Monday, May 9, 2011

2011 Summer Movie Preview

I realized a month or so ago that I have virtually no interest in seeing most of the blockbuster films that millions will flock to over these next few months.  I will, of course, see them anyway, but rather than giving you plot details about Transformers 3 (noise, special effects, screaming, bad acting, noise, special effects…), here’s a brief summation of a few indie flicks that deserve to be sought out this summer.  And, admittedly, a few pricey ones that will be worthwhile, too.  Click a film’s title to be linked to its respective trailer.

(Oh, and at the bottom of the post, you can find a Summer Movie calendar of all major film releases, because, in the words of Frank T.J. Mackey, that’s just the kind of prick I am.)

Bridesmaids – May 13
Because Kristen Wiig is the funniest person working in television right now, and what better way to flex her film star status than with a movie she wrote herself?

Midnight in Paris – May 20 
Because it’s directed by Woody Allen, who, confessedly, has been hit or miss for the past few decades.  Allen releases a new film every year, and I’m there for every one of them, Owen Wilson be damned.

The Tree of Life – May 27 
Because it’s uhh… The Tree of Life.  Duh.  I’ve followed Terrence Malick to the Dakota Badlands, a heavenly Texas wheat field, a monstrous hill in Guadalcanal, and to a new world.  The fact that I have no earthly idea what The Tree of Life is about (nor do I want to) matters none.  I’d follow Malick to hell, for I know he’d make it interesting.

Beginners – June 3 
Because the trailer looks endearing.  Christopher Plummer looks hilarious.  Ewan McGregor looks heartfelt.  And that chick from Inglourious Basterds looks, well, how she looks.

Film Socialisme – June 3 
Because what’s it all about?  Who the hell knows.  But as long as Jean-Luc Godard keeps making films, I’m going to keep seeing them.

Super 8 – June 10
Because it’s a blockbuster that I don’t know anything about, thanks much in part to its convincingly ambiguous trailer.

The Trip – June 10 
Because I haven’t laughed that hard at a trailer in a while.  And because I’m willing to give Michael Winterbottom a chance after his disastrous The Killer Inside Me.

A Better Life – June 24 
Because the trailer looks horribly corny and didactic.  Because it looks like it’ll contain plot twists coming a mile away.  Because it’s directed by the dude who directed New Moon (sigh).  But, also, because… what if?  What if the Mexican dude from Weeds actually nails it?  What if it all works? 

Because I’m fascinated with journalism, yes.  But also because it shows that The New York Times isn’t safe.  And if they aren’t safe, then you can beat your ass no other paper is.

One Day – July 8 
Because it’s directed by Lone Scherfig, who did wonders with An Education.  Yes, it stars Anne Hathaway.  Yes, she as a British accent.  Yes, the accent sounds awful in the trailer.  We’ll see.

Project Nim – July 8
Because it’s the latest documentary from James Marsh, who took my breath away with Man on Wire.   Project Nim tells the story of a chimp who was raised by humans, to see if he could effectively communicate with humans once he reached adulthood.  I’ve heard that the film is “comic, revealing, and profoundly upsetting.” Enough for me.

Tabloid – July 15
Because it’s a documentary about former Miss Wyoming and the Case of the Manacles Mormon.  Oh, and it’s directed by Errol Morris, who is incapable of making a film that is anything less than compelling.

Another Earth – July 22 
Because if it pulls off such a high concept – that there is an alternative Earth and people, for the proper fee, can travel there and live in an alternative reality – it could be as great as Children of Men, and the like.

Because the R-rated romantic comedy is so rare, it deserves to be given a chance.  Also, Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis will make a great pair

Because Steve Carrell seems to be toning it down, while Ryan Gosling seems to be toning it up.  Also… Emma Stone. And Julianne Moore.  And Marisa Tomei.

Higher Ground – Aug. 12
Because it stars, and is directed by, Vera Farmiga, who I’d watch in anything.  While the plot – about one woman’s struggle with her faith – sounds bland, Farmiga is a brilliant actress, and I’m curious what she can do behind the camera.

Our Idiot Brother – Aug. 26
Because it’s Paul Rudd doing… Paul Rudd.  Which can either work well, or fall flat.  But with Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer playing his sisters, I’m game.

2011 Summer Movie Calendar
Titles link you to trailers.  Dates subject to change.

May 13

May 20

May 26

May 27

June 3

June 10

June 17

June 24

July 1

July 8

July 15

July 22

July 29

Aug. 5

Aug. 12
Higher Ground

Aug. 19
Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World

Aug. 26


  1. Thanks for putting this together, it's really helping me figure out what I want to see this summer. I had to link this on my blog, it's too good to not share.

  2. Wow that is really kind of you. Thanks so much, glad you enjoyed it.