Summer Movie Season Heats Up

By Christa A. Banister | senior editor,
Posted: Fri, 06/17/2011 - 13:40

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Summer just isn’t summer without a couple of trips to the multiplex, right? In addition to beating the heat with free air conditioning and copious amounts of buttered popcorn, there’s actually some pretty great entertainment options available in a theater near you. So what’s ultimately worth your time and hard-earned cash rather than a rental when the DVD releases? Well, we’re breaking it down just in time for your summer viewing...

The Contender: Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer, starring newcomers Jordana Beatty, Preston Bailey and Parris Mosteller and Heather Graham
Release Date: June 10
Rating: PG
The One-Two Punch: Based on the popular book, Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer is a frenetic, family-friendly adventure that investigates what the most thrilling summer of your life might look like.
The Premise: The title pretty much says it all – a pre-teen girl is determined not to have a boring, bummer of a summer. And thanks to her Aunt Opal’s unexpected arrival, her summer is anything but dull.
The Verdict: While it’s not always the “thrilladelic” adventure that it promises, Judy Moody is just quirky enough to work, thanks to the enthusiastic performances of the leads.

The Contender: Super 8, starring Elle Fanning (Dakota’s little sister), Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) and relative newcomers Ryan Lee, Zach Mills and Riley Griffiths
Release Date: June 10
Rating: PG-13
The One-Two Punch: Unlike many movies where the trailer tells you all you need to know, J.J. Abrams’ (LOST, Alias) latest project was shrouded in mystery. Plus, when Steven Spielberg agrees to get involved, you know the movie won’t stink.
The Premise: After a group of teenage friends witness a mysterious train crash, they also get a front row seat to some rather strange events that happen afterward in their small town.
The Verdict: In my estimation, Super 8 definitely lived up the hype. Suspenseful and engaging with many surprises to boot, it’s exactly the kind of flick that summer was made for.

The Contender: Midnight in Paris, starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Michael Sheen
Release Date: June 10 (select markets)
Rating: PG-13
The One-Two Punch: Not only does funnyman Owen Wilson play a more serious character for a change, but Woody Allen tries his hand at more conventional romantic comedy.
The Premise: A couple who couldn’t be less compatible, played by Wilson and Rachel McAdams, makes their way to Paris for a business trip that ends up changing their lives in very different ways.
The Verdict: While the point the movie is trying to make is less deep than Allen seems to think it is, Midnight in Paris is a funny, romantic and entertaining slice of nostalgia, particularly when Wilson’s character gets to meet his roaring ‘20s writing heroes, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein.

The Contender: Green Lantern, starring Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively
Release Date: June 17
The One-Two Punch: The popular comic book finally comes to life with the affable Ryan Reynolds donning the green suit.
Rating: PG-13
The Premise: A cocky test pilot gains some significant otherworldly power when he’s given a magical green ring. So will he use his new powers for good – or evil? That is the question that basically serves as the movie’s thesis.
The Verdict: With so-so special effects and a lackluster storyline, the only good thing about Green Lantern is the casting of Reynolds. With his quick wit and self-effacing nature, he makes a pretty good superhero. Now if only the writers had given him more to work with...

The Contender: Mr. Popper’s Penguins starring Jim Carrey and Carla Gugino
Release Date: June 17
Rating: PG
The One-Two Punch: Rubber-faced comedian Jim Carrey returns to family-friendly territory with adorable penguin protagonists.
The Premise: A greedy business guy gets a crash course in priorities when his house is overtaken by a gaggle of feisty penguins.
The Verdict: Carrey’s definitely funny in a PG-appropriate way, but the cheese factor is high. So parents, be forewarned: Check your cynicism at the door. But chances are, kids will absolutely love Mr. Popper and his penguins.

The Contender: Cars 2, starring the voices of Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Bonnie Hunt and Emily Mortimer
Release Date: June 24
Rating: G
The One-Two Punch: Everyone loves a great Pixar flick, especially when it’s rumored to be even better than the first.
The Premise: Star race car Lightning McQueen and his pal Mater head overseas to compete in the World Grand Prix race. But the road to the championship gets a little more complicated when Mater gets caught up in international espionage.
The Verdict: Yep, Pixar has done it again. There’s a little something for everyone in Cars 2: humor, heart and a fun storyline filled with loads of intriguing adventures.

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