Summer Movie Preview: May 2014

I'm still wearing multiple layers when I go outside and I've been on the verge of turning the heat back on in my apartment, but never mind that! According to Entertainment Weekly, since it's May, it must be summer. Time is tight these days, so I'm not going to mention every movie that's coming out this month, but should at least touch on the ones that I have a strong interest in (or are strongly repelled by). As always, let's sift them neatly into one of four handy categories: Must-See, Rental, TBD, or Pass.

May 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Fool me once... Given how much I disliked the first one, I wasn't particularly interested in this follow-up, even before the advance reviews started rolling in. Guess what they say? That Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have great chemistry, but aside from that, this is an overstuffed mess with too many villains. Hmm, that sounds familiar. It's time to squash this franchise with a tissue and flush it down the toilet. (Pass)

Walk of Shame: The plot synopsis for this movie dances on the edge of intriguing and appalling. Handled correctly, the story of a reporter spending the day trying to reach an important job interview after a one-night stand leaves her stranded and penniless could be hilarious. Handled incorrectly, it could be an annoying mess. This where casting becomes important. If this movie starred Katherine Heigl and Alex Pettyfer, I'd be running top speed in the other direction. But it doesn't. Elizabeth Banks! James Marsden! Gillian Jacobs! Lawrence Gilliard Jr.! These are all people I love, and I'm hoping that in their hands, this can be a great way to spend date night. (Rental)

May 9

Neighbors: Seth Rogen and his wife (Rose Byrne) are new parents, and go to war with a raucous fraternity house that moves in next door. So naturally, this one will include a metric ton of juvenile humor. That said, will it be the kind of juvenile humor that winds up being charming, or will it be insufferable? It's impossible to tell right now, so I'll keep my ears open. If word-of-mouth is decent enough, I'll toss it on the Netflix queue. (TBD)

God's Pocket: This is one of those films that I might not have been interested in, were it not for the people involved. The story of a man trying to bury the body and circumstances of his awful stepson's convenient death sounds like a chore. But when the man is Philip Seymour Hoffman, his wife is Christina Hendricks, and the movie's director is John Slattery, who has helmed some of the more interesting episodes of Mad Men, I sit up and take notice. I'll read some reviews and make a decision from there. (TBD)

Chef: Jon Favreau has turned out to have a pretty interesting career. Whether he's participating as an actor, director, or host, his projects are always intriguing, even if I don't wind up liking them. That, combined with a storyline that revolves around food, means that I've been sniffing around this film for a while now. Favreau both directs and stars as a chef bored with his overly-structured career. Aided by his son and an ex (Sofia Vergara), he rediscovers his passion by starting a food truck. I don't need to see this in the theater or anything, but it's pretty clear that it'll be showing up on my queue at some point. (Rental)

May 16

Million Dollar Arm: A sports agent goes to India to sign baseball talent. I think I'll just paste a little picture of Jon Hamm up in the corner of the screen while I watch an interesting movie, rather than sign up for this snoozefest. (Pass)

Godzilla: When I first heard this was being made, I rolled my eyes. The last version was terrible. I had no interest in the King Kong remake, and didn't see why this one of Godzilla would be much different. Besides, Pacific Rim wasn't that long ago, and that should hold me for a while as far as city-wrecking monsters, right? Then I saw the trailer. Holy shit, you guys. This actually looks pretty fucking cool. Having a cast that includes Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen certainly helps, and if the trailer is to be believed, the movie has an actual sense of dread, instead of being a goofy romp. It's official; I've come around from disillusioned to excited. (Must-See)

May 23

Blended: Adam Sander stars as... Never mind, we can stop there. (Pass)

May 30

A Million Ways to Die in the West: I enjoy the premise of this one, which involves people trying to live a simple, peaceful existence on the prairie, but keep getting interrupted by the myriad deathtraps that litter the landscape. Unfortunately, just liking the premise isn't enough to pull me in, and there are just too many things working against it. I don't know if I can accept Seth MacFarlane as a leading man (thanks for Cosmos, though). The preview article makes special mention of the avalanche of toilet humor this movie contains, which, no. And with a title like that, I'm guessing it'll be too gory for me, anyway. This is one of those movies I'll experience entirely through other people's reaction to it. See you in the reviews' comment sections! (Pass)

Maleficent: Twists on existing stories have gotten a bit overdone lately, but I have to admit that once I saw the trailer for this, it didn't take me long to jump on board. Angelina Jolie stars as the titular evil queen from Sleeping Beauty, who like Elphaba before her, has a lot more facets to her character than wickedness. I didn't get a good sense of the script or even the storyline, but the effects look spectacular, and if there's one role Jolie can obviously hit out of the park, it's an ice queen. (Must-See, possibly as a Rental)


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