Summer Film Preview – May

Summer is almost upon us and that means that it is time for the studios to flood theaters with their biggest and often brashest films. At the beginning of each month we’ll be taking a look at what films have us excited about the movie season.

The Avengers (May 4) – Here it is, a film four years in the making. The culmination of Marvel’s rise to dominance in the movie theaters. Wow.

I don’t really have to tell you anything about this film. If you are a fan of the series, then you already know the plot, if you aren’t, you probably still know the plot from the endless amount of publicity this film has received. ┬áBut I will say this. I am a long time comic book fan–this year marks my 30th year as a collector–and The Avengers was the comic book that got me started. If you told me 10 years ago if there would be a film inspired by my favorite comic book series, I would have said you were crazy. Yet, here we are. I, for one, can’t wait. – William Gatevackes

Death Of A Superhero (May 4, limited) – No this is not another comic book adaption that is foolhardy enough to go up against the 800-pound gorilla that is The Avengers. Instead, Andy Serkis stars as a therapist who is helping a teenager (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) cope with being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. It seems that we don’t get to see Serkis take lead roles outside of ones where he is doing a motion capture performance, and this one looks like it can really highlight his acting prowess for those who doubted how much he actually contributed to his motion-capture work. Also, the lead character’s use of fantasy as a means of coping with his situation makes an interesting companion piece to The Avengers. If it is not opening at a theater near you look for it also on most video-on-demand services. – Rich Drees

God Bless America (May 11, limited) – Bobcat Goldwaith has gone from antic stand-up comic to a rather insightful filmmaker with his darkly comic looks at the American underbelly and God Bless America looks no different. From the trailer alone, it looks like it will poke at a number of people’s raw nerves. But I don’t think that Goldthwaite is really setting out to be an agent provocateur. In a recent interview on Chris Hardwick’s The Nerdist podcast he stated that the film isn’t so much about revenge as it is about forgiveness. It should be interesting to see how that plays out in the film. (Also available via various on-demand services.) – RD

Battleship (May 18) – Just like virtually everyone else, I was skeptical about this film pretty much from the moment it was announced. Did a movie about naval warfare really need to be tied to a plotless board game about naval warfare? The first trailer that was released did nothing to alleviate anyone’s fears about the movie. Aliens? There are no aliens in the game. But subsequent trailers have hinted that this may one action packed popcorn movie despite everything else. And ultimately, so what if they are trying to sell this to us on the back of a classic, beloved game. If the movie is fun shouldn’t that be what really matters? -RD

Hysteria (May 18, limited) – So how many reviewers of this film about the development of the vibrator will either inadvertently on on purpose describe it as a “feel-good romantic comedy”? A cheap joke perhaps and the trailer perhaps sells that angle of the film a bit strongly. But supposedly the film actually concentrates on the story of Dr. Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy), who just so happened to have invented the vibrator, and his romance with the daughter (Maggie Gyllenhall) of his mentor (Jonathan Pryce). – RD

Men In Black III (May 25)- It seems weird seeing the film open in May. Typically, the franchise (and a number of other Will Smith films) opened over the July 4th weekend. It’s throwing me into a state akin to waking up late on a Sunday, yet thinking it’s a weekday and you’re late for work.

As a fan of the first MIB (and one who hasn’t seen the second MIB), I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t concerned about this film. That’s mainly because it didn’t have a complete script before it started shooting the film. For any movie, this is troubling. But MIB III‘s plot involves time travel (Smith’s character goes back to 1969 to save a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones’ character, played by Josh Brolin), a story that is tricky to work out even when you have a script set in stone once filming begins. But it does look like Brolin is doing a dead on Jones imitation, though- WG

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