Summer Movie Guide 2011

Superheroes, sequels, and TWO Conans! Summer has arrived.

Summer Movie Guide 2011
Jason Momoa as Conan the Barbarian

So begins the summer movie season, when we willingly pay to see movies we know will be bad. But between the raunchy comedies (A Good Old Fashioned Orgy) and silly sequels (Spy Kids 4, Final Destination 5)—some of which we'll love!—are many intriguing flicks well worth watching, and not just to escape the heat. Below, a totally incomplete rundown of the good, the bad, and the we-will-reserve-judgment-for-now films of the coming months. Happy summer, movie fans. (As always, all dates are subject to change.)

MAY 26

The Hangover 2
Best buds Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis), who barely survived the drunken mayhem of their last vacation head to Bangkok, Thailand for Stu’s wedding. Todd Phillips returns as director but the tiger in the bathroom has reportedly been replaced by a chain-smoking monkey.

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop
Conan O'Brien Can't Stop
The Hangover 2
The Hangover 2

Kung Fu Panda 2
In this sequel to the 2008 animated hit, Jack Black once again provides the voice of Po, the Bruce Lee–channeling panda, whose reign as the benign Dragon Warrior is threatened by all manner of villains, including an evil peacock voiced by Gary Oldman.

MAY 27

The Tree of Life
Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and newcomer Jessica Chastain star in this latest film from director Terrence Malick (Badlands, The New World), who has succeeded Stanley Kubrick as the filmmaker most likely to make film critics swoon before the opening credits even roll.


Beautiful Boy
Michael Sheen and Maria Bello star as a couple whose troubled marriage is upended completely by news that their son (Kyle Gallner) has killed himself after going on a shooting rampage at his college. Shawn Ku directs from a script he wrote with Michael Armbruster.

Drawing on experiences with own father, now deceased, writer-director Mike Mills (Thumbsucker) has cast Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor as a father and son who must recalibrate their relationship after the father, age 75, comes out as gay. Mélanie Laurent co-stars.

The Last Mountain
David battles Goliath as documentarian Bill Haney (The Price of Sugar) tracks an Appalachian community’s fight to prevent a coal conglomerate from strip-mining their mountain home.

Love Wedding Marriage
A newly married marriage counselor (Mandy Moore) gets so wrapped up in keeping her parents (James Brolin and Jane Seymour) from divorcing that she begins neglecting her own spouse (Kellan Lutz). Directed by actor Dermot Mulroney.

Rejoice and Shout
Legendary gospel singers such as Mahalia Jackson and the Blind Boys of Alabama as well as dozens of lesser-known performers get their due in this documentary history of African-American gospel music. Don McGlynn directs.

Oliver (Craig Roberts), a 15-year-old British schoolboy, has two goals for his summer vacation: sleeping with his romance-hating gal pal (Yasmin Paige), and saving the marriage of his parents (Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor). Directed by Richard Ayoade.

X-Men: First Class
In this prequel, director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) tracks the formative years, circa 1963, of the mutant heroes. James McAvoy portrays the young Charles Xavier, the role previously played by Patrick Stewart. Michael Fassbender, January Jones, and Kevin Bacon co-star.


Bride Flight
Beginning with a 1953 European air race, this drama from director Ben Sombogaart (the Oscar-nominated Twin Sisters) tracks the intertwining lives and decidedly complex loves of three young Dutch women who meet during the race and become lifelong friends.

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer
Third-grader Judy Moody (Jordana Beatty) and her little brother, Stink (Parris Mosteller), are spending the summer with their Aunt Opal (Heather Graham), who thinks Judy’s plan for a summer filled with wild dares—ride an elephant, capture Big Foot—sounds swell. Based on the popular children’s-book series by Megan McDonald. Directed by John Schultz.

Just Like Us
Comedians beware: A joke that gets a laugh in Cairo may be greeted with anger in Dubai, a fact the Western comics touring the Middle East learn the hard way. Directed by comic Ahmed Ahmed who also performs in this tour diary doc.

Road to Nowhere
The first feature in 22 years from Monte Hellman, the iconic director of the B-movie classic Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), is, appropriately enough, about a first-time director (Tygh Runyan) who finds the lines between truth and fiction blurring dangerously while on a North Carolina shoot. Shannyn Sossamon co-stars.

Super 8
Ohio, 1979. Three teens, one of them a budding Spielberg, are out late at night, making a Super 8 movie. Suddenly, a freight train crashes, and lo and behold, a space alien the Feds have been hiding at Area 51, escapes. We’re thinking he probably won’t be as friendly as E.T. was, way back in the day. Co-produced by Spielberg, and written and directed by J.J. Abrams.

The Trip
In this re-edited version of a six-part BBC series, comic actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon travel England’s Lake District in search of fancy restaurants for Coogan to review in print. Mostly, though, the men riff and ramble and do killer impersonations of Al Pacino, Richard Burton, and Woody Allen. Directed by Michael Winterbottom.

Troll Hunter
There be trolls in them there hills, and they’re not real happy that a group of film students are trying to track them down. This mockumentary horror comedy from writer-director André Øvredal was a big hit in Norway—can Troll Hunter 2 be far behind?

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