Climbing out of my sickbed stupor slowly, I will be getting to the SFF novels out there, but in the meantime, along with the tulips, the summer movie season is in full swing, and this year, it’s a super sized comics edition with something like 50 comic adaptation movies coming out. Okay, maybe not 50, but if Marvel and DC Comics keep it up at this pace, I can see things getting ugly in the next few years, not to mention all the graphic novels like Cowboys and Aliens.
In the comics category in May, we have:
1) First up Marvel’s Thor, where the arrogant Norse god of thunder ends up on Earth to be a superhero and save humans and Asgard from the apocalypse. It stars very big Chris Hemsworth and the very small, Oscar-winning Natalie Portman. And because Kenneth Branagh directed it, he also got Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins and Stellan Skarsgard, as well as Colm Feore and Rene Russo. Thor is a rather humorless superhero in the Marvel universe, but the trailer does indicate that maybe they jazzed it up just a tad.
2) Priest, adapted from the Korean comic of the same name, and starring Paul Bettany and Maggie Q. It’s a post-apocalyptic alternate world in which humans have battled vampires for eons, living in walled cities under the protection of the Church. Bettany plays a priest, a warrior against the vampires now told that he no longer has a mission. When his niece gets kidnapped by vampires, however, the priest breaks his vows to go after her. I’ve done the trailer before, back before I really knew anything about the film. It’s basically a martial arts film with gooey vampires, but I’ve been known to like stuff like that:
Next up are the sequels:
3) The biggie is of course Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, in which Jack Sparrow goes in search of the Fountain of Youth. I might not be as interested in this one except that they cannibalized Tim Powers’ historical fantasy novel On Stranger Tides to serve as plot for the film and it’s good stuff. Plus, I like seeing Ian McShane and he’s playing legendary pirate Captain Blackbeard and Dame Judi Dench is doing something in it, and it has killer mermaids. Killer mermaids is worth a look:
4) Also on the sequel plate, for the kids and kids at heart, Kung Fu Panda 2, wherein Po the Panda and his crew take an important road trip:
5) And for the grown-ups, the gang suits up for The Hangover 2, in which the most inept wedding party ever wakes up not knowing what’s gone on in Bangkok, Thailand and having to find this time the brother of the bride:
Then there are the additional summer comedies:
6) Everything Must Go, in which Will Farrell plays a drunk, depressed man who loses his job and has his wife leave him, changing the locks on their house and putting his stuff out on the front lawn. So he has a yard sale, which just might save him. It’s based on a short story by Raymond Carver, so it’s even erudite, with beer:
7) Bridesmaids aims to be sort of a The Hangover with women, starring SNL vets Maya Rudolph as the bride and Kristen Wiig as her in over her head maid of honor:
And lastly, we have the quirky, strange, indie projects that have debuted at various film festivals and used to seldom launch in the summer season but now regularly do:
8) Passion Play is a fantasy movie starring Mickey Rourke, Bill Murray and Megan Fox. Rourke is a traveling musician on the run who discovers Fox, an actual winged woman, in a carnival and tries to help her, landing her in Murray’s clutches:
9) Beginners stars Ewan McGregor as a troubled guy falling in love and Christopher Plummer as his widowed, newly out of the closet gay father who develops cancer. The dog gets the best lines:
10) In Jumping the Broom, an African American couple from two different economic backgrounds are getting married in Martha’s Vineyard and their families clash. This seems maybe a little dated to me, but on the other hand, when the Smith family seem to be the only black actors to get major movie roles these days, this does allow a showcase for some great acting talent, and it looks to be a mix of funny and bittersweet:
11) And lastly, Hesher, in which a troubled young boy with a dead mother and grieving dad (Rainn Wilson) makes friends with a timid store clerk — played yet again by Natalie Portman who accidentally ended up the year’s MVP actress — and a messed-up vagabond named Hesher, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, getting his long haired freak on: