The Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals are behind us. Though here in New York we were still wearing coats after Easter, I am hoping this is now also a thing of the past and that May arrives with spring weather, fully loaded with flowers, and the start of the summer movie season. This May brings us an eclectic mix of films with a few award caliber entries (The Immigrant, Belle and Ida), the beginning of the summer blockbuster season (The Amazing Spiderman 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past and Godzilla), and a few comedies to smooth out the edges (Walk of Shame and Neighbors).
So, whether you choose to check out that indie you heard so much about or the latest big studio release, don’t forget to click on the movie title below to view the trailer. We want to make sure you know what you are getting into before you head to the theater.
– Myrna E. Duarte
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (3D)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 directed by Marc Webb and written by the notorious Jeff Pinker, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) finds, life is busy between taking out the bad guys as Spider-Man and spending time with the person he loves, Gwen (Emma Stone). Things change for Peter when a new villain, Electro (Jamie Foxx), emerges, an old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, and Peter uncovers new clues about his past. So many villains, so little time.
Walk of Shame
Walk of Shame is written and directed by Steven Brill (Mr. Deeds). Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games) stars as an aspiring reporter whose dreams of becoming a network news anchor are compromised after a one-night stand with a handsome stranger (James Marsden) leaves her stranded in downtown Los Angeles without a phone, car, ID or money and only 8 hours to make it to the most important job interview of her life. Funny?
Belle is the second feature directed by actress-filmmaker Amma Asante (A Way of Life), from a screenplay written by Misan Sagay. In late eighteenth century England, Dido Elizabeth Belle is born to a white British admiral and a black Caribbean slave. The admiral’s well-bred family is appalled, but when he returns to sea, custom dictates that they raise his child as an aristocrat. Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) is both Dido’s uncle and the family patriarch, and instructs this biracial woman (Mbatha-Raw) to respect both the law and the social codes of her station. She is a lady, but she is an embarrassment. How is she ever to marry?
Ida (Limited) MOVIEFIEDNYC MOST ANTICIPATED
Ida is a riveting B&W drama which was Poland’s 2013 entry into the Best Foreign Language Oscar pool, but it didn’t make the final cut. Co-writer / director Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida has earned rave reviews from critics the world over, this is the powerful story of a young nun in 1960s Poland who moves in with her aunt. The score in this is just tremendous, I am curious to see it. Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska), a sheltered orphan raised in a convent, is preparing to become a nun when the Mother Superior insists she first visit her sole living relative. Naïve Anna soon finds herself in the presence of her aunt Wanda, a worldly and cynical Communist Party insider, who shocks her with the declaration that her real name is Ida and her Jewish parents were murdered in the Nazi occupation. This revelation triggers a heart-wrenching journey into the countryside, to the family house and into the secrets of the past, evoking the haunting legacy of the Holocaust and the realities of postwar Communism.
The Protector 2 (Limited)
Boss Suchart is the influential owner of a major elephant camp. When he was murdered in his own home (the killer delivered three fatal blows on his body) all evidence points to KHAM (Tony Jaa), present at the crime scene and seen with the victim the moment before he died. Kham is forced to run as the police launch a pursuit. In addition, Kham is drawn into an underground fighting ring run by LC (RZA), a crime lord who’s obsessed with collecting top-class martial artists from around the world.
When Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman), he is left to figure out what’s next. Finding himself in Miami, he teams up with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), his friend (John Leguizamo) and his son (Emjay Anthony) to launch a food truck. Taking to the road, Chef Carl goes back to his roots to reignite his passion for the kitchen — and zest for life and love. Chef is written and directed by Jon Favreau (Elf, Iron Man).
Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return (3D)
Directed by Will Finn and Dan St. Pierre and written by Adam Balsam and Barry Glasser, Legends of Oz: Dorthy’s Return features the voice talents of “Glee” star Lea Michele as Dorothy, Patrick Stewart, Martin Short, Oliver Platt, Dan Akyroyd, Kelsey Grammer, Hugh Dancy, James Belushi, and more. The film has been hyped for a couple years now but I just feel it looks like sale bin material.
Moms’ Night Out
All Allyson and her friends want is a peaceful, grown-up evening of dinner and fun – a long-needed moms’ night out. But in order to enjoy high heels, adult conversation, and food not served in a bag, they need their husbands to watch the kids for a few hours … what could go wrong? You might find yourself watching this movie?
The release of Neighbors, the latest comedy from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek and The Muppets director Nicholas Stoller looks like the perfect summer comedy as Seth Rogen goes head-to-head with Zac Efron and a whole fraternity of douchebags including Dave Franco and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. In the film a young couple (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) suffering from arrested development are forced to live next to a rowdy and obnoxious fraternity house after the birth of their newborn baby. Zac Efron, Dave Franco and Christopher Mintz-Plasse all play the rowdy and obnoxious frat boys.
The Double (Limited)
The latest sci-fi mind bending feature The Double is based on Fydor Dostoyevsky The Double: A Petersburg Poem, stars Jesse Eisenberg – twice! Eisenberg plays both James and Simon, the latter of which goes crazy when his exact copy/doppelganger suddenly shows up. The cast includes Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Sally Hawkins, Paddy Considine, Noah Taylor and appearances by Craig Roberts & Yasmin Paige of Ayoade’s Submarine. The Double is directed by Richard Ayoade who co-wrote the script with Avi Korine (brother of Spring Breakers director Harmony Korine).
Fed Up (Limited)
This is the movie the food industry doesn’t want you to see. Stephanie Soechtig’s new documentary Fed Up blows the lid off everything we thought we knew about food and weight loss, revealing a 30-year campaign by the food industry, aided by the U.S. government, to mislead and confuse the American public, resulting in one of the largest health epidemics in history. From Katie Couric, Laurie David ( An Inconvenient Truth) and director Stephanie Soechtig, Fed Up will change the way you eat forever.
Palo Alto (Limited)
Gia Coppola, granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola, writes/directs Palo Alto, based on a collection of short stories by James Franco, who also stars in the film. Welcome to the bizarro John Hughes world; this is a suburban-teen comedy gone all wrong. The kids know everything about sex, substances and suicide, but can’t begin to figure out how or what they feel. Emma Roberts leads an unforgettable cast that includes Franco, 17-year-old Jack Kilmer (his father Val plays a supporting role) and Colleen Camp.
Stage Fright (Limited)
Four words – Meat Loaf Horror Musical.
Godzilla, being directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters), comes from a screenplay written by Drew Pearce, Max Borenstein and Frank Darabont (Walking Dead). The cast is lead by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, with Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe and Juliette Binoche. An epic rebirth to Toho’s iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure pits the most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence. He’s coming, the giant King of Monsters, finally traveling from Japan to America and I’m excited to see him.
Million Dollar Arm
Based on a true story, Disney’s Million Dollar Arm follows JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm), a once-successful sports agent who now finds himself edged out by bigger, slicker competitors. He and his partner Aash (Aasif Mandvi) will have to close their business down for good if JB doesn’t come up with something fast. Setting off for Mumbai with nothing but a gifted but cantankerous scout (Alan Arkin) in tow, JB stages a televised, nationwide competition called “Million Dollar Arm” where 40,000 hopefuls compete before two 18-year-old finalists, Rinku and Dinesh (Suraj Sharma, Madhur Mittal), emerge as winners.
The Immigrant (Limited)
Young Polish immigrant Ewa (Marion Cotillard), after being separated from her sister at Ellis Island, finds herself caught in a dangerous battle of wills with a shady burlesque manager (Joaquin Phoenix) in James Gray’s richly detailed period tragedy. Working with the great cinematographer Darius Khondji (Se7en, Amour), Gray imagines 1920s Manhattan as a dusty, sepia-toned dreamworld, sometimes faintly luminous but often dejectedly burnt-out. The same could be said of the film’s heroes: after a charismatic magician (Jeremy Renner) starts to compete for Ewa’s affections, The Immigrant builds steadily to its devastating climax. The Immigrant, based on the stories and experiences told to the director by his grandparents, is perhaps one of the last of its kind—a personal epic.
Hoping to capture some of the magic that made The Wedding Singer and even most of 50 First Dates enjoyable, Drew Barrymore is back with Adam Sandler for the romantic comedy Blended. Directed by Frank Coraci (Murdered Innocence, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Click, Zookeeper, Here Comes the Boom), from a script by Ivan Menchell and Clare Sera. After a disastrous blind date, single parents Lauren (Barrymore) and Jim (Sandler) agree on only one thing: they never want to see each other again. But when they each sign up separately for a fabulous family vacation with their kids, they are all stuck sharing a suite at a luxurious African safari resort for a week.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (3D)
X-Men: Days of Future Past is directed by Bryan Singer and written by Matthew Vaughn and Simon Kinberg. The sequel features cast members from the original X-Men franchise like Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore and Daniel Cudmore along with X -Men: First Class cast members like James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, and Michael Fassbender. The present day X-Men are in danger from a mistake in the past, and Wolverine is sent back in time to fix it in order to avoid a dark, terrifying future timeline.
The Dance of Reality (Limited)
The Dance of Reality, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s first new film in 23 years, is a sort of oddly whimsical biographical look back at his own upbringing in Chile. For those unfamiliar, Jodorowksy is a Chilean filmmaker behind El Topo and Holy Mountain and is the subject of the outstanding doc Jodorowsky’s Dune.
Starring Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre, Stoker) and Adam Driver (“Girls”, Frances Ha, Inside Llewyn Davis), directed by John Curran (The Painted Veil, We Don’t Live Here Anymore) and from the producers of The King’s Speech, Tracks is based on the inspirational and iconic true story of Robyn Davidson. Robyn’s phenomenal solo trek from Alice Springs to Uluru and on to the Indian Ocean saw her traverse 2,700 km of spectacular yet unforgiving Australian desert accompanied only by her loyal dog and four unpredictable camels. Set against one of the wildest, most dangerous and most breathtaking backdrops on the planet, this unprecedented journey pushed Robyn to her physical and emotional limits and taught her that sometimes we have to detach from the world to feel connected to it.
Words & Pictures (Limited)
Prep school English teacher Jack Marcus (Clive Owen) laments his students’ obsession with social media and good grades — as opposed to rigorous engagement with language. A one-time literary star, Jack has not published in years. In short, Jack has much to despair of, and when Jack despairs, Jack drinks. Meanwhile, Dina Delsanto (Juliette Binoche) is an abstract painter. Like Jack, she was once celebrated for her art, but the onset of arthritis changed that. Jack finds Dina attractive but icy, and their differences might spark an unlikely romance.
Robert Stromberg (production designer on Alice in Wonderland and Avatar) is making his directorial debut with Maleficent from a script written by Linda Woolverton (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast). Angelina Jolie plays the title villain from the classic Disney film Sleeping Beauty in this live-action spin that also stars Sharlto Copley (District 9), Elle Fanning (Super 8), Sam Riley (On the Road), Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), Juno Temple (Atonement) and more.
A Million Ways to Die in the West
A Million Ways to Die in the West is directed by Seth MacFarlane and written by “Family Guy” collaborators and Ted co-writers Wellesley Wild and Alec Sulkin. After a cowardly sheep farmer (MacFarlane) backs out of a gunfight, his fickle girlfriend leaves him for another man. When a mysterious and beautiful woman (Theron) rides into town, she helps him find his courage and they begin to fall in love. When her husband, a notorious outlaw, arrives seeking revenge, the farmer must put his newfound courage to the test. Charlize Theron, Neil Patrick Harris, Amanda Seyfriend, Sarah Silverman, Giovanni Ribisi and Liam Neeson also star in the film.