Saturday, June 11, 2011

2011 Big Summer Movies Schedule and Reviews

"And I can tell you/ my love for you will still be strong/ after/ the boys of/ summer/ have gone" - Don Henley

The purpose of this post is to give you a quick reference for the big films that are coming out this summer movie season.  I will be writing separate posts for the reviews of the movies I see and I will put the links to those posts in this one, so you may want to save this post for future reference.

Note – so many movies come out every summer, and so many of the smaller ones get moved around or even postponed, that I am going to concentrate on the “big” movies.  These are the ones that are heavily advertised, expensive to make, have big names in them, and/or have had their opening dates scheduled for a long time.

First, the list, then a little more about each movie:


See review here
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
See review here
The Hangover Part II
See review here
Kung Fu Panda 2
See review here


X-Men: First Class
See review here
Super 8
Too flawed to recommend (see below)
Green Lantern
See review here
Bad Teacher
See review here
Cars 2
See review here


Larry Crowne
Disappointing (see below)
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Unwatchable mess (see below)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
See review here
Captain America: The First Avenger
See review here
Cowboys & Aliens
Not quite good enough to recommend (see below)


Rise of the Planet of the Apes
See review here

May 6th:

Title:  Thor

Stars:  Natalie Portman, Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Tom Hiddleston, Kat Dennings, Clark Gregg

Summary:  Marvel introduces its Thor character to the movie universe shared by Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and the upcoming Captain America – all leading to the 2012 Avengers movie.

Review:  read it here

May 20th:

Title:  Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Stars:  Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, Keith Richards

Summary:  Captain Jack Sparrow tries to find the Fountain of Youth.  [Note: Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, and director Gore Verbinski from the first three movies are not involved with this one.]

Review:  read it here

May 27th:

Title:  The Hangover Part II

Stars:  Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zack Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Paul Giamatti, Jamie Chung  [Note – Heather Graham is not in this one.]

Summary:  The guys from The Hangover are back, once again getting wasted and trying to get everything back together in time to get to a wedding.  This time it’s in Bangkok.

Review:  read it here

Title:  Kung Fu Panda 2

Stars:  voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Michelle Yeoh, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Haysbert, Victor Garber, Danny McBride

Summary:  Po is back, this time joining forces with a new set of kung fu masters to oppose an old foe.

Review:  read it here

June 3rd:

Title:  X-Men: First Class

Stars:  James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence

Summary:  It’s 1962 and Charles Xavier and Magneto first become friends and gather a group of mutants to join them.  Events such as the Cuban missile crisis quickly test them.

Review:  read it here

June 10th:

Title:  Super 8

Stars:  Elle Fanning, Director J.J. Abrams, Producer Steven Spielberg

Summary: It’s 1979 and some kids making a film witness the crash of a government train.  Something the government was carrying on the train gets loose and threatens the town.

Review:  Too flawed to recommend.  Major plot holes, annoying kids other than the two leads, not scary, not suspenseful, too many teases without seeing the creature, a little slow in the middle, ending was a little weak.  On the plus side the train crash scene was crazy and Elle Fanning is a future star in the making.  She may even end up being the better actress among the two sisters.  It's not a bad movie, but at best it's just okay.  It's not good enough for me to give it even three stars out of five.

June 17th:

Title:  Green Lantern

Stars:  Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Temuera Morrison

Summary:  DC Comics’ long time hero finally gets his own movie.  A test pilot is given an alien ring that has the ability to do whatever he can imagine.  He finds out that this ring’s power is used by a galactic group of peace keepers.

Review:  read it here

June 24th:

Title:  Bad Teacher

Stars:  Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel

Summary:  Foul mouthed teacher gets dumped and wants a new man.  Will it be the slacker gym teacher or the new substitute?

Review:  read it here

Title:  Cars 2

Stars:  voices of Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Eddie Izzard, John Turturro, Bonnie Hunt, Brent Musberger, Darryl Waltrip, Tony Shalhoub, Jason Isaacs, Bruce Campbell, Vanessa Redgrave, Cheech Marin, Jeff Gordon, and Pixar mainstay John Ratzenberger

Summary:  The characters from Cars are back.  This time they travel to races around the world and get involved in international espionage.

Review:  read it here

July 1st:

Title: Larry Crowne

Stars:  Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Bryan Cranston, Wilmer Valderrama, Taraji P. Henson, Pam Grier, George Takei, Nia Vardalos

Summary:  After losing his job because he doesn’t have a college degree, Tom Hank’s character enrolls in college and meets a professor played by Julia Roberts.

Review:  Disappointing movie.  I wanted to like this.  I mean it's Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, right?  Hanks plays a decent guy who's just gotten a raw deal.  Unfortunately, Roberts plays just about the most unlikable person you can imagine.  There's no romantic chemistry between the two characters and there's no reason for him to ever be attracted to her.  There's little humor, and what there is mostly comes from two minor characters, not from either Hanks or Roberts.  I can't recommend this movie.  Really disappointing.

Title:  Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Stars:  Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Ken Jeong, Josh Duhamel, Patrick Dempsey, Alan Tudyk, John Malkovich, Tyrese Gibson, Frances McDormand, John Turturro, voices of Hugo Weaving and Leonard Nimoy  [Note – Megan Fox is not in this one.]

Summary:  More incoherent mayhem from Michael Bay.  This time something is found on the moon that both the good guys and bad guys want.

Review:  Unwatchable mess.  Way too long for the kind of movie it is.  Completely inconsistent with the first two movies.  New model (literally) Rosie Huntington-Whiteley spends much of the movie (even action scenes) in $10,000 dresses, sky high heels, and full hair and makeup, looking every inch the supermodel she is.  She looks great, but completely out of place, both in the movie and as LaBeouf's girlfriend.  There's a major action sequence in a building that manages to defy all laws of gravity for a good 15-20 minutes.  Oh, and there's a music video in the middle, because when cities are destroyed and humanity is on the ropes, you've apparently just got to have a music video.  Save yourself the time and money and just watch Huntington-Whiteley's Agent Provocateur video about not forgetting Valentine's Day.  You can find it on Youtube.

July 15th:

Title:  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Stars:  Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and all the people that have been in the other movies.

Summary:  The movie that finishes the adaptations of the seven books.  If you’ve seen the others then you know what to expect here.  It’s Harry vs. Voldemort.

Review:  read it here

July 22nd:

Title:  Captain America: The First Avenger

Stars:  Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Stanley Tucci

Summary:  Adaptation of the longest running Marvel character.  After being declared physically unfit to serve during World War II, Steve Rogers volunteers for an experiment with a “super soldier” serum that transforms him into a fighting legend.  Continuation of the Marvel movies that will lead into 2012’s Avengers movie.

Review:  read it here

July 29th:

Title:  Cowboys & Aliens

Stars:  Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, Clancy Brown, Keith Carradine

Summary:  Adaptation of the graphic novel.  What if aliens arrived in the American West in the late 1870s and there were only a group of cowboys to fend them off?

Review:  This isn't a bad movie, but it's not a good movie, either.  With a title like "Cowboys & Aliens" I wasn't expecting an Oscar-caliber movie with great writing, acting, etc.  I was expecting just a fun, summer action movie.  The writing and acting levels are about what I expected (poor to middling), but unfortunately there's not a lot of fun to be had in this movie, nor is there much action until the very end.  Harrison Ford is just sort of there.  Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde play the important characters.  The trailers spoiled any surprise with Wilde's character.  A scene about her that was obviously supposed to be emotional made me feel nothing because the trailer had already shown us she was going to be okay.  Several important scenes are shown in very low lighting, so if your theater is not lit properly you aren't going to be seeing much.  I've read some complaints online about that.  Again, not a bad movie, so if you are dying to see it, go ahead.  If you are on the fence about seeing I would say, don't bother.

August 5th:

Title:  Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Stars:  James Franco, Freida Pinto, Tom Felton, Brian Cox, Andy Serkis, John Lithgow

Summary:  Reboot of the Planet of the Apes franchise.  In the present day a chimp is injected with a substance that increases his intelligence.  He frees the other apes and uses the same substance on them.  This leads to a battle for supremacy.

Review:  read it here

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