Movie Preview: 10 Films to See in May

  • Comments: ↓ 3 user comments
  • Publish Date: April 30, 2014

This month's key theatrical releases

Below, our editors have selected the 10 most notable films debuting this month (including limited releases), listed in alphabetical order.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Watch trailer #1 Watch trailer #2
PG-13 Action | May 2 | Directed by Marc Webb

Also by this director:

66 The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
76 (500) Days of Summer (2009)

For some fans, 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man felt too familiar, a retelling of Spider-Man’s origin story just ten years after Sam Raimi’s similar Spider-Man. But enough critics and moviegoers embraced the film, leading to healthy box office numbers and Sony’s commitment to not just a sequel, but also a third film (due June 10, 2016), a fourth film (currently set for May 4, 2018), and upcoming spin-offs The Sinister Six and Venom. Disappointingly mixed early reviews for Marc Webb’s sequel (in theaters this week) will not slow down the Spider-Man juggernaut, but some critics have pointed out that the new film feels less like a movie than an overstuffed set-up for future installments as Peter Parker discovers a conspiracy at Oscorp and battles Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn/The Green Goblin, Jaime Fox as Electro, and Paul Giamatti as Rhino. One bright spot that critics seem to agree on is the winning chemistry between stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.

The Double Watch trailer
R Drama | May 9 | Directed by Richard Ayoade

Also by this director:

76 Submarine (2011)

Jessie Eisenberg stars as Simon James and his doppelgänger James Simon in this sophomore effort from actor-turned-director Richard Ayoade. Simon James is a timid, lonely office worker whose life is thrown out of balance when James Simon, a confident, charismatic new hire—and Simon’s physical double—is able to catch the eye of Simon’s boss (Wallace Shawn) and dream girl (Mia Wasikowska). Ayoade adapted Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novella with Avi Korine (brother of director Harmony Korine) and directs an impressive ensemble that includes Noah Taylor, Sally Hawkins, Yasmin Page, James Fox, and Chris O’Dowd (Ayoade’s costar in British TV comedy The IT Crowd).

If two Jessie Eisenbergs is not enough to fill your May quota, the future Lex Luthor also stars with Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard in Kelly Reichardt’s well-received eco-thriller Night Moves (May 30th).

Godzilla Watch trailer Watch extended look Watch new international trailer
PG-13 Action/Sci-fi | May 16 | Directed by Gareth Edwards

Also by this director:

63 Monsters (2010)

The most famous of movie monsters is back. Of course, anyone who remembers 1998’s Godzilla or the slightly less awful Godzilla 2000 knows that the return of Godzilla can be bad news for viewers as well as the residents of whatever metropolis he's terrorizing. Making the leap from his low-budget debut Monsters, director Gareth Edwards decided to take a serious approach to a story that will balance familial drama with $160 million worth of epic destruction. The family at the center of the film consists of Joe and Sandra Brody, mom and dad nuclear physicists played by Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche, and their children Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Elle (Elizabeth Olsen). Helping to explain the origins of Godzilla, while hoping to find a way to contain the beast, are Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins and David Strathairn. Industry experts are already predicting a $60-$70 million opening weekend, while Metacritic users forecast a Metascore of 68.

The Immigrant Watch trailer
R Drama | May 16 | Directed by James Gray

Also by this director:

74 Two Lovers (2009)
59 We Own the Night (2007)
58 The Yards (2000)
xx Little Odessa (1995)

France has always been kind to James Gray (four of the director’s five films have played in competition at Cannes), but the U.S. has been a tougher sell. His latest drama examines his own family’s past (as well as America’s) by following the plight of Ewa, a Polish immigrant played by Marion Cotillard, and her sister, Magda (Angela Sarafyan). When Magda is denied entry into the United States due to illness, Ewa falls into the hands of Bruno, a low-level opportunist played by Joaquin Phoenix. Jeremy Renner plays Bruno’s cousin and rival, Orlando the Magician. The film has received generally favorable early reviews, with plenty of praise being given to the performances (especially Cotillard's) and the cinematography by Darius Khondji (Se7en, Amour).

Maleficent Watch trailer
PG Fantasy/Family | May 30 | Directed by Robert Stromberg

Angelina Jolie returns to the big screen for the first time since 2010’s The Tourist as Maleficent in this darker, live-action re-imagining of Disney’s 1959 animated classic Sleeping Beauty. Working from a script by Linda Woolverton (Alice in Wonderland) and John Lee Hancock (Snow White and the Huntsman), veteran production designer and visual effects supervisor Robert Stromberg makes his directorial debut, bringing plenty of visual flair to a story that finds Elle Fanning’s Princess Aurora in the middle of a battle between her father (Sharlto Copley) and Maleficent, a fairy who once had wings. Sam Riley, Brenton Thwaites, Miranda Richardson, and Juno Temple have supporting roles.

A Million Ways to Die in the West Watch green-band trailer Watch red-band trailer
Comedy/Western | May 30 | Directed by Seth MacFarlane

Also by this director:

62 Ted (2012)

In this follow-up to his successful debut feature Ted, Seth MacFarlane writes, directs, and stars as Albert, a cowardly farmer who loses his girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) to a mustachioed slickster played by Neil Patrick Harris. Luckily for Albert, he befriends the new-to-town Anna (Charlize Theron). Unluckily for Albert, Anna's husband (Liam Neeson) is an outlaw looking for a gunfight. Joining MacFarlane in the comically dangerous Old West are Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman, Wes Studi, and Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd.

Neighbors Watch green-band trailer Watch red-band trailer
R Comedy | May 9 | Directed by Nicholas Stoller

Also by this director:

62 The Five-Year Engagement (2012)
65 Get Him to the Greek (2010)
67 Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Buzz has been building for Neighbors since the comedy received excellent reviews at the SXSW Film Festival this spring. Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne star as a young couple with a newborn baby whose lives are suddenly turned upside down when a fraternity moves in next door. Zac Efron plays the leader of the fraternity while Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Hannibal Buress, Jake Johnson, Craig Roberts, Ike Barinholtz and Jason Mantzoukas all have supporting roles. Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Five-Year Engagement) directs from a script by Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien.

Palo Alto Watch trailer
R Drama | May 9 | Directed by Gia Coppola

The latest member of the Coppola family to enter the family business (filmmaking) is 27-year-old Gia Coppola, granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola, and niece of Sofia and Roman. Gia makes her directorial debut with Palo Alto, an adaptation of James Franco’s collection of short stories set in the titular California town. In the drama, Emma Roberts's April has a dangerous flirtation with her single-dad soccer coach, Mr. B (James Franco). Teddy (Jack Kilmer, son of Val, who also has a small role) is into April, but he’s serving community service for a DUI while his best friend Fred (Nat Wolff) becomes more reckless and unpredictable with each passing night. The film’s Hollywood pedigree, good early reviews, an original score from Dev Hynes of Blood Orange, and the constant controversy surrounding Mr. Franco makes this one to look for as it opens in select cities throughout the month.

Tracks Watch trailer
PG-13 Drama | May 23 | Directed by John Curran

Also by this director:

58 Stone (2010)
69 The Painted Veil (2006)
66 We Don't Live Here Anymore (2004)
79 Praise (2000)

In 1977, Robyn Davidson set off on a 1,700-mile trek with four camels and a dog, traveling from Alice Springs across the deserts of Western Australia to the Indian Ocean. Working from Marion Nelson’s adaptation of Davidson’s 1980 memoir, director John Curran brings this journey to life with Mia Wasikowska as Davidson and Adam Driver as National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan, who documented her trip for the magazine. After being in development for three decades, the finally completed film received strong reviews when it premiered on the festival circuit last fall, with special notice given to Wasikowska’s performance.

X-Men: Days of Future Past Watch trailer #1 Watch trailer #2 Watch trailer #3
Action | May 23 | Directed by Bryan Singer

Also by this director:

51 Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)
56 Valkyrie (2008)
72 Superman Returns (2006)
68 X2: X-Men United (2003)
64 X-Men (2000)
51 Apt Pupil (1998)
77 The Usual Suspects (1995)

While Bryan Singer’s recent troubles will keep him off the publicity tour, there is no doubting his impact on the X-Men movie franchise. After directing X-Men and X2: X-Men United, he stepped aside for 2006’s inferior X-Men: The Last Stand. But when Matthew Vaughn, director of 2011’s X-Men: First Class, decided to move on, Singer jumped back in to helm this time-traveling story, based on one of the most beloved X-Men comics. Days of Future Past brings together the original cast (Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, and Daniel Cudmore) with the cast from First Class (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, and Lucas Till) to fight Peter Dinklage’s Bolivar Trask as he tries to wipe out the mutants with his deadly invention, the Sentinels. In an already crowded film, there are some new faces as well, including Omar Sy as Bishop, Fan Bingbing as Blink, Booboo Stewart as Warpath, Evan Peters as Quicksilver, and Adan Canto as Sunspot. A sequel, X-Men: Apocalypse, is already set for May 27, 2016.

All major May film releases by date

May 2 May 9 May 16 May 23 May 30
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Belle *
Ida *
The Protector 2 *
Walk of Shame
Chef *
Devil's Knot *
The Double *
God's Pocket *
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return
Moms' Night Out
Neighbors
Palo Alto *
Chinese Puzzle *
Godzilla
The Immigrant *
Million Dollar Arm
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn *
Blended
Cold in July *
Tracks *
Words & Pictures *
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Filth *
Maleficent
A Million Ways to Die in the West
Night Moves *
We Are the Best! *

* Limited release

What do you think?

Which films are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments section below. For a complete, updated listing of all upcoming film releases by date, including films arriving later in 2014, visit our Movie Calendar.

Comments (3)

  • MarcDoyle  

    I'm fired up for both The Chef & Godzilla.

  • TheQuietGamer  

    A lot of fantastic movies coming in May! The new Spider-Man and X-Men films look like a real treat for superhero fans everywhere, Neighbors and A Million Ways to Die in the West look like they are sure to please comedy fans, and Maleficent just looks great.

    I still am not sure about Godzilla though. I have no doubt it will be a huge box office success, but I'm still not sure if it will turn out to be the great of a film. Seems I am the only person who hasn't been taken in by the trailers.

  • JRath  

    I think that Godzilla will be the commercial and critical surprise hit of the year. The trailers have been some of the best I've seen in recent years and my excitement for it has gone from merely knowing about it to borderline camping out for its premiere.

    May is going to be a huge, fun month!

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