The 2011 Release Calendar (May & June)

Don’t let the fact that there are only 16 films on this list fool you. This is prime dumping ground release territory for all those highly regarded festival films from early January and last year. It’s Cannes season. While Hollywood is over in France, they release all those minor films that were in the festivals late last year (or were held over) and in Sundance this year. No one’s going to see them over the summer, and by September, it’s time for Toronto, Venice and all those festivals and the start of the Oscar season. These are the films from the festivals over the six months before those festivals. You know how there always seems to be an Emmy Award telecast every six months? It’s like that.

May and June typically are set up for one major studio film a week, aimed to win that week’s box office (starting after May Day). You’ll know exactly which films those are just by looking at them. And while that’s going on, all those little indies will pop up soon enough. This time last year, we got Solitary Man and Winter’s Bone. But we’re not gonna know about those until April. Sadly. Here are the big(ger) dicks though.

Jumping the Broom

Uh oh, a second urban comedy that isn’t a Tyler Perry movie. We’re movin’ on up, aren’t we? Amen.

I think this takes the place of the Spanish movie this year. Usually there’s one non-Tyler Perry black movie and one Spanish-oriented film. There doesn’t seem to be that Spanish family movie this year, the one where they gather for the holidays and shit. You know what I mean. This must be taking the place of that.

This is about “two polar opposite style African American families (who) have to get together for a marriage on Martha’s Vineyard.” So, this is a combination Death at a Funeral (within 3 weeks of the same release date) and Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins. Surprisingly, Martin Lawrence is nowhere to be found. I guess it’s because he’s found another place to display his “talents” this year (aka, $$$ — I’m pretty sure that’s Big Momma’s bra size).

Yeah, not seeing this. 2 stars. I like to assume the best with these things.

Something Borrowed

Just gonna point out, from the title alone, and what I can extrapolate from it, this sounds like it could be on unforgivable watch. This is purely speculation and conjecture, but it has that License to Wed sound to it. Let’s see how good the Spidey senses are…

Okay, based on a “chick lit novel”…starting off pretty well…Ginnifer Goodwin is the lead…okay, I like her, but that doesn’t mean it has to be good…ah! Kate Hudson is in the cast. How to lose a viewer in ten sentences. John Krasinski is the male lead (one would assume) … he was in License to Wed. And some random dude is the other guy. Okay, seems like a “winner” from that. Now, let’s check that plot…

Rachel is a 30-year old single woman and “consummate good-girl” Okay. She and Kate Hudson (honestly, who cares what the character name is) have been friends since they were kids. They be from the (child)hood, yo. Rachel, “hard-working” is often in the shadow of “flashy, sometimes selfish” Kate Hudson. Then, after a night of drinking on her 30th birthday (This is how all modern women’s movies start, don’t they? Shit always happens when they drink), she fucks Kate Hudson’s fiancé. Then it becomes an affair, and she has to “explore the meaning of friendship, true love, and ethics.” And apparently Krasinski is her “friend and confidant.” Male lead or gay? Or, both?

Yeah, this won’t be good. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and say 2 stars. But this can really be awful. All the pieces are there. It’s a 50/50 really. The director has previously made The Girl Next Doorand The Animal. One pretty good, one god awful. So, this can go either way.

Thor

So, this is the second (or third? I don’t even know anymore) superhero movie coming out this year. This one is bound to either be the best of the bunch, or the worst by far. Kenneth Branagh is directing. That should bring a Shakespearean element to it. Like I said, best of the bunch or worst by far.

Who here gives a fuck about Thor? Anyone? However, aside from creepiness of the dude playing him (his hair scares me), Anthony Hopkins is in this, and he gets to overact, and Natalie Portman is the love interest. So,those two should make this worthwhile. Right?

3 stars. This Marvel shit is starting to tire. I’m really not looking forward to all these superhero movies. I know there are two more coming.

Bridesmaid

Uh oh…is this another Back-Up Plan? The release date is right. The title sounds like it. Are we on another unforgivable watch? Let’s find out…

Probably not. It’s an Apatow-produced movie starring Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne. They should be able to make this worthwhile, right? Then again…

Two women, friends of the bride. Trying to plan the wedding, have dueling ideas.

That’s all we know. Hmm…one would think this could be good. What, with John Hamm in it and all. But, there’s a possibility this sucks hard cock.

Let’s call it 2 stars. Tepid unforgivable watch, but I don’t see anything major coming out of this. If When In Rome could miss the unforgivables list, I think this should be okay (should being the key word there).

Priest

Another Paul Bettany action movie. He’s working his way down from Legion. First he’s an angel, now he’s just a priest.

It’s based in an alternate Earth, scorched and scattered from war between humans and vampires. The last of the humans live in these walled-in Zion cities that are ruled by the church. This sound like what would naturally happen after the end of The Book of Eli. Eli brings in the book, people use it for power … then … vampires. Always the vampires. So, in one of these cities is a “Warrior Priest,” who fought in the last war (I’m not really sure what these wars are, but I’m assuming they’re like Crusades. And this dude is Saladin.), and lives in isolation. Then his niece is abducted by a “new wave” of vampires … oh shit, we got Blade up in this bitch. So, he severs his loyalties and goes against the church, then goes on a journey to either save her life or kill every single vampire involved in her death. (It would have been a lot more badass if it were just “kill every vampire.” And he just fucking kills everybody. Then goes into a room with like 50 of them, just planning on shooting until he goes down, and then kills all of them. That’s badass. Killing everyone involved is just, meh.) So, all these vampires differ from the old ones and are led by a guy named “Black Hat” (awesome name), who was once a warrior priest himself.

So, this sounds awesome. I mean, it’ll probably be mediocre but watchable, in that Legion kind of way, but still, I’ll see it. Maggie Q is in it. That’s cool. And Karl Urban is Black Hat. I like that too.

Oh, the Legion dude is also directing this. That’s awesome. It’s like a trilogy. Okay, we’ll give it a shot.

3 stars. I doubt this will go any higher or lower.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Well, let’s just come out and say it … we all wanted this to happen. I fucking loved the last three movies, and especially loved the last one. Everyone thought it was incoherent and unwielding and I thought that’s what made it awesome. Come on, tell me you didn’t (film) geek out when they used that Morricone-style track during the standoff on the sandbar. I had a filmgasm myself.

Let me just take an aside to point out, we might have just reached a new low point in film history. I may have just coined the phrase filmgasm. I’m gonna look back on this in like 30 years (30 years? Shit, probably like, tomorrow) and be like, “What the hell were you thinking?” Cahiers du Cinema invented the auteur. I invented the filmgasm. I don’t know which is the more egregious affront, me comparing myself to Cahiers du Cinema or inventing the term “filmgasm.” Okay, rant off. Back to the pirates.

And now they got rid of all the other shit and start fresh? Hell yeah. Bring me that horizon, motherfucker. Let Depp strengthen his legacy with this. The fact that Rob Marshall is directing will give it a certain character that will make it stand alone from the other ones, but keep it firmly rooted within that world because of Depp and Geoffrey Rush, whose bickering was the best part of the movies anyway.

I don’t care what this is about, I don’t care how good or bad it is, I know I will enjoy this movie. That’s all there is to it.

4 stars. Dare I say 5? I won’t immediately proclaim a 5-star movie before it comes out unless I’m certain of it (even sure things go 4 and need to earn the 5).

The Hangover: Part II

Normally I’d say this has to be good. Well, that was before Due Date. Now, I think this will suck. You can’t capture lightning in a bottle twice. I don’t think it will work. I think this will have all the bad habits that Due Date had. And I think they’re going to fall into the traps that most comedy sequels have – trying to repeat the success.

I guarantee you that Mike Tyson shows up as himself again and Ken Jeong reprises his role. That’s not the recipe for making this a good movie. Ken Jeong should play a totally different character who is clearly him but just so utterly different it’s funny, and Tyson – well, I guess he can come back, but please, don’t do it ironically and give him an entrance, where he pauses and its like, “Hey kids, Mike Tyson is back!” No. Bringing back the Dan Band will make me happy though.

But still…I can’t anticipate good things because, I’ll be let down. We all will. I see it coming. So, I’m going to take the route I took with the first movie. The first movie, I did not want to see, hated it before it even came out because everyone loved it, and thought I was going to hate it. Then, saw it, expecting it to be bad, and loved it. So, here, I’m going to assume it sucks, because I can only be pleased with the outcome. Or, I’ll be like, “Well…what did you expect?”

So, 3 stars. Let the movie decide its own fate.

Kung Fu Panda 2

Yeah, the first one was cute, but that’s about it. The second one is either going to expand on shit, and be really cool, or it’s going to suck huge balls. It’s Dreamworks, so I’m going to expect the latter.

However, James Woods and Gary Oldman are in this one. That gives me hope. However, last movie, all the actors had like three lines. Seriously, I counted like five lines for Seth Rogen in the first movie. So, I wonder if it even matters who does the voices.

Let’s call it 3 stars. I really don’t care about this at all. Dreamworks fails at sequels, every time.

The Tree of Life

I can count this as one of the most “highly anticipated” on my list for this year. This has been pushed back a year at this point, but, we can’t really complain, since Malick randomly took 20 years off for no reason. So the fact that this is his third film in 13 years is actually kind of an achievement, especially since #4 is being shot as we speak.

Also, can anyone really say that Terrence Malick has ever made a bad film? Check this filmography: first, Badlands, Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek. Kind of like Bonnie and Clyde made by Terrence Malick. Great film. Then, Days of Heaven – masterpiece. Brilliant example of cinematography and just letting the camera linger on beautiful shots. There is no real story to this film. That’s what’s great about it. You can explain it like it’s a linear narrative, but when you watch it, it’s just this beautiful array of gorgeous images cascading on your screen. If you ever have the chance to see a print of this movie, do it. Just buy the BluRay and sit at home and watch it. You’ll be blown away at how incredible all the images are. Then, 20 years off, followed by The Thin Red Line. Another really good movie. Followed up by The New World, which I think is also a gorgeously shot film. This is the Pocahontas movie with Colin Farrell. I fell in love with that movie hardcore. Now, this.

It has a lot to live up to, but, judging from the trailer, this is going to be incredible. The dude literally provides images from creation. I won’t say anything about the plot except to show you these:

How about now? Any interest in seeing it?

5 stars. I’m breaking my rule. I say this is a 5 star movie. Okay, it’ll probably be 4, but you need to take a shot somewhere, right? This could be top ten if it’s as amazing as it seems. And keep in mind, I love me some visuals. I say The Fountain was one of the best movies of the past decade…ooh, maybe I should list my favorite movies of the past decade. I’ll keep that in mind…

Beginners

Uh oh, adult drama in the middle of the year. This can only mean one thing – limited release. No one will see this movie. This is like that movie Aurora Borealis, with that dude from Dawson’s Creek (not Van der Beek) and Donald Sutherland. I remember hearing about it, then, when it came time to come out, it just got swept away and forgotten about. Still haven’t seen it.

Anyway, this is about Ewan McGregor finding out his father (Christopher Plummer) is both gay and terminally ill. It’s about the director’s father, who came out at 75, 5 years before he died. So, this is a movie that will get respectful reviews, and be seen by no one. Like Touching Home, that Ed Harris movie from last year about the directors’ father. Remember that one? Exactly.

3 stars. Respectful, even though I’ll probably never see it.

X-Men: First Class

It’s weird that I don’t count this as a superhero movie, because it came out first, before Iron Man opened the floodgates.

I’m going to assume that this will not be as good as the other X-Men movies. Simply because of no Hugh Jackman. Then again, this could be an amazing movie that deals with how they all became the X-Men. It all really comes down to one thing – how they handle it. If they make it gritty, it won’t work. Handle it like you did the first X-Men. Don’t go real world and shit. That don’t work.

3 stars. I’m thinking this can be a 4, though. I’ll keep my expectations low, let the movie win me over.

Super 8

Oh no, a J.J. Abrams movie without a story synopsis and a mysterious trailer!! Oh no!! Fuck Cloverfield. That made me immediately assume this movie will not be good. Just gonna say it.

I’m also not the biggest J.J. Abrams fan in the world. I don’t watch T.V. shows, so I don’t really care how good the shows he made are. Good, you watch them. I think he is a competent action director without a hint of style to his name. Therefore, I expect this to be a big budget movie with no personality at all.

If somehow, this ends up being a nice movie about kids and the things that take place within their imagination, and has all the joy and wonder of a Spielberg film, then I’ll be legit excited. Otherwise, I’ll expect the same old J.J., and temper my expectations.

3 stars. Room to grow. For now, assume the worst. I’ve seen what else he put out. Also, isn’t this that trailer with the train letting loose all the shit from Area 51? Yeah, I doubt this hits 4. But, who knows?

Bad Teacher

4 star…unforgivable. This movie has a huge range of where it can land. It was on the Black List, which, at this point, I’ve learned is probably a sign of an unforgivable. However, this is by the man who directed the underrated The TV Set and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, two movies that are very good in their own way. So, that gives me hope. Also, it’s about a “foul-mouthed, money hungry teacher,” who sets her sights on her colleague, who is dating a substitute teacher. She sets her sights on “her new colleague,” who I’m assuming is the substitute teach and not the regular colleague, who is the heir to a fortune. Timberlake is the substitute teacher, which gives me more hope that this can actually be a good movie. The synopsis sounds good. This could be a Bad Santa with a teacher (aside from the drunk), like, swearing at children and shit. However, the teacher is being played by Cameron Diaz. See where that whole range thing comes in?

3 stars. I have to stay middle of the road on this, just because I have no idea where it’ll end up. I have my eye on this one though. I hope it turns out well.

Green Lantern

Oh boy, a third superhero movie! (Four if you count X-Men.) This one looks awful. Just saying. They’re really just throwing out every superhero they can think of, aren’t they? I like Ryan Reynolds, but I don’t know how much I like the idea of him in this movie. I’m really just superheroed out. Give me some villains to work with. That’s where the interesting shit will come in.

Anyway, I’m sure this will be competent. I may even like it. At this point, I’m not looking forward to it, so, 3 stars. I really need to start finding some films to like (or maybe this is just the reaction to everything Hollywood puts out…fear).

Cars 2

This movie is creepy. It just is. Cars watching other cars? It scares me. And the first movie was by far the worst Pixar movie. So, let’s assume that they’ve learned from their mistakes and can make this movie better than that one. Even still, that’s 4 stars. The last one was a 3, but let’s say this hits 4, because Pixar knows what they’re doing.

Caesar: Rise of the Apes

This is a Planet of the Apes prequel. I know. I don’t get it either. However, James Franco is doing it. And I wonder if this is because the script or the concept is actually very good, or it’s another one of those, actor just got done with emotionally grueling role and would like an easy studio movie where they can collect a paycheck and phone in a performance every day for four months and essentially sit around and get stoned all the time. Studio movies are like vacations compared to indie films. So, both of these possibilities exist. Let’s assume this is an easy paycheck and it won’t be horrendous. Let’s also assume it won’t be very good until it proves it is. I saw that Tim Burton version.

2 stars. Just to be stiff. It’ll probably be a 3.

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