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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Spoiler Alert! Summer blockbusters have arrived

    Hollywood wants you to know exactly what you’re paying for this summer. Not only is 2011 a record-setting year for sequels (there are 27 confirmed releases, according to Box Office Mojo), but the few original films coming out in the next four months don’t leave room for many questions. Don’t expect anyone to ask, for example, what “”Hobo with a Shotgun”” is about, or where the core conflict resides in “”Cowboys & Aliens.””

    Wildlife has compiled the following list of summer film releases to help you beat the heat. Consider yourself forewarned.

    ‘Thor’

    Opens May 6

    “”Thor,”” along with July’s “”Captain America: The First Avenger,”” lays the groundwork for next year’s “”The Avengers”” movie. Of all the directors to take on “”Thor,”” Kenneth Branagh was perhaps the least likely choice. Then again, given the Shakespearean overtones in the “”Thor”” comics — royal family drama, romance, science as magic — Branagh might pull off an unexpected success at the box office.

    — Steven Kwan

    ‘Priest’

    Opens May 13

    Based on the manhwa (that’s Korean for comic books) by Min-Woo Hyung, “”Priest”” stars Paul Bettany as a Warrior Priest brooding about life after the end of the last Vampire War. He snaps out of it once he begins to hunt down the vampires that kidnapped his niece. Given the moderate success of Bettany’s role in his previous religious-themed movie, “”Legion,”” “”Priest”” looks as if it will offer a similar thrill.  

    — Steven Kwan

    ‘Bridesmaids’

    Opens May 13

    If your deepest desire is to watch a fart-joke-laden, girl-power version of “”The Hangover,”” this one’s for you. The previews hint at a pretty run-of-the-mill Judd Apatow flick — “”Ew … ew … ew … awwwwww!”” — but any film that’s chiefly a Kristen Wiig vehicle is all right by me. Plus, we need more films in which women are actually nice to one another, and the Wiig/Maya Rudolph friendship looks like it might finally send a positive message about female friendship. Double-plus, Erin from “”The Office”” (Ellie Kemper) is just too cute to live.

    — Heather Price-Wright

    ‘Kung Fu Panda 2′

    Opens May 26

    Given that “”Kung Fu Panda”” was one of the major box office successes for DreamWorks — let’s not talk about “”Shrek,”” shall we? — it’s not surprising that there would be a sequel. What is surprising is the addition of two martial arts movie veterans, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Michelle Yeoh. Ska-doosh!

    — Steven Kwan

    ‘The Hangover Part II’

    Opens May 26

    What we know: Stu, our favorite uptight doctor (dentist), is getting married in Thailand with his Vegas escapades friends. What we don’t know: what the hell happened to land the wolfpack in Bangkok. A lot of the elements are the same: instead of a baby, there’s a monkey, and instead of a lost groom, the bride’s brother is missing. Director Todd Phillips will really have to work to give us as many memorable quotes and moments as the first “”Hangover”” movie. All aboard the blackout train!

    — Kathleen Roosa

    ‘X-Men: First Class’

    Opens June 3

    Comic book fans are fervently hoping that “”X-Men: First Class”” will erase from memory the terrible treatment the X-Men movie franchise has suffered since “”X-Men: The Last Stand.”” With four writers credited for the screenplay — rarely a good sign — it’s a toss-up as to whether this prequel set in the 1960s will make the grade.

    — Steven Kwan

    ‘Hobo With a Shotgun’

    Opens June 10 at The Loft Cinema

    Use a deep voice to say the following aloud: In a lawless land, there is a hobo who carries out street justice with a 20-gauge shotgun. Upon learning that the hobo is played by Rutger Hauer (“”Blade Runner,”” “”Buffy the Vampire Slayer,”” “”Sin City,”” “”Batman Begins””), a jury of his moviegoing peers declares “”Hobo With a Shotgun”” guilty of a ridiculously awesome premise.

    — Steven Kwan

    ‘Green Lantern’

    Opens June 17

    Ryan Reynolds as a cocky fighter jet pilot? Not a stretch to the imagination. Overcoming clunky moments from co-stars, if the current trailer is of any indication? That might take some effort from director Martin Campbell (“”Edge of Darkness,”” “”Casino Royale””).

    — Steven Kwan

    ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’

    Opens July 1

    Throwing money at a problem won’t make it go away. Case study — Michael Bay’s “”Transformers”” franchise, which has grossed more than $1.5 billion at the box office worldwide. Taking over Megan Fox’s role of requisite female eye candy for the third installment is Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, a Victoria’s Secret model making her acting debut.

    — Steven Kwan

    ‘Winnie the Pooh’

    Opens July 15

    The last time Pooh Bear starred in a feature film was in 1977’s “”The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.”” In the 21st century, Disney has focused on other characters of Hundred Acre Wood for its feature films, namely Tigger, Piglet and Roo, to varying degrees of success. But Winnie the Pooh will finally take center stage again and receive Disney’s hand drawn animation treatment.

    — Steven Kwan

    ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2′

    Opens July 15

    The books are done, the amusement park is built, and come July 15th, the last Harry Potter movie will grace American screens. Can you hear that? It’s the sound of our generation weeping, still angry that we didn’t get our Hogwarts letter. For those of us who spent half an hour watching and rewatching the most recent trailer, we can vow that you won’t be disappointed. Harry, Ron and Hermione continue the hunt for Horcruxes as the battle against Voldemort turns into an ultimate showdown at Hogwarts. So start preparing your costumes now, because this is one midnight premiere you won’t want to miss.

    — Kathleen Roosa

    ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’

    Opens July 22

    In an interview last year, actor Chris Evans said he was initially afraid to take on the role of Captain America since he had already played another Marvel Comics character, Johnny Storm of “”Fantastic Four.”” Because that franchise ironically ran out of creative energy, Evans probably doesn’t have much to worry about with his new character. Like “”Thor,”” the success of “”Captain America”” will be a good barometer of next year’s “”The Avengers”” movie.

    — Steven Kwan

    ‘Cowboys & Aliens’

    Opens July 29

    Having a Pip-Boy 3000 strapped on your wrist is a guarantee that you’re going to have a rough post-apocalyptic life. Oh wait, this isn’t “”Fallout: The Movie.”” Sorry.

    Based on the 1997 comic book by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, “”Cowboys & Aliens”” might be worth watching for the following reasons: 1) Seeing Olivia Wilde wear a cowboy hat. 2) Seeing Harrison Ford and Keith Carradine don their cowboy hats again. 3) The story takes place in Arizona Territory, although it was mainly filmed in New Mexico and California. 4) Cowboys versus aliens is much, much less depressing than cowboys versus Indians.

    — Steven Kwan

    ‘Conan the Barbarian’

    Opens Aug. 19

    This version of the Cimmerian barbarian supposedly hews more closely to creator Robert E. Howard’s pulp fantasy stories from the 1930s than to the 1982 movie starring former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. If the 21st century “”Conan the Barbarian”” can achieve a similar level of success, then it will provide a bloody, savage end to this year’s summer blockbusters.

    — Steven Kwan

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