As the end of April approaches, so, too, does summer break. For many College of William and Mary students, this will be a time for relaxation, research, jobs and internships. For some, however, it is also the ideal time to go to the movies and catch up on the latest Hollywood flicks. If they are looking for a break from the heat or to kindle a passion for film, this summer’s moviegoers can expect the release of 45 films between May and August. Here are just a few highlights.
Winnie the Pooh
The loveable yellow bear of our childhood returns on the big screen in this sequel to the 1977 animated feature “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.” With watercolor illustrations and a screenplay based on one of A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books, this film harkens back to the classic era of Disney animations, capturing the innocence of life spent in the Hundred Acre Wood. Viewers will surely reminisce of their childhood as they watch Pooh and his friends set out to save Christopher Robin from a creature called “Backson” and to find Eeyore’s missing tail.
Directed by: Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall
Starring (voices): Jim Cummings, Craig Ferguson and John Cleese
Release Date: July 15, 2011
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II
The end has arrived. After 10 years of Harry Potter premieres, this film concludes an era filled Quidditch matches, Hogsmeade visits, dragons and butterbeer. Yet while many fans may dread this inevitable finale, they, too, will appreciate what “Part 2” has to offer: action-packed scenes filled with fire, explosions and heart-racing stunts; an anxious-ridden screenplay detailing Harry, Ron and Hermione’s last efforts to destroy Voldemort’s horcruxes; and the looming question of whether or not Harry will prevail in his fight against the Dark Lord. Returning director David Yates will certainly provide a fitting end to this multi-million dollar and internationally-acclaimed film franchise.
Directed by: David Yates
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint
Release Date: July 15, 2011
In this dramatic comedy, Mel Gibson stars as Walter Black, a failed toy company executive and family man who feels that he must live through a beaver puppet in order to communicate with others. The film provides a unique perspective on how an individual must overcome depression and find renewal in his life. Interestingly, Gibson’s mentally submissive role in this film contrasts his normally strong, dominant characters, such as his starring roles in “Braveheart” (1995) and “The Patriot” (2000). If successful, this film will show a new side of Gibson’s acting ability.
Directed by: Jodie Foster
Starring: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster and Anton Yelchin
Release Date: May 6, 2011 (limited)
Hangover Part II
Stu (Ed Helms) is getting married in Thailand, and after a night of partying with Stu’s soon-to-be brother-in-law, he and his friends Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) find themselves in a strange apartment with a monkey — and without the brother-in-law. The sequel to the 2007 smash-hit comedy, this film follows the trio on yet another escapade as they search for the missing brother-in-law in the colorful streets of Bangkok.
Directed by: Todd Philips
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms
Release Date: May 26, 2011
Cowboys & Aliens
It is 1873 when Jake Lonegran (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the Arizona Territory desert. Knowing neither his identity nor his place of origin, he comes upon the Wild West town of Absolution, where he soon faces townsfolk who regard strangers with a wary eye. But he is not the person, or rather the creature, that they should fear most — indeed, when aliens attack, the citizens stand behind Lonegran as he fights to save the town from destruction. Combining the nostalgia of historical fiction and the thrill of science fiction with the directing expertise of Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”) and Steven Spielberg (“Saving Private Ryan”), the film is sure to please any viewer eager for a unique take on extraterrestrial invasions.
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde
Release Date: July 29, 2011
It is the summer of 1979, and a group of small-town adolescents begin to produce a movie. While filming at a train station, they witness a calamitous train wreck, but fail to tell people what they saw that night. Their town soon becomes the scene of a military camp as the Deputy Lamb (Kyle Candler) seeks to expose the truth behind mysterious disappearances. In a style similar to the 1977 classic “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Super 8” delves into the relations between human and creature, conveying the plotline’s tensions through awesome computer-generated special effects and a superb orchestral score.
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Elle Fanning, Amanda Michalka and Kyle Chandler
Release Date: June 10, 2011
Racecar Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and rusty tow truck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) are on a mission to see the world. In this sequel to the 2006 Pixar hit, McQueen is given the opportunity to race in the first World Grand Prix, but as he prepares to be the fastest racecar in the world, Mater becomes entangled in espionage with the premiere British spy, Finn McMissile (Michael Caine). Although this film does not include the voice of the late Paul Newman, who played Doc Hudson in the previous “Cars” film, “Cars 2” is expected to follow in the footsteps of its Academy Award-winning Pixar predecessor, “Toy Story 3” (2010), and garner an acclaimed reputation of its own.
Directed by: John Lasseter and Brad Lewis
Starring (voices): Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine and Jason Isaacs
Release Date: June 18, 2011
Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks) lacks a college degree, and, now, a job. In an effort to jumpstart a new stage in his life, he enrolls in college, where he meets similarly ambitious students and the beautiful yet unenthused public speaking teacher, Mercedes Tainot (Julia Roberts). Although she is married, Crowne falls in love with her, and he soon finds that his life is still worth living. Albeit in a different setting, this film maintains the much-respected onscreen dynamics between Hanks and Roberts first established in the 2007 film “Charlie Wilson’s War.” Can the duo pull off another charmingly romantic relationship without it ultimately appearing unnatural?
Directed by: Tom Hanks
Starring: Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts
Release Date: July 1, 2011