May Movie Preview

We finally made it, folks. The beginning of the summer movie season. The past few months have been long, but now we’ve finally arrived and blockbuster movies are as far as the eye can see. I can’t guarantee that they’ll be quality, but there will be plenty of visual eye candy, both in terms of special effects and celebrities. May is chock full of continuing sagas with Iron Man III, Fast & Furious 6, The Hangover Part III, and Star Trek Into Darkness, which means plenty of obligatory screenings just so audiences can see how their favorite characters are being treated. In addition to that, Baz Luhrmann’s long anticipated The Great Gatsby interpretation comes out May 10th, which many have been yearning for since its premiere date was bumped back. There are a few smaller movies in the mix that deserve your attention as well, like Michael Shannon’s The Iceman, which looks fascinating. So peruse our list and plan out your month. What will drag you to the theaters?

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May 3

Iron Man 3 theatrical poster.jpgIron Man 3 – Tony Stark is the perfect role for Robert Downey Jr. (the two are practically interchangeable at this point) and it’s nice to have him back front and center. Iron Man 3 has already generated unprecedented amounts of money overseas and will likely smash box office records when it hits U.S. theaters. Although Iron Man 2 in 2010 was a disappointment to Marvel fans everywhere, buzz seems to indicate that this installment will bring back the thrills and humor of the first film. In Iron Man 3, Tony Stark’s empire is threatened by an international terrorist, led by the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle return as Stark’s sidekicks and Guy Pearce enters as the geneticist Aldrich Killian.
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TheIceman2011Poster.jpgThe Iceman – Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) is a brilliant and versatile actor and if you don’t believe me, watch his dramatic reading of the infamous Delta Gamma sorority president email on FunnyorDie.com. But in The Iceman, Shannon takes on a very different role as a family man with a dark secret – he’s a contract killer. The film is based on the true story of Richard Kuklinski, who killed over 100 men for the mob and himself, all the while keeping it a secret from his doting family. The cast includes Winona Rider as his wife, a practically unrecognizable Chris Evans, and Ray Liotta. If you’re looking for a creepy, captivating portrayal of a multifaceted man which might leave you questioning your morals, this is the film for you. I don’t see this doing incredibly in theaters because of limited exposure, but it could mean another Oscar nomination for Shannon.
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May 10

TheGreatGatsby2012Poster.jpgThe Great Gatsby – Long awaited and sure to be hotly debated, Baz Luhrmann’s glitzy interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic 1920s novel. Luhrmann’s extravagant style isn’t everyone’s preference, but it’s arguably very appropriate in this instance. Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan play Gatsby and Daisy, a unexpected pairing of actors but one that should be interesting to watch. With a kick-ass soundtrack including Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Jack White, Florence + the Machine, and a gutsy Prohibition-era cover of “Crazy in Love” sung by Emeli Sandé, Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is guaranteed to be an experience and will certainly draw the crowds. Whether it’s an experience you’ll want to relive remains to be seen.
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Erased – This thriller stars Aaron Eckhart as Ben Logan, an ex-CIA agent who is forced to go on the run with his daughter (Liana Liberato) when his employers erase all records of his existence and target them both. I like the idea of a father/daughter thriller, sort of a reverse-Taken, and Aaron Eckhart is always fun to watch, but I’m afraid this film may get swallowed up in the mix.
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May 17

A starship falling towards EarthStar Trek Into Darkness – The geek in me is psyched for J.J. Abrams sequel to 2009’s Star Trek. Abrams is especially talented at ensuring that Star Trek is accessible to everyone, not just those who religiously watched the television series and walk around speaking Klingon. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto were perfectly cast as Kirk and Spock and I’m sure we’re guaranteed more moments of tension as their personalities inevitably clash. The talented cast is back, including Simon Pegg as Scotty, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Karl Urban as Bones, and Anton Yelchin as Chekov (with his adorable but perplexing Russian accent). Benedict Cumberbatch, known as Sherlock and Tumblr’s number one obsession, is reportedly playing the villain and the specifics of his role have been wildly speculated on (and obsessed over) since his casting was announced, although little has been confirmed. Star Trek Into Darkness is guaranteed to be a riveting, visually captivating ride with plenty of Kirk/Spock bickering. Lovers of sci-fi will flock to theaters to see this…along with lovers of Chris Pine’s blue eyes.
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English teacher poster.jpgThe English Teacher – Julianne Moore stars in this comedy drama as Linda, a high school English teacher who reconnects with one of her past students, Jason Sherwood (Michael Angarano – Almost Famous, Sky High). Jason tried and failed to be a playwright and has since given up on his dream, but Linda convinces him to put on the play at the high school. The wonderful Nathan Lane plays the drama director and Greg Kinnear is Jason’s overbearing dad, who wants his son to attend law school. Soon Linda’s once-quiet life becomes incredibly complicated. Moore is a talented comedic actress and I’m game for anything with Nathan Lane, especially as a melodramatic theater teacher – a perfect role for this Broadway vet.
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May 24

FastandFurious6-teaserposter.jpgFast & Furious 6 – Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are back in the latest (though certainly not last) installment of the Fast & Furious saga. Forced off the grid after toppling a crime boss’ empire, Dom (Diesel), Brian (Walker), and their expert team are asked to leave retirement and help Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) catch a group of lethal mercenary drivers who are wreaking havoc across the globe. Director Justin Lin said that this is the first Fast & Furious film to part ways with its underground street-racing ties. Don’t panic though – there still looks to be plenty of fast vehicles: tanks, airplane take-downs, and too many sleek cars to count. Fast & Furious has never claimed to be more than it is – a testosterone-filled, mindless thrill ride. But they do it well and it pays off – the last film in 2011 earned more than 200 million.
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The Hangover Part 3.JPGThe Hangover Part III – The hit trilogy comes to an end, right back where it began – Las Vegas. Everyone’s favorite Wolf Pack returns to Sin City and inevitably, the high jinks ensue. The Hangover Part II wasn’t nearly as well received as the first one, so let’s pray that director Todd Phillips has returned to the original. Also, as this is the final film, let’s hope that these guys will learn their lesson about excessive drinking. Kids, don’t do it. You may end up with a tiger in your bathroom and Mike Tyson punching you in the face. Part II earned more than 250 million and this one will follow, regardless of quality.
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Epic (2013 film) poster.jpgEpic – A fun game to play with this children’s animated adventure is to enter the theater without any prior knowledge of the film and then try to guess the famous actors behind their animated counterparts. Because seriously, everyone is in it. But if you want to play that game, stop reading this synopsis and move on. Are you gone? Ok, good. Epic includes the celebrity voice talents Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell, Aziz Ansari, Christoph Waltz, and Beyoncé, among others. Voicing animated characters seems to be the norm for all high profile actors these days. But who can blame them? Going to work in pajamas and forcing people to listen to you all day? Sounds like my kind of career. Pegged by the AV Club as a computer-animated descendant of 1992’s FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Epic has some big shoes to fill. Amanda Seyfried plays Mary Katherine, who accidentally gets shrunken down and involved in a microscopic turf war. Based on the book written by William Joyce, the same guy who wrote the source material that The Rise of the Guardians was based on, it’s pretty safe to assume that Epic will catch some of that crowd. I do think the filmmakers should have stuck with Joyce’s original title, The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs. Naming your film “Epic” is kind of setting yourself up for failure.
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May 31

After Earth Poster.jpgAfter Earth – Directed my M. Night Shyamalan, this Will and Jaden Smith father-son vehicle is set a million years after Earth was deserted by humans. After the two are stranded on Earth, Will becomes injured and Jaden is forced to find help, searching through the now-inhospitable landscape filled with hyper-evolved animals and a frightening alien creature that escaped from the wreckage. I’m crossing my fingers that Shyamalan, lately a pop culture punch line, has created a film more like The Sixth Sense than The Last Airbender. After Earth promises some stunning visuals, but its plot may be a little too similar to Tom Cruise’s recent Oblivion to really draw the crowds. It will be interesting to see if Will Smith, who has been very particular about his projects lately, will draw the crowds like he used to.
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Now You See Me Poster.jpgNow You See Me – This magician mystery stars Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Isla Fisher (Confessions of a Shopaholic), Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games), and Dave Franco (21 Jump Street) as “The Four Horsemen”, a group of elite illusionists who make a habit of pulling off bank heists and then showering their audiences with the stolen money. Inevitably, the law gets involved and FBI agent Dylan Hobbs (Mark Ruffalo) is tasked with stopping the illusionists, but first he has to figure out their secret. The trailer seemed a little too infatuated with itself and Jesse Eisenberg as a suave magician is a little hard to believe, but with a cast including Ruffalo, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman, I’m inclined to give Now You See Me the benefit of the doubt. The film doesn’t really have any substantial star power to bring in the audiences, but it has an intriguing premise that might make up for that.
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The Kings of Summer – Premiering to rave reviews at Sundance, The Kings of Summer is a coming-of-age comedy about three friends who, sick of living under their domineering parents and desperate for some freedom, decide to build a cabin in the middle of the woods. Moises Arias (formerly Rico from Hannah Montana), Nick Robinson (Melissa & Joey), and Gabriel Basso (The Big C) star as the three teenage boys who leave their families and live off the land in their makeshift house. The cast also includes real life dream team couple Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) and Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) as two of the worried parents and Alison Brie (Community) as an older sister. This is definitely an indie that should be seen by anyone who’s experienced growing pains (so basically everyone).

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That’s our list! What are you most excited to see? What do you think is going to succeed at the box office?

Article by Liz Isenberg

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