Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Summer Movie Preview: May 2010

With the arrival of May, the summer movie season officially arrives, with studios regularly unleashing some of their tentpole films before Memorial Day weekend. This year is no exception, as many big guns roll out prior to the holiday, including possibly the season’s biggest movie (“Iron Man 2”) hitting screens Friday.

“Iron Man 2”
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwenyth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke and Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by Jon Favreau

The huge success of the 2008 superhero film made this sequel a foregone conclusion. With several big name cast additions (Johansson, Rourke and Cheadle, taking over his role from Terrence Howard), the success of the next chapter in the franchise would also seem to be quite assured. This time out, the government is hot after the design secrets of billionaire Tony Stark (Downey Jr.), who refused to give them up, while a formidable adversary (Rourke) seeks a measure of revenge from an incident from his family’s past. (May 7)
Official Web site

“Robin Hood”
Starring Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Mark Addy, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston, Eileen Atkins and Max von Sydow
Directed by Ridley Scott

In what would seem to be the umpteenth telling of the story about Robin Hood, frequent collaborators Crowe and Scott (both Oscar winners for “Gladiator”) team up again in this big budget action-adventure set in 13th century England. As the title character, Crowe seeks to undermine the authority of the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham (Macfadyen) while pursuing a romance with the widow, Maid Marion (Blanchett). The story is overly familiar to many, but there’s a reason why it’s told so often – it’s just plain good. (May 14)
Official Web site

“Letters to Juliet”
Starring Amanda Seyfried, Chris Egan, Franco Nero, Gael Garcia Bernal and Vanessa Redgrave
Directed by Gary Winick

A quieter, fairly lower star wattage flick, “Letters to Juliet” has the ability to serve as a nice change of pace from the usual collection of loud, special effects-laden movies from the season. Up-and-coming star Seyfried (“Mamma Mia!”) stars as a vacationing American in Italy who finds a love letter and sets out to find the writer, kicking off a chain reaction of events. (May 14)
Official Web site

Starring Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, Powers Boothe, Maya Rudolph and Val Kilmer
Directed by Jorma Taccone

Having picked up some good buzz on the festival circuit, “MacGruber,” an adaptation of a “Saturday Night Live” skit, could become a bit of a sleeper hit. Obviously, the film has to expand upon the limited premise of the reoccurring “SNL” skits, which always ended with everyone blowing up in a huge explosion. Having the always interesting Kilmer on board as the villain would seem to be a good casting decision. (May 21)
Official Web site

“Shrek Forever After”
Starring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Jon Hamm, Walt Dohm, John Cleese
Directed by Mike Mitchell

In what’s being billed as the final installment of the “Shrek” franchise, the big green ogre signs a contract with the sneaky Rumpelstiltskin, in the hopes of having one day to be the fearsome ogre he used to be. But in doing so, Shrek soon realizes he has been tricked, and an alternate universe has been created by his decision, causing all sorts of problems. While the third film didn’t quite live up to its promise, the hope is that the fourth will wrap things up on a good note. (May 21)
Official Web site

“Sex and the City 2”
Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, John Corbett
Directed by Michael Patrick King

With the first “Sex and the City” movie becoming a box-office hit, a sequel seemed an inevitability, despite the lack of necessity. Still, that could be said about most movie sequels. Obviously, there’s a built-in audience that loves the exploits of the female quartet, which finds them headed to Morocco for a getaway. While there, Carrie (Parker) runs into a romantic suitor of the past (Corbett), causing her to contemplate her current direction in life. (May 21)
Official Web site

“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterson, Ben Kinglsey, Alfred Molina
Directed by Mike Newell

Quickly becoming a genre unto itself, the latest video game to movie adaptation is of the popular “Prince of Persia” title, with the unexpected casting of Gyllenhaal as a prince teaming up with a princess (Arterton) to stop a power-hungry ruler from unleashing a destructive sandstorm that could have dire consequences on the world. With Gyllenhaal as a largely unproven actor in action films, it would seem this Disney release’s real star is its endless supply of special effects, if its trailer is any accurate indicator. (May 28)
Official Web site

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