This is the time of year when movie buffs get a warm feeling inside, like pre-melted butter dripping on top of a brightly colored bag filled with freshly machine popped popcorn.
It is also a time when the studios bring out their big guns, over-wrought commercial extravaganzas aimed at a young audience free from the shackles of school.
But everyone laps it up, even artsy types who bemoan blatant attempts by Hollywood to lure us in with machine guns and scantily clad women and cars flying over other cars … isn’t it great?
This guide is the first of three installments and covers the biggest releases through June 30th.
In theaters now
Shrek Forever After – The vertigo inducing trend continues with Shrek now in 3-D. In this version, Shrek finds himself losing his ogre-ness and is duped by Rumpelstiltskin into an alternate reality. If you’re a Shrekie, this is Shrek and you will come.
Iron Man 2 – Tony Stark defies the government, refusing to divulge his secret technology to the likes of a thunderbolt wielding Ivan Vanko. Add in chemistry between Tony and Pepper and Natalie/Natasha and is this a popcorn eater or what?
MacGruber – The TV series Macgyver, which is better known in retrospect than it was at the time, is reconfigured into a raunchfest for those so inclined. You’ve been warned.
Robin Hood – A serious take on depicting who Robin Hood was if he was in fact a real person. No smiling Errol Flynn here, no fanciful scenarios. This is war!
Sex and the City 2 – Does this even need an explanation? If you have somehow avoided the complete media saturation of this banal TV series turned movie, don’t turn your head, just keep walking.
Get Him to the Greek – Actor Jonah Hill who has been propelled by teen humor vehicles such as Superbad, Knocked Up and The Forty Year Old Virgin now has reached headliner status. He plays a young in over his head record exec who is in charge of getting a debaucherous rock star to the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. The sophomoric humor writes itself. If you liked the aforementioned movies, you will probably like this.
Marmaduke – Who doesn’t like Marmaduke? Our lovable Great Dane makes the leap from comic strip to the big screen. Family friendly PG.
The A-Team – If we don’t hear the words, “I pity the fool!” we will be sorely disappointed. Now Iraqi vets instead of Vietnam vets, this action packed remake of the famed 1980’s TV series has the potential to be a real popcorn eater. Don’t blow it Hollywood!
The Karate Kid – Can they recreate the on-screen magic that existed between a young Ralph Macchio and the late Pat Morita? Jackie Chan headlines, but if they fall short of the original, you might hear Hollywood execs saying, “Doh!”
Toy Story 3 – Of course! You knew it had to happen. As long as Tom Hanks and Tim Allen will lend their voices, there will be new Toy Stories, this time with Michael Keaton as the voice of a Ken doll. They are deposited at a day care center by their now all grown up owner Andy and are forced to fight off offending tots. Sounds like another winner by Pixar.
Jonah Hex – They’re scraping the bottom of the DC Comic book hero barrel now. In this case an anti-hero, a facially disfigured cowboy who gets revenge. Doesn’t sound like a mainstreamer.
Cyrus – Sleeper Alert! Here comes Joanah Hill again, this time as the son of an attractive woman (Marisa Tomei). He gets between his mom and a down on his luck divorcee (John C Reilly). Story driven with interesting chemistry. Going out on a limb … think this one will work.
Grown Ups – A guaranteed box office smash, not to say it will be good, but it is impossible to believe it won’t do big numbers. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider and David Spade are former basketball teammates who get together for a re-union. How do you botch this?
South of the Border – Director Oliver Stone portrays Hugo Chavez as a hero who stands up to the United States. Stone now makes Michael Moore look like staunch conservative. Can you get any further left than this?
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – Franchise monolith The Twilight is back. The soap opera continues as Bella is in danger and must choose between love interest Edward and friend Jacob, risking a conflict between the forces of the vampire and the werewolf. What will she do? What will she do?