Summer may be supersized for movies

The blockbuster movie potential seems supersized for summer 2011, which may well go down as one of the biggest summers in cinematic history, say The Oklahoman's entertainment writers.
BY BRANDY McDONNELL, GEORGE LANG and MATTHEW PRICE Published: May 6, 2011
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Director Chris Weitz (“About a Boy”) leaves behind the book-based fantasy worlds he explored with his most recent projects, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” and “The Golden Compass,” and returns to real-world drama with the immigrant tale “A Better Life.”

July 1

Director of bombast Michael Bay has swapped Megan Fox for new model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley for “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” Let's hope the script also has been given the promised overhaul for Shia LaBeouf's third outing with Optimus Prime and the rest of the giant robots from the '80s.

Sure, we've heard amiable Academy Award-winner Tom Hanks voicing Sheriff Woody in “Toy Story 3” and narrating his celebrated miniseries “The Pacific.” But we finally get to see him back on the big screen, opposite Julia Roberts no less, in the timely drama “Larry Crowne,” about a middle-aged man who loses his job and then reinvents himself by going back to college.

In “Monte Carlo,” three pretty young things (Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, Katie Cassidy) vacationing in Paris are whisked away to the titular resort town after one of them is mistaken for a British heiress.

July 8

On the questionable advice of a untrustworthy ex-con (Jamie Foxx), three pals (Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day) plot to get rid of their hateful employers (Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston) in “Horrible Bosses.”

Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb, Cher, Nick Nolte, Adam Sandler and Sylvester Stallone star in the comedy “Zookeeper,” about a lovelorn zookeeper (James) whose animal charges break their code of silence to help him find romance.

July 15

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) race to find the remaining Horcruxes vital to defeating the vicious Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). Their mission leads them back for an epic battle at their alma mater, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” the eighth and final film based on J.K. Rowling's beloved book series.

Disney returns to the Hundred Acre Wood for “Winnie the Pooh,” using hand-drawn animation to adapt five of A.A. Milnes' tales, centering the film around the “silly ol' bear's” efforts to save Christopher Robin from an imagined evildoer.

July 22

Chris Evans, who lit up the “Fantastic Four” films as the Human Torch, dons the red, white and blue to play “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Based on the comic-book character created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, Evans stars as Steve Rogers, a patriotic young man in the early 1940s who is rated 4F and thus ineligible to serve. Aiming to aid his country, he volunteers for a top-secret experiment that turns him into the peak human being. As Captain America, Rogers fights the Nazis and defends the American dream.

The premise of “Friends With Benefits” has become outrageously popular, but there's still promise since this romantic comedy is directed by Will Gluck (“Easy A”) and stars Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake as busy professionals who have no time for relationships but need a little ... togetherness.

July 29

Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig initially square off but then team to lead a posse trying to save the Wild West from space invaders in “Cowboys & Aliens.” “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau helms the movie version of Scott Mitchell Rosenberg's Platinum Studios comic book, which also stars Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell and Paul Dano.

Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Marisa Tomei, Emma Stone and Kevin Bacon star in the comedic drama “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” about a strait-laced guy (Carell) whose seemingly perfect life collapses when his cheating wife (Moore) wants a divorce.

No, it isn't 1981, and yet, yes, there are little blue creatures running amok: Director Raja Gosnell (“Scooby-Doo,” “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”) gives the long-running cartoon series “The Smurfs” a live-action/computer-animated movie treatment with Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria and Jayma Mays in the live-action roles and Jonathan Winters, Katy Perry, Alan Cumming and more providing voices for the cobalt-colored critters.

Aug. 5

In “Dirty Girl,” Danielle is labeled the “dirty girl of Norman High” in 1987 Oklahoma, and when she gets banished to special ed, she meets a shy, friendless, closeted gay boy. California, here they come, with the mismatched misfits played by Juno Temple and Jeremy Dozier setting off on a road trip. (Although the story is partially set in Norman, according to IMDB, it was all filmed in California.)

Another familiar sci-fi franchise gets a reboot with “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” starring James Franco as a scientist whose experiments on a chimpanzee are meant to bring about a cure for Alzheimer's disease but instead lead to a war for supremacy between humans and apes. Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, Brian Cox and Tom Felton co-star in the origin tale.

In “The Change-Up,” a family man (Jason Bateman) swaps bodies with his slacker best buddy (Ryan Reynolds) in an attempt to woo an attractive co-worker (Olivia Wilde).

Aug. 12

Fresh from “The Social Network,” Jesse Eisenberg reteams with his “Zombieland” director, Ruben Fleischer, for “30 Minutes or Less,” a comedy about a pizza delivery man who is kidnapped by two obnoxious criminals (Nick Swardson and Danny McBride) and forced to pull a bank heist with his best buddy (Aziz Ansari).

Set in 1962, “The Help” tells the story of an aspiring writer (Emma Stone) who returns home after college and strikes up unexpected friendships with two black maids (Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer). The period drama is based on Kathryn Stockett's best-seller and co-stars Sissy Spacek, Cicely Tyson, Allison Janney and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Nicholas D'Agosto, Emma Bell and Arlen Escarpeta play the latest group of teens trying to dodge Death in the sequel “Final Destination 5.”

Aug. 19

Writer-director Robert Rodriguez expands his family-friendly adventure franchise with “Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World,” starring Jessica Alba as a full-time mom and retired operative who must return to the spy game to defeat a wicked villain known as the Timekeeper (Jeremy Piven).

Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant and Christopher Mintz-Plasse sink their collective teeth into a remake of 1985's vampire horror-comedy “Fright Night.”

Robert E. Howard's muscle-bound hero gets another big-screen incarnation in “Conan the Barbarian,” with Jason Momoa (TV's “Game of Thrones” and “Stargate: Atlantis”) playing the titular warrior as he traverses the continent of Hyboria on a mission to avenge the murder of his father and the slaughter of his village.

Aug. 26

In “Our Idiot Brother,” Paul Rudd plays an idealist who gets out of jail after a pot bust and finds himself homeless and unemployed. He takes turns crashing at the homes of his three sisters (Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer), wreaking havoc in their lives.

A young girl (Bailee Madison) who goes to live with her father (Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend (Katie Holmes) discovers creepy creatures in her new home that want to claim her as one of their own in “Don't Be Afraid of the Dark.”

Produced by Timur Bekmambetov (“Wanted”), the found-footage horror-thriller “Apollo 18” orbits around a ‘70s moon mission gone wrong and covered up by NASA.

Aug. 31

Director John Madden (“Shakespeare in Love,” “Proof”) adapts the Israeli espionage thriller “Ha-Hov” as “The Debt,” with the suspense playing out across two different time periods with two different high-profile casts: Oscar winner Helen Mirren, Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson and Ciaran Hinds play retired Mossad secret agents in 1997, while Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain and Marton Csokas play the operatives in action on a risky 1966 mission.

Sept. 2

In “Colombiana,” Zoe Saldana stars as a highly trained assassin seeking revenge on the Colombian drug lord who executed her parents when she was a child.

Director David R. Ellis (“Snakes on a Plane”) wants to make moviegoers afraid to go into the water all over again with “Shark Night 3-D,” about vacationers on the Louisiana Gulf who are terrorized by freshwater shark attacks.

Also for summer

These movies also are planned for summer release but don't have firm OKC opening dates:

Writer-director Terrence Malick (“The Thin Red Line”) roots his new drama “The Tree of Life” in the 1950s and traces one man's (Sean Penn) journey from childhood innocence to disillusioned adulthood as he tries to reconcile his complex relationship with his father (Brad Pitt).

“One Day,” based on the best-selling novel by David Nicholls, tracks the lifelong friendship of Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) on the same day — July 15 — over 20 years.

Ewan McGregor plays a grieving man who meets an unpredictable woman (Melanie Laurent) as he is trying to come to grips with his the death of his father (Christopher Plummer) in “Beginners”

Marion Cotillard, Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen and Kathy Bates star in Woody Allen's new rom-com, “Midnight in Paris.”

The music documentary “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest” chronicles the inner workings and lasting influence of the trailblazing hip-hop act.

A South African youth (Khomotso Manyaka) faces down a deeply ingrained, unspoken cultural taboo in “Life, Above All.”

In “The Guard,” an unorthodox Irish cop (Brendan Gleeson) teams with a by-the-book FBI agent (Don Cheadle) to take on an international drug-smuggling ring.