E: Ah, the 2011 Blockbuster season has officially begun. And we’re pretty psyched about that.
M: I was interested in this movie from the start, being a geek and having bought into the Avengers thing that Marvel has going on since the first Iron Man movie. But when I started looking at it and found that it’s being directed by Kenneth Branagh? I mean, the first film of his I saw was Henry V, and he’s done, what, at least five other Shakespeare adaptations (or literal translations, like his Hamlet) since? Then you add in Academy Award-winner Natalie Portman, Academy Award-winner Anthony Hopkins, and the always-great Stellan Skarsgård, and you would think this was something that’d be opening in New York and LA on December 31st to try to sneakily qualify for the Oscars, not a comic book/superhero movie.
C: I know, right? But Branagh’s Shakespeare films have always been about crowd-pleasing (sometimes successfully, sometimes not), so while him doing action is a brain-twister, him doing a big-budget, big-hearted stylefest of a summer blockbuster sort of seems inevitable, once you think about it.
E: I’m not sold on Chris Hemsworth yet, but I want to be. You’d think that Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins would be solid indicators of quality, but they’re really not. (Ahem, No Strings Attached.) Still, I really want to believe! I’m really hoping this is terrific, because like M, I love Thor, and it would be nice to think his greatest onscreen moment wasn’t Vincent D’Onofrio’s bit part in Adventures in Babysitting (awesome as it is).
C: The early reviews on this are largely positive, emphasis on the large — rather than giving the Norse god the frailty of inner angst, it sounds like they’re playing Thor as a bigger-than-life-hero. Appropriately! I’ll be there.
M: Without the presence of John Krasinski there would be nothing appealing about this to me. Now, there is next to nothing appealing about this to me.
C: Ditto. I had no interest in this right-off-the-conveyor-belt comedy about a girl falling for her best friend’s fiance, until his face showed up in the trailer. At which point I thought, “Well, if it gets good reviews, it might be worth renting.”
E: Why can’t they make better romantic comedies? I love romantic comedies. Those are the movies I buy and watch over and over. Help a girl out, powers that be!
Jumping the Broom
M: Is it just me or is it funny to have a movie with “broom” in the title, and a main character named Sabrina?
C: Hee. That is amusing. But this seems to be yet another movie about a family clash at a wedding. Yawn.
M: This is Mel Gibson’s newest attempt to come back from beyond embarrassing off-screen problems. In fairness, it’s not like he has had failed attempts, it’s that he keeps coming up with more dreadful aspects of his personal life to show us. So sad… and that his return to the screen is as a guy who only communicates through a beaver hand puppet? Seems oddly fitting.
E: I have nothing to say about this. I can’t imagine paying to see it, ever.
M: Even if it’s slotted well, in the week off between blockbusters openings, could this look any worse?
C: What I’m wondering is, do we really want the cinemas to be flooded with films about wedding during real wedding season? Don’t people get a little tired of this theme around this time of year?
E: Good points. The odd thing is, it’s supposed to be actually funny.
C: The real odd thing is, they’re advertising this as comparable to “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Superbad.” In other words, as lewd comedy meant for a mostly male audience. Ha! Good luck getting guys in this age of fragile masculinity to buy tickets for a film headlined by women, entitled Bridesmaids.
M: A rogue priest (the very talented Paul Bettany) hunts kidnapping vampires in the sequel to Legion. How do you say “YUCK” in 3-D?
C: Can’t believe that abysmal-looking movie actually spawned a sequel. Can’t believe Paul Bettany’s career has sunk this low. The guy was in A Beautiful Mind, for Pete’s sake!
M: And Master and Commander, which was very good! Some one has to rescue him…
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
C: I’m bored of this franchise. Sorry, Captain Jack.
M: I have to admit, when I heard they were making two more Pirates movies, and doing so without Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly, I was very skeptical. However, the trailer looks like they’ve done a really good job returning to the fun and adventurous spirit that endeared these movies to us the first time around.
E: I’m not really emotionally invested here; this could be great summer fun, or overkill. The new director has me more worried than the lack of Orlando and Keira, actually; I feel like their story’s been told. I’ll be interested to see which it turns out to be, and I might even go see it if they’ve pulled it off.
May 27th (aka Sequel Weekend!)
The Hangover Part II
M: Just off the initial trailers, this looks like it could be as hilarious and awkward as the first.
E: Didn’t see the first one. I hope it’s good, but I won’t see it in theaters either way.
C: Has anyone seen the creepy TV commercial that makes this look like a horror film? What is that?
Kung Fu Panda 2
M: At the opposite end of the “family friendly” spectrum, we have the long-awaited sequel to one of the best non-Disney animated movies ever made. I’m in!
E: I am so excited for this movie! Jack Black + animation = stupendous awesomeness.
Tree of Life
M: Sean Penn and Brad Pitt being directed by Terrence Malick? Oscar-philes perk your ears up, as even if this is horrible it has the right pedigree.
E: It looks like strange, mystical poetry – but then Malick’s work always does. I admit, I’m curious.