Springtime means different things to different people. Maybe it makes you think of romance or flowers or spending time in the great outdoors. Maybe youíre a student, and you start counting down the days until the end of the school year. But, for movie lovers, the blooming flowers signal the coming of something big and exciting: another Summer Blockbuster Season.
From May through July (and, okay, weíll count August, too, though the August pickins tend to be pretty slim), each new weekend brings new action and adventure. New big-budget effects. New big-name laughs. Something loud and booming and in-your-face. Itís an exciting time of year at your favorite movie theater.
So, as we do every year, as another Summer Blockbuster Season approaches, letís take a few minutes to geek out a little bit about the coming attractions.
The first weekend of May just wouldnít be the same without a little Avengers action. From Iron Man to Thor, Marvelís superheroes have been kick-starting the summer for years. Now director Joss Whedon assembles the gang together for The Avengers, a massive adventure that pits the band of heroes against Tom Hiddlestonís Loki. Personally, I canít even think about it without letting out an excited giggle.
Aside from Loki, no one would even think about battling The Avengers at the box office, so you wonít find any other new films in wide release this weekend. Still, mature movie lovers around the country might be able to catch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a light-hearted limited release, starring Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, and a handful of others as a group of aging Brits who decided to seek a little bit of adventure by moving into a luxury hotel for the elderly in India.
Also in limited release this week, Kate Hudson and Gael Garcia Bernal team up for the romantic comedy A Little Bit of Heaven, Miley Cyrus plays a troubled teen in LOL, and Kathleen Turner searches for The Perfect Family. Or, for documentary fans, thereís dance doc First Position.
Kristinís Pick of the Week: Need you ask? Iíll be struggling to contain my glee all the way to The Avengers screening.
Forget about the brooding vampires of Twilight. Johnny Depp once again teams up with director Tim Burton to camp up the vamp in Dark Shadows, based on the 1966-71 TV series.
In limited release this week, Bobcat Goldthwait directs his latest comedy, God Bless America, Lebanese women try to build cultural bridges in Where Do We Go Now?, and Chloe Moretz decides to try to make it in Vegas in Hick.
Kristinís Pick of the Week: It may be the only wide release of the week, but thereís nothing half-hearted about my choice of Dark Shadows. Burton and Depp have definitely had their ups and downs, but Iím looking forward to checking out their latest kooky collaboration.
Things pick up a bit on the 18th, with a number of new wide releasesóstarting with Peter Bergís board game-inspired sci-fi thriller, Battleship. Now, call me crazy, but I donít remember any giant alien beings popping up in the classic board gameóthough Iím sure you can count on them showing up in the movie-branded version.
For other warring characters, thereís Sacha Baron Cohen as The Dictator. Expect Ryan Seacrest to show up at the premiere with a dry cleaning bill for his Oscar night tux.
Meanwhile, for the girls, thereís the ensemble comedy What to Expect When Youíre Expecting, inspired by the pregnancy book by the same name. Iím not counting on anything remarkable from this crazy-looking comedy, but, since I just so happen to be expecting my own little bundle of joy this summer, Iím morbidly curious.
On a separate but somewhat related note, this week also brings a little bit of Hysteria, a romantic comedy about the inventor of the vibrator.
And, in limited release this week, Sam Jackson once again sets out to kick some tail in The Samaritan, and a newlywed is haunted by memories of her past in Lovely Molly.
Kristinís Pick of the Week: I just canít help it. The little person whoís growing inside me demands that I choose What to Expect When Youíre Expecting. For those of you without a little person growing inside you, though, you might want to check out the over-the-top action of Battleship instead.
Itís been a decade since Agent J and Agent K went on their last (generally-panned) mission. But, this week, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return in Barry Sonnenfeldís Men in Black III, which finds Smithís J traveling back in time to protect his old friend, K.
Also this week, quirky director Wes Anderson follows up his stop-motion adaptation of Fantastic Mr. Fox with Moonrise Kingdom, about a couple of kids in the Ď60s who fall in love and decide to run away from home together. Or, for something completely different, thereís Chernobyl Diaries, a thriller (produced and co-written by Paranormal Activityís Oren Peli) that follows six adventurous young tourists on a terrifying tour of the city that once housed Chernobylís workers.
And, in limited release, youíll find Chazz Palminteri and Andie MacDowell in the family comedy Mighty Fine and The Intouchables, a French film about the relationship between a recently paralyzed aristocrat and his poor caretaker.
Kristinís Pick of the Week: Since the time-travel plot seems a little too out there even for a Men in Black movie, Iíll go with the quirky charm of Andersonís Moonrise Kingdom.
In case you didnít get enough of Snow White and the Evil Queen in this springís Mirror Mirror, you can check out the edgier Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Kristen Stewart as the battle-ready princess, who pairs with Chris Hemsworthís huntsman to fight the queen (played by Charlize Theron). Expect this version of the tale to be a lot less Disney and a lot more Twilight.
Also this week, you can laugh and scream with the outrageous horror-comedy of Piranha 3DD or dance along with the teen dance drama Battlefield America.
And, in limited release, a high school valedictorian concocts a plan to pass a drug test in High School.
Kristinís Pick of the Week: I canít say that Iím thrilled about sitting through another moody Kristen Stewart adventureóbut, considering my options, Iíll pick Snow White and the Huntsman over the over-the-top Piranha 3DD.
Fanboys have been anxiously awaiting the release of Ridley Scottís Prometheus, the sci-fi thriller that may or may not be connected to Alien and/or Blade Runner. The rest of us are just slightly perplexed.
The perplexed among us, then, might prefer Madagascar 3: Europeís Most Wanted, in which the gang attempts to make it back to their New York zoo, only to end up traveling through Europe with a circus. The trailer suggests more of the same Madagascar wackiness, but Iíll admit that I laugh until I cry whenever Chris Rock says the words ďcircus Afro.Ē
Or, for the Twilight set, Robert Pattinson stars in the period drama Bel Ami, which follows Pattinsonís Georges Duroy as he seduces his way into power in Paris. Expect an abundance of long, brooding glances (and probably little else).
And, in limited release this week, Jane Fonda and Catherine Keener play an estranged mother and daughter in Bruce Beresfordís Peace, Love & Misunderstanding. Greta Gerwig plays a single girl pushing 30 in Lola Versus. And Mark Duplass searches for a time-traveling companion in the comedy Safety Not Guaranteed.
Kristinís Pick of the Week: Though I plan on watching Chris Rockís part of the Madagascar 3 trailer over and over again until June 8, I have to go with Prometheus for my pick. Ridley Scott and Noomi Rapace? You just canít go wrong there.
This week, Adam Shankman directs Tom Cruise in his adaptation of the hit musical Rock of Ages. The Ď80s music is great, but the thought of Cruise as an Ď80s rock icon is pretty ridiculous. Iím just hoping that itíll be a whole lot better than the trailer makes it look.
Speaking of ridiculous, Thatís My Boy stars Adam Sandler as a hard-partying playboy who reconnects with the son he fathered in his teens (played by Andy Samberg). On the bright side, it wasnít directed by Dennis Duganóbut it still stars Sandler and Samberg.
For something completely different, though, you might want to hunt down some of the weekís limited releasesólike Kristin Scott Thomas in the perplexing French drama, The Woman in the Fifth, or Lynn Sheltonís delightful mumblecore comedy, Your Sisterís Sister.
Kristinís Pick of the Week: Forget about the weekís big releases and stick with Your Sisterís Sister instead. Itís my favorite mumblecore flick to date.
Tough chicks are everywhere this monthówhether theyíre fighting evil queens, battling aliens, or striking out on their own in Pixarís Brave. Kelly Macdonald voices the feisty Scottish heroine in this gorgeous new adventure that seems destined to make audiences forget all about Cars 2.
Meanwhile, for a different kind of adventure, thereís Timur Bekmambetovís Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, starring Benjamin Walker as the vampire-fighting president. I just hope itís a little more thrilling than the book.
Or, for a laugh or two, you can check out Steve Carell and Keira Knightley as they go on a road trip to prepare for the apocalypse in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.
And, finally, in limited release this week, Oscar winning screenwriter Woody Allen returns with his latest comedy, To Rome with Love. If itís even half as enjoyable as last yearís Midnight in Paris, itíll be well worth watching.
Kristinís Pick of the Week: How can I resist the gorgeous Scottish setting and the tough young heroine of Brave? Hereís hoping for another Pixar mega-hit.
June comes to a close this year with a Channing Tatum double feature. First, Tatum stars in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the sequel to 2009ís rather quiet August release, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (which never even screened for critics).
But perhaps the more intriguing release is Magic Mike, the Steven Soderbergh comedy loosely based on Tatumís younger days as a male stripper. Tatum himself plays mentor to new guy Alex Pettyfer.
Or, for more laughs (and more clothing), you can try Tyler Perryís latest cross-dressing comedy, Madeaís Witness Protection.
And, finally, in limited release, the writers behind Star Trek and Fringe try their hand at drama in People Like Us. Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen star in Sarah Polleyís Take This Waltz. And Sundance darling Beasts of the Southern Wild slowly makes its way to theaters.
Kristinís Pick of the Week: Is it bad that Iím just a little bit excited to see Magic Mike? Believe it or not, itís not because of the male strippers; itís because itís Channing Tatum in another comedic role (remember 21 Jump Street?), surrounded by guys like Matthew McConaughey and White Collarís Matt Bomer. Sounds like a guilty pleasure to me.
And, with that, weíve come to the end of Juneówhich seems to be as good a place as any to stop and take a little break. After all, youíve already got two whole months worth of summer movies to absorb and get excited for. I wouldnít want to overload your system with two more months of summer movie awesomeness. So Iíll let you take some time to let May and June sink in before we pick back up with July and August.