Monthly Movie Preview: May 2014

May 2 – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Sally Field, Dane Dehaan, Paul Giamatti, and Stan Fudgin’ Lee

Ok, I won’t even lie to you; Hush Comics got to see this movie a week in advance (check out our spoiler-free review here), so my job here is difficult. How do I write a preview for a movie I’ve already seen, without spoilers? Hang on web-heads, here we go! Andrew Garfield reprises his role as Peter Parker, alongside real life girlfriend Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy). While uncovering the true nature of his parents demise he discovers a dark truth about Oscorp, now run by his child-hood friend Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan). Add an Eminem Stan-like social outcast with newly acquired powers over all things electrical in Electro (Jamie Foxx) and you have 142 minutes of web-slinging action.  Spidey swings through New York City GoPro style in this amazing sequel. Directed by Mark Webb (500 Days of Summer). Produced by Ari Arad (Iron Man) and Matt Tolmach. Easter Egg: Wait for those post credits and Shazam the Alicia Keys/Kendrick Lamar mash-up, “It’s On Again,” to access the bonus clip. Details here http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=52504 – John

May 2 – The Protector 2

Starring: Tony freaking Jaa, The RZA

The martial artist legend, Tony Jaa, returns for a sequel to the 2005 The Protector. There’s really never much in terms of storyline with his film, but he busts out some of the most ridiculous stunt work I’ve ever seen. On the other hand, The RZA is in the movie. I know that he loves martial arts flicks, and that he’s kind of earned his striped in that department, but him as the main antagonist is a joke – an Iron Fist sized joke. The movie technically came out last October internationally, but for some reason has had a fair amount of trouble making a US release date (initially Protector 2 was given a March update. If you’re looking for great martial arts and can put up with sub-par acting, then you should give this a go – or at least go rent Ong Bak and The Protector. – Sherif

 

May 2 – Walk of Shame

Starring: Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden, Gillian Jacobs

Effie Trinket takes a break from leading children to the  slaughter to murder brain cells with this incredibly shallow attempt at comedy. Banks plays Meghan, a workaholic reporter who is pressured to go out with her friends – one of which is Gillian Jacobs AKA Britta from Community. When news arrives that she has an opportunity to be a news anchor, she slips out and misfortune ensures. Poor helpless white girl gets lost on the wrong side of town and must find her way back to her dream job opportunity. It’s like a cross between The Hangover and Homeward Bound, except it will most definitely suck ass. Can we expect anything more from the guy who directed Movie 43? – Sherif

 

May 2 – Belle

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Miranda Richardson, Penelope Wilton, Matthew Goode, and Emily Watson

I saw the preview for Belle waiting for The Grand Budapest Hotel. If the movie is anything like the preview, I expect myself to be a puddle of tears by the end of the movie. The music alone had me wishing I’d brought tissue to the theater, though I’m a sucker for period movies that question the landscapes of society.  Belle is about Dido, an illegitimate biracial daughter of a naval officer. As a child, Dido is brought back England and raised by her uncle and her white cousin.  The movie seems to be awash with the intersections of race, gender, and class during a time when England was questioning their participation in Slavery. Grab your tissue; this movie looks like it’s going to be a tearjerker.  – Jené

May 9 – Neighbors

Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Bryne, Dave Franco (21 Jump StreetScrubs), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin), Lisa Kudrow,

Are you prepared for a war of the neighbors like never before? What will surely be the best comedy of the year so far pits Mac and Kelly Radner (Rogan and Bryne) against Teddy (Efron) and his army of frat brothers. Things are civil until Mac snitches, starting an all-out war between a full-grown adult and a group of college kids with literally nothing to do. The prank wars and satirical one-liners in the trailer were enough to get me excited about it. Historically, it marks the only time I can say I’m interested in a Zack Efron movie. Especially when I’m getting to the age where I side with the grown-ups, it should be fun to see if viewers are as polarized when choosing sides as I am. – Sherif

 

May 9 – Chef

Starring: Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sofía Vergara, Dustin Hoffman, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale (Gyp Rosetti in Boardwalk Empire), Amy Sedaris

Want to know what it’s like to watch a “feel-good” movie all about “feel-good” food?  If you answered no to that I think you need to calm down and try again…  I’m just trying to tell you about Jon Favreau’s newest movie titled Chef coming out this month.  Starring himself and cast of other comedians, this movie is all about food, family and passion.  Favreau portrays a chef with ambition and bristling culinary creativity.  After being stifled by his boss (Hoffman), he decides to take matters into his own hands and purchase his very own food truck.  Toss all that into a pan, add in some strong morals and family values, and top off with Scarlett Johansson and Sofia Vergara and throw it in the oven for 115 minutes.  Oh, I forgot the final step… Enjoy. – Taylor

 

May 9 – Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

Starring: Lea Michele, Dan Aykroyd, Kelsey Grammer, Jim Belushi, Martin Short, Patrick Stewart

Dorothy has returned to the land of Oz! It’s a fun concept that is justifiably revisited to explore upon the vast and imaginative world. This animated film is surely for the kids, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop yourself from enjoying it, too. It looks adorable, and it’s one of the few movies out anymore that’s genuinely for young children, so parents, this might be a rare opportunity to see a movie without having to lie to your kids about what certain things mean. The cast is full of old Hollywood stars. I’m sure it can’t touch Frozen, but for parents who think their children will find Maleficent too frightening, this is your movie of the month. – Sherif

 

May 16 – Godzilla

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen

There isn’t a lot to say about Godzilla. IT’S FREAKING GODZILLA! Also, Bryan Cranston – so that’s pretty sweet. At first look, this reboot appears to be a true homage to the delightfully campy Japanese originals, but without all of the cheese from the Matthew Broderick reboot. The trailers brought me pure excitement and when they revealed Godzilla in all of it’s glory, I felt my eyes get wider.  Having Gareth Edwards (Monsters) directing this reboot bodes well for its reception; Edwards proved that he can combine giant monsters with good storytelling quite successfully. I have a little trepidation when it comes to the writing because Godzilla is literally the second screenplay that writer Max Borstein has ever done. Trusting such a monsterous (no pun intended) property with a virtually untested writer comes as a bit of surprise. Rounding of the already large (pun intended) cast is a strong line up of actors and actresses that I have no doubt will hold the story together. Bryan Cranston is always fantastic and appears to bring some serious intensity to the movie. Ken Wantanabe is usually a strong part of any cast. With Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olson, Juliette Binoche and Sally Hawkins evening everything else out I have no doubt that this will be the reboot Godzilla deserved.  Now go see it! – Scott

 

May 16 – Million Dollar Arm

Starring: Don Draper Jon Hamm, Madhur Mittal (Slumdog Millionaire), Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi), Lake Bell, Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show)

I figure if you’re going to begin Jon Hamm’s futile effort to try to avoid being typecast as the star of Mad Men, you might as well go half-way around the world to do it. Based off a real-life Indian reality TV show, Million Dollar Arm follows struggling agents who travel to India to recruit cricket players capable of throwing fast enough to be competitive features. What Bernstein (Hamm) learns along the way is that these recruits are people, not cash cows (or cows at all, seeing as they are sacred in India). Everybody bonds, players become professionals, Disney credits roll, it all makes sense. It’s an interesting story – one that you can buy the book for if interested – but I just don’t see it having the appeal that a sports movie of that magnitude should have. – Sherif

May 16 – The Immigrant

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner, Angela Sarafyan

Not to star this off biased but it is hard for me to see an ad for a Joaquin Phoenix film and think, “Awesome, I am definitely seeing that!” After he sort of lost his mind for the sake of the fake documentary, I’m Still Here, he has lost the amazing appeal he had before for me at least. Besides him though this films stars the great Marion Cotillard whom you may know as Miranda/Talia Al Ghul from The Dark Knight Rises, and Jeremy Renner whom we all know as Hawkeye from the Marvel Comics cinematic universe. The story follows Ewa (Cotillard) as a newly arrived immigrant in Manhattan. Ewa was traveling with her sister Magda (Angela Sarafyan) who when they get to New York is quarantined because of a lung disease and can only be helped with money which neither woman has. Ewa is then taken in by Bruno (Phoenix) who although seems friendly at first forces her into prostitution to earn the money to help get her sister out of quarantine. Bruno’s cousin Emilaka Orlando the Magician (Renner) tries to save Ewa from having to be a prostitute and things go crazy in the process. This film seem kind like one that will be loved for being a great drama but the plot is not original as I have seen female immigrants being helped by sleazy American’s who make them be prostitute’s a lot in my film and story experience. This obviously is going to be aimed at the 25- 60 year old range of people as kids and most elderly people would find the material a bit too much to handle. Overall, the film looks like it could be good but most likely will be forgotten in the realm of the huge blockbusters this month has to offer. – Jacob

May 23 – X-Men: Days of Future Past

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Anna Paquin, Peter Dinklage

So this movie has basically everyone in it. With the cast that has credits in: The Chronicles of Narnia, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lord of The Rings, Hunger Games and Game of Thrones, what more could you possibly want? The original X-Men cast join our First Class mutants in a fight to save humanity. The movie, adapted from The Uncanny X-Men story arc #141-142, follows Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) as he travels in time to prevent an event that leads to push mutant kind to the brink of extinction. Produced and directed by Bryan Singer (Usual Suspects, soon to be National Sex Offender Registry member). Runtime 130. Fun Fact: According to IMDB, the legal issues between Marvel Studios and Fox films have reached mutant proportions!  Due to a court order, “No reference to Quicksilver’s (Evan Peters) membership in the Avengers can be made in an “X-Men” film, and no allusion to his relations to the X-Men or Magneto (the character’s father) can be made in an “Avengers” film; the rights agreement between Fox and Marvel even goes so far as to stipulate the character cannot be referred to as a “mutant” in any Marvel film.” – John

May 23 – The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

Starring: Robin Williams, Mila Kunis, Peter Dinklage, James Earl Jones, Melissa Leo

Robin Williams’ career has fallen off more steeply than the slalom of cocaine he used to balance it with. Since completely abandoning his family-friendly persona, Williams has failed to connect with the masses on the big or small screen. The Angriest Man in Brooklyn is the tale of Henry (Williams), a patient who pisses his nurse (Kunis) off, so she messes with him and tells him that he has 90…minutes left to live. It’s a cruel joke, but one I’m sure every nurse wishes they could tell a belligerent patient and get away with it. As Henry frantically tries to right his wrongs, he realizes how much he actually appreciates what he has. It’s a tired story (actually a remake of a 1997 Israeli film), and I’d honestly rather see the new Adam Sandler movie than this; that’s how bad this looks. – Sherif

 

May 23 – Tracks

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver

Tracks, based on Robyn Davison’s memoir by the same name, was originally released in 2013 in Australia. The movie was directed by John Curran, director of The Painted Veil. In 1970, Robyn travels 1700 miles across the deserts of west Australia. Her only companions are four camels and her dog.  There have been two previous attempts to adapt this book into a movie; however, all of them failed. Julia Roberts at one time was going to play the lead in the movie. Just watching the preview the landscape is breathtaking and the desert a force to be reckoned with. The aerial shots of the desert reminded me of the Egypt’s desert, which is both beautiful and harsh – a seemingly perfect backdrop of Robyn’s journey of the soul.  Looking forward to May’s lineup of movies. – Jené

May 23 – Blended

Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Shaquille O’Neal, Terry Crews, Joel McHale

Another Adam Sandler movie?…  Instant reaction: severe rolling of eyeballs (I swear I saw my brain).  By the end of the preview: giggles and a quick re-checking of the release date.  Nobody does “hit-or-miss” to greater extremes than Sandler.  I mean, Jack & JillThat’s My Boy…  come on.  But then you remember Click, Spanglish, and The Wedding Singer and you feel a little forgiving.  Now, if you carefully think about Sandler’s resume you’ll notice a theme.  His best movies include one particular co-cast member that makes HALF of every movie they appear in.  If you weren’t thinking of Drew Barrymore, YOU LOSE!  She headlines Blended with Sandler this May.  The two of them play single parents struggling to find a new love connection.  After some initial and disheartening first dates (all 50 First Dates, to be specific), they both seem content to continue focusing on their kids.  That is until the two families collide on a coincidental exotic, safari vacation.  While I’m still trying to dislodge one of my eyes from the back of my skull, I can’t help but feel excited at the prospect of seeing Sandler and Barrymore on screen together again.  I wonder if it’ll top The Waterboy (yeah, right). – Taylor

 

May 30 – Maleficent

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville

Villains are always best when they think they are the hero. Stripped of her beautiful wings, her homeland ravaged and, on top of it all, not invited to Princess Aurora’s christening? Maleficent has gotten the raw deal. Played by the ageless beauty, Angelina Jolie, Maleficent must protect the realm from the ignorance and belligerence of man. The film was originally set to release in March, but was adjusted around to the end of May. The tone is dark, but still beautiful, as embodied in the theme “Once Upon A Dream,” covered by Lana Del Ray – who was hand-picked by Jolie to sing it. It may have a Disney label, but I expect this to be more dark fantasy than the 50’s princess tale it’s inspired by. The film is being directed by Robert Stromberg, who is new to directing, but has made major design contributions to Disney’s two most recent live-action releases: Oz the Great and Powerful and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Anybody who still holds Disney in their hearts need to find their way to the theaters and check this out. – Sherif

 

May 30 – A Million Ways to Die in the West

Starring: Seth McFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman

I can’t even remember the last time I looked forward to one, let alone two, comedies in a month. The tail end of May gives us another Seth McFarlane film about surviving in the wild West. Boasting an all-star cast that’s guaranteed to coax laughter, McFarlane should be able to recreate the same laughs from the same crowd he received in Ted. When Albert (McFarlane) falls in love with Anna (Theron), her husband Clinch (Neeson) makes Albert duel for her. A Million Ways is becoming a comedian’s orgy the more I hear about it with word of Bill Maher, Christopher Lloyd, Gilbert Gottfried (yuck, maybe orgy was a poor choice of words) joining the cast. I’m expecting cheap thrills and non-stop jokes, just as anybody who follows his body of work would. – Sherif

 

May 30 – Filth

Starring: James McAvoy, Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell

Filth, released in Scotland last year and soon to be released in the U.S., James McAvoy plays Bruce Robertson, a detective. Now, Bruce is a pretty well-rounded a-hole. McAvoy portrays the king of degenerates, abusive, alcoholic, drug using, manipulative and a real dick to everyone he works with. And the guy just wants a promotion to Detective Inspector.  Now that sounds like fun, and watching the trailers will confirm that it looks like fun. Filth is directed by Irvine Welch, creator of Trainspotting. McAvoy appears to very much in the same vain of Ewan McGregor’s character, Renton, from Trainspotting. He’s not someone you’d ever want to associate with but you still feel for him in the end.  Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 78% fresh rating so that helps out too. If you like dark British (Scottish) comedies like Trainspotting, Snatch, and In Bruges, I’m sure Filth will not disappoint. – Scott

 

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