With the passing of Memorial Day here in the States, the unofficial start to summer is upon us. We’re getting into the meat and potatoes of the big budget special effects laden flicks. Sprinkled throughout are a few indie gems to keep you honest.
X-Men: First Class
It makes my heart grin that this film is getting some seriously good reviews. I was a huge fan of the franchise growing up: comics, cards, video games, you name it. Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake) helms this iteration, which finds itself in the swinging 1960s, amid JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy portray Magneto and Professor Xavier, and take off where Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart last left us (although they play their younger selves). They are joined by Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Havok (Lucas Till), Darwin (Edi Gathegi), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence. Bam!), who must mind fuck and magnetize the likes of Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), Emma Frost (January Jones. Bam!) and Azazel (Jason Flemying). They all have kick-ass mutant powers that I want. Sigh.
Ewan McGregor has the distinct pleasure of starring in a film with Mélanie Laurent, the breakout French beauty from Inglourious Basterds. McGregor is going through a crisis of sorts with his life; something that’s complicated even more after his father (Christopher Plummer) comes out, after forty-four years of marriage. Looks to be a very moving chronicle from the always reliable Focus Features.
Mix J. J. Abrams with the legendary Steven Spielberg and there’s a good chance something special will emerge. Lots of nostalgia floating around here (as well as the occasional car it seems); a trip back to the 70s mixed with a hidden monster has my interest piqued. Plus it has a Fanning in it, so you know it’s good. Read our review here.
A film in the same vein as Cloverfield, The Blair Witch Project, and others in the handheld found footage genre. Here, a group of students uncover a government plot to hide the existence of trolls in the Norwegian countryside. If you can’t wait until the 10th, it’s currently playing on Video On Demand.
DC Comics embarks on its first trip into outer space, where a great deal of the Lantern universe takes place. Ryan Reynolds gets to see if he can carry a potential franchise, while the rest of us luckily get to see Blake Lively. Lots of talent surrounds: Mark Strong, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Robbins–along with the voices of Geoffrey Rush and Michael Clarke Duncan.
For those unfamiliar, the Green Lantern Corps are a group of guardians that patrol the universe, powered by rings fueled by willpower. Whatever the wearer thinks of, the ring brings it to life. Think of it like a Swiss army knife, but instead of scissors and a nail file, you can get a gatling gun and flamethrower.
Hopefully you all caught Justin Timberlake for his stint as SNL’s guest host (here and here’s why); he really can do no wrong. In Teacher, JT plays a sub who earns the gaze of ex-flame Cameron Diaz: resident slacker and hater of gym teachers. This looks hysterical. If you like swearing, drug use, sex and child abuse, this one’s for you.
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
A documentary following the red-headed comic on his ‘Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour.’ O’Brien was of course erroneously released from his Tonight Show duties–replaced by his predecessor Jay Leno, who consequently has similar ratings. Read our review here.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Director Michael Bay recently moved the third giant-ass robot film up two days to inflate the presumed gargantuan sum it’s expected to make.
We’re led to believe that the 1969 moon landing was staged because of a spaceship found on the surface, filled with huge robots with destructive weapons. Chicago is the battleground this time, and frankly, it’s seen better days–especially after that twisty, squid-thing goes to town on those skyscrapers.