Friday, July 1
While critics (except for Armond White) are probably happy that Michael Bay has gone on record to apologize for 2009's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 35, that’s no guarantee that the final film in the Transformers trilogy will be an improvement ... but we can always dream. The majority of the original cast returns with the noted exception of Megan Fox, whose hotness is replaced by Victoria Secret model and acting newbie Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Other new faces include Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand and Ken Jeong (The Hangover).
For the first time since 1996's That Thing You Do!, Tom Hanks returns to the director's chair for a dramedy that he co-wrote with Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding). In Larry Crowne, Hanks plays a middle-aged man who is fired from his longtime job at a big box store and, feeling adrift, decides to enroll in college, where he makes new friends and falls for his public speaking professor (Julia Roberts).
Also out this week:
In the modern fairy tale Monte Carlo, Selena Gomez stars as a regular girl who is mistaken for a British heiress while traveling in Paris ... Jacob Wysocki is an overweight high-school student who lives with his ailing uncle in the Sundance hit comedy Terri LIMITED, which also stars John C. Reilly ... Frasier's David Hyde Pierce stars in The Perfect Host LIMITED, a psychological thriller about a criminal who seeks refuge at the wrong guy's house.
Friday, July 8
Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day star as three friends who, after a night of drinking, devise a "foolproof" (i.e., not so foolproof) plan to murder their intolerable bosses (manipulative Kevin Spacey, balding coke addict Colin Farrell, and nymphomaniac dentist Jennifer Aniston) in a promising dark comedy directed by Seth Gordon (The King of Kong). And he has a lot of talent to work with; in addition to the names mentioned above, Jamie Foxx and Donald Sutherland also star.
Kevin James stars as Griffin Keys, a lovable zookeeper who thinks the only way he can get a girlfriend is to get a better job. But the animals of the Franklin Park Zoo don’t want to see him go, so they decide to break their code of silence and ... talk. The PG comedy’s live-action cast includes Rosario Dawson and Leslie Bibb, while Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, Nick Nolte, Don Rickles, Cher, and others provide the voices of the animals. Frank Coraci (Click) directs.
Also out this week:
Actor Michael Rapaport examines the influential hip hop band in his feature documentary directing debut Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest LIMITED ... Director Lone Scherfig (An Education) tells the story of star-crossed lovers Dex (Jim Sturgess) and Em (Anne Hathaway) in her adaptation of David Nicholls’ best selling novel, One Day LIMITED ... The team behind acclaimed documentary Man on Wire returns with Project Nim LIMITED, which looks at a chimpanzee raised as a human and taught sign language as an experiment in the 1970s ... Faith-based thriller The Ledge LIMITED, which divided audiences at Sundance, stars Terrence Howard and Liv Tyler.
Friday, July 15
If you are the one person who hasn't seen the previous seven Harry Potter films, this is probably a bad place to start -- though, given that this concluding chapter is packed with action and epic battles, including a final showdown between Harry and Voldemort, even the unconverted should be entertained here. And, for the first time in the history of the $2 billion franchise, you'll be able to see that action in 3D, though it was converted to the more expensive format after it was filmed, and such conversions have a history of being rather unmagical.
Also out this week:
Disney's latest attempt to bring Winnie the Pooh to the big screen is a conventionally animated G-rated feature based on five never-before-adapted short stories by Pooh originator A.A. Milne ... With Snow Flower and the Secret Fan LIMITED, director Wayne Wang returns to the themes of early success The Joy Luck Club to tell the story of two girls who become lifelong friends in 19th century China ... The latest nonfiction film from acclaimed documentarian Errol Morris is a funny, surreal, ripped-from-a-Tabloid LIMITED story of a beauty pageant winner who abducts a Mormon missionary in England ... Larry Beinhart's novel Salvation Boulevard LIMITED comes to the big screen as a comedic thriller set in the world of mega-churches; Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Connelly, and Greg Kinnear star ... Drama Life, Above All LIMITED is set in South Africa, where a teenage girl struggles with added responsibility and community ostracism after several tragedies strike her family ... A struggling screenwriter loses the only copy of his script when a serial killer steals his car in the comedy Buzzkill LIMITED.
Friday, July 22
Chris Evans stars as Steve Rogers/Captain America in this adaptation of the Marvel comic directed by Joe Johnston (The Wolfman). The story follows Rogers as he becomes Captain America and faces off against Red Skull, played by Hugo Weaving. Also starring in the film are Tommy Lee Jones as Col. Chester Philips, Stanley Tucci as Abraham Erskine, Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Toby Jones as Arnim Zola, and Neal McDonough as Dum Dum Dugan.
Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake play the friends that are getting benefits in this romantic comedy from Easy A director Will Gluck. Comparisons to the Ashton Kutcher-Natalie Portman starring No Strings Attached are inevitable, but maybe an improvement upon the familiar setup is possible with Gluck behind the camera and a strong cast in front. Easy A’s Patricia Clarkson and Emma Stone are featured along with Woody Harrelson, Rashida Jones, Richard Jenkins, Jenna Elfman, and Andy Samberg.
Also out this week:
A tragedy unfolds as a new planet -- a duplicate of the Earth, complete with mirror versions of its inhabitants -- is discovered in sci-fi drama Another Earth, a well-reviewed Sundance hit from first-time filmmaker Mike Cahill ... A unique documentary from Ridley Scott and Kevin Macdonald, Life in a Day LIMITED (7/24) is composed entirely of snippets taken from 80,000 amateur YouTube videos submitted on July 24, 2010 ... Coming-of-age drama The Myth of the American Sleepover NY spends one late summer night in the lives of four suburban teenagers ... Sarah's Key LIMITED is used to hide her young brother from the Nazis in a drama that takes place both during the Holocaust and in the present day.
Friday, July 29
The sci-fi western isn't a film genre with a robust history (and the last such example, 1999's Wild Wild West, wasn't exactly a success), but with the level of talent in front of and behind the camera here, Cowboys & Aliens -- based on the graphic novel by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg -- should at least have a fighting chance. Daniel Craig plays a mysterious criminal in the frontier town of Absolution who is forced to unite with his enemies -- including a lawman played by Harrison Ford -- when the town is invaded by extraterrestrial forces. Olivia Wilde also stars; Jon Favreau (Iron Man) directs from a script by Lost's Damon Lindelof and fellow J.J. Abrams associates Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.
In his first post-Office movie, Steve Carell plays a man living the life of his dreams until his wife (Julianne Moore) cheats on him and asks for a divorce. Newly single, Carell gets help re-entering the dating world from a ladies man played by Ryan Gosling -- who finds his own life turned upside-down when he falls for Emma Stone. Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon also star, and Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (I Love You Phillip Morris) direct from a script by Dan Fogelman (Tangled, Fred Claus).
The 50-year-old Belgian comic strip characters move to the big screen for the first time (in America) over 20 years after their long-running cartoon series departed the airwaves. (In other words, about two decades too late.) This 3D live-action/CGI hybrid finds the Smurfs chased out of their medieval village by the evil Gargamel and magically transported into present-day Manhattan. The eclectic vocal cast includes Jonathan Winters, Jeff Foxworthy, Paul Reubens, and John Oliver, while Neil Patrick Harris and Hank Azaria are among the non-blue folks.
Also out this week:
Miranda July writes, directs, and stars in The Future LIMITED, a whimsical look at a young couple whose relationship is tested after they adopt a terminally ill cat, triggering a re-evaluation of everything in their lives ... The Sleeping Beauty LIMITED is a typically thought-provoking (and erotic) reworking of the classic fairy tale by French director Catherine Breillat (Bluebeard) ... Lee Tamahori directs The Devil's Double LIMITED, based on the true story of an Iraqi man forced to work as a double for Saddam Hussein's sadistic son Uday ... Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle star in The Guard LIMITED, as an Irish policeman and an FBI agent who team up to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring ... Documentary El Bulli: Cooking in Progress NY (7/27) looks at famed Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, one of the pioneers of the "molecular gastronomy" movement and owner of a restaurant considered among the world's best.