Friday, June 3
Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) directs this reboot of the X-Men franchise starring James McAvoy as Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr. The film looks at their friendship before they become Professor X and Magneto, the early actions of the mutants (including Emma Frost, Mystique, Beast, and Havok), and the rift that forms between them, leading to war between Professor X’s X-Men and Magneto’s Brotherhood.
The directorial debut for British comedian Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd) is a Welsh coming-of-age tale centering on a 15-year-old boy who strives to keep his mother from running off with her life coach, while also attempting to lose his virginity to his pyromaniac girlfriend. The quirky film drew Wes Anderson comparisons -- and highly positive reviews -- when it debuted at last year's Toronto festival, and the soundtrack features new songs by Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys.
Also out this week:
Michael Sheen and Maria Bello star in Beautiful Boy LIMITED as two parents coping with their son’s participation in a school shooting ... In Beginners LIMITED, from director Mike Mills (Thumbsucker), Ewan McGregor’s new love for Melanie Laurent makes him reflect on his late father (Christopher Plummer), who came out of the closet at age 75 after 44 years of marriage ... Mandy Moore stars as a newly married relationship therapist confronted with the possibility of her own parents’ divorce in Love, Wedding, Marriage LIMITED ... Documentary The Last Mountain LIMITED focuses on one Appalachian town's environment-oriented stand against powerful coal mining interests.
Friday, June 10
It could be the Inception of 2011: a rare summer event movie that isn't a sequel or a remake, featuring a mysterious, sci-fi storyline, coming from a noted writer-director with a strong fanbase. The auteur here is J.J. Abrams, directing his first feature since 2009's Star Trek, a Steven Spielberg-produced (and -influenced) coming-of-age tale set in 1979 where a group of young friends document a series of catastrophic events in their small town on a super 8 camera.
Also out this week:
Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer is based on the children's book series and follows the adventures of a third grader on summer vacation; Heather Graham and newcomer Jordana Beatty star ... Director Michael Winterbottom brings back characters from Tristam Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story for The Trip LIMITED, a mostly improvised road trip comedy set in the English countryside ... Yet another shaky-cam faux-documentary thriller, The Troll Hunter LIMITED follows a group of Norwegian film students in search of real-life trolls ... Viva Riva! LIMITED is an organized crime drama set in the Congo.
Friday, June 17
Ryan Reynolds stars as Hal Jordan, a test pilot and the first human to be selected to join the Green Lantern Corps, in this 3D adaptation of the DC comic that finds the hero battling Dr. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) as well as the Parallax, an enemy that threatens the entire universe. Blake Lively (Gossip Girl) also stars as Hal’s childhood sweetheart, Carol Ferris, while Mark Strong, Geoffrey Rush, and Michael Clarke Duncan lend their voices to various members of the Green Lantern Corps. Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) directs the CG-intensive film -- so intensive, in fact, that finishing the effects in time for the June 17 premiere is proving to be a challenge.
A modern-day take on the award-winning 1938 children's book of the same name, this live-action comedy stars Jim Carrey as a driven New York businessman who inherits six penguins and moves them into his apartment, where they proceed to change his life for the better. Carla Gugino and Angela Lansbury also star for director Mark Waters (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past).
Also out this week:
The Art of Getting By LIMITED follows the relationship formed between a homework-averse loner played by Freddie Highmore (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and a popular kindred spirit played by Emma Roberts (It’s Kind of a Funny Story) ... Documentary Page One: Inside The New York Times LIMITED spends a year in the newsroom of the prestigious newspaper ... An illiterate man (Gérard Depardieu) forms an unlikely friendship with a much older woman -- a novelist -- in the French comedy My Afternoons with Margueritte LIMITED ... The gritty and intense Spanish thriller Kidnapped LIMITED (6/15) is composed of just a dozen intricately choreographed shots ... The award-winning Sundance documentary Buck LIMITED follows a real-life horse-whisperer.
Friday, June 24
Cameron Diaz stars as the foul-mouthed titular character in this comedy from director Jake Kasdan (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story) and writers Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg (Year One). The film also stars Justin Timberlake as a substitute teacher whom Diaz plans to make her new sugar daddy, Lucy Punch (Dinner for Schmucks) as a fellow teacher out to ruin her plan, and Jason Segel as the school’s gym teacher.
Pixar's last four films earned an average Metascore of 93 and collected a total of 21 Oscar nominations. You'll have to go back to 2006 to find a Pixar film that didn't score outstanding reviews from critics and moviegoers: Cars 73, the worst-reviewed film in the studio's history. Of course, "worst-reviewed" means something different for Pixar than it does for most studios, and that merely good film gets its first sequel this summer. Directed again by Pixar head John Lasseter, the 3D Cars 2 features the voices of Owen Wilson, Michael Caine, and Larry the Cable Guy while combining a spy story with an international road race. A new Toy Story short ("Hawaiian Vacation") will run in front of the film.
Also out this week:
Chris Weitz (The Twilight Saga: New Moon) returns to small-scale drama with the L.A.-set story of an immigrant gardener and his son in A Better Life LIMITED ... Conan O'Brien Can't Stop LIMITED offers a revealing look at the talk show host on his post-Tonight Show 32-city tour ... Jenna Fischer is a recently widowed single mom in the indie dramedy A Little Help LIMITED ... If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front LIMITED (6/22) examines the radical environmental group labeled terrorists by the FBI.