Despite the "getting back into the swing of things" vibe that May always seems to give off, isn't it just great to be heading back into the big season? With a large budget offering being thrown our way nearly every week this summer, odds are in favor of some of them hitting their mark. In some cases that mark is far below the standards of others, and mindfully so. The first two weeks are taken up chiefly by highly anticipated offerings, but also a couple of indie films with buzz of their own. I must say, part of me is rather interested to see "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" for the fun of it. Clearly not a serious offering, but when was the last good comedy about old people?
The following week, Toronto's audience favorite "Where Do We Go From Here?" hits, but I'm still confounded by that one. I don't really know what to make of it, and it's only on the radar from the faint possibility that people will swoon to it. I doubt that'll happen, seeing as it didn't even make the Foreign Language branch this past year. As far as larger offerings with less chance of hitting the mark, boy there are plenty. "Battleship" has already gotten the below-average reviews we've expected it would, though I may still see it for Rihanna. That's right! I stick by my girls! "Obsession" 4 evar!!
But in all seriousness, who really cares at all about "What to Expect When You're Expecting". Saying it's based on the book is like saying "The Lion King" is based on a non-fiction book about animals. The month closes out on an honestly not all that spectacular note. A random horror picture like "Chernobyl Diaries" doesn't seem like an immediate draw, or even a long term one at that. And as much as I'd like to keep enthusiasm alive for "Men in Black 3" to take up a place beside the first film, rather than the second, it's instead looking like a mild return. If you're going to breathe new life into a franchise, give it a new director. In any case, the top three films hope to give you some kind of heartbeat throughout the relatively dry months.
3. "Dark Shadows"
Directed by Tim Burton
I'll be honest, because if there's a single film this month that I am anticipating that has the most chance of failure, it really is this one. I can't say I have much sustained love for Tim Burton's noticeable and obvious brand of insanity. Hell, a lot more than that, I just don't think his films are especially that entertaining. Rather than being beautiful, they just end up hideously perverse. So why do I have some kind of interest held out towards "Dark Shadows"? Hope, I think is a primary player here, but there are other collaborative factors that play in. Bruno Delbonnel is one of the most underused cinematographers out there, and the rest of me just heard that Eva Green, Chloe Moretz, and Michelle Pfeiffer were going to be in this film. Here's hoping Burton doesn't drain too much of the life out of them.
2. "The Avengers"
Directed by Joss Whedon
The guns-and-explosions film of May that everyone is most excited to see, though it's quite clearly a lot more than just those that Joss Whedon has put together. Isn't it kind of a miracle that this film is happened at all? It's damned difficult to launch even four successful superhero franchises, and they even fumbled the ball on one of them if you count "Incredible Hulk" as a fumble. Have no fear, for "The Avengers" are finally here, and it actually looks pretty interesting. I'm not getting my hopes too high. I know Rotten Tomatoes can be deceiving, and I need not bring up the horrible case of "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" to emphasize that. But not only is the cast obviously here, but the crew seems just tops. This looks to be a technical, performance, and narrative marvel of an at least decent class. To use what my brother's said, There's no way this movie can be bad.
1. "Moonrise Kingdom"
Directed by Wes Anderson
If you're really anticipating something, it's often because you're taking a risk with it. Wes Anderson is always some kind of risk, since we don't really know what he's going to do, but it's going to be silly and quirky. "Fantastic Mr. Fox" turned out to be quite a positive development into that, but can Anderson had back into live action and give us something that's worth it? That's definitely a question that gives me pause, and I'm certain that when Cannes rolls around we'll get a better indication of that, but the cast is certainly fantastic, with odd choices like Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, and Tilda Swinton. This could work, and I hope it does, but I'm existing on a plain of having not seen a single thing from the film. This was my first exercise in complete and total avoidance, and I hope it holds.