Summer Movies 2011: Heroes, Sequels, and a Farewell to Harry, Part 2
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Okay…by now, you should have had plenty of time to recuperate from the thrills and chills and sheer fanboy ecstasy that most likely resulted from our look at the big-time blockbusters that are coming to a theater near you in May and June. But it’s not over yet! The buzz only gets bigger (right along with the budgets) as we move into the second half of Summer Blockbuster Season. So, before you move on, be sure to sit down (preferably in a nice, comfy chair) and strap yourself in—because you’re in for one wild ride.


JULY 1:

What’s Fourth of July weekend without rockets red-glaring and bombs bursting in air? In other words, it’s the perfect time for a Michael Bay movie. Shia LaBeouf returns (with hottie Rosie Huntington-Whiteley replacing snarky Megan Fox) for Transformers: Dark of the Moon. If the previous two Transformers movies are any indication, you can expect a whole lot of awesome effects, a hot chick or two, and little or no plot.

  
 
Or, if overgrown toy robots aren’t your thing, you can try something more mature—like Larry Crowne. Tom Hanks directs, co-writes (with Nia Vardalos), and stars in this grown-up romcom about a man who decides to go back to college after losing his job. Since I love Hanks, co-star Julia Roberts, and the sitcom Community, you can count me in.

And, finally, for teenage girls, there’s Monte Carlo, starring Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, and Katie Cassidy as three young tourists who find themselves in the lap of luxury in Monte Carlo.

Kristin’s Pick: Though Michael Bay is always good for some brainless fun, I’m going to go a brainier route this week by picking Tom and Julia in Larry Crowne.


JULY 8:

Personally, I thought it was bad enough when Kevin James got to star in movies that came out in January. Now he gets a full Summer Blockbuster Season release with Zookeeper, starring as a zookeeper (duh) who gets romantic assistance from the animals.

Also this week, in the reportedly hard-R comedy Horrible Bosses, Jason Bateman heads up a group of friends who decide to kill their horrible bosses (played by Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, and Jennifer Aniston) one by one.

And, finally, in limited release, An Education director Lone Scherfig offers a different kind of romance in One Day, visiting two people (played by Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess) each year, on the anniversary of the day they met.

Kristin’s Pick: I’m definitely looking forward to seeing One Day, but I‘ll give Horrible Bosses my pick because I’ve been there—though my horrible boss wasn’t nearly as awesome as Kevin Spacey.


JULY 15:

This week is all about the kids. Well…kinda. When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone hit theaters in 2001, it was a kids’ movie. Now, 10 years and gazillions of dollars later, the franchise has grown into something so much bigger. The eighth and final film in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is sure to be an action-packed thrill-ride of a film—but a bittersweet experience for long-time Potter fans.

Also this week, Winnie the Pooh and pals return to the big screen in Winnie the Pooh, a hand-drawn feature that finds the honey-loving bear on a quest to save his pal Christopher Robin.

And, in limited release, The Joy Luck Club director Wayne Wang helms Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, based on the novel by Lisa See.

Kristin’s Pick: As much as I love Pooh & Co., I’ve got to give Harry, Ron, and Hermione my pick this week. Really, though, you might want to wait a week to see it, until after the screaming, crying crowds die down a bit.


JULY 22:

Just when you thought that the summer of 2011 had already seen enough superhero movies, along comes Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger, starring Chris Evans as a WWII-era hero on a mission to halt the Red Skull’s Nazi propaganda.

Or, for chicks (and those suffering from superhero overload), there’s Friends with Benefits, a romcom from Easy A director Will Gluck and starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake.

In limited release: indie sci-fi drama Another Earth is the story of the discovery of a second Earth and an accident that brings two characters together.

Kristin’s Pick: Though it sounds an awful lot like No Strings Attached, I’ll give Will Gluck the benefit of the doubt this week and pick Friends with Benefits.


JULY 29:

I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about Cowboys & Aliens. As a quirky action-comedy, Iron Man director Jon Favreau’s strange genre mash-up sounds like a whole lot of fun. But as a serious action movie? Well…we’ll just have to wait and see.

The same goes for The Smurfs. I loved the show as a kid, so I was excited about the movie. But mixing CGI and live action? Not so much. Let’s just hope that Neil Patrick Harris can pull it off.

Also this week, I Love You Phillip Morris directors (and Bad Santa writers) Glenn Ficarra and John Requa direct Crazy, Stupid, Love, starring Steve Carell as married guy who’s getting relationship advice from a ladies’ man (Ryan Gosling).

Kristin’s Pick: All three of this week’s releases could go either way. But I’ll give Cowboys & Aliens my cautiously optimistic pick.


AUGUST 5:

Traditionally, the big-budget blockbusters quickly fade away when August hits, leaving a bunch of lame comedies and horror flicks. But we’ve actually seen some decent August flicks in recent years, so you never know…there could still be hope for Rise of the Planet of the Apes. James Franco plays a scientist whose experiments bring about the war between apes and humans.

Also this week, Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman play a swingin’ single guy and a responsible married man who switch bodies in another hard-R comedy, The Change-Up.

Kristin’s Pick: It’s a pretty tough call this week. But, because I love Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman (who was great in last August’s The Switch), I’ll go with The Change-Up.


AUGUST 12:

This week, Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg reunites with Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer for 30 Minutes or Less, a wild caper about a nerdy pizza delivery guy (Eisenberg, of course) who’s forced to rob a bank.

On a more dramatic note, funnygirl Emma Stone stars in The Help, about a college grad in the ‘60s who returns home to write a book about the African-American maids who raised her and her friends.

And, finally, Vera Farmiga makes her directorial debut with Higher Ground, a Sundance pick about a woman who’s wrestling with her faith.

Kristin’s Pick: Though I love Emma Stone, I can’t wait to see another movie by her Zombieland co-star and director—so I’ll pick 30 Minutes or Less.


AUGUST 19:

This week’s releases are the epitome of August movies. First, we’ve got a remake of Fright Night, starring Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, and former Doctor Who David Tennant.

For Remake #2, we’ve got Conan the Barbarian, starring Jason Momoa in the role that gave us The Governator.

And, finally, we also get Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World. Apparently, Robert Rodriguez is the only person who has yet to figure out that Robert Rodriguez should probably stop making kids’ movies. (Seriously…did he see Shorts?)

Kristin’s Pick: Here’s where the picks get tricky. How do I choose from two ‘80s remakes and the latest in a Robert Rodriguez kids’ franchise that was probably best left as a trilogy? But since I’m intrigued by the cast of Fright Night, I’ll give it my pick.


AUGUST 26:

Talk about overworked franchises…! How about Final Destination 5, which hits theaters on that last tired weekend of August? The story? Well, it’s pretty much the same as the first Final Destination (which clearly wasn’t as final as the title suggested).

Also this week, Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce team up for the remake of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. With a little help from writer/producer Guillermo del Toro, it’s guaranteed to be creepy.

And, in a strangely un-August-like release, Paul Rudd, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, and Elizabeth Banks star in Our Idiot Brother about a lovable slacker who gets out of jail and starts crashing on his sisters’ couches.

Kristin’s Pick: Hmmm…the same old horror movie…or a Sundance movie starring Paul Rudd…? Yeah…I’ll pick Our Idiot Brother.


Whew! We’ve finally made it through four whole months of summer movies. And now that you’ve seen what’s coming, you can start preparing for the action, adventure, and endless sequels of the summer of 2011.

So break open your penny jar (because 3D movies and jumbo tubs of popcorn don’t come cheap!), invest in one of those comfy butt-donut thingies (because Michael Bay doesn’t make short movies!), and turn off your cell phone already—because it’s time for another summer of big-budget, air-conditioned, pop-corny, blockbuster goodness.

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