Memorial Day south of the border is the traditional start of summer, as far as blockbusters go. Bruce Willis and Alec Baldwin get plenty of screen time, with several features each, but aliens are the true stars of the summer. Grab a bucket of popcorn and settle in (tinfoil hat and phaser optional).
- Opened last week:
Men In Black 3
It's been a while since we've seen the amiable pairing of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones battling the little green guys living among us: a decade, to be exact. In number three in the series, Agent J (Smith) goes back in time to the early '60s to prevent his partner (Jones) from being assassinated. A must-see, if only to watch Josh Brolin do a young Tommy Lee.
Expectation is high for Chernobyl Diaries, since it's from Oren Peli, the guy who thought up Paranormal Activity. Six young tourists hoping to get off the tourist track hire a Russian guide who takes them to the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, deserted for 25 years. But they are not alone_
- Opens this week:
Hotly anticipated period film from Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox) about two 12-year-olds who fall in love and run away together, and the extremely eclectic group sent to find them. Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Anderson regular Jason Schwartzmann and Bob Balaban co-star with child leads Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward.
Let's just lay it all on the line, shall we? Buxom girls in bikinis are chased by voracious nibblers, both male and fish. Lifeguards at the local waterpark are replaced by "water-certified strippers," while David Hasselhoff holds court. Welcome to the most unabashedly crass film of the summer.
Snow White and the Huntsman
The second Snow White film of 2012 looks quite thrilling, with the always-fab Charlize Theron as the evil queen and fan-favourite Kristen Stewart as the object of her envy. Not content to trill down a wishing well, Snow trains with the Huntsman sent to kill her (Chris Hemsworth) in order to do battle with the queen.
Alien creator Ridley Scott is spacebound again with Prometheus, about a team of explorers on the brink of discovering the origin of mankind on Earth. Noomi Rapace plays a scientist, Michael Fassbender is an android of sorts, and Charlize Theron is a company rep along for the ride, which goes spectacularly awry.
To Rome With Love
Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris was his first critical and commercial success in years. To Rome With Love finds him back in front of the camera as well as behind it, rubbing shoulders with co-stars Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, July Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page, all of whom navigate love and other misadventures in Roma.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Which loose ends would you tidy up if a meteor were hurtling straight toward Earth? Steve Carell turns once again to more serious fare in this doomsday dramedy co-starring Keira Knightly.
In ancient Scotland, a young girl named Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) defies clan tradition, and in doing so, unleashes chaos in the kingdom. Witches, chieftans and fierce beasts pepper this girl-powered Disney tale, as do the talents of Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Craig Ferguson and Julie Walters, among others.
People Like Us
A based-on-a-true-story family drama starring Chris Pine (Star Trek) as a man who discovers a sister (Elizabeth Banks) he never knew he had, resulting in moral quandaries and much soul-searching. Co-starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Jon Favreau and Olivia Wilde.
Rock of Ages
Tom Cruise in a musical? This I've gotta see_ Rock of Ages is a Hollywood make-it-or-break-it story about a small town girl Sherrie (Julianne Hough) and city boy Drew (Diego Beneta), who meet cute on the Sunset Strip. Star-studded cast includes Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bryan Cranston and Alec Baldwin, shaking it to the likes of Def Leppard, Journey and Whitesnake.
This one is strictly for the ladies, as it features Channing Tatum returning to his roots, drawing on past real-life stripping experience. Not tempting enough? How about a hot young ing‚nue (I Am Number Four's Alex Pettyfer) and a still-sizzlin' seasoned vet, played by Matthew McConaghey? There's a story in there about Tatum finding his true bliss (furniture design?) and true love, according to director Steven Soderbergh.
Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection
Tyler Perry is back as Aunt Madea. This time she's hosting the meek CFO of a Wall Street bank (Eugene Levy) and trophy wife (Denise Richards), who've been shuttled into the witness protection program. If anyone can whip this couple into shape and fend off the mob, it's Madea.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Andrew Garfield suits up, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) swoons: Garfield and Stone are a real-life couple, so chemistry is all but certain. But fan reaction to a new Spidey sequel so soon after Tobey Maguire spun webs has been mixed. Let's hope director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) can inject some excitement into the franchise.
Oliver Stone directs Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Benicio del Toro, Uma Thurman, John Travolta, Blake Lively and Salma Hayek in a tale about small-time drug slingers who run afoul of a Mexican drug cartel.
Step Up Revolution
Come on, you know you love the Step Up films. Love story, intrigue, killer dance moves: it's the same formula, just with new faces (Kathryn McCormick, Ryan Guzman).
Mark Wahlberg plays a man whose relationship (with Mila Kunis) is threatened by his bond with his trash-talking Teddy bear. The bear is Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane, who's also making his directorial. Wahlberg fighting a Teddy Ruxpin lookalike? No one said summer would be boring...
The Dark Knight Rises
Christopher Nolan's capper to the Batman trilogy, with Batman (Christian Bale) resurfacing to take on a new enemy, Bane (Tom Hardy). Excellent ensemble cast, proven director: what's not to love about the Dark?
Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill, Vince Vaughn and Richard Ayoade are overzealous members of a neighborhood watch who battle more than loitering teens on the cul de sac: they are up against... aliens. Yup. From writers Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Jared Stern.
The Bourne Legacy
It'll be interesting to see how a Bourne film does without the appeal of Matt Damon, but as the film's tagline says, "there was never just one." Jeremy Renner (The Avengers) plays another agent who volunteers for, then falls victim to, government experiments. Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn and Albert Finney are back and somehow affiliated with Treadstone; Edward Norton joins the fray.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) suffers more ignoble mishaps in the third Wimpy Kid film.
If the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic had to be remade, it stands a good chance with Len Weisman, who did Live Free or Die Hard justice. Colin Farrell stars as a man whose life turns out to be an implanted fabrication. Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel co-star.
The Expendables 2
The boys are back: Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis return. Plus Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren. Yes, really.
It's easy to lampoon campaign ethics, or lack thereof, but with the participation of Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, the campaign trail is guaranteed to plumb new depths. This one features an unexpected and messy battle for congress in North Carolina. NC native Galifianakis knows whereof he speaks: his uncle Nick was an NC congressman from 1967 and 1973.
When a small town is invaded by zombies, it's up to Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) to save everybody. He sees dead people, so he can sort the whole thing out, if only the grown-ups would stop butting in.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Magical story about a boy borne of a boxful of wishes, and finding joy in unexpected places. Starring Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton and CJ Adams.