Welcome to Annotate This, where we gather reviews, trailers, and annotate the posters for movies coming out this week. It will help you decide what to avoid, what to see, and what to pretend to see. Click on the image above to add your comments to the mix. Guess what? It's July 4th weekend and studios want to entertain you.
The Lone Ranger (July 3)
Johnny Depp is back in eyeliner in a Bruckheimer/Verbinski film, but this time he's playing Tonto, a Native American spirit warrior. Tonto has a bird on his head, unlike Jack Sparrow, whose name was a bird and had some scraggly dreadlocks hanging from his head-kerchief. Armie Hammer plays a good man, but he's in a mask (ambiguous).
Anyways, the two men team up for a bizarre origin story that cost $250 million. They're running from fire, runaway trains, horses, and Helena Bonham Carter in wig wielding a gun. Is it offensive? Who's to know really, sorry girls. Oh and don't worry Westerns nerds, Verbinski knows his shit. Rich Juzwiak's review here.
Despicable Me 2 (July 2)
Steve Carrell's voice is back and vaguely Eastern-European for the role of former villain Gru, or "Uncle Fester with the personality of Nikita Khrushchev." Kristen Wiig joins as Agent Lucy Wilde, a lipstick-laser wielding action hero. This sequel to 2010's $540 million success isn't very substantive, but it's so cute. Mostly, everyone is thrilled and delighted about these little yellow minions.
The Way Way Back (limited)
The Way Way Back depicts a 14-year-old's (Liam James) coming of age summer and his unlikely friendship with a theme park owner (a wonderful performance from Sam Rockwell). Toni Collette and Steve Carell play bad parents. This warmly funny 1980s period piece is a directorial debut from Oscar-winning writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (The Descendants).
The Look of Love (Limited)
This biopic about British adult magazine entrepreneur Paul Raymond, features an "impressive, subtler-than-it-looks performance" by Steve Coogan. The shallow but watchable film gets entrenched in biographical details of the businessman who became one of the richest men in Britain. The Look of Love is Michael Winterbottom and Coogan's fourth feature film collaboration.
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (July 3; Limited and On Demand)
Drew DeNicola and Olivia Mori's documentary tribute to the critically-acclaimed commercial failure Big Star is an unabashed, though respectable, attempt to give this criminally overlooked band their due. It's most likely too affectionate, but it does give an excellent history of the band, highlighting music that "distilled teenagerdom to its blissful, bittersweet essence."
Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain (July 3)
This comedy-tour documentary follows Kevin Hart's tour from last year (of the same name), which made over $32 million in ticket sales, crossing 80 cities and 10 countries. Plenty of background information, fans squealing, traveling madness, and on-stage bits in what could be the best stand-up special of the year.
Stuck in Love
This is a divorce comedy in which Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly have moved onto Kristen Bell and a younger man, respectively. Their millennial children (Lily Collins, Nat Wolff) are both writers. It culminates in a hilarious holiday crisis. Directed by first time writer-director Josh Boone, this "male novelist in mid-life crisis" genre flick is a little soapy, but has some nicely humorous moments.
This is a found-footage, shaky-cam, biological-invasion thriller about an expectant mother who loses her baby very close to her due date—and where did it go? It's a mystery. Directed by Jimmy Loweree, it's mostly a shapeless horror flick.
Hammer of the Gods (Limited)
Hammer of the Gods takes place in Britain in 871 AD and movie depicts the life of a young Viking and his long journey towards acquiring macho savagery required to be a "warrior." It's an "unbearably stupid exercise in gore."
Just Like a Woman (Limited)
A friendship blooms between a receptionist (Sienna Miller) and a recent immigrant from North Africa (Golshifteh Farahani), who are both unhappy in their lives aside from a belly-dancing class. In a nutshell: it's female empowerment, exposed navels. They run away to Santa Fe to compete in a belly dancing contest to join a famous belly dancing company. Directed by Oscar nominee Rachid Bouchareb, it's dull and loosey-goosey.
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