|Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson in The Beaver|
The Beaver (now playing in select theaters)
Mel Gibson’s highly-praised “comeback” performance as a depressed man who reinvents his life via a stuffed beaver hand puppet is reportedly darker and mature than audiences are probably expecting. Many will undoubtedly be talking about Gibson’s return to the screen (given the issues he’s been facing throughout the past year), yet the film’s story of a man who tries to reshape his life strangely (and uniquely) seems to parallel where the actor is at. (This spring, he pleaded no contest to said charges.) Hopefully, he’s on the right track in a better direction. As for the film, I’m anxious to give my take.
The Tree of Life (now playing in select theaters)
Another talked-about film so far this year—director Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line)’s mosaic of science, religion, faith, and 50s family life—became the winner of the Palme O’Dor at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Reviews have been mixed so far. The current consensus on Rotten Tomatoes states, “Terrence Malick's singularly deliberate style may prove unrewarding for some, but for patient viewers, Tree of Life is an emotional as well as visual treat.”
|Joel Courtney in Super 8|
Super 8 (June 10)
With director J.J. Abrams (Star Trek) and producer Steven Spielberg at the helm, this anticipated sci-fi thriller looks to be a throwback to classics like Close Encounters, with a promising unknown youth cast and amazing special effects a la War of the Worlds. Hopefully, the story of kids who witness a train crash while filming a Super 8mm monster movie (not to mention the mysterious Cloverfield-esque being that emerges from the crate), as well as a father-son relationship, stands out the most.
|Ryan Reynolds in The Green Lantern|
The Green Lantern (June 17)
Another great summer for superhero/comic-book movies (Thor and X-Men: First Class are already in theaters) continues with the long-awaited DC-Comics favorite in his own big-screen adventure. Hal Jordon (Ryan Reynolds) is selected by a dying alien being to take part in an intergalactic police corps as the bearer of the Green lantern ring. It’s a basic premise, but the execution looks effective. It may turn out to be the most unique cast of characters in a sci-fi-adventure movie since Avatar. Visual effects and cast (including Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, and Tim Robbins) look great as well.
Winnie the Pooh (July 15)
Pixar’s Cars 2 (June 24) will no doubt be a success with critics and audiences this summer, but it’s the traditional animated Disney feature starring everyone’s favorite “bear of very little brain” that I’m excited about. Never mind that I’m 24, the film promises to be a delight for younger children and for nostalgic parents. I give Disney tremendous credit for harkening back to the earlier days of animation, just like they did with The Princess and the Frog two years ago.
|Chris Evans as Captain America|
Captain America (July 22)
The other superhero film I can’t wait for also happens to be a tie-in (like Thor) to the anticipated Avengers coming out next year. Set during World War II, Steve Rogers is selected into a Super Soldier Program and is transformed from a scrawny individual into a muscular man of steel to fight off enemies. The look and setting of the film is promising, along with a cast that includes Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, and Stanley Tucci.
|Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig in Cowboys and Aliens|
Cowboys and Aliens (July 29)
Director Jon Favreau (Iron Man)’s mesh of science-fiction and western genres stars Daniel Craig (the latest James Bond) as a lone stranger and Harrison Ford as a town colonel in a fight against an alien invasion. Looks like old-school fun a la Transformers. Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, and Brian Grazer serve as producers.
|Scene from The Help|
The Help (August)
Set in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi, the issues of African-American women in the South are brought to limelight with the help of a recent college graduate (Easy A’s Emma Stone), who forms an unlikely friendship with two housemaids (Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer). The film’s trailer struck a chord with me, as it carries an old-fashioned and essential quality that recalls an important time in our nation’s history. Based on the 2009 book of the same name, by Kathryn Stockett.