Opening June 29
Mumblecore star Greta Gerwig has done plenty of features, shorts, and TV work, but always seems to be playing the same character, or at least displaying the same limited acting range. In this comedy, as she’s approaching 30, her title character is abandoned by her boyfriend shortly before their planned wedding, and she must once again deal with living the single life.
Madea’s Witness Protection
Tyler Perry wrote and directed and produced and, of course, plays three roles in another of his string of comedies about people needing the help of good old Aunt Madea (Perry). So she provides shelter to an investment banker (Eugene Levy) who has been set up by his company and the mob to take a big Ponzi-scheme-related fall. Denise Richards co-stars.
Channing Tatum, who recently showed a good flair for comedy in 21 Jump Street, gets to try it again here, playing a successful male stripper who takes a new kid (Alex Pettyfer) under his wing for some mentoring in the fine art of getting women to stuff $5 bills in his undies. Steven Soderbergh directs.
Wes Anderson’s latest returns to the mood of his The Royal Tenenbaums. with this one focusing on two 12-year-old kids (new actors Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward) who run away to an island off the New England coast, then decide to get married. They’re quite good, but it’s the adult cast that provides the crazy background: Bruce Willis as a cop, Edward Norton as a counselor, Harvey Keitel as a scout leader, Bill Murray and Frances McDormand as concerned parents, Tilda Swinton as a bureaucratic villain. Charming and funny.
Peace, Love & Misunderstanding
A New York lawyer tells his wife he wants a divorce. Her reaction: Grab the kids, drive out to the country, try to make amends with her estranged mother. Her mom is played by Jane Fonda, as an old hippie, still clinging to’60s ideals. She’s played by Catherine Keener, as a conservative yuppie. The town of Woodstock (no, the concert did not take place there) is represented as magical (as far as repairing family relationships). Directed by Bruce Beresford.
People Like Us
Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks play a brother and sister with all sorts of problems. His involve being overwhelmed by debt. Hers take a different direction. The script gives us a death, a will, and a pile of cash that combine to bring these two together and drive them apart. Interesting plot note: She doesn’t know that they’re related.
The first film directed by veteran TV writer Seth MacFarlane tells of John (Mark Wahlberg), a guy who has always wished that his Teddy bear could come alive. When it finally does, it turns out to be a companion you don’t really want to be seen with … or heard from (Wash that bear’s mouth out with soap!). Things get to the point where John must choose between the furry fellow and his girlfriend (Mila Kunis). The bear is also voiced by MacFarlane.
Opening July 3
The Amazing Spider-Man
The decision to reboot the series was a good one. Brit actor Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) gives Peter Parker/Spidey a lot more angst-filled depth than Tobey Maguire could. There’s a tad too much back story, of Peter’s vanished parents, of life with Uncle Ben and Aunt May (Martin Sheen and Sally Field), and of his developing romantic interest with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). But once that radioactive spider bites him, and a truly frightening, yet sympathetic villain called the Lizard (Rhys Ifans) gets in gear, the movie fires on all pistons.
Opening July 5
Katy Perry: Part of Me
A documentary about the popular pop singer.
Opening July 6
Two American pals (Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch) combine business and pleasure and a bit of uncontrolled violence in a successful pot-growing business. They also happen to share a girlfriend (Blake Lively) who is kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel. This thriller from Oliver Stone, who is long overdue for a great movie, features John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Emile Hirsch, and Benicio Del Toro.
To Rome with Love
Woody Allen sets hordes of characters in Rome, gives them great dialogue, turns the camera on, then lets things happen, as usual. It’s a comedy, with Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg, Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Judy Davis, Roberto Benigni, and Woody.
Your Sister’s Sister
Director Lynn Shelton often fills her films with too many words, uttered by actors who aren’t too concerned with pronunciation. This one’s a dramatic comedy about a death in the family, the ensuing gathering of friends and other family members, and the occasion of Jack (Mark Duplass) meeting up with and getting to know Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt). Early reports say that people either love or loathe the ending, pretty much in equal measure.