exotic hotel in India, which is run by Dev Patel and maybe doesn’t quite live up to the glowing brochures.
C: This is such a delightful cast! You left out Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie, and various other stalwarts of the BBC. But I have to feel like any movie about a bunch of old people will probably end in somebody’s death; that’s the one drawback.
M: Hadn’t thought of that, C; way to be ageist, depressing and morbid all at the same time.
E: And yet totally right.
M: As for the movie, I think the cast looks wonderful, and the visuals are brilliant (literally, just not in the British figure of speech way), but the first reviewer I read said he felt himself getting old while watching it. Not in a good way (if there is a good way). I have my reservations, but am hopeful that it’s a fun and fanciful tale that either way will be very well acted.
E: Myley Cyrus deals with heartbreak and maybe true love in this Americanization of a French movie. The title’s a play on her character’s name (Lola) and of course, the abbreviation for laughing out loud. The movie costars Douglas Booth, so recently seen as Pip in the latest TV production of Great Expectations; let’s just say this looks like a much more appropriate vehicle for him.
C: Yes, he and Myley look perfect together, and I don’t need to see either of them find love.
M: I wonder if they went with that title since they already knew that the general idea of Miley Cyrus headlining a movie would elicit LOL’s from all over society?
The Perfect Family
E: Kathleen Turner runs for Catholic Woman of the Year at her parish and tries to gloss over the fact that her family is perhaps not so perfect (or perfectly Catholic, perhaps) as she’d like them to appear. Sounds like a potentially Catholic-bashing Keeping Up Appearances (a show that never fails to make me cringe) but the cast, which includes Jason Ritter, Emily Deschanel and Richard Chamberlain, is interesting.
C: This is a really weird topic for a movie. Oh stereotyped portrayals of religious hypocrisy, will you ever get old?
M: Oh, they’ve been old for a long, long time. The question is if the people who cannot stand religion will ever stop exploiting them.
A Little Bit of Heaven
E: Kate Hudson rom-com. Need I say more? Well, there is this: it’s Rotten Tomatoes rating is 6%.
C: Will she ever make another good movie?
M: What do you mean “another”?
E: Almost Famous – which, granted, is not a rom-com. Also, I think C likes How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
M: Okay, admission to make. I’ve still never seen Almost Famous. It just never comes to mind when I’m looking to pick something. And I will not give you How To Lose A Guy, I have watched *part* of that, and it’s part for a reason.
E: The epitome of counter-programming: a well-reviewed documentary about young ballet dancers in competition. (And yeah, I would see this one, too.)
M: That makes one of us…
E: A reissuing of The Beatles’ cartoon classic.
C: Huh. Interesting. I never saw that.
M: There’s the problem with being 9/10 years younger than us. E and I watched all things Beatles in middle school music class, because our teacher was a gigantic fan. As for the movie, I’ll say this…. I like the song Yellow Submarine.
E: I’m pretty sure we saw it on TV as little kids, too. But as much as I love the Beatles, I don’t need to see that again either.
C: Now I gotta say, this looks fun!
E: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, together again. What could be better than a comic, campy re-imagining of the 70s soap? I’ll admit, I don’t know much about the source material, but Depp’s Barnabas Collins and his marvelous supporting cast (Eva Green, Jonny Lee Miller, Michelle Pfieffer, Chloe Grace Moretz, and of course Helena Bonham Carter) had me laughing through the previews.
C: My understanding of it is that this is pretty much the story of Dark Shadows the old soap, only played for laughs when the original was broodily melodramatic. Fans of the series are mad, but frankly, this looks like the perfect anecdote for the recent glut of moody romantic vampires.
M: I agree, though the preview we saw before Hunger Games looked a bit raunchy. That’s not always a bad thing (see Crashers, Wedding), but a freaky, 200-year-old witch and creepy pale Johnny Depp vampire getting it on? Ehhhhh.
C: But the witch is Eva Green, who’s gorgeous? And Johnny Depp, hilarious? That sounds more appealing than raunch between Vince Vaughn and Isla Fisher to me…
Girl in Progress
E: Eva Mendez as a grown up who thinks she’s still a teen – with, of course, a teenage daughter of her own.
M: Such an original concept! Oh, wait…
E: Deliberately creepy and controversial flick about a young girl out to find her missing father, starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Blake Lively and Eddy Redmayne. The trailer stirred up a minor amount of chatter about exploiting minors, and I’m sure the release will too.
M: You lost me at deliberately creepy, and really lost me at exploiting minors. Why would anyone WANT to see that?
C: String a lot of obvious gags together and what do you get? This.
E: Sasha Baron Cohen, you did so well in Hugo. Your proved you could act and not just do extended sketch comedy. Why not keep doing that? Am just so bored by him.
M: Money, clearly. As for the movie, it will likely be horrible, but there are a few parts in the previews that make me laugh. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is him shooting the other runners in the race with the starters pistol, though. Still, I don’t get the same “this is going to totally suck” feeling I got from the ads for Bruno.
E: Really? Huh.
C: Yeah E, ’cause don’t forget there’s also the extended, offensive stereotyping of Middle Eastern people. We do love that.
E: With aliens. And Liam Neeson.
C: That sounds… um… kind of awesome.
M: If you took out Liam Neeson I would think that this was going to be another lame Michael Bay-ish, everything blows up but nothing really happens action flick. But Neeson’s not in many bad things. So it could be awesome.
E: Yeah, and he was also in Clash of the Titans. And Wrath of the Titans. And The A-Team. And Taken. And Taken 2. Let me say, I’d like this to be good, and I like director Peter Berg, but I’m dubious. Highly dubious.
M: Okay, I’ll concede the Titans movies, but I said “not many,” not none. And have you seen Taken? I liked it a lot, kind of a precursor to Person of Interest. I can’t believe they’re making a sequel, though, I can’t imagine how that won’t feel forced or contrived like Die Hard 2 did.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting
C: This, one the other hand, does NOT look awesome. Not even potentially, or a little bit.
E: It definitely looks contrived, though; I don’t honestly see how that can be a movie. But whatever; if it turns out to be actually funny, then taking the title of a chatty pregnancy guidebook and turning it into an Altman-esque rom com something will have been a worthy gamble. Stars Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Matthew Morrison, and Elizabeth Banks, who are all appealing enough but no guarantee of quality.
C: Eh. Looks like a lot of cliches about what men and women are supposedly like, to me.
M: I have to assume this is from the same people that did New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day and all those other “throw a huge cast together and overload people with romantic scenarios, but make sure it sucks” movies that have come out recently. If it’s not, it should be.
E: Set in Victorian London, this Maggie Gyllenhaal/Hugh Dancy comedy details the origins (no lie) of the vibrator.
M: My friends and I were just asking “how come no one’s made a movie about the origins of the vibrator?” No, wait, that was something else.
C: I was just reading the other day on a researcher’s website about how the myth of the Victorian vibrator has been greatly exaggerated. Talk about bizarre topics for movies!
Men in Black III
E: Hey, Tommy Lee Jones showed up for this one. Can the threequel carry on the unique magic of the original?
C: I’m sad you just use the “word” “threequel.”
M: Come on C, E’s got mad wordsmith skillz. Speaking of skill, though I’m not usually a fan, it looks like Josh Brolin does a heck of a Tommy Lee Jones impersonation!
E: So, could be worth it, but we’ll see. I’m sort of sad to see Will Smith not even try for the July 4th slot, though. It used to be his playground.
Battle Royale 3D
C: I’ve heard Battle Royale is seriously grim stuff.
E: Japanese horror classic; in case you’re on serious Hunger Games withdrawal.
M: I know a ton of fanboys who love it, but it’s never been at the top of my list. Like C, I’ve heard it makes THG look like a picnic.
E: Yeah. I’d rather just see THG for the third time.
E: Wes Anderson movie starring Bill Murray (no way!), Frances McDormand, Ed Norton, Bruce Willis and Tilda Swinton, about the search for some missing tween lovebirds on a small New England Island. Could it be as great as the ’80s classic tweens-on-the-run flick, A Little Romance? Well, it’s got a good cast, anyway, and Anderson has his own goofy-smart style.
M: Admission #2… I suppose I should watch something of his at some point, shouldn’t I?
C: Yes you most certainly should! And that “something” is called The Royal Tenenbaums. It’s a must.
M: Admission #3… never even heard of A Little Romance, which now that I’ve looked it up, is from 1979, which invalidates its credentials as a “80s classic.”
E: Fine, whatever. We saw that on TV as kids too. Aren’t you lucky you have me to remember these things for you?