Summer movie list boasts mountain of sequels and reboots

The Oklahoman’s movie reviewers offer a look at movie releases planned for the summer season (starting in May), featuring several big-budget sequels, led by “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
by Matthew Price and Brandy McDonnell and Nathan Poppe Published: May 2, 2014
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As Spider-Man swings into theaters this weekend, the webbed crusader is achieving a rare feat. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is not only a sequel but also a big-budget reboot sequel. It’s the fifth radioactive arachnid movie in 12 years to be exact. It’s also a revealing look into the rest of the summer’s releases.

There are more sequels here than there are “Rockys” and “Rambos” combined. If you believe there’s never too much of a good thing, then allow us to guide you through the familiar and a few surprising offerings that will hit theaters during the next couple of months. All the heavy hitters are here, from raccoon superheroes and transforming heavy machinery to agile turtles and apes that have a hard time letting go of a grudge.

No matter your movie preference, they’ll all be here before you know it, welcoming you to the theaters once again.

Friday

Although Marc Webb’s reboot of the Spider-Man franchise didn’t hit the box-office heights of its Sam Raimi-directed predecessors, the franchise is still one of Sony’s most potent performers. With “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” Andrew Garfield returns as Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, in the sequel, where he’ll face off against Electro, played by Jamie Foxx.

The documentary “Finding Vivian Maier” skips from New York to France to Chicago to chronicle the life story of Vivian Maier, a nanny whose previously unknown cache of 100,000 photographs has earned her a posthumous reputation as one of America’s most celebrated street photographers. The film is playing through Sunday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

May 8

The tragic story of New York City Ballet principal dancer Tanaquil Le Clercq is told in the documentary Afternoon of a Faun,” playing Thursday through May 11 at the OKC Museum of Art. A muse to acclaimed choreographers George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, Le Clercq was stricken with polio and paralyzed at age 27.

May 9

“This is not based on a true story; this is the true story” is the tagline for the new documentary “The Hornet’s Nest,” which follows Peabody- and Emmy-winning war correspondent Mike Boettcher, a Ponca City native, and his son Carlos Boettcher to the front lines in Afghanistan to provide an unprecedented look at the longest war in U.S. history.

In the comedy “Neighbors,” Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne play new parents forced to live next door to a fraternity house, where Zac Efron is leading the wild frat boys.

Sarah Drew, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton and Trace Adkins headline the diverse cast of the family comedy “Mom’s Night Out,” about the chaos that ensues when a high-strung mom (Drew) and her gal pals go out and leave their kids with their husbands for an evening.

The latest project from writer-director Jim Jarmusch (“Broken Flowers”), the vampire romantic drama “Only Lovers Left Alive” stars Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as an immortal couple whose latest reunion is disrupted by the arrival of her dangerously impulsive sister (Mia Wasikowska). John Hurt, Jeffrey Wright and Anton Yelchin co-star in the film, which was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

Lea Michele, Martin Short, Jim Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Patrick Stewart and Bernadette Peters send their voices down the Yellow Brick Road for “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return,” a 3-D animated musical based on the adventure books by Roger Stanton Baum, the great-grandson of L. Frank Baum.

May 15

“Now: In the Wings on a World Stage” follows the whirlwind 10-month tour of “Richard III” starring Kevin Spacey, directed by Sam Mendes and featuring the first transatlantic theater company of 20 British and American actors. The documentary, which traces the celebrated stage production as it travels to nine cities, plays one night only at the OKC Museum of Art.

May 16

After Roland Emmerich’s gigantic 1998 reptilian misstep, at least Gareth Edwards’ new “Godzilla” looks like the real deal instead of a juiced-up Tyrannosaurus rex. Edwards is coming off 2010’s low-budget, high-yield “Monsters,” and “Godzilla” is his shot at megafunded tentpole entertainment. The biggest question going into this version, which stars Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, is whether “Godzilla” comes too soon after Guillermo Del Toro’s kinda-sorta 2013 version, “Pacific Rim.”

Based on a true story, the sports flick “Million Dollar Arm” stars “Mad Men’s” Jon Hamm as a desperate sports agent who takes the radical step of searching for the next superstar baseball pitcher among cricket players in India.

Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman takes the lead in one of his final roles, the drama “God’s Pocket,” an adaptation of the Peter Dexter novel. He plays Mickey, who finds himself locked in a life-and-death struggle after his crazy stepson Leon (Caleb Landry Jones) is killed in a construction “accident.” Hardly anyone in the working-class neighborhood of God’s Pocket is sorry Leon is gone, except the boy’s mother (Christina Hendricks), who demands her husband uncover the truth about her son’s death. “God’s Pocket” plays May 16-18 at the OKC Museum of Art.

John Turturro wrote, directed and stars in the comedy “Fading Gigolo,” playing a man who ventures into the oldest profession to help the cash-strapped friend (Woody Allen) who becomes his manager. Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, Vanessa Paradis and Liev Schreiber co-star.

May 22

Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan play a long-married British couple revisiting Paris for the first time since their honeymoon in an attempt to rekindle their relationship in “Le Week-End,” showing May 22-25 at the OKC Museum of Art.

May 23

Based on a 1981 storyline in “Uncanny X-Men,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past” will tie together the timeline of the original “X-Men” trilogy with the world of “X-Men: First Class.” Bryan Singer returns to direct as Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) travels back in time to stop a potential catastrophe. Singer told Entertainment Weekly that the film is neither a reboot nor a conventional sequel — “I call it an inbetweequel,” he said.

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore reunite for their third comedy, “Blended,” following the success of “50 First Dates” and “The Wedding Singer.” This time, they play single parents who decide they never want to see each other again after an awful blind date. Naturally, they end up sharing a suite at an upscale resort when they separately luck into a chance to take their families on the same African safari.

The fictionalized period drama “Belle” is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of a Royal Navy admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), she struggles to find her place in a changing English society.

May 30

“Ted’s” Seth MacFarlane is going West, directing, co-writing, producing and starring in the comedic Western “A Million Ways to Die in the West.” The funnyman plays a cowardly shepherd who loses his girl (Amanda Seyfried) when he backs out of a gunfight. But a lovely and mysterious newcomer (Charlize Theron) helps him regain his courage. Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman, Liam Neeson and Oklahoma-bred actors Wes Studi and Rex Linn co-star.

Angelina Jolie brings the iconic villainess of the 1959 animated classic “Sleeping Beauty” to live-action life with the origin story “Maleficent,” which traces the poisoned roots of the vengeful witch’s rivalry with King Stefan (“District 9’s” Sharlto Copley), the father of Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning).

The documentary “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me” showcases the then-87-year-old (now 89) Broadway legend in rare archival footage, candid reflections about her life and interviews with Tina Fey, Nathan Lane, John Turturro and more. The film screens May 30 to June 1 at the OKC Museum of Art.

June 6

The title, “Edge of Tomorrow,” reminds you of a forgotten ’50s soap opera; the tagline, “Live. Die. Repeat.” sounds like the instructions on a shampoo bottle; and the plot of this sci-fi epic from director Doug Liman REALLY sounds familiar. In the near future, Lt. Col. Bill Cage (Tom Cruise) is sent into battle with an unstoppable alien force and is killed over and over again in a brutal time loop, each time returning to life with increased skill and knowledge that brings him closer to defeating the enemy. Didn’t Jake Gyllenhaal find himself in a similar situation on a train that kept exploding in Duncan Jones’ “Source Code” (2011)? Talk about dizzying deja vu! Also stars Emily Blunt. Based on the Hiroshi Sakurazaka novel “All You Need Is Kill.”

“The Fault in Our Stars” is a romantic drama from director Josh Boone (“Stuck in Love”) centering on Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Gus (Ansel Elgort), two unconventional teenagers who share an acerbic wit and a love that blossoms when they meet in a cancer support group. The fact that she’s constantly tied to an oxygen tank and he is slowed by a prosthetic leg seems of no consequence to either of them.

Comic actress Jenny Slate — best known for her TV roles as Mona-Lisa on “Parks and Recreation,” Sarah on “House of Lies” and the voice of Tammy on “Bob’s Burgers” — takes the central role in co-writer/director Gillian Robespierre’s romantic comedy “Obvious Child” as Brooklyn comedian Donna Stern, who gets dumped by her boyfriend, fired and pregnant on the “best/worst” St. Valentine’s Day of her life.

In director Fred Schepisi’s romantic dramedy “Words and Pictures,” an art instructor (Juliette Binoche) and an English teacher (Clive Owen) at an upscale prep school form a spirited romance and a rivalry that ends up as a competition in which students decide whether words or pictures are more important.

June 13

Dynamic “21 Jump Street” directing duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller return to guide officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) in their transition from high school to college in “22 Jump Street,” as the officers go deep undercover and their partnership — not to mention their maturity — is tested when Jenko goes jock and Schmidt joins the bohemian art scene. Can these two overgrown adolescents finally graduate to manhood?


by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
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by Nathan Poppe
Entertainment Writer and LOOKatOKC Editor
Entertainment Writer and LOOKatOKC Editor Nathan Poppe, is a documenter of all things entertaining. The Middle of Nowhere is his blog and a depository of everything that makes the Midwest unique. The coasts have a massive amount of influence on...
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