Summer is upon us and where are the blockbusters? Here is a list of some of the flix that people will be watching and talking about. Not too much that is exciting, in my opinion, but I am hoping that some of them are surprising. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until September for a dose of Clooney.

Ondine Opening: June 4

Starring: Colin Farrell, Alicja Bachleda, Stephen Rea

What It’s About: When Irish fisherman Syracuse (Farrell) finds a mysterious woman named Ondine (Bachleda) in his fishing net, he assumes she is dead before finding out she may in fact be a mermaid. With the help of his disabled daughter, Syracuse falls in love with the possible mythical creature before a series of dark events threaten to overshadow the relationship.

Splice Opening: June 4

Starring: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Cheneac

What It’s About: In Vincenzo Natali’s sci-fi thriller, Clive (Brody) and Elsa (Polley) are two scientists who mix human DNA with genetically engineered animal experiments to create Dren, a deformed female infant. Surprisingly, absolutely nothing goes wrong after that. Or Dren becomes a winged half-human monster hellbent on destroying all in her path.

The A-Team Opening: June 11

Starring: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Jessica Biel

What It’s About: In the big-screen version of TV’s ‘The A-Team’ — the TV show about three wrongly accused escaped military fugitives (and one crazy pilot) — Bradley Cooper plays Face; Liam Neeson is Hannibal, the man who loves it when a plan comes together; and Sharlto Copley brings the crazy as Capt. “Howling Mad” Murdock. Apparently Dirk Benedict, the original Face, approves: He filmed a cameo for the film. Looks like a lot of fun.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work Opening: June 11

Starring: Joan Rivers, Don Rickles, Kathy Griffin

What It’s About: This documentary takes a look at the life and work of Joan Rivers, one of the most popular comediennes and television personalities in history. Starting her career in the early ’60s as a stand-up comic — no small feat for a female at the time — Rivers became a ‘Tonight Show’ staple and has hosted several talk shows. Filmmakers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg followed Rivers for a year as the comedian prepared for an one-woman show in the UK and became a participant on a reality TV show.

The Killer Inside Me Opening: June 18

Starring: Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, Simon Baker, Bill Pullman

What It’s About: Michael Winterbottom (’24 Hour Party People,’ ‘9 Songs’) directs this neo-noir about small-town Sheriff Lou Ford (Affleck), who leads a double life as a serial killer. When his area becomes inundated with unsolved murders, Ford must deflect any suspicions about him toward other suspects. The film is based on author Jim Thompson’s acclaimed 1952 novel.

Knight and Day Opening: June 25

Starring: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Dano

What It’s About: Diaz plays June, an unsuspecting lonely girl who literally runs into a dangerous secret agent named Milner (Cruise) inside an airport, an encounter that starts the two on a whirlwind chase to avoid capture by a federal agent (Peter Sarsgaard).

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Opening: June 30

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Bryce Dallas Howard

What It’s About: In the third ‘Twilight’ film, Bella’s targeted by a vengeful vamp. And who — or what — is responsible for a string of mysterious slayings in Seattle? Bella’s still torn between Edward and Jacob, and her choice may be the spark that ignites an epic werewolf vs. vampire war. Plus, she’s got to study for finals: It’s her senior year! You know this will be huge!

The Last Airbender Opening: July 2

Starring: Jackson Rathbone, Dev Patel, Cliff Curtis, Nicola Peltz

What It’s About: M. Night Shyamalan tries his hand at a children’s fantasy flick in this hero’s adventure following young Aang (Noah Ringer), the last in a long line of Avatars, or masters of all four elements. To restore peace to the four nations (Fire, Earth, Water and Air), Aang must fulfill his destiny of defeating the evil Fire Lord (Curtis) and freeing the other elements’ people from his tyrannical rule. Sounds horrid, but let’s hope M. has another The Sixth Sense in him.

The Kids Are All Right Opening: July 7

Starring: Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson

What It’s About: Committed couple Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) have raised two teenagers together, but are thrown for a loop when their children want to track down their biological father (Mark Ruffalo) — and they all learn what it really means to be a family.

Cyrus Opening: July 9

Starring: John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei, Catherine Keener

What It’s About: John (Reilly) has been divorced for seven years and has given up on meeting the perfect woman. When his ex-wife (Keener) invites him to a party, he meets Molly (Tomei), a beautiful, fun woman with only one downside: her weird son Cyrus (Hill). A 21-year-old New Age musician, Cyrus enjoys a bond with his mother that’s a bit closer than most, which means his displeasure with mom’s new boyfriend runs fast and deep, and Cyrus and John repeatedly — and comedically — lock horns.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Opening: July 16

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Monica Bellucci, Alfred Molina

What It’s About: Jerry Bruckheimer’s latest summer action epic is a live-action adaptation of an animated segment in Disney’s ‘Fantasia’ and Goethe’s 18th-century ballad. Baruchel plays the Mickey Mouse character — a college student who winds up the chosen apprentice of a sorcerer (Cage) preparing for a supernatural war. Expect huge explosions, eye-popping special effects and as always, Cage in a crazy hairstyle. Bring the kids!

Inception Opening: July 16

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard

What It’s About: Does anyone really know? Christopher Nolan, the director of ‘The Dark Knight,’ returns with ‘Inception,’ a film everyone wants to see — though, really, no one has any clue what it’s about. Nolan explains the film as “exploring the idea of people entering a dream space and sharing a dream.” Awesome. Thanks for clearing that up.

Salt Opening: July 23

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Liev Schreiber

What It’s About: Jolie takes over for Tom Cruise — who declined the role for other commitments — as the title character, Evelyn Salt (we assume the character’s name was not “Evelyn” when Crusie was attached). Salt is a CIA agent who is accused of working for the KGB and has to clear her name. Come to think of it: Cruise already made this film — it was called ‘Mission: Impossible.’

Dinner For Schmucks Opening: July 23

Starring: Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Stephanie Szostak, Zach Galifianakis, Ron Livingston

What It’s About: Director Jay Roach has stolen Chris Rock’s idea of stealing European comedies and remaking them for American audiences. This adaptation of the French film ‘The Dinner Game’ follows rising executive Tim (Rudd), who must decide whether or not to bring Barry (Carell) as the perfect guest to his boss’s competition of finding the dumbest dinner guest. Carell and Galifianakis have landed the roles they were meant to play — geeks trying out-dweeb each other. The French version was great, but most of these French/American adaptations have been really bad, so I don’t expect much. Surprise me, please.

Beastly Opening: July 30

Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen, Peter Krause, Neil Patrick Harris

What It’s About: Kyle (Alex Pettyfer) has it all — wealth, looks, privilege — until he cruelly picks on the wrong girl, a Goth who casts a spell that transforms him into an unrecognizable freak. The only cure: He must find someone who will love him as he is. Will he find his true love in Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens), an addict’s daughter whose life he saves, or is he doomed to stay a monster forever?

Get Low Opening: July 30

Starring: Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray

What It’s About: It’s the true story of Felix “Bush” Breazeale (Duvall) who, in the 1930s, came out of 40 years of seclusion to plan his own funeral party while still alive. “I want everybody to come who’s got a story to tell about me,” says Bush. The event became a national spectacle, with Bush selling lottery tickets to the funeral with his valuable plot of land as the prize. Twelve-thousand mourners reputedly arrived. Murray plays the funeral home owner in charge of arranging the event. Great cast, quirky story. Could be the sleeper hit.

Step Up 3D Opening: August 6

Starring: Rick Malambri, Sharni Vinson, Adam Sevani, Alyson Stoner

What It’s About: The third installment of the ‘Step Up’ series goes international — and 3-D. A tight-knit group of New York street dancers, including Luke (Rick Malambri) and Natalie (Sharni Vinson), team up with an NYU student (Adam Sevani) against the world’s best hip-hop dancers in a high-stakes showdown. Romance and eye-popping dance moves ensue.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Opening: August 13

Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin

What It’s About: ‘Scott Pilgrim’ is a comic-book series about a bass-playing Canadian slacker; and of course, Michael Cera is playing the title role. Scott wants to date Ramona Flowers, but to do this, he must fight and defeat her seven evil exes, who now want to kill him. Think ‘Juno,’ only instead of a pregnancy and a hamburger phone, there are seven super-powered evil villains standing in the way of these two star-crossed lovers.

Mao’s Last Dancer Opening: August 6

Starring: Joan Chen, Kyle Maclachlan, Chi Cao, Chengwu Gao

What It’s About: Based on a true story, ‘Mao’s Last Dancer’ looks at the life of Li Cunxin (Cao), a boy who worked his way up from an apprenticeship as a classical dancer in communist China to a heralded star in America. Bruce Beresford’s film explores the cultural and political differences and uncertainties between the two countries and looks into the effects, both positive and negative, of fame and celebrity. ‘Dancer’ was filmed in China, the U.S. and Australia.

The Other Guys Opening: August 6

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell, Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Mendes

What’s it about: Ferrell plays Allen Gamble, a pencil-pushing NYPD detective whose partner, Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg), has been confined to desk work as punishment for being a little too quick on the trigger in the field. When an opportunity arrives that will call for the two of them to step up, hijinks and hilarity appropriately ensue. Sounds typically Ferrell.

Eat, Pray, Love Opening: August 6

Starring: Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins, Billy Crudup, James Franco

What It’s About: After a painful divorce, Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) finds her priorities shifting in this adaptation of the best-selling memoir. She sets out to explore the world and find her true destiny. Her travels take her from Italy to India to Bali, and she meets some unforgettable people — including herself — along the way. Lovely travelogue if nothing else.

The Switch Opening: August 20

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Jeff Goldbum, Patrick Wilson

What It’s About: Single Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) decides to use the turkey baster method to get pregnant, but doesn’t realize her friend Wally (Jason Bateman) has substituted his own sperm instead of her chosen donor. Seven years later, her son is the spitting image of Wally, and realizes he’s got to admit the truth — and how he really feels about Kassie.

The Tillman Story Opening: August 20

What It’s About: Pat Tillman was a former football player for the Arizona Cardinals before turning down a multi-million dollar contract to enlist in the U.S. Army. While serving in Afghanistan, Tillman was killed by friendly fire and became the center point of an alleged cover-up by the U.S. military and government to conceal the details of his death. Amir Bar-Lev (‘My Kid Could Paint That’) delves into Tillman’s life and investigates the circumstances behind his tragic and controversial death.

Going the Distance Opening: August 27

Starring: Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Christina Applegate, Ron Livingston

What It’s About: On-again, off-again real-life couple Drew Barrymore and Justin Long star as lovers who find their long-distance relationship wearing thin. Temptation comes for Long in the form of Christina Applegate, who told the Belfast Telegraph, “It’s very dirty,” adding, “I saw a lot of Justin Long over the summer. See the movie and you’ll know why I said that.”

Happythankyoumoreplease Opening: August 27

Starring: Josh Radnor, Malin Akerman, Kate Mara

What It’s About: The winner of the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Josh Radnor’s directorial debut looks at life in New York for a group of late 20s/early 30s people struggling to keep up with the pace of the city. While riding the subway, Sam (Radnor) meets Rasheen, a young boy abandoned by his parents, and subsequently takes him in. Mississippi (Mara) is a bartender trying to make it as a musician. Annie (Akerman) is a pretty girl who suffers from alopecia, a rare condition that leaves the person with no hair. Relationships intersect and lessons, we assume, are learned.

Lebanon Opening: August 13

Starring: Yoav Donat, Itay Taran, Oshri Cohen

What It’s About: Israeli writer/director Samuel Moaz crafts this historical drama set amid the 1982 Israel/Lebanon battle that sees four Israeli soldiers assigned to take part in the first strike on Lebanon. While setting out towards the Lebanese border, the men experience many facets of the war experience before arriving at their destination, a town already bombed by the Israeli Air Force. When a group of Syrian resistance fighters overtake the group, the soldiers find themselves in very dangerous territory. ‘Lebanon’ was an Official Selection at the 2009 Venice International Film Festival.

10 thoughts on “Summer Movies”
  1. Are there any other female comedians in their 70s still making their way in the world? I don’t think so. Cheers to Joan Rivers, one of a kind.

  2. Additional summer movie note: It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita pulling off a “Karate Kid” that today’s youth will remember 25+ years from now… “Wax On, Wax Off”… but for the sake of said youths (or ‘yoots’), I hope Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan can pull it off. Opens June 11th!

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