Blockbuster Summer

Our guide to the season’s most buzzed-about movies.



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Sure, it’s easy to use the promise of cool air conditioning as an excuse to duck into the local multiplex. But you can’t escape the heat coming from what’s on screen. This year, there’s the usual roundup of superheroes, sequels, and sci-fi—but also find lots of world-conquering adventures, gut-busting comedies, and even a few indies looking to break out in the summer the way The Hurt Locker did last year. Consult our to-watch list to help you navigate through the onslaught of releases.

May

Iron Man 2 (May 7)
Iron Man stands out as one superhero with no secret identity—Tony Stark lives his evil-busting life out in the open. And, when you’ve got Robert Downey, Jr., playing Stark, why would you hide him away? Watch out for super-size thrills when this movie takes over our local IMAX screens to unofficially begin the summer blockbuster season.

Photo Courtesy of Focus Features

 

Babies (May 7)
Shot in the style of a nature documentary—it’s already been compared to March of the Penguins—this film focuses on the strangest and most beguiling creatures of all: human babies. The doc follows four bundles of joy, from birth to their first birthdays, each growing up in one of four different world cities: Opuwo, Namibia; Tokyo, Japan; Bayanchandmani, Mongolia; and San Francisco, California. We’d say the value here is in learning about different cultures and other approaches to child rearing, but, let’s face it, the big draw here is that babies are just adorable.

Robin Hood (May 14)
From Errol Flynn to Men in Tights, Robin Hood movies are usually pretty great, if not swashbucklingly fantastic. This making-of-the-legend incarnation features the re-teaming of Gladiator director Ridley Scott and star Russell Crowe, so expect the action to be full of a bit more blunt force and blood (as well as, they promise, historical accuracy) than Hood movies of yore.

Photo by Kerry Brown © 2010 Universal Studios


Also Consider: Shrek Forever After—yes, yet another Shrek movie—shows what happens to the green ogre when happily ever after starts to get a little boring (May 21).

Handy do-it-yourselfers who look up to MacGuyver may not love MacGruber, Saturday Night Live’s spoof of the handy hero, but they’ll sure find him funny (May 21).

Disney attempts to mount another epic adventure story with its video game adaptation, The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as the muscle-bound prince (May 28).

And move from that ancient, Arabian desert to a much more cosmopolitan one when a chic desert hotspot becomes a travel destination for four ladies you know: the women of Sex and the City 2 (May 27).

 

June

Get Him to the Greek (June 4)
If you loved 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall—well, you’re almost out of luck, because this isn’t a sequel or anything. But it does feature some of the same characters, namely rock god Aldous Snow, played by the delightfully off-kilter Russell Brand. In the film, an in-over-his-head record company intern, played by comedian Jonah Hill, is tasked with escorting Aldous Snow to a concert in Los Angeles (and we all know how easy it is to keep a partying rock star on schedule).

Winter’s Bone Photo by Sebastian Mlynarski

Winter’s Bone (June 11)
Okay, the summer isn’t all big explosions and comic-book villains. This little film won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. There’s nary a superhero in sight, and, since the film is an indie rather than a blockbuster, the plot—a teenage high-school dropout in the Ozarks tries to unravel the circumstances around her meth-addicted father’s disappearance—gets dark and disturbing.

Toy Story 3 (June 18)

Photo Courtesy of ©Disney/Pixar


Toy Story 3 is this year’s Pixar movie—the celebrated animation studio that brought you Up, Wall-E, and ­Ratatouille—do you really need another reason to go see it? This time, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, and the rest of the toys have to learn how to survive living in a day-care center when their previous owner heads off to college. Toy Story 3 is next in line for the 3D treatment: Infinity and beyond, indeed.


Also Consider: We pity the fools who won’t go see the (sadly Mr. T-less) big-screen adaptation of The A-Team (June 11).

Then—oh, look! Another comic-book adaptation: Josh Brolin is Jonah Hex, a Western, Civil War-era bounty hunter (June 18).

If the good guys-vs.-bad guys movies are starting to feel too heavy, there’s always Knight and Day, in which Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz split the difference between action flick and romantic comedy when they play a couple on a blind date—one of whom is a secret agent (June 25).

If you’re the type of person to want to see The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, the release date probably has been circled in sparkle pen on your calendar for months—but keep it open, because your ’tween likely will need a ride to the multiplex that day (June 30).

 

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