Best Movies of All Time + [summer]

2011 Summer Movie Preview

With the start of May comes the semi-official start of summertime blockbusters for Hollywood. The general bulk of a year's highest-grossing films are released during the summer, and 2011 doesn't look to be any different. Because you go easily go to IMDb or Wikipedia for a full breakdown of every film currently scheduled for release, I've decided to limit this list to the twenty-five films I'm most excited to see in the coming months. The release dates for the films featured here span May 6th to September 2nd (the Friday before Labor Day), which many people consider the "end" of the summer movie season. The following list is ordered in descending order, meaning the films I'm most expecting will appear at the end of the post. With that, I hope you enjoy this summertime preview as well as the movies themselves once they hit theaters!

Fright Night
August 19

Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, David Tennant & Toni Collette
*
A few days after I learned they were making this remake, I watched the original 1985 film in preparation. I wasn't particularly impressed with that film, but it still gave me enough reason to want to see the new one. Add the fact that we're getting a relatively all-star cast, and we could have the makings of a decent flick here. I'm not holding my breath, but the inclusion of both Yelchin and Farrell makes this a personal must-see.

Our Idiot Brother
June 17

Starring: Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Steve Coogan & Rashida Jones
*
I also only recently saw the trailer for this film, and I have to say that it looks like it could be a smash hit. Yes, I've talked about my feelings on Paul Rudd as a leading man - I personally think he's much better in supporting roles - but it looks as though he'll be playing a more off-the-wall character than we've seen in his other leading-man films. Aided by a laundry list of big-name co-stars, Our Idiot Brother could prove to be the comedy surprise of the early summer months.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
August 5

Starring: James Franco, Freida Pinto, Brian Cox, John Lithgow & Andy Serkis
*
I know that many an individual will be approaching this film with quite a bit of caution - Tim Burton's not-so-great remake still resonates clearly in the minds of many - but I think there's a bit of potential with this prequel. We get to see just how the "apes" found a way to take over Earth, and James Franco plays a role at the very center of it all. Ultimately, that'll be enough to put some butts in the seats, but at the very least, we should be given a visually-pleasing film that wows us with fantastic special effects.

Submarine
June 3

Starring: Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige & Sally Hawkins
*
This was actually a late addition to this list. After seeing the first trailer for the film, I instantly fell in love with where its storyline was heading. Tate plays a young social outcast who desperately wants to lose his virginity. To do so, he develops a bit of a relationship with a girl (Paige) who's not necessarily part of the in-crowd. This looks to be quite the dramatic comedy, and it's already getting rave reviews from film festivals and such. I'll definitely be ready for this one.

Winnie the Pooh
July 15

Starring: Jim Cummings, John Cleese & Craig Ferguson
*
If you're as much a fan of Disney as I am, then you'll be expecting this new installment of Winnie the Pooh with open arms. It's going to offer a few more short stories, and if it's anything close to the original The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, then we should all be in for quite a delightful adventure. And yes, I realize I'm probably going to catch some flak for saying I'm excited for this movie, but to each his or her own, right?

Shark Night 3D
September 2

Starring: Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Alyssa Diaz & Katharine McPhee
*
The studio has only released one picture (at right) for this upcoming film, but I'm already sitting on the edge of my seat for this one, which looks to be in the same vein as last year's Piranha 3D. IMDb's synopsis says that it will chronicle seven college co-eds who are continually attacked by by sharks in freshwater, so that already sounds a little bit ridiculous. Adding the third dimension should make it all the more comedic and, ultimately, entirely enjoyable.

Everything Must Go
May 13

Starring: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Laura Dern, Michael Peña & Stephen Root
*
Will Ferrell is generally a little hit-or-miss with me. I loved Anchorman, but I hated Talladega Nights. I loved him in Wedding Crashers, but I hated him in Step Brothers. His outright comedies are a little polarizing, but when he dials it back a little bit and steps into the dramatic comedy spotlight, I've found him to be rather stellar. Sure, I've only seen it happen once (in 2006's Stranger Than Fiction), but if he can even remotely channel that performance here, then Everything Must Go should be something special.

Another Earth
July 22

Starring: William Mapother, Brit Marling, Jordan Baker & Flint Beverage
*
I just watched the trailer for Another Earth, and my intrigue has officially been peaked. It tells the story of two people who's lives cross in a tragic accident on the same night that a completely duplicate planet appears within our same solar system. Everything about this "Earth 2" is the same as ours, right down to the fact that there is another "you" there. I'm intensely curious to see how this one plays out - it looks like it has the potential to be phenomenal.

Last Night
May 6

Starring: Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes & Guillaume Canet
*
To start things off, I'll see anything with Keira Knightley, so that alone is sending me to the theaters for Last Night. Add up-and-comer Sam Worthington and the lovely Eva Mendes in a story of infidelity, and my libido has peaked. Okay, that was a little much, but this dramatic flick looks to be something wonderful as the on-screen couple married Knightley and Worthington spend a night away from one another, and temptation soon sets in...

The Help
August 12

Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, Octavia Spencer & Allison Janney
*
By no means does this movie fall into the type of film I generally enjoy, but the fact that Emma Stone is playing the lead makes it all the more appealing. I've enjoyed her work to date, culminating in her brilliantly comedic performance in last year's Easy A, but I'm a little curious as to how she'll react with a more dramatic turn. I personally think she'll do just fine, but the material has the potential to go pretty deep. I'm definitely looking forward to this one.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
July 15

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson & Ralph Fiennes
*
I'd like to start by saying that I have never read any of the books in the Harry Potter franchise, but I have greatly enjoyed the film series since it began in 2001. They've all been relatively well-made, and for the most part, they've been easily accessible for people who haven't read the books. That being said, some of my longer-term readers will know that I was rather disappointed with Death Hallows: Part 1. I received a lot of criticism for my opinion, but I think I backed it up rather well. I've placed Part 2 on this list merely because I hope that the series can revert back to greatness with its final push. I've got my fingers crossed. (I've just broken down the trailer, if you're interested in seeing what I think we might be seeing).

Kung Fu Panda 2
May 27

Starring: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu & Jackie Chan
*
I loved the original 2008 film, so there's no reason why I won't be heading to the theater to take this one in as well. Our cast is mostly returning, but the addition of Gary Oldman as our lead villain sets quite a high bar for this sequel. My early impression from the trailers hasn't been stellar, but neither was my first impression of the original film's trailers, so perhaps I'll be surprised once again. Here's hoping.

Terri
July 1

Starring: Jacob Wysocki & John C. Reilly
*
Like some of the other films already listed, this one's been playing to relatively good reviews at film festivals, and the first trailer has just been released. I'm generally not much of a fan of John C. Reilly's comedy, but his dramatic turns tend to be much better (see: 2002's The Hours and Chicago, somewhat). However, the true revelation looks to be the young Jacob Wysocki, who looks fantastic in the trailers. I just hope they're not throwing the film's best bits in the previews.

Super 8
June 10

Starring: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler & Noah Emmerich
*
Up until recently, there was quite a bit of secrecy and speculation as to what exactly would be happening within the constructs of J.J. Abrams's Super 8. I think it had a Super Bowl spot that left quite a bit to the imagination, but the latest trailer tells us that something is going to be terrorizing a small town. The film is center-pieced by a group of kids who make films with a Super 8 camera (go figure!) who capture the entire phenomena as it occurs. Oh, and Elle Fanning is a brilliant young actress, so her inclusion is a plus as well.

X-Men: First Class
June 3

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones & Kevin Bacon
*
I've been a bit of a fan of the X-Men films for quite some time - I even enjoyed Wolverine's Origins flick - but when I heard they were issuing a prequel, I was a little concerned as to how they'd go about it. Once I saw the all-star cast, however, any fears I had were quenched. They've got some of the best younger actors in Hollywood cast in this film, with the inclusion of McAvoy and Fassbender in the leading roles. Snagging now Oscar-nominee Lawrence is also a plus, and getting some veteran work from Kevin Bacon should give this film a little more legitimacy.

Bad Teacher
June 24

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel & Phyllis Smith
*
It's been a long time since Cameron Diaz was in a legitimate comedy, and Bad Teacher could be a game-changer for her because it gives her the opportunity to let everything loose. This movie could easily turn into a raunch-com, if only for the dialogue that we're going to be presented, and this jolt might be just what Diaz's career needs. Add Timberlake and Segel to the mix, and we're sure to get quite a few laughs from this one.

Priest
May 13

Starring: Paul Bettany, Karl Urban, Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q & Christopher Plummer
*
When I first heard about this film last year, I had absolutely no desire to see it. It looked like a terrible concept and an overall terrible movie. I even had the opportunity to see it at an advance screening in October, but I passed on the experience. Since then, however, all I've heard is how excited all those involved seem to be. I've heard reports that some of the starring cast has called this the "best script they've seen in years." Obviously, I'm still a little skeptical, but their enthusiasm is definitely going to drive me to the theaters for this one, no matter how badly it ultimately performs.

Captain America: The First Avenger
July 22

Starring: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci & Hayley Atwell
*
Of the two "Avenger" films being released this summer, Captain America looks to be the stronger film (as you'll notice, Thor doesn't even make this particular list). I personally think that Captain America received a much stronger cast with the addition of Evans, Weaving, Jones and Tucci, and the film's trailers just make it look like the better superhero flick for the summer. Ultimately, it's all leading up to next year's Avengers flick, so we'll see if either Thor or Captain America can make a legitimate splash - if they can't, I wonder whether they'll be able to hold their own against Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark.

Beginners
June 3

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer & Mélanie Laurent
*
Having Ewan McGregor and Mélanie Laurent in a romantic drama would've been enough for me to get excited about this film, but when you add Christopher Plummer as McGregor's recently out of the closet father, then my excitement shoots through the roof. Also add the fact that Plummer's character learns he's suffering from a terminal disease, and you've got yourself what looks to be a sappy dramatic flick that's going to play right at the audience's heartstrings. But sometimes sappy can be wonderful, and I fully expect Beginners to go down that particular route.

The Hangover Part II
May 26

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms & Zach Galifianakis
*
Who didn't love The Hangover in 2009? I saw that film on its opening day, and I have every intention of keeping that tradition with its sequel if I have the opportunity. Essentially, we're getting a similar story - a bachelor party gone awry - but rather than settling in the luxury of Las Vegas, we're heading out to Thailand for a little bit of fun. I've broken down the trailer, in case you're interested in seeing my early thoughts as to what we should be expecting.

The Beaver
May 6

Starring: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster & Anton Yelchin
*
I know that Mel Gibson is currently one of the most disliked actors in Hollywood, and all his personal issues have already affected this film (it was supposed to be released last year but was pushed to 2011 because of the legal issues). We're being given a film where Gibson walks around wearing a beaver puppet, so this movie could go one of two ways: it will either play out as an unintentional comedy, or it will prove to be a quiet but powerful drama about depression. Early reports have said that Gibson does a very good job with the role, but I'll take the film as either a drama or the unintentional comedy it could end up being.

The Tree of Life
May 27

Starring: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn & Jessica Chastain
*
There hasn't been a film with so much mystery as The Tree of Life for quite some time, and overall curiosity and intrugue will probably send a lot of people to the theaters. Oh, and the fact that we've got big-time names like Brad Pitt and Sean Penn attached should help as well. Pitt's one of my favorite actors of all-time, so his inclusion would be enough for me to want to see the film, but the aura of mystery and wonder that surrounds this movie's trailer has me on pins and needles.

Hesher
May 13

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Natalie Portman
*
Honestly, the only thing I have to say about this one is JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT. Easily my favorite young actor at the moment, JGL has continued to impress me with his ever-expanding filmography. However, his turn in Hesher looks to be completely different from anything else he's done before, and I couldn't be more ecstatic. Natalie Portman also plays a role in the film (she'll have been everywhere in 2011, in case you haven't noticed), so that adds another must-seen element, but the driving force behind the film looks to be Joseph's performance.

Cowboys & Aliens
July 29

Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford & Olivia Wilde
*
I know that people have been having some mixed reactions towards this particular film, but I for one can't wait for it to hit theaters in late July. There's something about the concept of aliens mixing with the Old West that's entirely intriguing. And when your cowboys include the likes of James Bond and Indiana Jones... er, Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, then there's potential for something magically incredible. Sure, it could easily turn into a rote shoot-em-up, but with the direction of Jon Favreau and inclusion of Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard as producers, I'm expecting something phenomenal.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
May 20

Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane & Penélope Cruz
*
Anyone who knows me at all knows that I'm a huge Pirates of the Caribbean fanatic, so the wait for this fourth installment has been quite an endeavor for me. I've already broken down the trailers for the film, questioning just what will be going on once the lights go down in the theater, but my anticipation only grows as May 20 inches its way closer and closer. The addition of McShane and Cruz should prove to be a good move, and the return of Rush makes this movie all the more exciting. Oh, and Depp should be his usual self. I simply can't wait!