Today marks the 2nd anniversary of my blog, "I Luv Movies", so to celebrate, I am going to list some movies that are hitting theaters this summer that I am looking forward to seeing.
All of these U.S release dates are subject to change:
Release Date: May 13. 2011
This appears to be a female version of the hit comedy, "The Hangover" (With the sequel to that film due in theaters this May 26) about two long-time friends (SNL's Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph) who have bonded over the years by both still being single but things turn upside down when one of them becomes engaged. Since there are ladies involved, I'm sure that the raunch will be of the sensitive variety. Fellow television stars, Rose Byrne ("Damages"), Melissa McCarthy ("Mike & Molly") and Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") round out the cast.
"TREE OF LIFE"
Release Date: May 27, 2011
I was completely sold on seeing this film based on the beautiful images of this trailer but after finding out that this is the long awaited new film by the great but seldom seen director, Terrence Malick, "Tree Of Life" has become a must-see for me. Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain (who will also appear this summer in "The Debt" and "The Help") star.
"X-MEN: FIRST CLASS"
Release Date: June 3, 2011
This is the film that I'm most looking forward to this summer. In this prequel to the previous X-Men films, set in the 1960's, tells the story of how Charles Xavier (James McEvoy) or Professor X and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) who will become Magneto, join together a group of young mutants to fight a world threat and went from being close allies to eventually becoming battling enemies. January Jones, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, Oscar-nominee, Jennifer Lawrence and Kevin Bacon also appear in the film.
Release Date: June 17, 2011
Ryan Reynolds in a green skin-tight suit? I am SO there.
Based on the DC comic-book, Hal Jordan (Reynolds) is the first human-being selected to become part of the intergalactic Green Lantern corporation who protects the universe from evil doers such as Dr. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) who wants to cause harm to Earth. Tim Robbins, Angela Bassett, Geoffrey Rush and "Gossip Girl"'s Blake Lively are along for the ride.
Release Date: June 3, 2011
Christopher Plummer plays a father who comes out as a gay man at the age of seventy-five and how this effects his relationship with his heterosexual son (Ewan McGregor). This comedy by writer/director Mike Mills is loosely based on his true-life experience.
"CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER"
Release Date: July 22, 2011
Set during World War II, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), an army reject allows himself to be used in a secret experiment so he will be able to join the fight. It turns him from a ninety-eight pound weakling in to a muscle-bound fighting machine. Captain America is sent out to battle the Nazis and they send out their secret weapon, the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving). This is another film based on a Marvel comic book out this summer (along with "Thor", out May 6th) that also stars Derek Luke, Stanley Tucci and Tommy Lee Jones.
"CRAZY STUPID LOVE"
Release Date: July 29, 2011
This comedy about a suburban father (Steve Carell) who goes to a young playboy (Ryan Gosling) for advice after he discovers that his wife (Julianne Moore) has cheated on him. Emma Stone also stars and this is directed by the team of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who did one of my favorite films of last year, "I love You, Phillip Morris".
Release Date: August 19, 2011
I am not particularly a fan of horror films and I think I saw the 1985 campy version but I am very intrigued by the classy cast in this remake. A teenager (Anton Yelchin), his girlfriend (Imogen Poots, I LOVE her name) and his mother (Toni Collette) all discover that a vampire (Colin Farrell) has moved in next door and he knows that they know, so now there are in for a little trouble.
Release Date: August 12, 2011
The beloved novel by Kathryn Stockett is now a film about the strained relationship between the African-American maids and their white female employers set in the 1950's in the South. The film features a great cast that includes Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Cicely Tyson, Allison Janney and Sissy Spacek.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Where & When: Laemmle's Sunset 5, West Hollywood, CA. April 3, 2011 3:00 PM
What would happen if an average man became sick and tired of the crime and injustice going on in the world by deciding to put on a costume and take matters in to his own hands?
That idea has been realized in "Super", a dark, disturbing, deranged, ultra violent but very funny low-budget comedy that flips the super-hero genre on it's ass.
Our story begins with mild-mannered Frank D'Arbo (Rainn Wilson) who is devastated when his recovering wife, Sarah (Liv Tyler) relapses and leaves him for Jacques (Kevin Bacon), a reptilian drug-dealer and strip club owner.
Very unhappy and depressed, Frank is determined to win back his true love who he feels was taken against her will but unfortunately he has more heart than brawn and he is pummeled by some henchmen of Jacques.
While watching television, the bruised and battered Frank sees a children's program about a Christian super-hero called, The Holy Avenger (Nathan Fillion) who teaches the importance of following society's rules. The show plants a seed in his head, so Frank goes to his local comic-book store to learn about heroes without super-powers, where Libby (Ellen Page), a live-wire clerk who suggest some books to read and they become friendly.
Later that evening, Frank receives a calling from God who helps makes it clear what he has to do. Frank sews together a costume and The Crimson Bolt is born.
This new hero hides behind garbage dumps, waiting for crime to happen before leaping in to action but he soon realizes that he needs a mode of self-defense, so a large, red pipe wrench becomes his weapon of choice. The Crimson Bolt becomes a media sensation and, as usual, he is misunderstood and mistaken for a criminal.
Libby discovers Frank's secret identity and wants to help him. Reluctantly he accepts and she becomes Boltie, The Crimson Bolt's sidekick. However, in her Boltie costume, Libby becomes very horny and blood thirsty which appalls Frank since he only wants to fight true crime and save his wife.
Jacques also discovers that Frank is The Crimson Bolt and decides to take him out since he is interfering with his drug trade. Frank's plan, as well, is to permanently remove Jacques, the obstacle standing in the way of his happiness with his wife. The two come together in a bloody, explosive and deadly battle to the finish.
"Super" shares not only a very similar plot but the merging of black comedy and graphic violence as the 2010 big-budget film, "Kick Ass" but I prefer this film. While "Ass" was about an immature teenager who is at the age where they think playing a costumed crime-fighter is possible, "Super" is about an relatively sane adult, although blinded by rage,who should still know better which makes it an even more crazy and hilarious story. "Super" is an uneven, predictable and kinda stupid film but I still laughed. I can honestly say that I enjoyed it simply for what it is and sometimes that's enough.
Now, obviously this is far from a great film as some of the jokes land nowhere, there isn't much cinematic artistry involved and I have difficulty in finding much need or humor in showing a close-up of one of the character's faces being half blown off but I still found more to like about "Super" than to dislike. The thing that makes "Super" work best is a solid, likable cast, most especially Ms Page, who are very adept at comedy and help elevate this material. I think it's possible "Super" could find new life on the midnight movie circuit by an audience that I'm sure would appreciate it's offbeat charm.
This film is certainly not going to appeal to everyone but if you don't mind your comedy very dark, sprinkled with a little blood and gore, then you might find "Super" pretty spectacular.
Monday, April 11, 2011
When & Where: The Landmark, West Los Angeles, CA March 29, 2011 4:50 PM
It's always an absolute pleasure whenever Catherine Deneuve makes an appearance on the silver screen. I also look forward in seeing the latest feature from writer/director Francois Ozon. So it is a major treat when these two French talents team up to make a film together.
"Potiche" is actually the second time they have worked together, following the delightful 2002 musical, "8 Femmes", and while there are moments of charming Gallic amusement, unfortunately it is far from a satisfying collaboration.
In French, a "potiche" translates to a decorative vase but the word is also used to describe a trophy wife which is a fairly accurate description of Suzanne Pujol (Deneuve), a 1970's beautiful but simple housewife who has spent her life raising their two children, keeping the house in order, maintaining her looks for her husband and not doing much more than that. Now, she is older without much to do because the children have grown-up with lives of their own and she and her husband, Robert (Fabrice Luchini) have grown so far apart that they now have separate bedrooms.
Robert is far from lonely, however, as he is having an affair with his secretary, Nadege (Karin Viard) in the umbrella company that he runs that was founded by Suzanne's father. He has been making her promises and treating her poorly and she is fed up. Robert is a relentless tyrant of a manager and the employees have had enough. The workers lock themselves in the factory and go on strike, taking Robert as a hostage until their demands are met.
Suzanne doesn't know what to do so she calls Maurice Babin (Gerard Depardieu), a former union leader for advice, who also happens to be an ex-lover from years ago. She goes to the factory to reason with the workers, some she has known since she was a young girl, and negotiates changes to their liking.
The whole ordeal completely stresses Robert out and he is confined to bed rest for a few months, so Suzanne decides to run the company until her husband is better. She soon discovers that she has a skill for running a business, the workers adore her and she enjoys being productive.
Soon, Robert is back to health and wants to return to his position but Suzanne is not going to give up her new job, so she suggests he go home and take care of the house. Even his secretary, Nadege is through with him and is happy to be working with Suzanne. However, Robert is not about to walk away quietly, so he uses an underhanded power play to force her out but Suzanne is far from defeated as she moves on to a new and exciting endeavour.
The last few films that Mr. Ozon has done have been heavy dramas, so it's wonderful he has returned to the delightfully offbeat comedies that first brought him acclaim. However, with "Potiche" he has seemed to have held back. With this film, based on a play by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Gredy, he didn't allow himself to go all the way to the edge with the comedy and this is exactly what "Potiche" desperately needed. While "Potiche" amusingly features the loud colors and garish fashions of the time as well as a little singing and disco dancing that Ozon loves but despite all that, it still feels too conventional with muted, uninspired laughs and low energy.
Ms Deneuve, who has made incredibly over one hundred films, delivers another fine performance and she seems to be having fun in this comic role, while Mr. Depardieu, who seems to keep growing larger with each new film appearance, does what he does best in his supporting part. This couple have made numerous films together over the years but I think it's more about them being two of France's biggest movie-stars than having any actual screen chemistry together.
"Potiche" is a mildly pleasant, candy-colored diversion but after you finish watching it, you might have some difficulty remembering it.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Where & When: The Landmark, West Los Angeles, CA. March 22, 2011 4:50PM
We are going in to the fourth month of 2011 and the films that have been released, for the most part, have been far from memorable but finally, I have seen something that had me walking out of the theater thrilled and elated.
"Win Win", the latest from writer/director Tom McCarthy, is a warm, smart and laugh-out loud comedy that proves that it can still be done with a little effort and giving the audience a little credit that they can appreciate a film with intelligent humor as well as.a lot of heart.
Paul Giamatti plays Mike Flaherty, an attorney who lives in New Jersey with his wife, Jackie (Amy Ryan) and their two young daughters. Mike's client, Leo Polar (Burt Young) has begun to show signs of dementia and is no longer able to live in his home alone. Leo will have to become a ward of the state unless Mike can locate Leo's estranged only daughter which has come to a dead end.
When Mike discovers that a guardian is paid $1500, a month to care for :Leo, he comes up with a plan. Mike petitions to become Leo's legal guardian. The judge agrees however Mike moves Leo in to a nursing home and keeps the checks because business has been slow and money is tight.
Mike also coaches a high school wrestling team along with Stephen Vigman (Jeffrey Tambor). The team is currently going through a losing streak but Mike is determined to whip the boys in to shape and make them champions.
The appearance of Kyle (Alex Shaffer), a bleach-blond teenager who happens to be Leo's grandson complicates matters for Mike. Kyle's mother is in rehab in Ohio and he's not getting along with her boyfriend, so he decided to move in with the grandfather he's never met. Since Leo is in no condition to care for a kid, Mike has no choice but to have Kyle live with his family, much to the surprise of his wife. He seems non-threatening and doesn't say much but you can tell that Kyle has some issues.
Mike brings Kyle come to his wrestling practice where he asks if he can participate. It turns out Kyle can wrestle and he is very good. It also turns out that Kyle was kicked out of his school team back home but doesn't want to say why. Despite this, Mike comes up with a plan to get Kyle enrolled in to the school so he can wrestle for the team.
Kyle starts to adjust to his new environment where he does well in school, helps lead the wrestling team to a possible victory and becomes very close with not only his grandfather but with Mike and his family but this is disrupted by the arrival of Kyle's newly sober mother, Cindy (Melanie Lynskey). Kyle doesn't want to see her which causes him to act out in destructive ways. Cindy claims she simply wants to bring her son home but she has hired an attorney who has done some investigating on her father's situation and Mike's involvement.
Mr. McCarthy has created another delightful and touching dramedy where the humor comes from the behavior of these offbeat characters much like his two terrific previous films, "The Station Agent" (2003) and "The Vistor" (2008). His films are such a breath of fresh air mainly because so few American film makers are commited to making smart, adult comedies that doesn't talk down to the audience. Mr McCarthy's gift is that he writes films about the average guy that is funny, highly enjoyable and in a way most people can relate to.
Mr. Giamatti, fresh off his surprising but well-deserved, Golden-Globe winning performance in last year's "Barney's Version", delivers another award worthy comic portrayal of a well-meaning but flawed individual. It's hilarious but you also feel sorry for Mike as his misguided plan starts to slowly unravel out of his control. The rest of the cast is in top form including newcomer, Alex Shaffer who was initially hired more for his real-life wrestling skills but manages to deliver a skillful comic performance.
It took a little time but there is truly a film out that is worth going to your local theater to see and that is "Win Win", another winner from Tom McCarthy and a film that should most definitely be remembered during the next award season.