Synopsis: Before Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were arch enemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.
Our Take: First Class may be the biggest wildcard in the summer 2011 lineup. Most of the marketing and promotion for the film has been terrible (see the amateur-looking Photoshop posters) and the storyline takes many liberties with the X-Men movie/comic continuity… but still, the trailers have been somewhat impressive and McAvoy and Fassbender certainly seem to be the glue holding this film together.
Synopsis: In this J.J. Abrams homage to classic sci-fi films, a group of kids accidentally capture footage of a mysterious creature via 8 mm film. Action, mystery and adventure ensue.
Our Take: The latest trailers suggest that Super 8 is going to be that healthy mix of exciting thrills and genuine sentimentality that has defined the best of Steven Spielberg’s work, and is shaping J.J. Abrams’ career as well. Count us in.
Synopsis: A test pilot (Ryan Reynolds) is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe. Blake Lively, Mark Strong and Peter Sarsgaard co-star.
Our Take: A few weeks back, we would’ve said that Green Lantern had all the hallmarks of a major disappointment. What a difference a trailer makes. With some noticeably improved CGI effects and a more serious tone being revealed, Green Lantern now has the potential to be THE blockbuster movie event of summer 2011.
Synopsis: A comedy centered around a foul-mouthed, junior high teacher (Cameron Diaz) who, after being dumped by her sugar daddy, begins to woo a colleague (Justin Timberlake) — a move that pits her against a well-loved teacher (Jason Segel).
Our Take: At first glance, this film looks like Bad Santa leftovers. Watching former off-screen couple Diaz and Timberlake feign onscreen romance isn’t the greatest selling point either…
Synopsis: The life of a businessman (Jim Carrey) begins to change after he inherits six penguins, and as he transforms his apartment into a winter wonderland, his professional side starts to unravel. Carla Gugino and Angela Lansbury co-star.
Our Take: Should be a cute, fun family film – one that allows Carrey to do what he does best (read: NOT dramatic roles).
Synopsis: Racing star Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) teams up with his best friend Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) for an international adventure as they go up against the world’s fastest cars. Michael Keaton, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shalhoub, Joe Mantegna, Cheech Marin and Jason Isaacs lend voices.
Our Take: In a summer filled with such promise, ironically enough this is one of the weakest Pixar offerings in years (which still makes it a good film). The Cars franchise appeals almost exclusively to kids, and Pixar’s usual penchant for telling poignant and profound stories in fun ways takes a back seat to a merchandising campaign. To be fair though, some clever spy movie satire should make Cars 2 more fun for adults than its predecessor was.