With The Avengers finally hitting theaters this weekend to make eleventy billion dollars, and with Dark Shadows and Battleship close behind it on the release slate, I think it’s safe to say for certain that the Summer Movie Season is upon us. We talked a lot this past week about the big summer movies that have us the most excited, so it really doesn’t make sense to post yet again about major releases that don’t exactly need our support.
So as an alternative to May’s “Monthly Highlights” post, I thought it might be a good idea to give a shout-out to other movies arguably too small to overstep the Avengers and the Braves and the Batmen of this season. Listed below are some of the smaller and less high-profile movies I personally am looking forward to in May (U.S. release dates only, courtesy of Box Office Mojo)
God Bless America
Released on May 11 (Limited)
When the lights went up in the theater after my screening of World’s Greatest Dad in 2009, writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait ceased to be merely that guy in the Police Academy movies with the annoying voice. Instantly, he became a man of dark and twisted comedic observations, but not without a distinctively humanistic twist. This was probably not news to people who had seen his previous movies Shakes the Clown and Sleeping Dogs Lie, but I was not one of them. This latest Bobcat joint, about a dying man who sets out to “rid society of its most repellent citizens,” promises to be as rife for pitch-black satire as his previous efforts. Its stellar reception on the festival circuit has my hopes raised significantly. [Watch the REDBAND Trailer]
Released on May 18 (Limited)
A romantic comedy doubling as a biography of Mortimer Granville – the man who patented the first electromechanical vibrator – could very well be as funny and as edgy in its sexual politics as the premise suggests. At the same time, though, I suppose it could equally prove to be yet another tired, forgettable addition to the Romantic Comedy genre. I personally like Maggie Gyllenhaal when she’s not the token female in Batman flicks, and I hear good things about Hugh Dancy in general (I’m unfortunately less familiar with his work than I’d like to be), so I am willing to be optimistic. Here’s hoping relatively unknown director Tanya Wexler makes something interesting out of it. [Watch the Trailer]
What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Released on May 18 (Wide)
I will be giving this one the time of day by pure virtue of Alex’s excitement both for this movie about five women preparing for parenthood and for the pregnancy guide upon which it is based. The cast includes a lot of performers I’ve come to like, such as Elizabeth Banks, Rebel Wilson and Anna Kendrick, so I will use them as a means of assuaging my fears that this movie is little more than just a cynical dramatization of a popular self-help book. Like many other movies on this list, I expect I’ll need to keep my expectations for What to Expect When You’re Expecting in check. [Watch the Trailer]
Released on May 18 (Limited)
This one looks promising. In a summer jam-packed with typical big-budget Hollywood monstrosities, it’s always a pleasure to get a respite from it all by seeing what appears to be a gritty, serious-minded movie exclusively for grown-ups. Polisse, directed by French actress Maïwenn (High Tension), bills itself as the story of a journalist who has an affair with a police officer in the juvenile division she is covering. But if the trailer is any indicator (and it certainly might not be), it looks to be a hard-boiled, tough and dramatic exploration of the serious social issue that is child welfare. This might be a nice alternative for folks looking for a new movie in theaters not based on a Hasbro board game. [Watch the Trailer]
Released on May 25 (Wide)
To be honest, I was really hoping that The Cabin in the Woods would be the movie to sate my appetite for a good scare-fest this season. While I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, it unfortunately wasn’t all that scary. I’m tremendously hopeful this directorial debut from special effects veteran Bradley Parker will fill that still-empty void. The plot alone is enough to have me intrigued, as a movie about six tourists being terrorized while exploring the abandoned city of Pripyat has the potential both for some fairly piercing allegory and some terrific atmospheric work. Hopefully it doesn’t turn out to be yet another hackey gore-fest. [Watch the Trailer]
Men in Black 3
Released on May 25 (Wide)
Maybe I’m living in a bubble, but I am getting the impression this particular threequel isn’t stirring up quite as much excitement as the other big releases this summer. I suppose that shouldn’t really surprise me; it’s been a decade since the second movie hit theaters, and neither critics nor audiences were particularly wowed then. I certainly share that skepticism. I grew up enjoying the first Men in Black, but it lingers in my mind as an old 90’s relic and I haven’t exactly had a burning desire to revisit it as a result. The MIB 2 has more or less been purged from my memory. Still, the great Josh Brolin could very well mix things up in all the right ways, so I guess I’ll opt for cautious optimism. [Watch the Trailer]
Other Notable Film Releases:
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – May 4
First Position – May 4
Dark Shadows – May 11
Where do we Go Now? – May 11
The Dictator – May 16
Battleship – May 18
Moonrise Kingdom – May 25
The Intouchables – May 25
Cannes Film Festival
A.K.A. Movie Mecca for hardcore cinephiles. Vinny did a superb write-up sharing his most highly anticipated movies of this year’s lineup, but I know there are films not on his list that I am dying to see as well, such as Michael Haneke’s Love, Abbas Kiarostami’s Like Someone in Love, Cristian Mungiu’s Beyond the Hills and Xavier Dolan’s Laurence Anyways.
Cannes opens with the much-anticipated Moonrise Kingdom on May 16 and closes with Claude Miller’s Thérèse Desqueyroux on May 26.
Wes Anderson Marathon
We already announced this Marathon, but it doesn’t hurt to remind you to queue up all of Anderson’s so you can play along with us. The staff plans to review each of his movies chronologically – posting a new write-up every three or four days – just in time for the U.S. release of Moonrise Kingdom.
Welcome Aaron King!
Alex announced Aaron’s addition to this site’s always-Miserable staff earlier today. He got the job upon posting his magnificently written interview with the Hunger Games cast. Later in the week, Aaron will get a chance to share a little bit more about himself to our beloved readers. Be sure to welcome Aaron aboard. I know we’re all thrilled to have him writing for us!