Jewish World Review May 11, 2012/ 19 Iyar, 5772
Summer movies: the dark horses
By Barry Koltnow
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Let's play a game.
I'll describe a movie, and you tell me which season you think it will open in theaters?
For instance, if I said "Meryl Streep portrays Eleanor Roosevelt," you would say: "Oscar season."
See how easy that was?
Here's today's brain-teaser: A 70-mile-wide asteroid is hurtling toward Earth, and the world will be destroyed in three weeks.
If you answered: "summer movie season," you would be correct.
But "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" is not your typical apocalyptic summer movie. First, there are no scenes of asteroids hurtling toward Earth. Second, the White House is never shown blowing up. Third, there are no aliens in the movie. In fact, there are no special effects at all.
Finally, there isn't even a climactic scene in which Bruce Willis and a group of heroic astronauts save the planet.
The movie, written by first-time director Lorene Scafaria, is a black comedy with serious overtones, starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley as neighbors who set off on a road trip in a desperate attempt to find the meaning of life before Earth's annihilation.
Doesn't sound like a summer movie, does it? Sounds more like a September movie.
The strategy behind the movie's June 22 opening is called counter-programming. Despite the big box-office numbers expected for movies like "The Dark Knight Rises," "Men in Black 3" and "The Amazing Spider-Man," there will be room for smaller movies to find an audience. Adults like to go to the movies in the summer, too.
This week, it's time to put the spotlight on the dark horse films, which could have a shot at planting roots among the giant Redwoods.
1. "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (May 4) Director John Madden ("Shakespeare in Love") couldn't find any talented actors so he had to settle for Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Tom Wilkinson. We're kidding, of course.
2. "Girl in Progress" (May 11) Eva Mendes as a single mom. If you don't like reality-based films, you have the option of "Dark Shadows," Tim Burton's ode to funny vampires.
3. "What to Expect When You're Expecting" (May 18) Five women, including Elizabeth Banks and Brooklyn Decker, face impending motherhood while looking ravishing.
4. "Moonrise Kingdom" (May 25) The latest from quirky director Wes Anderson. Or you can go see "Men in Black 3."
5. "Peace, Love & Misunderstanding" (June 8) Jane Fonda plays a hippie grandmom living on a farm. Not exactly "Barbarella."
6. "That's My Boy" (June 15) Yet another Adam Sandler comedy, In this one, he plays a dad who is reunited with the son he hasn't seen in years. His son is Andy Samberg. Seriously.
7. "Rock of Ages" (June 15) It might be worth the price of admission to watch Tom Cruise finding his inner rock star.
8. "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" (June 22) The first-time director also wrote it, and she previously wrote the screenplay for the quirky "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist," which introduced much of the world to Kat Dennings, who is now on the CBS comedy "Two Broke Girls."
9. "To Rome With Love" (June 22) Woody Allen intends to do to Italy what he did to France in "Midnight in Paris."
10. "Magic Mike" (June 29) If I just told you that it was about male strippers, you might pass on this movie. But what if I told you it stars Channing Tatum, and was directed by Steven Soderbergh? I thought you might be interested.
11. "People Like Us" (June 29) A man has the task of delivering his deceased father's fortune to a sister he's never met. This is another Elizabeth Banks movie.
12. "Savages" (July 6) Oliver Stone directs a drama about a war between pot growers and a drug cartel.
13. "Ted" (July 13) You've heard of a boy and his dog? Well, this is the story of a man and his teddy bear. The comedy stars Mark Wahlberg, and was directed by Seth MacFarlane.
14. "Neighborhood Watch" (July 27) When I say it's a comedy starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill, do you really care what it's about?
15. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days" (Aug. 3) What's a wimpy kid to do in the summer after school lets out? It's a problem for the ages.
16. "Hope Springs" (Aug. 10) After 30 years of marriage, Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones look for hope and renewal in a weekend counseling retreat.
17. "The Campaign" (Aug. 10) Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis are staunch political rivals in a tense, but funny election campaign.
18. "Sparkle" (Aug. 17) Whitney Houston's last film. She not only is one of the stars, but was an executive producer of this remake of a 1976 film about a '60s girl group. "American Idol's" Jordin Sparks is one of the singers.
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Lindsay, Ashton, Kim --- are they kidding?
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