Sure, Iron Man 2 and other big-ticket adventures have already opened, but we here at Gawker are traditionalists. For us, summer begins on Memorial Day. So put on those white shoes (finally!) and let's look at this season's popcorn flicks.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, 5/28
What Is it: Jake Gyllenhaal wanted to hang out with Carrie and Samantha in the desert (he's such a Charlotte!), so he decided to go make this movie, which is based on an old computer game about an ancient Iranian prince who... does things. He like jumps off walls and falls on spikes and shit. In this movie he's chasing after both a magical dagger that can stop time and some pretty hot tail. It's basically the result of Disney's bizarre experiments trying to breed Pirate of the Caribbean with The Mummy.
Should You See It: Yes, if it is hot and you are bored and/or stoned. It will be hugely silly, for sure. But we had written off Pirates as a shipwreck before we saw it, and were mostly wrong about that! So this could end up being kind of fun. Though, the trailers haven't given us much reason to hope.
Survival of the Dead, 5/28
What Is It: George Romero's sixth zombie film is about two warring, island-dwelling families just trying to live like regular folks after a zombie apocalypse. Naturally things start to go haywire when some National Guardsmen show up and shake up the balance of power.
Should You See It: If you live in one of those weirdo towns (or islands....) where you can still see a movie for six bucks, sure what the hell. If you live in a horrible city where renting a movie costs six bucks, wait for it on Netflix. Romero hasn't made a terribly good film in a long while, as hard as that is to say about the master and inventor of such a rich genre. Sorry, George.
Agora, Alejandro Amenabar's film about the ancient lady philosopher Hypatia (Rachel Weisz) and the rising tide of Christianity — so it's a comedy! (5/28)... Micmacs, a French action film for the pretentious film student straight boy in all of us (5/28)
Get Him to the Greek, 6/4
What Is It: A hapless assistant (or something) named Jonah Hill has to get a messy British rocker named Russell Brand to a show at the Greek in LA because Puff Daddy wants him to be there or something. Brand is playing the same character he played in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, not just figuratively. It's the same character. Which is basically based on himself. Sigh.
Should You See It: If you're a fan of Russell Brand's, sure. Though, if you're a fan of Russell Brand's... don't call us to come watch it with you. We'll call you. He's so annoying and not funny! Though Forgetting Sarah Marshall was directed by the same guy, Nick Stoller, and was an unexpected delight, so this could turn out OK?
What Is It: Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley play two strange scientists who work on mysterious hybrid experiments. They eventually create... something. At first it's cute and cool but then it starts to learn and grow, and things get wonky. And then scary.
Should You See It: Totally yes! The well-reviewed film could be this summer's 28 Days Later or District 9 — a smart, well-crafted, thrilling little indie that sets the nerd world on fire for a few weeks. It's popcorn, sure, but it's gourmet popcorn.
Jonah Hex, 6/18
What Is It: Based on a comic book, Hex is about a badly scarred (emotionally and physically!) Western bounty hunter with mystical powers (Josh Brolin) who sets out to get revenge and stop a terrorist (John Malkovich) from doing bad things. Along the way he befriends (or has befriended before the movie starts) a lovable, banjo-playing prostitute named Megan Fox. Guns are fired, skirts are ruffled, Malkovich brows are furrowed. Oh, and shit blows up.
Should You See It: Are you currently reading this in the computer room at your middle school? Then yes! By all means. Otherwise? Hard to say. The theaters will be crowded with lots of dumb, only-in-it-for-the-air-conditioning movies at this point, and this one doesn't particularly stand out as The One to see. Josh Brolin can be fun, as can Malkovich. Megan Fox is pretty, if you're into that sorta thing. We say go, but don't expect much. At least Will Arnett and Cedric Daniels from The Wire are in it! Can The A Team say that?
The Twilight Saga: Vampire in Brooklyn, 6/30
What Is It: A featureless Mormon girl living in Northwestern Real America is blamed for her boyfriend's sexual urges and occasionally goes on adventures that typically involve her being rescued by said boyfriend. Lessons are learned about the role of women (cook for daddy, make sure your boyfriend behaves himself) and the nature of love, which is ruined by sex, unless you are married. (Seriously, um, Bella is torn between wolf and bat and new vampyrs are stalking the grungy streets of Seattle and then Bella decides to marry the bat, upsetting the wolf, who tears off his shirt and then stands there, shirtless, for an hour, while girls pass out in movie theaters across the land).
Should You See It: Are you currently reading this in the computer room at your middle school and are a girl? Then yeah, totally, you probably already have tickets. Otherwise? Yes, absolutely! What're you, above it? You are not above it. Smoke some herb, put wine in a Nalgene, and go see this movie. It'll be silly, emo fun, plus you'll be somewhat culturally conversant next time you see your teenage cousins. You can DVR So You Think You Can Dance. It'll be fine.
Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher compete in the Most Annoying contest at the Horrible Olympics with Killers (6/4) ... Colin Farrell is upset about mermaids in Ondine (6/4) ... We find out why Owen Wilson was so sad to begin with in Marmaduke (6/4) ... The aforementioned A Team continues to make Bradley Cooper's career strange (6/11) ... Will Smith sells his kid to some Chinese people in The Karate Kid (6/11) ... Sundance darling Winter's Bone is basically a teenage version of Frozen River (6/11) ... Jonah Hill and John C. Reilly square off in the dark comedy Cyrus (6/18) ... Tilda Swinton stars in I Am Love, an arthouse epic about fin de millennium upper-middle-classers (6/18) ... Toy Story 3 keeps Tim Allen out of trouble (6/18) ... The seriously bizarre-looking Greek film Dogtooth will disturb you (6/25) ... Adam Sandler gets paid a lot to hang out with his friends in Grown Ups (6/25) ... Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz do a much-anticipated remake of Killers called Knight & Day (6/25) ... Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci are married brothel owners in Love Ranch (6/30)
The Kids Are All Right, 7/7
What Is It: Julianne Moore and Annette Bening star as old lesbian marrieds whose teenage kids go in search of their sperm donor dad, Mark Ruffalo. Comedy and wistfulness ensue.
Should You See It: Yes, absolutely. The film won raves at Sundance, features two terrific actresses, and is casually about something that's very important to casually put on film. That something being gay marriage. Big, horrible gay marriage. But don't go see it as some sort of political assignment. Just go see it.
What Is It: Christopher Nolan's first post-Dark Knight film is all about dreams and people committing crimes in dreams and then Paris folds up on itself. Leo DiCaprio (who basically gets to work with all the Big Directors these days, huh?) plays a dream thief, Joe Gordon-Levitt is his nemesis, and Ellen Page is someone along for the ride.
Should You See It: If you're a fan of Nolan's non-Batman films (Memento, Insomnia) like we are, this is certainly a no-brainer. If not, watch this trailer. Does that excite you? We think it's going to be slickly made, eye-popping, good summertime fun that feels vaguely smart. We think you should go. See you in your dreams!
Ramona and Beezus, 7/23
What It Is: A seriously wonderful and beloved (I might currently have a cat named Ramona...) book series by Beverly Cleary gets polished, hipped-up, and ruined by Josh Duhamel, John Corbett, and the Selena Gomez monster. Ramona has CGI fantasies and is just an obnoxious klutz, rather than a normal, charming kid. Thanks a lot guys! Now the Ramona books will be emblazoned with "Now a Major Motion Picture" and Selena Gomez's face on the cover for the foreseeable future.
Should You See It: NO! Never! If you are near the movie theater and see children going into this movie, stop them. Run them over if you have to! Children are better off dead than seeing this horrible, horrible ruiner movie.
What Is It: Little-known actress Angelina Jolie does what she does best: pout while shooting guns. Seriously. Angelina Jolie is so good at pouting while shooting guns that we suspect she may have invented it. Other than that, the movie is about Jolie maybe being an evil Russian spy embedded in the CIA. The spooks find out, she runs, they chase, lots of car windows get broken.
Should You See It: Um, you did hear the part about pouting and shooting guns, yes? If you're going to go see a mindless action movie on a summer night, you might as well make it a mindless action movie with the prettiest lady to ever be pretty in it, right? There's also the formidable acting talent of Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor (totally just spelled that right without looking it up!) on hand, so that's good. Definitely see this movie. You can't miss the middle part of the Milk, Salt, Butter trilogy, can you??
M. Night Shamalamadingdong directs a movie about magic Asian kids (Will Smith's son?) that somehow got the big July 4th weekend spot called The Last Airbender (7/2) ... Adrien Brody and Danny Trejo fight
predator monsters in the mysteriously titled Predators (7/9) ... That Steve Carell animated caper comedy Despicable Me could be good for the kids (7/9) ... The Winnebago Man from the internet gets his own documentary! (7/9) ... Yet another childhood thing is ruined, this time it's The Sorcerer's Apprentice with the brilliant Nicolas Cage (7/16) ... Steve Carell and Paul Rudd make sweet comedy love together in the high-concept Dinner for Schmucks (7/23) ... Rising hottie Alex Pettyfer does a "Beauty and the Beast" update with an Olsen as a witch in Beastly (7/30) ... Zac Efron is sad in Charlie St. Cloud (7/30) ... Katie Holmes and Kevin Kline are wistful in The Extra Man (7/30) ... Robert Duvall gets grizzled and Tim McGraw gets serious in Gothic South'run drama Get Low (7/30) ... There is a movie called Cats & Dogs: the Revenge of Kitty Galore that got made instead of the money being given to poor people (7/30)
Step Up 3D, 8/6
What Is It: Remember Step Up (with Channing Tatum, dancing!) and Step Up 2: The Streets? Well this is the same thing, only off the streets, and into your face, because it's 3D!! It's about two white people (a boy and a girl) who put the black people in the background while they appropriate their music and dancing. Other than that icky stuff, though, everyone just dances their fucking feet off. This one is about like some white dude who has a big dance loft in New York and then falls in love with a white girl who wants to be in the dance loft and then they go to a big dance battle and, I'm guessing, dance.
Should You See It: Well you really won't be able to follow this one if you haven't seen the previous two, so you should do that first. There's just such a complex mythology to the series, you know? But once you've done that, you won't even need me to tell you to go. You will just really want to go, independent of me. Though as a friend pointed out to me when we walked by a poster for the film, "Watching a 3D movie while drunk is gonna be really hard." So, beware of that.
Eat, Pray, Love, 8/13
What Is It: A rich woman (Julia Roberts) leaves her husband and then spends the next year or whatever traveling around the world gaining culinary and spiritual enlightenment. Then she comes back and wants you to do the same thing, because everyone can afford to not work and travel for a year just like her, right? Right??
Should You See It: They filmed a scene of this on my block (I think she's supposed to live there or something) and I was standing in my building checking my mail — and, yes, gawping a little at Viola Davis — when a PA walked into my building and told me (and a couple other residents) that we couldn't stand there. Again, we were in our building. So, for that reason, you should not go see it. Because that PA with the beard and the shaved head and gray cargo shorts and tan T-shirt was a total jerk. Also, I'm not sure Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of the book and the O.G. rich lady) needs any more of your money.
The Expendables, 8/13
What Is It: Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Steve Austin, Eric Roberts, Jet Li, and Jason Statham go on a mercenary action adventure together, the kind of action adventure they used to have before action movies had to go and get all hip and Matrix-y. Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger (totally didn't spell that right on the first try!) have cameos. Guns and stuff happen.
Should You Go See It: I'm sorry, let me just repeat that first part for you: "Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Steve Austin, Eric Joberts, Jet Li, and Jason Statham go on a mercenary action adventure together." OF COURSE YOU SHOULD GO SEE IT. It's going to be the face-meltingest action movie since, like, Con Air. This is not a suggestion. This is a requirement. You must see this movie.
The Switch, 8/20
What Is It: Sad Jennifer Aniston is sad (and lonely and miserable) so she does a sad thing and has lonely sad sperms put in her so she can raise a sad baby, sadly. The only thing she doesn't know is that sarcastic Jason Bateman sarcastically put his sarcastic sperm inside her instead of the real donor's perfect sperm. So then she has the baby and seven years later moves back to New York with her son who she doesn't know is Jason Bateman's kid. Frowning and then later love happen with abandon.
Should You See It: Despite her being lonely and miserable, I must confess that I like Jennifer Aniston. Even though she always seems somewhat chilly and aloof. (She does, doesn't she? She's never warm. Well, not since Friends.) And the trailer makes it look like it could be a good, fizzy-but-slightly-dark-too, late summer romantic comedy. We'll have seen so many action movies by this point that maybe something a little softer will feel good. So, go on and see it, sure.
Owen Wilson and Giovanni Rabisi and Jacinda from Real World: London get involved with porn and the mob in Middle Men (8/6) ... Mark Wahlberg shows off his obvious comedic stylings up against Will Ferrell in The Other Guys (8/6) ... Michael Cera is yet again Michael Cera in Michael Cera: The Movie: Part 6, also known as Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (8/13) ... Emma Thompson is wearing that scary tooth again in Nanny McPhee Returns (8/13) ... Hayden Christensen continues his improbable employment in the Matt Dillon action flick Takers, about people who take things (8/20) ... Bow Wow (not so Lil' anymore...) wins the lottery and is beset by his beggar neighbors in The Lottery Ticket (8/20) ... Ving Rhames realizes he never should have given that damn Golden Globe to Jack Lemmon in Piranha 3D (8/27)
So that's that. Happy viewing! See you in the popcorn butter line. (Sometimes if they're nice they fill it up halfway, let you put butter on, then go back and get the rest of the popcorn, and put butter on that. That's the best kind!)