The most promising contenders
Here’s a look at some of the movies on the schedule this summer. I’m not looking at every movie here (sorry, assorted romantic comedies) but here are the ones that have the most potential to be the summer’s standouts — for better or worse. Big popcorn fun
• Thor (May 6) New summer, new superhero. See review on page 54.
• Bridesmaids (May 13) My anticipation is in the lineup: Paul Fieg as director, Judd Apatow as producer but mostly Kristen Wiig, the film’s lead, and Maya Rudolph, the “Bride” in Bridesmaids. This comedy is being sold as what I truly hope it is — the Apatowian, Freaks and Geeks-ish examination of female friendship.
• Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (May 20) Johnny Depp suits up for a new Jack Sparrow adventure, this one featuring Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane as well as returning Geoffrey Rush and Keith Richards. In 3-D, naturally.
• The Hangover Part II (May 26) Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms gather to celebrate Helms’ character’s wedding and this time the bachelor party is in Bangkok. Ken Jeong returns as Mr. Chow.
• Kung Fu Panda 2 (May 26) While not in Pixar’s class, the original Kung Fu Panda was one of the better offerings from DreamWorks Animation. Jack Black returns as the voice of Po, who, along with the Furious Five (the voices of Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Dustin Hoffman, David Cross and Seth Rogen), fights a villain voiced by Gary Oldman.
• X-Men: First Class (June 3) It’s Professor X and Magneto, the early years. James McAvoy is Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender, lately a very convincing Rochester in Jane Eyre, is Erik. While it seems a bit soon (2006 was X-Men: The Last Stand) for a franchise reboot, I’ll take this over another one of those dreadful origins movies a la 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
• Super 8 (June 10) If any of the current trailers for summer movies truly displays that big popcorn movie magic, it’s the one for this project of producer Steven Spielberg (with his Amblin Entertainment label on it) and director J. J. Abrams (with his Bad Robot) — two men who know something about creating sci-fi-tinted summer entertainment. In this film, kids are making a super 8 movie in 1970s Ohio when a train carrying a mysterious something crashes.
• Green Lantern (June 17) Not to be confused with Seth Rogen’s Green Hornet from earlier this year, Green Lantern is promising, to the tiny-bit degree that it is, entirely because of Ryan Reynolds’ role as Hal Jordan. And that is promising because of Reynolds’ performance as more or less the only on-screen person in Buried, a totally solid thriller that nobody saw last year. About the aliens and large amount of CGI on display in the trailer my feelings are less positive.
• Mr. Popper’s Penguins (June 17) Jim Carrey and animals reunite in this movie that is not yet rated but has that family comedy look (and is based on a children’s book from the 1930s).
• Bad Teacher (June 24) After several years of watching movies about stoner man-children, I kind of like the looks of this comedy featuring Cameron Diaz as a boozy high school teacher who wants to marry her way out of her job by landing the wealthy sub played by Justin Timberlake (who is Diaz’s real-life former boyfriend). Jake Kasdan, director of Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and The TV Set, directs here and Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, both writers on The Office, wrote the screenplay.
• Cars 2 (June 24) I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Cars (more treacly Randy Newman music than I could take) and cringe slightly at the idea of a sequel, but this is Pixar after all, the people who absolutely nailed making a great sequel with Toy Story 3, so I shall have faith. Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) leave Radiator Springs for international competition and a world of car secret agents.
• Larry Crowne (July 1) Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts provide the middle-aged superwattage for this movie, which has Hanks as a late-in-life college student and Roberts as a teacher. Trailers suggest a movie that riffs on the Community world of community college but goes more serious and sentimental with it.
• Transformers: Dark of the Moon (July 1) Yes, there will be Shia LaBeouf, but no, there will not be Megan Fox. This third Transformers movie takes us to the moon, where an Apollo mission spotted (and hid) the crash of a Transformers’ ship (one of two movies this summer speculating that something is on the moon). The cast of this possibly unnecessary sequel includes Tyrese Gibson, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich and Ken Jeong. How they recover from a less-than-stellar second movie is the X-factor that makes this movie interesting to me; also, its July 1 opening means it won the July 4 weekend slot.
• Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 (July 15) Finally we come to the end of the seven-book, eight-movie Harry Potter series — expect camping out at theaters and all that stuff. Part 1 of the adaptation of the seventh book seemed like so much waiting — will this movie be able to deliver the explosive finale that even casual fans hope for?
• Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22) Chris Evans plays the titular superhero in this movie that covers the origins of Captain America and sets up a 2012 The Avengers movie (which is scheduled to be directed by Joss Whedon). Trailers make good use of special effects that make Evans appear scrawny before he’s Captain-ed up to fight Hitler’s army. Captain America is directed by Joe Johnston, whose credits include The Wolfman (which, for all its failings, had some nice stuff going on visually and thematically).
• Cowboys & Aliens (July 29) Yes, yes, Harrison Ford looks 1,000 years old in the trailers, but otherwise this movie based on a graphic novel has some coolness going for it, mostly in the form of Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde and the geeky-fun mix of Old West dustiness and spaceships. Jon Favreau, who had good fun with Iron Man, directs.
• The Smurfs (July 29) Great suffering or great nostalgia-based fun? This movie, which mixes animation and live action (including Neil Patrick Harris!), could go either way. Papa Smurf, Brainy Smurf, Smurfette, et al., face off against Gargamel (Hank Azaria).
• Crazy, Stupid, Love. (July 29) The first opportunity to see Steve Carell post-The Office, Crazy, Stupid, Love. gives us the story of a man trying to learn how to be cool and attractive again after his marriage breaks up. Not a story that inspires high hopes, granted, but check out this cast list: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei, Julianne Moore and Kevin Bacon.
• Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Aug. 5) How did the damned dirty apes get control of the world? This movie, starring James Franco (I know, whatever) seeks to answer that question.
• The Help (Aug. 12) Eat, Pray, Love last year, Julie & Julia the year before that — is August officially the time of the lady-reader movie? If so, The Help is this year’s offering. This adaptation of the hugely popular book about African-American maids in 1960s Mississippi stars two of my favorite actresses — Emma Stone and the absolutely ass-kickingly awesome Viola Davis.
• 30 Minutes or Less (Aug. 12) Zombieland’s director Ruben Fleischer and star Jesse Eisenberg reteam in this movie about a pizza delivery man who is forced to rob a bank. Aziz Ansari and Danny McBride also star. Seek out the red band trailer of this comedy; it will make your day.
• Conan the Barbarian (Aug. 19) No Ahnold in this one — Conan is Jason Momoa, whose previous credits are mostly TV (Baywatch, North Shore, Stargate: Atlantis, The Game and currently Game of Thrones). The trailer promises lots of sword and magic-based ass-kicking.
• Apollo 18 (Aug. 26) The other scary-thing-on-the moon movie, Apollo 18 (the release date of which has moved around a bit, so stay tuned) has a horror-movie look in the trailers — all “something’s out there” — and is presented as found footage of this classified last mission.
• Our Idiot Brother (Aug. 26) Paul Rudd is the titular brother to Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer. His sisters take turns taking him in when a breakup leaves him homeless — again, the optimism for this movie is due to the cast, which also includes Steve Coogan and Rashida Jones.
Here are a few of the more limited-releasemovies adding some diversity to the summer schedule. The dates listed here are the earliest release dates, as currently scheduled. The movies’ appearances in local or even Boston theaters will likely be later.
• The Beaver (May 6) Mel Gibson plays a man who deals with life by speaking through a beaver puppet. The movie, which opens in Boston May 6, will be a good indication of whether or not Gibson has an acting career left.
• Everything Must Go (May 13) Will Ferrell stars in this movie about a man who loses his job and is thrown out of the house by his wife and decides to sell all of his personal belongings in a yard sale (the same yard where they were left by his wife).
• The Tree of Life (May 27) Writer/director Terrence Malick releases his first new film since 2005’s The New World. Trailers look lovely but give you almost no idea of what the story is for this film starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn.
• Just Like Us (June 10) Yay, summer documentaries! This one follows a comedy tour through the Middle East.
• Page One (June 17) Another documentary — this one looks at the news room of the New York Times.
• Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (June 24) And this one follows Conan when he left the Tonight Show into his “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour.”
• Horrible Bosses (July 8) Another comedy with a potentially stellar cast including Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Julie Bowen, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell. Three fed-up workers consider killing their bosses.
• Life in a Day (July 29) And back to documentaries. Here, YouTube users provide video from July 24, 2010, for a documentary about, well, life during one day.
Watch 26 seven-minute unrated films in one night
By Tori Loubier
For the third year in a row, New Hampshire filmmakers get to participate in the 48 Hour Film Project, a two-day competition to see which team can make the best movie in a short amount of time. Even better, New Hampshire film watchers have the chance to sit down and watch these movies in an evening of delightful suspense and surprise.
On Friday, June 10, participating teams will be assigned a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre to use in making their movie. Forty-eight hours later, on Sunday, June 12, the movie must be complete. Participants are responsible for putting together their own cast and crew, and getting equipment and anything else they need to make a film.
“Genres include anniversary birthday, comedy, dark comedy, detective/cop, fantasy, horror, film de femme, mockumentary and more,” said Katie Cote, who co-produces the 48 Hour Film Project for New Hampshire. “Most movies tend to go funny, even if they aren’t trying to be. There’s only so much you can do in seven minutes and you can definitely get the audience more with laughter than trying to do a really dramatic piece.”
The completed films, which must be only seven minutes long, will be shown to the general public on Wednesday, June 15, at Cinemagic Stadium Theaters in Hooksett. The first block of screenings will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the second block at 9 p.m. There, a panel of judges will choose the top entry to be sent to the international competition. The audience will also have a chance to vote and pick the “audience favorite,” said Cote. Each block will show 13 films and tickets are bought separately for each block. Tickets to each block cost $10.
“This will be your only chance to watch these movies,” Cote said. “Sometimes we’ll take the best movies and show them later in the summer at Red River Theatres in Concord, but if you want to see all of them, you have to go to the screening.”
Cote notes that parental guidance is strongly suggested for watching the films of this project.
The 48 Hour Film Project is an international event. In 2010, nearly 40,000 filmmakers made 3,000 films in 80 cities on five continents. The project’s mission is to advance filmmaking and promote filmmakers by encouraging them to get out there and make movies. The tight deadline of 48 hours puts the focus squarely on the filmmakers, emphasizing creativity and teamwork skills, according to a press release.
Two film series are on the schedule for Wilton
By Angel Roy
Don’t expect any box office blockbusters, such as Thor or the new Harry Potter flick, on the screen at the Wilton Town Hall Theatre this summer.
“We tend to run more on the odder side … we run movies for more discriminating theatergoers,” said Dennis Markaverich, owner of Wilton Town Hall Theatre.
This summer will serve as the summer of love at the small-town theater, as double features of silent romantic movies will be shown free of charge on the last Sundays of June, July and August. The old-time movies that will make their way onto the big screen will include restored classics starring Buster Keaton and Douglas Fairbanks. Live music performed by Jeff Rapsis will accompany each film.
“Last summer we did comedy, which was nice, but now Jeff wants to do summer romance just to be different, fun,” Markaverich said.
The theater will also host a documentary film series created by three Granite State organizations, including the New Hampshire Green Coalition, on Sundays throughout the summer months.
“There is no theme to that series, but let’s say it will be environmental mostly,” Markaverich said. “They will be about different forms of energy, different forms of transportation and I think one will expose the scandals of the 1950s when big cities were paid off to take out their trolleys and trains in favor of buses.”
The theater has two showing rooms, one that seats 312 guests and another that seats only 66.
“Some people really like the screening room, the smaller side — it’s more intimate and fits with some films, the artier stuff,” Markaverich said. “It’s a really neat room to watch foreign films in.”
“Commercial art” films such as Jane Eyre are also in the queue to be shown this summer.
“[Our] movies aren’t about blowing up stuff, action movies that have don’t a plot — unlike some theaters that shall remain nameless,” Markaverich said.
A night out at the Wilton Town Hall Theatre will not break the bank; tickets cost $6 for adults and $4 for seniors and children. Active members of the military get in free. “And our concession prices are lower because we don’t need to gouge anybody — and we use real butter,” Markaverich said. “It’s just something nifty to do on a summer night in a small town.”
Stars under the stars
Look for kids’ films this summer in Milford
By Jeff Mucciarone
While business has suffered as folks opt for their living room instead of going out to the movies, the Milford Drive-In Theater still provides moviegoers with that classic drive-in experience.
“It’s a great place to bring the family, and our food is really terrific,” said Bob Scharmett, whose family has owned the drive-in, located at 531 Elm St., for 43 years. “I’m not pushing it, but people who have been coming for years and years have been saying that.”
The drive-in, which features first-run movies, has a little more than 100 days per year to operate. The nostalgia of going to a drive-in is a big part of what pulls people back time after time, Scharmett said.
Films slated for May include Thor, The Hangover 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, according to the theater website. The drive-in will also have kids’ shows this summer.
Scharmett said the drive-in used to attract a lot of dates as well as families. But now, it’s much more just families.
“It’s a great family experience,” Scharmett said.
Scharmett said business has taken a hit in recent years.
“It’s nowhere as good as it used to be,” Scharmett said. “It’s dropped off tremendously because people are just seeing the movies at home.”
There are no big changes planned for the drive-in this season, but Scharmett said he’s hoping to change the projector screens to digital screens for next summer.
The Milford Drive-In Theater closes the last week of September. Visit www.milforddrivein.com. Tickets cost $20 per car for as many as six occupants, and $5 per person more than six in a carload. Movies typically began 15 to 20 minutes after sunset. Call 673-4090.
Time for movies
Music Hall offers films with a temporal theme
By Adam Coughlin
Over the past few years live programming has greatly increased at the Music Hall in Portsmouth during the summer. Yet, the historic Music Hall’s summer staple is still movies, and this year some will be shown in an additional venue.
From September to May, the Music Hall typically starts a new movie every Friday and runs it for a week. These films include excellent independent films, foreign films and second-run Hollywood films (popular films that people may have missed at the megaplex), according to Chris Curtis, programming coordinator. Examples of this sort of film would be Barney’s Version, starring Paul Giamatti, or Blue Valentine.
But come June this schedule changes as the Music Hall gears up for the summer months. These kinds of quality films can still be seen, according to Curtis, but films usually run Sunday through Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday.
This allows for Wednesday films to have a special theme. Curtis said this year’s theme is “It’s About Time.” The films will feature aspects of time different than general linear time. While Curtis could not yet announce any titles for the summer, as the Music Hall is still waiting on licensing, he did give examples, like Back to the Future and Memento (which plays with chronological order in storytelling). For exact titles, Curtis suggested checking out the Music Hall’s website, www.themusichall.org.
Curtis said the Music Hall’s newest venture, the Loft, a 120-seat theater at 131 Congress St., would be used to screen some of the summer films.
“One of the coolest features is that the Loft has a full bar and gourmet concessions,” Curtis said.
These can be enjoyed in the theater while watching a film, which Curtis said was a real treat.
Also new this summer will be taped encores of the Met Opera performances, which were streamed in HD live during the season. Curtis said these will be shown in the Loft for a much cheaper price than when they were shown live earlier this year.
Curtis said when he began at the Music Hall about five years ago, movies were the primary summer activity at the Hall. Back then, live programming took a summer hiatus. But as the Music Hall has continued to evolve as a year-round theater, it has adapted to the summer landscape and now offers more live shows for tourists.