Summer Movie Preview: 30 Most-Anticipated Films

  • Comments: ↓ 5 user comments
  • Publish Date: April 26, 2011

4/28: New dates for Final Destination 5 and Apollo 18 (both in August) have been added.

Friday, May 6

Thor Watch Trailer

Director Kenneth Branagh, best known for his Shakespeare adaptations, is the unconventional choice to helm this big-budget, 3D action film based on the Marvel comic. Australian soap opera star Chris Hemsworth (also a somewhat unexpected name) plays the title character, a superhero who also happens to be the Norse god of thunder, exiled to live among humans after his reckless actions incite a war in Asgard. Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins also star.

The Beaver Watch Trailer

Mel Gibson's first starring role since his Charlie Sheen-like meltdown does have a few positives in its favor. One is Jodie Foster, who has yet to make a bad film as a director. The second is Kyle Killen's screenplay, which generated buzz among industry insiders when it first started circulating three years ago. But this long-delayed dramedy could still be a tough sell; Gibson plays a depressed man who uses a beaver hand-puppet to better communicate with his wife (Foster) and two sons. Then again, maybe the beaver should speak for Gibson away from the cameras, too.

Also out this week:

Something Borrowed is another in a long line of Kate Hudson-starring romantic comedies, this time with Ginnifer Goodwin and John Krasinski ... Husband and wife Sam Worthington and Keira Knightley must each confront temptation when spending a night apart in Last Night LIMITED ... An unhappy teenager (Kat Dennings), her teacher (Josh Lucas), and a classmate (Reece Thompson) form a bizarre love triangle, backed by an indie rock soundtrack, in Daydream Nation LIMITED ... Mickey Rourke has already denounced his new film, Passion Play LIMITED, as "terrible," but maybe co-stars Megan Fox and Bill Murray, playing an angel and a gangster, respectively, will make the film watchable ... Whale Rider director Niki Caro reunites with star Keisha Castle-Hughes for The Vinter's Luck LIMITED, a romantic fantasy set in 19th century France ... Two African-American families from different backgrounds clash at a wedding in Martha's Vineyard in the comedy Jumping the Broom ... An adaptation of a novel by Aimee Bender, An Invisible Sign LIMITED stars Jessica Alba as 20-year-old loner (!) and math teacher ... Documentary Forks Over Knives LIMITED makes the claim that a vegan diet will cure many chronic health conditions ... Despite what the title says, the human clone at the center of low-budget thriller I'm Not Jesus Mommy LIMITED may be exactly that ... The Japanese drama Caterpillar NY takes an unflinching look at that country's conduct in two 20th century wars ... Roland Joffe's There Be Dragons LIMITED depicts the founding of Opus Dei during the Spanish Civil War.

Friday, May 13

Bridesmaids Watch Trailer

Saturday Night Live regular Kristin Wiig co-wrote and stars in this comedy about a down-on-her-luck maid of honor struggling to please the bride (Maya Rudolph) and her fellow bridesmaids (Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, and Wendi McLendon-Covey). Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) is one of the producers of the film, and critics made note of his influence on director Paul Feig (Freaks and Geeks) after its SXSW premiere, often invoking his name to describe the film's mix of vulgarity and heart.

Also out this week:

Retired vampire killer Paul Bettany comes out of retirement to rescue his niece in the 3D post-apocalyptic action thriller Priest ... Based on a fake trailer contained in the movie Grindhouse, Hobo with a Shotgun LIMITED stars Rutger Hauer as the titular homeless man turned vigilante ... Will Ferrell goes darker in Everything Must Go LIMITED, based on a Raymond Carver short story about an alcoholic who decides to sell all his possessions in a yard sale ... Skateland LIMITED follows a group of friends in 1980s small-town Texas dealing with the closing of the local roller-skating rink ... Antonio Banderas is a private investigator in search of a missing stripper in The Big Bang LIMITED ... With a middle finger tattoo on his back and an attitude to go along with it, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's titular character in Hesher LIMITED brings anarchy and relief to a grieving father and son ... Documentary L'Amour Fou NY reveals the private life of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent ... A Mexican-American teen tries not to waste her chance to Go For It! LIMITED in the world of hip-hop dancing ... True Legend LIMITED is the first directorial effort in 15 years for legendary martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping ... Zach Braff pays the price for a career as a drug dealer in The High Cost of Living LIMITED ... Documentary Hey, Boo: Harper Lee & To Kill A Mockingbird LIMITED examines the Southern writer and her one and only novel ... Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff NY looks at the 70-year career of the legendary British cinematographer ... The epic Chinese drama City of Life and Death NY (5/11) depicts the 1937 Nanking massacre ... Documentarian Mark Wexler travels the world to find out How to Live Forever NY ... National Geographic drama The First Grader LIMITED is based on the true story of an 84-year-old Kenyan villager who gets a belated opportunity to begin his education.

Friday, May 20

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Watch Trailer

In this fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) embarks on a quest for the fountain of youth. Along for the ride are some old faces -- Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa and Keith Richards as Captain Teague -- and some new ones as well: Ian McShane as Blackbeard, and Penelope Cruz as his daughter, Angelica. Rob Marshall (Nine) takes over directing duties from Gore Verbinski.

Also out this week:

Woody Allen’s latest romantic comedy, Midnight in Paris LIMITED, stars Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams as an engaged couple who begin to question their future together while traveling in Paris ... The Lion of Judah is a 3D-animated sequel to Christian family film Once Upon a Stable ... The documentary Louder than a Bomb LIMITED (5/18) follows four Chicago high school students to the city’s annual teen poetry festival ... T Bone Burnett provides the score for the country music drama Bloodworth LIMITED, which stars Kris Kristofferson as a man who reunites with his family (including Dwight Yoakam) after abandoning them 40 years earlier.

Thursday, May 26

The Hangover Part II Watch Trailer

Though the action has been transported from Las Vegas to Bangkok, early previews for the second Hangover film look awfully familiar, with Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, and Zach Galifianakis waking up unable to remember the details of a night of debauchery. Considering that the first Hangover is the highest-grossing R-rated comedy in history, we can understand the unwillingness to tinker with a successful formula, but we hope that director Todd Phillips and company remember that the first film's laughs came mainly from its originality. Ken Jeong and Mike Tyson also return, though a cameo role once intended for Mel Gibson (and then Liam Neeson) is now filled by Nick Cassavetes.

Kung Fu Panda 2 Watch Trailer

The voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, David Cross, Lucy Liu, and Jackie Chan return from the hit 2008 animated film for this 3D sequel, which finds Po battling an evil peacock voiced by Gary Oldman. With little kid-friendly competition in the following weeks, expect another major box office success for DreamWorks.

Friday, May 27

The Tree of Life Watch Trailer

Terrence Malick’s first directorial effort since 2005’s The New World will also be his first film to show in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Though most plot details are being kept secret for now, The Tree of Life offers an impressionistic look at the forces of nature and faith in the life of Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn), the eldest son of a Midwestern family in the 1950s, who struggles to reconcile his complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt) and mother (Jessica Chastain).

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Comments (5)

  • Mitch Tough  

    Bridesmaids & Hangover II seem like a great pair of complementary flicks. Should bring the laughs. I'm fired up for Sleeping Beauty, Super 8, and Priest. For some reason, I"m dreading Tree of Life, but of course I'll see it.

  • Bill  

    A good 90% of these are going to be garbage, I will tune in to meta critic to see movies like Thor get ripped apart by critics with a feeling of satisfaction. Another transformers movie? Another Pirates?... I'm gonna be sick.

  • Rurp  

    Sorry to burst your bubble, Bill, but Thor's had almost exclusively positive reviews so far. I imagine it's heading towards a metascore of 60-70.

  • Glen  

    Crazy, Stupid Love has an amzing looking cast. Somehow I don't think Transformers 3 will be the last.

  • Mik  

    I don't know--Kenneth Branagh, even on his misfires, has always had something interesting to say in his movies. Thor should be more than just something to rip apart.

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