Is everyone well-rested and appropriately psyched for the movies of May and June?
OkayÖgood. Now letís pick things back up again with a little preview of whatís to come in July and August.
For me, July brings more than just some really cool summer movies. The doctor tells me that Iíll be welcoming a little bundle of joy on or around July 10thómy very own little daughter, whom I will one day teach to appreciate things like Disney movies, Ď80s comedies, summer blockbusters, and the sheer cheesiness that is Nicolas Cage. Clearly, though, my biological clock was a little off when it came to timing the little oneís birth. Letís just say that Iíll be trying some labor-inducing techniques a little earlier in the month, so I can be out of the hospital in plenty of time for the Dark Knight screening.
Of course, there are plenty of other summer movies to try to plan the birth of your first-born aroundóstarting with the big holiday weekend releases. So letís dive right in, shall we?
First up this month: Sonyís reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man, starring self-proclaimed Spider-Man fanboy Andrew Garfield as the web-slinging crime-fighter. In this first film in the new version of the franchise, Peter Parker begins digging into his own past.
Also this week, Oliver Stone directs the crime thriller Savages, a film that appears to involve hippies, drug dealers, and a Mexican drug cartel. And Morgan Freeman stars as a washed-up, wheelchair-bound author who finds new inspiration in Rob Reinerís The Magic of Belle Isle.
Meanwhile, for the musically minded, thereís Katy Perry: Part of Me (in 3D, of course). Or, for a little dose of real life thatís stranger than fiction, thereís Lauren Greenfieldís documentary, The Queen of Versailles, about a family that decided to build a 90,000-square-foot home inspired by Versailles right before the economic downturn hit.
Kristinís Pick of the Week: Itís one wild and wacky holiday weekendóbut Iíll admit that Iím intrigued by the new Amazing Spider-Man, so Iíll give it my hopeful pick.
This week, the Ice Age gang returns for their fourth film, Ice Age: Continental Drift, which follows the beloved prehistoric characters as they take to the seas after their continent drifts away.
This next movie, however, isnít for the kids. Ted stars Mark Wahlberg as a guy who still lives with his childhood best friend: his teddy bear, who was once wished into being and has long since overstayed his welcome. He may look cute and cuddly, but donít expect family-friendly comedy from director Seth MacFarlane.
Meanwhile, in limited release this week, Diane Kruger plays Marie Antoinette in Farewell, My Queen, Sigourney Weaver and Robert De Niro explore paranormal activity in Red Lights, and Freida Pinto stars in Trishna, director Michael Winterbottomís adaptation of Thomas Hardyís Tess of the DíUrbervilles.
Kristinís Pick of the Week: I lost interest in the Ice Age movies long ago, so Iíll give the irreverent comedy of Ted my pick instead.
Now weíve come to the event that my little one and I have been discussing for the last six months or so: the long-awaited, highly-buzzed return of director Christopher Nolanís Batman in the trilogy finale, The Dark Knight Rises. With Tom Hardyís Bane wreaking havoc on Gotham, Batman returns to save the city thatís turned its back on him.
Kristinís Pick of the Week: Thereís a reason why no one dares to face off against Batman at the box office: because thereís just no point. Nolan is the kind of director who can wow movie lovers of all shapes, sizes, and stylesófrom fanboys to serious cinephiles. And, since Iím a little bit of both, I canít wait to see The Dark Knight Rises (whenever the baby allows me to, that is).
If you need some comic relief after the sheer intensity of The Dark Knight Rises, you might want to check out Neighborhood Watch. Ben Stiller heads a team of suburbanites (including Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill) who form a neighborhood watch group, only to find themselves battling invaders from outer space. Personally, Iím just thankful that Kevin James is nowhere to be found.
Also this week, you can expect a whole lot of great choreography and very little story from the latest in the Step Up franchise, Step Up Revolution.
And, in limited release, the team behind 2006ís runaway hit, Little Miss Sunshine returns for Ruby Sparks, and Matthew McConaughey plays a crazy Texas hitman in Killer Joe.
Kristinís Pick of the Week: Though Iím keeping my fingers crossed for some lovable buddy comedy from Neighborhood Watch, I have to admit that Iím eager to check out the outrageous NC-17 action of Killer Joeóso Iíll give it my pick.
August is traditionally a time for releasing less-than-stellar action movies, lame stoner comedies, and a book club adaptation or two (though that didnít seem to hurt The Help last year). Only time will tell how this yearís August releases fare.
The month opens with a pair of thrillersówith Jeremy Renner taking over for Matt Damon in Tony Gilroyís The Bourne Legacy and Colin Farrell taking over for Arnold Schwarzenegger in Len Wisemanís remake of Total Recall.
Also this week, another follow-up, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, the third film in the popular kidsí franchise, follows geeky Greg as he takes a summer job at a posh country club.
And, finally, in limited release this week, director Fernando Meirelles explores relationships with some help from Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, and others in 360.
Kristinís Pick of the Week: The Bourne movies are always good for some brainless action, so Iíll give The Bourne Legacy my pick, hoping that Gilroy avoids Paul Greengrassís old shaky-cam style of filmmaking.
And now for something lighterÖ This week, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis face off as rival politicians in director Jay Roachís latest comedy, The Campaign.
Or, for more mature comic sensibilities, thereís Hope Springs, a grown-up romantic comedy starring Oscar winner Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones as a middle-aged couple who sign up for a weekend of intense marital counseling in an attempt to save their marriage.
Comedy and romance continue into this weekís limited releases, with Julie Delpyís 2 Days in New York (a follow-up to 2 Days in Paris). Or, for some chills to chase away the summer heat, thereís The Awakening, starring Rebecca Hall as a woman on a mission to prove that a British boarding school isnít really haunted.
Kristinís Pick of the Week: While Iím cautiously optimistic about the political comedy of The Campaign, Iíve got to give my pick to Meryl and Tommy in Hope Springs.
If you loved the all-star action of 2010ís The Expendables, youíll want to mark your calendar for the release of the sequel, The Expendables 2, with Stallone and the boys battling a new enemy, played by (drum roll, please) Jean-Claude Van Damme. Like its predecessor, itís sure to be a manly-manís dream.
Meanwhile, on the exact opposite end of the spectrum, thereís Sparkle, a remake of the 1976 musical, starring Jordin Sparks as an up-and-coming young singer. The late Whitney Houston, who served as the filmís executive producer, plays her mother.
For the kids (or just the kids at heart), thereís ParaNorman, an animated adventure about a kid whose ability to talk to the dead helps him battle the zombies that invade his town. And, in another family-friendly pick, Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton wish for a baby and get a few surprises in the bargain in The Odd Life of Timothy Green.
Kristinís Pick of the Week: I suppose this weekís pick really depends on your own personal tastes. But, since Iím a sucker for geeky kids and twisted animated adventures, Iíll choose ParaNorman.
When it comes to Joseph Gordon-Levittís latest, the name says it all. Premium Rush stars Gordon-Levitt as a New York City bike messenger on the run from a corrupt cop (played by Michael Shannon). Sounds to me like quite a rush.
Also this week, Dax Shepard plays a former getaway driver on the run in Hit and Run, and Ashley Greene goes from vampires to ghosts in the horror flick The Apparition.
And, in limited release, Gael GarcŪa Bernal goes on a hiking trip in the travel-thriller The Loneliest Planet.
Kristinís Pick of the Week: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of my favorite actorsóso Iíve got to pick Premium Rush. Though it seems like it might be a little light on plot, itís sure to be heavy on suspense.
Can you believe that weíve already come to the last weekend of the summer? This year, Labor Day weekend brings another batch of thrillsóincluding 7500, about an international flight that goes horribly wrong, and The Possession, about a regrettable yard sale purchase (perhaps I should get my mom to watch this one).
Or, for something a little more dramatic, thereís director John Hillcoatís Lawless, based on a true story about a bunch of bootlegging brothers (played by Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, and Jason Clarke).
Kristinís Pick of the Week: Iíll skip the scares this week and go with Lawless. Though I wasnít a big fan of Hillcoatís drab and dreary The Road, Iím hoping for the best from Nick Caveís screenplay.
And, with that, weíve come to the end of yet another marathon of summer movies. Now that weíve made it through four whole months of all that this yearís Summer Blockbuster Season has to offer, you can check your calendar and start making plans for the things that donít involve sitting in the dark with strangers.
Until itís time to take a look at the award contenders of fall, enjoy the action and adventure of summeróand donít forget to share your popcorn and Milk Duds.