Flick Picks for Summer 2011

I was examining the release schedule for upcoming movies this summer, and it's packed with the usual sequels, remakes, and action thrillers -- just the type of popcorn fare I look forward to during the months of May, June, July, August, and early September.  This year, there are a bunch of films that I hope to see -- every week, actually, seems to have one (or more) movies that I would like to go to.  Here's a list of the big ones.  (I didn't mention ones that I don't really know much about, but the synopses seem cool, such as Hobo with a Shotgun, The Big Bang, Fading of the Cries, Beautiful Boy, Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer, Trollhunter, Larry Crowne, Horrible Bosses, Zookeeper, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, Another Earth, The Change-Up, Shaolin, and Dirty Girl, as well as the remake of Fright Night and yet another sequel from Robert Rodriguez, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World.  I also didn't list a bunch of romantic comedies, because that's not my forte.)

Captain America: The First Avenger -- I have long wanted to see a good live-action version of the Captain America story and it looks like I will finally see it this summer.  Set in World War II, true to the character's origin, this appears to be a solid adaptation of one of Marvel's greatest superheroes.

Cars 2 - Pixar's track record remains unblemished, so a sequel to one of their big blockbusters is definitely cause for anticipation.  If it will be anywhere near as close to the perfection of the Toy Story sequels, we are in for a treat.

Cowboys and Aliens - Another comic book inspired story, and it looks good.  Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig are cowboys battling an alien invasion.

Green Lantern - I would love to see this comic book hero grow into the same stature as other DC icons like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, but can the new movie pull it off?  The sneak peeks we have seen so far prove that it will likely be very faithful to the original story, but will it be special effects overkill or a true science fiction extravaganza?

The Hangover Part II - The original came out of nowhere and became a phenomenal box-office hit. Now, the pressure is on for the quick sequel to measure up.  The cast from the first film returns, including Bradley Cooper and Zack Galifianakis, so that's definitely a good sign in possibly capturing lightning in a bottle again.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 -- J.K. Rowling's beloved fantasy saga comes to its cinematic conclusion.  The multi-movie adaptation has been an incredible achievement.

The Help - My wife would be angry if I didn't include this adaptation of the bestselling novel which she loves.  She's looking forward to seeing the tale come to life on the silver screen.

Kung Fu Panda II -- I really enjoy the martial arts, even in cartoon form, so sure, I would go see this animated sequel starring the voice of Jack Black.

Priest - Another in a long line of comic book adaptations, this story about a priest who hunts vampires is directed by Scott Charles Stewart who impressed many with his previous motion picture effort, Legion, which also starred the excellent Paul Bettany.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes - Tim Burton's attempt to reboot the classic Planet of the Apes received a lukewarm response, so here we go again with a new revamp.  I'm actually intrigued and will give it a chance.

Super 8 - J.J. Abrams seems to be on the verge of doing it again, creating a buzz-worthy but super-secret story about friends in the 1970s who get film footage proving that we are not alone in the universe.

Thor - The mighty Norse thunder god, whom Marvel Comics turned into a comic book superhero, finally wins a big screen adaptation with director Kenneth Branagh at the helm.  Will it be another homerun in the superhero genre or will it fail to live up to expectations?  The scenes on Asgard look great enough, but will the segments set on Earth be epic as well?  Having Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman in the cast can't hurt.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Yes, I like Michael Bay's action-overload franchise about those giant robots in disguise.  The only sad news is that the threequel will have no Megan Fox (although some may cheer). 

The Tree of Life - Legendary director Terence Malick brings a new film to the screen, this one starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn.  I really enjoyed the beauty and lyricism of Malick's previous motion pictues, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, and The New World.  I hope he can amaze us once again.

X-Men: First Class - A prequel/remake of the mutant superhero franchise seemed like a mistake to me, but the trailers seem to indicate that this might be fun, so I'll give it a chance.

There's a bunch of others.  (Note that I didn't mention movies whose quality I seriously doubt, like The Smurfs, the remake of Conan the Barbarian, the latest Pirates of the Caribbean adventure, and the sequel Final Destination 5.)  Happy summer at the movies!

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