With summer rapidly approaching (Seriously, have the past few weeks flown by for anyone else?), the smell of buttered popcorn that accompanies the biggest movie season of the year is wafting through the air. The lineup of films coming out over the next few months is truly impressive. There are the typical blockbusters (The A-Team and Shrek Forever After come to mind), the goofy comedies (Killers and Grown Ups), and the romances (Letters to Juliet and Sex and the City 2). Thankfully, some producers strategically place some good movies in the mix, ones like last summer’s sleeper hit (500) Days of Summer. Looking to fill that “quirky indie comedy” slot this year is Cyrus, a standout film at festivals like Sundance and the Boston Independent Film Festival. The film features funnyman John C. Reilly as John, a divorced 40-something who is just looking for someone to love. He gets involved with Molly (Oscar Nominee Marisa Tomei) and falls head over heels. Things seem to be going perfectly, until he meets her assertive and sneaky adult son Cyrus (Jonah Hill). Suffice it to say, he doesn’t get along with his mom’s new boyfriend, dropping creepy hints with dead eyes, such as, “I’m so glad you’re my new dad.” The flick also stars the wonderful and highly underappreciated Catherine Keener as John’s ex-wife Jamie, which is reason alone to see the movie.
Our childhood returns in a big way this summer with the arrival of the long-awaited Toy Story 3. I think the reason our generation is so excited about this movie is because we are the “Andy – Generation.” We have grown up with each one of the Pixar films: in the first Toy Story (1995), we were preschoolers along with Andy, fearing for the safety of Woody and Buzz. In Toy Story 2, Andy was in grade school, away at camp for the summer; at the same time, he was wondering if he had outgrown his toys, just like we were. Disney has done a wonderful job of luring us in to the third movie in the series, as well. A recent batch of “college only” screenings just took place all across the country, in which audiences our age were able to see a “cliffhanger” version of the movie. Viral marketing has been targeted to Facebook and Twitter users in college. The buzz has been on a steady rise ever since the first trailer dropped, showcasing Andy at college. Some big celebrities pop up as new characters, like Whoopi Goldberg as Stretch the Octopus, Bonnie Hunt as Dolly, and current American Idol frontrunner Lee DeWyze as Twitch.
In a season otherwise cluttered with “brand name” flicks and sequels, Get Low stands out as a beacon in the dark. While not a documentary about the self proclaimed “King of Crunk” Lil Jon (Fingers crossed that it gets made someday!), the movie stands out because of its all-star cast. Academy Award winner Robert Duvall stars as Felix Bush, a reclusive hermit who lives on his own in the woods following a “devastating and mysterious incident.” The man decides to rejoin society only to plan his own funeral, with the help of Frank Quinn (Bill Murray), the proprietor of the local funeral home. Here’s the twist: Felix wants to be present at his own funeral so he can hear what townsfolk have to say about him, good or bad. The movie also features Hollywood legend Sissy Spacek as Mattie Darrow, a woman Felix dated many years ago. Judging the trailer alone, Get Low looks like an understated but emotional indie flick with hints of droll, deadpan humor. Prospects for the film look good, but it could be forgotten because of other new releases. Just one week earlier, the Angelina Jolie helmed Salt and the Paul Rudd / Steve Carell buddy comedy Dinner For Schmucks arrive in theaters.
Have a happy summer, movie lovers. I hope you emerge relatively unscathed!